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29 February, 2008

More links for 29 Feb 2008

Famed geneticist creating life form that turns CO2 to fuel. [Afp]
Death Star Hotel in Azerbaijan. [Gizmodo]
A spectacular crash involving a flatbed truck was caught on tape inside the I-90 connector tunnel. [Wbztv]


Fisherman Swims 10 Hours to Shore

Mr JarrattA fisherman swam for more than 10 hours to find help for the two companions he left behind after their boat sank off the east coast of Australia.

The exhausted swimmer was found on a beach, and coastguards were then able to find one of the men. He had spent 30 hours at sea, clinging to debris.

The search continues for the boat's skipper.

Video after the jump.

Video: BBC
Source: BBC
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Newborn Baby Survives Fall Through Train Toilet Onto Tracks

A newborn baby girl fell through the toilet in a moving train and onto the tracks moments after her mother prematurely gave birth, surviving nearly two hours before being found, relatives said Thursday.

The child's mother, who uses the single name Bhuri, was traveling with relatives on an overnight train when she went to the bathroom shortly before midnight Tuesday and unexpectedly gave birth to a baby girl, said Arjun Kumar, her brother-in-law.

"Later, she fell unconscious and the baby fell through the toilet," he continued. "Two stations later, we knocked at the door." Bhuri opened the door, soaked in blood.

"When we asked her about what happened, she said the baby had fallen through onto the tracks," Kumar said.

Video: Clip Syndicate
Source: Msnbc
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Real-Life 'Italian Job' Snags $20 Million in Jewels

Damiani's jewelleryThe Milan jewelry heist that brazen thieves committed as the world's focus was on the gem-wearing Oscar stars could have been ripped straight from a Hollywood script.

While the year's best in film were christened Sunday, robbers snatched $20 million in gems from Damiani headquarters, one of the most famous jewelry stores in the world.

The burglars dug a three-foot-wide tunnel into the store while the company's executives partied alongside A-list clients in Tinseltown.

The calculating crooks spent a month digging the tunnel, which began inside a cellar in an empty building next to the jewelry store. They took advantage of the ongoing construction in the area to avoid raising suspicions.

When the time came to pounce, the bandits used an internal staircase in the showroom to avoid the security cameras. The group of seven, which was disguised as police officers, restrained employees with cable ties and construction tape.

They then forced the store manager to open the safe deposit box in what seemed like a real-life "Italian Job." In that film a group plotted an elaborate jewel heist.

Italian police said they expect arrests "rather quickly."

Source: ABC & Ap
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28 February, 2008

More links for 28 Feb 2008

A paternal dog has adopted an abandoned baby goat as his surrogate child.
Surveillance lamp. [Gizmodo]
Morph is a concept demonstrating some of the possibilities nanotechnologies might enable in future communication devices. [YouTube]
Classic car shelves. [Car Shelf]
Rise of the machine: Terminator-style robot war 'could be a reality within 10 years.' [DailyMail]
A new calculation predicts that Earth will be swallowed up by the sun in 7.6 billion years, capping off a longstanding debate over whether the sun's gravitational pull will have weakened enough for Earth to escape final destruction or not. [Space.com]


Hidden Toilet Now Fully Operational

Hidden toilet in ChinaRemember the hidden toilet in China which I mentioned previously about? It is now fully operational.

Hidden toilet in China
Source: Cnet
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The Teenage Girl Who Is Allergic To Water

Ashleigh MorrisNineteen-year-old Ashleigh Morris is used to other people thinking she is dirty.

After all, the young woman from Melbourne, Australia, can’t take a shower – she suffers from a rare skin disorder called Aquagenic Urticaria, which means she is allergic to water.

Since the age of 14, if Morris goes near water, she will break out in a painful rash.

Only a handful of cases are documented worldwide. Doctors believe she developed the condition after a heavy dose of penicillin altered her histamine levels.

In order to keep herself clean, Morris said she takes showers that last no more than a minute – and often the experience is so painful, it makes her cry.

“Although the rash is unsightly, and often looks like I’m diseased, the feeling is so much worse than it looks,” she said.

Source: DailyMail & Fox News
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Romanian Police Officers to Take Ballet Classes

Regulating traffic can be difficult but police officers in western Romania have found a solution to their pains and are taking ballet classes to help them do their work more gracefully.

"The aim is to develop an ability to regulate traffic and achieve elegance in their movements, which will not only be agreeable to the eyes but could also help drivers waiting at a red light get rid of their stress or sadness," the head of the community police in the town of Timisoara, Dorel Cojan, said.

About 20 members of the local community police are already attending classes under two former dancers of the Timisoara Opera Ballet.

Video: LiveLeak
Source: Iol
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Male Spiders Play Dead for Sex

Male spiders will go to extreme lengths to get females, but playing dead might not seem like an obvious strategy. Some male nursery web spiders, however, regularly feign death, and those that do are more likely to mate.

Video: YouTube
Source: Afp & New Scientist
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Boss Bans Smelly Undies

The boss of a Serbian company has banned staff from coming into work with dirty underwear.

Milomir Gligorijevic said: "I am fed up with people with poor personal hygiene standards. I have now made it a sackable offence for people to come in without having a shower - or with dirty underwear."

He has also banned staff from smelling after eating garlic - warning that they need to make sure they brush their teeth - and use perfume and deodorant.

Gligorijevic, who runs a 30-staff stationery company in the capital Belgrade, sent out an official memo to all employees demanding they adopt good standards of personal hygiene.

The memo warned all employees to make sure they brush their teeth, take showers regularly and change their underpants every day.

He did not say how he would make sure his clean underpants rule was followed but warned it would be enforced.

Source: Ananova
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10ft Receipt for Three Items

Judy Clifton with the receiptA shopper who bought three items got more than she bargained for when she was given a receipt 3m (10ft) long.

Judy Clifton paid £85 for two lengths of fabric and a strip of lining - but was given a receipt for every centimetre of material instead of every metre.

Mrs Clifton, 61, had to wait 15 minutes for the receipt to print. She said: 'It was hilarious.'

The Range store, in Swindon, which opened last week, blamed the mistake on 'teething problems'.

Source: Metro
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Son's Tooth Helps Man Gain Vision

A man has regained partial sight after surgeons inserted one of his son's teeth into an eye socket.

Robert McNichol, 57, from County Sligo on Ireland's west coast, was injured in an explosion at his waste recycling business two years ago.

Doctors said nothing could be done, but he found an expert in the UK performing pioneering surgery known as 00KP.

It treats severe cases of blindness by using a tooth to hold a man-made lens in place in the eye socket.

Mr McNichol's son Robert Jnr, 23, volunteered one of his teeth when he heard about the procedure.

The tooth was removed, chiselled through and a lens placed in its core.

It was then inserted into Mr Nichol's right eye after a series of operations.

Doctors said they could not replicate the procedure on his left eye as it was too badly damaged.

Source: BBC
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New Perfume Smells of Blood and Sweat

Women customers at posh store Harvey Nichols are spending £76 ($152) a time on perfume smelling of blood, sweat and spit.

The French scent called Secretions Magnifiques is said to produce a “pinnacle of sensual pleasure”.

Another brand smells of cigarettes. A store spokesman said: “Niche fragrances do very well.”

Expert Roja Dove said it was a refreshing alternative to “bland” scents. But he added: “It would be easy to smell like that without buying it.”

Source: The Sun
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'Bird Boy' Found In Russia

A birdA young boy is close to being more bird than human because he was never spoken to while living in a virtual aviary.

Authorities say the 7-year-old boy’s only form of communication was “chirping” after spending his life in a bird cage-filled apartment with a mother who treated him like one of her pets.

The “bird-boy” – whom authorities said suffered from Mowgli syndrome, from the Jungle Book character raised by wild animals - didn't engage in any normal human communication but instead learnt the language of birds.

Social worker Galina Volskaya said authorities were shocked when they found the boy in a two-bedroom apartment – which had bird droppings scattered across the floor.

“When you start talking to him, he chirps,” Volskaya said.

Volskaya also said when the boy becomes frustrated by being unable to communicate with authorities using bird-talk, he waves his arms as if they were wings.

The boy’s mother has given him over to authorities, who have reportedly placed him in an asylum.

Source: Daily Telegraph
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27 February, 2008

More links for 27 Feb 2008

Girl, 9, banned from tennis club for grunting too loudly. [This Is London]
Funeral home offers 'eco-friendly coffin' made from pineapple leaves. [DailyMail]
Researchers Can Now Determine When A Human Was Born By Looking Into The Eyes Of The Dead. [ScienceDaily]
Some really cool pools. [Oobject]
A look inside the doomsday vault built in an Arctic mountain that will protect seeds of life from annihilation. [ClipSyndicate]
A Japanese man was taken to hospital with a fish hook in his intestines after eating a hamburger from a convenience store. [Afp]


Fake Leg for Landmine Elephant

Mocha, the elephantA limpalong lump of a three-legged elephant is walking much more easily again after having an artificial limb attached.

The new canvas leg was created for Mocha, a female elephant being cared for by Thai vets.

The animal was severely injured when she stepped on a landmine at the Thai-Myanmar border, losing her front right leg in the blast.

But now experts at the Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital in northern Thailand's Lampang province have come to her aid - hoping she can soon be set safely free on her own four feet again.

Source: Metro
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Man Builds Cage For Car

A car in a cageA Chinese man has built a cage for his car to stop thieves kidnapping parts and demanding ransom money.

Mr Zhang, of Jilin city, says his car's computerised engine management system was stolen twice.

"Each time I found a note clipped under the wiper, with phone and bank-account numbers," he said.

Each time, Zhang had to wire 500 yuan (£35) to get the part back.

He has now built a cage to keep his car safe outside his home.

Source: Ananova
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Three-Man Snowboard

I have posted about the two-man snowboard previously and it appears that its inventors are taking it to a new lever by coming up with a three-man snowboard. Another record in the making! Hit play to watch the two and three-man snowboard in action.

Video: ClipSyndicate
Source: Localnews8
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Giant Bicycle

A giant bicycle taller than a bus!

Video: LiveLeak


Stairlift to Heaven for Henry the Dog

Henry the bulldogHitching a ride on a stair-lift might look lazy - but for Henry the bulldog, it's an essential means of transport.

The creature has such short, stumpy legs, that he is unable to negotiate the stairs at his home in Germany, near Hamburg.

When owners Henry Conny and Bernhard Schrader brought Henry to their farm as a puppy, it was easy enough to carry him up and down the stairs.

But now he's an adult, Henry is simply too heavy to hoist - leaving them with a dilemma.

But the pair, who breed horses, came up with a solution when they improvised a lift to transport Henry up the stairs.

Now all Henry needs to do is learn how to push a button to start the mechanism and he can glide up and down the stairs to his heart's content.

Source: DailyMail
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'Horn Tones' Let Drivers Customise Their Honk

The humble "honk honk" of the car horn may soon be a thing of the past - a US company has released an MP3 version which lets you choose your own sounds to scare pedestrians with.

HornTones, a new gadget by technology company ThinkGeek, stores up to ten different tones, and comes with a USB plug socket to allow you to add your own. It is now selling for $299.

ThinkGeek kindly provides a few suggestions for how to use its latest toy, including playing the music from the Empire Strikes Back when outside the tax office; the Back to the Future theme as you approach eighty-eight miles an hour (presumably only on a German autobahn); and the Road-Runner "meep-meep" just before you accelerate away.

Video: YouTube
Source: Telegraph
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Professional Pooper Scoopers Vie for Title

Dog poop is nothing to sniff at -- a huge growth in the business has prompted the explosion of professional pooper scoopers around the country. Many are competing to be Top Dog.

Video: BrightCove
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Cutting Trees With a Minigun

Mythbusters Kari Byron mows down a tree with a minigun.

Video: LiveLeak
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26 February, 2008

More links for 26 Feb 2008

5 body mysteries explained. [Cracked]
Beautiful storm photographs. [Backing Winds]
Mike Rea's wooden sculptures. [Fecalface]
Polish taxmen are offering Poles the chance to pay their tax bills in blood. [Ananova]
Woman fights off armed robber with a beer can. [BBC]
A pregnant woman in Papua New Guinea who was hung from a tree after being accused of sorcery gave birth to her baby while struggling to free herself. [News.com.au]
A ferret stealing a microphone cover. [YouTube via Arbroath]
Rufus Terrill and his newly-created remote controlled robot that protects neighborhood and keeps crime in check. [Ajc]
Pet tortoise sets house on fire. [The Sun]


Three Siblings Share a Birthday

There's no chance of Robin, Rebecca and Ruby Mackriell's parents forgetting their birthdays - because all three children were born on the same day.

Robin, now 14, arrived first - on 29 January, 1994. Rebecca arrived on the same day - two years later - and Ruby was born on 29 January this year.

Maths experts say the chances of this happening are more than 130,000 to one.

Source: Cbbc & Metro

Road Camera That Counts Car Occupants

Motorists will be targeted by a new generation of road cameras which work out how many people are in a car by measuring the amount of bodily fluid it contains.

The latest snooping device on the nation's roads aims to penalise lone drivers who abuse the more-than-one-occupant rule of car-sharing lanes, and is part of a Government effort to combat congestion at busy times.

The cameras work by sending an infrared beam through the windscreen of vehicles which detects the unique make-up of blood and water content in human skin.

The system's inventors believe it will catch out motorists who try to fool existing CCTV road cameras by placing mannequins in passenger seats or fixing photographs to windscreens.

Source: DailyMail


Jumbo Jet Pilot Sacked For ‘Fly-By’ At 28 Feet

A British pilot has been dismissed for “buzzing” a control tower in a Top Gun-style stunt during the maiden flight of a Boeing jumbo jet.

Captain Ian Wilkinson astonished passengers by taking the 230-tonne Cathay Pacific jet to within 28ft (8.5m) of the ground shortly after take-off from Boeing’s US manufacturing plant.

The 322mph fly-by was cheered by onlookers, and the pilot, who is said to be one of the most senior aviators with the airline, later toasted the flight with champagne.

Footage of the stunt on January 30 was leaked on to the internet, however, and Mr Wilkinson was suspended. Cathay Pacific executives took a dim view of his actions, which were carried out without authorisation, and he was dismissed after a disciplinary meeting last week.

Video: YouTube
Source: Times Online

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Crowds Flock to Monkey 'Wedding'

Some 3,000 villagers have attended an elaborate Hindu wedding ceremony in eastern India for two monkeys.

The "bride" was dressed in a five-metre long sari and decked in flowers. The ceremony took place last Thursday in Ghanteswara village in Orissa state.

The guests were served a feast of rice, lentils, vegetables, fish and sweets.

Monkeys are revered idols in Hindu mythology. But the couples that took in and "married" off the two monkeys in Orissa say they love them as pets.

Source: BBC


German Police Dogs to Wear Shoes

A police dogPolice dogs in the western city of Duesseldorf will no longer get their feet dirty when on patrol — the entire dog unit will soon be equipped with blue plastic fiber shoes, a police spokesman said Monday.

"All 20 of our police dogs — German and Belgian shepherds — are currently being trained to walk in these shoes," Andre Hartwich said. "I'm not sure they like it, but they'll have to get used to it."

The unusual footwear is not a fashion statement, Hartwich said, but rather a necessity due to the high rate of paw injuries on duty. Especially in the city's historical old town — famous for both its pubs and drunken revelers — the dogs often step into broken beer bottles.

"Even the street-cleaning doesn't manage to remove all the glass pieces from between the streets' cobble stones," Hartwich said, adding that the dogs frequently get injured by little pieces sticking deep in their paws.

The dogs will start wearing the shoes this spring but only during operations that demand special foot protection. The shoes comes in sizes small, medium and large and were ordered in blue to match the officers uniforms, Hartwich said.

Source: Yahoo News


Awesome Bunny Animation

An awesome animation created by Michael Sormann.

Video: YouTube


Colour-Blind Artist Learns To Paint By Hearing

Neil HarbissonA colour-blind artist who could only recognise black and white shades has learnt how to paint with a full palette by “hearing” the hues he cannot see.

Neil Harbisson, 25, has been fitted with a device called an Eyeborg, which converts 360 colours into different sounds.

As an art student at Dartington College of Arts in Devon, he painted only in black and white because that is all he saw. But three years ago he met Adam Montandon, a cybernetics expert who came to give a lecture at the college.

After the talk, Montandon was told of Harbisson’s condition and he took up the challenge of solving the problem, enabling Harbisson to paint in colour. The artist suffers from achromatopsia – or complete congenital colour blindness.

Montandon decided to harness the way in which different colours reflect light at different frequencies, with light vibrating fastest from violet and slowest from red.

The first device fitted to Harbisson’s head was fairly primitive, letting him “hear” only six colours. His current model is far more sophisticated, giving him access to 360 colours.

Source: Times Online

25 February, 2008

More links for 25 Feb 2008

Did Adolf Hitler draw Disney characters? [Telegraph]
Bulletball is a wheelchair friendly game which allows the physically challenged to competitively with anyone. [Bulletball]
Bed built into an "igloo of books." [Flickr via [Boing Boing]
A cat and a dog. [Tinypic]


Twining Motion of Vines

This video clip shows the extreme nutational movements of morning glory vines. Climbing vines need to find a suitable support on which to grow. Shortly after germinating, the young plant begins what appears to be a hunting motion in which the shoot tip rotates in a nutational movement. This swinging around of the tip is thought to help the plant bump into a support. If the shoot rubs against a support with the right shape, the rubbing induces a thigmotropic response (tropism induced by touch) and the shoot begins to curl around the support. This clip shows three morning glory plants at the stage where they have just begun “looking” for a support to climb. Vines typically show the most extreme nutational movements.

Video: YouTube
Source: ScienceTrack via Bits & Pieces


Plane Crashes into Couple's Garden

Eileen WatlingAn elderly couple who had a lucky escape after a plane landed in their garden told their unexpected guests "thanks for dropping in".

Eileen Watling, 71, and her husband Alfie, 83, were settling down on Saturday to watch a bank heist movie on television when the Cessna light aircraft, carrying two passengers, landed nose-first in Eileen's conifers.

The dazed pilot and passenger got into trouble in thick fog and didn't realise how low they were flying over the Kent village of Lyminge, about 3pm.

Eileen said: "The film was only two minutes started when the whole house shook and there was what sounded like an explosion. I immediately thought a tree had fallen into the electricity lines, because the power cut out. A man came sprinting up our drive and said a plane had just flown over his car and had crashed in our back garden. First the pilot came stumbling through our bamboo and leaves with blood on his head. His passenger followed, covered in fuel."

The two men weren't seriously hurt and were treated for minor injuries last night.

Source: Telegraph

The Woman Who Keeps 75 Hibernating Tortoises in Her Fridges

In most refrigerators, you don't come across living things. Except maybe some yoghurt or a spot of mould. But open up Shirley Neely's two fridges and you'll find them teeming with life.

On every shelf, wrapped in tea towels, are slumbering tortoises. The smaller ones are snuggled up in a biscuit tin, but the bigger fellows are laid out side-by-side in their makeshift sleeping bags.

Mrs Neely who runs the Jersey-based Tortoise Sanctuary, had to set up the fridges because of the particularly mild winter.

Her tortoises hibernate for up to three months between December and March, and need steady temperatures between 3c and 8c.

Mrs Neely said: "It's much easier to maintain a constantly cool temperature with a fridge than it is with our ever-warming climate."

The towels were removed for these photographs, which gave Mrs Neely an opportunity to check all was well.

She opens the doors each day to waft fresh air inside. As tortoises breathe only once a minute during hibernation, this is sufficient to keep them healthy.

Source: DailyMail


24 February, 2008

More links for 24 Feb 2008

A game of Space Invaders simulated by humans. With video! [Space Invaders]
A galaxy of little lights created by thousands of living creatures in a cave. [Fogonazos]
Man pays $17K for 4 strands of hair thought to have come from George Washington. [Whec]
Eight horses and $1 make punter a millionaire. [Sunday Express]


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