Japanese scientists have made the world’s smallest ramen bowl, measuring 1/25,000 of an inch in diameter. Carved from nanotubes, you need a microscope to see the bowl as well as the “noodles” in it that are 1/12,500th of an inch long and 1 millionth of an inch thick. Unfortunately the noodles aren’t edible, not even if you put 1/10,000th of a drop of miso soup in the bowl.
Archive for May 2008
A Miami, FL, plastic surgeon has written a children’s book. No, it’s not The Little Intern Who Could or Olivia Saves a Life, it’s My Beautiful Mommy and it explains nose jobs, tummy tucks, liposuction, and breast implants to four to seven-year-olds so they won’t be shocked when Mom suddenly comes home with big boobs or her nose looks less like Zorba’s and more like Helen of Troy’s. Look for his next book, I Won’t Have a Brother Unless Daddy Takes Viagra, due for release soon.
You know times are tough when gas prices are over $4 a gallon, Costco is limiting the amount of rice you can buy, and sales of Spam are up. Yes, in an attempt to save money over real meat, people are eating more Spam. The company says some of it is the success of Spam Singles, individually wrapped slices of Spam that, according to their web site, you can keep in your pocket. And leave there if you’re smart.
The toilet on the international space station is broken. Thanks to a motor fan that quit working, the liquid waste-gathering system stopped working so the three astronauts are using a jury-rigged system that I’m sure we don’t want to know about. Luckily space shuttle Discovery is set to arrive on Monday, hopefully with an emergency shipment of Drano, a robo-plunger, and a plumber who will become the first person in space to show crackage through a space suit.
Alan Marscher knows he can’t be a star. Well, astronomically speaking. But that’s not stopping the Boston University astronomer from writing and singing songs like “Superluminal Lover” and another about a black hole with the lyrics “Attracted by your gravity, your body’s so compact. Pulling me inward, prepare for close contact.” Of course it’s no worse than “I am, I said. To no one there. And no one heard at all, Not even the chair” or “I don’t like cities, But I like New York. Other places make me feel like a dork.” So maybe he should start using only his first name, Alan, and get Justin Timberlake to produce his next album. Sales could be, uh, astronomic.
A former Australian of the Year, Tim Flannery, told Parliament he thinks the answer to global warming and climate change is to pump sulphur into the atmosphere to change the color of the sky so it will repel the sun’s rays and keep the planet cooler. He admits that no one knows if there would be negative consequences. You know, like the air smelling like rotten eggs, everyone having to buy new sunglasses that filter out more yellows, and Satan feeling more at home here than ever.
Anyone buying a car at Max Motors in Butler, MO, this month will get a special incentive thrown in — a $250 check toward either a gun or gasoline. According to general manager Walter Moore, so far most have chosen the gun. “Down here, we all believe in God, guts and guns,” he said. Besides, gas doesn’t do you any good during a fit of road rage unless you have it in a bottle with some soap flakes and a rag stuffed in the neck.
BioArts International, a biotech company in Mill Valley, CA, is auctioning off five spots—uh, opportunities—to have your dog cloned. On June 18th the five highest bidders in an online auction will be able to get a copy of their dog. Well, providing you have “a living dog from which your veterinarian can obtain a viable tissue sample, or have already gene banked viable tissue from a live or deceased dog.” Unfortunately they can’t use saliva, teeth, nails, blood, or fur. Darn. The cloning will be performed by Hwang Woo-suk, the South Korean scientist and creator of Snuppy, the world’s first cloned dog, whose stem cell research turned out to have been faked. Now that’s reassuring. Bidding will start at $100,000. Registration is open at bestfriendsagain.com. With luck you’ll have a matching pair of dogs on time for the dog days of summer.
American Airlines, which last month joined other airlines in charging $25 for second checked bags, announced today that beginning June 15 it will hit passengers with $15 for the first checked bag as well. Other new fees include charges for reservation help, oversize bags, a seat, and use of the overhead light and airflow nozzle. In addition, flight attendants will pass a hat in case the passengers want an experienced pilot rather than a teenager who’s really good at Flight Simulator.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Scot Marciel told the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia yesterday that the Myanmar government’s response to Cyclone Nargis has been appalling and that if thousands die because the country won’t accept foreign aid and disaster workers it will be the government’s responsibility. Asked to comment, President Bush said, “Brownie — I mean, Senior General Than Shwe — you’re doing a heck of a job.”
When Queen Juliana of the Netherlands abdicated the throne to her daughter, Queen Beatrix, in 1980, she wanted to pardon all petty criminals, something European royalty had traditionally done in the past. When told this wasn’t possible anymore, she suggested that instead all prisoners be served a piece of cake. Cooler heads prevailed and, unlike her 18th century role model, she kept hers.
A flight attendant on a Compass Airlines plane heading to Saskatchewan was upset about having to work the flight so he set some paper towels on fire in the bathroom, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing in Fargo, ND. The passengers should have been tipped off when he made his pre-flight announcement earlier: “We remind you that this is a non-smoking flight. Tampering with, disabling, or destroying the smoke detectors located in the lavatories is prohibited by law. We want them working should we choose to set this aircraft on fire. We hope you have an enjoyable flight.”
The same day the British Ministry of Defence released previously secret files about some of the 11,000 UFO sightings dating back as far as the 1950s, the Vatican’s chief astronomer declared that it’s okay to believe in aliens and that it doesn’t contradict your faith in God. That means Fox Muldur is no longer a heretic and those little green guys you saw on the way home from the Slug and Dingleberrie weren’t the result of the last pint of Guinness.
In an interview with Politico magazine, President Bush, the man who once expressed disapproval of terrorist bombings in Israel while on the links and then told reporters “Now watch this drive,” said he gave up golfing in 2003 because, “I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them.” Hey, nothing says sacrifice like giving up your tee time.
Scientists on Marion Island near the Antarctic have filmed a seal trying to have sex with a penguin. “At first we thought it was hunting the penguin, but then it became clear that his intentions were rather more amorous,” a mammal ecologist who was there said. Yeah, and Mom said the chickens were fighting, too. Experts say it’s the first known example of attempted sex between a mammal and another kind of vertebrate, “although some mammals are known to have attempted sexual relief with inanimate objects.” You know, like dogs and table legs, Portnoy and calf’s liver, and your spouse when he or she is tired but accommodating. The video will be on YouTube soon, as well as at Seals-Gone-Wild.com.
The new Rough Guide to England describes the country as irritating, insular, and full of overweight, binge-drinking, reality TV addicts. In response, the English say Rough Guide should mind its own damned business, and if they weren’t so drunk they’d turn off Big Brother, try to get out of the chair, and waddle after the guide’s authors to kick their bloody bums.
Burial and cremation are so passé . The emerging, green way to take care of the dead is alkaline hydrolysis—dissolving bodies in lye. Taking a tip from mass murderers, they put the body in a stainless steel pressure cooker with a strong lye solution, heating it to 300 degrees under 60 psi of pressure. The result is a brownish, syrupy residue that gets flushed down the drain and a dry bone residue the bereaved can have. So far the process is only being used to get rid of animal carcasses but a New Hampshire funeral home is trying to get clearance to offer the service. Hopefully they’ll offer a 55-gallon drum for the remains that can be buried in the backyard. Pass the Drano, please.
Bill Bramanti of South Chicago Heights, Illinois, wants to be buried with the one he loves, so he had a coffin made that looks like a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. While he’s waiting to need it he’s going to use it as a cooler. Now if he could only convince five other members of the family to do the same thing they could link the coffins with plastic bands and bury them as a six-pack.
Albert Hoffman, the man who discovered LSD, died recently. He was 102. Steve Jobs is still alive. He’s 53. Evil spawn? Doppelgänger? Bad acid flashback? Or just a genetic coincidence?
With U.S. gas prices hitting $4.00 a gallon and oil hitting a new high of $120 per barrel, everyone wants to save gas. The hypermiling movement claims you can double your gas mileage by doing things like pumping up your tires to the maximum rating, using lower viscosity oil, and pretending you’re Lance Armstrong and drafting behind other cars on the highway. One guy says he gets 71 mpg from his Honda Insight by “pulsing and gliding” — accelerating then turning the engine off and coasting until he hits 15 mph, when he turns the engine back on and accelerates again. Other good methods include leaving the car in the driveway, walking, and siphoning gas from the neighbor’s car.