May 16, 2008

Car tire code that could save your life

Motorists in Europe and Asia are safer than drivers in the U.S.

The U.S. tire industry is refusing to give American motorists the same warning given to car owners in Europe and Asia about the possible dangers of tires six years old or older.

More than 100 deaths in the U.S. have been attributed to aged tires which dried out and lost their treads, even though they appeared to be safe.

The only way for consumers to protect themselves is to learn how to read the cryptic code embedded on a tire's sidewall which reveals the year and week a tire was manufactured.

The code is at the end of a jumble of letters and numbers on the tire and, until recently, was on the inward side of the tire requiring motorists to climb under the car to read the number.

For example, the number 418 indicates the tire was manufactured in the 41st week of 1998 and is 10 years old.

A tire older than six years old, even if it's never been driven a mile, "is like a ticking time bomb. You don't know what's going on inside. That's what makes it so dangerous.”

Full story plus how to read the cryptic tire code here.

Winston Churchill and George Bernard Shaw exchange insults

People just don’t know how to exchange insults with style these days.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill:

I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend .... if you have one.

Churchill’s reply:

Can’t possibly attend your first night. Will attend the second night … if there is one


Awesome LA freeway interchange aerial photos

Link here for more freeway photos.

May 15, 2008

Volunteers needed for chocolate study

It’s gonna be a tough job -- but somebody has to do it.

Calling all chocoholics: British researchers recruiting volunteers willing to eat a bar of chocolate daily for a year, guilt-free and all in the name of science.

British researchers recruiting volunteers willing to eat a bar of chocolate daily for a year, guilt-free and all in the name of science.

The trial starting in June will explore whether compounds called flavonoids found in chocolate and other foods can reduce the risk of heart disease for menopausal women with type 2 diabetes.

Previous studies have suggested dark chocolate is rich in the beneficial compounds linked with heart health but experts note the high sugar and fat content of most commercially available chocolate might cancel out some of the advantages.


The 57 states of Obama are the 57 states of Islam?

Does Barack Obama want to be the president of the 57 states of Islam?

In the confines of a friendly audience in Oregon Mr. Obama strayed form his prepared speech:

"It is wonderful to be back in Oregon," Obama said. "Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go. Alaska and Hawaii, I was not allowed to go to even though I really wanted to visit, but my staff would not justify it."

The Times' conscientious Robin Abcarian thought she heard something different there. She checked her tape recorder. It had captured what he had actually said -- 57 states now. A new Louisiana Purchase that's gone unannounced so far? Was he channeling his inner John Kerry-Heinz 57 personality?

Barack Hussein Obama may have been referring to the 57 states of Islam. After all, there will be dancing in the streets of many Arab countries as soon as the junior Senator from Illinois is declared the winner of the Democratic primary.

However, just in case Obama actually doesn’t know how many states he is trying to be president of here in this country, there is a new flag lapel pin (pictured) showing a 57 state flag.

Of course, Obama won’t wear it since he has refused to wear a U.S. flag lapel pin since September 11, 2001.

Link here and here.

May 14, 2008

Frustrated owners try to sell their gas guzzlers

As gas tank fill ups hit the $75 level, many frustrated owners will try to unload their gas guzzlers.

Some desperate car dealers and consumers are willing to lose thousands of dollars just to get rid of their SUVs.

The following sad story will be typical for people who drive gas guzzling SUV’s and pickups especially, if the vehicle has a loan with a high pay-off balance.

Last July, 20-year-old Sannan Nizami bought a 2007 Toyota 4Runner SUV for $32,000 when it cost about $65 to fill the tank.

Six months later, as a gallon of gas soared to $3.50 and more, and tank refills climbed over $80, Nizami put the vehicle up for sale. He posted it online for $27,000 but received no responses for months.

Frustrated and unable to afford prices at the pump, Nizami last month turned over the Toyota to a dealer who only sells vehicles from private owners.

Nizami is still paying the $450 loan but now is bumming rides to work with a cousin and worrying about making enough from the sale to cover the car loan.


How many blogs are there?

Does anyone really know just how many blogs there are? Probably not.

A recent Google search for the number of blogs turned up links to several web sites that gave estimates ranging anywhere between 50 million to 150 million.

Technorati currently states it is tracking over 112.8 million blogs, a number which obviously does not include all the 7o to 80 million Chinese blogs as counted by the China Internet Network Information Center.

Blog statistics often concern the English language blogosphere but we should not forget about the millions of other blogs that are not always included in estimations.

Many blogs are on AOL, MySpace and other platforms that really don’t attract the general viewing public. If you aren’t a member, chances are you won’t ever see one of those “out-of-the-way” blogs.

There are countless thousands of blogs that get almost no hits. Some get thousands of hits every day.

How can you tell how many viewers (hits) a blog gets? The old standard, and still the best, web site counter is Site Meter. Not all web sites using Site Meter display a link to the number of hits they get. Examples Site Meter links buttons are shown here.

By clicking on the Site Meter button, you can usually see the number of hits.

One estimate to the total number of blogs can be found here.

May 13, 2008

Wall Drug: a stop off or a destination?

Ted Hustead purchased the only drug store in Wall South Dakota in1931. Wall is a prairie town of 326 people just north of the South Dakota Badlands.

Hustead watched as cars went past his store without stopping as they drove through town on Route 16. Most of the traffic going through town was in the hot weather on their way to and from the Black Hills.

In what turned out to be a stroke of genius, Hustead put a sign on his small store offering free ice water to travelers. Cars began stopping at Wall Drug for the ice water and while they were in the store they were making purchases.

Wall Drug in 1931

A portion of Wall Drug as it appears today

A typical Wall Drug billboard

Wall Drug earns much of its fame from self-promotion billboards. These signs advertising the store can be seen for hundreds of miles throughout South Dakota and nearby states. The early billboard, and some of the new ones, show the number of miles to Wall Drug.

There are also signs in various foreign countries around the world that also show the number of miles to Wall Drug.

UK surveillance cam boom fails to cut crime

The UK is the most surveilled country on the planet. It seems as though there are spy cameras everywhere, but is the surveillance scheme working? Apparently not.

By all reports, the closed-circuit TV network in the UK is an utter fiasco.

CCTV equipment worth billions has failed to cut crime because detectives do not know how to use the images, a senior police officer has said.

Britain has more security cameras than any other European country, with around one for every 14 people!

It was reported that only 3% of London's street robberies have been solved using CCTV images!


May 12, 2008

Solving America’s obesity problem

(click on cartoon to enlarge)

Diaries show Saddam feared getting AIDS in prison

Excerpts from diaries kept by Saddam Hussein (pictured) while in U.S.-supervised captivity indicate that the former Iraq dictator feared catching “young peoples diseases.”

When Saddam found out his U.S. military guards were also using his laundry line to dry clothes, he wrote that he demanded they stop, according to the excerpts.

Saddam feared sharing a laundry line could make him vulnerable to AIDS and other diseases.

"I explained to them that they are young and they could have young people's diseases," Saddam wrote. "My main concern was to not catch a venereal disease, an HIV disease, in this place." He said some soldiers ignored his request.

Saddam wrote thousands of pages while in U.S.-supervised custody.

He wrote how hard it was to have to ask for things, saying it was a serious sacrifice from him to ask for things for the first time in his life.

Saddam was captured by American soldiers on Dec. 13, 2003, just over eight months after his regime was toppled by a U.S.-led invasion. An Iraqi tribunal convicted him of crimes against humanity and he was hanged at the end of 2006.