Scientists at the University of Technology in Vienna and the University of Leeds have determined that the United Kingdom weighs 24,000,000 billion tons, with Scotland weighing less than England and Wales. Oxford turns out to be the heaviest city in the country, Cornwall is the lightest, Austria weights morethan any other country in Europe, and scientists at the University of Technology in Vienna and the University of Leeds have way too much time on their hands.
Archive for January 2007
Before you decide whether the bill California Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Sally Lieber plans to introduce this week outlawing the spanking of children 3-years-old and younger is a good or bad idea, consider that protesters perched in oak trees in Berkeley, California, trying to stop the University of California Berkeley from building an athletic training center include Zachary RunningWolf (sic), Redwood Mary, Chewing Gum, and Tree Otter. Biff, Muffy, and Chip apparently couldn’t care less.
Prince Charles, who has described climate change as the “biggest threat to mankind,” is flying to New York City later this month to receive a Global Environmental Citizen prize from Harvard Medical School’s Centre for Health and the Global Environment from none other than Al “Alternate PowerPoint” Gore. He’s travelling by scheduled flight instead of a chartered or private jet in order to, as he likes to put it, “reduce his carbon footprint.” He’s booked the entire first-class and business class section of a jumbo jet for the 20 people going with him. Unfortunately those sections hold 62 people, meaning their carbon footprint is three times what it would be if every seat was used. Ya gotta hate those technicalities.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health say the nicotine level in cigarettes has increased 11% from 1997 to 2005. During the same time, cigarette prices have increased 75%. Hey, you didn’t think nicotine was free, did you?
Hot on the heels of the recently introduced energy drink, Cocaine, a San Francisco company has released Meth Coffee. Neither product contains illegal substances, but are in fact made of heavy doses of caffeine with yerba mate or guarana added. *yawn* If they’re successful, look for Heroin Relaxing Soda, Marijuana brand tonic, and Crack energy candy to hit store shelves soon.
Newly discovered documents in Britain’s National Archives show that in 1956 former French Prime Minister Guy Mollet and British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden discussed the possibility of France becoming a part of the United Kingdom. Good thing it didn’t happen, since each country would have had to find someone else to blame everything on, and Germany is so handy it would have been a prime prospect for them both. Not to mention that the idea of eating croissant and kidney pie, hearing Serge Gainsbourg sing God Save The Queen, and sitting down to a relaxing afternoon treat of tea, crumpets, and Gauloise would have been too much for anyone to handle.
A survey of college students’ civic literacy found that nearly 20% of those polled thought Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was advocating the abolition of slavery. Hey, it’s not easy keeping Abraham, Martin, and John straight, you know. Interestingly, 22% thought President’s Day honors George Bush, 43% said Labor Day celebrates pregnant mothers, and 37% said Christmas is the day Santa Claus was born in a manger made of pine trees and blinking lights.
Are you tired of going to the baseball game and not being able to get all the hot dogs you can stuff in your mouth without paying out the yin-yang? Head to Dodger Stadium, where next year the right-field pavilion will be converted into an all-you-can-eat section for 3,000 fans. For $35 in advance and $40 the day of the game, you can pig out on as many hot dogs, peanuts, popcorn, nachos and sodas as you want. Unfortunately some items — like beer, ice cream, and candy — aren’t included in the deal. Of course if you’re cheap — or not hungry — you can get equivalent left-field seats for only $10. Batter up! The onion rings, that is.
A study by an industrial psychologist at the University of Calgary found that 26% of Americans consider themselves to be chronic procrastinators, people who procrastinate tend to be less healthy, wealthy and happy, and that men are worse procrastinators than women. The research project was supposed to take five years but was just published in this month’s Psychological Bulletin. Five years late.
While chatting between morning television interviews today, an open microphone caught Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice praising Fox News network’s correspondents. She said, “My Fox guys, I love every single one of them.” *sigh* And they like you too, Condie. Very much.
A couple of months ago the Agriculture Department decided not to use the word “hunger” when describing people who can’t afford to put food on the table. To ensure that you don’t embarrass yourself in front of friends who have full stomachs and drinks in their hands, the official term now is that a person has “very low food security.” Someone issue those people food locks, quickly! Add this to the government’s recent adoption of surge (as in “we need a troop surge to beat the inSURGEnts”) and Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend’s description of our not capturing Osama bin Laden not as a failure but as “a success that hasn’t occurred yet.” Somewhere, George Orwell is smiling smugly.
All day Monday New York City was blanketed with a gas-like odor. Officials said it wasn’t harmful and there was no terrorism involved, though a few buildings were evacuated, PATH trains into the city were shut down for a while, and about a dozen people were hospitalized with breathing problems. Officials originally suspected the odor was caused by mercaptan, the chemical added to natural gas to give it a detectable smell, but today they changed their minds. Now they say it drifted across the Hudson River from the Garden State. New Jersey officials are pooh-poohing the idea, so to speak, asserting that “He who smelt it, dealt it.”
The American Dialect Society chose their 2006 Word of the Year: Plutoed. As in “to demote or devalue someone or something,” much like the former planet’s fate last year. It beat out murse (a man’s purse), flog (a fake blog that promotes products), the decider (an unintelligent leader), and macaca (an American citizen treated as an alien, or a good way to lose an election). Last year’s top word was “truthiness,” which coincidentally was chosen by dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster as this year’s word of the year. Next year the dictionary will probably choose “obsolate” (behind the times and out of touch) as their word of the year.
After six years as chairman and chief executive of Home Depot, Robert Nardelli resigned on Wednesday, walking away with about $210 million in severance pay, not to mention the $119.2 million he made last year in salary and bonus. Oh yeah, and his stock options. The severance pay alone comes to $575,342.46 for each day he doesn’t work during the coming year. Well, assuming he doesn’t work seven days a week. Heck, for that kind of money, I’d quit too.
At the end of his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House yesterday, George Bush smiled and said, “No back rubs,” in reference to the unwanted neck massage he gave her at the Group of Eight summit last July. According to Reuters, Merkel “smiled sheepishly in response.” Of course he didn’t promise not to massage her feet, give her a Reiki treatment, or bomb Dresden again if our troops need something to do after they come home from Iraq and get bored.
According to FBI files that were made public yesterday, former Chief Justice William Rehnquist was addicted to painkillers for 10 years while an associate justice and, when hospitalized so he could detox, suffered hallucinations, heard voices, imagined that the CIA was plotting against him, and even tried to escape the hospital in his pajamas. Ah, those were the good years. While Rehnquist was taking Placidyl, back at the White House Richard Nixon was having late night talks with paintings of the presidents, Charles Colson was talking to god, and apparently everyone was talking to J. Edgar Hoover.
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate® Dictionary has come kicking and screaming into the 21st century. The new update contains listing for nearly 100 “new” words, including gastric bypass, ringtone, soul patch, supersize, unibrow, and yes, drama queen. Looks like it’s time to stay fat, shave your facial hair, and call your friends to tell them about it. With lots of emotional flair, of course.
*noun: a person given to often excessively emotional performances or reactions
A group of United Airlines employees, including some pilots, claim they saw a mysterious, spinning, saucer-shaped craft hover over O’Hare Airport last fall before it shot up through the clouds. Neither United Airlines nor the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating. The group also reporting having seen peace break out in the Middle East, Eminem and Kim Mathers get married for a third time, and Jimmy Hoffa sipping a Frappuccino at the Starbucks in Terminal 3. Those aren’t being investigated either, except by the tabloids.