BBC: New Year's flying fridges warning
South African police will crack down hard on anybody throwing old fridges from high-rise buildings during the New Year's holiday, they say.
Police and soldiers are on patrol in Johannesburg's notorious Hillbrow suburb, famous for the practice.
Throwing heavy objects from balconies and firing guns have become something of a bad "New Year's institution," said police Inspector Kriben Naidoo.
It is not clear why Hillbrow residents have taken to seeing in the New Year by throwing objects such as fridges, microwave ovens, beds, rubbish bins and condoms out of their windows.
Some also aim their New Year fireworks horizontally, so they go from one high-rise apartment into another.
Revellers have been killed in the past after being hit by stray bullets.
Almost as soon as you stop smoking your health improves; after the following periods of time, you will notice:
20 minutes - blood pressure and circulation improve.
Eight hours - oxygen levels in the blood return to normal, and nicotine and carbon monoxide levels reduce by half. 48 hours - there is no nicotine in the body.
72 hours - breathing becomes easier and energy levels increase.
A few days - sense of smell and taste are sharper.
Four weeks - the skin looks younger and healthier.
One year - the risk of heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker.
10 years - the risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker.
15 years - the risk of heart attack is similar to that of someone who has never smoked.
BBC: Gran's heart attack on jet with medics
A grandmother who suffered a heart attack on a plane could not have wished for better care.
When the stewardess put out the call: "Is there a doctor on the plane", 15 cardiologists stood up to help 67-year-old Dorothy Fletcher.
The doctors were en route to Orlando for a heart conference.
"My daughter was with me and you can imagine how she felt when all these doctors stood up.
Apparently New Year's Eve in Japan is a lot more peaceful than elsewhere in the world. One benefit of this is that you can get to sit down on a train, something that is not usually possible for most commuters. The picture on the left shows a train on a normal day and the picture on the left shows it during the New Year. [via Tokyo Times]
Ananova: Teacher wins underground marathon
A Belgian teacher has won the first cave marathon. Marc Papanikitas ran with a torch attached to his head behind a cyclist who showed the runners the route. He completed the course in two hours, 40 minutes and 39 seconds.
More than 100 people took part in the underground marathon in the caverns of Valkenburg in Holland. They ran 25 rounds of a 1,690 metre course, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.
Although Port Cinton is a small town, its spirit is huge - especially on New Year's Eve! For the past six years, thousands have braved the cold and gathered for hours, in waiting for the"Madness at Midnight" Walleye Drop.
Port Clinton is the "Walleye Capital of the World," so what else would they do on New Year's Eve but drop a 20-foot, 600-pound walleye from the sky at the stroke of Midnight!
This one-meter resolution satellite image of Bam, Iran was taken by Space Imaging's IKONOS satellite on Dec. 27, 2003, just one day after a catastrophic earthquake struck the historic city. The full image shows widespread destruction as a result of the 6.7 magnitude earthquake that leveled 70 percent of the buildings according to news reports.
Clearly seen in the center of the image is the 2,000-year-old citadel, considered the world's largest mud fortress. According to news reports, much of the medieval fortress crumbled like a sand castle when the quake hit. The citadel was a popular tourist attraction and is on the register of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and has been a World Heritage site.
BBC: 'Most influential' websites named
Google, eBay and Friends Reunited are among key influential websites which have had the biggest impact on UK web users, say analysts Nielsen Netratings.
Early commerce and price comparison sites like Amazon, Kelkoo and Easyjet, have paved the way for online shopping.
While community-based ones like file-sharing network Napster, web diary site Blogger, and AOL Instant Messenger are named pioneers in the top 10 list.
Yahoo! presents: The Eight Biggest Tech Flops Ever
Some of the greatest flops of all time have come from high tech. Millions of dollars and countless person-hours have been wasted creating products so bad, so misguided, and so difficult to use that entire companies have been destroyed.
Pet owners fed up with cleaning litter trays have been given an alternative - a toilet seat for cats.
Kevin Rymer designed the seat which he hopes will wean cats away from the litter tray into the family bathroom.
Here's some information from their FAQ.
How can the CatSeat™ toilet train my cat(s)?
Once your cat(s) is successfully using the CatSeat™ as a replacement to the litter-box, it is designed to mount to your toilet. It is slightly oversized to allow your cat(s) to easily balance on the seat, and the textured shelves replace the feel of litter which satisfies their need to "cover up".
Does the CatSeat™ function like a regular toilet seat?
If you decide to mount the CatSeat™ to your toilet, it functions exactly like a regular toilet seat. It lifts up and operates just as you would expect. It is almost as if they have a separate seat all to themselves.
Thankfully the makers of the CatSeat have made the seat big enough for more than one cat to share so there'll be no long queues for the toilet. The makers claim that as many as 7 cats can use the CatSeat at the same time!
Ananova: Tatu take on Putin
Tatu are running against Vladimir Putin in a bid to become joint presidents of Russia.
Yulia Volkova, 18, and Lena Katina, 19, have vowed to win the election battle in March.
The girls believe they can do a better job than current head of state Putin.
Yulia and Lena will have to convince officials they are eligible to run as rules state candidates must be at least 35 years old.
But the pair insist they are old enough because their combined age is 37.
Despite the singers' political ambitions, President Putin is expected to win the March 14 vote and clinch his second term in office.
BBC: Web's inventor gets a knighthood
The inventor of the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee, has been awarded a knighthood for his pioneering work.
Dubbed the "Father of the Web", he came up with a system over 10 years ago to organise, link and browse net pages.
The British scientist, who lives in the US, was told he was getting the unexpected Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year honours list a few days ago - by telephone, not by e-mail.
Sir Tim said the honour was an acknowledgement that the net was becoming globally powerful, and not just a "passing trend".
"There was a time when people felt the internet was another world, but now people realise it's a tool that we use in this world."
The Pet umbrella keeps your pet dry and comfortable in rain, sleet or snow.
Features include a clear oblong arc trimmed with classic plaid waterproof fabric and ergonomic, angled handle with padded comfort grip.
An umbrella leash with hook attaches easily and quickly to your pet's collar or harness. Clear umbrella body allows full view of pet.
Pet owners need not feel left out -
Pet Umbrella is also available with its matching People Umbrella
The PayPal Buyer Protection is supposed to protect eBay auction winners from fraud by covering transactions to a value of $500 dollars.
A rather serious problem however, comes to light when you try to make a claim, as Bill Felkner from Rhode Island found out, the hard way.
Bill Felkner bid on some autographed football cards in an eBay auction and won. He paid $472 dollars through PayPal, safe in the knowledge the transaction deal with the seller would be sound.
However all Bill Felkner got in the post was an empty envelope. He said,
"When I contacted PayPal, they have a form you fill out and the second line on the form says, 'Did you receive anything? Click 'yes' even if it was empty,'. But this automatically disqualifies you from the protection program as it is now a dispute-of-goods issue and not a non-receipt issue. It's an automatic disqualification from protection if you receive anything, even if it's an empty envelope. They don't want to talk about it, so really you're left to deal with the seller."
The guys at Tom's Hardware Guide managed to get a P4 running at a blistering 5.255GHz! All it required was a constant supply of liquid nitrogen. As you can see from the picture, temperatures of -190°C can cause things to get a little icy. Read the full story here, there is a also a video to accompany the article.
For a measly £5 trillion all of Britain can be yours.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) whipped up a price tag for the United Kingdom -- that's Britain, comprising England, Wales, Scotland, plus Northern Ireland -- in a year-end tally of the nation's capital assets.
The precise figure is 4.983 trillion pounds, or 84,760.47 pounds for every man, woman and child as of April 2001.
The value of buildings, vehicles, machinery, bridges, roads, shares and bank accounts are included in the total, which is based on 2002 data.
For comparative purposes, five trillion pounds can also buy:
# 41.5 million Boeing 747 airliners
# 7.9 trillion tins of Imperial Beluga caviar from Fortnum and Mason, the central London grocer to the aristocracy
# 14,655 trillion Kit Kat candy bars
Personally I like this comparison:
# 2,516 trillion pints of ale, or nearly 43 million pints of beer for everyone in the country.
Find the Time magazine cover for the week that you were born.
The archive contains every cover from 1923 to the present day. You can also look through popular collections such as covers featuring Internet related topics, AIDS, actors and events such as wars. There is also an option to buy a framed copy of any of the 4,000 covers featured in the archive.
My cover, seen on the right, is pretty boring. What features on your cover?
BBC: World record attempt DJ collapses
Malaysian DJ Maverick Teh has been taken to hospital after claiming a new world record for spinning discs non-stop for 79 hours and five minutes. The DJ collapsed one hour short of passing an unofficial 80 hour record set earlier by US DJ Buddy Love.
Maverick was taken for medical treatment and his team told the BBC that he had been put on a drip suffering from suspected dehydration.
He broke the official 74 hour record on Monday at The Rooftop in Kuala Lumpur.
Playing a mix of techno, house and chill-out and sustained by coffee and honey, the rules set by Guinness World Records only allowed him a 15 minute break every eight hours and a gap of no more than 10 seconds between tracks.
After passing the 74 hour mark at the decks, Maverick told the BBC he was extremely tired, however he said that when he got home he would probably put some techno on his stereo before crashing out.
LawGeek: File-Sharing Has No Effect on Record Xmas Movie Profits
...it shocks me every time I see an article like this, touting record profits in Hollywood, and then the next day I hear yet another accusation from 90210 decrying how piracy is killing the entertainment industry. Which story is it, people?
I too wonder how the movie industry can claim that piracy is killing the industry yet are making record profits.
Got $6,000,000 burning a hole in your pocket. Why not invest it in your very own aircraft carrier? It can accommodate 1,300 men which means that it would be a great venue for a party! With all his planes this is something that John Travolta would probably be interested in. [via Fables of the Reconstruction]
B.A.B.E.S. (Bay Area Bug Eating Society) is a site dedicated to those who like to participate in entomophagy, or bug eating. The site contains article on bug eating, delicious recipes and links to books. An example recipe is:
Deep Fried Bug
Heat up the grease. When it sizzles, put in some bugs. Cook until crisp. Lay them out on a paper towel to drain. Eat with your favorite condiment.
Mmmm... delicious. Almost beats the deep fried tarantula I posted about the other day. And if you ever plan on feasting on something that you find in your garden remember this piece of advice:
It is not the greatest idea to eat raw bugs. They could have parasites. If you would like to safely eat earthworms, soak them for a day (until their digestive track is cleared of soil). Then, sautee them in a frying pan with some garlic and maybe a little lemon. Serve hot.
The Financial Times presents the Year In Pictures (Requires Flash).
A Liberian militia commander loyal to the government exults after firing a rocket-propelled grenade at rebel forces at a key strategic bridge July 20 in Monrovia, Liberia.
Local6: World's Largest Snake Caught
Indonesian villagers claim to have captured a python that is almost 49.21 feet long and weighs nearly 992.07 pounds, an official said Monday. If confirmed, it would be the largest snake ever kept in captivity.
Hundreds of people have flocked to see the snake at a primitive zoo in Curugsewu village on the country's main island of Java, Republika reported. It splashed two large pictures of the reptile across its back page.
Local government official Rachmat said the reticulated python measured 49 feet and weighed in at 985 pounds.
The Guinness Book of World Records lists the longest ever captured snake to be 32 feet. The heaviest -- a Burmese Python kept in Gurnee, Illinois -- weighs 403 pounds, the book said on its Web site.
Rebublika said the snake, which was caught last year but only recently put on public display, eats three or four dogs a month.
Reticulated pythons are the world's longest snakes. They are capable of eating animals as large as sheep, and have been known to attack and consume humans. The species is native to the swamps and jungles of Southeast Asia.
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Floaty Industries has a large selection of floaty pens (also known as float pens, floating action pens, tilt pens, strip pens, glitter pens, or photoramic pens) including the OJ Simpson chase pictured above. Not only do they make floaty pens but the also make floaty keyrings and floaty toothbrushes.
If you can afford it you can even have your own floaty pens custom made for you.
Ananova: Student bets on himself to date Kylie Minogue
Brett Allen, from Canterbury, Kent, has bet £25 on himself achieving the feat over the next 12 months and was flattered to find that a bookmaker gave him "generous" odds of 100/1.
He said: "100/1 sounds like I would have a good chance. It's nice to think that I have got a much better chance of dating Kylie than winning the lottery."
"I have a bit of a reputation with some people at my university for being a ladies' man, hence the idea for the bet."
However, the student - who could have £2,500 to spend on his dream date if he wins - conceded that he had yet to hatch a detailed plan for meeting the Australian beauty.
"I am not a nutter and I will not follow her around everywhere but if the chance comes up to meet her then I will take it. But I won't use chat up lines as girls don't go for them," he said.
Bookmaker William Hill, who took the bet from Mr Allen, said he would have to spend a minimum of two hours on a date with the star in 2004 for them to pay out on the bet.
The Telegraph: Disney 'copied my idea for Nemo' claims French author
A young French author is taking on the Disney corporation, claiming that it copied his idea for a lovable cartoon fish in its hit film Finding Nemo. Franck le Calvez says that the clown fish, whose antics are delighting children everywhere, bears an uncanny resemblance to his creation, Pierrot Le Poisson-Clown, which he claims he dreamed up in 1995.
He is now suing Walt Disney Pictures and its distribution company, claiming damages for breach of copyright and trademark, and demanding they withdraw Nemo books and merchandise from French shops. Disney has hired five lawyers to fight the case.
Mr le Calvez, 33, who is also a marine lawyer, suspected something fishy was going on when he learned of the Disney movie's release in the US earlier this year. It was not simply the uncanny physical likeness - white stripes, large, bulging orange eyes - between Nemo and Pierrot, which he created when he was a student and aspiring film-maker.
Considering that one clown fish probably looks much like another, he reasoned that the resemblance could have been coincidental. But the plot seemed strangely familiar, too. In Finding Nemo, the fish lives in an anemone and loses his mother when she is swallowed by a predator. Pierrot also lives in an anemone and is blighted when his father falls prey to a scorpion fish. One of the characters Pierrot encounters is a cleaning prawn. A cleaning prawn also turns up during Nemo's odyssey.
Disney denies plagiarism and says Nemo is 100 per cent original. "The proposed legal action is completely unfounded. Nemo is an independent creation and poses no breach of copyright or trademark," said a company spokesman.
CNN: 2-year-old model seeks lost wages
A 2-year-old model and actor who cut his head at a playground is seeking unspecified lost wages and other compensation from the city.
Konrad Mader of Greenwich was running toward a treehouse at a playground November 4 when he crashed into a railing.
Deena Mader, the boy's mother, did not specify how much she is seeking on behalf of her son.
In a letter to officials, she demanded compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering and a "lost wage amount due to his inability to audition or take modeling or commercial jobs while his head heals."
Mader blamed the boy's injury on a green railing, which she said blends in with the landscaping. Mader said the railing should be painted a brighter color.
Whilst reading the Independent on Sunday today I learned about the origins of the drink 7-UP:
Created in 1929 as a hangover cure, this fizzy drink was at first called Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda, the pronunciation of which would test any morning-after drinker. Its less than catchy name aside, the inventor, Charles Leiper Grigg, and his Howdy Company had the ill-luck to launch it just a couple of weeks before the Wall Street crash. It survived, prospered, and by 1936 was renamed 7-Up. Its first slogan was: "It takes the ouch out of grouch."
If Walter Fischer forgets his glasses when he shops for groceries at the Adeg supermarket on the outskirts of Salzburg it is not a problem.
"I don't have to bend down to see the prices on the lower shelves," said Fischer, 48. "The tags are big enough that the prices are easy to read."
If he still has trouble, he can borrow a pair of reading glasses from the store, or reach for one of the magnifying glasses hanging from a chain in the grocery aisles and dairy cases.
The Adeg Aktiv Markt 50+ is the first European supermarket designed for shoppers over 50. The labels are big, the aisles are wide, the floors are nonskid and there are plenty of places to sit.
Some of the store's appealing differences, which would hardly surprise American shoppers, are neatly stocked shelves with attractive goods - a contrast to some European supermarkets where products are slid onto shelves in cardboard trays.
The store will also mush any food upon request. [via International Herald Tribune]
For those who have more money than sense, the SilverTAG Shower costs a mere $120,000 but is is customised to fit your own unique personal profile.
The SilverTAG Shower uses and reinterprets traditional European hydrotherapies, including varying temperatures and pressure, to simulate the feeling of showering under a waterfall and other cardio-gymnastic effects. It's 100 percent customized for each client's body shape and size. The design also takes into account recurring areas of tension and/or discomfort and overall stress level. (The process of compiling the personal profile for a SilverTAG Shower is not unlike being interviewed by a psychiatrist.)
Inside the shower, a touch-screen panel allows the user to select up to six different reprogrammable shower frequencies and experiences, using 18 showerheads that target six different zones of the body. You can choose "Tonic," in which the water temperature increases gradually from warm to hot, relaxing your muscles, before suddenly turning cool, like an invigorating dip in the pool, and then hot again, deepening the muscle relaxation still further. Or "Anti-Stress," in which strong jets of water start on your shoulders and then slowly move up and down your body, eliminating muscle tension. And Galyean is introducing a new sequence, which he claims will reduce cellulite by using a series of pressure variations to increase circulation.
Read more here.