Jul 26, 2008

Apollo 14 astronaut claims aliens exist

Former NASA astronaut and moon-walker Dr Edgar Mitchell - a veteran of the Apollo 14 mission - believes in ET.

And he says extra-terrestrials have visited Earth on several occasions - but the alien contact has been repeatedly covered up by governments for six decades.

Dr Mitchell, 77, said during a radio interview that sources at the space agency who had had contact with aliens described the beings as 'little people who look strange to us.'

Chillingly, he claimed our technology is "not nearly as sophisticated" as theirs and "had they been hostile", he warned "we would be been gone by now".

Preductably, NASA officials were quick to play down the comments of Mitchell.

In a statement, a spokesman said: "NASA does not track UFOs. NASA is not involved in any sort of cover up about alien life on this planet or anywhere in the universe.

'Dr Mitchell is a great American, but we do not share his opinions on this issue.'


Jul 25, 2008

Arrested after 400-yard motorcycle wheelie

A 29-year-old Cookeville, Tennessee man was arrested for reckless driving after police observing him doing a 400-yard wheelie on his motorcycle.

The photo shows the late daredevil Evel Knievel doing a wheelie.

At least the man in Tennessee wasn’t trying to jump a row of busses.


Special Olympic traffic lanes on Beijing streets

Beijing will have special Olympic traffic lanes to help ensure that officials, athletes and referees arrive at their destinations on time.

The Olympic traffic lanes will open on 25 July, some 14 days before the games start, and close on 20 September, three days after the Paralympic Games – a total of 58 days.

Many of the 7,000 vehicles designated for official Olympic use will be fitted with satellite navigation systems to prevent drivers from getting lost.


Berlin speech

He earned $100K while living in company paint shed

A New York man lived in a company paint shed while earning $100,000 last year.

He even had his mail delivered to the paint shed!

He was a maintenance worker who lived on the grounds of the Rockland Psychiatric Center in New York City's northern suburbs for three years.

He stayed in a back room of the shed and had a couch, microwave and refrigerator.


Gray Lady 2Q profit down 82 percent!

The Gray Lady is up to her elbows in financial trouble.

New York Times Co. says its second-quarter earnings fell 82 percent from the year-ago quarter boosted by a one-time gain. Meanwhile, print advertising revenue continued to shrink.

The New York Times was nicknamed the Gray Lady for its staid appearance and style as shown in the illustration below.

In her heyday the Lady was regarded as a newspaper of record because it was often relied upon as the ‘official and authoritative reference for modern events.’

So where did she go wrong?

Pajamas Media has this to say about the Grey Lady:

Thought of as the newspaper of record for more than 100 years, the Times eventually succumbed to disappearing ad revenue, a catastrophic decline in circulation, and the consequences of a perpetual, unrelenting, obvious and sickening bias exhibited against its political enemies.

Because of her extreme partisan editorial stance, the Gray Lady will get little sympathy from Republicans and moderate, principled Democrats.


Jul 24, 2008

Iraq tour de farce

(click on cartoon to enlarge)

= = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Lets move along now folks … nothing new to see here … haven’t you ever seen a cowering presidetnial candidate before?

Beijingers told to wear a smile during Olympics

Chinese people, who will be in Beijing during the games, are told to mind their manners.

Beijing citizens have been told not to pick their noses, yawn or scratch their heads when talking to foreigners during the Olympics.

They have also been given a list of things not to ask overseas visitors - a list so exhaustive it could make conversation difficult.

Ordinary people have also been given detailed instructions on how to talk to disabled people during the Paralympics.

The booklet advises Beijing people to say to disabled people such things as: 'You're really excellent'

Queuing will also be stressed. Officials want the Chinese people to queue up in lines rather than to barge onto buses and trains as shown above.

Will they also be told not to cough to loudly if the smog in Beijing happens to be heavy?


Beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Yup, it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas. At least it did in Copenhagen Denmark.

The annual Santa Clause congress celebration was held in the Bakken amusement park, just north of Copenhagen.

The realization that many Santas are too pot-bellied to slide down a chimney prompted many of the participants to "adhere not to a diet that would kill off their good spirits but to a series of exercises that would put them in super shape by December.”

The Santas will begin toiling Tuesday morning. Dressed in their traditional fur-lined red suits, they will take a long bike-ride around the Copenhagen harbor, parade through the streets and take a quick dip at the port to check out the water quality.

Once they have dried off they will even attempt to set a new, wacky world record: the largest possible number of Father Christmases hula-hooping in unison.

That would be a sight worth viewing!

The convention is scheduled to wrap up on Wednesday.


What to do when a compact fluorescent bulb breaks?

The environmentalists are campaigning to have everyone get rid of their 17-cent incadescent light bulbs and replace them with compact fluorescent bulbs at $5 to $6 each. That’s right, we got a 4-pack of 60-watt bulbs for 66 cents at our local Wal-Mart (60-watt bulbs are perfect for 3 to 6 bulb chandeliers).

The big worry about compact fluorescent bulbs is the mercury vapor leak if a bulb cracks. Is mercury harmful?

When I was a kid I grabbed every non-working thermometer I could find so I could salvage the mercury. I would capture some mercury between my thumb and forefinger and transfer the slippery, silver stuff to a dime. The dime will glisten and almost glow. As a 10-year-old I thought it was cool.

I’m not sure if getting mercury on my fingers was harmful. What does seem alarming is to breathe in the mercury vapor.

We had an energy-efficient light bulb suddenly break a seal and a large amount of pungent smelling smoke poured out. We were able to turn the switch off quickly but the room smelled so bad it took quite a while to air the room out. What would have happened if we had been gone for several hours?

We may never use one of the bulbs pictured unless the light bulb police break down our door and put us in chains.

What do you do when compact fluorescent crack bulbs crack? The link below gives TEN things to do if one of these bulbs crack.

A word of warning, after you have read all ten things you must do if a bulb cracks, you may just throw out the ones you have and never buy another. And that’s not even considering the cancer and migraine headache warnings attributed to these bulbs.


Jul 23, 2008

China to modify weather for Olympics

August is part of Northeast Asia’s rainy season (upper picture) and chances of precipitation over Beijing on any day that month will approach 50 percent.

To prevent rain over the roofless 91,000-seat Olympic stadium that Beijing natives have nicknamed the Bird’s Nest (lower picture), the city’s branch of the national Weather Modification Office–itself a department of the larger China Meteorological Administration–has prepared a three-stage program for the 2008 Olympics this August.

The city’s weather engineers will shoot and spray silver iodide and dry ice into incoming clouds that are still far enough away that their rain can be flushed out before they reach the stadium.

Finally, any rain-heavy clouds that near the Bird’s Nest will be seeded with chemicals to shrink droplets so that rain won’t fall until those clouds have passed over. Zhang Qian, head of Beijing’s Weather Modification Office, explains, “We use a coolant made from liquid nitrogen to increase the number of droplets while decreasing their average size. As a result, the smaller droplets are less likely to fall, and precipitation can be reduced.”


Two German men related through 3,000 year-old-ancestor

Two German men share the longest proven family tree in the world.

The men, Manfred Huchthausen, a 58-year-old teacher, and Uwe Lange, a 48-year-old surveyor, had known each other from living in the same village, about half a mile apart from each other.

But they never knew they were related through a 3,000-year-old shared ancestor.

They only recently found out they are both true descendants of Bronze Age cave-dwellers who lived in the area three millenniums ago.

More of the story here.

Political rock star

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Jul 22, 2008

E-racers: racers from erasers

These cool e-racers are made from Pink Pearl trapezoidal erasers.

They are probably fairly easy to make and can be made to look really cool.

Draw on them with a pen as on the right or carve them as shown on the left.

A great rainy-day project for kids.

McDonald’s franchisee fined $1 million for hiring illegals

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) probe in Nevada led to a $1 million fine for hiring illeals.

One current and one former top executive for a franchisee that owns 11 McDonald’s restaurants in and around Reno, Nev., and the corporation itself pleaded guilty in federal court in Las Vegas today to federal felony immigration offenses for encouraging illegal aliens to reside in the United States.

Mack Associates’ [the Corporation owning the 11 Reno McDonald’s restaurants] management employed individuals they knew were in the country illegally, including two restaurant managers, by furnishing them with names and Social Security numbers belonging to other individuals.

"This case should serve as a reminder to employers that knowingly hiring illegal aliens violates federal law," said U.S. Attorney Brower. "Companies and their managers who engage in such conduct are on notice that violations will be prosecuted and that the criminal penalties can be significant."


Obama: Jimmy Carter warmed-over

Somebody in Scotland really gets it!

The article at the link below has a realistic interpretation of the upcoming Obama European tour.

YES, folks, it's déjà vu all over again. That charismatic American politician Jimmy Carter II, aka Barack Obama (pictured), is carrying all before him – at least in Europe – riding a tsunami of media-driven hysteria.

When you are possessed of unlimited reserves of rhetoric, boundless ambition, an increasingly undisciplined ego and – er – not a lot else, the soap-box becomes addictive.

German Chancellor can also see through the Obama European sharade.

Obama's bid to deliver one of his substance-free orations at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin has infuriated Chancellor Merkel, galvanized the media and provoked thoughtful calculations among the McCain camp.

The actual déjà vu evoked by Obama is the ill-starred Carter presidency.

The article points out that Carter was the father of the Iranian Revolution which deposed the Shah and set up the Ayatollah Khomeini.

Khomeini executed more people during his first year in power than the Shah had done in 25 years.

Now, over 30 years later, it will truly be déjà vu as Obama has pledged to sit down unconditionally with Iran President Ahmadinejad.


Jul 21, 2008

1930’s Kodak folding bellows camera

During the 1970’s I collected a few old cameras. Most of them were common cameras that sold for three to six dollars when they were new in the 1930’s.

Inside the back cover of the camera is a Kodak decal that shows several patent numbers and a picture of a yellow Kodak Verichrome panchromatic film box.

It says, “Use Kodak film V616 or 616”. It also says, “Use Kodak film in the yellow box.”

The sides of the camera are decorated with a pleasing art deco design.

I found this camera in a little antique shop located in the basement of a house near downtown Beatrice, Nebraska in 1979.

Electronic gadgets blamed for lightening deaths in Russia

An official in Russia is blaming the recent surge of deadly lightning strikes on electronic gadgets such as cell phones and music players.

Lightning has killed and injured more than a dozen people in Russia in the past two weeks, officials say, blaming widespread use of electronic gadgets such as cell phones for an increase in deadly strikes.

Leonid Tarkov of the weather observation center FOBOS said he believes that the surge in lightning strikes may be connected to the increased use of portable electronic technology.

"These things are electromagnetic field carriers," he said. "That makes them, in essence, conductors. Thunderbolts are frequently attracted to such things, and hits are often connected with a lethal outcome."

The idea that lightning can follow the weak electromagnetic fields of such devices is rejected by virtually all scientists, although there is evidence that a lightning strike is more likely to be fatal for a person carrying any object with metal in it.

There have been no such reports from other counties.


Boy tracks speeders with toy radar gun

A boy in Louisville, Kentucky is waging his own war against speeders.

Many in the subdivision are frustrated that motorists tear through the neighborhood at 55 mph despite signs posting a 25 mph limit.

Landon Wilburn, 11, has a future as a cop — a traffic cop.

The youngster, who used to shout at speeders to slow down as they drove through the Stone Lakes subdivision in Louisville, now has taken matters into his own hands.

Dressed in a reflective vest, wearing a bicycle helmet and armed with an orange Hot Wheels brand radar gun, he points and records the actual speed of passing traffic.

Landon also carries a flashlight with a built-in siren.

"When I saw it happening, I got the biggest kick out of it," said resident George Ayers, 61. "People were locking up their brakes when they saw him."


China in urgent cleanup for Olympic games

Beijing's plan to lift the Chinese capital's gray shroud of pollution begins this week.

"Pea-soup air at the opening ceremony would be their worst nightmare," said Victor Cha, director of Asian Studies at Georgetown University.

The Olympic games begin in just three weeks. Will they be able to pull it off?

Half of Beijing's 3.3 million vehicles will be pulled off the roads and many polluting factories will be shuttered.

Chemical plants, power stations and foundries left open have to cut emissions by 30 percent—and dust-spewing construction in the capital will be halted.

In a highly stage-managed Olympics aimed at showing off the rising power of the 21st century, no challenge is greater than producing crystalline air for 10,500 of the world's greatest athletes.

(click on picture to enlarge)

Will this new stadium glisten under clear skies during the Olympic games?

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge has repeatedly warned that outdoor endurance events lasting more than an hour will be postponed if the air quality is poor.

Striking venues and $40 billion spent to improve infrastructure cannot mask Beijing's dirty air. A World Bank study found China is home to 16 of the 20 worst cities for air quality. Three-quarters of the water flowing through urban areas is unsuitable for drinking or fishing.


Jul 20, 2008

Sports referees: biased when they see red

A study found that referees awarded more points when they saw red.

Referees try to be fair, but on occasion even the best make bad calls. Now it would seem that sometimes they cannot help it. Researchers reveal that colors worn by competitors can shape referee decisions.

Reaserchers suggested that this was due to an association between red and dominance and/or aggression.

To test their theory, they showed 42 referees of the martial art taekwondo video excerpts from sparring rounds between similarly skilled athletes. In each video, one athlete wore blue protective gear and one wore red.

Each referee individually judged each clip, assigning points for the attacks made. They then watched the same bouts, in a different order, but this time with the colour of the protective gear digitally reversed, so that combatants wearing blue now appeared to wear red, and vice versa.

The team found that referees gave 13% more points to red competitors, even when the performances were exactly the same.


Obama to rid the world of nuclear weapons

Barack Obama (pictured), the freshman Senator from Illinois, met with other Democrats for a roundtable discussion.

Among those joining him for the panel discussion were two potential running mates, Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., and former Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga.

Nunn, a defense expert, is viewed as a senior statesman who could offset the relative youth of Obama, a freshman senator from Illinois. He said he supported Obama's nonproliferation pledge and outlined the challenges Obama would face in the Oval Office as if he were already elected!

Mr. Obama said that two goals of his administration would be to secure all loose nuclear material during his first term and to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

Two lofty goals indeed, for a man with less experience than anyone else in the U.S. Senate (he has been absent for much of his eighteen months in office). His naiveté is almost breathaking!