1864: Nevada is admitted as the 36th U.S. state.
1892: Arthur Conan Doyle publishes The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
1926: Magician Harry Houdini dies of gangrene and peritonitis that developed after his appendix ruptured.
1956: Suez Crisis: The United Kingdom and France begin bombing Egypt to force the reopening of the Suez Canal.
1984: Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated by two Sikh security guards.
1950: John Candy, Canadian comedian and actor, was born.
1961: Peter Jackson, New Zealand film director, was born.
1968: Vanilla Ice, rap music singer, was born.
1993: River Phoenix, actor, dies.
It's the day of the National Anti-Gravity Games. You're the best skater in town. Which is why your arch rival has stolen the team's boards and scattered the slums.
Now it's up to you to get the ten boards back together. But it's not going to be easy: you're going to have to contend with skater thugs, razor wire and explosive crackers.
Luckily, you've got some mad moves and tricks up your sleeves, even without your board...
Telegraph: Microsoft in merger talks with Google
Let's hope that this never happens:
Microsoft is reported to be pursuing a partnership or merger with online search company Google.
Bill Gates's company is said to have held talks with Google in recent weeks, during which the possibility of a takeover was also raised. Google is still said to prefer to use Wall Street to sell its initial offering, followed by an online auction, according to the New York Times.
However, Google may be a bit too expensive as CNN highlights:
"Microsoft would think twice about spending more than $20 billion," said Brendan Barnicle, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities. "The probability of a deal happening is low."
An acquisition of this magnitude would also be a huge departure for Microsoft (MSFT: Research, Estimates), which has typically chosen to build its own products rather than buy them. But when it does pull a Monty Hall and makes a deal, Microsoft has usually chosen not to spend a whole lot.
Microsoft's biggest acquisition in its history is the $1.5 billion stock deal for graphics software company Visio in 2000. Microsoft also spent about $1.3 billion for Dutch business software firm Navision last year and $1.1 billion for Great Plains Software in 2001.
There are estimates that Google could be worth between $15 billion and $25 billion if it goes public.
Yes, Microsoft has $51.6 billion in cash. But that doesn't make it any more likely to spend a huge amount on Google.
Dan Gillmor thinks that Google would not consider a merger for one very good reason:
I suspect Google stopped this talk for the obvious reason: A Google that was part of Microsoft would forfeit the search and advertising company's most vital asset -- the relatively high level of trust it's earned with the Internet community.
Here's a list of The Top 10 Highest Attended Concerts Of all time as compiled by AskMen.
Everyone remembers their first concert growing up: driving a hundred miles to wind up sitting so far you could barely make out your idols. Still, these are the memories we cherish the most. So what are some of the concerts that have been attended by the most people?
To compile this list, I looked at concerts that were either stand-alone acts or music festival, and since I'm such a nice guy, I included concerts that featured multiple acts.
1. Rod Stewart at Copacabana Beach [3,500,000]
2. New York Philharmonic in Central Park [800,000]
3. Garth Brooks in Central Park [750,000]
4. Steve Wozniak's 1983 US Festival [670,000]
5. Summer Jam at Watkins Glen [600,000+]
6. Isle of Wight Festival [600,000]
7. Simon & Garfunkel in Central Park [500,000]
8. Toronto SARS Benefit [450,000]
9. Woodstock 1969 [400,000]
10. Blockbuster RockFest 1997 [385,000]
WFTV: Cocaine Found In Snack Peanut Bags On Flight To Florida
Federal investigators Thursday found about $20,000 worth of cocaine disguised as snack-sized bags of peanuts on an Avianca flight from Colombia to Miami.
No passengers on the plane ate any of the 51 bags of peanuts that held a total of 2.6 pounds of the drug, said Zach Mann, a spokesman for the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.
Avianca flight 2 from Baranquilla, Colombia, landed at Miami International Airport around 12:45 p.m., he said.
A drug-sniffing dog doing a routine search of the plane alerted agents to the presence of drugs in the galley, Mann said. Investigators noticed the peanut bags "didn't feel right," so they opened them up and found the drugs, Mann said.
"Our concern is that people who eat them just rip the bags open and pop them in their mouths," Mann said. "For all practical matters it would have killed them."
No one has been arrested and officials were trying to determine who loaded the peanuts on the plane and where they came from, Mann said.
As the plane was coming from Columbia, one of the drug capitals of the world, my guess is that's where it came from!
Weekly World News: Glow From Red Planet Creates Problem In Transylvania
Lovesick werewolves are causing big trouble in Transylvania -- and the problem could spread to the United States.
"Usually werewolves confine their courting to the night of the full moon," says veterinarian Dr. Anton Honthorst. "But the remarkable closeness of the red planet Mars is confusing the creatures."
Hans Mackensen is an innkeeper in the city of Brasov, located among the foothills of Romania's Carpathian Mountains.
"The howling goes on all night long," he complains. "Scores of werewolves come down from the mountains and into the shadowed ravines and canyons among the hills, seeking females. Mars is driving them crazy.
Dr. Honthorst and other experts say it won't be long until American werewolves start reacting in the same way.
"The howling will spread," he warns. "Soon the cry of the werewolf will be heard all over the United States. There is a lag because werewolves are always slower to react to changes in their environment when they are in foreign lands -- away from their ancestral breeding grounds."
"Under normal circumstances, werewolves feed on chickens, dogs and cats, and only occasionally on a slow-moving child or senior citizen," says the expert. "But these days they're hungrier -- and that puts people from all walks of life in real peril.
"Male werewolves are big -- up to 300 pounds of near solid muscle. And with their sharp teeth and claws, they can and will rip you to pieces."
In the U.S., the FBI and local law enforcement agencies have issued internal alerts warning agents and officers in the field to be "aware of and report immediately" any unusual activity that may signal increased werewolf activity.
"We have werewolves in every state, particularly those with foothills, mountains, dense forests or lots of small farms that give them a good place to live, hide, breed and feed," says an FBI source.
The FBI do have one piece of advice for everyone:
"Cross your fingers on this one."
Play Trivial Pursuit for fun or for cash. Choose from a selection of editions including Genus, Silver Screen and 1980s. You can play as a guest for 30 days but then you must pay.
BBC: 'Park and ring' scheme launched
Motorists in Edinburgh are now able to use their mobile phones to pay for parking. The mPark scheme launched on Friday aims to save motorists the trouble of fishing for loose change.
Under the scheme, which was invented by Irish software firm ItsMobile, drivers calling a national hotline will be asked to key in the parking meter's identification number via a voice prompt.
An electronic instruction is then sent to the parking meter, which prints out the parking ticket to be stuck on the car windscreen, displayed in the usual manner as proof of payment.
The parking charge is then debited from a credit card or a special account. The whole process is said to take around 15 seconds. Drivers can even receive a text message reminding them when their time is up. A message sent ten minutes before the ticket expires costs an extra 20 pence.
Personally I think putting money into the machine the old fashioned way is so much easier.
CNet: Amazon: Sales up from book search
Just a week after Amazon.com introduced a tool that lets people search the entire text of many books it sells, the online retailer reported a boost in sales as a result of the feature. The Seattle-based company said Thursday that its "Search Inside the Book" feature, which launched Oct. 23, lifted sales for searchable books by 9 percent, compared with titles not part of the in-text database.
The service lets people type in any keyword and receive results for all the pages and titles of various books that contain that term. In the past, Amazon customers could search only by author name, title or keyword. The search feature works with around 120,000 titles from 190 publishers, which translates into some 33 million pages of searchable text. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, said the program is "driving increased sales," and since launching, 37 additional publishers have shown interest in participating.
Sales are up despite worries from the Authors Guild.
Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild, a writers' trade group, regarded the practice as dubious. He said that publishers did not have the right to make the contents of books available without the authors' permission. "We find it a matter of serious concern," Mr. Aiken said.
As an author, I don't really have a problem with this idea. After all, anybody can walk into a bookstore and browse through my books as long as they like (and even take notes). Or, they can go to a library and check them out for a week or two.
If anything, Amazon are offering less to users of the site than libraries and bricks and mortar bookstores are offering to the general public.
Ananova: Man hid for 11 years to avoid eight year sentence
A Romanian man who spent 11 years in his basement trying to avoid an eight year jail sentence has been arrested.
The man, from Mironeasa village, Iasi county, was sentenced for trying to kill one of his neighbours.
He claimed he was innocent and hid under his house. Police couldn't find him and even issued an international search warrant.
The 31-year-old told National newspaper: "I stayed 11 years underground because I consider myself innocent. I don't want to go to jail for something I never did.
"I hid under the house and went out only a few times for food supplies. But there were people who knew where I was and I think somebody betrayed me".
BBC: World drowning in oceans of data
Growing net, computer and phone use is driving a huge rise in the amount of information people generate and use. US researchers estimate that every year 800Mb of information is produced for every person on the planet.
Study authors Prof Peter Lyman and colleagues found that in 2002 alone about five exabytes of new information was generated by the worlds print, film, magnetic and optical storage systems.
By comparison the US Library of Congress print collection, comprising 19 million books and 56 million manuscripts, equates to about 10 terabytes of information.
It would take 500,000 Libraries of Congress to equal five exabytes.
800MB each is a lot of information! It makes you wonder exactly what is known about you, who is collecting the information and what they are using it for.
In the spirit of Halloween here's a list of Freddy Krueger's 10 best kills.
Ananova: Man hid in wardrobe to avoid work
A German man who did not turn up to work because he fancied a day off was found hiding in his wardrobe.
Bosses at the painting and decorating firm in Koblenz, Germany, where the man works, called police when he failed to show up or answer his telephone.
According to his boss, he is usually a very reliable member of staff.
After forcing their way into his house, police discovered the man, who has not been named, sitting in his wardrobe.
A spokesman for the police in the west German city said: "He told us he just couldn't face going into work and wanted some peace and quiet. But we are still not sure why he hid in his cupboard."
1470: Henry VI of England returns to the throne after Earl of Warwick defeats Yorkists in battle.
1961: Nuclear testing: The Soviet Union detonates av 58 megaton yield hydrogen bomb over Novaya Zemlya (this is still the largest nuclear device to ever be detonated).
1974: "The Rumble in The Jungle": Muhammad Ali knocks out George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire to regain the World Heavyweight Boxing championship.
1945: Henry Winkler, actor, is born.
2002: Jam Master Jay, Rap and Hip Hop musician, is murdered.
Ananova: Woman about to give birth to triplets - for sixth time
A Turkish woman is about to give birth to her sixth set of triplets.
Fatma Saygi, 28, from the Turkish province of Adiyaman and her husband Mehmet are already parents of five sets of triplets and the sixth set is due in just a matter of weeks.
Fatma, who gave birth to her first three children at the age of 18, said: "We wanted children but we didn't really want that many. But Allah has always given us three at a time."
The family of 17 lives in a two-room flat and on an income of about £12 a week, which Mehmet earns as a wedding singer.
That's a lot of children!
Nokia can't seem to shift the N-Gage. The Sun are offering the handheld console/phone for 1p if you sign up to a £28/month contract. I stil don't think it will encourage people to buy it. According to The Register you can't use the device without a SIM card which is pretty useless when Nokia are promoting it as a games console first and a phone second.
I have just entered my blog in the British Blog Awards 2003. Being the pessimist I can't see my site winning as it's not unique enough but there's no harm in trying. Wish me luck!
New Scientist: Big Bang sounded like a deep hum
The Big Bang sounded more like a deep hum than a bang, according to an analysis of the radiation left over from the cataclysm.
Physicist John Cramer of the University of Washington in Seattle has created audio files of the event which can be played on a PC. "The sound is rather like a large jet plane flying 100 feet above your house in the middle of the night," he says.
Giant sound waves propagated through the blazing hot matter that filled the Universe shortly after the Big Bang. These squeezed and stretched matter, heating the compressed regions and cooling the rarefied ones.
Even though the Universe has been expanding and cooling ever since, the sound waves have left their imprint as temperature variations on the afterglow of the big bang fireball, the so-called cosmic microwave background.
To produce the sound, Cramer took data from NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe. Launched in 2001, the probe has been measuring tiny differences in the temperature between different parts of the sky.
From these variations, he could calculate the frequencies of the sound waves propagating through the Universe during its first 760,000 years, when it was just 18 million light years across. At that time the sound waves were too low in frequency to be audible. To hear them, Cramer had to scale the frequencies 100,000 billion billion times.
Nevertheless, the loudness and pitch of the sound waves reflect what happened in the early Universe. During the 100-second recording, the frequencies fall because the sound waves get stretched as the Universe expands. "It becomes more of a bass instrument," says Cramer.
I'm interested to hear what it sounds like but at the moment the site with the audio recordings on is not working.
Ananova: Man fails to break clothes pegs on face record
A man who holds the world record for having the most clothes pegs clipped to his face has narrowly failed to beat his own mark.
Garry 'Stretch' Turner was hoping to clip more than 153 pegs to his face at the launch of the 2004 Guinness Book of Records in Manchester.
But his effort at the city's Arndale Centre failed when he managed to clip on only 150 pegs, says the Manchester Evening News.
RetroCrush has produced a list of the '100 Scariest Movie Moments'. Psycho has come top followed by Carrie and The Shining. Compare the list with Channel 4's own 100 Scariest Moments that was published last weekend. It's good to see older films appearing at the top of the lists rather than the new horror films which attempt to scare you by seeing how many people can be slaughtered within 90 minutes. Anyone have any favourite?
Somehow I can't see cats paying attention to music or being relaxed by it.
If music stimulates people, and more is even used for therapeutic purposes, then mustn't it also be possible to use the magic of music on animals?
To develop music that calms and relaxes cats, and at the same time sounds soothing to human ears. Knowledge of animal psychology and high quality music are combined to create our CDs 'Music for Cats and Friends' Vol. 1 & Vol. 2.
According to experts on the site:
The music that you hear is specially composed for cats to help guide them into a state of relaxation.
Generally improved well-being through relaxation and decreased aggression, as was attained through this music in our study, could really help enhance the quality of life of our cat(s) - and therefore improve the owner-pet relationship.
It looks like this new feature has been out for a few days but Google has a new feature that allows users to search for defintions using the Google Glossary throught the main search page. By typing in define: mouse, Google will return a large list of definitions from various sources.
Examples of returned definitons are:
any of numerous small rodents typically resembling diminutive rats having pointed snouts and small ears on elongated bodies with slender usually hairless tails
A palm-size device attached to a computer by a cord, which allows the user to select items displayed on the screen by controlling the cursor, and to give commands by clicking the device's buttons.
Apparently today is 'Create A Great Funeral Day'. I'm not exactly sure what this day entails as I can't find anything on the Net about it. Are you supposed to create a great funeral for yourself or someone else?
Be careful what you blog about. This guy posted a picture of some Apple G5's being delivered to Microsoft and mentioned where he worked within the company. Apparently this is considered a security violation by Microsoft and subsequently he was promptly escorted off site (they were nice enough to let a co-worker escort him off site rather than using one of the security staff) [via The Inquirer]
Even though this site puts across the very important message of healthy swimming I can't help but laugh at some of the things required by pool attendants when they find a 'formed stool in the pool'.
# Said stool should be removed with a net and not a vacuum.
# Said stool should be recorded in your very own fecal 'log', remembering to note how formed it was.
Daily Herald: Would-be intruder dies after getting stuck in window
When an Elgin woman walked into her kitchen early Tuesday morning to make breakfast, she found a man wedged halfway into her window, hanging over her sink.
Craig M. Petropoulos, 36, apparently was trying to climb into the window - perhaps to burglarize the Franklin Boulevard home - when he got stuck around his chest, police said. His legs dangled over the driveway.
Police say he weighed about 250 pounds and had a large build. He was dead when the homeowner walked into the kitchen at 5 a.m.
Kane County Coroner Chuck West said an autopsy indicated Petropoulos died of positional asphyxia. That occurs when a person's chest is prevented from expanding properly and the person is unable to correct his position. Stress is added to the respiratory muscles, movement of the body's diaphragm is restricted and the rib cage is inhibited from expanding.
Ananova: Teenager survives being hit by 110mph train
A teenager has survived being hit by a 110mph train in an accident which left him lying by a railway track for six hours.
Police described 18-year-old Ben Brown as a "walking miracle" after the incident in Enborne, near Newbury.
Ben had been out drinking with a friend in Reading and is thought to have decided to walk back along the line after missing his stop on his train journey home.
He dragged himself off the tracks before calling the emergency services on his mobile phone but his battery ran out before he could tell them where he was, says The Guardian.
It wasn't until a nearby resident heard Ben's screams, that the emergency services were called.
He was taken to hospital with a broken wrist and injuries to his left knee and ankles. He's expected to make a full recovery.
"I don't know how I came to be hit by the train. I had been drinking a bit and I am known to sleepwalk after a session in the pub. Laying there for hours was hell. The pain had started to kick in and I believed I was going to die there," said Ben from his hospital bed.
PC Andy Deakin of the British transport police said that the teenager was a walking miracle. He added: "There is no way that someone hit at 110mph should have survived."
1618: English adventurer, writer, and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh is beheaded for allegedly conspiring against James I of England.
1863: Sixteen countries meeting in Geneva agree to form the International Red Cross.
1988: In Japan, the Sega Megadrive is released for the first time.
1947: Richard Dreyfuss, actor, is born.
1971: Winona Ryder, actress, is born.
1997: Anton LaVey, founder, Church of Satan, dies.
I've just taken a look at my stats, which I seem to do regularly, and I've noticed that I've passed the 10,000 hit mark! To me 10,000 is a milestone for me and I'm so happy that I've passed it. Thanks to all that have visited my site over the past 3 or 4 months or so.
As usual the Smoking Gun comes up trumps with another strange story accompanied by a mugshot and police report. This 22-year-old guy has pleaded not guilty to stealing 854 thongs. The 'Wisconsin Thong Thief' allowed cops to search his house where they found the huge stash of panties. He originally told them that there were only about 30 pairs in his house. Included in the police reports is an inventory of what was stolen and an e-mail from one of the victims decribing what was stolen. [via zFilter]
The manufacturers must be running out of ideas for new Barbie dolls.
I didn't realise that this was available online but I came across a link to it on Milk and Cookies. It's the profanisaurus from UK adult comic Viz. It contains 'amusing euphemisms for the sexual organs, sexual activities or bodily functions'. Very funny but some may find some of the phrases offensive.
Yesterday Nokia unveiled yet another new phone. The 7700 looks as though it could be aimed at the Pocket PC market. The phone has a large screen and brings TV and radio to the mobile. Whilst it looks good will it perform as badly as the recently released N-Gage? Should Nokia stick to releasing 'traditional' looking phones or are people going to be attracted by these strange shaped multi-functional media devices?
BBC: 'Brain itch' keeps songs in the head
Research in the US has found that songs get stuck in our heads because they create a "brain itch" that can only be scratched by repeating the tune over and over. In Germany, this type of song is known as an "ohrwurm" - an earworm - and typically has a high, upbeat melody and repetitive lyrics that verge between catchy and annoying.
Songs such as the Village People's YMCA, Los Del Rio's Macarena, and the Baha Men's Who Let The Dogs Out owe their success to their ability to create a "cognitive itch," according to Professor James Kellaris, of the University of Cincinnati College of Business Administration.
"A cognitive itch is a kind of metaphor that explains how these songs get stuck in our head," Professor Kellaris told BBC World Service's Outlook programme.
"Certain songs have properties that are analogous to histamines that make our brain itch.
"The only way to scratch a cognitive itch is to repeat the offending melody in our minds."
"Across surveys I found that from 97% to 99% of the population is susceptible to earworms at some time," he stated.
"But certainly some people are more susceptible than others. Women tend to be more susceptible than men, and musicians are more susceptible to them than non-musicians."
Professor Kellaris said that his research had shown that there was, however, no standard for creating an earworm - people could react differently to different tunes.
"I compiled a top 10 list of earworms in the US, but the number one item is simply the category 'other' - which means that any tune is prone to become an earworm," he said. "It's highly idiosyncratic."
And he added that there was also no guaranteed way of ever getting the song off the brain.
"Replacement strategies rarely work, because as we search our memories for a replacement tune, we're likely to come up with another earworm," he admitted.
He's right, by searching for another song to replace the one in your head you can guarantee that it will be something as equally as cheesy such as a song by the 'Cheeky Girls'!
Somehow, I can't imagine ever finishing a game.
MSN: 10 Great Scientific Discoveries
Technological breakthroughs get big press because they can give us new tools and toys. We feel technology's impact directly: wheels and gears, zippers and microchips--the list is endless. But where would technology be without scientific discovery?
1. The Pythagorean Theorem.
2. The existence of microorganisms.
3. The three laws of motion.
4. The structure of matter.
5. The circulation of blood.
6. Electrical currents.
7. The Evolution of Species.
9. The four laws of thermodynamics.
10. The dual nature of light.
The site has more information on each of the 10 discoveries.