Tuesday, February 03, 2009

LETTER TO VIRGIN AIRLINES

Greatest ever letter of complaint

This is a genuine letter of complaint sent to Sir Richard Branson. We know that because we checked with Virgin. Polly in the press office confirmed that Branson phoned the man back because "he always likes to hear feedback".

But she wouldn't confirm rumours that the Virgin boss thought this was the funniest letter of complaint he'd ever received.



Dear Mr Branson

REF: Mumbai to Heathrow 7th December 2008

I love the Virgin brand, I really do which is why I continue to use it despite a series of unfortunate incidents over the last few years. This latest incident takes the biscuit.

Ironically, by the end of the flight I would have gladly paid over a thousand rupees for a single biscuit following the culinary journey of hell I was subjected to at thehands of your corporation.

Look at this Richard. Just look at it:

Virgin1

I imagine the same questions are racing through your brilliant mind as were racing through mine on that fateful day. What is this? Why have I been given it? What have I done to deserve this? And, which one is the starter, which one is the desert?

You don’t get to a position like yours Richard with anything less than a generous sprinkling of observational power so I KNOW you will have spotted the tomato next to the two yellow shafts of sponge on the left. Yes, it’s next to the sponge shaft without the green paste. That’s got to be the clue hasn’t it. No sane person would serve a desert with a tomato would they. Well answer me this Richard, what sort of animal would serve a desert with peas in:

Virgin2

I know it looks like a baaji but it’s in custard Richard, custard. It must be the pudding. Well you’ll be fascinated to hear that it wasn't custard. It was a sour gel with a clear oil on top. It’s only redeeming feature was that it managed to be so alien to my palette that it took away the taste of the curry emanating from our miscellaneous central cuboid of beige matter. Perhaps the meal on the left might be the desert after all.

Anyway, this is all irrelevant at the moment. I was raised strictly but neatly by my parents and if they knew I had started desert before the main course, a sponge shaft would be the least of my worries. So lets peel back the tin-foil on the main dish and see what’s on offer.

I’ll try and explain how this felt. Imagine being a twelve year old boy Richard. Now imagine it’s Christmas morning and you’re sat their with your final present to open. It’s a big one, and you know what it is. It’s that Goodmans stereo you picked out the catalogue and wrote to Santa about.

Only you open the present and it’s not in there. It’s your hamster Richard. It’s your hamster in the box and it’s not breathing. That’s how I felt when I peeled back the foil and saw this:

Virgin3

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking it’s more of that Baaji custard. I admit I thought the same too, but no. It’s mustard Richard. MUSTARD. More mustard than any man could consume in a month. On the left we have a piece of broccoli and some peppers in a brown glue-like oil and on the right the chef had prepared some mashed potato. The potato masher had obviously broken and so it was decided the next best thing would be to pass the potatoes through the digestive tract of a bird.

Once it was regurgitated it was clearly then blended and mixed with a bit of mustard. Everybody likes a bit of mustard Richard.

By now I was actually starting to feel a little hypoglycaemic. I needed a sugar hit. Luckily there was a small cookie provided. It had caught my eye earlier due to it’s baffling presentation:

Virgin4

It appears to be in an evidence bag from the scene of a crime. A CRIME AGAINST BLOODY COOKING. Either that or some sort of back-street underground cookie, purchased off a gun-toting maniac high on his own supply of yeast. You certainly wouldn’t want to be caught carrying one of these through customs. Imagine biting into a piece of brass Richard. That would be softer on the teeth than the specimen above.

I was exhausted. All I wanted to do was relax but obviously I had to sit with that mess in front of me for half an hour. I swear the sponge shafts moved at one point.

Once cleared, I decided to relax with a bit of your world-famous onboard entertainment. I switched it on:

Virgin5

I apologise for the quality of the photo, it’s just it was incredibly hard to capture Boris Johnson’s face through the flickering white lines running up and down the screen. Perhaps it would be better on another channel:

Virgin6

Is that Ray Liotta? A question I found myself asking over and over again throughout the gruelling half-hour I attempted to watch the film like this. After that I switched off. I’d had enough. I was the hungriest I’d been in my adult life and I had a splitting headache from squinting at a crackling screen.

My only option was to simply stare at the seat in front and wait for either food, or sleep. Neither came for an incredibly long time. But when it did it surpassed my wildest expectations:

Virgin7

Yes! It’s another crime-scene cookie. Only this time you dunk it in the white stuff.

Richard…. What is that white stuff? It looked like it was going to be yoghurt. It finally dawned on me what it was after staring at it. It was a mixture between the Baaji custard and the Mustard sauce. It reminded me of my first week at university. I had overheard that you could make a drink by mixing vodka and refreshers. I lied to my new friends and told them I’d done it loads of times. When I attempted to make the drink in a big bowl it formed a cheese Richard, a cheese. That cheese looked a lot like your baaji-mustard.

So that was that Richard. I didn’t eat a bloody thing. My only question is: How can you live like this? I can’t imagine what dinner round your house is like, it must be like something out of a nature documentary.

As I said at the start I love your brand, I really do. It’s just a shame such a simple thing could bring it crashing to it’s knees and begging for sustenance.

Yours Sincererly...

Oren Lavie - Her Morning Elegance

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

SONGFACTS

Everything you want to know about thousands of songs and artists.

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UNUSUAL DEATHS OF THE 20TH CENTURY

20th century

  • 1912: Franz Reichelt, tailor, fell to his death off the first deck of the Eiffel Tower while testing his invention, the coat parachute. It was his first ever attempt with the parachute and he had told the authorities in advance he would test it first with a dummy.[38]
  • 1916: Grigori Rasputin, Russian mystic, was reportedly poisoned while dining with a political enemy, shot in the head, shot three more times, bludgeoned, and then thrown into a frozen river. When his body washed ashore, an autopsy showed the cause of death to be hypothermia. However, there is now some doubt about the credibility of this account.[39]
  • 1918: Gustav Kobbé, writer and musicologist, was killed when the sailboat he was on was struck by a landing seaplane off Long Island, N.Y.[40]
  • 1919: In the Boston Molasses Disaster, 21 people were killed and 150 were injured when a tank containing as much as 2,300,000 US gal (8,700,000 L) of Molasses exploded, sending a wave traveling at approximately 35 mph (56 km/h) through part of Boston, Massachusetts, United States. Most fatalities and injuries were caused by the concussive force of the blast or by asphyxiation as victims failed to swim free of the viscous molasses and drowned. [41]
  • 1923: Martha Mansfield, an American film actress, died after sustaining severe burns on the set of the film The Warrens of Virginia after a smoker's match, tossed by a cast member, ignited her Civil War costume of hoopskirts and ruffles.[42]
  • 1923: George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, became the first to die from the alleged King Tut's Curse after a mosquito bite on his face became seriously infected with erysipelas, which he cut while shaving, leading to blood poisoning and eventually pneumonia.[43][44]
  • 1925: Zishe (Siegmund) Breitbart, a circus strongman and Jewish folklore hero, died as a result of a demonstration in which he drove a spike through five one-inch thick oak boards using only his bare hands. He accidentally pierced his knee. The spike was rusted and caused an infection which led to fatal blood poisoning. He was the subject of the Werner Herzog film, Invincible.[45]
  • 1927: J.G. Parry-Thomas, a Welsh racing driver, was decapitated by his car's drive chain which, under stress, snapped and whipped into the cockpit. He was attempting to break his own land speed record which he had set the previous year. Despite being killed in the attempt, he succeeded in setting a new record of 171 mph.[46]
  • 1927: Isadora Duncan, dancer, died of accidental strangulation and broken neck when one of the long scarves she was known for caught on the wheel of a car in which she was a passenger.[47]
  • 1928: Alexander Bogdanov, a Russian physician, died following one of his experiments, in which the blood of a student suffering from malaria and tuberculosis, L. I. Koldomasov, was given to him in a transfusion.[48]
  • 1932: Eben Byers died of radiation poisoning after having consumed large quantities of a popular patent medicine containing radium.[49]
  • 1932: Peg Entwistle, actress, leapt to her death from the “H” of the Hollywood Sign, following her perceived rejection from the industry for which the sign stood. The day after her death, a letter arrived from the Beverly Hills Playhouse, in which she was offered the lead role in a play about a woman driven to suicide.[50]
  • 1933: Michael Malloy, a homeless man, was murdered by gassing after surviving multiple poisonings, intentional exposure, and being struck by a car. Malloy was murdered by five men in a plot to collect on life insurance policies they had purchased.[51]
  • 1935: Baseball player Len Koenecke was bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher by the crew of an aircraft he had chartered, after provoking a fight with the pilot while the plane was in the air.[52]
  • 1939: Finnish actress Sirkka Sari died when she fell down a chimney. She was at a cast party celebrating the completion of a movie, her third and last. She mistook a chimney for a balcony and fell into a heating boiler, dying instantly.[53][54]
  • 1940: Marcus Garvey died after suffering either a cerebral hemorrhage or heart attack while reading his own obituary, which stated in part that he died "broke, alone and unpopular".[55]
  • 1941: Sherwood Anderson, writer, swallowed a toothpick at a party and then died of peritonitis.[56]
  • 1943: Critic Alexander Woollcott suffered a fatal heart attack during an on-air discussion about Adolf Hitler.[57]
  • 1944: Inventor and chemist Thomas Midgley, Jr. accidentally strangled himself with the cord of a pulley-operated mechanical bed of his own design.[58]
  • 1945: Scientist Harry K. Daghlian, Jr. accidentally dropped a brick of tungsten carbide onto a sphere of plutonium while working on the Manhattan Project. This caused the plutonium to come to criticality; Daghlian died of radiation poisoning, becoming the first person to die in a criticality accident.[59]
  • 1946: Louis Slotin, chemist and physicist, died of radiation poisoning after being exposed to lethal amounts of ionizing radiation. He died in a very similar way as Harry K. Daghlian, Jr., from dropping a block of material on the same sphere of plutonium by accident. The sphere of plutonium was nicknamed the Demon core[60]
  • 1947: The Collyer brothers, extreme cases of compulsive hoarders, were found dead in their home in New York. The younger brother, Langley, died by falling victim to a booby trap he had set up, causing a mountain of objects, books, and newspapers to fall on him crushing him to death. His blind brother, Homer, who had depended on Langley for care, died of starvation some days later. Their bodies were recovered after massive efforts in removing many tons of debris from their home.[61]
  • 1955: Margo Jones, theater director, was killed by exposure to carbon tetrachloride fumes from her newly cleaned carpet.[62]
  • 1956: Nina Hamnett, artist, died from complications after falling out her apartment window and being impaled on the fence forty feet below.[63]
  • 1958: Gareth Jones, actor, collapsed and died while in make-up between scenes of a live television play, Underground, at the studios of Associated British Corporation in Manchester. Director Ted Kotcheff continued the play to its conclusion, improvising around Jones's absence.[64]
  • 1959: In the Dyatlov Pass incident, Nine ski hikers in the Ural Mountains abandoned their camp in the middle of the night in apparent terror, some clad only in their underwear despite sub-zero weather. Six of the hikers died of hypothermia and three by unexplained fatal injuries. Though the corpses showed no signs of struggle, one victim had a fatal skull fracture, two had major chest fractures (comparable in force to a car accident), and one was missing her tongue. The victims' clothing also contained high levels of radiation. Soviet investigators determined only that "a compelling unknown force" had caused the deaths, barring entry to the area for years thereafter.[65]
  • 1960: In the Nedelin disaster, over 100 Soviet missile technicians and officials died when a switch was turned on unintentionally igniting the rocket, including Red Army Marshal Nedelin who was seated in a deck chair just 40 meters away overseeing launch preparations. The events were filmed by automatic cameras.[66]
  • 1960: Inejiro Asanuma, 61, the head of the Japanese Socialist Party, was stabbed to death with a wakizashi sword by extreme rightist Otoya Yamaguchi during a televised parliamentary debate. Yamaguchi was immediately arrested and later committed suicide.[67]
  • 1961: Valentin Bondarenko, a Soviet cosmonaut trainee, died from shock after suffering third-degree burns over much of his body due to a flash fire in the pure oxygen environment of a training simulator. This incident was not revealed outside of the Soviet Union until the 1980s.[68]
  • 1963: Thích Quảng Đức, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, sat down in the middle of a busy intersection in Saigon, covered himself in gasoline, and lit himself on fire, burning himself to death. Đức was protesting President Ngô Đình Diệm's administration for oppressing the Buddhist religion.[69]
  • 1966: Worth Bingham, son of Barry Bingham, Sr., died when the surfboard lying atop the back of his convertible hit a parked car, swung around, and broke his neck.[70]
  • 1967: Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger B. Chaffee, NASA astronauts, died when a flash fire began in their pure oxygen environment during a training exercise inside the unlaunched Apollo 1 spacecraft. The door to the capsule could not be opened during the fire because of its particular design.[71]
  • 1967: Vladimir Komarov became the first person to die during a space mission after the parachute of his capsule failed to deploy following re-entry.[72]
  • 1970: Yukio Mishima, award-winning Japanese playwright and novelist, committed seppuku after failing to inspire a coup d'état at the headquarters of the Japanese Self-Defence Forces in Tokyo.[73]
  • 1971: Jerome Irving Rodale, an American pioneer of organic farming, died of a heart attack while being interviewed on The Dick Cavett Show. According to urban legend, when he appeared to fall asleep, Cavett quipped "Are we boring you, Mr. Rodale?"[74]. Cavett says this is incorrect; the initial response was fellow guest Pete Hamill saying in a low voice to Cavett, "This looks bad."[75] The show was never broadcast.
  • 1972: Leslie Harvey, guitarist of Stone the Crows, was electrocuted on stage by a live microphone.[76]
  • 1973: Bruce Lee, a martial arts actor, is thought to have died by a severe allergic reaction to Equagesic. His brain had swollen about 13%. His autopsy was written as "death by misadventure."[77]
  • 1974: Christine Chubbuck, an American television news reporter, committed suicide during a live broadcast on 15 July. At 9:38 AM, 8 minutes into her talk show, on WXLT-TV in Sarasota, Florida, she drew out a revolver and shot herself in the head.[78]
  • 1974: Deborah Gail Stone, 18, an employee at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, was crushed to death between a moving wall and a stationary wall inside of the revolving America Sings attraction. [79]
  • 1975: Physicist and businessman Kip Siegel died of a stroke while testifying before a US Congressional subcommittee.[80]
  • 1975: Bandō Mitsugorō VIII, a Japanese kabuki actor, died of severe poisoning when he ate four fugu livers (also known as pufferfish). The liver is considered one of the most poisonous parts of the fish, but Mitsugorō claimed to be immune to the poison. The fugu chef felt he could not refuse Mitsugorō and lost his license as a result.[81]
  • 1976: Keith Relf, former singer for British rhythm and blues band The Yardbirds, died while practicing his electric guitar. He was electrocuted because the amplifier was not properly grounded.[82]
  • 1977: Tom Pryce (Formula One driver) and Jansen Van Vuuren (a track marshal) both died at the 1977 South African Grand Prix after Van Vuuren ran across the track beyond a blind brow to attend to another car which had caught fire and was struck by Pryce's car at approximately 170mph. Pryce was struck in the face by the marshal's fire extinguisher and was killed instantly.[83]
  • 1978: Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident, was assassinated in London with a specially modified umbrella that fired a metal pellet with a small cavity full of ricin into his calf.
  • 1978: Janet Parker, a British medical photographer, died of smallpox in 1978, ten months after the disease was eradicated in the wild, when a researcher at the laboratory Parker worked at accidentally released some virus into the air of the building. She is believed to be the last smallpox fatality in history.[84]
  • 1978: Claude François, a French pop singer, was electrocuted when he tried to change a light bulb while standing in his bathtub which was full of water at the time.[85]
  • 1978: Kurt Gödel, the Austrian/American mathematician, died of starvation when his wife was hospitalized. Gödel suffered from extreme paranoia and refused to eat food prepared by anyone else. He was 65 pounds (approx. 30 kg) when he died. His death certificate reported that he died of "malnutrition and inanition caused by personality disturbance" in Princeton Hospital on 14 January 1978.[86]
  • 1979: Robert Williams, a worker at a Ford Motor Co. plant, was the first known man to be killed by a robot.[87]
  • 1981: Carl McCunn paid a bush pilot to drop him at a remote lake near the Coleen River in Alaska in March 1981 to photograph wildlife, but failed to confirm arrangements for the pilot to pick him up again in August. Rather than starve, McCunn shot himself in the head. His body was found in February 1982.[88]
  • 1981: Boris Sagal, a film director, died while shooting the TV miniseries World War III when he walked into the tail rotor blade of a helicopter and was decapitated. [89]
  • 1981: Jeff Dailey, a 19-year-old gamer, became the first known person to die while playing video games. After achieving a score of 16,660 in the arcade game Berzerk, he succumbed to a massive heart attack. A year later, an 18-year-old gamer died after achieving high scores in the same game.[90]
  • 1981: Kenji Urada - Was killed by a malfunctioning robot he was working on at a Kawasaki plant in Japan. The robot's arm pushed him into a grinding machine, killing him.[91]
  • 1982: Vic Morrow, actor, was decapitated by a helicopter blade during filming of Twilight Zone: The Movie. Two child actors, Myca Dinh Le (who was decapitated) and Renee Shin-Yi Chen (who was crushed), also died.[92]
  • 1982: Vladimir Smirnov, an Olympic champion fencer, died of brain damage nine days after his opponent's foil snapped during a match, penetrated his mask, pierced his eyeball and entered his brain.[93]
  • 1983: Richard Wertheim, a linesman at the boys' singles finals in the US open, was struck by a ball hit by a young Stefan Edberg. He toppled backwards off his chair fracturing his skull as he hit the ground. [94]
  • 1983: Four divers and a tender were killed on the Byford Dolphin semi-submersible, when a decompression chamber explosively decompressed from 9 atm to 1 atm in a fraction of a second. The diver nearest the chamber opening literally exploded just before his remains were ejected through a 24in (60cm) opening. The other divers' remains showed signs of boiled blood, unusually strong rigor mortis, large amounts of gas in the blood vessels, and scattered hemorrhages in the soft tissues.[95]
  • 1983: Sergei Chalibashvili, a professional diver, died after a diving accident during the 1983 Summer Universiade in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. When he attempted a three-and-a-half reverse somersault in the tuck position from the ten meter platform, he smashed his head on the platform and was knocked unconscious. He died after being in a coma for a week.[96]
  • 1983: Author Tennessee Williams died when he choked on an eyedrop bottle cap in his room at the Hotel Elysee in New York. He would routinely place the cap in his mouth, lean back, and place his eyedrops in each eye. Williams' lack of gag response may have been due to the effects of drugs and alcohol abuse.[97]
  • 1984: Jon-Erik Hexum, an American television actor, died after he shot himself in the head with a prop gun during a break in filming, playing Russian Roulette using a revolver loaded with a single blank cartridge . Hexum apparently was not informed that blanks too have gun powder that explodes into gas with enough force to cause severe injury or death if the weapon is fired as contact shot. This is the principle which gives a powerhead its lethality.
  • 1987: Budd Dwyer, the State Treasurer of Pennsylvania, committed suicide during a televised press conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Facing a potential 55-year jail sentence for alleged involvement in a conspiracy, Dwyer shot himself in the mouth with a revolver.
  • 1992: Christopher McCandless died of starvation near Denali National Park after a few months trying to live off the land in the Alaskan wilderness. His life and death were researched by Jon Krakauer, who then wrote the novel Into the Wild which was later turned into a movie.
  • 1993: Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee, was shot and killed by Michael Massee using a prop .44 Magnum gun while filming the movie The Crow. A cartridge with only a primer and a bullet was fired in the pistol prior to the fatal scene; this caused a squib load, in which the primer provided enough force to push the bullet out of the cartridge and into the barrel of the revolver, where it became stuck. The malfunction went unnoticed by the crew, and the same gun was used again later to shoot the death scene. His death was not instantly recognized by the crew or other actors; they believed he was still acting.[98]
  • 1993: Garry Hoy, a Toronto lawyer, fell to his death after he threw himself through the glass wall on the 24th floor of the Toronto-Dominion Centre in order to prove the glass was unbreakable. The pane didn't break, but instead popped out of its frame.[99]
  • 1993: Michael A. Shingledecker Jr. was killed almost instantly when he and a friend were struck by a pickup truck while lying flat on the yellow dividing line of a two-lane highway in Polk, Pennsylvania. They were copying a daredevil stunt from the movie The Program. Marco Birkhimer died of a similar accident while performing the same stunt in Route 206 of Bordentown, New Jersey. [100]
  • 1994: Gloria Ramirez was admitted to Riverside General Hospital for complications of advanced cervical cancer. Before she died, her body mysteriously emitted toxic fumes that made several emergency room workers very ill. She has been dubbed as the "toxic lady" by the media. [101]
  • 1996: Sharon Lopatka, an Internet entrepreneur from Maryland, allegedly solicited a man via the Internet to torture and kill her for the purpose of sexual gratification. Her killer, Robert Fredrick Glass, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter for the homicide.
  • 1998: Tom and Eileen Lonergan were stranded while scuba diving with a group of divers off Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The group's boat accidentally abandoned them due to an incorrect head count taken by the dive boat crew. Their bodies were never recovered. The incident inspired the film Open Water and an episode of 20/20.[102]
  • 1998: Daniel V. Jones committed suicide on a freeway carpool lane near Los Angeles, California by shooting himself through the chin with a shotgun, which was accidentally televised by journalists monitoring the incident on helicopters. Jones, a former hotel maintenance worker, had killed himself partly due to his frustration over treatment by his HMO.[103]
  • 1998: Every player on the visiting soccer team at a game in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was struck by a fork bolt of lightning, killing them all instantly.[104]
  • 1999: Owen Hart, a professional wrestler for WWF, died during a pay-per-view event when performing a stunt. It was planned to have Owen come down from the rafters of Kemper Arena on a safety harness tied to a rope to make his ring entrance. The safety latch was released and Owen dropped 78 feet, bouncing chest-first off the top rope resulting in a severed aorta, which caused his lungs to fill with blood.[105]
  • 2000: Jonathan Burton stormed the cockpit door of a Southwest Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City. The 19-year-old was subdued by eight other passengers with such force that he died of asphyxiation.[106]

[edit] 21st century

  • 2001: Bernd-Jürgen Brandes from Germany was voluntarily stabbed repeatedly and then partly eaten by Armin Meiwes (who was later called the Cannibal of Rothenburg). Brandes had answered an internet advertisement by Meiwes looking for someone for this purpose. Brandes explicitly stated in his will that he wished to be killed and eaten.[107]
  • 2001: Gregory Biggs, a homeless man in Fort Worth, Texas, was struck by a car being driven by Chante Jawan Mallard, who had been drinking and taking drugs that night. Biggs' torso became lodged in Mallard's windshield with severe but not immediately fatal injuries. Mallard drove home and left the car in her garage with Biggs still lodged in her car's windshield. She repeatedly visited Biggs and even apologized for hitting him. Biggs died of his injuries several hours later.[108]Chante Mallard was tried and convicted for murder in this case and received a 50 year prison sentence. The film Stuck is loosely based on this unusual death.[109]
  • 2002: Brittanie Cecil, an American 13-year-old hockey fan, died two days after being struck in the head by a hockey puck at a game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Calgary Flames at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. [110]
  • 2003: Doug McKay was killed at the Island county fair amusement park when his arm was caught as he sprayed lubricant on a Super Loop 2 circular roller coaster. The ride was in operation at the time and he was pulled 40 feet in the air before falling and landing on a fence.[111]
  • 2003: Brian Douglas Wells, a pizza delivery man in Erie, Pennsylvania, was killed by a time bomb that was fastened around his neck. He was apprehended by the police after robbing a bank, and claimed he had been forced to do it by three people who had put the bomb around his neck and would kill him if he refused. The bomb later exploded, killing him. In 2007, police alleged Wells was involved in the robbery plot along with two other conspirators.[112]
  • 2003: Brandon Vedas died of a drug overdose while engaged in an Internet chat, as shown on his webcam.[113]
  • 2003: Timothy Treadwell, an American environmentalist who had lived in the wilderness among bears for thirteen summers in a remote region in Alaska, and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard were killed and partially consumed by a bear. An audio recording of their deaths was captured on a video camera which had been turned on at the beginning of the incident. Werner Herzog's documentary film, Grizzly Man, discusses Treadwell and his death, including the audio clip.[114]
  • 2005: Kenneth Pinyan ('Mr. Hands') of Gig Harbor, Washington died of acute peritonitis after seeking out and receiving anal intercourse from a stallion, an act he had engaged in previously. Pinyan delayed his visit to the hospital for several hours out of reluctance to explain the circumstances of his injury to doctors. The case led to the criminalization of bestiality in Washington.[115] His story was recounted in the award winning 2007 documentary film Zoo.
  • 2005: Lee Seung Seop, a 28-year-old South Korean, collapsed of fatigue and died after playing the online videogame StarCraft for almost 50 consecutive hours in an Internet cafe.[116]
  • 2006: Steve Irwin, a television personality and naturalist known as The Crocodile Hunter, died when his heart was impaled by a short-tail stingray barb while filming a documentary entitled "Ocean's Deadliest" in Queensland's Great Barrier Reef. [117]
  • 2006: Alexander Litvinenko, a former officer of the Russian State security service, and later a Russian dissident and writer, suddenly fell ill and was hospitalized in London. He died three weeks later, becoming the first known victim of lethal polonium-210-induced acute radiation syndrome.
  • 2007: Jennifer Strange, a 28-year-old woman from Sacramento, died of water intoxication while trying to win a Wii console in a KDND 107.9 "The End" radio station's "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" contest, which involved drinking large quantities of water without urinating.[118][119]
  • 2007: Kevin Whitrick, a 42-year-old man, committed suicide by hanging himself live on a webcam during an internet chat session.[120]
  • 2007: Surinder Singh Bajwa, the Deputy Mayor of Delhi, India, was kicked by a Rhesus Macaque monkey at his home and fell from a first floor balcony, suffering serious head injuries. He later died from his injuries.[121]
  • 2008: Abigail Taylor, age 6, died nine months after several of her internal organs were partially sucked out of her lower body while she sat on an excessively powerful swimming pool drain. Surgery following the incident returned the organs to the inside of her body, however she still died due to the incident. [122]
  • 2008: Gerald Mellin, a U.K. businessman, committed suicide by tying one end of a rope around his neck and the other to a tree. He then hopped into his Aston Martin DB7 and drove down a main road in Swansea until the rope decapitated him. He supposedly did this as an act of revenge against his ex-wife for leaving him.[123]
  • 2008: David Phyall, 50, the last resident in a block of flats due to be demolished in Bishopstoke, near Southampton, Hampshire, UK, cut his own head off with a chainsaw to highlight the 'injustice' of being asked to move out.[124]

GOODBYE WOOLWORTHS

THIS IS BRILLIANT....


Ten Thousand Pictures of You from Robin King on Vimeo.


Thanks to www.b3ta.com/links/Ten_Thousand_Pictures_of_You

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

50 THINGS WE DIDN'T KNOW BEFORE 2008

Published: December 22, 2008

Related Links

Well, well, well. Wasn't 2008 a newsy little year?

Believe it or not, stuff happened that had nothing to do with the presidential election, gas prices or Michael Phelps. Not that you'd have an easy time sifting through all the media debris to find the information that actually meant something.

With so many distractions, you probably didn't hear that using Facebook makes you a better employee, or that drinking wine can help you avoid lung cancer, or that doing tai chi makes life easier for asthmatics. (Unless you do it in a public park wearing something approximating pajamas, of course. Then you just look silly.)

For those and other warm, delicious infomuffins, we humbly present our list of stuff you know this year that you didn't know this time last year. Feel free to unleash these at your New Year's Eve party:

1. Dogs appear to experience jealousy and pride. Previously, only humans and chimpanzees were thought to suffer those emotions.

Read About It

* * * * *

2. Two pounds of a dried plant that turned out to be the oldest marijuana in the world was discovered in a 2,700-year-old grave in the excavated Yanghai Tombs in the Gobi Desert. The cannabis was found near the head of a blue-eyed, 45-year-old shaman among other objects intended for use in the afterlife.

Read About It

* * * * *

3. Starch grains embedded in plaque on the teeth of early Peruvians show they had a more varied diet than previously believed, including beans and a local fruit known as pacay that indicate they had settled into farming long before we thought they had.

Read About It

* * * * *

4. Scientists discovered a more efficient way to build synthetic genomes, which could lead to one day creating artificial life.

Read About It

* * * * *

5. Puerto Rican anole lizards perform push-ups and unfurl their dewlaps, the flaps of skin beneath their chins, to grab the attention of others when the forest is noisy.

Read About It

* * * * *

6. Stress causes human brain cells to either shrink or grow, leaving victims of serious stress with dramatic changes to their nervous systems.

Read About It

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7. After a decade of increases, the number of mobile phones being shipped to market is shrinking. Consumers are sticking with their phones longer.

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8. Ground-penetrating radar used by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter revealed enormous underground reservoirs of frozen water far from Mars' polar caps — glaciers up to a half-mile thick buried beneath rock and debris. Researchers said one glacier is three times the size of Los Angeles.

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9. Learning math triggers a large-scale reorganization of brain processes in order to understand written symbols for various quantities.

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10. The world's oceans are growing more acidic at an increasing rate, a phenomenon that may lead to major disruptions for corals, lobster, oysters, crabs, mussels and snails, which have difficulty building their calcium crusts in such conditions.

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11. Magnetic resonance imaging scans of blood flow in the human brain indicate that bullies often derive pleasure from watching others in pain.

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12. The use of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace on company computers leads to increased productivity.

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13. Children ages 5 to 11 who spend less time sleeping have a higher Body Mass Index and are more likely to be obese when they get older.

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14. Asthma sufferers may be able to better control their breathing and improve their exercise performance with training in tai chi.

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15. Hospital patients who receive a transfusion of stored blood aged 29 days or older face double the risk of developing one or more serious infections compared to those who get "fresher" blood.

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16. Exposure to light in grocery stores reduces the quality of cauliflower, broccoli, chard, leeks and asparagus.

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17. Scientists developed a method for reducing the amount of flatulence-causing carbohydrates in soybeans and soy yogurt while raising the levels of healthy antioxidants known as isoflavones.

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18. The virus that causes AIDS most likely emerged around 1908 near the African town then known as Léopoldville, now known as Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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19. People in a position to hire are biased against applicants with limp or wet handshakes, and interviewers often rate women who don't shake hands as firmly as men lower than their qualifications warrant.

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20. Searching online is better than reading books for increasing the brainpower of middle-aged and older adults.

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21. Drinking red wine, but not white wine, may reduce lung cancer risk, especially among current and ex-smokers

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22. One in 75 patients who gets a new knee or hip must get it replaced again within three years.

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23. Men who suffer from sleep apnea often have trouble getting sexually aroused because of oxygen deprivation experienced during episodes of obstructed breathing.

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24. Chemotherapy tends to be less effective for overweight patients with operable breast cancer than their normal-weight peers.

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25. More than 20 percent of U.S. Internet users are watching prime-time episodic content online, with half of that viewing serving as a replacement for watching the shows on TV.

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26. Girls and boys now perform equally on standardized high school mathematics tests across North America, ending a gender gap that lasted for decades.

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27. Delaying fatherhood can substantially increase the risk of fertility problems, with the chance of impregnation decreasing once the man is older than 35.

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28. Online videos get the majority of their views soon after they're posted. Of 10,916 videos with at least 1,000 views after 90 days, half of those views happened over the first two weeks.

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29. Excessive flip-flop wearing leads to a much higher risk of developing skin cancer on the feet. Only half of patients with foot melanomas survive.

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30. An ADHD-related gene may encourage behaviors beneficial for nomads.

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31. Taking a 10-minute online break during the course of the working day serves to reduce stress while sharpening and refocusing the mind.

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32. The likelihood an older person will enter a nursing home or other long-term care facility is particularly high immediately after the death of a spouse.

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33. Among kidney transplant recipients, depression doubles the risk of kidney failure, return to dialysis therapy, and death.

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34. Data on rainfall in the Mediterranean region from 200 B.C. to 1100 A.D. suggests that the decline of the Roman and Byzantine empires may have been partly caused by climate change.

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35. The fully fleshed-out head of a Tyrannosaurus rex may have weighed more than 1,100 pounds, but much of that volume came from air cavities that likely created painful sinus infections.

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36. An expedition 6,500-feet below the Atlantic Ocean caused one explorer to describe the region as "a new continent." Hundreds of rare and unknown species were discovered in the 1,500-mile-long Mid-Atlantic Ridge between Europe and America.

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37. Great white sharks travel long distances every winter to meet in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. During this gathering, they make dives to depths of 300 meters.

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38. Men with rounded faces, soft jaw lines, thin eyebrows, bright eyes, small nostrils, large mouths, thin lips, a warm, bright complexion and no facial hair are considered the most trustworthy, according to "modern-day facial stereotyping."

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39. Scientists found an assortment of 100-million-year-old, perfectly intact marine microorganisms trapped in tree resin in the Charente region of southwestern France. The discovery pushes back by at least 20 million years the period when a type of single-cell algae called diatoms are known to have appeared on earth.

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40. A newly found species of bacteria can grow at low temperatures, spoiling raw milk even when it's refrigerated.

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41. Killer whales off the coast of Vancouver Island know the precise sound of their favorite prey, Chinook salmon, and can identify the fish from more than 100 yards away.

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42. The Canadian Basin of the Arctic Ocean is a hotbed for tiny gelatinous zooplankton, including at least one new species of jelly fish.

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43. A stalagmite found in a cave in China reveals a nearly 2,000-year record of the annual Asian monsoon rainy season.

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44. Mexican scientists discovered a way to make diamonds from the carbon and organic compounds found in tequila.

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45. Rocks found in south China and quartz rock of south Australia show that an eight-armed creature lived in many of the world's oceans during the Ediacaran Period 635 to 541 million years ago — 300 million years before the first dinosaurs emerged.

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46. About every eight minutes, the magnetic fields of the sun and Earth briefly merge or reconnect, forming a portal through which particles can flow. The portal is in the form of a cylinder about as wide as Earth.

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47. Women who answer to another woman in the workplace feel significantly more stressed than those who have a male supervisor.

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48. Chimpanzees keep a mental record of helpful acts from other members of their group, such as grooming, scratching and removing fleas, so they can return the favor.

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49. When a leaf of a plant is attacked by a virus, fungi or other pathogen, the plant's roots can secrete an acid containing protective bacteria.

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50. Drinking just three cups of coffee a day can make women's breasts shrink.

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