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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Growing for gold ... ring on vegetable

A WOMAN who lost her wedding ring 16 years ago has found it — around a carrot growing in her garden.

Lena Paahlsson had taken off the white gold band and put it on the side before a Christmas baking session with her daughters in 1995.

But it vanished and despite a frantic search — even pulling up floorboards — Lena never thought she would see it again. But she was picking carrots when she spotted one with the ring wrapped around it.

She and husband Ola, who live on a farm in northern Sweden, now believe the ring must have fallen into the sink and been mixed with potato peelings that were composted and put on the garden. Lena said: “I had given up hope.”

Golden ... Ola and Lena Paahlsson with ring
Friday, June 29, 2012

The lithium ion battery is applied in layers, each of which is an aerosol paint, leading to possible solar-energy applications

AEROSOL ELECTRODES: Researchers Charudatta Galande, Pulickel Ajayan and Neelam Singh display a test device for their paintable batteries, a grid of nine ceramic tiles combined with a solar cell and an LED array.Image: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

Perhaps someday you'll need to go to the store because you ran out of cathode paint. A team of researchers has just announced a new paint-on battery design. The technique could change the way batteries are produced and eliminate restrictions on the surfaces used for energy storage.

The paint-on battery, like all lithium ion batteries, consists of five layers: a positive current collector, a cathode that attracts positively charged ions, an ion-conducting separator, an anode to attract negative ions, and a negative current collector. For each layer, the challenge was to find a way to mix the electrically conductive material with various polymers to create a paint that could be sprayed onto surfaces.
Neelam Singh, a member of the team of materials scientists and chemists from Rice University in Houston and Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium and lead author of the paper, says, "It was really exciting to find out. Can we really paint a battery on various surfaces and convert any object into a storage device?"
Singh says her team's work is filling a need in the socially critical field of energy storage for new battery designs. "We find that the focus of research is now shifting towards integration of batteries," she says. That is, people are trying to design batteries that can be built into a variety of different objects. Several teams are working to make thin and flexible batteries as well as batteries that can be incorporated into textiles. Solar energy is one of the applications that researchers are particularly interested in. Solar panels can require large surface areas, and the Rice team's design is an efficient way to collect and store energy in this realm.

To test their design, they applied the battery paints onto ceramic bathroom tiles, glass, a flexible transparency film, stainless steel and the side of a beer stein. In each case, the battery worked. In one experiment, they hooked a solar cell to one of the batteries and powered an LED display.
Singh said the biggest challenge was to make a battery that was both stable and powerful: "It was not very easy to get all the layers on top of each other without interfering with their capacity or compromising the performance of the battery." There were safety concerns as well. Many lithium ion batteries use aluminum as a positive current collector, but aluminum microparticles can be lung irritants, so using them in aerosol paint would be hazardous. Instead, the researchers relied on carbon nanotubes.

Lithium cobalt oxide was used as the cathode, commercially available gel electrolytes as the separator, lithium titanium oxide as the anode, and copper as the negative current collector. The approach is detailed in the June 28 issue of Scientific Reports. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.)

Singh thinks that the Rice team's battery is a game-changer because it is energy efficient for its volume and can be applied to objects of many different compositions and shapes.
Vilas Pol, a materials scientist at Argonne National Laboratory who was not affiliated with the study, agrees that the new design is exciting, describing it as "an exceptional and notable concept in the arena of battery design and integration."
But for now paint-on batteries are not quite ready to hit the shelves at your local hardware store. For one, the electrolyte separator layer is not yet oxygen stable. It would explode if it came into contact with air, so special conditions are necessary when creating the battery.
Singh says the team currently is working to make all the materials less reactive to air and moisture and more environmentally friendly. She adds that other groups are working on developing paint-on solar cells. Then, she envisions "paintable solar cells on top of paintable solar batteries." Houses could become solar-energy capture-and-storage devices.

The world's first heated butter knife

Cutting edge ... the world's first heated knife Solent News & Photo Agency Published: 28th June 2012

THIS is the world’s first knife with a HEATED blade, designed to solve the age old problem of spreading cold butter.

A button on the handle heats the knife to 41.8 degrees Celsius — which has been proven to be the optimum butter-spreading temperature.

Researchers created the knife with bread baker Warburtons after a survey found it is the most desired breakfast innovation.

Butter not spreading properly is one of our top five breakfast nuisances along with burnt toast and cold tea, a poll said.

The world's first heated butter knife

Hot knife ... spreading issues will be a thing of the past

Solent News & Photo Agency

The survey of 3,000 people revealed 1 per cent of Brits — all of them men — have even resorted to heating the spread with a hair dryer to combat the problem.

The new knife will perfectly cover a slice in butter in less than 30 seconds.

Stuart Jones, from Warburtons, said: “We’ve fine-tuned the knife’s specifications to ensure the speediest heat-up and perfect temperature for spreading and we’re thrilled with how well it works.

“It made complete sense to develop a tool to help busy Brits achieve the perfect even-spread on their toast, even when using butter straight from the fridge.

“Baking is a blend of expert craft and science and to make the perfect piece of toast it is essential to use a good-quality loaf that offers butterability.”

The baker has yet to set a date for production.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


WindowTabs 2012.5.25 | 5.48 MB
Mirrors : Letitbit | Extabit | RapidGator
WindowTabs runs in the background and attaches a tab to each of your application windows. Drag one tab onto another and create a tabbed group. By organizing your windows into logically related groups, you can more easily manage a large number of open windows.
The Window Tab
WindowTabs attaches a small tab to the top of each window on your desktop. The tab is positioned above the top left corner for normal windows and is centered for maximized windows. The tab displays the icon and title of the window it’s attached to.
Dragging a Tab
When you click and drag a tab, the window shrinks and becomes translucent which makes it easier for you to see where you are dragging the window.
Combining Windows into Groups
Combine windows together into groups by dragging one tab over another. Grouping your windows together makes them easier to manage because you can move, size, minimize and maximize the entire group instead of having to manage each window by itself.
Download (Letitbit)
Download (Extabit)
Download (RapidGator)
Wednesday, June 20, 2012

District Attorney Heather McMinn, left, and Lavaca County Sheriff Mica Harmon at a news conference in Halletsville, Texas on 19 June 2012

At a news conference, Lavaca County officials played the father's distraught 911 call

A US father who found his five-year-old daughter being raped, then beat the attacker to death will not be charged, prosecutors have said.

The 23-year-old man told police he found the girl being assaulted on Saturday 9 June by Jesus Mora Flores in a rural part of southern Texas.

A grand jury has declined to indict the man, finding that he was allowed to use deadly force to protect his daughter.

The father has not been named to protect the identity of his daughter.

The Lavaca County district attorney and sheriff announced the man would not face charges, as they held a news conference on Tuesday.

“Start Quote

Come on! This guy is going to die on me! I don't know what to do!”

Father's 911 call

A witness who saw Flores abducting the girl to a remote spot raised the alarm, said a statement by the district attorney.

The father ran towards his daughter's screams and as he found her being attacked, "inflicted several blows to the man's head and neck area", said investigators.

A recording of the father's 911 telephone call was played at the news conference in which he tells a dispatcher he beat up a man he found raping his daughter.

As police struggle to locate the family ranch, the father swears and tells the dispatcher: "Come on! This guy is going to die on me! I don't know what to do!"

Emergency crews who responded to the father's 911 call found Flores' trousers and underwear pulled down on his lifeless body.

A medical examination of the girl at hospital backed up the father's story that she had been sexually assaulted, said prosecutors.

The father was not arrested, but was investigated for homicide.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


It was anything the villagers had ever seen. The young news reporter who arrived on the scene was quick to point out that the "mysterious mushroom" felt "meaty". Meaty, sure, but that ain't no mushroom.

On June 17, Chinese investigative news program Xi'an Up Close reported about a "mysterious mushroom" discovered in the rural part of Liucunbu, outside the capital of Shaanxi province while digging for a new well.

Wondering what it was, the villagers kept their mysterious discovery in a bucket of water and occasionally poked it. That is, with their fingers.

"When we dug down to about 80m deep, we fished out this long, fleshy object," one villager told reporter Ye Yunfeng (via Shingaiist) It's got a nose and an eye, but we have no idea what it is!"

The villager added that even his 80 year-old neighbor has never seen anything like this before.

"As we can all see, this looks like a type of fungus, on both ends of which you'll find mushroom heads," said the reporter.

"On this side, you can see what looks like a pair of lips. And on that side, there is a tiny hole which extends all the way back to this side. The object looks very shiny, and it feels very fleshy and meaty too."

Unknown to the villagers, what they had actually discovered was a male masturbation aid. The "pair of lips" represents a vagina, and the "tiny hole" represents an anus.

Still, the villagers had their own theories, thinking that they'd found a type of lingzhi mushroom; the reporter seemed to agree, adding that the lingzhi mushroom can be found in the region and even was a secret to longevity.

The news report quickly went viral in China and the rest of Asia as people online knew this was no mystery and pointed out that the villagers had discovered a sex toy; this program seemed to have no idea what it filmed.

The show, however, issued a correction, trying to pawn off the mistake on the reporter who is "still very young and unwise to the ways of the world" (an unfair excuse because the reporter most certainly had a crew, an editor, a producer and others involved in the story—this was not rogue sex toy confusion). The program added, "We'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for your criticism and correction. Please forgive our oversight!"

"Mystery mushroom" which leaves Xi'an villagers befuddled turns out to be artificial vajayjay [Shangaiist]

Sunday, June 17, 2012

According to the study, men with an unhealthy lifestyle produce just as many swimming sperm as those who live more healthily.

That is contrary to current UK guidelines, which advise doctors to warn men experiencing fertility problems to avoid tobacco, alcohol, recreational drugs and overeating in a bid to increase sperm quality and quantity.

Scientists at northern England's University of Manchester and University of Sheffield conducted a study of 2,249 men from around the UK and asked them to answer a detailed questionnaire about their lifestyle.

The questionnaire results of the 939 men who produced low numbers of swimming sperm were compared to the 1,310 men who produced higher numbers.


The study found that the men with low swimming sperm were 2.5 times more likely to have undergone testicular surgery, twice as likely to be of black ethnicity and 1.3 times more likely to be employed in manual work.

The group also was 1.3 times more likely to wear briefs rather than boxers, according to the report published in the Human Reproduction journal.

Study leader Dr. Andrew Povey, of the University of Manchester, said of the results, "This potentially overturns much of the current advice given to men about how they might improve their fertility and suggests that many common lifestyle risks may not be as important as we previously thought."

Prof Nicola Cherry, who also worked on the study, said the higher risk found in manual workers was "consistent with earlier findings that chemicals at work could affect sperm and that men should continue to keep work exposures as low as possible."

  • Woman eats cooked squid in South Korea
  • Doctors confirmed baby cephalopods in mouth 
  • Bizarre claims in a scientific paper

A 63-year-old woman became 'pregnant' with 12 baby squid after eating calamari, according to a claim in a bio-tech report.

The real-life 'octo-mum', from South Korea, was eating a portion of cooked whole squid when she felt a sharp pain in her mouth.

The bizarre claim has been made in a scientific paper from the National Centre for Biotechnology Information in Bethesda, Maryland.

The lady told doctors that she could feel something in her mouth which they described as 'bug-like organisms'.

When examined, the doctors found 'baby cephalopods' attached to her mouth. These are small pods, covered in a cement-like material to make them stick.

Inside the pods is an 'ejaculatory apparatus' and sperm - with the apparatus expelling the sperm quite forcefully.

After the victim of the 'attack' was hospitalised, doctors removed the baby cephalopods from her gums, tongue and cheek. It was only then that the pods were formally identified as 'squid spermatophores.'


The Centre's paper says: 'She did not swallow the portion, but spat it out immediately. She complained of a pricking and foreign-body sensation in the oral cavity.

'Twelve small, white spindle-shaped, bug-like organisms stuck in the mucous membrane of the tongue, cheek, and gingiva [gums] were completely removed, along with the affected mucosa.

'On the basis of their morphology and the presence of the sperm bag, the foreign bodies were identified as squid spermatophores.'

According to Science 2.0, a spermatophore is similar to a cup of semen.

The site adds that there is still mystery around how spermatophores are implanted into the skin.

A similar case was reported in December last year when a woman in Japan suffered severe pains in her mouth after eating raw squid.

She took the remaining piece of squid with her to the Tosei General Hospital, the NCBI reports, and sperm bags were removed.

Incidents involving the impregnation of human mouths appear to be confined to the Far East where, generally, more raw fish is eaten.

When squid is prepared in the west, internal organs are removed meaning there is no risk of eating spermatophores.

Danna Staaf, a squid enthusiast from Science 2.0, said: 'The skin on your hands, and most of the rest of your body, is much too thick to get stuck.

'I've probably had hundreds of spermatophores ejaculate on my fingers and never felt a sting.'

According to the Biological Bulletin 'Spermatophores are either transferred to the female by the male's hectocotylus, a specialised arm, or by a long penis, which is present in species that lack hectocotyli.

'After being discharged from the spermatophore in the spermatophoric reaction, the sperm mass is encased in a thin covering, with the cement body at one end.

'This discharged structure, the spermatangium, may attach to the skin of the female or be deeply embedded in her skin or muscle.'

The reproduction of deep-sea squids is still something of a mystery simply because their habitat is hard to get to.


Funnyjunk logo VS

Background: the previous entries in our coverage of Charles Carreon's bizarre and contemptible behavior on behalf of his client, FunnyJunk, against The Oatmeal can be found here at Part I, Part II, and Part III.

On Friday, June 15, 2012, attorney Charles Carreon passed from mundane short-term internet notoriety into a sort of legal cartoon-supervillainy.

He transcended typical internet infamy when he filed a federal lawsuit last Friday in the United Sates District Court for the Northern District of California in Oakland. He belonged to the ages the moment he filed that lawsuit not only against Matthew Inman, proprietor of The Oatmeal, but also against IndieGoGo Inc., the company that hosted Inman's ridiculously effective fundraiser for the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society.

But that level of censorious litigiousness was not enough for Charles Carreon. He sought something more. And so, on that same Friday, Charles Carreon also sued the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society, the beneficiaries of Matthew Inman's fundraiser.

Yes. Charles Carreon, butthurt that someone had leveraged his douchebaggery into almost two hundred thousand dollars of donations to two worthy charities, sued the charities.

I learned of this from Kevin Underhill, a Northern California attorney and proprietor of Lowering the Bar. If you don't already have Lowering the Bar in your RSS feed or your bookmarks, go put it there now. Now. There is no better site on the internet for simultaneously teaching and entertaining about the legal system.

Kevin emailed me because he spotted a notice from Courthouse News Service that Carreon had filed suit on Friday. The suit is not available on PACER as of the time of this writing. Here's what little Kevin found, and told me, from CNS:

1. The lawsuit is captioned Charles Carreon v. Matthew Inman; IndieGogo Inc.; National Wildlife Federation; American Cancer Society; and Does [Does are as-of-yet-unnamed defendants], Case No. 4:12 cv 3112 DMR.

2. Charles Carreon appears as "attorney pro se," meaning "I am attorney but am representing only myself" and "I will continue to wreak havoc until forcibly medicated."

3. CNS included the following description of the case, which is most likely drafted by CNS upon review of the complaint: "Trademark infringement and incitement to cyber-vandalism. Defendants Inman and IndieGogo are commercial fundraisers that failed to file disclosures or annual reports. Inman launched a Bear Love campaign, which purports to raise money for defendant charitable organizations, but was really designed to revile plaintiff and his client,, and to initiate a campaign of "trolling" and cybervandalism against them, which has caused people to hack Inman's computer and falsely impersonate him. The campaign included obscenities, an obscene comics and a false accusation that FunnyJunk "stole a bunch of my comics and hosted them." Inman runs the comedy website The Oatmeal."

Now, that summary, most likely written by CNS, may be flawed; thorough analysis must await getting a copy of the complaint. But to the extent the summary is accurate, it suggests a number of patent defects in the complaint. First of all, Carreon — appearing pro se — doesn't have standing to sue for false statements against FunnyJunk, or for trademark violations against FunnyJunk. Second, if the "trademark infringement" is premised on the notion that The Oatmeal violated Charles Carreon's trademark in his own name by criticizing him, it is knowingly frivolous for the reasons set forth in the excellent letter Mr. Inman's attorney sent. Inman's discussion of Charles Carreon was self-evidently on its face classicnominative fair use, because it named him to shame him and not to make commercial use of his name. Similarly, I can say that Charles Carreon remains a petulant, amoral, censorious douchebag without violating his trademark because that's nominative, not commercial.

Further analysis must await review of the complaint, which should be available to the public soon. Note that there is no way to tell yet — without the complaint — the causes of action he has levied against the charities. He may have sued them only for injunctive or declaratory relief.

Friday, June 15, 2012

During a local festival in one of the remote areas in the Northeastern India, the enthusiasm and energy of the crowd was replaced by terror and panic as the residents were said to be attacked by swarms of giant spiders which “suddenly descended from nowhere and started biting people”.

tarantula2 500x329 Poisonous Spiders Invade Indian Village picture

Scientists weren’t able to identify the spiders but they said that the insects resembled those of the previously unknown species of tarantula. They also added that the tarantulas which reside in the region are not poisonous.

Jintu Gogoi, a local resident, said that the “festive mood turned into panic”. He added, “People bumped into each other and tripped over empty benches trying to escape.” The people who were bitten experienced and suffered from nausea, extreme pain, and shock. One resident even said that after his finger was bitten, it turned black and swollen.  A middle aged man and a male teenager also died from the incident even after they were rushed to the hospital.

Health officials, however, strongly believe that the death of the two people was due to medical malpractice and not because of the spider’s venomous poison.

Meanwhile, the real reason behind the death of the two people was not discovered because their bodies were ‘traditionally cremated’ so doing an autopsy was not made possible.

According to Dr. Anil Phapowali, the others who were also attacked that day were treated and survived by giving them antibiotics frequently. Also, local witch doctors say that using razor blades to drain the wounds that cause infections was what they did to the other attacked people.

After the incident, the local residents were advised to stay indoors and monitor their mud-and-thatch huts often. Also, spraying insecticide around the area was encouraged by the local officials as part of the precautionary measures.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Stiltwalker is a proof of concept tool that defeats Google's reCAPTCHA with an insanely high accuracy (99%). We have released all of our research, code, tools and examples used in the reCAPTCHA domination. You can get the slides here and the video is at the bottom of the page.

We accomplished this with a combination of Machine Learning, hashing methods, keyspace reduction tactics, and taking advantage of an overall limited number of captchas. Specifically, Stiltwalker goes head to head against reCAPTCHA'S audio captcha system and defeats all but a sliver of it's challenges.

For all questions, comments, and fuckyous, please email the team at

We developed everything using Ubuntu 10.04, Ubuntu 11.04, and Debian 6, however it should work on any Linux distribution without too much effort. The one thing we noticed when testing it on Ubuntu 12.04 is that it comes with a slightly different version of SoX, which has some changes which drops accuracy from 99% to around 60%. So for best results, you'll want to use SoX v14.3.0 (or v14.3.1), but we'd advice to steer clear of v14.3.2 unless you want to collect tens of

Broken pole repaired by China's Telecom with adhesive tapes

Recently, a pole with telecommunication cables was knocked down by some vehicle inside a public park in Guilin city of southwest China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, but China’s state-owned telecommunication company only used the company’s adhesive tapes and some iron wires to bind the broken parts together.

The customer service center of the company explained that the administrative office of the public park asked for a high cost for replacing the pole, so their maintainers held up the pole with the wires and tapes temporarily.

They also added that they have worked to negotiate with the park’s administrative office for an earlier replacement of the pole.

The company’s adhesive tapes were used only as a warning signal.” And responding to the hidden danger, the customer service center argued, “The pole won’t fall down, because it is not overburdened and the cables above keep its balance too.

The broken pole has been erected like that at the park for a while, and its photos have been widespread on Chinese major BBS forums too, causing quite a stir.

A netizen joked, “The tape is in very good quality!! I would like to buy some of them home, and wind it around our jerry-built building.

Broken pole repaired by China's Telecom with adhesive tapes claims the copyright of all material produced originally by us. This material includes, but is not limited to, the text, design, layout, look, and graphics. All rights reserved. Reproduction is prohibited other than in accordance with our copyright notice that reproduction is for non-commercial purposes only, and both the source and author are acknowledged with a notifying email sending to us too. For more information on Terms and Conditions, please check out here.

AMC-Dish dispute heats up

A fight between satellite broadcaster Dish and AMC Network made watching "The Killing" a challenge for subscribers. Above, a scene from TV series. (AMC / June 4, 2012)

By Joe Flint

June 4, 2012, 3:59 p.m.

The fight between satellite broadcaster Dish Network and AMC Networks -- parent of cable channels AMC, Sundance and WE -- took a nasty turn on Sunday night.

AMC landed the first blow when it ran a spot in its critically acclaimed drama "Mad Men" alerting viewers that Dish was planning to drop the channel at the end of the month. AMC suggested its viewers call Dish to complain. It also gave the address to a website where people could email Dish as well as learn what AMC said was the "real reason" Dish is dropping AMC-owned channels. AMC Networks had previously said that Dish was dropping the channels because of an unrelated legal dispute the two companies are involved in. Dish has said its decision is solely based on ratings.

Dish didn't wait long before retaliating. Less than two hours after AMC's "Mad Men" notice ran, Dish relocated AMC from Channel 130 to Channel 9069 -- without warning its subscribers of its plans. People watching AMC's "The Killing" saw their screens go black. When the picture returned, AMC had been replaced by Mark Cuban's HD Net, which was showing a Nickelback concert.

Frustrated viewers had to call Dish to find out where AMC had been moved to. Some of Dish's operators did not even know themselves that the channel had been relocated or where it had gone. (Typically, when a distributor is going to move a channel, subscribers are given notice several days if not weeks in advance.) AMC's other channels were also moved to the 9000 block.

In a statement, AMC Networks said, "It is unfortunate that, in retaliation for an unrelated lawsuit, DISH is punishing its customers by threatening to drop the AMC Networks, and with this sudden, dramatic change in channel position, making it extremely difficult for their customers to find and watch some of the most popular and acclaimed shows on television."

AMC said Dish has already dropped the Sundance Channel from its systems. Ironically, the cover of the June programming guide Dish sends to subscribers features a teaser promoting an article about a new Sundance series called "Push Girls," about women who have not let paralysis stand in the way of living a full life.

A Dish spokesman said the channels were moved to a location better suited to their ratings performance.


It's her party - and she'll invite everyone on Facebook if she wants to.

A 16-year-old girl in Germany ditched her own party after she forgot to set the privacy settings on the invitation and accidentally invited . well everybody.

The mistake began when the birthday girl, identified as Thessa, published an invitation meant to invite only a few friends over to her house. Instead, 15,000 people checked that they would be there - and her parents promptly cancelled the party.

Despite the party-pooper parents, more than 1,500 guests and 100 police officers showed up at the party, with some partygoers even holding up signs asking "Where is Thessa?" and bringing birthday presents and cake.

In response to the presence of police, some revelers even chanting "Thessa, celebrating a birthday is not a crime."

Police spokesman Mirko Streiber labeled the party as "a hit".

"It was sheer insanity but mostly peaceful," he said.

Thessa, who spent the party at her grandparents' house, isn't the first birthday girl to mistakenly invite more than her house could hold to party.

In 2010, 14-year-old Rebecca Javeleau had to cancel her birthday bash after more than 21,000 people clicked "yes" on her invitation - including fake accounts for Justin Bieber, Susan Boyle and Professor Stephen Hawking, the Telegraph reported at the time.

Last February, a family in England came home to find their home trashed after their 15-year-old daughter advertised a small party for her friends - and more than 50 people arrived.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: swans, geese, and other large waterfowl are not to be trifled with — especially when they're defending a nest. According to the BBC:

Anthony Hensley, 37, worked for a company that provided swans to keep geese away from property.

On Saturday morning, the married father of two set out in a kayak across a pond at a residential complex in Des Plaines, just outside Chicago, where he was tending the birds.

One of the swans charged his boat, capsizing it... Mr Hensley tried to swim to shore but eyewitnesses told the sheriff's investigators the swan appeared to have actively blocked him.

It is thought that Hensley's clothes, shoes, and position in the water rendered him unable to overpower the swan.

According to Chris Perrins, Her Majesty's Swan Warden and retired Oxford ornithologist, such behavior is typical of the intimidating, thirty-pound birds, especially in paired males that have established their springtime nests. Notes Perrins, "They do fairly vigorously defend their little patch this time of year. Once the eggs are hatched he'll stay with the family and defend it."

That's it. Game over. You will never have a wedding ring cooler than that of redditor laporkenstein. Not only did he fashion the band himself, in the formidable fires of... well... his garage — he forged the damn thing out of a chunk of meteorite. (A Gibeon meteorite, to be exact.) Laporkenstein... you, sir, are a DIY luminary.

All told, laporkenstein says it took him about four days to craft the ring, using "the same techniques employed to make samurai swords" (by which, we assume, he means the layered metalworking techniques similar to those used in the production of Damascus steel). We've picked out a few examples from his series of over 40 pictures documenting the forging process, but you'll definitely want to check out the entire album over on imgur.

This guy hand-forged his own wedding ring. OUT OF A METEORITE.


This guy hand-forged his own wedding ring. OUT OF A METEORITE.Cutting the meteorite with bandsaw

This guy hand-forged his own wedding ring. OUT OF A METEORITE.The original chunk, showing how it's solid metal

This guy hand-forged his own wedding ring. OUT OF A METEORITE.Meteorite chunk being heated

This guy hand-forged his own wedding ring. OUT OF A METEORITE.Meteorite after having been drawn out into bar

This guy hand-forged his own wedding ring. OUT OF A METEORITE.Sandwich of metal slices after having been tack welded

This guy hand-forged his own wedding ring. OUT OF A METEORITE.Hammering

This guy hand-forged his own wedding ring. OUT OF A METEORITE.The heated bar to be wrapped around mandrel

This guy hand-forged his own wedding ring. OUT OF A METEORITE.Hell yeah, look at that! (Losing heat after being wrapped around mandrel)

This guy hand-forged his own wedding ring. OUT OF A METEORITE.Compressing the ring to fit tight (not easy)

This guy hand-forged his own wedding ring. OUT OF A METEORITE.The final stage before etching

This guy hand-forged his own wedding ring. OUT OF A METEORITE.Final ring after etching and patina

[via reddit]


"On Friday, more than 1,300 employees of London-based Aviva Investors walked into their offices, strolled over to their desks, booted up their computers and checked their emails, only to learn the shocking news: They would be leaving the company. The email ordered them to hand over company property and security passes before leaving the building, and left the staff with one final line: 'I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and wish you all the best for the future. 'This email was sent to Aviva's worldwide staff of 1,300 people, with bases in the U.S., UK, France, Spain, Sweden, Canada, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Norway, Poland, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Finland and the Netherlands. And it was all one giant mistake: The email was intended for only one individual."

Neal Stephenson, sci-fi writer mostly known for his books Snowcrash and Cryptonomicon, takes on revolutionizing virtual sword fighting with help of crowdfunding. Inspired by the little-known fictional universe of 'Mongoliad,' an interactive book he is collaborating on, his company is trying to develop hardware (low-latency motion controller) and software for realistic medieval sword fighting. From what is promised, it will try to be open for other developers by having API and SDK available for further modding.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Driving without a blind spot may be closer than it appears

A side-by-side comparison of a standard flat driver's side mirror with the mirror designed by Dr. R. Andrew Hicks, mathematics professor at Drexel University. With minimal distortion, Hicks's mirror shows a much wider field of view (the wide area to the left of the silver car seen in the distance, behind the tree, in this image). Hicks's mirror has a field of view of about 45 degrees, compared to 15 to 17 degrees of view in a flat mirror. Hicks's mirror received a US patent in May 2012. Credit: R. Andrew Hicks, Drexel University

A side mirror that eliminates the dangerous "blind spot" for drivers has now received a U.S. patent. The subtly curved mirror, invented by Drexel University mathematics professor Dr. R. Andrew Hicks, dramatically increases the field of view with minimal distortion.

Traditional flat mirrors on the driver's side of a vehicle give drivers an accurate sense of the distance of cars behind them but have a very narrow field of view. As a result, there is a region of space behind the car, known as the blind spot, that drivers can't see via either the side or rear-view mirror. It's not hard to make a curved mirror that gives a wider field of view – no blind spot – but at the cost of visual distortion and making objects appear smaller and farther away.

Hicks's driver's side mirror has a field of view of about 45 degrees, compared to 15 to 17 degrees of view in a flat driver's side mirror. Unlike in simple curved mirrors that can squash the perceived shape of objects and make straight lines appear curved, in Hicks's mirror the visual distortions of shapes and straight lines are barely detectable.

Hicks, a professor in Drexel's College of Arts and Sciences, designed his mirror using a mathematical algorithm that precisely controls the angle of light bouncing off of the curving mirror.

"Imagine that the mirror's surface is made of many smaller mirrors turned to different angles, like a disco ball," Hicks said. "The algorithm is a set of calculations to manipulate the direction of each face of the metaphorical disco ball so that each ray of light bouncing off the mirror shows the driver a wide, but not-too-distorted, picture of the scene behind him."

Hicks noted that, in reality, the mirror does not look like a disco ball up close. There are tens of thousands of such calculations to produce a mirror that has a smooth, nonuniform curve.

Hicks first described the method used to develop this mirror in Optics Letters in 2008 (

In the United States, regulations dictate that cars coming off of the assembly line must have a flat mirror on the driver's side. Curved mirrors are allowed for cars' passenger-side mirrors only if they include the phrase "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear."

Because of these regulations, Hicks's mirrors will not be installed on new cars sold in the U.S. any time soon. The mirror may be manufactured and sold as an aftermarket product that drivers and mechanics can install on cars after purchase. Some countries in Europe and Asia do allow slightly curved mirrors on new cars. Hicks has received interest from investors and manufacturers who may pursue opportunities to license and produce the mirror.

More information: The U.S. patent, "Wide angle substantially non-distorting mirror" (United States Patent 8180606) was awarded to Drexel University on May 15, 2012.

Journal reference: Optics Letters search and more info website

Provided by Drexel University search and more info

Monday, June 4, 2012

Seagate says that it has reached the milestone of storage density that offers 1 terabit (1 trillion bits) per square inch, using Heat-Assisted Magnetic recording technology that promises a 60TB hard drive within the next decade.

The current highest-capacity internal hard drive that you can buy offers 3TB of storage space, which is huge. Soon you'll be able to put even more data on one, thanks to Seagate's recent achievement in data density.

The hard-drive maker announced today that it has become the first company to achieve the milestone storage density of 1 terabit (1 trillion bits) per square inch, promising to double the current hard-drive's capacity before the end of this decade. The company says its new storage technology will also allow hard drives to reach 60TB capacity within the next decade.

Just so you know how big of a milestone this is, a square inch is about the surface of a medium-size thumb. Now imagine you can put on that tiny area the amount of bit that's much larger than the total number of stars in the  Milky Way, which is estimated to be between 200 and 400 billion.

Seagate says it reached this landmark data density with a new recording technology called heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR). Currently, hard drives use a different recording technology called perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR), which was introduced in 2006 to replace longitudinal recording, a method dated back to the advent of hard drives for computer storage in 1956. PMR has the limit density of close to 1Tb per square inch, which is expected to be reached in the next few years.

Generally, hard-drive manufacturers increase areal density and capacity by shrinking a platter's data bits so that more bits can be put within each square inch of disk space. On top of that, they also tighten the data tracks, the concentric circles on the disk's surface that anchor the bits. The challenge to areal density gains is to do both bit shrinking and track tightening without affecting the bits' magnetization, which would garble data.

According to Seagate, HAMR technology allows for a linear bit density of about 2 million bits per inch, once thought impossible, which results in a data density of just more than 1 trillion bits, or 1 terabit, per square inch. This is about 55 percent higher than today's areal density ceiling of 620 gigabits per square inch.

Seagate says the first generation of HAMR drives will offer some 6TB of storage space in the desktop (3.5 inch) standard and 2TB in the laptop (2.5 inch) standard. Going forward, the technology also offers an unprecedented   scale of capacity growth with a theoretical areal density limit ranging from 5 to 10 terabits per square inch, which translates into capacities from 30TB to 60TB for 3.5-inch drives and 10TB to 20TB for 2.5-inch drives.

4000 books sold is the bar for being on the new york best seller list the bar just got a little lower

Nicole Polizzi Looking Badass

Photo Credit: TSEL / Splash News

Photo: Our fave girl shows off her personal style with these biker-chic fingerless gloves at her book signing in L.A.

While  Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi had landed a spot on the extended New York Times Best-Seller list(debuting at #24 with 4,000 copies sold), her book sales halted soon after that. She's now only sold around 9,000 copies in the book's first month — not great sales for a celeb author, and definitely not good enough to stick around on the Times' coveted book list, even the extended one. Despite her promo frenzy doing book signings and talk shows —  even skippingJersey Shore cast appearances to promote the new season —  the hype around her novel, A Shore Thing, has definitely subsided.
"The book didn't do as well as it could have because rather than a tell-all, it was disguised as a novel," explains a publishing exec.
Well, she's still outselling The Situation's book (which has only sold 12,000 copies since November). Will The Rules According to JWOWW, set for release in February, fare better?
It looks like the Jersey Shore kids found the one product their brand won't stick to.

It is truly a weird world where people around the world mourn the passing of a Soviet era singer who faded into obscurity over 40 years ago until one of his songs was rediscovered and shared globally.


Eduard Khil

Russian baritone Eduard Khil, whose song went viral on the internet in 2010, died in a St. Petersburg hospital at the age of 77.

Khil, a recipient of the People's Artist Award in the Soviet Union, became famous in the West after his song of 50 years ago, I Am So Happy to Finally Be Back Home, which contains no words but only a melody of a series of "tro-lo-los," hit the internet.

The Trololo song, according to Khil had originally featured lyrics describing a cowboy riding a horse to his farm; however, the Soviet Union rejected the lyrics because of the association with American lifestyle.

He was also the first singer to perform Where the Motherland Begins, a song Vladimir Putin performed while playing the piano in 2010 when he was prime minister before guests at a charity event, whose attendees included Sharon Stone, Kevin Costner, Monica Belucci, Vincent Cassel, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Paul Anka, Mickey Rourke, Alain Delon, Ornella Muti, Ingrid, and Gerard Depardieu.

Khil was born in Smolensk on September 4, 1934. He died Monday morning after irreversible damage from a stroke at the end of May.

WTF people


“I’m handicapped! I need a doctor!” “Sir, this is the chairman!” The Louisiana State Republican Convention descended into chaos Saturday morning, with several delegates being arrested and the convention chairman being thrown to the ground by police. Sources report that state party officials panicked when it became clear that Ron Paul delegates commanded a decisive majority of the delegates on the floor – at least 111 of 180 (62%).

The convention began peacefully with a prayer and invocation. Roger Villere, Chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party, then attempted to recognize the former Chair of the Convention’s Rules Committee who had been ousted from his position last night. When Alex Helwig, the newly elected Rules Committee chair, rose to address the delegation, Mr. Villere ordered him removed from the floor. Video footage shows Shreveport police dragging Mr. Helwig out of the room despite his protests that he was a duly elected delegate.

At this point, a motion was made to elect a new convention chairman. Henry Herford, Jr., was elected by an overwhelming majority. Nevertheless, Mr. Villere – who had appointed himself the convention chairman – refused to relinquish control of the gathering. As the delegates began turning their chairs around, Mr. Herford, the newly elected chairman, rose to call the convention to order. Sources report that, in an act of desperation, Mr. Villere and state party officials then ordered police to attack Mr. Herford.

Video footage shows an older gentleman in a blue shirt being violently dragged away by police and then shoved to the ground. When Mr. Herford protests that he is handicapped and would like to press charges for assault against the police officers, a Shreveport police officer is seen smirking in response. Sources report that Mr. Herford, 57, has a prosthetic hip that was dislocated during the assault.

It’s possibly one of the most popular ever memes in the history of the Internet but today it lies in tatters. The Rickroll phenomenon, whereby people are promised one thing but given “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley instead, has been ended by a copyright takedown request by AVG Technologies. It’s a brave move – Rickrolling was invented by 4chan and who knows how they’re going to react.

Anyone who has spent much time online, especially on Internet message boards of any kind, will be aware of Rickrolling.

It’s an incredibly simple concept. The meme is based on a bait and switch, whereby someone posts a hyperlink which allegedly provides content relevant to the current discussion, but in fact leads to the 1987 Rick Astley song “Never Gonna Give You Up” instead.

People who follow these links and end up viewing the song/video are said to have been “Rickrolled” and over the years millions of people have been fooled into doing so. However, those falling into the trap today are being met with something not nearly as entertaining and, if it’s even possible, something that is even more annoying.

Due to a copyright complaint, the original Rickroll video has been removed from YouTube.


Taking down a five-year-old video with tens of millions of views is strange enough, but it is far from clear why AVG Technologies – the people behind AVG Anti-Virus (?) – would want to do so at all.

Hopefully there has been some terrible mistake and everything will be sorted out soon. If not, the consequences could be unpredictable. The Rickroll meme started life on the notorious 4chan message board in 2007 and developed into a worldwide sensation from there, and as we all know that particular community is not known for its patience, nor lack of creativity when it comes to revenge tactics.

This is not the first time that the Rickroll video has been removed though. It was removed by YouTube in 2010 but reinstated shortly afterwards.

TorrentFreak contacted both AVG and Google-owned YouTube for comment and we’ll post their statements here when they arrive.

Pirate Bay Ready For Perpetual IP-Address Whac-A-Mole

Last week The Pirate Bay added a new IP-address which allows users to circumvent the many court-ordered blockades against the site. While this proved to be quite effective, the Hollywood backed anti-piracy group BREIN has already been to court to demand a block against this new address. But that won’t deter The Pirate Bay, who say they are fully prepared for an extended game of whac-a-mole using the hundreds of IP addresses they have available.

pirate bayThe Pirate Bay is arguably the most censored website on the Internet.

Courts all around the world have ordered Internet providers to block subscriber access to the torrent site, and the end is still not in sight.

Within a few days, a new deadline for five UK and five Dutch Internet providers passes. This means that millions more will be unable to access The Pirate Bay, at least, that is the plan.

Last week The Pirate Bay team responded to the blockades by adding a new IP-address. The new location was setup to make it easier for people to start their own dedicated proxy sites, but it also allows blocked Pirate Bay visitors to gain access to the site.

Instead of the normal address they simply go to, bypassing the court order – for the time being at least.

The new IP-address represents a new thorn in the side of Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN, who quickly asked ISPs to censor that too. Unfortunately for them the providers refused to do so, so the group had to go to court once again last week to get the added IP-address blocked as well.

Right before the weekend BREIN succeeded with the court ordering an ex-parte injunction for the new address. However, according to comments coming out of The Pirate Bay, this could just be the start of an extended game of whac-a-mole.

“Let me get the next IP-address lined up,” a Pirate Bay insider told TorrentFreak. “We have hundreds, so let’s see many times they will respond,” he added.

We were told that if the new IP-address is blocked again, they will simply add a new one. This means that BREIN would have to file for another ex-parte injunction, a process that may repeat itself hundreds of times.

The Pirate Bay insider did emphasize that the new IP wasn’t meant for people to bypass the blocks directly, but to make it easier and more safe to create proxy sites. In this regard, it is irrelevant whether the IP-address is blocked or not.

However, it’s well known that The Pirate Bay isn’t averse to a little dueling with anti-piracy outfits, so they’re going to play along.

“Now that I know it’s annoying to BREIN, of course we’ll add more IPs. Every time they get an order, we’ll add a new one, for the next year or so,” TorrentFreak was told.

The result is an almost endless IP-address whac-a-mole.

The Pirate Bay blockades are a good example of how hard it is to completely get a website offline. Even if all Pirate Bay domains and IP-addresses are blocked there are plenty of other ways to access the torrent site, including hundreds of proxy sites.

At the same time, the blockades make The Pirate Bay front page news. As we’ve seen before, this can result in a healthy traffic boost for the deviant torrent site. That begs the question of whether these censorship attempts aren’t doing more ‘harm’ than ‘good’ for copyright holders.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Within his lifetime Cincinnatus became a legend to the Romans. Twice granted supreme power, he held onto it for not a day longer than absolutely necessary.

In 458 BC, the Romans were fighting the Aequi and the Sabines. The consul Minucius Esquilinus had led an army against them, but had been trapped by the Aequians in the Alban Hills and was attempting to fight off a siege. A few Roman horsemen escaped and returned to Rome to tell the senate what had happened. The senate fell into a panic and authorized the other consul for the year, Horatius Pulvillus, to nominate a dictator. Horatius nominated Cincinnatus for a dictatorial term (also known as Magister Populi or "Master of the People") for six months.

A group of senators was sent to tell Cincinnatus that he had been nominated dictator. According to Livy, the senators found Cincinnatus while he was plowing on his farm. Cincinnatus cried out "Is everything all right?" They said to Cincinnatus that they hoped "it might turn out well for both him and his country," and then they asked him to put on his senatorial toga and hear the mandate of the senate. He called to his wife, Racilia, telling her to bring out his toga from their cottage.

When he put on his toga, the senatorial delegation hailed him as dictator, and told him to come to the city. He then crossed the Tiber river in a boat provided by the senate, as his farm was on the far side of the river. When he reached the other side of the Tiber, he was greeted by his three sons and most of the senators. Several lictors were given to him for protection.

The next morning, Cincinnatus went to the Roman forum and nominated as his Master of the Horse (his second in command) Lucius Tarquitius, who was considered one of the finest soldiers in Rome. Cincinnatus then went to the Roman popular assembly and issued an order to the effect that every man of military age should report to the Campus Martius—the Field of Mars, god of war—by the end of the day.

Once the army assembled, Cincinnatus took them to fight the Aequi at the Battle of Mons Algidus. Cincinnatus led the infantry in person, while Tarquitius led the cavalry. The Aequi were surprised by the double attack and were soon cut to pieces. The commanders of the Aequi begged Cincinnatus not to slaughter them all.

Cincinnatus did not want to cause any unnecessary bloodshed, and told the Aequi that he would let them live if they submitted to him and brought their leader, Gracchus Cloelius, and his officers to him in chains. A yoke was set up, made up of three spears, and the Aequi had to pass under it, bowing down while confessing that they had been conquered. After this, the war ended and Cincinnatus disbanded his army. He then resigned his dictatorship and returned to his farm, a mere sixteen days after he had been nominated dictator.

Later events

He came out of retirement again for a second term as dictator (439 BC) to put down a conspiracy of Spurius Maelius, who supposedly was planning to become king. He was nominated by his old friend and relative, Titus Quinctius Capitolinus Barbatus, consul of the year. Maelius was killed immediately when the Master of the Horse was sent to bring him to trial and the incipient coup perished with him. Once more he resigned his commission.

Within his lifetime Cincinnatus became a legend to the Romans. Twice granted supreme power, he held onto it for not a day longer than absolutely necessary. The high esteem in which Cincinnatus was held by his compatriots is best illustrated with an anecdote toward the very end of his life. One of his sons was tried for military incompetence. He was defended by none other than the great Capitolinus, who simply asked the jury, if the accused was convicted, who would go to tell the aged Cincinnatus the news. The son was acquitted. The jury couldn’t bring itself to break the old man’s heart.

Would you ever eat someone’s genitalia, even if it were a dare, or your last meal on Earth?
I definitely would not.

mao sugiyama Artist Cooks and Serves His Genitals for US$1,250 picture

However, five diners in Japan each paid US$250 for an exclusive meal made from artist Mao Sugiyama’s privates! Yup, it included the full penis, scrotum and testes.

Mao served this one-off meal at the exclusive “Asagaya Loft A” in Tokyo’s Suginami Ward.

mao sugiyama 3 Artist Cooks and Serves His Genitals for US$1,250 picture

Why would this 22-year-old cut off his privates? According to Mao, he is a self-proclaimed asexual, having opted to remove his genitalia through elective genitalia-removal surgery.

mao sugiyama 4 Artist Cooks and Serves His Genitals for US$1,250 picture

The five lucky (?) diners were able to savor this unique fare with button mushrooms and Italian parsley.

While some people have complained about the nature of this meal, Japanese authorities can’t do anything since cannibalism is not illegal in the country.

mao sugiyama 2 500x149 Artist Cooks and Serves His Genitals for US$1,250 picture

Would someone mind asking Andrew Zimmern if this is among the most bizarre foods he would dare eat?

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