Friday, December 30, 2011

Monkey Stolen From San Francisco Zoo

By Mike Anderson

Thieves Steal Monkey From SF ZooSomeone broke into an exhibit and stole a monkey from the San Francisco Zoo, the zoo discovered Friday morning.

The one-foot-tall squirrel monkey's name is "Banana-Sam." He is 17 years old and weighs about two pounds

The vandals apparently cut through a zoo gate overnight. Then they got onto the roof of the primate exhibits. The zoo found two holes cut through the mesh net where Banana-Sam was stolen.

Although he appears cute and cuddly, Banana-Sam has very sharp teeth and will not hesitate to bite if provoked, according to Zoo staff. His bites can easily cause infections. The monkey also eats very particular food...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Penn sees red in LAX tirade

(New York Post) Sean Penn and Cuban actress Maria Conchita Alonso were once Hollywood co-stars — but they had an angry bust-up at LAX, with Alonso branding Penn a “communist [bleep]hole” after he called her a “pig” in front of a stunned crowd.

It started when Alonso picked up her mother from a Miami flight and spotted Penn in an American Airlines lost luggage area Sunday.

Alonso, born in Cuba and raised in Venezuela, says her “heart stopped” when she saw the actor, to whom she’d written an open letter last year to say she was “appalled” by his public support of Hugo Chavez.

Sean Penn
She told Page Six: “I was very calm. I said, ‘I would like to talk to you.’ He said, ‘I have nothing to say to you . . . You have been saying a lot of things about me in the press.’ I said, ‘How can you defend Chavez?’ ”

The argument escalated from there. Alonso relates: “I said, ‘You are a communist, Sean Penn.’ He said, ‘You are a pig!’ So I said, ‘And you are a communist [bleep]hole! Is it great to live the way you do as a communist?’

“I went back to my mother, and he started yelling at us,” Alonso told us. “I yelled back, ‘Communist [bleep]hole!’ Nearly 60 people were watching, shocked. My mother wanted to clap, but she couldn’t because she was in a wheelchair and she had a small dog in her lap...”

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Woman chooses pet crocodile over husband

An Australian woman, Vicki Lowing, says she divorced her husband after he asked her to give up her pet crocodile, Johnie, which she says is ‘like a child' to her.

(Confucious Institute Online) WHEN Johnie the croc wants walkies, her owner makes it snappy. 
Johnie - a female - rules the roost at the Lowing home. 
Her favourite time of the day is meal time, the Herald Sun reports. 
"She's just like a cat or dog in that she knows when the fridge door opens there is a good chance of a snack, so she shuffles in for a feed," Vicki Lowing said. 
Chicken wings are her favourite, along with whiting and red meat. 
Ms Lowing said her son Andrew, 15, and Johnie, 13, experienced sibling rivalry. 
"Sometimes Andrew goes to have a shower after school and Johnie's already in there and not keen to share the space," she said. 
Andrew turns on the cold water tap and watches the cranky croc beat it....

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Boy disciplined after waving gun-shaped pizza slice

Reported By Andy Cordan, Reporter

(WKRN) For the rest of the semester, a Rutherford County elementary student has to eat lunch at the "silent table" for allegedly waving around a slice of pizza some say resembled a gun.

Nicholas Taylor attends David Youree Elementary School in Smyrna, about 30 miles southeast of Nashville.

School leaders say the 10-year-old threatened other students at his lunch table with a piece of pizza with bites out of it so it looked like a gun and when asked about it was initially not truthful.

Nicholas' mother LeAnn calls her son's punishment "absolutely ridiculous" saying he was just playing around and never said anything derogatory or anything about shooting anyone.

"The kid across the table from him said it looked like a gun so he picked it up and started shooting it in the air," she told Nashville's News 2 Investigates.

Taylor said she learned of the incident when the school sent her a note saying her son was threatening other students.

James Evans, spokesperson for the Rutherford County School District, said the boy isn't being punished because he had a piece of pizza shaped like a gun.

He's being punished because "some students reported he was making some threatening hand gestures, that he was shooting other kids at the table and they reported it to a teacher," according to Evans.

He continued, "The student didn't tell him the truth about it so he got silent lunch for six days."

Evans called the punishment minor but said the message is clear.

"I realize some might say we are going overboard but the principal is just trying to use an abundance of caution and send the message that we don't play about guns and it's not something we joke around about," he said.

To that, Taylor said her son knows he shouldn't play with guns.

"We don't have a gun in the house," she said. "He plays with light sabers. He's a big Star Wars fan."

In addition to lunch at the silent table, Nicholas has spent time with the school resource officer learning about gun safety.

Taylor said the school system has made it clear that if her son eats his pizza into the shape of a gun again and there is a similar occurrence, he will be suspended.

Unexplained shower of apples falls from sky over town

By Eric Pfeiffer News) More than 100 apples mysteriously rained down upon a small British town on Monday night. The still-unexplained apple shower left 20 yards of city streets and car windshields covered in the cascading fruit just after the daily rush hour.

The news immediately brought up comparisons to biblical tales of raining frogs and whether such reported freaks of nature actually occurred. In this instance, no one has officially confirmed when, how or if the apple storm truly took place as described.

However, Jim Dale, senior meteorologist from the British Weather Services, told the London Telegraph: "The weather we have at the moment is very volatile and we probably have more to come. Essentially these events are caused when a vortex of air, kind of like a mini tornado, lifts things off the ground rising up into the atmosphere until the air around it causes them to fall to earth again."

Dr Lisa Jardine-Wright, a physicist at the Cavendish Laboratory, based at Cambridge University, told the BBC, "Cars and houses have been swept up by tornadoes, so apples are well within the realms of possibility. A tornado which has swept through an orchard will be strong enough to 'suck up' small objects like a vacuum [cleaner]. These small objects would then be deposited back to earth as 'rain' when the whirlwind loses its energy."

Nevertheless, witnesses report that the weather in Coundon in Coventry was reported to be stable and calm at the time of the alleged apple shower. Coventry residents have offered several competing explanations for the event, including a passing plane, roving teenage pranksters--and, yes, witches.

But regardless of the ultimate explanation, the apple storm is no stranger other confirmed, highly unusual forms of precipitation. The BBC offers a roster of pertinent examples:
Frog falls were recorded in Llanddewi, Powys, in 1996 and two years later in Croydon, south London. In 2000, hundreds of dead silver sprats fell out of the sky during a rainstorm in the seaside resort of Great Yarmouth.
There have also been maggot downpours--in Acapulco in 1967 and during a yachting event at the 1976 Olympic Games.
On the sliding scale of inconveniences, an apple storm seems more palatable than maggots. Though, depending on the state of the apples, it's possible that some areas could have experienced both brands of offbeat precipitation at once.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cable guy finds sleeping bear in NJ basement

HOPATCONG, N.J. (AP) — A cable TV repairman got quite a surprise when he walked into the basement of a New Jersey home.

There was a 500-pound bear sound asleep on the floor.

The bear had been spotted wandering in the neighborhood in Hopatcong earlier Wednesday. It's not clear how it got into the home.

The bear ambled out of the house before state Fish and Game officials arrived.

WNBC-TV in New York ( ) reports the officials fired a tranquilizer dart at the animal, which walked a few blocks to the Missouri Trail before it was knocked out.

Officials plan to relocate the bear.

No one was injured.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ala-Mode Ala-Barf


(Organic Planet) It’s time for the Queen of Green to burst another flavor bubble. Think about the creamy vanilla ice cream that you love to indulge in because it melts in your mouth and is bursting with pure vanilla flavor. Think again. Did you know there are many ice cream brands that are not bursting with pure vanilla flavor? Some brands contain a hidden ingredient that is made of Beaver Anal Glands!

No, that was not a typo.

Yes, I just said ‘Beaver Anal Glands!’

I don’t know about you, but the thought of shoveling Beaver Anal Glands into my mouth is making my stomach churn.

Beaver Anal Glands are often hidden in ingredient lists as castoreum or natural flavors. They are used to enhance the flavor of vanilla and raspberry drinks, ice cream, candies, puddings, and other desserts. But rest assure, the FDA approves this ingredient as a food additive and has classified it as “generally recognized as safe.” “Generally” recognized as safe—those words do not sound very promising. After all, we are consuming an animal’s private body part that was certainly not intended to excite our taste buds!

According to,”castoreum is a bitter, orange-brown, odoriferous, oily secretion, found in two sacs between the anus and the external genitals of beavers. The discharge of the castor sac is combined with the beaver’s urine, and used during scent marking of territory. Both male and female beavers possess a pair of castor sacs and a pair of anal glands located in two cavities under the skin between the pelvis and the base of the tail...”  (continued...)

funny pictures history - I've Been Jealous of my Hamster for YEARS

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Islamic cleric bans women from touching bananas and cucumbers

By Manar Ammar

(BikyaMasr) CAIRO: An Islamic cleric residing in Europe said that women should not be close to bananas or cucumbers, in order to avoid any “sexual thoughts.”

The unnamed sheikh, who was featured in an article on el-Senousa news, was quoted saying that if women wish to eat these food items, a third party, preferably a male related to them such as their a father or husband, should cut the items into small pieces and serve.

He said that these fruits and vegetables “resemble the male penis” and hence could arouse women or “make them think of sex.”

He also added carrots and zucchini to the list of forbidden foods for women.

The sheikh was asked how to “control” women when they are out shopping for groceries and if holding these items at the market would be bad for them. The cleric answered saying this matter is between them and God.
Answering another question about what to do if women in the family like these foods, the sheikh advised the interviewer to take the food and cut it for them in a hidden place so they cannot see it.

The opinion has stirred a storm of irony and denouncement among Muslims online, with hundreds of comments mocking the cleric.

One reader said that these religious “leaders” give Islam “a bad name” and another commented said that he is a “retarded” person and he must quite his post immediately.

Others called him a seeker of fame, but no official responses from renowned Islamic scholars have been published on the statements.

TV Stunt Goes Awry, Sends Cannonball Rocketing Through Homes

DUBLIN, Calif. (CBS) — A cast iron cannonball rocketed through two homes and landed inside a minivan Tuesday when a “Mythbusters” TV experiment went wrong.

Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage are hosts of the scientific experimentation show, which airs on The Discovery Channel. The pair was reportedly trying to figure out how fast a cannonball would travel, when it misfired and shot hundreds of feet in the air.

“This cannonball was supposed to go through several barrels of water and through a cinder block, and then ultimately into the side of the hill,” said J.D. Nelson of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department.

Instead the cannonball flew over the foothills surrounding Camp Parks Military Firing Reservation, before spiraling back toward Dublin like a cruise missile.

It flew straight though the front door of a home on Cassata Place, and bounced around like a pinball, flying up to the second floor before blasting through a back bedroom wall.

The wayward cannonball then blasted across a busy road and through a second home some 50 yards away, demolishing roof tiles.

The homeowner’s mother was frightened.

“”It was a very loud boom; she thought a tree fell, maybe a meteor,” said Ming Jiang. “It wasn’t clear that it was a cannonball landing on the roof.”

The out of control cannonball finally came to a stop inside Jasper Gill’s minivan.

“It hit the dash, through the passenger window,” said Gill, who had gotten out of the vehicle just 10 minutes before the ball struck. “I’m lucky I’m alive.”

Incredibly, no one was injured in the mishap.

Officials said Mythbusters had been using the firing reservation for the last eight years for similar experiments, but none had gone awry.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Alec Baldwin: Booted from plane for playing game

(Yahoo) You know when the flight attendants tell you to turn off all electronic devices prior to takeoff? They're not kidding -- even if you happen to be a star.

Actor Alec Baldwin was removed from an American Airlines flight leaving Los Angeles for New York on Tuesday when he was apparently too engrossed in a game of Zynga's "Words With Friends" to power down his iPad.

"Flight attendant on American reamed me out 4 playing WORDS W FRIENDS while we sat at the gate, not moving. #nowonderamericaairisbankrupt," the actor tweeted.

The incident caused a one-hour delay in the flight and kicked off a flurry of Internet chatter. Baldwin's own Twitter feed has been pulsing with caustic comments about his removal.

"Last flight w American," the "30 Rock" star tweeted Tuesday afternoon, "Where retired Catholic school gym teachers from the 1950s find jobs as flight attendants."

More diplomatically, Baldwin's spokesman Matthew Hilzik said in a statement to MSNBC that the actor is "so in love with 'Words with Friends' that he would risk getting thrown off a flight to play." He also confirmed that Baldwin was re-booked on a later American Airlines flight to New York.

Indeed, the big winner in all this seems to be Words With Friends publisher Zynga, who've just gotten a nice bit of free PR and an unexpected celebrity spokesman.  The immensely popular game is a bit like Scrabble, challenging players to build words and outscore opponents. Asked by a follower to explain the game's appeal, Baldwin tersely tweeted: "It's…well…addicting."

According to, American Airlines is looking into the situation. A spokesperson said that, due to customer privacy concerns, American Airlines does not comment on "something that might or might not have happened."

The 53-year-old actor joins a growing list of celebs who have been kicked off flights this year, including Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong and Green Card's Gerard Depardieu.

So will Baldwin be flying American in the future?

"Now, as I was kicked off this flight, the word I was playing was UNITED," he tweeted.

We'd say that's a no.

Pole dancing pushes bid as Olympic sport

Argentina's Jessica Wajner competes for second place in the Miss Pole Dance Argentina 2011 and third place in the Miss Pole Dance South America 2011 competition in Buenos Aires on November 11, 2011 ahead the Pole Dance World Championship 2012 to be held in the U.S. (Credit: JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)

By Stephen Smith

(CBS News) The criteria for being considered a new Olympic sport is certainly evolving.

In 2009, the IOC deemed golf, rugby and women's boxing as worthy additions - but popular sports such as baseball, softball and karate were nixed.

Now another "sport" is staking its claim as Olympic caliber - pole dancing.

The campaign to get pole dancing into the Games has been in the works for a couple of years. But now, according to the Washington Post, the Pole Fitness Association and other like-minded groups are circulating petitions to get the dance form in the 2012 London Games.

Pole dancing may conjure up images of strip clubs but these days it's more about health clubs. The sensual dance is now commonly called "pole fitness" or "vertical dance" and according to the AFP, there are more than 500 pole dancing fitness studios across the U.S. Indeed, serious pole dancers arguably have athletic chops similar to some Olympic gymnasts.

"Nowadays there are very few who are training to perform in a strip club," Anjel Dust, an organizer at the California Pole Dance Championships, recently told LA Weekly. "It's all about fitness or competitions. There is no longer the stigma. I think pole dancing is being seen more as an art form."

That may well be true but how seriously will the IOC take someone named Anjel Dust? Pole dancing -- with its connotations of seedy night clubs and half-naked women - is still more Las Vegas than London. Other than a name change, pole fitness (or vertical dancing) may have to find another way to tone down its sexy past to make the Games.

While it's likely too late to get into the 2012 lineup, the pole fitness petition boasts over 6,000 signatures. It's worth noting that women's boxing got the IOC approval after petitioning the committee and that sport is not immune to sex-appeal controversy. Right now, organizers are deciding whether female boxers will make their Olympic debut in miniskirts.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Walking through doorways causes forgetting, new research shows

By Susan Guibert Dame News) New research from University of Notre Dame Psychology Professor Gabriel Radvansky suggests that passing through doorways is the cause of these memory lapses.

“Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an ‘event boundary’ in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away,” Radvansky explains.

“Recalling the decision or activity that was made in a different room is difficult because it has been compartmentalized.”

The study was published recently in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Conducting three experiments in both real and virtual environments, Radvansky’s subjects – all college students – performed memory tasks while crossing a room and while exiting a doorway.

In the first experiment, subjects used a virtual environment and moved from one room to another, selecting an object on a table and exchanging it for an object at a different table. They did the same thing while simply moving across a room but not crossing through a doorway.

Radvansky found that the subjects forgot more after walking through a doorway compared to moving the same distance across a room, suggesting that the doorway or “event boundary” impedes one’s ability to retrieve thoughts or decisions made in a different room...

Thanksgiving Turkey I Will Survive

Monday, November 21, 2011

Saudi moral committee threatens to cover “tempting” women’s eyes

By Manar Ammar

Women with sexy eyes in Saudi Arabia may be forced to cover them up, according to the spokesperson of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) in the conservative Gulf kingdom.

Spokesman of the Ha’eal district, Sheikh Motlab al-Nabet said the committee has the right to stop a women whose eyes seem “tempting” and order her to cover them immediately.

Saudi women are already forced to wear a loose black dress and to cover their hair and in some areas, their face, while in public or face fines or sometimes worse, including public lashings.

The announcement came days after the Saudi newspaper al-Watan reported that a Saudi man was admitted to a hospital after a fight with a member of the committee when he ordered his wife to cover her eyes. The husband was then stabbed twice in the hand.

The CPVPV is Saudi’s Sharia, Islamic law, executive arm and was founded in 1940 to ensure Islamic laws are not broken in public, yet over the years, the committee has been largely criticized over its human rights violations.

In 2002, the committee refused to let female students out of their burning schools in Mecca for “not wearing the proper head cover,” which contributed to a large number of dead.

15 young girls died in the fire and dozens more were injured. The CPVPV men banned the firemen and policemen from accessing the girls as “it is not okay for girls to be seen without their full Islamic dress in front of strangers...”

Saturday, November 19, 2011

New Bipartisan Law Would Make Dog Neckerchiefs Mandatory

Somewhere Raven says "I started that trend and gave Ron Schara a career and I still don't get any residuals!" here

Monday, November 14, 2011

McDonald’s Menu Changeover Prompted Wisconsin Woman's Meltdown

(The Smoking Gun) When Shanaya Edgell arrived early yesterday morning at a McDonald’s in Janesville, Wisconsin, she was expecting to order from the fast food joint’s regular menu--Big Macs, french fries, Chicken McNuggets, and the like.

Except it was around 3 AM and the restaurant had already switched over to its breakfast menu--hash browns, Egg McMuffins, hotcakes, and the like.

This enraged Edgell, according to Janesville Police Department officers.

The 22-year-old--for some unexplained reason--turned on her boyfriend, biting him on the lip and tearing off his shirt. At some point during her meltdown, Edgell climbed atop the roof of her 40-year-old beau’s car and launched into a loud diatribe about McDonald’s.

After Edgell dismounted from the vehicle, she was collared for disorderly conduct. Danny Davis, deputy chief of the Janesville police, told TSG that Edgell and her boyfriend had been at a bar prior to heading to McDonald’s.

When questioned by an officer about her behavior, Davis said, Edgell copped to “freaking out” in the wake of the menu changeover, adding that she was “acting crazy.”

Edgell, pictured in the above mug shot, is being held in the Rock County jail in lieu of $150 bond. She is scheduled for a court appearance later this afternoon.  

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Police: officer shoots at officer, goes for pizza

( LAUDERHILL, Fla. - A Lauderhill police officer fired 10 shots at another officer, but missed, said police.

Detectives said the shooting happened in a busy shopping area after 7 p.m. Saturday in the 5600 block of West Oakland Park Boulevard.

The officer who was shot at was working an off-duty detail at the time, but police said she was in a marked cruiser and in uniform. The shooter, Officer Kristopher Bieger, pulled up in his personal car and quickly fired 10 shots at the other police officer, and then took off.

Local 10 sources say that the shooting stems from a domestic situation between the two officers; allegedly, the officer who was targeted had broken up with the shooter on Friday. Police would only confirm that the two worked the same shift and knew each other.

After a three hour manhunt, Davie police and the SWAT team arrested the shooter at 14800 Griffin Road, inside a pizza shop.

"He ordered two slices," said Sam Karia, a witness. "He was buggin' out on the phone. Actually someone heard him crying on the phone to somebody."

When the SWAT team entered the shop, witnesses say the shooter prepared for the takedown.

"He told us all to hide in the back, away from the windows," a witness said.

The shooter has been suspended without pay. The gun he used was not his service weapon; it was his personal firearm.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Ventura, miffed by court, says he's off to Mexico

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (AP) — Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura is so upset by the dismissal of his airport security lawsuit that he threatened Friday to apply for dual citizenship so he can spend more time in his beloved Mexico — or run for president of what he labeled "the Fascist States of America."

Ventura, also a former wrestling star, sued the U.S. government in January, alleging that airport scans and pat-downs amounted to unreasonable search and seizure. A district judge threw out his lawsuit Thursday, ruling it should have been filed in a Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ventura has said a titanium hip implanted in him in 2008 sets off metal detectors and that agents previously used hand-held wands to scan his body. He said he was subjected to a body pat-down after an airport metal detector went off last November. Ventura said he hasn't flown since and won't fly commercially again.

Outside the federal courthouse in St. Paul, with a crew from his "Conspiracy Theory" cable TV show filming, Ventura said he hadn't decided whether to continue pressing his lawsuit. He said he wanted to make his case before a jury, not a panel of judges.

Ventura, a political independent who served one term as governor, teased that he might have to run for president to change the policy and a court system he regards as broken.

Moments later, he vowed to apply for Mexican citizenship so he can live there more months of the year.

The former Navy SEAL said he had lost his patriotism.

"I will never stand for a national anthem again. I will turn my back and I will raise a fist," he said.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Star Wars fanatic choked his Thai bride to death after she destroyed his collection of toys

(Mail Online) A Star Wars fanatic choked his Thai bride to death after she destroyed his prized collection of toys.

Rickie la Touche, 30, said his wife had had damaged his treasured Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker memorabilia which he had been collecting since he was a child.

During a subsequent row he suffocated Pornpilai Srisroy, 28, before running off to his mother's house to tell her what he had done.

The mother-of-one was later discovered dead on the couple's bed covered with a duvet and pillow in Leigh, Greater Manchester.

He was jailed for life with a minimum term of 12 years yesterday after a jury found him guilty of murder. He had admitted manslaughter.

La Touche - also known as Rickie Nehls - told police his wife had smashed up his Star Wars collection as part of a campaign to 'make his life hell.'

He claimed he was a henpecked husband who 'flipped' after she threatened to leave him to go back to her native Thailand.

He first met her in a bar while on holiday in Bangkok in Thailand in 2001, Preston Crown Court was told...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Australian Mint Turns Out 1-Ton Gold Coin

Australian Mint Turns Out 1-Ton Gold Coin
The world's largest gold coin weighs a ton.

(NBC LA) An Australian mint has produced the world's largest gold coin, a giant disk weighing more than a ton and worth more than $50 million.

The Perth Mint made the coin to comemorate Queen Elizabeth's visit to the city. It has a kangaroo on one side and the Queen's profile on the other...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Vampire Facelift: Cosmetic Surgery Procedure Uses Patients' Blood

By David Moye

(Huffington Post) Vampires are known for having pale skin and an anemic pallor, so the idea of a "vampire facelift" sounds bloody awful, doesn't it?

Maybe, but a technique known colloquially by that name is starting to suck up attention and take a bite out of other forms of facial rejuvenation.

The technical term is actually the Selphyl System, and a doctor -- not Count Dracula -- begins the procedure by drawing a vial of blood from the patient.

That blood is put into a centrifuge to separate out the platelet-rich plasma, or "PRP," which is then injected back into parts of the patient's face.

According to Dr. Jack Berdy, a New York-based doctor of aesthetic medicine who has been doing the so-called "Vampire Facelift" for a year, the plasma fills volume in the face, but also stimulates the body to produce more collagen and elastin.

It also only takes 30 minutes in a doctor's office.

The downside? Well, it's on the high-end of facial rejuvenation injections because, compared to other facial injections, it is more physician-dependent.

Oh, and there's the blood-drawing part.

"It makes some patients queasy," Berdy told HuffPost Weird News. "Some patients can handle being injected, but faint when blood is drawn."

However, patients like 51-year-old Nancy Chira say the Vampire Facelift, despite the spooky name, is allowing them a chance to look better without going through a recovery process that requires them to look like a mummy.

"I don't have to scare my kids by looking scary," she told Fox News. "They won't really know know and, hopefully, it improves over time."

Dr. Norman Rowe, a New York-based plastic surgeon who has been doing the Vampire Facelift for two years, is happy with the results from the technique -- but isn't so fond of the name.

"I hate that they call it that," Rowe laughed to HuffPost Weird News. "The only thing related to vampires is that blood is drawn, but this promotes healing and rejuvenation and that helps reduce wrinkles."
Rowe says the platelets attract the body's stem cells, which then become whatever kinds of cells the targeted area needs.

"If I inject blood into a wrinkle, the stem cells will become skin," he told Fox News.

But while Rowe and Berdy say they have had good results with the technique, which is also being used by orthopedic surgeons to promote bone growth, other experts like Dr. Barry Handler, a San Diego-based plastic surgeon, says the cost of the Vampire Facelift could bleed people's wallets without having a real effect on their face.

"I'd say it adds $500 to the cost to what a normal non-surgical rejuvenation costs, but there's no real proof that it reduces swelling," he told HuffPost Weird News. "This seems to be a product searching for a use. Some people are injecting the plasma into penises and breasts."

However, new advances threaten to drive a stake into the metaphorical heart of the Vampire Facelift, according to Rowe, who says the technique may be in its twlight.

"Since this technique attracts stem cells to the face, I think the future is using the stem cells themselves and cutting out the blood -- which is the middle man at this point."

In the meantime, perhaps someone will invent a "Werewolf Treatment" for curing baldness.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

No Monkey Business: Typing Shakespeare

 By Carl Bialik Wall Street Journal)  My print column examined a computer programmer’s effort to simulate the thought experiment of putting many monkeys over many years to the task of bashing keyboards, with the hope their random output would eventually include the works of Shakespeare. This effort was successful mainly because it changed the rules, requiring only that monkey-like software match nine-letter strings from Shakespeare’s works, rather than whole scenes, let alone acts or plays.

That made it the target for some skepticism from academic researchers. “This bit of silliness deserves no attention from anyone,” said Jeffrey Shallit, a computer scientist at the University of Waterloo. “It has nothing to do with evolution and it is of absolutely no interest mathematically.”

“It is of no scientific interest,” said Richard Stanley, an applied mathematician at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He said that if nine-letter strings are good enough, why not two letters? “If you waited until the monkey typed just ‘to,’ then waited until he/she typed just ‘be,’ etc., of course this would take much less time, but I would not consider this typing the sentence ‘To be or not to be, that is the question,’ ” Stanley wrote in an email. “You might as well do just one letter at a time, and it would be even faster but would accomplish nothing.”

“The ability of the random generator to do this is highly dependent on the size of the blocks” it counts as successful matches, added Robert Simon, a mathematician at the London School of Economics.

“I think this is about the easiest task for monkeys that can be imagined, and saying that they have typed the text is a stretch of the imagination,” said Brendan McKay, a computer scientist at Australian National University Canberra.

The project’s creator, Reno, Nev., software engineer Jesse Anderson, defended it for its ability to shed light on the scope of infinity. “It helps you wrap your mind about what would happen if you had infinite resources, and an infinite amount of time,” Anderson said. “We have a hard time thinking in terms of numbers that big.”

“He’s showing the power of raw computation,” said Dave Thomas, president of New Mexicans for Science and Reason. “It illustrates that monkeys randomly typing stuff eventually produce real words.”

Greg McColm, a mathematical logician at the University of South Florida, said the real point of the thought experiment is to illustrate that it is far more likely the monkeys might produce some piece of writing that is coherent, than a specific one specified before they are put to work. “In real life, the point is that a large number of independent events (like throwing darts at a dartboard) will almost always generate a pattern different from any previously selected pattern,” McColm wrote in an email. “Of course, afterwards, you can say that the darts form a horse and a pirate, but you are not going to start by saying you are going to form a horse and a pirate and then throw the darts (at random) and get a horse and a pirate.”

Anderson’s experiment did illustrate one intriguing mathematical concept, the coupon collector’s problem.

This problem involves determining how many random numbers one would have to generate to have a reasonable expectation of getting every number in a set. The answer is it would take far more than the total number, because there would be many duplicates on the way to completeness. There are about 5.4 trillion possible nine-letter strings using the 26-letter English alphabet, but it would take generating about 162 trillion, on average, to get all of them, and 184 trillion to have a 99% chance of getting all of them, according to Tobias Friedrich, a computer scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Germany. Since Anderson didn’t need all of them, only those in Shakespeare, he needed just 7.4 trillion random strings to succeed at his self-assigned task.

A previous effort to simulate Shakespeare online was actually a simulation of a simulation, said its creator, Nick Hoggard, of Lund, Sweden. “It ran on individual PCs that didn’t really have much power and I wanted those who had a slow PC to have an equal chance,” Hoggard said. “So my webpage didn’t actually do all the calculations but started off from a base where it assumed a number of calculations had already been done. 

This base progressed every day to reflect increasing numbers of monkeys.” The goal, he said, was “to try and attract visitors to a website and from there try to earn money through advertising.” It didn’t attract enough visitors, and the site is no longer online, though it did help inform Anderson’s effort.

A real-life experiment testing the monkey hypothesis that proceeded both of these simulated efforts pointed out a flaw in them, though: Plymouth University researchers in 2002 found that six zoo monkeys didn’t hit random keys on an iMac, but instead pounded away on certain favorites, particularly “S.”

While the monkeys liked some letters more than others, they preferred other parts of the enclosure to the computer. “They became much more interested in each others’ bits and pieces than in the computer,” said Mike Phillips, professor of interdisciplinary arts at Plymouth, who led the research. The iMac also was a target for monkey excretion as much as monkey typing.

Anderson said he is aware of the experiment and plans to incorporate the results into a future simulation. His virtual monkeys, which he increasingly thinks of as real ones, would somehow be incentivized to hit keys randomly. “I think you would have to train the monkeys or give them some kind of reward for doing something,” Anderson said. “Just putting [a computer] in a room with them, they’re not going to be that interested in it.”

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pee power: Urine-loving bug churns out space fuel

Scientists on Sunday said they had gained insights into a remarkable bacterium that lives without oxygen and transforms ammonium, the ingredient of urine, into hydrazine, a rocket fuel.

(AFP)   So-called anammox -- for anaerobic ammonium oxidation -- germs caused a sensation when they were first identified in the 1990s, but uncovering their secrets is taking time.

In a letter published by the British science journal Nature, researchers at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands reported they had identified the molecular mechanism by which the bugs do their fuel-trick.

"Proving this was quite a feat," said Mike Jetten, professor of microbiology at the university's Institute for Water and Wetland Research.

"We had to deploy a range of new experimental methods. In the end, we managed to isolate the protein complex responsible for hydrazine production, a beautifully red mixture."

The team's work initially piqued NASA's interest, but this faded when the US space agency learned that only small quantities of precious hydrazine are produced, "nothing like enough to get a rocket to Mars," said Jetten.
"Now we are accurately determining the crystal structure of the protein complex. Perhaps we can improve the production process if we have a better understanding of how the protein complex fits together."

Anammox is now used commercially in water purification because it is so energy-efficient in breaking down ammonia.

It also has potential applications as a biofuel, cleaning up sewerage sludge without the need for pumps to provide air, and providing methane in return.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Somehow Satan talked some poor dummy into creating decaf and calling it good. What's the point? Does coffee really taste all THAT good? Without the buzz, what's the point? Kind of like Satan and his 1/2 regular, 1/2 decaf teaching (another blend of coffee I scratch my head at) - why settle for less?

Get the fullness of the truth in all things - Cathy's Daily Motto!

I'm sure the humanity of Jesus enjoyed a strong caffeinated drink - how many times in Scripture is He ever described as sleeping? Look at the evidence for his caffeine use right there!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

2012 Crescat Award Categories

For Miz Crescat's consideration for categories for next year's awards (in which Amentior will be robbed once again):

*Blog That Should Never Be Updated. Ever. Again.
*Blogger Least Likely to Go on Hunger Strike (when Vincenzo wins this category he has already stated he wants a year's supply of groceries)
*Best Blog By a Man Who Still Lives in His Mamma's Basement (don't kid yourself, the competition is fierce in this category)
*Best Blog for Making the Case that Medjugorje is Satan Laughing
*Blog That Can't Make Enough Reparations or Apologies for the Crazy of Its Author
*Worst Blog Representation of "Progressive" Catholicism (I can't in good conscience call this "Best")
*Blog Most Likely to Make You Ask: I Don't Know WT- They are Saying But It Sure as Hell ain't Aquinas!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Battle of the monkeys

By Lalit Raizada, Special to Gulf News

(Gulf News) It was an unusual sight — something that I found hard to believe. About five to six dozen monkeys (rhesus macaque) of all ages and sizes had ganged up. Squeaking and screeching loudly, they were trying to scare away a black-faced langur that had been, in fact, brought to frighten and chase away the simians from a colony. But what actually happened was just the opposite.

From times immemorial, the long-tailed langur has been known for instilling mortal fear in simians. In my childhood, I was told that the langur, which is heavier in built, could easily tie a monkey with its long tail and kill it by banging it on the ground. This genetic trait had given the langur supremacy over their short-statured cousins.

I have been a witness to the terror these brown monkeys had spread among the residents of a colony and made their life miserable. Moving in hordes they would invade houses even in full glare of the inmates and plunder everything they could lay their hands on. The simians would take away and damage clothes, gadgets and other household articles even from inside wardrobes.

As the frightened residents bolted themselves up or watched helplessly from behind partially-opened doors, the monkeys would ransack kitchens and even refrigerators. For some years now, this otherwise herbivorous species has been noticed enjoying even raw eggs!

It was after many instances of large scale plundering and biting that the residents hired a langur to shoo away the rhesus monkeys. The plan worked but it led to another problem. The scared monkeys moved their activities from colony X to colony Y. When driven out from there, they invaded yet another locality and, interestingly, returned to colony X while the langur was doing its job in Y or Z colonies. So, the chain never broke.

Everybody realises the fact that unchecked deforestation has dislodged wild life including big cats, monkeys and other animals from their natural habitat. Rendered homeless, they often stray into human habitats only to be driven out.

Reversal of roles

I think it was this constant hounding out of the little brown monkeys that led them to think of devising some strategy. After all, they also need food to survive. And apparently that was how these speechless creatures ganged up to meet the ‘langur-ian' threat to their existence.

It smacked of pure trade unionism. Did someone among them give the call, "Monkeys of the world, unite"?
It certainly looked like that. This time when the trainer brought the leashed langur, the monkeys came together. They squeaked and screeched menacingly at their sworn enemy to scare it away. What a reversal of roles! The hefty langur must have been taken by surprise. But it could not have compromised its age-old supremacy. How could the brown short-tailed monkeys throw any challenge to their long-tailed and heavier cousins? In order to teach them a lesson, the langur tried to attack them. But the leash held by its trainer would not allow it.

Clearly, the trainer had not envisaged such a situation. The man could not have let the angry simians maul the ‘big brother'. After all, it was his only source of livelihood. He got scared. The man acknowledged the simian might. Discretion being better part of valour, the man quietly led away his pet from the battlefield as the army of monkeys jeered at their bullying ‘big brother'.

I could notice a sense of victory, jubilation and relief among the rhesus monkeys. The crestfallen included the langur, its trainer and the people of the colony.

Lalit Raizada is a journalist based in India.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Infant stress in monkeys has life-long consequences

Rhesus macaque  
Baby monkeys stressed by separation from mothers

(BBC News) Baby monkeys grew up anxious and anti-social after the stress of separation from their mothers, a study says.

It suggests changes to the brains of infant monkeys may be irreversible, and the study could be a model for humans.

An early shock to the system may leave the monkeys prone to a life of anxiety, poor social skills and depression.

But the work could point the way to better management and treatment of those who live with a legacy of "early adversity".

The report, published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that rhesus monkey babies do not fully recover from the stress of being separated from their mothers at birth.

Some baby monkeys had to be cared for separately if they were at risk from an inexperienced mother, the mother lacked breast milk or the baby would not survive in rainy, cold weather.

But even after three years of living a normal social life following the separation, levels of the stress-coping hormone cortisol in these monkeys remained significantly reduced and their bodies' response to stressful events was slower.

In monkeys and humans, cortisol is released in stressful situations to mobilise energy stores and aid survival.

Changes to developing brain
But sustained stress and prolonged release of cortisol can lead to severe impairment of some brain regions as they develop.

The baby monkeys that suffered the stress of separation from their mothers went on to be more anxious and less sociable than monkeys that were raised by their mothers.

This study is unique in demonstrating that, for monkeys, the negative effects of separation in infancy cannot be reversed by a later normal social life, write the authors.

These findings may help explain work reported earlier this week in the American Journal of Psychiatry (AJP) on the link between childhood maltreatment and later depression in humans.

Both of these studies suggest that stress on infants has long-term negative effects.

Dr Andrea Danese of King's College London, co-author of AJP study, said: "In this case you have findings in animals that resemble to an extent the findings in humans both from a behavioural point of view and from a biological point of view."

"If you take studies in humans who have experienced loss I think the findings are quite consistent. Children who lose parents or are separated from parents tend to show more anxious behaviour, and tend also to have changes in the same type of hormones that were measured. In some cases they have poorer social skills, they have more aggressive behaviour."

Long-term illnesses
In humans, there also appear to be links between childhood adversity, physiology and other illnesses later in life, possibly through the stress-sensitive immune system.

Dr Danese told BBC News: "Both cortisol and the immune system are related. Cortisol is a very potent anti-inflammatory compound: low cortisol means high inflammation."

"Adults with a history of childhood maltreatment have these elevated inflammation levels. Inflammation is one of the key factors that contribute to a number of age-related conditions like cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes and dementia."

"There is something in these stress sensitive systems that is very finely regulated and tuned in childhood. This is because all these systems are developing and maturing during early life."

It appears that stress in childhood, for monkeys and humans, can lead to behavioural and health problems that can only be partially repaired in later life. But there is a positive side to these results.

"The message sounds very negative and I understand why, but from the research point of view I think it is positive because it points to the problem and once we understand the causes of all these behavioural problems, we can then start trying to find the potential cures," said Dr Danese.

He added: "In humans, there is a movement in psychiatry to be moved earlier in life. More and more we're trying to work with young people who have been exposed to traumatic experiences, to maltreatment, to try to see how we can help them overcome their depressive symptoms or work with families and try to avoid the recurrence of the traumatic event."

Leonard Nimoy - Proud Mary

Sunday, August 14, 2011

h/t Marion

Vladimir Putin's Greek urns claim earns ridicule

Russian PM 'discovers' two amphorae in shallow waters on the floor of the Black Sea in latest stage of televised heroics

in Moscow 

Vladimir Putin carries his archaelogical trophies from a dive in the Black Sea
Vladimir Putin carries his archaelogical trophies which - despite their cleanliness - were purported to have languished at the bottom of the Black Sea for centuries. Photograph: Alexei Druzhinin/AP
(The Guardian) When a scuba-diving Vladimir Putin found two ancient Greek urns on the floor of the Black Sea this week, it seemed a startling discovery. In his latest spurt of televised heroics, the Russian prime minister raised a triumphant thumb as he circled the pair of amphorae in shallow waters off the Taman peninsula near Ukraine.

The find came to "everyone's utter surprise", claimed the slavishly devotional Russia Today and other state-controlled TV channels. Once on dry land, Putin posed in his wetsuit with a jug in each hand.

But independent media and Russia's lively blogosphere are now ridiculing the incident, in a sign of increasing weariness of Putin's macho photo ops – such as bare-chested fishing, piloting a "water bomber" over forest fires and diving to the bottom of lake Baikal in a mini-submarine.

Critics said Putin's pots were suspiciously unmossy and were probably planted specially for him to discover.
"Diving in the Taman gulf, the Russian prime minister immediately found two amphorae that had been waiting for him since the 6th century AD at a depth of two metres," wrote the Novaya Gazeta newspaper in an editorial dripping with sarcasm. "He was lucky: in the same place, over the last two years archaeologists and divers of the Russian Academy of Sciences managed to find only a few pottery shards."

Putin's visit was meant to highlight the work of Russian scientists exploring the remains of an ancient Greek city, Phanagoria, sometimes called "Russia's Atlantis". The site is not far from Sochi, the Black Sea resort that will host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, and authorities hope to develop its tourism potential.

Yet critics saw the dive as another farcical stunt designed to boost Putin's image before elections in December and March.

"We have become witnesses of a remake of The Diamond Hand and the famous fishing scene at the white cliff," said radio host Anton Orekh, referring to a scene from a Soviet film in which a diver attaches fish to an angler's hook in order to simulate a plentiful catch.