Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Intimate details on the Google YouTube deal

An anonymous experienced media professional shares some intimate details on the Google YouTube deal. This is a fascinating read on how Google and its new purchase YouTube are working with the big media companies that are planning to sue YouTube for the copyright videos. From Blog Maverick:
> Armed with this kitty of money Youtube approached the media companies
> with an open checkbook to buy peace. The media companies smelled a
> transaction when Youtube radically changed their initial 'revenue
> sharing' offer to one laden with cash. But even they didn't predict
> Google would pay such an exorbitant amount for Youtube so when Youtube
> started talking in multiples of tens of millions of dollars the media
> companies believed this to be fair and would lock in a nice Q3/Q4.
> [Note to self: Buy calls on media companies just prior to Q3/Q4
> earnings calls.] The major labels got wind that their counterparts
> were in heated discussions so they used a now common trick a "most
> favored nation" clause to assure that if if a comparable company
> negotiated a better deal that they would also receive that benefit.
> It's a clever ploy to avoid anti-trust issues and gives them the
> benefit of securing the best negotiating company. They negotiated
> about 50 million for each major media company to be paid from the
> Google buyout monies.
Not sure if everything that is revealed by this anonymous guy is true but I'm going to share this with some of my private equity/venture capital associates and friends to see if any of them can provide me with more information.

The Verballs Skype Phone

If you use Skype and love monsters with oversized hands sitting on your desk, then you would definitely want to have a Verball, a USB-powered handsfree VoIP speakerphones in disguise. When you get a call coming in on your Skype, the Verball will wave its oversized hands, gospel-styley, and flash its horns. And I like this next feature the best. It can move its mouth every time the caller speaks. Cool!

History of Halloween

Contrary to popular conception of the history and meaning of Halloween, the holiday is an amalgamation of ancient pagan beliefs, Christian practices, and modern traditions, all with little to do with devil worship or witchcraft. From OmniNerd:
In the 600s, Pope Boniface IV designated May 13th as All-hallowmas (from Middle English, Alholowmesse, meaning All Saints' Day), a solemn holiday to honor all of the Saints in Heaven and in the Super Dome. By the 800s Christian influence had spread throughout the Roman Empire. In 835, Pope Gregory III changed the date of All-hallowmas to November 1st. The idea was that instead of grinding the old-timey traditions of former Pagan people to dust (the "stick" approach, if you will), thus likely incurring resentment, it would help people ease into Christianity by converting their holidays and festivals into something Church sanctioned (the "carrot" approach, which also has the added benefit of providing healthy eyesight -- unless I'm getting too literal with my metaphors.) The day before All-hallomas became known as All-hallows Eve and eventually just Halloween,10 which is far easier to say after a few pints of Guinness. Later on, in 1000 AD, the Church would designate November 2nd as All Souls' Day, a day to honor the dead, with big bonfires (sans village idiot roasting), parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. On this day Christians would also walk from village to village begging for "soul cakes" made out of square pieces of bread with currants, thus setting down the tradition of “Trick or Treat” minus the trick. And, let’s face it, the treat.

(Thanks Rickie)

President Bush shot and is dead

Video clip showing President Bush gets shot after leaving a hotel in Chicago. He's pronounced dead later. I know some of you Bush haters must be clapping your hands when watching this but I'm sorry to say that this clip is just part of a movie called Death Of A President, currently being shown in the US. The movie centres on the hypothetical ramifications of Bush's assassination and its impact on U.S. civil liberties. Video uploaded by YouTube user harvesteroftruth.

(Thanks mr black)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Male contraceptive pill coming soon

A contraceptive pill for men may be in the works. Scientists testing the new drug on rats, say that they are able to make the rats infertile and successfully reverse the drug effect later. From BBC:

Tests on rats show blocking connections to cells which "nurture" developing sperm makes the animals infertile.

The US and Italian researchers say they used relatively low doses of the molecule and found no obvious side effects, and the effect was reversible...

When sperm are being made in the body in a process called spermatogenesis they sit next to other cells, called Sertoli cells, which nurse and help them grow.

If the connection between these two cell types is broken, infertility can result in men.

In the study authors used a recently developed molecule called Adjudin to dislodge the developing sperm from the Sertoli cells.

The next step will be testing the new drug on humans. Any takers, gentlemen?

Marvel Super Heroes 2007 Stamps

The U.S. Postal Service recently launched the Marvel Super Hero stamps as part of their 2007 commemorative stamp program lineup.

10 stamps on the pane of 20 are portraits of individual Marvel Comic characters: Captain America, Elektra, Iron Man, Silver Surfer, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Sub-Mariner, The Incredible Hulk, The Thing and Wolverine. The other 10 stamps depict individual Marvel Comic book covers.

Click on the links to view a high resolution image of the stamps.

Marvel Covers:

Amazing Spider-Man, issue #1
March 1963
Art by Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko
Peter Parker begins to worry about money now that Uncle Ben is gone; the first headline warning readers of the "Spider-Man Menace" runs in the Daily Bugle and gullible Aunt May gets drawn into complaining about "that horrible Spider-Man."

Marvel Spotlight, issue #32
February 1977
Art by Gil Kane
In her debut appearance, Jessica Drew is a brainwashed agent of the villainous organization HYDRA sent to destroy crime-fighter Nick Fury. With help from Nick's organization, SHIELD, Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-Enforcement Division, Jessica starts a new life as the super hero Spider-Woman and helps defeat HYDRA.

The Incredible Hulk, issue #1
May 1962
Art by Jack Kirby
When a man unwittingly enters the site where a nuclear weapon called the Gamma Bomb is being tested, he is rescued by its developer, Dr. Robert Bruce Banner. Exposure to the bomb's rays transforms Banner into the Hulk.

Captain America, issue #100
April 1968
Art by Jack Kirby
This issue marks the first time since World War II that Captain America starred in his own comic book. When Agent 13 infiltrates the organization of the villain Baron Zemo, Cap and Black Panther use the distraction to their advantage.

Sub-Mariner, issue #1
May 1968
Art by John Buscema and Sol Brodsky
Destiny gloats over the defeat of his archenemy, the Sub-Mariner, and implants illusions in Sub-Mariner Namor's mind about the ruin of Atlantis. Later, the Fantastic Four must stop Namor from destroying the surface world, which he blames for the destruction.

X-Men, issue #1
September 1963
Art by Jack Kirby
At his private academy, Professor Charles Xavier puts his students, each gifted with mutant abilities, through specialized training regimens. Soon, they must confront the evil mutant known as Magneto, who has seized control of an American military base.

Daredevil, issue #176
November 1981
Art by Frank Miller
Elektra decides to help Daredevil locate Stick, the man who trained him as a warrior. During the search, Elektra has a final confrontation with Kirigi, the dangerous and seemingly unstoppable fighter of the ninja clan known as the Hand.

Fantastic Four, issue #3
March 1962
Art by Jack Kirby
The Fantastic Four thwart the plans of the Miracle Man for world domination. This issue features a cutaway diagram detailing the interior of the Baxter Building, where the Fantastic Four make their home.

Silver Surfer, issue #1
August 1968
Art by John Buscema
Having betrayed his master Galactus to help the Fantastic Four save the planet Earth, the Silver Surfer finds himself a man without a home. As he explores Earth and puzzles over mankind's alien ways, he recounts the story of his origin.

Iron Man, issue #1
May 1968
Art by Gene Colan
Iron Man is captured by agents of the organization known as AIM, Advanced Idea Mechanics - a collective of scientists bent on world domination. Leading agent Mordius places the hero in a device that scans and duplicates his armor, creating replica suits for AIM operatives.

Marvel Characters:

Art by John Romita
Imbued with incredible powers by the bite of an irradiated spider, student Peter Parker vowed to protect law-abiding citizens after a burglar killed his beloved uncle. Peter has learned an invaluable lesson: with great power, there must also come great responsibility!

The Incredible Hulk
Art by John Buscema
After being caught in a nuclear explosion, Dr. Robert Bruce Banner finds himself transformed during times of stress into the dark personification of his rage and fury: the most powerful man-like creature ever to walk the Earth, the Incredible Hulk!

Captain America
Art by John Romita
In 1940, a frail youth named Steve Rogers volunteered for an experiment that transformed him into Captain America, the Sentinel of Liberty. He battled on behalf of his country until a freak mishap placed him in suspended animation for decades.

The Thing
Art by Jack Kirby
Formerly a skilled fighter pilot, Ben Grimm is now The Thing, a member of the world-famous Fantastic Four. Though people may find his craggy exterior of orange stone unsightly, Ben has maintained his sense of humor and his heart of gold.

Art by Carmine Infantino
After her genetic code was combined with that of a rare breed of spider, Jessica Drew was duped into serving the evil organization HYDRA. Later, as Spider-Woman, she became a super heroine. She is one of the Avengers, Earth's mightiest heroes.

Art by Gene Colan
Monarch of a mighty undersea empire, the Sub-Mariner strives to balance his responsibilities with his fiery temper. His foremost concern is the welfare of his subjects, but he has been known to rise from the depths to defend humanity!

Silver Surfer
Art by Jack Kirby
Desperate to save his home planet from destruction, Norrin Radd struck a deal with the force known as Galactus: as the world-devourer's herald, he would search the galaxy for his master's sustenance. Now freed from his bondage, Silver Surfer rides the cosmic waves unshackled!

Art by Frank Miller
Driven by tragedy and versed in the ancient ways of the ninja, the mysterious femme fatale known as Elektra brings destruction to all who are foolish enough to cross her path!

Iron Man
Art by John Byrne
Gravely injured by an enemy bomb, billionaire genius Tony Stark saved his own life by designing a life-sustaining shell of high-tech armor that turned him into the invincible Iron Man, a modern-day knight prepared to fight injustice.

Art by Dave Cockrum
Little is known of Wolverine's past, save that it was fraught with pain and loss. Today, he is an X-Man who uses his animal-keen sense, healing powers, and razor-sharp claws to help protect a world that hates and fears mutants (Wolverine isn't featured in the X-Men issue #1 cover stamp image because his character hadn't yet been introduced).

Cigarette Packet Generator

The IZ Reloaded 'Smoke Me' Menthol Cigarettes: available in all convenient stores. If you don't fancy 'em, then bloody hell make your own cigarette packet! Remember kids, smoking kills.

(Thanks Boywonder)

The Saint B mp3 player

The Saint B mp3 player is a flash memory player designed in the shape of the Christian cross. And like the cross, it is to be worn around the neck. Too bad it is only a concept design. I'm sure even the Pope would want to own one. Beats the iPod nano he received earlier this year.

(Thanks Remy)

iPod Etiquette

Got iPod? Then you better listen to these advice on iPod etiquette. From The Morning News:
Take note of your surroundings.
It may be fine to use your iPod on the commute (in a relatively anonymous public space), but it’s more difficult to use it in the break room at work. When you’re likely to run into someone you know in a communal space, leave your iPod behind, or at least remove one earbud so you can hear someone greeting you; then you can remove the other earbud. If you don’t feel like greeting people, consider addressing that with your therapist.

Respect no-Pod zones.
Mp3 players are unwelcome at weddings, funerals, and other gatherings, and also in classrooms or places of worship. This holds true even if you’re a sullen 13-year-old with inattentive parents.

You should also avoid using mp3 players in restaurants (because the waiter needs to interact with you), waiting rooms (so you can hear the receptionist call your name), and group exercise classes (so the instructor doesn’t single you out for a mildly humiliating demonstration).

Onions, Potato, Garlic

Today on my photoblog Katoomba Syndrome: Onions, Potato, Garlic

Friday, October 27, 2006

Download 100 Old Time Horror Radio Shows

What's Halloween without some good old fashion horror radio aye?! The Monster Club has collected 100 horror theme stories from old radio shows such as Lux Radio Theater, Lights Out, Inner Sanctum, Quiet Please, The Haunted Hour and others. These are the few that I have downloaded from the site so far:
Phantom of the Opera - Lux Theater presents the classic tale.

The Wizard of Oz - Flying monkeys, witches, freaky forest, this classic might be for kids, but it has some great scary moments. Stars Judy Garland.

The Vampire's Desire - Two men seeking shelter in a creepy old house uncover the home of a vampire.

The Devil's Numbers - 13 drops of blood is all it takes to make the dead return to life in a spooky old castle on Friday the 13th.

War of the Worlds - The original "War of the Worlds" broadcast. Nothing like the real thing kiddies, this is the one that scared em!
All of them are in mp3. I'm gonna download a few more and put them in my iPAQ for listening on the go.

How to paint your nails for Halloween

Hey ladies, here's how you can paint your fingernails to go along with that costume of yours on Halloween. You'll need French tip guides that include a Chevron pattern, a black nail polish, an orange nail polish or a shade of your choice, a steady hand and a little time for drying. As they say, no Halloween costume is complete without a set of beautifully painted nails.

(Thanks r'chelle)

The Periodic Table becomes Periodic Spiral

The New York Times has a nice illustration on how the periodic table is slowly evolving into the periodic spiral, a new design that remedies the flaws in conventional periodic tables by illustrating hydrogen's ambiguous relationship to the noble gases and halogens while recognizing its relationship to the alkali metals. The periodic spiral also fully integrates the lanthanons and actinons into the design. I blogged about the Interactive Periodic Table earlier this month and said that it is by far the best periodic table on the web. I have to take it back because I just found one better. This is the best!

(Thanks Sir Thomas)

Interactive Periodic Table
Photographic Periodic Table

How to have a nose like Cleopatra

We all know that when it comes to innovative products, the Japanese are definitely number 1. Take a look at CoCo, a Japanese product that claims it can make your nose look like Cleopatra's. It does look rather similar to the HanaHana which I blogged in January. Here's the HanaHana pic again.

I don't think you can find these two products in Singapore yet but if you do want to achieve similar results, you can try putting clothes peg on your nose every morning. Really. It works. But no guarantees that you'll have a nose like Cleopatra's aye.


I've just learned a new word, "Sexsomnia". It is a rare medical condition where sufferers (known as sexsomniacs) unknowingly demand, or actually have, sex while asleep and it is affecting quite a lot of people. From Reuters:
Most researchers view sexsomnia as a variant of sleepwalking, where sufferers are stuck between sleep and wakefulness, though sexsomniacs tend to stay in bed rather than get up and walk about.

While sleepwalking affects two to four percent of adults, sexsomnia is not thought to be as common a problem, according to Nik Trajanovic, a researcher at the sleep and alertness clinic at Canada's Toronto Western Hospital.

But an Internet survey of sexsomniacs carried out in 2005 that drew 219 reliable respondents concluded it was more prevalent than medical case reports alone might suggest.

"Most of the time sleep sex occurs between people who are already partners," Mark Pressman, a sleep specialist at Lankenan Hospital in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, told the New Scientist.

"Sometimes they hate it," added Pressman of the reactions of sexsomniacs' partners. "Sometimes they tolerate it. On rare occasions you have stories of people liking it better than waking sex."

Vampires cannot exist

Do vampires exist? Yes? No? The answer to this age old question is finally answered thanks to mathematics! A researcher using simple math reveals that it is not mathematically possible for vampires to exist. From LiveScience.com:
Legend has it that vampires feed on human blood and once bitten a person turns into a vampire and starts feasting on the blood of others.

Efthimiou's debunking logic: On Jan 1, 1600, the human population was 536,870,911. If the first vampire came into existence that day and bit one person a month, there would have been two vampires by Feb. 1, 1600. A month later there would have been four, and so on. In just two-and-a-half years the original human population would all have become vampires with nobody left to feed on.

If mortality rates were taken into consideration, the population would disappear much faster. Even an unrealistically high reproduction rate couldn't counteract this effect.
Someone please give him a Nobel Prize.

A Tale of Two Web Browsers: Firefox 2.0 vs IE 7

Wired News takes a look at the two newly updated web browsers, Firefox 2.0 and Internet Explorer 7, and comes to the same conclusion millions of users have known for some time: Firefox kicks ass big time! From Wired News:
The better browser is Firefox 2 for two reasons: innovation and ease of use.

Both browsers are loaded with modern productivity features, but while Microsoft is just introducing these features to its browser, Firefox has already had them long enough to refine them, enhance them and make them even easier to use. While Microsoft has added an integrated search box to IE7, Firefox has added auto-suggest query completion and advanced search engine management to its own familiar search box. IE7 can now handle RSS feeds, but Firefox has several options for adding feeds within the browser, a client or your web service of choice.

Put simply, Microsoft's new browser introduces several features that Firefox (and browsers like Opera and Safari) has had for a long time. Maybe this is because Mozilla's open-source development framework allows it to adopt browser trends more quickly, but whether they were thought up in-house or not, you can't beat the forward-thinking features in Firefox 2.

Tabbed browsing is one area where Firefox's ease of use excels. Simply making the "close" buttons on each tab accessible even when the tab isn't currently at the front of the stack is an example of the attention to detail that's gone into Firefox 2. Also, the in-line search feature in Firefox 2 makes finding that one elusive phrase dead easy -- with fewer keystrokes and without using a pop-up window.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

4 billion years of evolution explained in 8 minutes

It's always tough when I have to explain evolution in its entirety to friends and those who attend my astronomy talks and lectures but the late Dr Carl Sagan does it with exquisite ease. In the video above, he explains all 4 billion years of evolution in slightly less than 8 minutes! Video uploaded by YouTube user brotownkiwi.

Full moon blamed for tsunami

The full moon has now been blamed for the December 26 2004 earthquake that triggered the deadly tsunami. Scientists say they now have the data to show that new and full moons and even heavy rain could trigger quakes. Crikey! From New Scientist:
Between October 2004 and August 2005 Robin Crockett from the University of Northampton, UK, and his colleagues monitored tremors and collected tidal data along the Java/Sumatra trench. They found that major quakes were 86 per cent more likely around new and full moons, when tides are at their greatest.

"At new and full moons the biggest mass of water is being loaded and unloaded at the plate boundary," Crockett says. That might be the final push that initiates a quake.

Meanwhile Sebastian Hainzl from the University of Potsdam, Germany, and his colleagues have noticed that rain can also trigger quakes.

No more parties at the Great Wall

Thinking of raving the night away at the Great Wall of China? Too bad. China has decided to ban rave parties and other activities that will harm its Great Wall. From China Daily:
Organizing activities on sections of the Great Wall not open to tourists or carving names, digging out soil or bricks and planting trees anywhere along the Wall will be deemed illegal from December 1, according to the first set of rules to protect the Wall nationwide.

The regulation, which was made public on the website of the central government on Tuesday, also bans driving vehicles, building unauthorised structures or any other activities that may cause harm to the Wall.

Anyone violating the regulation faces fines of up to 50,000 yuan (US$6,250), while institutions can be fined as much as 500,000 yuan (US$62,500).

20 movie scenes using stationery

Viking's Stationery Movies pays homage to 20 Hollywood movies by recreating the scenes in those movies using stationery! And they are asking you to try to guess all the movie scenes. I had a tough time figuring out all 20 last night. Go try it out and see how many you can get. If you need help, I'm listing all movies in the comments. Good luck.

The Jesus Pan

Over the years, images of Jesus and Mother Mary have been appearing mysteriously in grilled cheese sandwiches, rocks, trees, chocolates, etc. Now thanks to the Jesus Pan, you too can have Jesus appear in your food. No need to wait for miracles. And it's made of durable steel and topped with a non-stick coating!

(Thanks Mr Big)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Make your own haunted board game for Halloween

Phantom's Vortex is an original board game where you'll explore an ancient Temple, fight off ax-wielding Sentinels, battle skeletal warriors, escape from giant clawing hands, and encounter the dreaded 'things from beyond'.

It's a great game to play for Halloween. And the best thing is you can make the game yourself! Just print the documents available on the site, do some cut and paste and follow the rules. If you like Phantom's Vortex, there's also instructions for you to make an undead chess game and a cemetery board game. And if such games doesn't interest you at all, you can find other haunted paper toys to make here. Freaking cool aye! Ah, Halloween is so much fun.

(Thanks Hash)

Postcard Polaroid

Take out your polaroid camera, snap a picture, pop a stamp on the polaroid and drop it in the post. What a neat idea! Postcard Polaroids!

(Thanks Polly)

Singapore: No lesbian sex and bondage on our TV please

Starhub Cable Vision (SCV) has been fined S$10,000 for airing a lesbian sex and bondage scene in an episode of Cheaters. From Pink News:
The Singapore Development Authority deemed the television show “sexually suggestive and offensive to good taste and decency”.

Despite being “pixelated” or perhaps because it was, AFP reports that the authority believed the women were engaging in “unnatural sex acts”.

According to the regulators it “ failed to comply with guidelines which disallow the promotion, justification and glamourisation of lesbian lifestyles and their explicit depictions”

The programme, named Cheaters was aired across traditionally repressive nations in Asia such as India, China and Indonesia with no problems.
What?! No more lesbian sex and bondage on SCV? Dang! Anyway this Cheaters show does sound interesting. In Cheaters, suspicious lovers call on the show to expose their play-away partners, leading to some priceless moments of confrontation as hidden cameras expose the truth. It is on SCV's new Zone Reality Channel (Ch 83) part of the Family Plus Channel Tier. Too bad I'm not subscribed to Family Plus.

(Thanks Gaylord)

2006 Living Planet Report is out

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has released its 2006 Living Planet Report, the group’s biennial statement on the state of the natural world. The report says that the world’s natural ecosystems are being degraded at a rate unprecedented in human history.

On current projections humanity will be using two planets’ worth of natural resources by 2050 — if those resources have not run out by then. The report also shows that vertebrate species populations have declined by about one-third in the 33 years from 1970 to 2003. At the same time, humanity’s Ecological Footprint — the demand people place upon the natural world — has increased to the point where the Earth is unable to keep up in the struggle to regenerate.

The Living Planet Report pulls together various data to compile two indicators of the Earth’s well-being.

The first, the Living Planet Index, measures biodiversity, based on trends in more than 3,600 populations of 1,300 vertebrate species around the world. In all, data for 695 terrestrial, 344 freshwater and 274 marine species were analyzed. Terrestrial species declined by 31 per cent, freshwater species by 28 per cent, and marine species by 27 per cent.

The second index, the Ecological Footprint, measures humanity’s demand on the biosphere. Humanity’s footprint has more than tripled between 1961 and 2003. This report shows that our footprint exceeded biocapacity by 25 per cent in 2003. In the previous report (based on data to 2001), this figure was 21 per cent. The carbon dioxide footprint, from the use of fossil fuels, was the fastest growing component of our global footprint, increasing more than ninefold from 1961 to 2003.

Download the full report here. (Requires Adobe Acrobat)

Is Sex Necessary?

This old Forbes article takes a look at sex and asks the questions, "Is sex necessary?" and "Is there such a thing as too much sex?" From Forbes:
Dr. Claire Bailey of the University of Bristol says there is little or no risk of a woman's overdosing on sex. In fact, she says, regular sessions can not only firm a woman's tummy and buttocks but also improve her posture.

Dr. George Winch Jr., an obstetrician/gynecologist in Elko, Nev., concurs. If a woman is pre-menopausal and otherwise healthy, says Dr. Winch, her having an extraordinary amount of intercourse ought not to pose a problem. "I don't think women can have too much intercourse," he says, "so long as no sexually transmitted disease is introduced and there's not an inadvertent pregnancy. Sometimes you can have a lubrication problem. If you have that, there can be vaginal excoriation--vaginal scrape."

Women who abstain from sex run some risks. In postmenopausal women, these include vaginal atrophy. Dr. Winch has a middle-aged patient of whom he says: "She hasn't had intercourse in three years. Just isn't interested. The opening of her vagina is narrowing from disuse. It's a condition that can lead to dysparenia, or pain associated with intercourse. I told her, 'Look, you'd better buy a vibrator or you're going to lose function there.'"

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Arcade Flyer Archive

If you are a fan of arcade games (who isn't?!), then you will love The Arcade Flyer Archive. It is a digital repository for video game promotional flyers that are used by the coin operated amusement industry to promote the sales of their games. These flyers capture screenshots, cabinet designs, descriptions of game play and attractive artwork. There are currently more than 5,000 unique flyers in the archive!

(Thanks jimboi)

Chinese Torture Paintings

I never thought that the Chinese could be so brutally cruel in the past so I am shockingly surprised to see these hand painted pictures depicting various forms of Chinese torture.

(Thanks Zhang)

Vintage Halloween Postcards

Halloween is coming, so do appreciate these beautifully drawn Halloween postcards from 1907 and 1915.

World's first back-hair messaging system

Take a look at what I got in my inbox today....

A message sent by reader Gaylord to me via Hairy Mail, the world's first back-hair messaging system. That's so hairy cool!

(Thanks Gaylord)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Read first 100 issues of Computer Gaming World

Computer Gaming World was the first magazine dedicated to computer game hobbyists. Over the years, it became one of the most important and powerful media voices in all of digital entertainment, covering games for the Atari and Apple II systems and all the blockbuster PC games. Now you can read and download the first 100 issues of Computer Gaming World, beginning with the first issue way back in November 1981! Requires Adobe Acrobat.

Toilets for really fat people

If you are among the obese and find that regular toilets are a little too small for your liking, then you may want to consider the Great John toilet - THE toilet for really fat people. From Great John:
A regular toilet has a terribly small seat. This creates very uncomfortable pressure points, consequently producing numbness in the legs and thighs from lack of proper blood flow. Our toilet seats have 150% more contact surface area than a standard elongated seat, yet it can be used by a small person or a child in a safe way. Considering ergonomics, the toilet seat and bowl have more than 6 extra inches in the front. We made the toilet bowl 17 ½” tall, which gives most people an easier time getting up. It also makes it ADA compliant. Finally, for those of us that are tall regardless of our weight, a standard toilet seat and a low toilet bowl create a very cramped and uncomfortable position. The GJ toilet has 10.5” longer legs and thighs clearance than a standard round toilet assuring a comfortable and ultra-relaxed experience.

Nintendo Toys

Did you know that before they entered the video game industry, Nintendo was making toys such as this Beam Light Gun (pic on the left), board games and Lego knock-offs? Check out this dude's collection of Nintendo toys from 1969 to early 1980s. Some gems there!

(Thanks Wren)

Dr Mahathir in X-Men spinoff movie?

Reader Coffee Addict informs me that over at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) page for the movie Magneto, an X-Men spinoff, Dr Mahathir is listed in the plot outline of movie! From IMDb (here's the screenshot):

Haha! Someone over at IMDb really has a good sense of humour.

(Thanks Coffee Addict)

Update: Mahathir has been added to the credits! LOL

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Harley Davidson Black Sheep Ad with Better!!!

I know it is just a commercial but what the hell...


Harley Davidson uses the song Better from the Guns N Roses upcoming album Chinese Democracy in its latest ad, Black Sheep. Watch the ad and the other version (with Paradise City) on the Harley Davidson website.

And I heard that the most anticipated album of the decade will be out on...


Man, that will make the greatest ever birthday gift for me.

The Kryptonese Language Project

Thanks to the Kryptonese Language Project, all of us can spend the weekend learning a new language: Kryptonese. Yay! Soon all of us can speak like Superman. Now, let me see... how do I spell I.Z. Reloaded in Kryptonese? Hmmm....

Gray Kangaroo Personal Liquor Filter

Why waste money buying expensive liquor when you can make any cheap liquor taste as a good as their more expensive counterparts? Gray Kangaroo is a personal liquor filter that filters inexpensive liquor and gives it qualities of more expensive liquor by removing the impurities which cause bad taste and hangover. The more you filter your liquor with Gray Kangaroo, the better it comes!

(Thanks Mr Big)

Rare and vintage musical electronic toys

Miniorgan is the first museum of lost organs, damned keyboards, childish synthesizers, dusty voice transformers and singing calculators collected from the 70's and 80's. If you like little electronic beeping creatures, then this collection is definitely for you.

(Thanks swenaw11)

Straits Times is number 1. Do Singaporeans have a choice?

Singapore Media Watch on the latest readership figures of Singapore's newspapers such as The Straits Times and Today and asks do Singaporeans have a choice? From Singapore Media Watch:
In a market where the print media industry is monopolized completely by a single company - the Singapore Press Holdings, such rankings of readership figures serve little useful purpose other than an internal QC of the chief editors of the various dailies.

Do Singaporeans have a choice? Given the absence of variable alternatives, Singaporeans have no where else to turn except the mainstream media for their daily news. Only by topping the readership charts in a free market with real competitors can the Straits Times claim to be the most popular newspaper read by a majority of Singaporeans.

Are readership figures alone an accurate reflection of the success of a newspaper? Without the inclusion of other parameters such as report authencity and objectivity, press freedom and quality of analyzes, this figure is meaningless and cannot be used as a barometer for press rating.

How Trey Parker and Matt Stone made South Park a success

CNN Money has an interesting Fortune article on the greatest animated comedy right now, South Park and its creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. From CNN Money:
During my visit to South Park Studios, Parker appears to be the show's primary funny guy. He writes the scripts, directs the episodes, and provides the voices of Stan and Cartman. Stone does the voices of Kyle and Kenny, but you might call him the duo's external-affairs director. He handles the business aspects of the show that don't interest his partner.

So why do they share equal billing? "Trey physically writes the scripts," says Anne Garefino, executive producer of the show. "But it's Matt and Trey's voice."

Jason McHugh, who went to college with the two men and worked on "South Park" in its early days, says, "Usually Trey is the starter and Matt's the chimer-inner. But together they will riff out and beat down a joke and turn it inside out and go upwards, backwards, downwards, beat it until it's not funny anymore, and then it's even funnier than you ever could have imagined."

... Parker went off to the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he met Stone, a math prodigy from Littleton, Colo. The two collaborated on a short cartoon called "The Spirit of Christmas: Jesus vs. Frosty." It's really the first "South Park" episode, and you can find it today on YouTube. Kyle, Kenny, Cartman and Stan make a snowman. He comes to life and kills one of the boys. "Oh, my God," Stan says. "He killed Kenny!" "You bastard!" yells Kyle. The boys summon the baby Jesus, who throws his halo at Frosty like a Frisbee, decapitating him.

Friday, October 20, 2006

See debris from Halley's Comet this Saturday

Step out under the night sky on Saturday and you may spot some pieces of debris from the famous Halley's Comet. The Orionid meteor shower will peak on October 21. These meteors or "shooting stars" are from the dust particles left behind by Comet Halley in space. If you're observing under clear and extremely dark sky, you may spot at least 15-20 of these per meteors per hour. From Space.com:
The best time to watch begins from 1 or 2 a.m. local daylight time until around dawn, when the shower's radiant (in Orion's upraised club, just north of the bright red star, Betelegeuse) is highest above the horizon. The higher the radiant, the more meteors appear all over the sky. The Orionids are one of just a handful of known meteor showers that can be observed equally well from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

The Orionids are one of the better annual displays, producing about 15 to 20 meteors per hour at their peak. Add the 5 to 10 sporadic meteors that always are plunging into our atmosphere and you get a maximum of about 20 to 30 meteors per hour for a dark sky location.

Most of these meteors are relatively faint, however, so any light pollution will cut the total way down.

The shower may be quite active for several days before or after its broad maximum, which may last from the 20th through the 24th. Step outside before sunrise on any of these mornings and if you catch sight of a meteor, there's about a 75 percent chance that it likely originated from the nucleus of Halley's comet.

A few Orionids may appear as early as Oct. 9 and as late as Nov. 7. In 1993 and again in 1998, maximum activity unexpectedly came early, on the night of Oct. 17-18. "The activity is not constant from year to year," notes Russian meteor expert, Dr. P.B. Babadzhanov. "The time of maximum shifts significantly and there are secondary maxima."

"They are easily identified . . . from their speed," write David Levy and Stephen Edberg in Observe: Meteors, an Astronomical League manual. "At 66 kilometers (41 miles) per second, they appear as fast streaks, faster by a hair than their sisters, the Eta Aquarids of May. And like the Eta Aquarids, the brightest of family tend to leave long-lasting trains. Fireballs are possible three days after maximum."
Here's how to locate the radiant of the shower. Too bad the haze in Singapore will most likely prevent us from seeing anything this year.

Survivor Toyland

16 toys. 1 island. Who will survive? Survivor Toyland! In the Kukapoo tribe: He-Man, Barbie, Yasmin, GI Joe, Spiderman, Polly Pocket, My Little Pony and Astro Boy. In the Ibsy Dibsy tribe: Leonardo, She-Ra, Strawberry Shortcake, Luke Skywalker, Ken, Pizsazz of the Misfits, Rainbow Brite and Hoist of the Transformers. Hosted by Max Steel. LOL!!!!

(Thanks bonjon)

Vintage Men's Adventure Magazine Covers

I love this collection of men's adventure magazine covers from the 1950s to 1970s. They are the work of cover designer and illustrator Norman Saunders. He was well known during his time for his drawing of action scenes and sexy women. If you enjoy this collection of men's magazine covers, then you should also check out his early works, his pulp covers, paperbacks, comic covers and trading cards.

Paper company threatens Sumatran forests and wildlife

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) says that Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), one of the world's largest paper and pulp companies, is going to destroy one of the most delicate of all remaining ecosystems in Indonesia - the peat swamp forests of Kampar Peninsula in Sumatra. From the press release:
The report also reveals how APP hides its continued destruction of natural tropical rainforests that house Sumatran tigers and elephants behind a global advertising campaign that misleads buyers who are increasingly concerned with the company's poor environmental performance. In August, APP ran an advertisement in the New York Times and London Times claiming it was committed to "conservation beyond compliance".

The Kampar Peninsula consists of approximately 400,000 hectares of large, still relatively intact peat swamp forest which is an important habitat for Sumatran tiger. Jikalahari, a local NGO network, and WWF have proposed it as a national park. But APP is getting ready to clear the forest on top of a deep peat dome.

"If APP would abide by its own 'conservation beyond compliance' propaganda, none of this forest would be cleared," said Nazir Foead, WWF-Indonesia's Director of Policy & Corporate Engagement. "But apparently the company decided to run a global propaganda campaign rather than protect forests with high conservation values."

Since it began operations in the 1980s, APP has pulped close to a million hectares of Riau's natural forests. WWF's latest report details how APP's "forest protection based on legal compliance" has destroyed about a third of the forest lost in Riau.

In the past, APP had pledged to protect few small blocks of high conservation value forests (HCVF). However, according to SmartWood, which was hired by APP to audit its performance in protecting these HCVFs, APP failed to protect them. In a meeting with WWF in June this year, APP then refused to guarantee that HCVF would be excluded from its future logging and wood sourcing operations.

"APP simply cannot afford to protect natural forests as it needs wood to keep its pulp mill running," added Foead. "With failing plantations, it is likely that APP will continue to pulp the remaining forests until none are left to be cut."

Thursday, October 19, 2006

One Planet - Lighting the world

I've just finished listening to the BBC's One Planet on the radio. In this week's One Planet, Mark Whittaker examines the cost of lighting in terms of energy wastage and in blocking our views of the night sky.

I think it's a brilliant episode. Anyone who has ever looked up at the night sky from the countryside or places where there is very little light will agree that the sight is amazing. Stars fill almost the entire sky. You can even see the Milky Way. It is one of the most beautiful sights that one can experience. Unfortunately, such sights have become very rare.

Today, most of us can no longer enjoy the beauty of the heavens because of light pollution. Light pollution is a side effect of industrial civilization. It comes from sources such as building exterior and interior lighting, advertising, commercial properties, offices, factories, streetlights and stadiums. Most of these electric light is lost into the night sky and thus drowning most of the light from the stars.

"Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. How I wonder what you are?" Maybe we should change this famous children's nursery rhyme into "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. How I wonder where you are?"

Because very soon, most kids will never get to see a star from where they are. And that's very sad.

Listen to Lighting The World now on the BBC website. You have until next Thursday before a new episode replaces this one. Pity they do not archive their episodes.

Micro Images Blog

Alex D loves to take photographs through his microscope. Over at his Micro Images Blog, you can view some of his images. This one is an image of a stama (oops, it should be stoma not stama, thanks Desperate Addict) taken at 1500x! A stoma is one of millions of holes found on the common leaf used for gas exchange in plants. His micro images are amazing. I can't wait for him to post more photos. Looking at his blog makes me want to buy a microscope.

Lullabub for lazy parents

The Lullabub is an innovative product consisting of four modules, which are simply placed under each leg of your baby's cot. Once in placed, the Lullabub will then gently rock the cot automatically and unassisted in a harmonic rhythm. Great for lazy mums and dads.

(Thanks Rose)

Warning signs of the future

A neat Flickr set of warning signs of the future. Someone should print them on t-shirts! From the pic's Flickr page: "Diamondoids are likely to be very useful, but can be pretty risky in some forms. Bulk diamond shards for example are extremely sharp and unlikely to wear down quickly. The hardness and slipperiness of a perfect diamondoid surface might also pose risks."

(Thanks GeekGod)

How to get relief from computer-related eyestrain

Do your eyes hurt and head ache due to staring at your computer monitor for hours and hours? Here are some tips for getting relief. From MayoClinic:
* Take eye breaks. Throughout the day, give your eyes a break by forcing them to focus on something other than on your screen. Try the following exercise: Hold a finger a few inches in front of your face; focus on the finger as you slowly move it away; focus on something far in the distance and then back to the finger; slowly bring the finger back toward your face. Next, shift your focus to something farther than eight feet away and hold your eyes there for a few seconds. Repeat this exercise three times, several times a day.

* Change the pace. Try to stand up and move around at least once every hour or so. If possible, lean back and close your eyes for a few moments. At the very least, try to give yourself a five-minute rest every hour. Do other work, such as phone calls or filing, during this time.

* Blink often to refresh your eyes. Because many people blink less than normal when working at a computer, dry eyes can result from prolonged computer use. Blinking produces tears that can help moisten and lubricate your eyes. Make a conscious effort to blink more often.

* Consider using artificial teardrops. Available over the counter, artificial tears can help relieve dry eyes that result from prolonged sessions at the computer.

* Practice relaxation. Ease muscle tension with this relaxation exercise: Place your elbows on your desk, palms facing up; let your weight fall forward and your head fall into your hands; position your head so that your eyebrows rest on the base of your palms, with your fingers extended toward your forehead; close your eyes and take a deep breath through your nose; hold it for four seconds, then exhale. Continue this deep breathing for 15 to 30 seconds. Perform this simple exercise several times a day.

* Get appropriate eyewear. If you wear glasses or contacts, make sure the correction is right for computer work. Most lenses are fitted for reading print and may not be optimal for computer work. Glasses or contact lenses designed specifically for computer work may be a worthwhile investment.

(Thanks dann)

The future evolution of the human race

An evolutionary expert says that the human race would peak in the year 3000 before a decline due to dependence on technology. He also adds that the human race may split into two sub-species in 100,000 years time. From BBC:
The descendants of the genetic upper class would be tall, slim, healthy, attractive, intelligent, and creative and a far cry from the "underclass" humans who would have evolved into dim-witted, ugly, squat goblin-like creatures.

But in the nearer future, humans will evolve in 1,000 years into giants between 6ft and 7ft tall, he predicts, while life-spans will have extended to 120 years, Dr Curry claims.

Physical appearance, driven by indicators of health, youth and fertility, will improve, he says, while men will exhibit symmetrical facial features, look athletic, and have squarer jaws, deeper voices and bigger penises.

Women, on the other hand, will develop lighter, smooth, hairless skin, large clear eyes, pert breasts, glossy hair, and even features, he adds. Racial differences will be ironed out by interbreeding, producing a uniform race of coffee-coloured people.
I've always wondered how the human race will evolve in the future. This is interesting. I can't wait for year 3000.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The World's Sexiest Wallpapers

SexyDesktop is the place to go to grab the world's sexiest wallpapers. You can choose from the likes of Jessica Alba, Angelina Jolie, Zhang Ziyi and a whole lot more! I do like this Charlize Theron wallpaper a lot but I guess I won't be changing my current wallpaper anytime soon...

The reason why I turn on my computer everyday. Jun Ji Hyun!

Cigarette Cards

The NYPL Digital Gallery has more than 125,000 cigarette cards in its collection. Cigarette cards began in the mid-19th century as premiums, enclosed in product packaging. They were usually issued in numbered series of twenty-five, fifty, or larger runs to be collected, spurring subsequent purchases of the same brand. Typically, these small cards feature illustrations on one side with related information and advertising text on the other. NYPL's collection is very impressive. You can spend the entire day looking at all the cigarette cards.

Singapore haze hampers British Olympic swimming team

The British Olympics swimming team has to cut short its training in Singapore because of the haze. They are here to get used to the Asian weather and culture in preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. From Guardian:
"It can get really difficult to breathe at times," said Briton Liam Tancock, the 2006 Commonwealth Games 100m backstroke champion.

"We had to change our training routine, making up for missed sessions in the pool with gym work.

"I understand it's not always like that. It is a pity, because the facilities are good, the people are very friendly. Everything about Singapore has been fantastic - apart from the haze," he told the Straits Times broadsheet.

British coach Ben Titley said: "It's a good opportunity for us to come and experience the conditions in Singapore.

"We understand that the weather in Beijing during the Olympics would be similar to Singapore's.

"We've had to cut short our time in the water because of the difficulty in breathing."

The Disney Sex Orgy Video

Yesterday, I blogged about the Sesame Street characters using vulgarities in the Martin Scorsese Sesame Streets video. Today, we have Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, one of the Chipmunks and a snowman participating in a sex orgy video taken backstage in Disneyland Resort Paris. Latest news is that Walt Disney has taken action against its employees who were involved in the video. Looks like there will be no more sex romps for Mickey and company. Watch it on Google Video.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Japanese Kellogg's article

There is a lot to appreciate about these scans of an article in a Japanese magazine regarding Kellogg's in Japan and the toys and freebies that come with the cereals: here, here, here, here, here, here and here (links to Flickr).

Martin Scorsese's Sesame Streets

Some dude used clips of Sesame Street and audio from the movie Goodfellows to make this trailer for the "new Martin Scorsese film", Sesame Streets.

Those Sesame Street characters will never be the same again.

(Thanks Mr Big)

Find 16 ways to whack your boss

Guys and gals, you would be happy to know that now there is 16 ways to whack your boss! Go ahead. Find all 16. Let your anger flow. Oh and if you are suffering from serious homicidal thoughts, the site encourages you to bring them to your overpaid Human Resources person.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Orangutans are distressed by the haze

You know the haze is getting out of control when even the orangutans get distressed by it! From Reuters:
Haze from Indonesian forest fires has disturbed orangutans living in a natural reserve on Borneo island, a park official said on Monday, blaming deer hunters for intentionally torching protected areas.

The fires have been burning for weeks, creating the smoke that has spread over much of Southeast Asia, triggering fears of a repeat of the months of choking haze in 1997-98 that cost the region billions in economic losses.

Saut Manalu, a senior official at the Tanjung Puting national park where 6,000 orangutans live, told Reuters by telephone that animals are even more affected by the smoke than humans.

"We can hear them scream late at night," he said, adding fires had been found inside the reserve that occupies a large swathe of land in Central Kalimantan province on Indonesia's side of Borneo island.

"The fires are at the rim while the orangutans live deeper inside. We are focusing on how to put out the fires. If they go out of control, we will take care of the animals. We may need to evacuate them," said the park official.

Indian men have anal sex thinking they won't get AIDS

A sex survey carried out in India finds that more and more Indian men are having anal sex with prostitutes thinking that anal sex won't give them AIDS. Crikey! From DNA India:
"The survey was conducted in 56 cities. We surveyed sex workers, who told us that their client demand anal sex. Most men think that it is a safe way of not contracting HIV/AIDS. But they don't know that it is ten times more dangerous and risky," Arif Jafar, the foundation Executive Director said.

"The issue is not just restricted to homosexual men. Many men, who are heterosexuals, sometimes prefer to have sex with men when they are travelling. But they do not consider sex with other men risky," said Jafar.

"Knowledge of male and female bodies, of reproduction, of the sex organs was almost non-existent. This led to a variety of myths, beliefs and practices, which were accepted as true and helpful," he said.

"Condom use was determined primarily in terms of access, knowledge, shame, and sickness. With the condom equated with disease prevention, many participants either felt stigmatized through condom usage, or felt that their was no need to use condoms because either they or their sex partners were not sick," he said.

The "Nice Package" Flickr Pool

The Nice Package Flickr Pool contains photos of your favorite hand-made, original, one-of-a-kind, unique, artistic and beautiful packaging. If you love all things wrapped up, packaged, trimmed, festooned with splendor and packaging that is just too pretty to unwrap, then this Flickr pool is definitely for you. May also provide an inspiration or two for those of you who are planning to wrap your next gift.

(Thanks r'chelle)

Latest Haze Map

The PSI for Singapore as of 3pm today is at an unhealthy 127. Damn the haze! Besides providing hourly PSI updates, the National Environment Agency also provides the latest haze map. This map shows the area affected by haze over the region. Good for those who are planning an overseas trip during the long weekend. You may want to avoid places that are under the haze.

Update: Haze action plan to kick off when PSI hits 300. (Thanks P.K.)

Edward Lee's Toy Photography

Edward Lee has got to be one of the best toy photographers on the planet today. I've been looking through the photos on his Flickr and oh boy, I'm impressed! He makes toys look so darn good. Pic on the left shows his shot of the Captain Barbossa figurine from Pirates of the Caribbean.

(Thanks davegoh)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

He-Man and She-Ra podcast!

Masters Cast is the first He-Man and She-Ra podcast! The podcast covers all of the hot topics and news relating to He-Man and She-Ra. In the past episodes, the hosts interviewed key players in Masters of the Universe such as Filmation co-founder Lou Scheimer, voice actress Erika Scheimer, and writer and She-Ra co-creator Larry DiTillio. The latest episode which I'm listening to right now, focuses on the newly released He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Season Two Volume Two DVD. Download and listen to Masters Cast Episode 21 (mp3).

Have a smoke with the Flintstones

A vintage Flintstones cartoon showing both Fred and Barney taking a smoke break. Their cigarette of choice: Winston!

"Winston tastes good like a cigarette should."

How to draw Cartman

Flash video teaching you how to draw Eric Cartman, the annoyingly cute fat-ass character from South Park. Dang! This is easy.

(Thanks primus)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Be a POW Camp Commander

The Prisoners of War Game is a joint project between Nobelprize.org and Nobel Peace Center. In this Flash game, your country is at war and the authorities have decided to build a prisoner of war camp. They need someone well informed about the Geneva Convention III and the Red Cross to run it. If you want the job as Camp Commander, you need to pass the test. Go play it. Btw, let me warn you. It's not easy being a POW Camp Commander.

Create your own Ralph Lauren Polo Collection

Over at the the Ralph Lauren Polo website, you can add your personal touch to signature Ralph Lauren styles. You can choose from different styles, colours and even make your own monogram to replace the famous pony logo. I just made mine. I used the initials I Z R for I.Z. Reloaded. Cool aye! Too bad they don't take orders from Singapore.

Click here for women's styles, here for men's styles, here for boys' styles, here for girls' styles and lastly click here for infant boys' and girl's styles.

Gallery of Crime Comic Book Covers

Remember my dearest readers, crime does not pay but it does looks good on the cover of these comic books from the 1940s and 1950s. I especially like the Crimes By Women covers.

(Thanks Sir Thomas)

Spam Energy Drink

Spam is everywhere and all of us hate it. Now, it also comes in the form of a can filled with a concoction of Taurine, Caffeine, Glucoronolactone, Vitamins B6 and B12! And it's supposed to give you an energy boost. The Spam Energy Drink - hopefully it doesn't get thrashed like the rest of the spam.

(Thanks Bhangra Knight)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Smoking Dog

Look at what we did to my friend's pup. It is so cute aye. And no, we did not light up the cigarette.

Free software for porn addicts

Struggling with pornography? The folks from XXXchurch.com is here to help you get over your porn addiction. They provide a free accountability software called X3watch that can help you. Let's say you're browsing the Internet and you're looking at porn. The software makes a log of the porno site and then every two or four weeks your two designated accountability partners will get an email listing all the porn sites you've been on. From X3watch:
This is a FREE accountability program helping with online integrity. It is offered at no charge by the ministry of XXXchurch.com and its supporters. Whenever you browse the Internet and access a site which may contain questionable material, the program will save the site name on your computer. Approximately every 30 days or 2 weeks(depending on your preference), a person of your choice (an accountability partner) will receive an email containing all possible questionable sites you may have visited within the month. This information is meant to encourage open and honest conversation between friends and help us all be more accountable. This report only goes to your chosen accountability partners and is not stored or used by XXXchurch or any other organization.
There's a Mac version too and a Pro version (not free) with advance features. Good luck when you have answer to your accountability partner.

Yahoo cancels use of Mexico pyramid

Yesterday, I blogged about the Yahoo Time Capsule project and Yahoo's intention of using the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, Mexico to beam the Time Capsule to space. Now, the Mexican authorities have told Yahoo they can't use their pyramid. From Reuters:
"We did have the permit, but Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) told us Monday night that it could not be done," Manuel Mazzanti, head of marketing at Yahoo Mexico, said on Wednesday.

An INAH spokesman said the Yahoo event posed technical and operational problems that might damage Teotihuacan. "We are the guardians of the heritage of Mexico," the spokesman said.

Mexico is highly protective of its archaeological sites, many of which are subject to nonstop tourist traffic and are must-sees for dignitaries and artists from around the world.

Yahoo's Mazzanti said the company was looking for another launch site for the event but had ruled out Mexico.
That's a pity because I think it could have been an awesome sight. Maybe they should give it a try at the Giza Pyramids in Egypt instead.

Previously: Yahoo Time Capsule to be beamed to space

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My First Sexual Experience

Scans of a Jewish children's book about how a baby is born. Translated text: "here. mom and dad are sleeping in their bed. they put the penis inside the vagina. now they can move together and make love. this is called mating, intercourse or sex. it's nice and fun. this is how they can bring a baby to the world if they wish." Ah, so that's how they do it.

(Thanks joshuat200)

Han Solo Carbonite Computer Mod

Dude made a computer mod based on Han Solo in carbonite from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back . The computer mod also comes with a Boba Fett ship optical mouse and R2D2 and Darth Vader USB memory cards. Truly awesome!

(Thanks nictodd)

The Transformers Movie Pool

Oh my god! It really is Optimus Prime! Somehow, I don't really dig the paint job they did on him. You can view more behind the scenes pictures from The Transformers Movie pool on Flickr.

The Executive Coloring Book

Who says coloring books are only for kids? Here's one for adults: The Executive Coloring Book. Go ahead. Color his underwear important.

(Thanks Paul)

Yahoo Time Capsule to be beamed to space

Yahoo will attempt to communicate with extraterrestrial life from a pyramid near Mexico City as part of its Time Capsule project. From CNN:
Starting Tuesday, enthusiasts from around the world have a chance to submit text, images, video and sounds that reflect human nature to be included in the message.

Those contributions -- part of media company Yahoo's "Time Capsule" project -- will be digitalized and beamed with a laser into space Oct. 25 from the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, now an archeological site near Mexico City.

Yahoo said it would project selected time capsule submissions onto the symbolic site. This content would be broadcast directly onto the 216-foot tall pyramid, viewable via a simultaneous worldwide webcast and sent into space through a light beam.
The Yahoo Time Capsule is a project to collect a portrait of what the world is like in 2006. Following the event at the Pyramid of the Sun, the time capsule will return to Yahoo corporate headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif. to be sealed and opened on the company's 25th anniversary in the year 2020. From Yahoo Time Capsule:
Like everything Yahoo! does, it’s about you – our amazing users. We think there’s no one better suited to teach future generations what the world was like in 2006. For 30 days, from October 10 until November 8, Yahoo! users worldwide can contribute photos, writings, videos, audio – even drawings – to this electronic anthropology project. This is the first time that digital data will be gathered and preserved for historical purposes.

In addition to submitting your own content, you can view, read, or hear the images, words, and sounds contributed by users from around the world.

You can also comment on the content you and others have submitted – and engage in a digital conversation that is just as revealing and important as any of the content you’ll witness.

And by November 8, you will have helped create a digital legacy of our times, a mosaic of revealing snapshots that will be sealed and entrusted to Smithsonian Folkways Recordings based in Washington D.C., officially taking its place in history.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Free Wi-Fi in Singapore for 2 years

From January next year, all Singaporeans will be able to enjoy free wireless internet in public areas thanks to the government's Wireless@SG initiative. But this free access is available only for the first two years. From Channel NewsAsia:
So, from January 2007, it will be rolling out wireless broadband Internet in all public spaces, called Wireless@SG, for free, for the first two years.

Premium and higher access speeds will also be immediately available - but this will come at a fee.

"Thereafter, access is expected to remain highly affordable. So, with just your laptop or PDA, you can enjoy high speed connection to the Internet, send out instant messages and check emails and even make VOIP (voice-over-IP) calls," said Mr Lee.

Singaporeans will be able to surf all over downtown, major town centres, recreational areas like East Coast Park, and maybe even at libraries and fast food outlets.

Three operators - iCELL network, QMax Communications and SingTel - have been appointed to do this.

They will carve out the island into three areas, and complete their deployment by end-September next year.
2 years free, where got enough? ;oP

(Thanks ENG)

Previously: Previewing Singapore's free Wi Fi Service

Teaching What a Planet Is

In the latest issue of Astronomy Education Review (AER), there is an interesting article titled, "Teaching What a Planet Is: A Roundtable on the Educational Implications of the New Definition of a Planet." The article looks at the International Astronomical Union's controversial definition of a planet from the points of view of 14 astronomers and educators. From AER:
We now have a reasonable definition of a planet, including the new category of dwarf planet. Why, then, does the public find this decision so controversial, especially in America? I suggest the following three reasons:

1. Bad connotations of the word dwarf. Although astronomers have a long tradition of using this word (e.g., dwarf star, dwarf galaxy), this is not a common word in general usage. To many people, apparently, dwarf has a negative connotation, which was not intended by the IAU. (There may also be some problems with translating this word into other languages.)

2. Affection for Clyde Tombaugh and the "poor boy makes good" story of his discovery of Pluto. This seems to be primarily an American reaction. Some of my non-U.S. colleagues suggest that much of the support for Pluto could be a form of U.S. nationalism.

3. Concern about teaching the new definitions or about asking students to "unlearn" the nine planets they memorized in grade school. This seems to me to be a minor concern. This is only nomenclature, and classifying it as a dwarf planet in no way diminishes the scientific importance of Pluto. I see this as a teaching opportunity. At the simplest level, it is a story of new discoveries: (1) that Pluto is a lot smaller (less massive) than it was thought to be when it was discovered and classified as a planet, and (2) that we have found other large trans-Neptunian objects (of which Pluto is the prototype) that reveal a fascinating part of the Solar System that was undreamed of when Pluto was discovered. An even more important lesson about the nature of science is that (3) scientists change their ideas when new data become available.

World of Warcraft comes to South Park

I've just finished watching the latest South Park episode, "Make Love, Not Warcraft". The South Park boys dedicate their lives to defeating a mad gamer and saving the World of Warcraft (WoW). It's a brilliant episode showing us how WoW can be fun and addictive but also how it can consume peoples' lives. w00t! Video uploaded by YouTube user GraBear.

Vintage American Pet Food Labels

PetsInAmerica.org has an interesting gallery of pet food labels from the 1920s to 1960s. Crikey! I didn't know they feed dogs and cats with horse meat back then.

(Thanks Carl)

How to saw a woman in half

We all have seen the famous magic trick where the magician uses a saw to cut his lady assistant who is lying in the box, in half. How did he do it? Here's the secret to sawing a woman in half. All you need is some wooden boxes, a lady or two and a saw. Now, go impress your friends.

(Thanks GeekGod)

Was North Korea's test nuclear?

Was it nuclear or just a lot of conventional bombs? Scientists say that it could take days before they can confirm North Korea's claim that it has carried out a nuclear test. From MSNBC:
Like earthquakes, large explosions send out shockwaves that can be detected on seismographs. Big nuclear bombs make big waves, with clear signatures that make them fairly easy to detect, analyze and confirm that they were caused by splitting atoms. But smaller blasts — as North Korea's appears to have been — are trickier to break down.

The natural sound of the Earth, with its constant seismic activity of tectonic plates grinding together, complicates the task of trying to determine whether a smaller blast was caused by conventional explosives or a nuclear device, said Xavier Clement of France's Atomic Energy Commission.

He likened the problem to trying to "detect the violins or a flute in a symphony orchestra when you are playing the cymbals."

His agency estimated the North Korean blast at around 1 kiloton or less — equivalent to the explosive force of 1,000 tons of TNT. For a nuclear device, that would be so weak that the French defense minister suggested that "there could have been a failure" with the North Korean reported test.

Maggot juice can heal wounds

Scientists in the UK are working on bandages containing fluids secreted by maggots that they say can help accelerate the body's healing process. From New Scientist:
Britland and colleagues established the wound-healing capacity of "maggot juice" by applying extracts of the secretion to layers of cells that mimic skin. When they created artificial, circular "wounds" in the layers, the wounds healed fastest when exposed to the extracts.

They suggest that protease enzymes in the juice enable repair cells to move more swiftly and freely within the wound site. "They all march in unison and fill the hole significantly quicker," says co-team leader, David Pritchard at the University of Nottingham in the UK.

The researchers showed that the holes healed just as quickly whether the juice was applied directly or in a prototype gel which could be developed into a wound dressing.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Inside the new GV VivoCity

A Nutshell Review takes a look inside Singapore's largest cineplex - the new GV VivoCity. Lotsa pics! From A Nutshell Review:
There're 3 Gold Class theatres with its own lounge area, complete with wine and rich food (the brownie's excellent I tell you). For those who can afford it, it's probably the best halls in the house. The seats are plush and comfy, and able to recline flat horizontally, or whatever angle that suits your fancy. You'll also be able to summon your food and drinks through the call-button, think of it like watching a movie on board a flight, only that the screen's much larger.
And over at the GV VivoCity website, you can view pictures showing the making of the cineplex.

(Thanks Shy)

North Korea Cartoon VCD

No country in the world, even if they have nuclear weapons can call themselves a superpower unless they have.... their very own e-commerce website! North Korea has one - the KFA Shop! And since today is the day North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon, why not we commemorate this event by buying the DPRK Cartoon in VCD from the KFA Shop? The VCD contains 3 chapters of a famous cartoon in North Korea. A review on the website says, "Great cartoon! Realistic and human! Wish it had English subt .." And if North Korean cartoons are not your cup of tea, the KFA Shop also offers Karaoke VCDs, music CDs, badges, etc. The site uses PayPal, a US company owned by eBay. How's that for US-North Korea relations?

Update: Reader Zi Chao says, "That's not the only official North Korea e-commerce website. Here's another - Naenara. It sells various kinds of products of the DPRK, including software, works of art and e-books." (Thanks Zi Chao)

States with nuclear weapons

With its first nuclear test under its belt, North Korea has joined a small group of countries that have tested a nuclear weapon. That includes, the United States, USSR, UK, France, China, India and Pakistan. Wikipedia has an interesting entry on the countries with nuclear weapons. From Wikipedia:
* The United States of America developed the first atomic weapons during World War II out of the fear that Nazi Germany would develop them first. It tested its first nuclear weapon in 1945 ("Trinity"), and remains the only country to have used nuclear weapons against another nation, during the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (see: Manhattan Project). It was the first nation to develop the hydrogen bomb, testing it ("Ivy Mike") in 1952 and a deployable version in 1954 ("Castle Bravo").

* The USSR tested its first nuclear weapon ("Joe-1") in 1949, in a crash project developed partially with espionage obtained during and after World War II (see: Soviet atomic bomb project). The direct motivation for their weapons development was the development of a balance of power during the Cold War. It tested a primitive hydrogen bomb in 1953 ("Joe-4") and a megaton-range hydrogen bomb in 1955 ("RDS-37"). The Soviet Union also tested the most powerful explosive ever detonated by humans, ("Tsar Bomba"), which had a yield of 100 megatons, but was intentionally reduced to 50. After its dissolution in 1991, its weapons entered officially into the possession of Russia Russia.

* The United Kingdom tested its first nuclear weapon ("Hurricane") in 1952, drawing largely on data gained while collaborating with the United States during the Manhattan Project. Its program was motivated to have an independent deterrence against the USSR, while also remaining relevant in Cold War Europe. It tested its first hydrogen bomb in 1957. It maintains the Trident fleet of nuclear weapon submarines.

* France tested its first nuclear weapon in 1960, also as an independent deterrence and to retain perceived Cold War relevance (see: Force de frappe). It tested its first hydrogen bomb in 1968.

* The People's Republic of China tested its first nuclear weapon in 1964, much to the surprise of Western intelligence agencies. It had long sought assistance in becoming a nuclear power from an uneasy USSR, but assistance stopped after the Sino-Soviet split and the weapon was developed as a deterrent against both the USA and the USSR. It tested its first hydrogen bomb in 1967 at Lop Nur. The country is currently thought to have had a stockpile of around 130 warheads, potentially less.

* India is not a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but tested a "peaceful nuclear device", as it was described by the Indian government, in 1974 ("Smiling Buddha"), the first test developed after the creation of the NPT, and created new questions about how civilian nuclear technology could be diverted secretly to weapons purposes (dual-use technology). It appears to have been primarily motivated as a deterrent against China[citation needed]. It tested weaponized nuclear warheads in 1998 ("Operation Shakti"), including a Hydrogen Bomb. In July 2005, it was officially recognized by the United States as a responsible nuclear state and agreed to full nuclear cooperation between the two nations. This is seen as a tacit entry into the nuclear club of the above nations.

* Pakistan is not a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Pakistan covertly developed nuclear weapons over many decades, beginning in the late 1970s. Pakistan first delved into nuclear power after the establishment of it's first nuclear power plant near Karachi with the help of Canada in the early 70s. After the detonation of a nuclear bomb by arch rival India, the country gradually started it's own nuclear weapons development program and established secret, mostly underground, nuclear facilities near the capital Islamabad. It is believed that Pakistan already had nuclear weapons capability by the end of the 1980s. However, this was to remain speculative until 1998 when Pakistan conducted its first nuclear tests at the Chagai Hills, a few days after India conducted its own tests.

* North Korea has performed its first-ever nuclear weapons test. The nuclear test was conducted at 10:36 am (0706 IST) in Hwaderi near Kilju city Monday, October 9, 2006.

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