June 2008 Archives

A new widget that could help disabled people steer a wheelchair or control a computer by moving their tongue, has been revealed.

US researchers have developed the tiny magnet which is implanted under the tongue to help individuals with severe disabilities lead more independent lives.

They say motion within the mouth can then direct the movement of a cursor across a computer screen or a powered wheelchair around a room.

"We chose the tongue to operate the system because unlike hands and feet, which are controlled by the brain through the spinal cord, the tongue is directly connected to the brain by a cranial nerve.

"Tongue movements are also fast, accurate and do not require much thinking, concentration or effort." said Maysam Ghovanloo, an assistant professor in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

A computer games company has recruited an academic to help them 'brainwash' children while they play.

Nipan Maniar a University of Portsmouth academic will help Capcom develop ideas and techniques to embed subliminal lessons about physics and maths in game play.

The company initiated the collaboration after testing of 'We Love Golf' revealed how complex calculations about ball flight, trajectory and distance became markedly easier the more the game was played.

It is hoped he will help develop mind programming techniques to provide structured learning environments that players won't be consciously aware of.

Mr Maniar said: "The power of games as a learning tool is the great untapped education resource of our time. 

The majority of adults struggle to answer questions based on the syllabus taught to 7-11 year olds, a survey has found.

Asked things like what was Shakespeare's first name, or what is the capital of Sweden? many people are apparently left scratching their heads.

Only 12 percent of adult respondents to the 10 question test - aimed at 7-10 year-olds - gave a full 10 correct answers, the average was just six.

The question that stumped the majority of the panel was how to spell skilful, 77% got that wrong. 25% could not name the capital of Sweden, 23% did not know who was on the throne in 1900 and 5% couldn’t recall Shakespeare’s first name.

Andy Salmon, founder of Thinkalink.co.uk who conducted the test said: “Considering that these questions could be answered by at least a 7 year old, you might say the test was easy and so an average score of 6 out of 10 is pretty weak.

The Blue Peter garden should be protected with grade-II listed status, say English Heritage.

The conservation group believe the Percy Thrower designed garden which was created in 1974 is of historical, architectural and cultural significance.

They argue that along with the Top of the Pops studios it contributed to the "iconic presence" of Television Centre.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will now decide whether to  consent to the request meaning it could not be demolished, extended or altered without special permission.

English Heritage is also requesting listed status for Television Centre's scenery workshop, its canteen block adjoining the Blue Peter garden, and the central circular building.

Penguins to get biometric passports

African penguins in South Africa are to have 'passport photos' taken to help scientists to identify and monitor them individually. 

Boffins from the University of Bristol, have devised an visual surveillance system to monitor the population dynamics and social behaviour of endangered species.

The technology uses advances in computer vision and human biometrics to capture detailed and reliable data on the penguins.

The cameras, which are installed in the penguins habitats, record footage and a computer 'looks' at the unique pattern of black spots on their chests to identify them - no two penguins have the same markings.

The computer then allows the biologists to keep tracks on the flightless birds because whenever they are visible to one of the cams, the computer knows where they are.

A man has sold his 'entire life' for £192,000 after putting it for sale on eBay.

Ian Usher, from Perth, Australia, offered his custom-built house, Mazda car, 140mph motorbike, jet-ski and even his job in the online auction after splitting up with his wife.

A seven day auction finished yesterday (Sun) with a top bid of 399,300 Australian dollars (£192,000)

The news must have come as a disappointment for Ian, he had seen bids of over £1 million earlier in the week only to be told by Ebay they were fake.

"I will walk out of my home for the last time in just the clothes I am wearing, and carrying only my wallet and passport," said Ian.

The Queen owns her own McDonald’s, it has been revealed.

But rather than having had a burger bar installed at Buckingham Palace for any late-night cravings of chicken nuggets, the Maccie D's is down the road from Windsor Castle.

The fast food joint is one of the properties on The Bath Road Retail Park in Slough, which was this month bought by the Crown Estate for £92million.

The Crown Estate manages the Queens £7billion property portfolio and the latest addition can even be seen from her State Apartments.

It is not thought the Queen will be visiting her latest acquisition, because of a no dogs policy her corgis would not be allowed in.

Celebrities are not the only ones donning disguises to avoid the glare of the paparazzi – so are new and concept vehicles. 

Car manufactures have revealed the lengths they go to in a bid to protect the 'privacy' of their new models before they are officially launched.

A spokesman for General Motors say they employ a team of 'disguise experts' to ensure photographers do not get a shot before their much-hyped vehicle debuts.

To disguise a car, designers first cover it with plastic mesh and then alter the shape and look of the headlamps to give the vehicle a temporary facelift. 

Lionel Perkins, a camoflage engineer for GM said: "We use a palstic mesh, I try to put a little teaser in to change the overall shape.

Politician takes 'wombat leave'

A top Austrailian politicion has announced he is to take five weeks off to look after endangered wombats.

Treasury secretary Ken Henry says that despite inflation being at a 16-year high and the country on the brink of a credit crunch he is too worried about the wombats not to take the break.

He will go, along with wife Naomi to the isolated spot in northern Queensland - where there is not even any mobile phone coverage - to look after 115 hairy-nosed wombats.

"These guys are on death row," he says about the wombats, "There are 10 times as many giant pandas in the world as there are these guys."

While the break will take place during the winter he will still miss a central bank meeting - something rivals has been quick to point out.

A diamond which was 'hidden' in Birmigham for 15 years has been found and valued at £50,000.

The owner has never worn the diamond solitaire ring since inheriting it from an elderly lady who had worked in the famous Jewellery Quarter.

It was only recently they descided to get it valued and took it out of a safe for the first time in 15 years.

A spokesperson for Bonhams who valued the 4.6ct diamond as part of a recent campaign said: "We’re delighted that we’ve started by finding a really outstanding diamond and so pleased that it is a piece with local origins.

“The ring has now been sent to a gem lab in London, where it will be examined in more detail, and certificated to confirm its colour and clarity. 

A patriotic version of the world's fastest swimsuit has been unveiled for Team USA to wear at the Beijing Olympics.

The Speedo LZR Racer suit has being worn in 38 of the 42 world record breaking swims this year and has become the swimmers cozzie of choice since it's launch in Feb.

Now the scientific suits, designed in conjunction with NASA, has been given go faster stars and stripes in the patriotic make-over by design house Comme des Garçons.

Made from an ultra lightweight, low drag, water repellent, and fast-drying fabric the LZR RACER suit is the world's first fully bonded competition swimsuit. It is ultrasonically welded which gives the effect of no seams at all.

"I've been wearing the Speedo LZR RACER suit for the past several months and I've had a lot of success in it," said U.S. Olympic Gold medalist and Speedo sponsored swimmer, Natalie Coughlin. 

A would-be robber tried to hold up a store by threatening staff with a palm tree.

The dopey crook walked into the Florida convenience store with his t-shirt pulled up over his head and the palm tree raised in his right hand.

He then proceeded to threaten the shop staff that he would 'stab' them with the plants leaves.

But an employee - who presumably didn't wan to tell bosses he had been held-up by a man with foliage - grabbed a bar stool and chased the man out of the shop.

Police are said to have caught the man, though it is not known if he was armed with a bunch of flowers at the time. (Watch the CCTV video after the link)

Finding Nemo could get even harder

The clown fish, as immortalised in hit Hollywood movie 'Finding Nemo' could soon be facing extinction, scientists have claimed.

Over fishing and rising sea temperatures mean the popular tropical fish already faces extinction in parts of the world

Experts believe the Disney movie may have hastened the animals decline as demand for the brightly-coloured creature soared after the film was released in 2003.

Recent studies of clownfish on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef have revealed dramatic population falls as have studies of catch data from commercial boats since Finding Nemo was released. 

“My message to kids who loved the film is simple: tell your parents to leave Nemo in the sea where he belongs,” says Dr Billy Sinclair of the University of Cumbria."

The world's most exclusive champagne has gone on sale - but the makers say they will only sell it to TEN people in the UK.

Buyers of the posh bubbly 'By & For' will have to fork out £35,000 per case  of 12 bespoke bottles.

For that they will get to visit Champagne Perrier-Jouët's private chateau, The Maison Belle Epoque, for personal consultations with Cellar Master Hervé Deschamps. 

He will they then help them customise a 'Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs 2000' creating the ideal champagne for their particular palate. 

The 10 cases will be exclusively available in the UK from Quintessentially Wine, The Ritz, The Royal Opera House and Van Cleef & Arpels.

A computer scientist has turned his face into a remote conrtol.

Jacob Whitehill, a student from UC San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering can now control playback of a video with his facial expressions.

The project forms part of his research into improving the quality of robot teaching and video lectures.

His facial expression recognition system 'watches' the viewer of the video and depending on the faces they are pulling, speeds up, slows down or rewinds the lecture.

If the computer thinks the viewer is struggling to understand the material in the lecture it will slow down

A painting by Claude Monet has been sold for £41 million - a world record price for the impressionist artist at auction.

Though 'Le bassin aux nymphéas' is one of Monet's famous water-lily series experts only expected it to sell for £18-22 million.

But but after an intense bidding battle at Christie's London auction room and with telephone bidders the price shot up to the £41m.

The anonymous buyer was one of many people bidding on lots at the evening sale of impressionist and modern art which raised over £144 million.

Olivier Camu, Director and Head of Impressionist and Modern Art, Christie’s London: "’Le bassin aux nymphéas’ is a masterpiece painting by Claude Monet.  

A holiday resort in Canada is offering guests the chance to swim with Polar bears - the world's largest land predator.

But the Polar Bear Habitat and Heritage Village near Ontario say you do not need to be worried about being ripped limb from limb in their pool

A three-inch thick sheet of toughened glass has been installed which rises 8ft over the water level.

A spokesman for the centre said: "The wading pool offers a view of the polar bear pool through a glass viewing barrier where guests can swim and view the bears at the same time."

"Oh...did we mention that there is a huge, thick, very sturdy window between you and the polar bears!"

An 'anti-gravity' suitcase which is as easy to move when full as it is when empty has been unveiled.

The high-tech case has tiny motors fitted inside each wheel and as you tug the handle they kick into life making moving even the heaviest case easy.

Five years in development the case was revealed at the Henley-on-Thames HQ of Live Luggage today and will now go on sale for £700.

The 'intelligent torque control system' powers the wheels when the handle is tilted and is designed to power up only when required - it monitors how hard you are pulling and works out how much to help.

Additional sensors calculate if you are going uphill and will provide extra power if you are.

World's most powerful toaster

A toaster which propels your breakfast six metres into the air when cooked may not be the most practical of kitchen appliances - but if has earned its designer a place in the Guiness Book of Records. 

Freddie Yauner sent his toast 2.6 metres (8.5ft) into the air at the Royal College of Art graduate show to clinch the record, the first of its kind in the book.

The 26-year-old who says the device can shoot the toast as high as six metres, built 'The Moaster' as a satirical piece.

"We constantly conjure up too many objects that do far more than they need to do, with extra features year-on-year." he said.

"The popping element of a toaster is totally unnecessary." But it looks cool though doesn't it? (video after the link)

Butlins say hi-de-hi to sushi bar

They are better known for redcoats and knobbly-knee competitions but Butlins are coming over all 1990s and opening a sushi bar.

The traditional British holiday company have introduced the bar at the Shoreline Hotel in Bognor Regis to cater for more sophisticated tastes.

Butlins chefs received special training from sushi experts and have adapted recipes to accommodate British tastes.

From today (Weds) guests can enjoy a ten-piece platter of Japanese delicacies including seafood gunkan, smoked salmon nigiri and tuna maki rolls for £7.95.

Managing Director of Butlins, Richard Bates: “Families tuck into all sorts of food at home these days and naturally they want more choice when they’re here too. 

Artificial Intelligence CCTV cameras are being developed which will 'hear' noises like someone screaming or glass being smashed.

Researchers at the University of Portsmouth say the technology will react to this and be able to capture more crimes on camera, leading to increased convictions.

The cameras can be taught to react to visual and audio prompts such as the sound of someone screaming, or the sight of someone running in a shopping centre.

They would then automatically start recording, focus on the action and alert an operator or even call the police.

Dr David Brown, director of the Institute, said: “The visual-recognition software will be able to identify visual patterns but for the next stage we want to get the camera to pivot if it hears a certain type of sound. 

Council to spray dog poo pink

A council is to start spray painting dog mess pink in a bid to shame owners into picking up their pooch's poo.

Volunteers will patrol the Mansfield nature reserve and use a tree dye to spray any unwanted mess bright pink.

Mansfield District Council hope the move will enourage more dog owners to us bins placed around the Oak Tree Heath Local Nature Reserve.

The idea came from John Wood, Sherwood Forest Community ranger who says the dye used is environmentally friendly and biodegrades over time.

Councillor Eddie Smith, Portfolio Holder for the Environment at Mansfield District Council commented: "Although dog owners face a £50 fine for not picking up their animal's waste; as a District Council we would much rather the environment was kept clear in the first place."

Sir Alan Sugar may make mayoral bid

Apprentice star Sir Alan Sugar says he may run to become London Mayor in 2012.

The move could see him run as the official Labour Party candidate to challenge Tory Borris Jonhson.

Speaking on BBC London Radio the businessman said: "One can never say never, but it is a long shot."

"It is an interesting thought, someone like me who tends to cut to the chase, so to speak, would be the right sort of person to look after a city like London."

Sir Alan has been a financial donor to the Labour Party for a number of years. He gave £200,000 to the party in 2001.

Could you be Trafalgar Square art?

Ordinary people will become works of art when they occupy Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth 24 hours a day as part of an artwork by Antony Gormley.

Turner Prize winner Gormley wants the Fourth Plinth to be occupied for 100 consecutive days, 24/7 by members of the public who have volunteered to stand on it for an hour at a time.

The idea will replace Thomas Schutte's Model for a Hotel 2007 which occupied the plinth for more than 18 months.

The artist said: "Through elevation onto the plinth and removal from common ground’ the body becomes a metaphor, a symbol and allows us to reflect on the diversity, vulnerability and particularity of the individual in contemporary society."

It will need around 2,400 people to take part in the work.

If you see someone with unconventional dance moves at Glastonbury (and you will) they might not be off their head on drugs - they could be charging their mobile phone.

Orange today unveiled a prototype phone charger which harnesses the kinetic energy of your dance moves to allow you to make calls.

The device - which weighs 180grams and measures about the same size as a pack of cards - will be strapped to peoples arms and tested at Glastonbury Festival this week.

As the dancers moves their arms along to the music – a specially designed system of weights and magnets creates an electrical current which provides a top-up charge to a connected mobile phone.

Hattie Magee, Head of Partnerships at Orange UK, said “It is important that we help keep festival goers connected with their mates at both the festival and at home.

Despite non of the home nations qualifying for Euro 2008, Brits are still the competitions biggest fans, stats have shown.

While our teams did not make it to the tournament it is proving a bigger draw for British football fans than those in countries playing.

Stats for the official Uefa Euro 2008 website show that there are more Brits logging on than fans in Italy, Spain, France, Turkey and Switzerland combined.

The site euro2008.com has received record levels of internet traffic with more than 1 billion page views since launch and 42 million visitors from over 200 countries have logged-in during the competition.

Fans in the UK accounted for 15% of traffic followed by the US (8%), Germany (8%), Canada (5%) and Finland 4%.

Fish and chips are best of British

Fish and chips are the thing people like most about Britain, a survey has revealed.

The national dish beat off competition from pubs, sunday roasts, red phone boxes and even the Queen for the top slot.

7,000 people were quizzed by Holiday Inn what they love most about Britain.

Other items in the Top 10 include: Big Ben, cream teas, the Beatles, the pound and the Royal family.

A spokesman for Holiday Inn said: “This list gives a fascinating insight into exactly what it means to be British – our food, history, royalty, our many wonderful characters and all the fabulous places we love to visit.

A stupid thief was filmed on CCTV stealing a sat-nav from a police car THREE times in four months.

Just six weeks after being released from prison for stealing a GPS from another unmarked police car, 21-year-old James Milsom was at it again.

This was the third time the bungling thief had broken into a 'honeypot' police car fitted with a tiny camera which caught him in the act. 

Avon and Somerset Police say they regularly use unmarked parked cars around the city to catch criminals, leaving items including satellite navigation systems, handbags, car stereos and mobile phones on show.

On the video (watch after the link) Milsom can be seen smashing the window and grabbing the sat-nav - all in six seconds.

Tennis babe Maria Sharapova has disappointed male fans by saying she will wear shorts at Wimbledon - not her usual skimpy skirts.

The 21-year-old Russian kept tight lipped about the outfit only saying they were 'traditional' and 'very simple lines.'

But, today as Wimbledon started, images appeared on the nike.com site of what is expected to be her 2008 Wimbledon wear.

She is seen next to other Nike tennis stars Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal wearing short white shorts and a sleeveless white button-up top.

It will be the first time the 2004 winner of Wimbledon has worn shorts at a Grand Slam, she is more well known for donning tiny skirts and short dresses by her sponsor Nike.

If your sat-nav sends you in the wrong direction it could be because of the Northern Lights, scientists claim.

Researchers from the University of Bath have found sat-nav signals can be broken up when they pass though aurora causing devices to display the wring directions.

Team leader Professor Cathryn Mitchell says the disruption could happen anywhere the aurora is visible and that GPS systems in the UK would be hit.

Because of increased aurora activity, sat-nav errors are likely to increase over the next four years the study discovered.

It is thought the results could now lead to changes in the way sat-navs are designed.

A man who was offered £1,067,415 for his 'entire life' after putting it for sale on eBay has been told the bid was a fake.

Ian Usher, from Perth, Australia, is offering his custom-built house, Mazda car, 140mph motorbike, jet-ski and even his job in the online auction after splitting up with his wife.

"My aim is to walk away at the end of the eBay auction with my wallet in one pocket, my passport in the other and go to the airport and jump on the first plane," he said.

But today (Mon) Ian was dealt a cruel blow when eBay informed him a number of the bids made in the past 24 hours had been deleted as they had been made in error or were not deemed genuine.

The top bid dropped from £1milion to just £75,000 - well below the £250,000 valuation.

Scientists believe aeroplanes could soon have wings made from glass.

Experts from the University of Bristol claim research into the nature of glass has shown the material could improve the reliability of planes.

They say that while it looks and feels solid, glass is actually a 'jammed' state of matter that moves very slowly. While atoms approach their destinations they never quite reach it.

This means that by replicating the same internal structure in new 'metallic glasses' could be made to have more flexibility.

"Metallic glasses could be suitable for a whole range of products that need to be flexible such as aircraft wings, golf clubs and engine parts." said a spokesman for the research.

Sir Alan Sugar to sell his Rolls

Apprentice star Alan Sugar is selling the fancy Rolls-Royce Phantom which he was ferried around in on the hit BBC show.

Nearly 9 million viewers watched show winner Lee McQueen being driven off in the car weeks ago, now it is on sale for £179,500.

The Goodwood-built four-door saloon powered by a 6.7-litre V12 which does 0-60mph in just 5.9 second, has appeared on the pages of Auto Trader.

But any buyer will not get the famous 'AMS1' number plate, Sir Alan will be keeping that for his new car.

A spokesman for Sytner Rolls-Royce Knutsford, who are selling the car confirmed the sale saying: "The Rolls-Royce Phantom previously owned by Sir Alan Sugar is for sale."

Boffins have created a formula to calculate the amount of each ingredient needed to make the perfect cheese sandwich.

The research from sensory analysists at Bristol University, works out the perfect thickness of a slice of cheese when used in conjunction with bread and popular accompaniments.

The nine algebraic variable formula has now been put online and users can enter the items they want on their sarnie.

It will tell sandwich-lovers the ideal quantities to use including, cheese, the thickness of bread, the dough flavour, the thickness of mayonnaise, the amount of tomato and whether lettuce should be added.

Senior research fellow Geoff Nute said: “We used specially trained human taste testers to sample a range of Cheddar cheeses in a carefully controlled environment and combined results from these tests with instrumental data obtained using colorometers and pressure sensors.

Toilet paper wedding dress

Most brides only want the best on their big day, therefore this wedding dress made entirely from toilet paper probably won't be on their list of wants.

But this gown won a recent competition held by Cheap-Chic-Weddings.com and is made only from Charmin bath tissue, glue and tape.

Katrina Chalifoux of Rockford, IL received a $1,000 prize and her dress will now be displayed in Ripley's Believe It or Not Museums! around the world.

"The level of talent that presents itself each year always amazes us," said a spokesperson for the wedding website. 

"The entries included details like faux embroidery, ruffles, pleats and lace effects"

Hirst to auction off new works

A new series of works by Damien Hirst, which includes yet another animal in formaldehyde, are set to be sold at auction.

The move is thought to be the first times a major artist has sold a new collection at auction rather than through galleries and art dealers.

'The Golden Calf' a bull crowned by a solid gold disc and preserved in formaldehyde will be the centrepiece of the auction and is expected to sell for £12 million.

The bull is encased in a gold-plated stainless steel and glass box, measuring 215.4 by 320 by 137.2 cm and is said to unite the artist’s interests in science, religion, beauty and death.

Explaining his reason for the sale at Sotherby's London Hirst said: “It’s a very democratic way to sell art and it feels like a natural evolution for contemporary art."

A rare horse has undergone a reverse vasectomy - the first time such an operation has been conducted on an endangered species.

Minnesota, a 20-year-old Przewalski's horse had been given a vasectomy in 1999, before it was realized he was one of the most genetically valuable horses of his type.

Przewalksi's horses are a horse species native to China and Mongolia that was declared extinct in the wild in 1970. There are now only 1500 in zoos and Minnesota could be key to their survival.

Vets at the Smithsonian's National Zoo performed the op in May and say that  the horse is now doing well.

Dr. Sherman Silber, who led the operation said: "I've always dreamed of using my expertise to contribute in some way to wildlife survival.


Police in Romania are said to be looking for a busker who keeps stripping off and dancing on the subway of Bucharest.

But the busker is not a bearded hobo who stinks of cider, she is an attractive 

young woman who has so far managed to outwit authorities.

Caught on a mobile phone the woman can be seen getting up during a subway ride, turning on a portable CD player and stripping as she dances to Tom Jones tune "You Can Leave Your Hat On". 

She then dresses before asks passengers for cash while holding a empty KFC bucket.

So far she has avoided being caught, but it is thought she could face charges of indecent exposure and public begging if spotted by police. (click below for video)

World's largest car badge

You will be used to seeing the famous black, white and blue BMW logo on cars - but this is the world's largest.

The german car manufacturer recently launched the BMW Museum in a circular building which displays the giant logo when viewed from the air.

Measuring 5,000 square metres the museum in Munich, Germany opens to the public tomorrow (Sat) after two and a half years construction.

It is filled with 120 exhibits ranging from design and engine construction to advertising, aerodynamics and motorsport

Chairman of the Board for BMW, Dr. Norbert Reithofer said: "A BMW Museum has to present living corporate heritage. And it must show how BMW defines the future, on the basis of concrete objects.

A clip of a computer being used to play music in 1951 is thought to be the earliest ever recored.

The rendition of 'Baa Baa Black Sheep' by a Ferranti Mark 1 is now being released to mark 60th anniversary of the 'Baby Machine' computer.

It was recored by a BBC outside broadcast team at the University of Manchester and also features version of God Save The Queen and In The Mood.

The Baby Machine is considered to be the forerunner of all modern computers and was released in 1948.

The Computer Conversation Society (CCS) along with the University of Manchester, has released the recording to mark the 60th anniversary of the machine.

A motorcyclist was allowed to drive through and perform stunts inside a 17th Century stately home for a YouTube film. 

But this was not just any motorcyclist, this was 12-times world trials champion Dougie Lampkin and the home was Goodwood House owned by racing-mad Lord March. 

The video shows Lampkin performing stunts over a sofa, roaring past a grand piano and pulling weelies on the lawn. 

After the spectacular stunts the rider - by now of the roof of the building - is served a cheeky glass of champagne by a butler. 

The four-minute film was shot to promote the upcoming Goodwood Festival of Speed, which takes place in the grounds of the house next month.

You have heard it before, but now psychologists have started saying it too: "Bad boys get more girls."

A "dark triad" of unpleasant personality traits mean some men are more likely to have multiple sexual partners, a study has revealed.

Experts at New Mexico State University say the narcissist's sense of entitlement, the non-clinical psychopath's thrill-seeking, and manipulative skills of Machiavellianism come together in some men.

While overly high levels of any would lead someone to become a social outcast, the right amount of each - as seen in Ian Fleming's fictional spy James Bond - will result in a highly active sex life, the boffins claim.

Led by Dr Peter Jonason, tests were carried out on 200 college students ranking them for each of the "dark triad" traits and quizing them on attitudes to sexual relationships and their sex lives.

Spray on condom gets CSI TV boost

Spray-on condoms became one of the most Googled items today after being featured on CSI:NY.

The 'instant contraceptive' was talked about on the show when latex residue acted as a clue to the motive for a woman’s violent murder.

On the hit CBS forensics show it said: "Contrary to what you might have heard, science definitely does matter. Simply apply like so. Allow a few moments for maximum drying time and, boom. Instant condom."

The on-air mention drove thousands to search on Google for more information - the phrase "spray on condom" even appeared in Googles list of the top 10 hot trends as a result.

But the German inventors are unable to cash-in on their new found fame and say production has been delayed because of 'technical problems'.

The names of Scottish railway stops might not do it for you, but commuters in Edinburgh say a new station announcer is making them sound sexy.

Frenchman Vincent Houplain has gained a number of female admirers since starting the job at  Edinburgh’s Haymarket Station.

They say his pronunciation of names such as North Queensferry, Glasgow and Inverkeithing are much better because of his exotic accent.

One rail passenger said she even found mundane sentences like, "The next train to arrive on platform four will be the two twenty nine service to Glasgow central," were now sexy.

"Even announcements about delays are easier to take," said Wendy Luft.

200x190.jpgBlundering bosses at a Swiss TV station ran the lyrics to the banned 'Nazi version' of German anthem during their Euro 2008 clash with Austria.

As fans in the stadium sang the official version, channel SRG displayed subtitles for the old ultra-nationalistic first verse - not used since the fall of the Third Reich.

The words "Deutschland, Deutschland ueber alles" (Germany, Germany above everything) which were popular during Nazi rule, were displayed on millions of TVs but this is not what was being sung by players and fans.

They sang "Unity and justice and liberty for the German fatherland" which has been the official version since unification in 1990.

SRG say inexperienced researchers copied the lyrics from the internet.

Moon illusion makes it look closer

200x190.jpgIf you thought moon looked unusually large yesterday you were right(ish). But rather than having gotten closer it was the result of an optical illusion.

The moon illusion is a 'trick' whereby the solstice moon - as seen last night - looks bigger because it appears near the horizon, not because it is actually nearer.

NASA say the optical illusion is the result of lunar mechanics: "This week's high solstice sun gives us a low, horizon-hugging Moon and a strong Moon Illusion."

It was thought the Earth's atmosphere magnified the moon but according to NASA only humans 'see' the moon as larger because of our perception of the sky.

Because we are used to seeing clouds above us (a few miles away) and clouds on the horizon (hundreds of miles away) when we see the moon lower in the sky it seems further away and therefore bigger.

200x190.jpgAfter using Google Earth to find houses with plush swimming pools would-be revelers are inviting hundreds of strangers, via Facebook, to impromptu pool parties.

The latest craze know as 'dipping' has already seen homeowners wake to find their private pools filled with beer cans.

Police say groups have been found on social networking sites Bebo and Facebook organizing the parties and inviting up to 500 people.

The sites say party-goers should attend in fancy dress and bring a bike so they can get away quickly if discovered.

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said yesterday: 'We are advising owners of swimming pools to be on their guard. 

Japanese invent "robot girlfriend"

200x190.jpgMakers of a robot with breasts say she can "act like a real girlfriend” though 'she' measures just 15 inches tall.

Sega say the £90 EMA (Eternal Maiden Actualization) can kiss on command and
unsurprisingly be marketed a single men when released later this year.

The battery powered robo-babe can sense when a human head is nearby and will 'pucker up' to kiss them sending the bot into what designers call a 'love mode.'

A spokesperson for Sega said: "She's very lovable and though she's not a human, she can act like a real girlfriend.

"We wanted to break that stereotype and provide a robot that's sweet and interactive."

200x190.jpgBikini babe Nell McAndrew has stripped off ... to encourage people to buy more potatoes.

The blonde bombshell has joined forces with Potato Council (yes there's a Potato Council) to promote healthy eating on a budget.

She can now be seen in ads lying on a bed of spuds wearing nothing but a Union flag bikini.

Nell says that more shoppers should turn to potatoes during the credit crunch: “For all those busy mums out there’s no better time to love potatoes.  

"Potatoes are packed full of essential nutrients, are naturally fat free, low in calories and contain a host of nutrients."

200x190.jpgPet owners are ditching traditional names like Spot and Fido to name their animals after celebs.

According to a survey popular names for dogs now include Boris (after London Mayor Johnson) and Ronaldo while cats are likely to be called Kylie (Minogue), Kelly, (Brook) or Madonna.

A spokesperson for Pets At Home, who commissioned the survey, said: “We have noticed pets’ names now seem to have celebrity status.”

People with pairs of animals are even more likely to give them celeb names like Posh and Becks or Ant and Dec

Some pets are even being named after their owners fave posh brands like Gucci, Stella or Burberry.

200x190.jpgWhen two artists decided they wanted an iPhone they came up with a novel way of getting one.

Justin Gignac, 28, and Christine Santora, 24, painted a large picture of the phone on canvas and offered it for sale ... at the same price as the popular gadget.

It was snapped and they bought the real-life item. Now they have painted dozens of things they want. All have been sold for the price of the item, whether USD 3 for a slice of pizza or a cheque for USD 1000 to pay a months rent.

The couple from New York say they came up with the idea while discussing what they would buy with the cash if they sold any of their traditional painting.

"We talked about what we would do with the extra money if we sold paintings and then decided to just be honest and paint what we wanted," said Justin.

200x190.jpgA school caretaker is suing after falling of a ladder - claiming it happened because he wasn't trained to use it.

He now wants £50,000 in compensation after falling from a set of steps as he removed a card display and staples from a wall at the school gym.

The 73-year-old who fractured his skull and broke a cheekbone in the fall says he had been given no advice on how to use stepladders.

Winchester County Court also heard that after taking the position at the primary school the man had filled in a form to say he had been given Health and Safety training.

Judgment on the case is expected later this week.

The biggest greenhouse in Britain

200x190.jpgSeven greenhouses, each the size of 10 football pitches, are to be built in Kent.

Due to be finished in 2010 greenhouses on the 91 hectare site will be so big they will be visible from space.

They will be used to grow 2.5 million tomatoes every week of the year; 560,000 peppers and 700,000 cucumbers per week during February and October. and all will grow without soil using hydroponics.

Bosses behind Thanet Earth say the monster sized constructions will help meet the demand for homegrown food all year round and create 550 jobs.

Each greenhouse will be 1,240ft long, centrally heated and fed by its own private reservoir.

200x190.jpgTeenagers have copied tracks on their iPods and MP3 players, a (stating the obvious) survey has revealed.

The research by the University Of Hertfordshire found teens and students have on average 1770 songs on their players and that 800 of them have not been purchased.

58 percent of respondents admitted to copy music from a friend and 95 percent say they have copied music in some way such as P2P file-sharing networks or burning from CDs.

However 60 percent of people said they would continue to buy CDs and spend on the music industry in other ways such as attending concerts.

British Music Rights - a lobbying group which works for songwriters and publishers - who commissioned the research said: "The music industry should draw great optimism from this groundbreaking survey. First and foremost, it is quite clear that this young and tech-savvy demographic is as crazy about and engaged with music as any previous generation.

200x190.jpgA bride was left battered after having a fight with her wedding caterer and had to walk down the aisle with a black eye.

On the eve of her big day bride-to-be Bernadette Henderson was so worried about the food she decided to confront her caterer in the early hours of the morning.

She and her equally angry bridegroom ended up having a punch-up with the caterers boxer boyfriend and Bernadette needed ten stitches in a face wound.

Last week a jury at Newcastle Crown Court heard how the following morning the bride donned a large pair of sunglasses and walked down the aisle anyway.

The court cleared the boxer boyfriend, who said he was defending himself in his own home, of GBH.

200x190.jpgA new £200 'anti-infection' keyboard has been snapped up by the NHS in the hope it could beat hospital superbugs like MRSA.

7,500 of the flat silicone keyboards have been ordered and will soon be rolled out in hospitals across England.

They are coated with a hypoallergenic material resistant to bacterial growth and because they're flat do not harbor germs in the same way as a normal keyboard.

Designed by experts at University College London Hospital the gadget also has a flashing light and alarm to warn staff when it needs cleaning.

National Clinical Lead for Clinical Safety, Maureen Baker said: "This represents a significant step forward in the drive to tackle hospital-acquired infections and cut the number of cases of MRSA. 

200x190.jpgA golf club has introduced buggies with built in sat-nav systems to tells players where the next hole is.

Bosses say they hope the £4,000 carts will prevent golfers with a lack of direction from getting lost as they make their way from hole to hole.

The technology can also be used to know exactly how far you are from a hole when planning a shot and records the scores of everyone in your group.

The club in the Forest of Arden, Solihull says the buggy is already proving popular with players who pay £20 to hire them at weekends and £15 on weekdays.

The hi-tech buggy will also help golfers with the 19th hole - the can order drinks from the bar so they are ready when they arrive.

200x190.jpgA car which runs on hydrogen and electricity and emits only water from its exhaust pipe has started to come off a production line.

The first Honda FCX Clarity cars will now be shipped to Hollywood celebs Jamie Lee Curtis, husband Christopher Guest, '24' actress Laura Harris and film producer Ron Yerxaincluding.

While Honda say production will be limited they are aiming to have 200 cares available within a year and will lease them out for £300 per month, including insurance.

The hi-tech car works by using a electrochemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to convert chemical energy into electrical energy to power. We have no idea what that means either.

The FCX Clarity then simultaneously generates electricity and water, emitting no carbon dioxide or other harmful emissions.

Royal Ascot: Women must wear knickers

200x190.jpgWomen attending posh horse racing event Royal Ascot have been told they must wear knickers, but not show them off.

The world-famous races, which start tomorrow, have for years been the pinnacle of racing style with their morning dress code.

But now bosses have been forced to launch an illustrated guide to the rules for the increasing numbers of chavs who are going to the races.

No-nos include skirts more than two inches above the knee, off-the-shoulder dresses, women showing off their midriffs and streaky fake tan.

Anyone caught breaking the rules in the  Royal Enclosure - where they could be rubbing shoulders with the Queen - now risks being booted out.

200x190.jpgBaby birds which have lost their parents are being played CDs of the dawn chorus to teach them to sing.

The RSPCA is using the odd method after tests revealed it helped birds reared in captivity cope better when released into the wild.

A CD recording of the dawn chorus is played to the chicks, which would normally have learned from their parents, twice a day.

A spokesman for the charity says it helps them become good singers which helps them survive back in the wild with males using it to defend territory and find a mate.

The report looked at the findings of 158 previous studies to reach general conclusions about birdsong.

200x190.jpgAn Italian man who burst onto the screen during 20,000 live TV shows has been told he faces prison if he continues.

Over the past few years Gabriele Paolini has been seen popping up besides news reporters in Italy to promote condom use on a regular basis.

Dubbing himself the 'Prophylactic prophet' he has aimed to draw attention to the plight of Aids sufferers since a close friend died from the disease.

But now Italy's Supreme Court has upheld a three-month suspended sentence on  Paolini  for interrupting a report on the state broadcaster RAI in June 2001.

The court also introduced a rule which says anyone deliberately positioning themselves in the way of a live broadcast in a public place can be commiting an offence even if they are silent and immobile.

200x190.jpgIf you are wondering how to ignore a unwanted friend request on MySpace or stop an old lover writing messages on your Facebook wall, help is at hand.

Britain's etiquette bible Debrett's has teamed up with Orange to produce a list of golden rules for social networking sites.

Orange wanted to produce the guide after a survey they conducted found that
two thirds of social networkers on Bebo, Myspace, Facebook and Hi5 are frustrated and confused by online etiquette.

18 percent said they were also confused on "how to respond to my ex when in a relationship with someone else".

Debrett's etiquette adviser Jo Bryant said: "My advice is to play it safe and always employ your usual good manners when online, treating others with kindness and respect."

Advert broadcast into space for ET

200x190.jpgAn advert has been beamed into space in a bizarre bid to make contact with aliens.

The 30 second video for Doritos was pulsed out over a six-hour period from high-powered radars at the EISCAT European space station in the Arctic Circle.

It was aimed at a solar system 42-light-years away from Earth in the Ursa Major or Great Bear Constellation.

EISCAT Director, Professor Tony van Eyken, who oversaw the transmission, explained the why the target was selected saying: “Its star is very similar to our Sun and hosts a habitable zone that could harbour small life supporting planets similar to ours.”

Watch the 'alien advert' after the link.

200x190.jpgAn RAF pilot who was told by a US Air Force boss to trim his handlebar moustache has won a battle to spare it from the clippers.

Flight Lt Chris Ball had was ordered to shorten the tache during a exchange posting with the USAF in Afghanistan because it did not meet US regulations.

But the pilot, normally based at RAF Lossiemouth, refused and consulted the Queen's Regulations finding his distinctive moustache's did not breach RAF guidelines.

Because of a Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and US forces, local commanders are not allowed to issue orders that do not allow for difference in dress regulations.

As a result the moustache was saved ... by a whisker.

200x190.jpgOnce weighting 85 stone, Manuel Uribe is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as being the heaviest living man in the world.

At 1,200 lbs Manuel could do little more than sit up in bed, but now he is shedding the pounds in a bid to be able to walk down the aisle when he marries his girlfriend.

Since undergoing a bed-based exercise regime and new diet, the 43-year-old from Mexico has already lost one third of his bulk.

Despite being confined to his bed Manuel does sit-ups, pull-ups and hand-biking to help build muscle mass and accelerate fat loss.

He eats about 2,000 calories per day broken up into six meals including egg-white omelets, fresh salads, chicken fajitas and fish fillet in a bed of spring greens.

200x190.jpgThe BBC have received complaints about the fashion sense of their football pundits covering the UEFA Euro 2008 tournament in Austria and Switzerland.

Viewers say Gary Linekar, Martin O'Neil, Alan Shearer and Alan Hansen are wearing outfits so similar it looks like they are in uniform.

Writing on the blog of Roger Mosey, Director of BBC Sport, one viewer said: "Will someone PLEASE do something about what Gary and the other pundits are wearing.

"Every night they seem to be in uniform, with matching shirts and trousers."

As you can see from these pictures they do seem somewhat co-ordinated, both with each other and the studio.

200x190.jpgThe tea bag will become 100 this month, all because of its accidental invention.

Back in 1908, New York tea dealer Thomas Sullivan was sending out samples to customers and to cut costs used small silk pouches rather than metal boxes.

But confused clients didn't know what to do with the bags and some started dunking them in hot water rather than taking the tea out and straining it as had been intended.

It worked and 100 years later we Brits now drink 130 million bag made cups of tea every day.

There have been a number of changes to the design, and in 1964 the finely perforated bag was first developed which saw the handy gadget come into its own.

Scanners reveal breast and penis size

200x190.jpgNew high-tech airport scanners are so efficient operators can 'see' the breast and penis size of passengers, rights activists have warned.

The devices which are being installed in 10 US airports are designed to replace the physical pat-downs currently in operation.

But rights groups say passengers would be shocked by how graphic the images are.

The glass booths close around a passenger and a three-dimensional image is made of their body beneath their clothes by using "millimetre waves" which go through cloth and identify other materials.

Security officers then look at the images - clearly showing sexual organs - in another room.

200x190.jpgDJ Chris Evans has admitted he accidentally threw away a piece of artwork by Damien Hirst.

Evans, 42, told listeners to his BBC Radio 2 show the error happened when he was packing his collection of paintings while moving house.

While Hirst's Dot painting was due to be taken to his new home, it is thought to have been put in a box and that it has been delivered to a charity shop.

The print could now be at one of two charity shops, either in Cranleigh or Godalming, Surrey, near the millionaires presenters home.

"This Damien Hirst could be in either of these shops!" Evans said on air.

200x190.jpgScientists have designed a circular, spinning aircraft reminiscent of those in countless UFO sightings.

Prof Subrata Roy, a expert in mechanical and aerospace engineering from the University of Florida has submitted a patent application for what he calls a “wingless electromagnetic air vehicle.”

The vehicle will be powered by magnetohydrodynamics - the force created when a current or a magnetic field is passed through a conducting fluid created by electrodes that cover each of the vehicle’s surfaces and ionize the surrounding air into plasma.

While the planned prototype is only six inches across Prof Roy says the design can be scaled up and theoretically should work in a much larger form.

The U.S. Air Force and NASA are already said to have expressed interest in the aircraft, and the university is seeking to license the design.

200x190.jpgA battle is brewing between The Ministry of Defence and high street store Next over unofficial use of the RAF's insignia.

Next recently launched a range which uses the RAF's red, white, and blue roundel on bedroom furnishings aimed and young boys.

The MoD say the items which include a duvet cover, wall stickers and curtains all infringe on the copyright of their logo and their legal team has lodged a claim in the chancery division of the High Court.

But the store insists the symbol is also the emblem of the 1960s 'Mod' movement, revived by Paul Weller's band The Jam in 1978 and is therefore fair game.

The symbol dates back to the First World War aircraft and was used by the Royal Flying Corps.

200x190.jpgA pair of randy Italians who got caught having sex in a cathedral's confessional box during morning Mass say the bishop has forgiven them.

The couple, in their thirties, sparked outrage earlier this month when they were caught in the compromising position in the Italian town of Cesena.

After being cautioned for obscenity and disturbing a religious ceremony they said they had been drinking all night and realized they had acted inappropriately.

Senior clergyman are now said to have met with the pair and forgiven them.

The bishop has also said a special 'Mass of reparation' to cleanse the building of sins committed by the lovers.

Coffee smell 'enough to wake you'

200x190.jpgThe whiff of a triple-shot-skinny-latte may be enough to wake you up in the morning, scientists claim.

Tests have shown that the aroma of coffee helps restore brain activity to normal levels in sleep deprived rats.

Boffins at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Japan, took 30 rats and kept them awake for 24 hours before exposing half to the smell of roasted coffee.

The brain activity was then monitored and those which had smelt the coffee were found to have returned to a normal non sleep deprived state.

The researchers said that the experiment provided the first ever clues to the possible reviving powers of coffee bean aroma.

200x190.jpgGames giant Nintendo have denied that a viral video of a young woman gyrating in her knickers as she plays on Wii Fit is a publicity stunt.

The clip was posted to YouTube has now been watched by more than two million people and features the woman wearing just a T-shirt, stripy knickers and glasses as she plays.

Giovanny Gutierrez says he filmed his girlfriend without her knowledge and he said that she was furious when she first found out

But when it was revealed that Gutierrez is a marketing executive from Florida many speculated that it was a stunt.

Now Nintendo have said the video is  "absolutely, 100% nothing to do with Nintendo", adding that they did not create it and was not aware of it until it was brought to their attention.

Climb into bed ... 100ft up

200x190.jpgWhen Aya Nakamura asked a Tokyo hotel if they had a spare bed maybe she should have been more specific.

The professional window cleaner spent last night 'sleeping' in a bed suspended half way up the Sony building in Tokyo as a PR stunt to raise awareness that many of us get too little sleep.

She abseiled into the specially constructed vertical bed in the evening and back out again the following morning.

Nakamura found the experience relaxing saying: "I was yawning and I actually almost fell asleep because it's such beautiful weather. It's so warm and it feels so good."

Watch the video after the link.

200x190.jpgAn Australian drugs trial costing tax payers £500,000 has been aborted after jurors admitted playing Sudoku in the courtroom.

The three-month trial could have see the two accused men handed out life sentences - it will now have to start again once a less quiz-mad jury has been appointed.

Mistaking their secret sudokuing for copious note taking the judge had even praised them for being such a diligent jury.

After being caught, one juror claimed the puzzles had helped keep her "mind busy" as she listened to repeated testimonies from the witness box.

Despite holding up the legal system and costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars no legal action can be taken against jurors.

Mystery over who owns abandoned plane

200x190.jpgAuthorities in Vietnam say an aeroplane was abandoned at Hanoi's Noi Bai airport last year and no-one knows who owns it.

The Boeing 727 arrived at the airport from Siem Reap in neighbouring Cambodia in late 2007 but since then remains unclaimed.

While the Cambodian flag it painted on the 727s fuselage and it is emblazoned with the name Air Dream there is no information about the airline.

Airport officials say that is the owners do not come forward soon  the plane will have to be sent for scrap.

The plane was originally given permission to land while essential maintenance was carried out but these repairs have not been done.

Best council flat in Britain

200x190.jpgWith panoramic views, plush en-suite bathrooms and balcony decks you would be forgiven for thinking these luxury apartments were designed for the very rich.

But these are actually posh COUNCIL flats which benefits claimants pay just £75 a week to live in.

While private buyers are paying £300,000 for properties in the same development overlooking Poole Harbour, Dorset council tenants are offered them for the cut-down price.

Because of government legislation house developer Bryant Homes was only given permission to build the 340 nome complex if 115 were made for social or affordable housing.

A builder on the site said: "These have got to be the best council flats anywhere in Britain. The view is amazing and for £75 they are a bargain.

200x190.jpgA woman who didn't even know she was pregnant gave birth to her son while dressed as a giant bumblebee on a hen night.

When Ally Ashwell went out in Blackpool to celebrate her friends upcoming wedding the only thing she thought was odd was that she was dressed as a bumblebee.

But after starting to feel unwell she returned to her hotel room on her own and shortly after her waters broke.

The human resources officer from Newcastle - who had no idea she was pregnant - quickly dialed 999, but gave birth to her son before they arrived.

A spokesman (and apparently a master of understatement) for the Blackpool Victoria Hospital where she was taken said: "It is very unusual for a baby to be born in this situation."

200x190.jpgIt is not the Joneses you need to keep up with anymore, the Patels have become the UKs biggest spenders on gadgets.

A recent survey has found people with the surname Patel are most likely to own must-have gadgets like an iPhone, a PlayStation 3 and the latest HD camcorder.
The 'research' by an online electrical retailer saw them analyze 12 months sales figures seeing what people with different surnames bought and comparing this with the number of them in the UK.

Pixmania found Patels who had shopped with them spent an average of £2,315.40 on the latest digital goods, with Wilsons and Hugheses coming second and third.

Joneses trailed in at 16th behind the Browns, Taylors and Smiths.

Doh! The Simpsons in w@%ker blunder

200x190.jpgChannel 4 have apologized after broadcasting an episode of The Simpsons with foul language in it, before the 9pm watershed.

Ofcom ruled that use of the word w*nker was "clearly offensive" but that this had been an isolated incident.

The episode, broadcast in April, featured a cameo appearance by U2, during which one of the band members called his colleagues w*nkers. This was later mimicked by the character Mr Burns in the closing credits

31 complaints were made about the use of the word to the broadcast regulator.

Ofcom said: "Its use at 6pm in a programme like The Simpsons was not justified by the context and was not in line with audience expectations - as Channel 4 has acknowledged."

200x190.jpgThis image shows what the Earth looks like from Mars ... if you have a really big telescope.

Released by NASA the picture was taken using a a High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Even using the £20 million 800 megapixel camera (compared to 10mp domestic cameras) the earth diameter still only takes up 90 pixels and the moon 24 pixels.

In the image you can make out the west coast outline of South America at lower right, although the clouds are the dominant features.

NASA say: "The phase angle is 98 degrees, which means that less than half of the disk of the Earth and the disk of the moon have direct illumination.

Rise in golf cart injuries

200x190.jpgThe number of injuries caused by golf carts is on the rise, claim medial researchers.

Many of those injured are left with concussion and victims were found to range in age from two months to 96-years old.

While in 1990 only 5772 people were injured by the battery powered vehicles, by 2006 the number was up to 13,411.

Lara McKenzie, of the Center for Injury Research and Policy believes the rise is due to the carts being used in more settings off the golf course such as airports, national parks and college campuses.

Falling or jumping from a golf cart was the most common cause of injury, though thousands have being struck by one of the 25mph devices, often resulting in hospitalization.

The £1 million diamond handbag

200x190.jpgThis is the worlds most expensive handbag, worth over £1 million.

Designed by Japanese Ginza Tanaka it is made entirely from platinum and set with over 2,000 diamonds.

The bag has is being used to launch London Jewellery Week 2008 and will go on sale at the event.

Organizers say the diamond shoulder strap can be detached and worn as a necklace or a bracelet and other decorations worn as a brooch.

The locations where the handbag will go on display will not be disclosed in advance for security reasons.

Kitten saved by vacuum cleaner

200x190.jpgFirefighters used a vacuum cleaner to rescue a six-hour-old kitten which had become stuck down a drain.

The kitten's mother is thought to have climbed behind a kitchen sink in Dunbar, East Lothian to give birth.

But shortly after the birth the kitten fell and got trapped down the drain.

A fire crew was called in and they used a special vibrascope camera to locate the cat before starting their rescue.

They then put a sock on the end of the vacuum nozzle to catch the kitten and sucked it up. 

Happy news on Google News spoof

200x190.jpgPeace in Iraq, Apple release an unlocked iPhone and successful trials of an Aids vaccine are all news stories you won't see today ... unless you read a spoof happy version of Google News.

Jokers have created the site which looks just like the popular news aggregator, but with the normal stories of death and destruction replaced with happy news articles.

The site has already been seen by thousands of people and is going viral as  people email each other the link.

Headlines include 'China Withdraws from Tibet, with Apologies,' 'Rowling: I have heaps more to write about Harry' and 'Barry Bonds' secret: I owe it all to yoga'

Google News is the worlds most popular news aggregator and pulls headlines from sites around the world.

200x190.jpgHere is the 'invisible' satellite dish ... no really, it is there.

Designers created the 'Sqish' - which can be camouflaged to match any wall - as an alternative to the normal dark satellite dish seen on millions of UK homes.

It works by taking a picture of the wall where the Sqish is to be installed and emailing it to the makers, who then supply the TV dish ready-camouflaged.

The dish can receive Sky and Freesat and offers an solution to people who live in areas sensitive to planning restrictions or coastal towns where dishes are prone to rust.

(We are not sure how wise it was to have a picture special on something you are not meant to be able to see, but more pictures follow.)

200x190.jpgA US research base in Antarctica - currently staffed by 125 scientists - has been sent 16,488 condoms.

The McMurdo base station will now distribute the condoms to staff so they do not have to get embarrassed buying them.

Bosses say because there are so few staff based there over the winter it can become "a little bit uncomfortable" buying the contraceptive devices.

The winter has just started and the base will be plunged into darkness until the first sunrise of spring on August 20.

At current staffing levels everyone would be given 132 condoms ... we don't know how much research will get done.

200x190.jpgTV babe and musician Myleene Klass has been picked to become the 'godmother' of a 113,000 ton ship.

But rather than being responsible for the religious upbringing of the ship, the title means Myleene will perform the traditional naming ceremony for the 'Carnival Splendor'.

Speaking about the role she said: “I am very excited, and a little nervous, at becoming a ship’s godmother for the first time, especially when it involves naming a ship the size of the Carnival Splendor.

"But my family is very connected with ships as my father served in the Merchant Navy.”

The ship, which will carry up to 4,914 passengers has four swimming pools, a 5,500sq ft children’s play area and 22 lounges and bars.

200x190.jpgA football fan is to sit in every seat at the grounds of his beloved team and take a picture of the view.

As a season ticket holder at Stoke City, Phil Gregg has had a set seat for the past 10 years. But now he is to test the view from all 28,383 seats at the Britannia Stadium.

After getting permission from the club he will even capture the view from the managers seat in the dugout.

The club plan to use the images to show prospective season ticket holders can actually look where they will be sitting.

Phil started the project at easter and hopes to be finished by the start of the next season - the photos will be also sold on the website mymatchview.com

200x190.jpgA TV chef says Tesco have sent him a bill for £86,000 after he launched a campaign to highlight the plight of Britain's factory-farmed chickens.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall had bought a small stake in the supermarket and tabled a resolution to make executives publicly address the standards they set their suppliers at an upcoming annual meeting.

But the River Cottage cook has now received the bill with Tesco saying he submitted the documents too late - and he should meet the cost of sending the papers to investors.

"They are entitled to ask this, but it looks quite vindictive," said Fearnley-Whittingstall, who is calling for all retailers to meet the standards laid down by the RSPCA's Freedom Food scheme.

He is now looking to raise the money through his chickenout.tv 

200x190.jpgA pair of naked gardeners are inviting members of the public to strip off and inspect their shrubs.

Ian and Barbara Pollard, of Abbey House Gardens in Wiltshire, have for years enjoyed being naked while maintaining their huge gardens filled with 10,000 different plants.

Normally they cover up when guests visit the plush gardens which has the largest collection of roses in the country, but now they are offering ‘Clothes Optional’ days.

On the last such day, 1st June, over 280 people turned up, many who stripped off before wandering around.

Ian and Barbara say they feel that plants and humans are genetically very similar and it’s perfectly possible to live in harmony together and enjoy the gardens as nature intended. 

Parents win right to name son Lego

200x190.jpgLego-mad parents in Sweden have won the right to name their son after the famous coloured plastic bricks.

In Sweden, parents are banned from giving their children a name which is deemed offensive, unsuitable or inappropriate - also prohibited are names which could embarrass the people they are given to.

The parents had been told the name Lego was a no-no but they appealed to the Swedish Administrative Court of Appeals and had the ruling overturned.

Little Lego may have a unique name - unless he is in a toy store - but other odd names which have not been allowed include, a boy named Metallica, a girl called Elvis.

In 1996 parents even tried to name their son  Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 (pronounced Albin) in protest at the naming law.

200x190.jpgIf the UK is going through a credit crunch with people cutting back on their shopping and many unable to pay their bills - why is it so hard to give money away?

To test the financial savviness of Brits, a money website sent people dressed in sandwich boards offering free money, onto the streets on London and Manchester.

The boards - usually worn by religious nutters or to promote golf sales - clearly said anyone who asked would be given a £5 note.

But despite this only 28 people took them up on the offer with 1772 walking by. Even as some were given the cash it did not start a stampede.

The people behind the stunt say it was designed to illustrate that Brits are unwilling to take even the simplest steps to improve their financial situation and why the UK could be heading into a recession.

200x190.jpgA court had ruled that Indian airline Air India is allowed to ban its air hostesses from flying if they are deemed to be overweight.

The judges threw out a case brought by five air hostesses who complained they had been grounded for being too flabby.

Delhi high court agreed with claims from the airline that fat flight staff presented a health and safety hazard and that hostess's physical condition and appearance plays an important role in her overall personality.

Air India - whose air hostesses wear traditional Indian saris - is increasingly up against private airlines with younger flight crews who often wear shorter skirts.

Two years ago it introduced staff weight limits based on an employee's height and age.

200x190.jpgChinese Olympic bosses have produced a guide teaching fans how to cheer for their team.

The four-part cheer will now be show on Chinese TV and a poster campaign to ensure fans know the 'Civilized cheer. Special lessons will also take place in schools.

The cheer involves clapping twice, giving a thumbs-up, clapping again before punching the air with both arms.

It is to be accompanied by chants of "Olympics", "Let's go", "China".

Li Ning, president of the Beijing Etiquette Institute, told the Beijing News that the cheer was in line with general international principles for cheering, while at the same time possessing characteristics of Chinese culture.

For the visual guide on how to cheer click below.

200x190.jpgSquaddies serving in Iraq have shown how proud they are of their army digs - in a spoof of MTV Cribs.

In the YouTube video the troops show off their "luxury" pad boasting about their games room (a darts board) and the library (a shelf of books.)

The video uses all the same camera movements and sounds as the hit MTV show which has seen stars like Robbie Williams and Snoop Dogg offer tours of their homes.

The squaddie host then shows off his ride - a Bulldog armoured vehicle.

It is thought video, posted on YouTube this week, was filmed by members of the Mercian Regiment.

200x190.jpgA cyclist lobby group in Holland is to give people lessons in how to steal bikes, in a bid to cut bike thefts.

Dutch bike group Fietsersbond says that 700,000 bikes were stolen in the Netherlands last year partly because riders are not security-conscious.

They believe that by touring the country offering cyclists lessons in lock-picking and how to get away with a bike people will start taking more care.

"This teaches people how to better secure their bikes," a spokeswoman for the group.

The government have now launched a campaign urging people to report bike theft to the police and to record their bike's identity number.

200x190.jpgWatching your football team win is better than getting a pay rise, according to a study.

The poll found that "feel good moments" such as your team winning or even going out on a sunny day, bring us greater happiness than earnings.

People in Scotland and Newcastle were the happiest in the UK.

Johan de Wit of ING Direct - who commissioned the research - said: "It shows the smallest everyday events can have a huge impact on our mood.

"Whether it is a kind word, catching up with a friend or an unexpected sunny day, we should not underestimate the positive impact of the little things in life."

200x190.jpgFake bus stops are being installed outside German nursing homes in a bid to stop Alzheimer's patients from wandering off.

After having to repeatedly call out police to help them retrieve patients who had walked off Benrath Senior Centre in Düsseldorf came up with the novel solution.

They decided to pitch an exact replica of bus stop outside and found that rather continue walking, patients started waiting there.

Patients are then approached by staff who say a bus will be along later and   invite them back inside for a cup of tea.

The idea has proved so successful it is now been adopted by several other nursing homes across Germany.

Fool the boss and read at work

200x190.jpgReaders are being encouraged to spend time reading classic books while they should be working.

The New Zealand Book Council has even produced a deceptive website to make it look like you are working while you catch-up on some Orwell.

The site makes your monitor look like you are working on important business documents by reformatting books to resemble Microsoft Powerpoint presentations.

At a glance your boss would never notice your were were not working.

readatwork.com already contains hundreds of books including poetry by Emily Dickinson or George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”

Oddity museum to open in London

200x190.jpgA museum full of odd exhibits like a £500,000 Swarovski Crystal-Covered Mini Cooper is set to open in London.

Ripley's Believe It or Not! which only features the weird, strange and bizarre will launch in London's West End during August.

Other odd items going on show include a Genuine 16th Century Iron Maiden and a 13-Foot Long Tower Bridge Made of Wooden Matchsticks.

The museum of oddities will occupy 24,000 square feet at Piccadilly Circus and with over 500 original and almost unbelievable exhibits it hopes to become one of London's big tourist attractions.

"There's nothing like it. We're looking forward to shocking visitors from all over the world," said boss Jim Pattison, Jr.

200x190.jpgThe 3-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago last week could be wiped from the record books because of a blunder with substitutions.

Fifa is said to be unhappy that England used seven subs during the game and may not rate the match as a full international.

The FA think a decision had been agreed to allow the seven changes - after originally asking to make 11 - but Fifa are adamant no special dispensation was given.

If the England game is downgraded to a Dean Ashton, Joe Hart, Phil Jagielka and Stephen Warnock who all made their first appearances for England would be left waiting for their first cap.

It would also mean that Aston Vila midfielder Gareth Barry would not have notched up his first international goal and England would slip back down the Fifa world rankings, having moved up two places following the win.

200x190.jpgMTV has been fined £255,000 for broadcasting offensive language before the 9pm watershed.

Watchdog Ofcom said it found 'persistent' beaches of the rules by MTV on shows like 'Totally Jodie Marsh' which were likely to appeal to children.

Ofcom added that it was punishing MTV for "highly offensive language and material"  across its channels MTV UK, MTV France, MTV Hits and TMF.

"Material was not justified by the context of broadcasts likely to appeal to children," said a statement.

In one example a trailer for Totally Jodie Marsh, broadcast during the day, included the sentence: “I just don’t want you settling down with some f**king w**ker from a modelling agency."

200x190.jpgBeijing has warned suspected terrorists, subversives and people with sexually transmitted diseases will not be allowed to enter China for the Olympic games.

A 57-point list which includes very specific regulations on what can be brought into China has also been published on the Beijing Olympic Organising Committee's website.

Points include: do not sleep in public places, the display of insulting slogans is prohibited and drunk persons will be detained until they are sober.

Visitor are also warned they criminal liability would be pursued against anyone who act to insult the Chinese national flag.

An estimated 500,000 foreigners are expected to attend the games.

Woman married to Eiffel Tower

200x190.jpgA woman with an odd fetish for objects has 'married' the Eiffel Tower and even changed her name to show her devotion to it.

Erika La Tour Eiffel, 37, who lives in San Francisco wed the French icon in a small ceremony attended by a small group of friends - presumably they spent their honeymoon in Paris.

Erika re-visits the structure for their first wedding aniversary as part of a Five show on Objectum-Sexual women.

The former soldier says she has previously had an infatuation with the bow that helped her to become a world-class archer and says she is fond of the Berlin Wall.

The Woman Who Married the Eiffel Tower is on Five at 10pm on June 4.

Is edible high-rise pie in the sky?

200x190.jpgA scientist has revealed plans for a 58-floor sky scrapper which he claims could grow enough crops to feed 35,000 people.

Toronto based Gordon Graff says 'SkyFarm' is a vertical farm which could provide the food requirements for thousands of people.

The bizarre plans claim the SkyFarm could grow as much food as a 1052 acre farm and generate $23,000,000 per year.

Crops would be irrigated by water recycled through the building's hydroponic system eliminating the need for heavy soil which would make the building impossible.

The building is just one highlighted on verticalfarm.com run by Columbia University professor Dickson Despommier.

Shocked pandas get hugs and games

200x190.jpgGiant pandas who were left shocked by last month's earthquake in Sichuan are being given hugs and extra bamboo to calm their nerves.

Eight of the high maintenance animals have been moved to Beijing zoo after damage was caused to the Wolong reserve, close to the epicentre of the shock.

The young pandas have now been identified as suffering from anxiety and are being given hugs and plenty of bamboo to help them recover.

Keepers say they are also giving 'psychological support' to the animals by playing with and talking to them.

The earthquake killed four staff members at the reserve and another remains seriously ill in hospital.

Bangers and cash - the 2p sausage

200x190.jpgA supermarket has started selling the cheapest sausages in the UK - just two pence each.

ASDA has also cut the price of potatoes and carrots claiming that strapped for cash families need only pay £1.57 to make bangers and mash for four.

Customers wanting an upmarket version of the meal at Gordon Ramsay’s gastro pub The Devonshire fork out £13 for sausages and gravy plus an extra £3.50 for mash.

The move comes at a time when many food prices are soaring and Britain is feeling the world credit crunch.

ASDA’s sausage buyer Jenny Liggat said: “Families are feeling the impact of the credit crunch in their pockets. 

200x190.jpgThe man who invented the Pringles tube has died ... and had his ashes buried in one of his famous creations.

Dr Fred Baur, who created the famous packaging in 1966, was so proud of his invention that he made the request before his recent death.

His family have confirmed they carried out his wishes - but did not say what flavour tube was used.

The 89-year-old from Cincinatti had been a chemist and food storage technician for Procter and Gamble when he came up with the tube for the potato snacks.

He is also credited with developing a wide range of products including freeze-dried ice cream and cooking oil.

200x190.jpgRoyal fashion icon Zara Phillips has topped this year's 'Celebrity Hat Wearers list'.

Zara beat of competition from fellow royal Princess Bea and the not so regal Paris Hilton - meanwhile Brad Pitt scooped the mens title ahead of David Beckham and Jude Law.

The list is compiled each year by the millinery and hat making industry in Luton and previous winners include Kate Moss and Kate Middleton.

Philip Wright who was one of the judges says top celebrities now wear ‘statement’ hats, which have something to say for themselves.

“It’s an exciting time for headwear at the moment," he said. 

200x190.jpgThe sales of oranges have dropped for the third year running as busy Brits opt for more convenient fruit.

As the number of oranges eaten in the UK fell two percent to 598 million, easier to peel and smaller citrus fruits like tangerines and satsumas saw a boom in sales.

Sales of satsumas were up 35 percent in 2007 while tangerines rose by 60 percent, according to trade mgazine The Grocer.

It is thought the increase in sales of smaller fruits can be accounted for because they are easier to carry in handbags or briefcases and take half the time to peel.

Tangerines and satsuma sales could soon outstrip those of oranges for the first time in the UK, experts now believe.

200x190.jpgA previously unknown Brazilian tribe have been discovered in the Amazon rainforest.

The indigenous Indians were found and photographed for the first time last week when a helicopter flew over their community.

Members of the tribe aimed their bows and arrows at the helicopter though no one was hurt.

The men had painted red skin while the women were painted black. It is thought the community of 500 people live in a series of hut covered in palm leaves along the Envira River.

'We did the overflight to show their houses, to show they are there, to show they exist,' said a spokesperson for FUNAI, the Brazilian government's Indian affairs department.

The bra for your derriere

200x190.jpgA new product promising to do for bottoms what the Wonderbra did for breasts is to go on sale in the UK.

The butt bra - created by psychologist Dr. Karin Hart - is said to provide a shapely backside by raising the derriere with a supportive structure.

The basic structure of the device is a waist/hip band with two strategically placed adjustable leg loops that encircle the buttocks.

Inventor Dr Hart said: "Breasts have had the benefit of brassieres for over one hundred years. Sadly, the derriere has had no equivalent.

"This is surprising since today everyone wants better sculpted curves and a rounded up rear view can be quite a personal asset."

200x190.jpgCouncils and town halls are advising  would-be squatters where to get all the information they need to break into homes and occupy them.

Many council housing departments are refering people without homes to the Advisory Service for Squatters website where they sell a £2 squatters handbook.

The guide gives tips on how to break into a home, deactivate alarms, get services like electricity

An introduction in the book reads: "Private houses may provide years of housing to lucky squatters.

"Only a small minority of squatters ever get nicked  -  squatting is not a crime. If anyone says it is, they are wrong. 

Computer game to help smokers quit

200x190.jpgA computer game is to be launched which makers say will help smokers quit the habit.

'Allen Carr's Easy way To Stop Smoking' will be developed for the hand-held Nintendo DS which became popular with older gamers because of titles like 'Brain Training.'

In the game - released in November - players will input details of their smoking habits and a virtual coach will then take them through the process of quitting.

Makers Ubisoft say Carr has already helped over 10 million smokers quit with his book 'Easy way To Stop Smoking.' 

Elvis parrot could get ASBO

200x190.jpgA parrot owner has been warned he could get an ASBO because his bird keeps dive-bombing neighbours.

Villagers in Wilsden, Yorkshire have complained that owner Edward Pikul lets Elvis the parrot fly where it wants.

They claim the 2ft bird has attacked them, chewed through cables and even smashed street lights.

Officers from Bradford council have now been called in to monitor Elvis's behaviour and if he continues to annoy residents he could be sent to a sanctuary.

Owner Edward says he would rather see Elvis sent to a sanctuary than lock him up in a cage.

Big Ben made out of drinks cans

200x190.jpgA sculptor has used Coca-Cola cans to build a 20ft replica of Big Ben in a bid to encourage people to recycle.

Robert Bradford used thousands of cans to create the artwork which was commissioned to launch Recycle Week which will reveal further works across the UK.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said he hoped the work would inspire Londoners to recycle.

"Recycle Week is a fantastic initiative and does a huge amount to encourage us all to recycle more," he said.

Bradford currently has a show on at Trafalgar Hilton which will run until Oct. 5th and will be at the New York Art Fair later this month.

Terminally ill man wins life bet

200x190.jpgA cancer sufferer has won a £5,000 bet that he would stay alive.

Jon Matthews from Milton Keynes was told by doctors "don't make any plans for Christmas" eight months ago.

But rather than accept his fate Jon placed a bet £100 he would survive ... and won.

Bookies William Hill checked the facts with Harefield Hospital in Middlesex before offering the 58-year-old odds of 50/1.

William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe said: "Never, in thirty years in the business, have I been so pleased to pay a winning client £5,000.

Tube booze party ends in arrests

200x190.jpgThousands of revellers spent last night partying on the London Underground before a ban on alcoholic drinks came into effect.

The ban, which started at midnight, will mean passengers are prohibited from carrying opened alcoholic beverages on the Tube, Docklands Light Railway, London Buses and trams.

So on Saturday over 9,000 people - organized through social media websites - gathered for one last hurrah.

The event had been planned to show that alcohol could be enjoyed without trouble but drunken party-goers were seen fighting, vomiting, ripping maps and tearing posters from the walls.

British Transport Police said 17 arrests were made, six assaults were reported on staff. 

200x190.jpgScientists will be forced to refer to a giant Antarctic iceberg as 'Melting Bob' after a schoolboy won a competition to name it.

Six-year-old Max Dolan, from Hampshire, won the Scott Polar Research Institute competition to name the 1,985sq miles object previously known as C19A.

It is the first time an iceberg has been known to the scientific community as anything other than by its numeric codename and co-ordinates.

'Melting Bob,' three times the size of Greater London, will be tracked over the next decade as it moves in the Southern Ocean.

Asked how he came up with the name Max said: "The iceberg bobs in the water and is melting - it's huge and cool."

200x190.jpgBoffins claim they have found the formula for the perfect voice with a  balance of tone, speed, frequency, words per minute and intonation.

The researchers say a mixture of Mariella Frostrup, Honor Blackman and Dame Judi Dench would give the ideal female voice.

For men it would be Alan Rickman, Jeremy Irons and Michael Gambon.

The research - produced by by linguistics Professor Andrew Linn from Sheffield University, and sound engineer Shannon Harris - found vocal traits associated with trust scored more popular.

It concluded that a speaker should say about 164 words per minute and pause for 0.48 seconds between sentences that fall in intonation.

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