Monday, September 26, 2011
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
My kids tried out the pool for the first time this year. Very cold was the conclusion and so it was on to the trampoline to warm up. Beautiful clear skies and warm weather during the first month of spring.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
SEPTEMBER 21--Angered that his Taco Bell drive-thru order failed to include hot sauce, a Missouri man returned to the fast food restaurant and allegedly pulled a shotgun on an employee, who fled in fear from the takeout window.
The bizarre incident Saturday evening resulted in the arrest of Jeremy Combs, a 30-year-old convicted felon, on both state and federal charges. Combs is pictured in the below mug shot.
According to a U.S. District Court complaint, investigators with the Lee’s Summit Police Department interviewed Combs Sunday afternoon about the incident. Combs admitted that he had purchased several items from Taco Bell, only to return home to discover “the Taco Bell employee had failed to include his…hot sauce.”
While Combs told cops that he “became upset and drove back to the Taco Bell to confront the employee,” he denied brandishing a shotgun at the drive-thru worker. He said the item was actually a tire iron, a claim police say is belied by Taco Bell surveillance footage showing Combs in his Ford F-150 truck.
This weekend NASA published an awesome time-lapse flyby of planet Earth taken from the International Space Station. Awesome, but jerky—until now. Someone interpolated the original frames to achieve this smooth as silk motion film. It'll leave you stupefied.
Probably with created with the magical Twixtor, the new video runs at 30 frames-per-second. Check out the lightning storms and the lights. Absolutely out of this world, pun intended
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Weiner came of age as an NPR correspondent, reporting from some of the gloomiest, unhappiest places on Earth. So he decided to seek out their opposite and spent a year traveling the globe, hunting down the world’s unheralded happy places, where one or more of the ingredients we consider essential to well-being — pleasure, money, spirituality, family, chocolate — flow unabated.
Still looking myself although Adelaide is pretty nice.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
But did pirates really "arr" and "avast" all the time? Probably not, experts say, though it's tough to say exactly how most so-called "Golden Age pirates really talked.
"There isn't much in the way of scientific evidence in regards to pirate speech," said historian Colin Woodard, author of The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down.
There are no audio recordings of pirate speech, after all. And witnesses are known to have written down only a small set of quotes of pirate phrases, Woodard said via email.
There is also "almost nothing written by pirates themselves, with the exception of educated people who 'went pirate' and, therefore, probably didn't exhibit pirate speech patterns," Woodard said.
(Also see "Grim Life Cursed Real Pirates of the Caribbean.")
Pirate Talk Brought to You by Disney?
Most scholars think English-speaking Golden Age pirates spoke exactly the same as English-speaking merchant sailors of the time, since large numbers in both groups tended to be from riverfront neighborhoods around London, he said.
Many of the phrases that most people think of as pirate speech today can actually be traced back to the 1950s Disney movie Treasure Island, starring Robert Newton as fictional pirate Long John Silver (hear Newton as Silver).
"Newton's performance—full of 'arrs,' 'shiver me timbers,' and references to landlubbers—not only stole the show, it permanently shaped pop culture's vision of how pirates looked, acted, and spoke," Woodard said.
"Afterwards, Newtonesque pirates were everywhere, from Captain Hook to Captain McCallister of the Simpsons series."
(Related: "Clues to Pirate Gold Unearthed in Florida, Treasure Hunters Claim.")
Pirate Talk Myth: "Walk the Plank!"
According to Woodard, Newton based his pirate talk in the film on the dialect of his native West Country in southwestern England, which just happened to be where Long John Silver hailed from in the Treasure Island novel.
In the English West Country during early 20th century, "'arr' was an affirmation, not unlike the Canadian 'eh,' and maritime expressions were a part of everyday speech," he said.
But while many pirates and mariners did hail from the West Country—so you might have heard an "arr" here or there—most did not, so the majority of pirates almost certainly didn't speak like Newton's Silver, Woodard added.
"The Golden Age pirates ... included large numbers of Scots, Irish, Africans, and French, as well as a smattering of Dutchmen, Swedes, and Danes. Of those of English origin, the largest number were probably from London," where the dialect differed from that of the West Country, Woodard said.
(Related from ScienceBlogs: At what point do immigrants learn English?)
One thing you can be sure of is that no pirate ever sent some traitorous hornswoggle to Davy Jones's locker by commanding him to walk the plank. That punishment, he said, is pure Hollywood.
They have inspired Scottish warriors and sportsmen since the days of ancient clan battles. They were even used to instil courage in British troops on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, but it appears the Scottish rugby team may have to do without them as it does battle at the World Cup in New Zealand.
Over-zealous officials are said to have banned bagpipes from the terraces amid fears that they could distract Scotland's opponents - despite the fact that they have featured in previous tournaments around the world.
The row has prompted one piper who flew to New Zealand to perform at Scotland matches to pen a letter of complaint to the Kiwi prime minister John Key.
Shona Robison, the Scottish Sports Minister, has also intervened with an official request to the organisers to overturn the bizarre ruling.
Matthew Strachan, 32, a GP from Aberdeenshire, said yesterday: "After spending considerable money getting to New Zealand to support my country I was shocked to hear bagpipes were not allowed in the stadiums.
Lets ban the Haka.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Saturday, September 17, 2011
THE National Institute of Circus Arts is a lot quieter than you'd expect. Circus, after all, is to spectacle, energy and adrenalin what Stephen Hawking is to physics, but the light, airy hangar NICA occupies at Swinburne University of Technology in Prahran, Melbourne, has a meditative feel to it. It veers far closer to zen than zing, despite being densely populated with young, preternaturally fit people practising aerials, contortion and acrobatics. Any kind of physical skill, really, that has the potential to turn your ankle or, say, kill you.
But there's no showbiz, showboating or pizzazz here. Just lines of bodies doing handstands against the windows, upside down and motionless, like a row of fruit bats, if fruit bats wore pastel singlets, leggings, and the occasional support bandage. And down they come. Then up they go. Repeat until the sun turns supernova.
There's a juggler in one corner, oblivious to everything except the clubs, a student balancing on his head on a trapeze, another hula-hooping with three rings, four people negotiating standing on each other's shoulders, and a woman doing the splits and being further stretched by her Chinese trainer, who's sitting on her back as she leans forward.
There's no music pumping, no giant plasma screens intruding with the latest hit by Ke$ha, just the creak of equipment, the smack of flesh against flesh and a bit of quiet chat around the teeter board. It's beautiful, actually, and remarkably soothing; not dissimilar to visiting an aquarium. The main training space at NICA would make one heck of a screen-saver.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Vaccines are one of the greatest inventions of the last 150 years. They've all but eradicated deadly diseases like smallpox, polio, and measles from most of the world. The same vaccines that allowed civilization to flourish in the twentieth century, however, have become a political hot button in the twenty-first. What changed? It's possible that a whole generation grew up without witnessing firsthand the horrors of deadly contagious disease on children, and so they never understood the value of vaccination.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Ever dream about packing up and leaving it all behind? Ten years ago that’s exactly what Keiichi Iwasaki, then 28 years old, did. But he didn’t take a plane or a boat. For the past decade he’s been pedaling his way around the world on a bicycle. It all started in April 2001 when Iwasaki left his home in Maebashi, Japan with just 160 yen, around $2, in his pocket. He intended to bike through Japan, but enjoyed the trip so much that he caught a ferry to South Korea and hasn’t looked back since.
Two years ago we posted about Keiichi’s unusual adventures, which he funds by performing magic tricks on the street. When we last spoke to him, he was in Switzerland, preparing to climb Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest peak. Keiichi not only achieved this goal, but he managed to make it even more impressive than his climb to the summit of Mount Everest.
But according to a survey published by the Department of Health, Scooby Doo is the healthiest of all children's television programmes.
Stars of the long-running television series also took half of the places in a list of the most active individual characters, ahead of energetic animals such as Tom and Jerry and Wile E Coyote.
Consultants drew up the league tables by watching 200 hours of children’s television, featuring the 20 most popular programmes, and noted how many times physical activity was shown.
“Each character was rated on their activity levels and received marks for good behaviours such as walking short journeys and playing sport,” according to the Department of Health.
Because much of the action in the cartoon shows Scooby and his gang running away from monsters, they topped the list.
However officials at the health ministry were at pains to insist they were not holding up Scooby Doo, famed for his love of Scooby Snax, as a healthy role model.
They say the survey was just a “fun talking point” released alongside a new partnership between their public health campaign, Change4Life, and a wholesome programme called LazyTown.
In the show, fruit and vegetables are known as “Sports Candy” while the acrobatic main character is called Sportacus and encourages children to play outside.
Under the £75,000 initiative, 3,600 Sure Start children’s centres will be sent LazyTown-branded activity packs including recipe ideas and a sticker chart.
Richard Hamilton the first Pop Artist and arguably one of the most influential British artists of the twentieth century has died at the age of eighty-nine.
Born in London in 1922, Hamilton was determined to become an artist an early age, he quit school at 15, and studied art at night before entering the Royal Academy at 16. His studies were cut short by the outbreak of the Second World War, during which he worked as a draughtsman with engineers and scientists at EMI. After the war returned to the Royal Academy, but was expelled for “not profiting from the instruction”. He then attended the Slade College of Art for 2 years, from which he started working at the ICA, where he produced posters, leaflets and exhibit work.
In 1951, Hamilton curated his first exhibition, Growth and Form. This was followed in 1955 with the seminal Man, Machine and Motion, which examined human interaction with machine and environment, and how “the need to cope with technology provokes great art.”
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
It’s been 10 years today since the tragic events of 9/11. While the Pentagon has been and the World Trade Center is being rebuilt, we remember those who lost their lives and want to honor the heros of September 11, 2001.
Vivid memories of 9/11. We were in California and didn't have a television. Our neighbour bashed on our front door and ushered us in to their house to watch the drama unfold. Being on the west coast, it was quite early.
Work that day was like a silent wake as everyone became consumed by the enormity of the the event.
The event also directly lead to me ending up in Australia, which I am happy about.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
In case you ever wondered, the most popular Brain Pickings post to date is our review of photographers Peter Menzel and Faith D’Alusio’s Hungry Planet — a grounding portrait of what the world eats, from the $376.45 an Australian family spends on food per week to the $1.23 weekly budget of a same-sized family in Chad’s poorest refugee camp. This week, Menzel and D’Alusio are back with their much-anticipated new book, What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets — a fascinating project telling the global story of our relationship to food through portraits of 80 people from 30 countries and the food they eat in one day.
The Daily Express says ten neighbouring dwellings had to be evacuated after 43-year-old Laurence Toms had a tinker with his distillation equipment, sparking an explosion that blew out the windows and damaged the roof of his home in southern Wales.
Neighbours say TOMS, an inventor, had been making vodka after downloading a recipe from the Internet..
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Friday, September 09, 2011
Monday, September 05, 2011
On Saturday, April 27, 1963, the Beatles played Memorial Hall in Northwich, England —— the concert poster described them as “Hit recorders of ‘Please, Please Me.’” The next day, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr flew down to Tenerife to unwind with two of their closest Hamburg pals, the graphic artist Klaus Voormann and the photographer Astrid Kirchherr. (John Lennon took his own holiday in Barcelona with the band’s manager, Brian Epstein.) For the upstart combo, it would be their first taste of the jet-set life and, in the saga of their ascent, a momentary breather about halfway up Mount Olympus. The first No. 1 record was in the bag, the next one was heading up the charts and full-blown Beatlemania was just a few months off. The island’s black sand, towering volcano and opportunities for sunstroke were as exotic to the Beatles as their newfound celebrity. But none of that notoriety followed them to Tenerife, where they stayed at the Voormann family cottage. The bandmates ran around asking the locals: “You know us? The Beatles?” — only to be met with bewilderment.
Sunday, September 04, 2011
Saturday, September 03, 2011
Entitled "Plasticizer," the piece is intended to express Bolin's speechlessness at the discovery of plasticizer contamination in food products, according to the Associated Press. Plasticizers are additives normally used to make plastic and other nonfood products more pliable.
In a previous life I did work for Eastman, who make a good proportion of the worlds supply of PET used in the manufacture of plastic bottles. What a legacy.
Friday, September 02, 2011
NASA is turning to unusual technology to clear 22,000 pieces of space junk orbiting Earth | The Australian
SPACE junk has made such a mess of Earth's orbit that experts say we may need to finally think about cleaning it up.
That may mean vacuuming up debris with weird space technology - cosmic versions of nets, magnets and giant umbrellas, according to the chairman of an expert panel that issued a new report on the problem on Thursday.
There are 22,000 objects in orbit that are big enough for officials on the ground to track and countless more smaller ones that could do damage to human-carrying spaceships and valuable satellites. The International Space Station has to move out of the way of debris from time to time.
"We've lost control of the environment," said retired NASA senior scientist Donald Kessler, who headed the National Academy of Sciences report.
Since the space age began 54 years ago, civilisation has littered the area just above Earth's atmosphere with leftover boosters and other parts that come off during launches, as well as old satellites. When scientists noticed that this could be a problem, they came up with agreements to limit new space junk and those plans had been working.
Thursday, September 01, 2011
By Richard Wilson, Staff Writer Updated 9:47 PM Tuesday, August 30, 2011
HAMILTON — A man who has been repeatedly arrested for public indecency faces a new charge after an incident during the weekend.
Edwin Charles Tobergta, 32, of the 1000 block of Harmon Avenue, was arrested at his home early Sunday morning after he was seen engaging in sexual conduct with a pink inflatable swimming pool raft, according to police records. The incident allegedly occurred in an alley behind his home. The witness, who was the owner of the raft, reported to police that the suspect took the raft with him after being shouted at to stop, according to records.
Police said the suspect admitted to the act and told officers that he has a problem and needs help.
Tobergta has been arrested at least five times previously for similar offenses, according to Hamilton Municipal Court records. He was indicted in May 2010 for tampering with evidence and possessing criminal tools; and after a July 2008 conviction for public indecency, he was sentenced to community control and required to seek mental health services.
Contact this reporter at (513) 696-4542 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once upon a time he founded the Buttercup Dairy company, which at its peak boasted 250 shops across Scotland. Now a new book tells Andrew Ewing's largely forgotten story, which did not have a happy ending
HE CHANGED the face of Scotland's high streets and was one of the most successful entrepreneurs of his time, but few today would recognise the name Andrew Ewing. His life story is one of riches to rags, for Ewing died virtually penniless, having given away almost all he owned.
As the founder of the Buttercup Dairy empire, Ewing made an important contribution to history. But, as the shops disappeared from our streets, so too did their story.
Only those with very long memories would today recall a retail empire that, at its peak, boasted 250 shops across Scotland, employing hundreds. The Buttercup Dairy's livery was near-ubiquitous in much of Scotland's Central Belt and lasted more than 60 years. But ultimately this is a story of a successful business that was eventually undone by the generosity of its founder as much as by increased competition and bad luck.