Friday, June 30, 2006


The story is that this dog has five paws, he's up for adoption, but vets want him to lose that extra paw.

The dog's name is Charlie, the condition that led to his right front paw becoming conjoined is regarded as a "medical oddity." Charlie and his bro dog, Hank, were found abandoned in Alabama.

And that's about all there is to report.

Wicked photo, though.

Go here for a brief background story.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Gas masks were even more more popular in the US during the Cold War 1950s than they were during World War 2. If you had a nuclear bomb shelter in your backyard, you just had to have a rack of gas masks, one for each member of the family and perhaps even one for the dog.

But when all those bomb shelters were widened into swimming pools during the 1960s, the market for two decades old gas masks fell off sharply, leaving literally millions of the things stockpiled in Army surplus warehouses.

Which is why some innovative genius decided there just had to be market flogging them as toys for children. What could be more fun? What childs' eyes wouldn't light up on Christmas morning when they opened their presents to find a gas mask staring back at them?

Unfortunately, old gas masks can be as toxic as the air you might be wearing one to protect yourself from. The filtration systems wore out, and the filters sometimes rotted. Plus, kids with low lung capacity, or asthamtic-ish breathing problems, would have found getting a decent air supply through one of these some pretty hard going.

It'd be interesting to know just how many kids keeled over after snapping on one of these before running around like 'A Man From Mars!'

Not suprisingly, gas masks as toys for kids didn't really take off. But at least the marketing campaign produced this hilariously bizarre ad.

(Via Modern Mechanix)

Poison Gas As A Shocking New Weapon During World War I

Absolutely Shit Gas Masks Handed Out To US Soldiers During The Gulf War And War On Iraq

Winston Churchill Wanted To Use Poison Gas In 1919 To 'Subdue' Arabs
In What Would Become Iraq. He Thought It More Humane Than Bombing, And Argued Against It Being Outlawed As A Weapon Of War During The 1920s :
"I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes. The moral effect should be so good that the loss of life should be reduced to a minimum. It is not necessary to use only the most deadly gasses: gasses can be used which cause great inconvenience and would spread a lively terror..."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


That headline might make you think this is one of those weirder-than-strange stories that occasionally crops up in the media for a few weeks, or months, and is then exposed as an urban myth.

Maybe that might be the case with other stories about gangs of travestites going on shoplifting jags, but not this story of transvestite shoplifters causing terror and mayhem in the high-end fashion district of New Orleans.

Store owners in New Orleans have been hit a number of times, clocking up thousands of dollars worth of losses. Now they're on the lookout, and warning each other when they see the gang approaching the shopping district :

Sarah Celino at Trashy Diva eyes the door, ready to flip the lock at the first sight of the ringleader’s pink jumpsuit and fluorescent red wig.

Down at Turncoats, where the fashion-happy gang once made off with more than $2,000 in merchandise, store manager Wes Davis stands ready.

Davis said it wasn’t supposed to be like this. They survived Hurricane Katrina’s Category 3 winds and the ensuing looters. They reopened despite the long odds of doing business in a devastated city. The last thing the Magazine Street shop owners expected to threaten their survival was a crime ring of transvestites.

“They’re fearless,” said (a store owner). “Once they see something they like they won’t stop until they have it.”

The transvestites first appeared in March when they raided Magazine Street like a marauding army of kleptomaniacal showgirls, said Davis, using clockwork precision and brute force to satisfy high-end boutique needs.

In the ensuing weeks, the gang of transvestites continued their reign of terror.

“The city’s not functioning the way it was and I’m sure a lot of them were getting some kind of government aid, which they probably aren’t getting any more so they’re incredibly desperate.”

And sometimes violent.

When Lewis co-owned Trashy Diva, they attacked one of her partners in the French Quarter location, throwing her to the ground and tossing a heavy mannequin on top of her.

“They’re kind of confused because they think they’re women so they don’t mind hitting women, but they’re dudes. If you get hit by one it’s like getting hit by a dude. ... Because the police are so poorly staffed, we’re kind of on our own but the system we have seems to be working. I haven’t seen them in at least a week but they’ll be back. They’re never gone for long.”

Monday, June 26, 2006


Young American women, many facing crippling student loan and credit card debts, are selling their eggs for a base rate of $15,000. Is this free market capitalism in action, or is nothing sacred anymore?

The Boston Herald has a fascinating feature on this rapidly growing new industry :

Galbraith's fee is on the high end of the spectrum, which starts at about $5,000 per donation cycle. That's the process by which eggs are artificially stimulated to mature, then surgically "harvested," or extracted.

Each of her three prior donations produced egg counts in the 40s - more than double what is typical - and each resulted in offspring. So her price has climbed, from $5,000 to $8,000 to $15,000.

What's more, she and her sister, a nursing student in Illinois who is also a donor, are starting their own agency to recruit other donors and match them with patients. The sisters have already recruited a few of their friends and are actively looking for more donors.

And they know where to look: college towns, where the perfect specimens - young, SAT-tested women deep in debt - can be recruited through school newspaper ads, websites like craigslist, and photocopied fliers stapled to trees. The ads probably won't mention the medical and psychological screenings. Or the injections of hormones. Or the suctioning. They will mention families in need. And they will promise cash.

"That's why it's tempting," Galbraith says. "If they can squeeze in $10,000 in a couple of months, that's good money."

Friday, June 23, 2006


Unmanned planes patrol the skies over German cities, and tank-track robots patrol the streets as the World Cup unfolds. But there has been little need for the robot force so far. No terror attacks, no serious terror threats and barely any booze-battered brawling.

But then, half the point of unrolling this kind of robotech at the World Cup was to live-field test it. There's also the added benefit of getting people from all over the world used to the curious sight of surveillance robots tracking through the streets, and eye-in-the-sky roboplanes buzzing through the air.

That way, they won't be so suprised when they see similar robots in the streets of their home cities. They'll just think, 'Oh, I saw one of those at the World Cup....but I don't remember those ones being fitted with machine guns.'

From the AP :

"This is the first time robots like this have ever been used at a major sporting event," Robowatch spokesman Benjamin Stengl said. "They haven't caught anybody. They haven't actually had much to do. This has been a very safe World Cup, luckily."

The outdoor robot OFRO, which starts at $76,000 and resembles a Mars rover on treads, uses thermal cameras at night to spot intruders from their body heat. Similar to ones used by the U.S. military as scouts in Iraq, the OFRO is capable of far more - with sensors equipped to detect radiation, toxins, viruses and chemical warfare agents.

"These things won't be used here, but we see this as a learning experience, where we can go back and better the technology," Stengl said. "The robots here will be mostly used where it's very boring or very difficult to see."

The robots get navigation help from the Global Positioning System satellites and send pictures back to a central room in the stadium called the skybox. Through remote control, they can be sent to check out anything suspicious.

Go Here For An Earlier Story On Robots At War

Thursday, June 22, 2006


$100 doesn't get you much when it comes to hamburgers these least, not when it comes to an ultra-swank, three-types-of-beef burger from some steakhouse in Florida, only open to members of a stupendously expensive resort club.

You can either blow $100 bucks on a few dozen cheeseburgers from Maccas, or you could lash out for one serving of the "Beluga Cavier Of Sandwiches."

So whadda you get for your $100?

A 20-ounce, 2.5 inches thick mound of meat, bringing together American prime beef (from Texas), Wagyu/Kobe beef (from Japan) and Argentine cattle.

Here's how the chefs put the burger together :

...workers sliced the meat into two-inch cuts and pressed them into a grinder, producing a velvety red and white pile of ground beef. Each saucer-shaped mound was sauted without seasoning in a pan with grape seed oil for about five minutes on each side before being finished in an oven at 375 degrees.

"We let the meat do all the talking," said assistant chef Joseph Galison. "You really don't need to add any spices at all."

The bill for one burger, with garnishing that includes organic greens, exotic mushrooms and tomatoes, comes out to $124.50...
You've got to be a member of the club to get your mouth around that burger, but if you're in New York City, and you want to throw away $120, go to the DB Bistro Moderne and order the Double Truffle Burger.

Mmmmm, indulgent...

A British hacker went searching for proof of UFOs on NASA websites and databases. He claims he found proof of something beyond belief.

From an interview in Wired Magazine :

The 40 year old hacker, Gary McKinnon, is now days away from being extradicted to the US, where he faces some monumentally heavy charges for his hacking activities and a possible 70 years in jail, and fines of $US2 million.

McKinnon: I knew that governments suppressed antigravity, UFO-related technologies, free energy or what they call zero-point energy. This should not be kept hidden from the public when pensioners can't pay their fuel bills.

WN: Did you find anything in your search for evidence of UFOs?

McKinnon: Certainly did....A NASA photographic expert said that there was a Building 8 at Johnson Space Center where they regularly airbrushed out images of UFOs from the high-resolution satellite imaging. I logged on to NASA and was able to access this department. They had huge, high-resolution images stored in their picture files. They had filtered and unfiltered, or processed and unprocessed, files...

I was able to briefly see one of these pictures. It was a silvery, cigar-shaped object with geodesic spheres on either side. There were no visible seams or riveting. There was no reference to the size of the object and the picture was taken presumably by a satellite looking down on it. The object didn't look manmade or anything like what we have created.

I also got access to Excel spreadsheets. One was titled "Non-Terrestrial Officers." It contained names and ranks of U.S. Air Force personnel who are not registered anywhere else. It also contained information about ship-to-ship transfers, but I've never seen the names of these ships noted anywhere else.

Although McKinnon doesn't go into too much more detail, he appears to subscribe to the unusual theories that NASA has been anything but slack when it comes to outer space, or high-earth orbit work over the past decade.

The theories go that there are any number of classified NASA/US Air Force programs currently underway far above our heads, outside of the International Space Station and space shuttle flights.

One theory goes that the highly visible failures of the US space program (exploding space shuttles, failed satellite launches, etc) are part of a disinformation campaign to cover up exactly what NASA and the US Air Force are doing hundreds of miles above us.

Most of these, theorised, programs apparently centre around the US dominating outer space and establishing weapons systems in orbit around our planet. Military domination of space is the proposed goal of the US.

A few years ago, these type of theories belonged in the 'nutter' category, but strangely enough, there is no shortage of mainstream news stories now discussing something of an undeclared 'war' between the US, Russia, China and a number of other countries who either want to get their own weapons into orbit, or want to try and stop the US, in particular, from dominating the higher orbits of our planet with laser and nuclear weapons systems.

North Korea Warns US Of 'Space War'

Pentagon Begins 'Space War' Training

The US Air Force "Want To Do Warfare In Space"

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


There's not a lot of detail supplied in this news wire story, but if it turns out to be true it's absolutely extraordinary, and raises soem interesting questions about the world football body, FIFA, and accusations of corruption, including match-riggings, during past World Cups.

Seems that just one loss for a team in a World Cup game has a depressing effect on the stockmarkets of their homeland (if they've got a stockmarket that is).

According to a study due for release on June 29, "a World Cup loss during a competition's group phase shaves an average 0.38 percent off a team's home stock market index."

But the more successful a team is in the World Cup, the more devastating the impact on stock market investors can be when they lose.

This story claims that during the knock-out phase of the World Cup tournament, a loss can hit the respective stockmarket index of that country's home by almost 1/2 percent.

"To put the results in perspective, 40 basis points (0.40 percent) of the UK market capitalization as of November 2005 is 11.5 billion dollars. This is approximately three times the total market value of all the soccer clubs belonging to the English Premier League," the study will claim.
The authors of thes study apparently "compared stock market indices of 39 footballing nations in the wake of world cup and other major international matches between January 1973 and December 2004."

"We already know that the markets' supposed rationality is in fact influenced by the feelings of individuals and we worked on the basis that the feelings which universally affect the humour of investors are related to sport, especially to football."

But the action doesn't swing both ways.

Getting knocked out of the World Cup might shave billions off a country's stock values, but scoring a win doesn't ramp up the figures, unfortunately.

So when you see those guys in Gucci suits in the stands during the knock-outs, shrieking in horror as teams score game-winning goals, they might actually be stock investors who've just taken one hell of a cold bath.

This all means that if a stock guru-football expert truly believes one major team in particular is going to be get knocked out of the the next round, he could bet on that country's stock market taking a dive by 1/3 to 1/2 percent the morning after humiliating defeat, and clean up.

How's that for some serious football?

Thursday, June 15, 2006


The UK Independent has a fascinating, shocking, sickening, hilarious story about all the different crap that meg-rich rock stars have blown their money on over the years.

* Mick Fleetwood, of Fleetwood Mack, estimated in 1994 that he had blown more than $8 million on cocaine. He guessed the total length of the line of accumulated cocaine would stretch five miles. He has been accused of underestimating his legendary usage in the 1970s and 1980s.

* Elvis Presley once took a couple of friendly policemen for a bizarre cross-country trip on a private jet to shout them a couple of....ahhh, I suppose they could be called sandwiches.

"...a hollowed, buttered loaf, filled with peanut butter, jam and a pound of fried bacon. The sandwich was meant to feed eight, but Presley had finished one unaided."

When Presley and his cop buddies arrived at the Denver fry-hole that made the sanwiches, after a 1000 mile, after-midnight jet flight, Presley splashed out on 22 of the bacon-rich, sweet slabs.

Apparently the sandwiches were called 'Fool's Gold'. At more than $50 per eight foot serving, Elvis might have actually been getting a bargain. After all, bacon is expensive.

Presley was dead within twelve months.

* R & B mega-succes Kayne West reckons "I'm the closest that hip-hop is getting to God...In some situations I'm like a ghetto pope."

Ahh, yeah, whatever.

Which may help explain why he decided to blow a few hundred grand having the roof of his mansionic dining room in LA painted with a full recreation of Michelangelo's frescoes from Rome's Sistine Chapel ceiling.

* Rod Stewart once spent more than $100,000 getting a full-size football field, with dressing rooms of course, built in the grounds of his UK mansion.

* Elton John was once forced, in court, to admit that in the years 1996-1997, he blew an astounding $320,000 on fresh flowers.

"I like flowers," he said.

Well, duh.

* MC Hammer (You Cant Touch This for wasting money) is now a bankrupt. And here's why. By 1990 the rap supa-mega-star was worth about $30 million. He put more than 250 people on his payroll, brought up 17 luxury cars and a big fat mansion. He lost it all within six years.

* At least Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood did something practical with his money. He had a classic English pub built in the grounds of his estate, so his fellow Stones could relax with a drink during rehearsals. And it only set him back just under $70,000.

* Bryan 'Boys Of Summer' Adams hit the bigtime and big cash and brought a mansion in London's Chelsea district. Right next to a pub. A very busy pub. A very busy, very loud pub. Adams didn't like the noise of people having a good time, so he brought the pub for more than $600,000 and closed its doors forever.

* Oasis git Noel Gallagher did what any normal person with a monstrous Beatles fixation would do when they recieved their first multi-million dollar royalty cheque. He spent more than half a million dollars getting the kitchen walls of his huge new digs completely covered with extremely expensive paintings of yellow submarines.

There was also the $35,00o-plus he laid out for carpet in the colours of his favourite football team, Manchester United.

That would be, red and white carpet?

* When Nelly sang 'It's Getting Hot In Here' maybe he was talking about the inside of his favourite ultra-pimped Rolls Royce.

He only went to the custom-car shop to get some new rims. But something twigged in his brain when he discovered that what his 2004 Rolls Royce Phantom really needed all mink fur interior.

Now you know that when you spend $400,000 fitting out your Rolls in mink fur, it can only add to the value of the vehicle. Right?

* Jay-Z has had his pimped-up ride pimped up some more. Apparently he's cracking the ceiling for the maximum number of custom options you can fight into, and onto, a four wheel vehicle.

$400,000 and counting. His Maybach features "an electro-transparent panoramic glass roof, reclining seats with massage function, a DVD player, a 21-speaker hi-fi, an 'interphone' and, most vital of all, two cup holders."

Two cup holders. That's where all that money went.

* This doesn't count as wasteful, this is just cute - "In 1971, Who drummer Keith Moon bought an electric-powered milk float and had it converted into a 'mobile Victorian parlour' - with armchair, wallpaper, cocktail cabinet and gramophone."

He blew a mere few grand on this indulgence.

Far less, apparently, than he threw away trashing his drumkits in a week of uproarious gigs with The Who.

Go here to read the full story.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006



A stunning story from the Sydney Morning Herald today about a future, a decade or so from now, when humans will be able to 'grow' their own custom-made, or even custom-designed, new organs.

Should this become a reality, it will do away with transplants, and the drugs needed to fight off the human body's natural reaction to reject foreign elements.

Australian researchers today revealed they had successfully grown new heart tissue that beats spontaneously, with its own intrinsic rhythm, inside a rat.
The researchers said the development was the first step to growing entire new organs to replace diseased and injured body parts inside humans, using a patients' own cells to minimise the chance of rejection.

"I think a decade would be a realistic, truly a realistic estimate (before tissue engineering replaces organ transplant)," said research leader Professor Wayne Morrison, from Melbourne's Bernard O'Brien Institute of Microsurgery.

The process could be used to grow a whole heart, a patch to repair a heart defect or fix a congenital heart defect, he said.

"The capacity to create organs has huge ramifications for the thousands of people worldwide whose survival depends on transplants, especially heart patients," Professor Morrison said.

"This tissue engineering breakthrough will bring new hope, confidence, identity and dignity into the future for millions of people of Australia and the world."
The rest of the story describing the process of experimentation that led to this remarkable development is worth a read. Go here for that.

Ten years...if you can afford to buy the new organs. And that will be the big 'if'.

Of course, this would also mean that people who had the money could eventually have new limbs custom grown for them, such as longer legs, say, for added height, fully musculated new arms (who needs to hit the gym?), and stronger, fresher lungs.

Imagine what the ultra-billion dollar world sports industries could do with such human-tech?

The Immortal Man future grows ever closer.

New heart, new lungs, new limbs, new eyes, new flesh, and eventually new bones, a whole new spinal column even. You could theoritically live forever, simply by replacing each body part, or internal organ, as they wear out.

Absolutely remarkable.

Great story, but is it real?

Regardless, this is something that should be done more often. If cats and dogs can act as great stress relievers, than you can only imagine that the antics of cute monkeys would be equally, if not more, beneficial.

From : A family of cynomolgus (long-tailed) monkeys, has been helping people fight stress at a special “psychological relief room” in a Belarus zoo for several years. Citizens of Vitebsk come and share their troubles and triumphs with the primates.

People come to the monkeys for support, zoo director Zhanetta Kochenovskaya told Interfax. “Anyone can come into the room where the monkey family lives and tell them of their troubles and problems. You can whine, tell your secrets and even cry out loud.”

According to the director, the monkeys’ most frequent “patients” are 40-45 year old men going through the so-called middle-age crisis, as well as young girls.

Even stressed office workers seek consolation in the monkeys’ cage.

“We’ve had troubled civil servants come to see their distant ancestors for psychological support and stress relief. And communicating with the monkeys helped them,” Kochenovskaya added.


Man enters cage, sits down, monkey comes close, scratches bum, smells it, offers it to latest psych patient, who ignores offer of intimacy and begins -

"I suppose my troubles really began when my mother...."

"Ooooh! Oooh! Arrhhh! Arrhh! Oooh! Arrrh!"

"I know you're right, I know. Thank you. Do you take credit cards or is it just bananas?"


"Okay, cash it is then."

Monday, June 05, 2006



From the London Telegraph :

The importance of the traditional European siesta has been confirmed by scientists.

at Manchester University has shown why humans and animals become dozy after a hearty meal. Brain cells which keep the body and mind active are switched off after eating, making us drowsy and in need of a good nap.

The discovery focuses upon the effects of glucose on neurons which release orexins, tiny proteins central to the regulation of states of consciousness. Glucose interferes with the mechanism through which the neurons release orexins, thus affecting the body's wakefulness.

These neurons are extremely sensitive to variations in glucose levels, and even a slight change can have a large impact. This is why a normal lunch can make us feel tired.

Until now, little was understood about how the basic energy molecule, glucose, regulated wakefulness and other energy-related behaviours. The experiments conducted by Burdakov and his colleagues have shed light on one of the most elusive operations of the brain.

Eat, then sleep, and know your doing your body, and brain, a huge favour.

From Reuters : "
Drought-plagued China has used an arsenal of rockets, artillery and aircraft to seed clouds and produce enough artificial rain to fill one of the country's biggest rivers four times over, Xinhua said on Sunday.

"China has created 'the world's leading force' in artificially inducing rain to relieve droughts and fight fires, the official news agency said, citing the National Meteorological Bureau.

"'Its aircraft alone have undertaken enough missions to fill four Yellow Rivers, the country's second longest river, in the past five years,' it said.

"Engineers 'seed' clouds by burning chemicals such as silver iodide to induce rain to ease droughts, prevent hail and help extinguish fires, Xinhua said.

"Cloud seeding helped put out three major forest fires that raged in north and northeast China for 10 days before they were subdued on Friday. And rain was induced in Beijing in early May to help cleanse the capital after a series of sandstorms.

"In 2,840 flights from 2001 to 2005, cloud seeding by aircraft brought down 210 billion cubic meters of water over an area making up nearly a third of China's territory, a bureau official said.

"The scheme employed more than 3,000 people with an arsenal of 7,000 cannon and 4,687 rocket launchers, the official told a meeting in Jinan, capital of the eastern province of Shandong."

Go Here For A Story From The 'Your New Reality' Blog On Weather Modification

Friday, June 02, 2006



He thought he was doing the right thing by taking a cussing parrot off the hands of one of his customers, but Oren Zarif, of Israel, now finds himself in the midst of a moral qaundry.

The parrot, apparently, screams out "Son of a bitch!" and "Homo!", two of the words from its colourful vocabulary.

The original owner of the parrot was an Orthodox Jew who had been troubled by all the swearing and had consulted a rabbi for advice.

The advice?

"The parrot should be slaughtered because he sins and causes others to sin."

Can a parrot sin?

If so, what to do with a dog that 'pleasures' itself with its own tongue? Or a monkey that masturbates? Or a cat that steals food from your dinner plate?

Such heavy questions of morality.

From : Even in his new home the parrot continued to behave without manners, which disturbed Zarif’s Orthodox patients.

So Zarif consulted another rabbi, Meir Mazuz...

“The parrot must be muted with the minimum of suffering,” Mazuz ruled. “If that doesn’t help, he must be slaughtered.”

But Zarif refuses to accept the sentence. What’s more, now his wife is threatening to divorce him if he goes through with the execution.


The weird and sad tale of a grandmother who, allegedly, tried to protect her son by attempting to hire a hitman to take out her daughter-in-law and her kids.

The son was up on sexual molestation charges, and his wife and children were lined up to testify against him.

The mother located a hitman, somehow, went to meet him, allegedly offered $100,000 and was busted when the hitman turned out to be an undercover cop.

After an investigation, authorities said the couple's son, Jason Jackson, 31, concocted the alleged murder-for-hire plan from jail and asked his parents to seal the deal

Tuesday night.The daughter-in-law, Karen Jackson, was shocked to hear about the plan to kill her, her children and pet dog....

"I never saw this coming," Jackson said. "I loved (him) with all my heart. (He) was good to me and good to the kids. (He) was a nice guy, everybody's friend. (He was) like a Ted Bundy charmer. He has to be a psychopath."

Go here for the rest of the story.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Hmmm, crunchy.

A Pizza Hut restuarant in Newcastle, Nw South Wales, has copped a fine of $13,000 "for selling unsuitable food".

It was the big, whole cockroach baked into the large supreme pizza that started all the trouble.

The owner of Pizza Hut Australia said the insect "cooked in the food is unlikely to cause illness".

Except for all that vomiting and the nightmares and the fetish-like fossicking through the contents of every pizza the victim dared to ever eat again.

It looks like olive, but is it really olive?

Go here for more, and a pretty gross photo