Three years ago, people in Canneto di Caronia, Italy, watched their TVs, refrigerators, cell phones, and furniture burst into flames for no apparent reason. After bringing in scientists, electrical engineers, a NASA scientist, but alas, not Muldur and Scully, the Civil Protection Department says the fires were “caused by a high power electro magnetic emissions which were not man made and reached a power of between 12 and 15 gigawatts.” In other words, aliens did it. Meanwhile in California, officials say a wildfire that burned more than 38,000 acres and destroyed 21 homes last week was caused by a boy playing with matches. Yeah, right.
Archive for October 2007
How many times have you woken up and thought, “Gee, I’d like to have a butterfly named after me”? Okay, so the thought usually occurs in the middle of a long, recreation-filled night, you get the idea. Well now this dream can come true. The Florida Museum of Natural History is auctioning the naming rights for a newly discovered species of owl butterfly and you can bid online at iGavel. A member of the Opsiphanes group, the orange butterfly with a 4-inch wingspan lives in the Sonoran Desert in northwestern Mexico and can have your name. Let’s see…Bobby Opsiphanes? Opsiphanes Goldblatt? Just so long as it doesn’t end up being named Julia.
Craig S. McCullough was arrested when an agent for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency discovered him lying next to an inflatable, anatomically correct doll with his pants down in a bathroom in the building in which the agency has offices. This isn’t the first time McCullough has been known to play with dolls. In 2004 he was convicted for burglarizing a bridal boutique. He was caught when the police found him in a nearby alley carrying a mannequin that was wearing a bridal dress. McCullough needs to learn about Second Life. Actually, he just needs a life.
Just on time for Halloween, an Associated Press-Ipsos poll was released that found nearly one-third of us believe in ghosts, 23% claim to have seen a ghost, 19% believe in spells or witchcraft, and 84% think Ghostbusters was a documentary and Sigourney Weaver was hot.
On Tuesday the State Department signed an agreement with Mongolia that will allow the country’s ships to be boarded and searched if they’re suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction. The fact that Mongolia is home to the Gobi Desert, has no navy, and is thousands of miles from any ocean isn’t important. When asked what they hoped to achieve with the agreement, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said “I’ll have to check.” And you thought Condoleezza Rice wasn’t making great strides towards world peace.
How many times have you had to go to the bathroom while driving but just didn’t have a soda bottle handy? Now, thanks to a Japanese company, you can have your own auto-potty. The Kurumarukun was unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Show the other day. You just unfold the cardboard toilet bowl, put a plastic bag with a water-absorbent sheet in it, then draw the curtain around you, hopefully not while driving. It will be available on November 15 and will probably be endorsed by former astronaut Lisa Nowak.
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For years Sioux Gateway Airport in Sioux City, Iowa, has disliked the three-letter airport code they were given, so much so that they twice petitioned the FAA to change it. They were offered GWU, GYO, GYT, SGV, and yes, GAY, but they decided in the end to stick with and embrace the one they’ve had for years — SUX. No word on whether they’ve embraced it enough that they’ll have a French Connection fcuk store in the terminal.
During an appearance at Carnegie Hall the other night, J.K. Rowling revealed that master wizard Albus Dumbledore is gay and has been in love with Hogwarts headmaster Gellert Grindelwald for years. In other news, Moby Dick is a whale, Rosebud is a sled, and in The Sixth Sense Malcolm is a ghost and only Cole can see him.
Jose “Pepe” Caragol, an incumbent city council member in Hialeah, Florida, is being criticized for the slogan he’s using in his re-election campaign: “If you like oral sex, vote Caragol for council.” Actually, it’s a refreshing change from the usual politician’s slogan: “If you like getting screwed, vote for me.”
FBI agents, investigating allegations of sexual misconduct, raided a Las Vegas warehouse owned by David Copperfield and walked away with nearly $2 million in cash , a computer hard drive, and a memory chip from a digital camera. Apparently Copperfield can make the Statue of Liberty disappear and walk through the Great Wall of China but he can’t make evidence disappear. Just to be on the safe side, it might be a good idea if he bones up on his escape artist skills.
If you go to Canada and get mad at someone, be careful what you call them. In Quebec’s National Assembly the other day, Premier Jean Charest was ordered to stop calling opposition leader Mario Dumont a girouette, or weather vane. The Assembly Speaker demanded that he retract the word since it’s “hurtful.” After some debate, Charest finally agreed to withdraw the word from the record. He considered calling Dumont a vent chaussette, a windsock, and a baromètre, or barometer, but was smart to acquiesce. In Canada it doesn’t take a weather vane to know which way the wind blows. And hopefully it doesn’t blow south.
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For those who are worried about Hillary’s continuing the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton dynasty, be warned that it won’t be a whole lot better if Barack Obama becomes president. It turns out that he’d be following his cousin into the White House. Yes, Obama and Dick Cheney are cousins. Eighth cousins, but kissin’ cousins nevertheless. The vice president’s wife, Lynne Cheney, discovered this not in the bedroom, but when she was researching her family tree for her upcoming memoirs, “Blue Skies, No Fences,” which she’s renaming “Why did I get the short end of the stick?”
Scientists, ever on the march to discover new things — or in lieu of that, create them — have crossed a rabbit with a poplar tree and come up with a transparent frog. Relax, those are two separate experiments. First, scientists at Hiroshima University bred see-through frogs to let them see the amphibian’s internal organs and blood vessels without dissecting it. Killjoys. Then scientists at the University of Washington stuck a rabbit gene into a poplar tree and got a tree that wiggles its leaves, hops around, and eats lettuce. Just kidding. Actually it sucks up and destroys toxic chemicals from the air and water better than regular trees. Now if they can manage to cross one of the clear frogs with a bunny tree they could wind up with a transparent tree that eats flies. And to think, they’ll have to wait a whole year before the next round of Nobel Prizes are handed out.
Monsignor Tommaso Stenico, a high-ranking Vatican official, was suspended after being caught on a hidden camera making advances to a young man. He swears he’s not gay though, he just pretended to be gay as part of his work as a psychoanalyst. According to an interview in La Repubblica, his pretending also included hanging out in gay chat rooms and meeting gay men so he could better understand “those who damage the image of the Church with homosexual activity.” This ranks right up there with excuses like “it crawled into my hand, honest,” “the dog ate my heterosexuality,” and “I have a wide stance, if you know what I mean *wink*wink*.”
The game show Nothing But the Truth has been a hit in Colombia. After all, who doesn’t want to see someone hooked up to a lie detector confessing their deepest, darkest secrets in the hope that they’ll win up to $50,000, especially when they admit to things like drug smuggling and homosexual prostitution while their loved ones are in the studio audience? Unfortunately the show was pulled off the air after the October 2 broadcast because Rosa Maria Solano admitted she had hired a hit man to kill her husband. True, he was tipped off and high-tailed it out of town, but still. The Fox network says it still plans on launching the U.S. version, called Moment of the Truth, in a couple of months, since they believe honesty is the best policy. And for some people, the best chance to win $50,000.
Bermuda’s health coordinator says the country is the fourth fattest in the world because people there can’t resist Coco Pops, which were renamed Cocoa Krispies in the U.S. a few years ago, and can’t resist a sale. “Many people have a massive bowl of Coco Pops for breakfast every day,” Jennifer Attride-Stirling told The Royal Gazette . “The reason they buy that might be because it’s two for the price of one.” She went on to say that 23% of the islanders are obese, 38% are overweight, and 74% think that when you buy something two-for-one it means you’re supposed to eat twice as much at a sitting.
Blender magazine has awarded Sting the honor of being the worst lyricist in rock ‘n roll, saying his lyrics display “mountainous pomposity (and) cloying spirituality.” That’s a pretty pompous description there. Rush drummer Neil Peart was named second worst, followed by Scott Stapp of Creed, Noel Gallagher, and Dan Fogelberg. Somewhere, Neil Diamond is feeling cheated, but no one hears him, not even the chair.
When a Utah woman opened a can of Allen’s Cut Green Beans she’d bought at a Wal-Mart store and emptied it into a pot, she discovered a little extra flavoring — a rodent head. Allen Canning offered the woman $100, then explained to The Salt Lake Tribune that “There’s no way that product could have hurt her. This rodent was rendered commercially sterile. We cook each can individually at a temperature to 265 degrees.” Apparently it’s like finding a piece of chicken in Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup or a little square of pork fat in a can of pork and beans. Only more sterile.
In June, the maker of Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway toys recalled 1.5 million of them because they contained lead paint. As a nice gesture, RC2 Corp. sent “bonus gifts” to customers who turned in the recalled toys. Now it turns out that 2,000 of the “Toad” train cars they sent out in the bonus shipment were made with paint that has up to four times the acceptable level of lead and they’ve been recalled too. Hopefully the letter of apology they send customers won’t be printed using lead-based ink on asbestos-laced paper and include anthrax-coated small parts a small child could choke on.
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The principal of Percy Julian Middle School in Oak Park, IL, has instituted a Zero Hug Tolerance policy, banning hugging because it’s “more appropriate for airports or family reunions.” Just to make sure this is clear, remember, you can hug at the airport but don’t try to carry more than 3 ounces of liquid on board the plane, you can hug at a family reunion but don’t expect to learn any math there, and you can walk through a metal detector at school, stuff a kid in his locker, and copy the answers from that brainiac who sits next to you, but whatever you do, no hugs.