December 2008 Archives

World's biggest 'Kiss-a-thon' in Venice

More than 70,000 people are expected to gather in Venice tonight, to take part in the world's largest kissing session.

At the stroke of midnight revelers in St Mark's Square will exchange kisses in a bid to beat the current world record, set in the same place 12 months ago.

Organisers will even be on hand to provide step-by-step lessons on how to give, or receive, the perfect kiss.

Venice hopes the event will help it keep its reputation as the world's most romantic city, or if partygoers get carried away, the sluttiest.

Wii Scream becomes a YouTube hit

A video of a young boy screaming with joy as he unwraps a Nintendo Wii he was given for Christmas has become a YouTube hit.

Like millions of other gamers the lad woke up on Christmas morning to find the games console under the tree.

Unlike millions of other gamers he let out a blood curdling high-pitched scream which is likely to have burst the eardrums of all dogs within a mile radius.

The clip has already been watched by over 100,000 people. NOTE: you might want to dial down the volume before playing the clip. 

Sarah Palin is the celebrity most Americans would like to live next door, a survey has found.

The governor of Alaska and former vice-presidential nominee topped the poll which asked 2,000 people, if they had to live next door to a celebrity, who would it be.

Palin took 14 percent of the vote with retirees (26 percent) and residents in the South (19 percent) disproportionately favoring her as the most desirable neighbor.

Chat show host Oprah Winfrey came in second but troubled pop star Britney Spears was voted the worst celebrity neighbour for the second year in a row.

It is not clear if those surveyed were thinking laterally and assuming that if Palin lived next door to them, she could not be in the White House.

Emmerdale characters are big boozers

Characters in ITV soap Emmerdale are some of TVs biggest boozers with locals at The Woolpack regularly downing 17 units of alcohol per episode, it has been found.

Expert analysis showed that many of the soaps characters are habitual afternoon boozers, while one third would be classified under Government ratings as a depressed drinker.

A 20-episode analysis was conducted by The Great Drink Debate, looking at the drinking habits of 37 characters in the Yorkshire-based soap. 

The Yorkshire and Humber initiative found that not one character went without an alcoholic drink during a month of episodes. Incidentally many viewers watch the soap while drinking, they find it is the only way to take their minds off the poor acting and dodgy story-lines.

Prison calendar becomes a surprise hit

Near-naked nurses and cute kittens are typically some of the most popular calendars, but one featuring Britain's top prisons has become a surprise hit.

The calendar 'Her Majesty’s Prisons Of England 2009' shows a selection of 12 slammers from Strangeways to Dartmoor.

Kevin Beresford, from Worcester, came up with the idea after getting bored of seeing the same calendars of Jordan and Cliff Richard everywhere.

The 56-year-old said orders have have come pouring in to his website and that the calendar seems to appeal to all sorts of people.

Even so, it is probably not the best gift for someone doing a 10-year stretch in Wormwood Scrubs.

20 weird items removed from pets stomachs

200x190.jpgA 10-inch tent peg and a rubber duck probably don't sound like the most appetizing items ... but if you are reading this, the chances are you're not a dog.

The weird objects are just some of the strange things found in the bellies of UK pets by animal charity PDSA.

The charity have now produced a list of the top 20 items removed from inquisitive pets by vets, some are even accompanied by the x-rays to prove it.

The list includes a dog that wolfed down a 10-inch tent peg, a cat which swallowed a bell and a puppy that gobbled up Christmas tree decorations

Happiness is wearing a size 14 dress

Curvy women like Nigella Lawson are the happiest with their life and looks, a survey has found.

Girls who wear the dress size 14 rated their general happiness higher than any other, with a quarter rating their mood as extremely happy.

More than 43 per cent of size 14 women also said they were as happy as they could be with their career, while almost a third say they couldn't be more content with their love life.

Second happiest were women who wear a size 12 followed by those in a size eight. The unhappiest women were those in a size 24, size 20 and size 22.

A spokeswoman for Special K, which polled 3,000 women, said: "It's great to discover that being a size zero doesn't necessarily bring you happiness. 

Vets have warned that throwing a stick for your dog in an innocent game of fetch could injure, or even kill it.

And the vets don't just mean if you throw the stick off a cliff and dumb fido decides to follow it.

Experts from the Royal Veterinary College say playing with sticks can leave dogs with cuts to the skin or mouth, paralysis of limbs, and even acute and chronic infections.

Professor Dan Brockman warns that because sticks are sharp and very dirty when a dog grabs them in its mouth they can easily pierce the skin, going on to penetrate the oesophagus, spinal cord.

The doom-monger does however offer a solution, he says throwing rubber toys or a suitably sized ball means you shouldn't end up with huge vets bills, or a dead dog.

Rap music was invented in Scotland

Rap music owes more to medieval Scotland than it does to New York's Bronx, claim academics.

Boffins say Celts were insulting each other with rhymes well before rap battles like those seen in the Eminem movie '8 Mile' developed across the US.

Professor Ferenc Szasz says much of today's hip hop is descended from the Scottish practice of "flyting" where angry Scots trade elaborate rhyming insults.

The expert from the University of New Mexico suggests slaves on plantations in the US were taught flyting by Scottish colonialists, they couldn't however be convinced to wear kilts.

Firemen save cats with oxygen masks

Firefighters have saved the lives of six cats were been trapped in a blaze ... by giving them oxygen therapy.

The cats were found lying unconscious on the floor of a home in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, where crews had tackled a kitchen fire.

After checking there were no humans to save, quick-thinking firemen used breathing apparatus with adaptor masks normally reserved for use with babies, on the cats.

Firefighter John Lucas held the little masks to the faces of the cats as the machine administered oxygen therapy. 

So, as if being a fireman didn't attract women enough already, now they are saving kittens too.

Record number of Brits change name

More than 46,000 Brits changed their name in the past 12 months in a bid to  reinvent themselves.

But while many changed their names for sensible reasons, others just wanted quirky and wacky monikers, like Mr Adjustable Spanners.

In case you were wondering Adjustable Spanners is what the 27-year-old from Essex changed his name too, not from - before that he was known simply as Daniel Westfallen.

Other odd names issued by UK Deed Poll service include 'Fonzerelli Ball In A Cup Boogie Woogie Brown' and 'Tintin Captain Haddock Confused Brewer.'

Fonzerelli and Mr Confused Brewer are now legally entitled to use their new names on passports, bank accounts and their drivers license.

Police reveal 'ridiculous' 999 calls

A priest called 999 because staff in a WHSmith would not let him use their toilet, police have revealed.

Other daft 999 calls made over Christmas include a woman who was unable to get through to vote on Strictly Come Dancing and a man who reported Santa breaking into a house. 

Greater Manchester Police say another man simply wanted to know his own mobile number and one man even called because staff at a restaurant had put mushrooms on his pizza after he asked them not to.

Superintendent Karan Lee said: "People dialling 999 for non-emergency calls can put lives at risk because it could delay someone who really needs urgent help getting through. 

"Silly pranks can have a major impact on members of the public who need the police. I don’t want a person to call 999 and be delayed because someone else is calling to report something that is not an emergency or completely ridiculous."

Viagra used as weapon in war on terror

CIA agents in Afghanistan are using a new weapon in the war on terror ... Viagra pills

The US intelligence agency are said to be slipping the little blue sex pill to Afghan tribal warlords as a bribe for vital information.

The tribal warlords - who can often have four wives - are said to happy to trade the Taliban secrets for a 8-hour erection.

Several warlords are understood to be taking the pills but are hoping not to stand out (maybe not the right phrase) to Taliban bosses who would have them killed.

One CIA source didn't say: "We have been worried about insurgent uprising for years, now their wives can."

Wind up remote ends search for batteries

This remote control will never leave you searching drawers for new batteries - whenever it runs out of juice you just wind it up.

The remote, which can control up to six televisions, DVD players or stereos 
is powered by an internal battery which can be charged by turning a dial on the front.

Makers say thirty turns will leave the gadget with enough power to keep the average TV addict clicking for seven days.

The £20 remote could mean you never again sit through Eastenders because you can't be bothered to 'trek' across the living room to find new batteries. 

Facebook bid to get Brucie knighted

More than 15,000 people have joined a Facebook group trying to get Bruce Forsyth knighted.

Despite the popularity of the 80-year-old Strictly Come Dancing host, it looks like he has once again been overlooked for in the New Year honours list.

And the Queen can't claim it is because she is doddery ... doddery she is not.

As a result dozens of campaigns have been launched on social networks trying to make Brucie a knight, one 'Give Bruce Forsyth a Knighthood' has over 15,000 members.

The campaign has even Prime Minister Gordon Brown, more than 5,000 people signed petitions on the Downing Street website.

Dancing spider-like sea cruiser boat

This is not a picture from a upcoming Hollywood science-fiction blockbuster - some people think it is the ocean cruiser of the future.

The WAM-V, or Wave Adaptive Modular Vessel can travel up to 5,000 miles and can be controlled by just two crew members. 

It is powered by twin diesel engines and can - according to its designers -
'dance' over waves.

Makers say the boat can be used as a luxury cruiser, an emergency response unit or a passenger ship for up to 12 people and because of the way it is powered uses 'significantly less' fuel than other boats.

Free caviar for poor of Milan

Poor people in Milan have been given free tubs of Beluga caviar worth £370,000 as a Christmas gift. 

While caviar is a festive favorite of the rich and famous it was the less fortunate who were tucking into it in the Italian city today.

Customs officers had handed out more than 40kg (88lb) of the posh caviar which they had confiscated from two couriers in November.

The fish eggs were been smuggled as hidden cargo on the ships traveling from Poland when they were seized. 

Tests showed it was edible so it was given to canteens, hospices and shelters which held some of the best Christmas dinners in Milan.

Police get ladder climbing training

Police officers have been told they need to attend special training classes, about how to climb a ladder.

Officers in Lancashire have for the past few months been installing roadside electronic speed indicators, for which they needed to use a small ladder.

Despite the perils of a 3ft tall step the brave boys in blue have managed to do the task without injury.

But now they must now undertake ladder training before continuing - after health and safety officials said they could injure themselves.

Around 45 officers have been sent on the training, organised by Lancashire County Council, hopefully they didn't have to go up any steps to get there.

Stressed Japanese workers smash plates

A mobile plate breaking centre has become a 'smash hit' in Japan where workers are looking for news ways to relax.

'The Venting Place' was the idea of a Tokyo chiropractors and consists of a van which tours the city looking for stressed-out workers.

Given the tumbling shares, rising unemployment and overall economic gloom in Japan they can't be too hard to find.

Workers are given protective clothing and taken to the back of a van where they can throw crockery ranging from a small cup (£1.40) to a large plate (£7.40) at concrete slabs.

The business is expected to thrive until people realize they can get plates cheaper elsewhere and have perfectly good walls at home.

Huge boobs are out of fashion (for women)

More women are having boob jobs than ever before, but huge breasts are going out of fashion, say plastic surgeons.

Boobs like Pamela Anderson's 34D chest are now said to be seen as a bit 90s and passe ... I know that is what I think whenever I see them ;-)

Bosses at Harley Medical Group say their stats show that women have started opting for more realistic breasts when picking their op size.

In the past six months 75 percent of women who have had a breast enlargement opted to go up just one or two cup sizes.

Director of the cosmetic surgery provider, Liz Dale said: "We've really noticed that huge breasts are out and instead women come to us looking for a natural result, not a 'look at me' statement neckline, which can sometimes cause too much attention."

Lost baby saved by stray cats

A young boy who had been missing for a number of days was kept alive by a colony of stray cats, say police in Argentina.

The one-year-old boy was found by police lying in the gutter of a street in Misiones, Argentina covered in stray cats.

The cats were clustered around him keeping him warm and had been caring for him by feeding him scraps of food.

A spokesperson for the Argentine police say the lad - a real life Mowgli from the Jungle book - may have died in the sub zero conditions if it were not for the animals.

It is not thought the boy was with the cats for long enough to compose any songs to the quality of "The Bare Necessities" or "I Wan'na Be Like You."

The UK government is warning people they are more likely to end up in hospital over Christmas than any other time of year.

Leaflets produced by the Department for Children, Schools and Families tells about the dangers of baubles, new bikes, tripping over toy and even ... exploding gravy.

150,000 of the advent calendar leaflets were sent out listing the dangers of the festive holiday, which it seems we will be lucky to survive.

Parents are told to take care with candles, games with small pieces and decorations as it is expected 80,000 people will go to hospital after Christmas related accidents, but it wouldn't be Christmas without a trip to casualty would it?

Bruce Willis and Elle Macpherson in £9m ad

An insurance company has hired a line up of A-listers including Bruce Willis and Ringo Star to appear in £9million advertising campaign.

Norwich Union splashed the cash to secure the celebs who would be more at home in a Hollywood blockbuster as it changes its name to Aviva.

The ads, which also feature Alice Cooper and Dame Edna Everage sees the stars asking themselves: "Would this have happened if my name had been…?"

In this shot from the new TV advert Bruce Willis is digitally added into a trailer for one of his early movies, Die Hard.  He says to us: "Would Walter Willis have got to play the leading man?"

Maybe not, but that could have saved us from wasting 90 minutes of our lives which we will never get back on Hudson Hawk.

10m music tracks have never been downloaded

Experts claim there are more then 10,000,000 digital music tracks available on the internet which have not even been downloaded once.

Who knew Cliff Richard had recorded so many.
A study found that 80% of all revenue from digital downloads came just 52,000 tracks, a fraction of those available.

The MCPS-PRS Alliance say the results raises questions about the credibility of the "long tail" theory which suggests niche markets are one of the most important economic models of the internet.

As far as albums were concerned, the figures were even starker, only 173,000 albums purchased online from the 1.23m available to buy.

Odd bets for 2009

Bookies have revealed their odds for some of the stranger bets for the next 12 months including proving God’s existence and whether Jordan & Peter Andre will have a baby.

Oddly experts at Paddy Power have pegged both events at 4/1, prompted, they say, by a flood of bets as the Hadron Collider kicked into gear this year.

The bookmakers add that Wayne Rooney & Colleen McLoughlin are seen as the celebs couple most likely to announce they are expecting at 3/1.

Other celebrity bets include which celeb Russell Brand will bed first in 2009, notice they are not even taking bets of if Brand will bed a celeb, only who.

More concerning for Strictly Come Dancing fans is that Bruce Forsyth is leading the BBC sack race as the next big name star to leave the beeb. 

The man who blagged Christmas for free

Mike Essex is planning on having a very cheap Christmas, he has blagged everything wanted, for free.

The cheeky chappy from Telford has managed to convince people to give him £6,500 worth of free stuff - including a tree, a turkey and all the presents he will give to friends and family.

Mike, 23, contacts companies and gets them to part with their goodies by offering to email all of Facebook friends about the product or put a poster up in a window. He also reviews every product on his blog

But after blagging freebies for three years Mike said this year he wanted to see if it was possible to get everything he needed for Christmas day.

So far Mike has managed to get a tree and wreath (£50) a festive hamper (£30) turkey, and all the trimmings (£15) and gifts including an Xbox 360 (£100), Jack Daniels Chess Set and the entire DKNY range.

Free beer for male Christmas shoppers

A town is offering free beer to male shoppers in a bid to get them to part with their Christmas cash.

Town bosses in Melton have set up stalls which are dishing out drinks vouchers which can be exchanged for pints in local pubs.

Not only that, but the Leicestershire town is even offering to gift wrap any presents while you have your drink.

The offer will run until Christmas Eve and street entertainment and music will also be provided to keep shopping trips as stress free as possible.

Now, if only they would actually find out what your wife wanted, buy it for you, wrap it and then bring it to you in the pub they would have my business.

Nintendo Wii causes 10 injuries per week

10 Brits are being hospitalized each week ... by playing the Nintendo Wii.

The popular games console is said to be causing a raft of knee, elbow and backs injuries to gamers.

In extreme cases docs say they have even seen people who have dislocated their knee caps or popped them out completely.

And the number of injuries are expected to rocket during the holiday period as older family members try to take on the kids at tennis, skiing and boxing.

Doctors have identified "Wii-knee" and "Wii-elbow" as the most common injuries caused by sudden movements and violent tendon stretching.

Churches call in nightclub bouncers

Churches have formed an unlikely partnership with nightclub bouncers to help them cope with unruly visitors.

The doormen will advise church workers on how to tackle problematic and violent visitors ...  and it doesn't involve turning the other cheek.

While vicars won't be taught how to wrestle someone to the ground or perform Bruce Lee's one-inch-punch church workers are being told some of the techniques used by bouncers.

Staff will learn how to identify if someone is carrying a weapon and how to deal with aggressive drunks. 

It is not thought churches will adopt too many nightclub practices, I can't see a two-drink minimum or ladies night going down too well at All Saints.

Guinness World Records top moments of '08

If you work for Guinness World Records it must take something special to make you go "wow, that's interesting."

That's why we were all ears when they told us they had compiled a list of their best moments of 2008.

Staff there receive over 1,000 claims per week each more jaw-dropping and mind-boggling than the last.

"Guinness World Records has spent over 50 years chronicling remarkable record-breaking feats and 2008 was one of the best years yet," said Craig Glenday, Editor-In-Chief, Guinness World Records. 

1. PingPing, the World's Smallest Man, met Svetlana Pankratova, the World's Longest Legs, in London on September 16. the 20-year old from Inner Mongolia, China, measures only 21.9 inches total!

Posh car maker Aston Martin has been named as the joint winner of a competition to design a new Routemaster bus for London.

The firm - famed for making James Bond's car of choice - entered the competition as a team effort with architects Foster and Partners.

Their design is described as a highly-manoeuvrable, zero-emissions vehicle, with solar panels built into a glass roof, full accessibility, warm lighting and wooden floors.

Within a week of its introduction in 2011 it will be described as a highly-manoeuvrable, zero-emissions vehicle, with solar panels ... the smell of piss and full hoodies smoking spliffs.

Mayor Boris Johnson said: "We have had a phenomenal response, with ideas submitted from around the globe, and we now have, in our joint winners, two stunning designs that allow us to go forward and produce a truly iconic bus fit for 21st Century London."

Police injure themselves in pretend riot

More than 50 Israeli police officers have beaten themselves up in a training exercise gone wrong.

The officers were some of 7,000 simulating a violent civil unrest in southern Israel to learn how to deal with rioters.

They were meant to be practicing riot control techniques, but it appears some got carried away attacking their colleagues.

As the "rioters" were throwing tennis balls rather than bricks but the police had full riot gear, we can guess which side came away most battered.

OAPs brains forget negative memories

As people get older their brain begins to remember fewer negative events, researchers have found.

This the experts claim, could be why so many OAPs see their memories through rose-tinted glasses and think of past events more positively than younger people.

Researchers from Alberta University used MRI scans to discover how OAPs use their brains very differently to younger people when it comes to storing memory. 

While scanning the subjects brains they were shown images of neutral or strongly negative events. It was found OAPs had fewer connections between the area of the brain that detects emotions and the part used for memory.

The OAPs said that in their day the tests would have been over with far quicker and the results would have been more accurate.

Alien text messages are out of this world

Brits are paying to have their text messages beamed into space in the hope they could be read by aliens.

Hundreds of people are paying £10 to have their text beamed into the cosmos on radio waves using a giant satellite transmission dish.

Users hope that because in space, radio waves travel forever, or until they hit a solid body like a star or a planet, the notes could be received by little green men.

One user of the service, James Hodge said: "I am certain their are aliens out there, and by using this, who knows I might get lucky and my text could be the first thing from earth they see."

Anyone out there know James? Now would be a good time to start sending him texts pretending to be an alien responding.

Docs tell headbangers to wear a neck brace

Experts say heavy metal fans should wear a neck brace when headbanging, or risk serious injury.

Australian researchers say headbanging could be behind countless cases of head and neck related injuries and have suggested a selection of odd solutions.

The biomedical injury experts took their clipboards and white coats to heavy metal concerts including ones by Motörhead, Ozzy Osbourne and Skid Row to identify common head banging technique.

They then constructed a theoretical head banging model of this up-down style and set about examining the effects to music of different tempos ... their lab-mates now know the words to every Motörhead track.

Scientists dismiss 5 popular holiday myths

Are you currently cutting down on late night meals, wearing a hat whenever you go outside and keeping the kids from eating too much sugar? 

If so, read on ... because scientists are pointing at you and laughing.

Boffins have scoffed at some of the holiday myths we tell each other at this time of year and say they have science to prove your granny wrong.

Dr. Vreeman and Dr. Carroll from the Indiana University School of Medicine argue that many of the 'facts' you take for granted are actually old wives tales.

Jennifer Aniston looks like she made David Letterman a little hot under the collar when she gave him a necktie she wore in a saucy photo-shoot.

The actress was on his show to promote her upcoming movie Marley & Me when Letterman took out a recent issue of mans mag GQ with Jen on the cover, naked but for a tie.

But as he thumbed the pages staring at the sexy photos Aniston reached behind her seat and took out a present for the Late Show host ... THAT tie.

"It's an early Christmas gift," said the 39-year-old who then helped him out putting it on adding "This is exciting, I'm dressing Dave!"

Scientists has discovered that zapping a cheap bottle of supermarket plonk with electricity can make it taste like a posh 'vintage' wine.

After 10 years of research they found that some high voltages will cause a young acidic wine to be artificially aged into something more mellow and aromatic.

They say the 20 year aging process used to create some fine reds could even be simulated within three minutes.

It is not just the boffins who are convinced with their discovery, a blind tasting by a panel of wine experts proved they could no longer pick out the cheap wines, reports New Scientist magazine.

The technology is said to be so good it could be used to turn your Blue Nun into something you could get away with passing off as a posh vintage bottle ... just remember to hide the original bottle.

The cul-de-sac used in the Channel 4 soap Brookside has been sold at auction for a bargain basement price.

Brookside Close - 13 red-brick houses in Liverpool - was snapped up by an unnamed local buyer for £735,000.

As the backdrop for explosive story lines including wife-beater Trevor Jordache being buried under the patio it became one of the most iconic streets in Britain.

But after the soap ended in 2005 and the cast moved out, the houses remained empty as developers tried to sell the street for £2,000,000.

Maybe people were worried that Sinbad might pop arourd for a cup of tea or that they might find a body under their patio.

UK stunt girls strip for calendar

Stunt women who have worked on movies ranging from Harry Potter to James Bond have stripped off to pose naked for a charity calendar.

UK Stunt Girls 'Exposed' shows eight pro stunt girls posing with with the equipment and rigging used in the stunt industry including guns, live flames and a water tank.

While the women often double as well-known stars for action scenes in Brit blockbusters they don't normally pose in front of the camera, and certainly not nude.

And though the babes spend their days jumping off buildings setting fire to themselves and crashing cars baring all for the camera was for many their most terrifying challenge yet.

Proceeds from the £10 calendar - which was shot at Pinewood Studios - will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and can be ordered from

Meat perfume launched by Burger King

A burger chain has started selling a mens perfume body spay which promises to make you smell of meat.

Flame by BK, or 'eau de burger' as we like to call it, has already gone on sale online and in a New York store - and is amazingly proving a hit.

Bizarrely many men seem to be happy paying the £3 per bottle to smell like a 15-year-old burger flipper.

Makers Burger King say of the scent they have created: "It is seduction, with a hint of flame-broiled meat," ... lovely.

There is now talk that they could add a female fragrance of 'Fries on the side."

Brits think Santa Claus is 66-years-old

Santa Claus' most likely age is 66, the same age as Billy Connolly, Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford, a survey has found.
The poll quizzed Brits about how old they thought Santa was, with most people (44 percent) putting him in his mid-60s.

Trying to pinpoint his exact age one-in-four said they thought he was 66 ... so lets hope he hasn't retired from gift giving.

Of the 1,000 questioned by online sweet shop 'A Quarter Of' 33 per cent think he is in his 70s, and remember this was adults they were talking to.

A rather optimistic 13 per cent say St Nick is still striding along in his 90s.

New dinosaurs found in Sahara desert

Scientists have found the 100 million-year-old fossils of two previously unknown dinosaur species in the Sahara Desert.

The dinosaur hunters say one of the unearthed fossils, a leg bone, belonged to one of the biggest animals to ever walk the Earth.

The long-necked plant-eating sauropod, would have been around 20 metres in length, (65 feet) say university researchers.

The find was made during a month-long quest in south-east Morocco, near the Algerian border where the researchers say they battled severe weather to the point where they feared they may not get the bones back.

Sounds to me like the paleontologists have been watching a bit too much
Jurassic Park and have got caught up in the drama.

Girls have better sense of taste than boys

Girls have a better sense of taste than boys and do not have the same sweet-tooth, research has found.

A study of over 8,900 Danish schoolchildren also found that the majority love fish ... had the same test been done in the UK the majority would not have been able to identify fish.

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen gave each of the children a kit of taster samples and instructions on how to test things like their recognition of sweet and sour tastes at varying intensities.

Other tests - conducted in science lessons - were used to establish which sourness or sweetness they prefer and how many taste buds they have.

While boys and girls had the same number of taste buds the girls were better able recognize tastes, proving what my wife keeps telling me when decorating, women have better taste.

House get repossessed ... via Facebook

An Australian couple have been served with legal papers repossessing their home ... via Facebook.

Lawyers resorted to the odd move after traditional attempts to reach the couple - who reportedly missed payments on a loan of over £44,000  - failed. 

Mark McCormack even had to persuade a judge from the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court to give him permission to use the social network in this way, and promise not to make the notice public.

As a result the Aussie pair will have logged onto the popular social network to find the unpleasant message in their inbox.

At the last check the couple were changing their status updates to "****** is looking for a new home."

An inventor who built a life-size female robot with sensors in her private parts claims she is still a virgin.

Le Trung has spent years working on Aiko, his £14,000 fembot girlfriend who is made of latex and electronics.

The silicon stunner, 32-23-33, can recognise faces and objects and even respond to touch thanks to a series of sensor positioned around her body

But despite including sensors in places that really shouldn't exist on a plastic doll Trung insists he has never taken part in robot love.

"Aiko has sensors in her body including her prviate parts, and yes even down there, but Aiko is still a virgin, AND NO I do not sleep with her," he said on his website.

Carla Bruni sues over nude photo bag

Carla Bruni has filed a lawsuit against a company which produced a bag featuring a nude picture of her.

The wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy (making him the envy of world leaders everywhere) is claiming £105,000 in damages after makers 'Pardon' tried to sell the racy bags across France.

The white canvas bags feature a sexy black-and-white image of Bruni saying: "My guy should have bought me a Pardon."

But the model turned singer says that neither she or the photographer gave the company permission to use the saucy snap which was taken in 1993 as part of a campaign against Aids.

At just £3 you can't help but think the bags were underpriced anyway, earlier this year an original print of the photograph was sold for £55,000.

Coffee shop gets own back on tight students

Bosses at an Amsterdam coffee shop got fed up with free-loading students sitting for hours in their store but not spending any money.

The problem was that the cheapskates were using the free wifi internet connection offered at CoffeeCompany but not buying coffee.

But bosses recently decided to get their own back, not only by changing the name of their wifi network on a daily basis, by giving it funny titles.

Now when someone who has their laptop at the shop asks for the network name the staff have the pleasure of shouting back things like "OrderAnotherCoffeeAlready" or "BuyAnotherCupYouCheapskate."

Refrigerated sand to cool Dubai beach

A refrigerated beach is set to open in Dubai ... so holiday-makers don't burn their feet.

Boffins will lay miles of coolant-filled pipes under the sand at the plush Palazzo Versace hotel where summer temperatures can hit 50°C.

They say this will mean the rich tourists do not have to run across hot sand ... and staff will not have to carry them.

Giant fans will also be used a the gimmicky resort to create a fake gentle breeze while the swimming pool will be cooled rather than heated.

The temperatures of the sand and level of wind will all be controlled by computers, but if they get a virus and go into overdrive your Dubai break could feel more like Skegness.

Hamburg Santa run fails to break UK record

Over 2,000 German Santa Clauses ran through the city of Hamburg in a bid to set a new world record for world's biggest Santa run.

But despite creating a sea of red and white, it was a case of Ho-ho-NO for the would-be Santas, because there were not enough of them.

Men, women and children taken part jogging around the 3.6km course in the German city, though some turned up dressed as reindeers and angels.

More than 3,921 Santas were needed to beat the record set in Liverpool in 2005 so with only 2,200 turning out it was close, but no mince pie.

Pizza used in self-defence

A pizza delivery man has used a piping hot pepperoni pizza to defend himself against armed robbers.

When the robbers pulled a gun on the man and demanded his cash the 40-year-old used his own weapon, the large sliced pepperoni pizza he was delivering.

The Florida man then flung the cheesy food at the would-be robbers and did the sensible thing, he turned and ran away.

One of the thieves took a shot at the delivery man as he ran, I guess they would have preferred one without anchovies.

Police say they have arrested three teenage suspects, who have been charged with armed robbery.

A company has launched a 'messy' gift-wrapping service so that it looks like blokes have wrapped Christmas presents themselves.

Rather than pristine parcels with perfectly folded paper and exquisitely tied ribbon the gifts arrive with roughly chopped paper and sealed with industrial-style tape.

The firm behind the "CrapWrap" service say many women get upset if their gifts don't look like their man has paid the care and attention to wrap them himself.

They even promise their wrapping handywork is so shoddy your wife or girlfriend won't think for a minute someone else has done it for you.

"It takes a high degree of skill to deliberately wrap a present this poorly," said a spokesperson for which charges £3.95 per parcel.

28,000 Woolworths supporters on Facebook

More than 20,000 Woolworths fans have pledged their support for the stricken high street retailer by setting up a Facebook page for it.

As Woolworths stores saw their busiest weekend of trading in years, thanks to their closing-down sale, 'fans' have flocked to sign up to the 'Save Woolworths' page.

If only they had spent some money there in the past couple of years, rather than sitting at home poking people on the internet, the store would be safe.

Supporters on the site say: "Woolworth's is at a real risk of going under at the moment. If you care about 30000 jobs being lost, and the UK losing a national institution then please, PLEASE, join this group."

On the Facebook page there is also a link to a Number 10 petition calling for the Prime Minister to Save Woolworths from the administrators which has been signed by almost 2,000 people.

Beautiful women fake orgasms more often

Attractive women and Essex girls are the most likely to fake an orgasm if their partner is a flop in bed, research has found.

A survey quizzed 30,000 women - in the interest of scientific discovery - on how often and why they faked it in bed.

One-in-three women admitted to having put on a hyperventilating and screaming show while having sex (isn't that an asthma attack?) but this number rose among certain groups.

Short women (under 5'3") were twice as likely to fake it as their taller counterparts, 53% of Essex women admitted to faking it and more attractive women were found to be even more likely to fake.

So if you meet an attractive midget from Essex the chances are she will be screaming with joy before you have even bought her a drink.

Russian businessman trademarks ;-)

A Russian businessman has trademarked an emoticon, the punctuation marks used in text messages, emails and online to convey a wink.

Oleg Teterin, president of the mobile ad company Superfone, now intends to cash in on the typographic wink by charging companies who use it.

He said he intends to send legal warnings to companies using the symbol to make a profit without paying him an annual license - which will cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Legal experts doubt any demands for cash would hold up in court as the colon followed by a hyphen and a parenthesis has been widely used in the public domain.

Despite being granted the trademark from the federal patent agency it is though most people will continue using the ;-) and stick two fingers up at him ... unless he has trademarked that too.

Penguin santas p-p-p-promote theme park

A theme park in South Korea has got some feathered festive favourites this year, penguins dressed as Santa Claus.
The custom made outfits (yeah, incredibly, no one is mass producing Penguin fancy dress yet) keep the birds cosy as they peform a mini Christmas parade for visitors each day.
Some guests even get to p-p-p-pick up a penguin and take in on a "sleigh ride" by which they mean hurtle down a hill on a rubber ring looking p-p-p-petrfied.
Bosses at Everland Park, near Seoul, claim staff made the outfits to help keep the penguins warm. 

Perhaps the zoological experts forgot that penguins seem to do just fine in Antarctica on their own.

Single hormone makes teenagers moody

Scientists have found a single hormone which they believe is responsible for turning cherubic children into foul-tempered teens.

It is thought all the door-slamming, loud-music-loving and unintelligible mutterings can all be traced back to the little hormone Neurokinin B.

While it has been known for some time that Neurokinin B was present in teens the boffins had never before appreciated how crucial its role is in sparking puberty.

The researchers from the University of Cambridge believe their finding could lead to new treatments for sex hormone dependent diseases like prostate cancer and new approaches to contraception.

Unfortunately for parents everywhere the research will not lead to the development of a drug to prevent your teen from becoming like Harry Enfield's Kevin the teenager.


Lightsaber sells at auction for £133,000

The original Lightsaber used by Luke Skywalker in Star Wars has been sold at auction for £133,000. 

Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz, put the item up for sale at the Hollywood auction house Profiles in History.

Wielded by Mark Hamill in Star Wars: a New Hope, the famous movie prop was the highlight of a recent Hollywood auction of over 500 items.

The winning bidder opted to remain anonymous, but will soon be known to his friends when he begs them to recreate famous scenes with him.

A science magazine has accidentally run an advert for a Chinese brothel on its front cover.

The otherwise respected MaxPlanck journal wanted to grab peoples attention by featuring a Chinese poem on the cover of their special issue, focusing on China.

Well they got it half right, they certainly made an impact, especially to Chinese readers ... the cover read "Hot Housewives in action!"

Red-faced German magazine bosses admitted the blunder and said they had bought the  picture of Chinese characters in good faith from a photo agency.

... they also noted that they had never sold so many copies of the magazine.

Gillette tops list of 10 worst TV ads

A TV advert featuring some of the world's most famous sportsmen has been named the worst commercial of 2008.

For advertising experts, who branded it cheesy and lacking any creative charm, it was a case of 'Gillette, the worst an ad can get'

The razor company must have spent millions securing Roger Federer, Tiger Woods and Thierry Henry, but industry mag Campaign said it was the top turkey of the year.

The number two worst ad was a Specsavers which subtitled Edith Piaf singing of Je Ne Regrette Rien with lyrics plugging the store.

Dark chocolate can help you lose weight

Scientists have got an early Christmas present for chocoholics, the news that eating dark chocolate can help you lose weight 

Research has found that dark chocolate is far more filling than milk chocolate, lessening your craving for sweet, salty and fatty foods.

The boffins from the University of Copenhagen say this means eating dark chocolate may be an efficient way to keep your weight down over Christmas. 

I don't know about you but I suddenly have a new found respect and liking for academics from Copenhagen.

They got volunteers - there are always plenty when the test includes eating chocolate - to fast for 12 hours before eating 100g of either dark or milk choc.

RSPCA officers tried to rescue plastic owl

Firemen and RSPCA officers were left feeling like right Twit-twoo's after spending hours trying to rescue a toy owl from a telegraph pole.

A passer-by - concerned the owl had not moved in days - contacted the animal charity who, armed with a net to catch the bird, tried to coax it down.

After a couple of hours of shouting to the fake plastic owl the doppy rescue worker called in a team from Essex Fire Service.

Officers climbed the 30 ft pole in a bid to get the animal to move but as they got near local residents told them it was made of plastic.

Luckily the RSPCA and the fire service could see the funny side and had aright 'hoot'.

David Beckham Porsche for sale on eBay

A Porsche 911 once owned by David Beckham is being auctioned off on eBay.

The Carerra S Triptronic is the first Porsche Beckham is thought to have owned and was bought in 1997 when he started dating Posh Spice.

He has since gone on to own a string of the German motors and regularly updates his 911, seemingly whenever his wife changes her outfit.

The seller says Becks ordered the car to his desired spec adding full leather sports and climate control, though Beckham probably thought he later was being able to wind down the window.

Found: 130,000 inflatable breasts

A shipment of 130,000 inflatable breasts which were feared lost at sea, have been found.

The fake boobs had been ordered by an Australian lads magazine for a giveaway with their next issue, but they disappeared en route from Beijing, China, to Sydney.

It was feared that it could have been a case of of man mammary overboard and Aussie beachcombers were told to keep an eye out for them.

But now it has been revealed a paperwork mix-up was behind the loss, and that the boobs had been put on the wrong boat. 

The inflatable breasts are now waiting at docks in Melbourne for someone to pick them up.

Palm pistol: A gun for the elderly

Arms manufacturers have developed a gun which is specially designed for use by disabled people and OAPs.

The Palm Pistol is a single-shot 9mm weapon which is grasped in the palm and fired by pressing a button with your thumb.

Makers claim the potentially killer weapon is: "Ideal for seniors, disabled or others who may have limited strength or manual dexterity."

They even tried to make the gun available in the US on a doctors prescription, but this week the FDA shot that idea dead, saying it is in no way a medical device.

When my gran reaches into her handbag she is likely to confuse her athsma inhaler for her glasses case ... I for one am quite glad she does not have a gun in there.

Explaining the science of Santa

Boffins say cutting-edge scientific developments have finally allowed them to understand how Santa can deliver presents to millions of homes in just one night.

A professor in aerospace engineering claims he can now explain the principles that allow the jolly man to pull off the magical feat year after year.

Dr Larry Silverberg of North Carolina State University says Santa must use his advanced knowledge of electromagnetic waves and the space/time continuum to create what he calls "relativity clouds."

These, the boffin explains are rips in time allowing Santa months to deliver presents while only a few minutes pass on Earth.

Dr Silverberg, who could have had one too many glasses of sherry, can also explain flying reindeer and how he can carry millions of presents at one time.

IT workers get the best parties

Computer geeks will get the best Christmas parties this year, a survey has found.

Unlike many workers their boss will even pay for them with more than half getting treated to a free meal while a third will get a free bar for the entire night.

A poll of over 3,000 workers found the IT crowd are also likely to get live entertainment at their do and that 11 percent say it is the best night of their year.

Recruitment consultants came second in the poll for the best Christmas parties followed by those who work in research, advertising and accountancy.

But poor truckers, after being branded prostitute murderers by Jeremy Clarkson, they aren't even looking forward to their christmas party, 29 per cent claim their festive bash will be absolutely rubbish.

Butch Cassidy had a Geordie secret

He was one of the most infamous characters from the Wild West, but it looks like Butch Cassidy came from the North East.

The notorious outlaw's mother was born in Newcastle and lived there for years before moving to the US, it has been revealed. 

Cassidy was the leader of the Hole in the Wall gang and was immortalized  by Paul Newman who played him in the movie 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.'

But family researchers have now discovered his mom Ann Sinclair Gillies, was born in Newcastle in 1849 and lived there with her family before heading for New York in 1856.

Unfortunately for Newcastle football fans they will not be able to claim Butch as a famous fan, the club was not founded until 1892.

Lapland's largest ever ice hotel opens

A hotel crafted out of 1,000 truck loads of snow has opened in Lapland.

Each year the frozen water and snow hotel is created in late november, but this year it is the largest ever and even features a restaurant, bar and guest lobby.

15 ice sculptors have spent the last three week constructing the 20 double igloo rooms and six special suites which cost £280 per night.

Guests are advised to take their own warm clothes but are supplied with sleeping bags, fleeces They are also given instructions on how to survive a night in the hotel ... I have stayed in a few places which could have done with that.

Smaller spiders make better lovers

Size matters when it comes to spider sex, but not in the way you think.

Researchers have found that diminutive spiders make ten times better lovers than their larger counterparts.

Experts found that while big males outperform smaller ones in head-to-head mating contests it is the little guys who get more action because they're quicker to mature and faster on their feet.

A study of redback spiders showed smaller ones had a ten-times higher paternity rate than larger males - because they can get to females faster.

However before any itsy-bitsy-spiders start celebrating their newfound stud status they should remember males are usually killed during the mating process.

A school where pupils performed a 'Chav' nativity play has been slammed by angry parents.

The play tells how the three wise men - from the East End - came bearing gifts of Gold, Adidas and Burberry. 

Another scene performed by pupils at Oakwood School in Kent, shows Mary and Joseph breaking into a garage because there was no room at the inn.

But unamused parents say the play is "disgraceful" and that the school should not be condoning it.

The local council claim that the script was the product of a drama class and the 'official' school nativity will be a traditional.

More than half of UK iPod users listen to music at volumes which could cause permanent hearing loss, warn experts.

Boffins performed spot checks on people listening to MP3 players in eight cities finding that 54 percent were risking their hearing.

Two thirds were listening to music or podcasts at levels louder than 85 decibels - which the World Health Organisation warn can cause permanent damage.

A spokesperson for the Royal National Institute for Deaf People which conducted the research said: "People around the country are listening to their MP3 players at unbelievably high levels."

As someone who has heard this warning about my Walkman, CD player, Minidisc (yes I was the one person with one) and now my iPod all I can say is "What, can you speak up?"

Woman with no arms becomes pilot

A woman born with no arms has become the first person to qualify as a pilot ... by using her feet.

Jessica Cox has never been one to let her lack of limbs get in her way and 
can type 20-words-per-minute, put her contact lenses in, and even drive using her feet.

As the 25-year-old also holds a black belt in Taekwondo when she said she wanted to learn to fly, no one was going to tell her she couldn't

After overcoming a fear of flying Jessica took a series of lessons in a rudderless light Ercoupe aircraft and built up 89 flight hours and passed the test.

Dog rescues dog from busy motorway

A mystery dog dodged speeding traffic to drag the body of another animal from a busy Santiago motorway.

After Chilean road crews removed the dogs from the road the 'rescue' dog ran away and has not been seen since.

But it has become a hero after CCTV footage of the incident was shown on TV and uploaded to YouTube and watched by over 100,000 people.

There are even some calls for broadcasters to produce a Chilean remake of the 70s show The Littlest Hobo.

Bald men spend life savings to grow hair

Hair loss sufferers would shell out up to £20,000 on medications in a bid to re-grow their own hair.

A survey of baldies found they would often give up their life savings, weekends and even having sex if they could grow a full head of hair.

15 per cent said they have already followed in the footsteps of Strictly Come Dancing's Austin Healey by spending £5,000 to £10,000. Five percent admitted having spent £20,000 on treatments.

47 percent said they would happily spend their life savings if they could be guaranteed regaining a full head of hair, and 39 per cent of people said they'd be willing to give up sex.

Maybe it is a sign of the way a follically-challenged brain works but we can't imagine how the choice of 'hair or sex' would ever materialize in the real world.

VIDEO: Shark rips through divers cage

A pair of scuba divers had a lucky escape when a 15ft great white shark ripped through their protective metal cage.

The men were watching the shark feed on tuna when the beast headed towards their cage and got lodged in.

The shark got trapped at the pectoral fins and because white sharks have no reverse it started thrashing about trying to free itself, before breaking through the cage wall.

Luckily the divers escaped and got out of the water in the time it took the shark to break free ... but not before recording some classic YouTube fodder.

Woman loses hearing in sloppy kiss

A woman has lost her hearing after a passionate pucker from her boyfriend ruptured her eardrum.

The Chinese woman in her 20s completely lost the hearing in her left ear after what has been dubbed the "kiss of deaf."

Doctors in the Guangdong province of China say the kiss reduced the pressure in the mouth, and pulled the eardrum out of place.

It is thought it will take about two months for her hearing to recover ... and that the "Chinese kiss' is not likely to rival a 'French kiss' anytime soon.

Her boyfriend is also considering visiting the hospital to ask how long the taste of earwax will last.

Intelligent men have better sperm

Men who are more intelligent tend to produce better quality sperm, research suggests.

Those with a big IQ were found to produce more sperm than your average knuckle dragger and their little guys were also said to be more mobile.

Experts say that the findings suggest the genes underlying intelligence may also have other biological effects.

The researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry made their discovery after  looking at the intelligence test results of Vietnam war era soldiers and comparing it with 'other data.'

Lead researcher Dr Rosalind Arden said: "We took two characteristics that seemed unlikely to be associated with each other – intelligence and sperm quality. 

Camels are set to be the must-give Christmas present this year.

Okay so they won't be challenging the Star Wars clone trooper voice-changing helmet for the must-have top slot but if you are about charity, camels are where it is at. 

A list of the top 10 charity gifts has been complied by the independent charities watchdog Intelligent Giving after looking at the offerings from 200 organizations.

According to the top 10, £8 will get you 100 snails for a Liberian family; just £5 will give a dog a cuddle; £20-£75 will help destroy guns and £95 will get you a camel. Although they’re hard to wrap, the hump's a dead giveaway.
If none of those tickle your charitable fancy, how about paying for a Rwandan farmer to receive some Bull Semen. Nice. "What's that coming down the chimney mummy?" "I don't know, but I'm pretty sure it's a not Santa."

Scalextric collection sells for £99,000

A Scalextric collection has sold at auction for £99,000 - twice what it was expected to raise.

But before you get excited that the old Scalextric in your attic could be worth a fortune ... this seller had over 1,000 cars and two-and-a-half miles of track.

His collection - the world's largest - was slowly amassed over the last 50 years with the owner buying his first car and track in 1957, the year the brand was released.

Highlights included a sought after Bugatti which sold for thousands.

Scientists discover 8,000 year old string

Maybe they misheard the question, but archaeologists say a piece of string is 8,000 years old.

They found the antique string - the oldest ever found in Britain - hidden amongst a flooded Stonge Age settlement just off the coast of the Isle of Wight.

It's four and a half inches long and experts say it is made from stems of honeysuckle, nettles or wild clematis twisted together.

The editor of the British Archaeology magazine, Mike Pitts described it as a "fantastic find" adding: "I don't think the average person realises what an important piece of technology string has been over the ages."

It's unknown how much such a relic would fetch at auction. Experts say it's quite valuable in a historical sense but fear it would be like paying money for old rope.

Drug dealing game launched on iPhone

A controversial game has been launched for the Apple iPhone where players deal drugs from real-world locations.

Using the GPS in their mobile phones to track their movements, gamers connect with each other trying to buy drugs including cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy at low prices.

They then move around cities such as London, Manchester and Birmingham trying to sell them on for a profit, making trades with real people online.

Makers say of the game Underworld (initially called DrugLords) : "You become a drug dealer in the criminal underworld, which exists parallel to your everyday life."

The game is expected to be available from the Apple iTunes store just in time to outrage anti-drugs charities for Christmas.

Randy rhino in zoo escape

A sex-crazed three-tonne rhino escaped its Australian zoo enclosure in a bid to find a sexual partner. 

Horny Satara managed to break free from his wood and steel enclosure at Monarto Zoo, Adelaide as he tried to get to a nearby pair of female rhinos.

But unable to reach the target of his affections he roamed around the open range zoo for over four hours.

Zoo staff used a helicopter to locate the 18-year-old white rhinoceros before shooting him three times with tranquiliser dart and led him to a new, more secure, enclosure.

Despite the trashed enclosure the escape is good news for keepers, Satara is part of a breeding program for endangered rhinos who are normally notoriously difficult to mate.

At his age most boys demonstrate their affections for a girl by punching her in the arm and running away, but Alec Greven has already written a book on dating.

The little lothario initially penned his romance manual 'How to Talk to Girls' as part of a creative writing lesson at primary school in Castle Rock, Colorado.

But other budding Casanovas in his class were so keen to pick up tips (such as '78% of regular girls ditch boys, 98% of pretty girls ditch boys) he sold the handwritten pamphlet for $5.

Since then - despite being younger than many of my failed relationships - he has become a published author and hardback version of his 46-page book has become a surprise hit on

His tips in the £5.99 book include 'Comb your hair and don't wear sweats,' 'Control your hyperness (cut down on the sugar if you have to)' and 'Don't act desperate.'

Crossdressing jewel thieves steal £70m

A gang of crossdressers have made off with jewels worth £70m after raiding a Paris jewellery store.

The armed robbers dressed in drag and wigs forced staff at the posh Harry Winston store near the Champs-Elysees to hand over rings, necklaces and watches.

Police in France say the men seemed well (dressed) informed and even knew the names of some of the shop's staff.

They overturned display cases and emptied the shop of most its stock after entering on Thursday evening. About 25 staff and shoppers were in the store when it was raided and some are believed to have been injured.
It is thought the men may have been dressed as women in a bid to hide their identity ... or they may have carried out the raid in a bid to complete their outfits.

Cheryl Cole becomes Angel of the North

An artist has created an image of what Antony Gormley's Angel of the North would have looked like had it been based on Cheryl Cole.

Why the 20m tall sculpture would have been based on the Girls Aloud singer and Geordie WAG somehow turned national icon we are not quite sure.

But Lee Jones says he created the image after seeing the X Factor judge and her emotional reaction to performers 'realizing' she is the living embodiment of the 'Angel of the North'.

While his version is more slender and shows Cheryl's Angel wiping away a tear with a tissue it also features the curve of the singers reputed 28F boobs ... and would undoubtedly have given motorist something to look at.

Pop songs replace lullabies at bedtime

More parents now sing pop songs to their babies to calm them at bedtime than sing traditional lullabies.

Two-thirds of mothers say they have ditched the traditional bedtime songs like Rock-A-Bye, Baby and Hush, Little Baby for something a little more modern.

Tunes from Take That, Robbie Williams and even Guns N' Roses were among the most popular in a poll of 2,000 mothers.

Some said they sing tracks by James Blunt to their new-borns ... surely social services should be investigating this blatant form of child abuse.

A spokesperson for The Baby Website, who commissioned the poll, said: "We were really surprised to find that mums would rather sing modern pop tunes than traditional lullabies.

Single sneeze can infect 150 people

A wayward and un-smothered sneeze in the wrong place can give 150 people a cold in just FIVE minutes, research has found.

Boffins warn that crowded commuter locations such as trains, buses and underground stations are the worst places for catching a cold.

Analysis found that the average sneeze shoots 100,000 germ-infected droplets into the air at 90mph - each one is capable of passing on a cold.

If they land on seats, rails or other frequently touched items each sneeze could infect 150 fellow commuters warns cold and flu expert Dr Roger Henderson ... and that is if you are not directly sneezed on.

If anyone needs me, I will be the one cowering in the corner of London Victoria station waiting for my train with a gas mask on.

Photos of teddy bears in space

It was one small step for bears, but a giant leap for teddy-kind when four teddies were blasted to the edge of space.

The furry toys were launched 30,000-metres into the sky as part of a project by the University of Cambridge and a local school.

A helium balloon was used to get the bears up up and away flying to Near Space or the Edge of Space as it is known.

The bears endured temperatures of minus 53 degrees on the three hour flight from Cambridge and all were returned safely to Earth.

Lost at sea: 130,000 inflatable breasts

130,000 pairs of inflatable breasts have been lost at sea somewhere between Beijing and Sydney.

The boobs, valued at £150,000, were due to be given away by a Australian mens magazine but the container, well, containing them, is nowhere to be found.

Some fear it could be a case of man mammary overboard as the ship carrying it left docks in Beijing two weeks ago and should have arrived in Sydney this week.

This will come as bad news for the obviously highly discerning readership of Ralph magazine.

A spokesperson for the magazine has asked for beachcombers to keep an eye out for the inflatable breasts and get in touch if they spot them.

Mice take over Italian cheese factory

Food inspectors in northern Italy have closed a cheese factory after discovering mice were treating it as the ultimate all you can eat buffet.

The ravenous rodents ruined 80 tonnes of top quality Parmesan valued at 800,000 euros, that's nearly £700,000.

2010 Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses were taken from the factory after inspectors discovered a number of dead mice who it seems had literally eaten themselves to death.

Imagine the sweats and hallucinations they'd have had!

Officials are looking in to the case at the moment although it seems there's a lot of holes in it.

Wakeboarder makes most of flooded Venice

An extreme sports fan has used the flooding in Venice to complete his life's ambition to wake-board across St Mark's square.

Duncan Zuur says he has always wanted to cross the famous Italian piazza on a wakeboard ... the problem being it is not normally covered in water.

But as Venice suffers its worst flooding in a generation and St Mark's is submerged under a meter of water the delighted Dutchman finally got his chance.

Yesterday Duncan attached a cable to a winch at one end of the square and his wake-board at the other, he then retracted the cable and sped across St Mark's, much to the confusion of onlookers.

Binman can keep £10k jigsaw puzzle

A binman who found a bag full of £10 and £20 notes which had been cut up into pieces but worth £10,000 has been told he can keep the cash.

Now he just needs to complete the £10k jigsaws before he can start spending.

He found the money in bins in City Square, Lincoln and handed it in to poling who conducted a six month investigation but where unable to find the owner.

Because there was no evidence of criminal activity the cash was returned to the binman, now for every note he is able to complete and take to a bank he will get a new one.

I'm guessing he won't have any problems trying to get the family to do a jigsaw this Christmas.

Who is the Stig? is a top web question

The question 'Who is the Stig?' has baffled Top Gear viewers for years, now it has become one of the most searched for answers on the internet.

Web bosses say the question is one of the 10 most popular typed into search engines in 2008, along with ponderances such as 'Why is the sky blue?' or 'Am I pregnant?'

But while claim to be able to answer most of the top 10 questions, the mystery of the faceless racing driver looks set to continue.

Results refer people to sites which suggest the tame racing driver could be Perry McCarthy, Ben Collins or F1 legend Damon Hill.

Some say he was manufactured by Ferrari and that Jeremy Clarkson is his love-child, all we know is ... Wikipedia can't tell us who The Stig really is.

A doctor has performed a life saving amputation on a boy after receiving instructions of how to do it on a text message.

Surgeon David Nott was volunteering in DR Congo when he came across a 16-year-old boy whose left arm had been ripped off and was badly infected.

Without an amputation the boy would die, but as the doc had never performed the operation he decided to take the 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' option and phone a friend.

Dr Nott sent a SMS text message to a colleague who had performed the operation and asked him to reply with instructions of how to do it.

And to think, the only thing I ever ask via SMS is for my wife to bring fresh milk home with her.

Credit-crunch Christmas cards

A range of Christmas cards which wish people a "Great Depression and a "Happy New Year" have become a surprise Xmas bestseller.

The cards use vintage photos from the 1930s along with funny slogans which should even make the most cash-strapped former MFI worker smile.

One of the cards shows a woman putting potatoes into a bowl as a young boy watches saying: "Potatoes again? But it's Christmas dinner, Ma! Can't we at least do something special?"

Others poke fun at the level of unemployment, houses being repossessed and even people selling body parts to make ends meet.

The cards were created by graphic artist Andrew Shaffer who set up the company 'Order of St. Nick' to sell his designs.

Casino to lose big with gambling gaffe

A casino stands to make a big loss after accidentally sending thousands of punters $500 vouchers for their slot machines.

The Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course intended to send the vouchers - along with passes to their buffet - to their top 1,000 gamblers.

But a marketing mishap saw the offer sent to over 55,000 people, 

The offer said everyone was able to claim $100 in slots credits per week from Dec 1 through Jan 4, plus two free visits to the buffet.

It meant that the casino had the odds stacked (for a change) against it and that if everyone claimed the cash they would lose $29million (£20m).

UK to get Star Wars hologram TV by 2018

3D TV sets which beam out images into the centre of your living-room could be sold in the UK within ten years, say experts.

Shows would be recorded with laser technology allowing the cast of Eastenders to soon be 'stood' in front of you warn claim the academics from Aberdeen University.

They say manufacturers are already working on the devices which will probably take the form of a small table with an imaging hovering above it, or a wall mounted television with an image coming out of it.

Either way your brand new 52inch high definition LCD television is going to look pretty antiquated fairly soon.

Scientists find benefits of imperfect body

Fat women are better able to cope with stress than their skinny Kate Moss-like counterparts, say scientists.

Boffins have found that for women, having an imperfect body may come with some substantial benefits, in terms of being physically stronger, more competitive and better able to deal with stress.

The researchers from the University of Utah found that the hormones responsible for these positive attributes also redistributes fat from the hips to the waist.

At least this means bigger women can cope with constantly seeing slim women in magazines and adverts ... if skinny models were out of favour would they be able to handle the pressure?

Anthropologist Elizabeth Cashdan says "The hormonal profile associated with high waist-to-hip ratio … may favor success in resource competition, particularly under stressful circumstances.

Bling Dong Merrily on High: £1m Xmas tree

If you have got £1million to splash out on this gold Christmas tree the presents you are putting under it had better be pretty special too.

The sparkling 24k gold tree has been created a by a Japanese jewellery maker Ginza Tanaka and is the world's most expensive Christmas tree ever made.

Befitting the bling branches the decorations include strings of pearls and diamond baubles, there is even a solid gold star on top in case the tree was not sparkling enough itself.

Sorry if this makes you feel bad about the threadbare tree you have got in the corner of your living-room wrapped in a tatty bit of purple tinsel.

At least you can comfort yourself with the knowledge that anyone willing to  fork out that much for a tree is going to be a bit of a twat.

Nurses virtually improve bedside manner

Nurses are being trained on Second Life in a bid to improve their bedside manner.

A virtual hospital ward has been set up in the online world where student nurses can practice on AI patients before they get their hands on the real thing.

The students are monitored by tutors and their responses are tracked to help them improve their decision-making.

It is not known if the virtual hospital ward includes a nurses station where they can stand round and gossip or check Facebook, at least they don't have to worry about MRSA, just computer viruses.

A spokesperson for Glasgow Caledonian University said: "The laboratory area has been created in second life. A number of Avatars have been designed to resemble typical patients.

Mountain bikers made ill by sheep poo

Hundreds of mountain bikers were struck down by sickness after racing on a Welsh dirt track covered with sheep droppings.

Health investigators were called in to find out why so many of the racers in the Builth Wells Mountain Biking Marathon in Powys were taken ill in July this year.

Some had tested positive for bacterium campylobacter – normally caused by uncooked meat - but the real reason for the illnesses was a whole lot more unpleasant. 

Experts now believe the diarrhoea and vomiting experienced by at least 160 of the 600 racers was caused by them riding through, splashing in and generally covering themselves in sheep faeces which was on the course.

The cyclists will now reconsider their shouting of the phrase "Eat dirt" as they pass each other.

With over 1,000 cars and two-and-a-half miles of track the world's largest Scalextric collection is set to sell at auction.

The collection - which is enough to cause most men to regress to their 9-year-old state - is expected to sell for around £50,000 when it goes under the hammer this weekend.

It has been slowly amassed over the last 50 years with the owner buying his first car and track in 1957, the year the brand was released.

Highlights of the set include a sought after Bugatti which is expected to attract bids of up to £3,000.
The seller has asked to remain anonymous, it is not known if this is to prevent embarrassment with friends, or so they don't start popping round for a quick game before the sale.

A PhD student has won an award for her research into Vitamin D ... after turning it into a dance routine.

The Australian student created the five minute piece by interpreting movements represented in her work 'Vitamin D in Beta Cell Function.' 

She says the dance explains her work in a simple but entertaining way, and has the benefit of making her colleagues look daft.

Sue Lynn Lau from the University of Sydney entered the PhD to Dance competition after seeing an advert in a copy of Science magazine.

Sex helps Brits beat the credit crunch

Cash strapped Brits are turning to sex as a budget way of entertaining themselves during the credit crunch.

A YouGov survey has found that we are switching romantic evenings out, gym memberships and spa treatments for evenings in and a bit of a romp.

In fact getting passionate with a partner was the most popular recession activity for the 2,000 surveyed, ahead of gossiping with friends, going to a museum or window shopping.

Just to think, men have spent all this time trying to get into womens knickers and all they really needed was a global economic meltdown.

Lisa Power, of the Terrence Higgins Trust who commissioned the research said: "During the credit crunch our famed British upper lip might not be as stiff as before but other parts still are. 

London is hardest city to navigate

People get lost more in London than any other city in the world, a study has found.

12,500 travelers were quizzed about their sense of direction and how easily they found their way around foreign cities.

It was discovered that more people get lost in London than anywhere else in the world, including much bigger cities like Bangkok and Beijing.

A whopping ten percent of people said they find it impossible to navigate around London making it harder than Paris, nine percent, and Bangkok, five percent.

In fact, many of those quizzed by Nokia in London asked researchers the way to the airport so they could get out.

When The Beatles wrote 'I Am the Walrus' they probably never considered getting one of the huge marine mammals to play an instrument on it.

But that was because they had never seen Sara the Walrus who delights in entertaining audiences with her saxophone skills at a Dolphinarium in Turkey.

Grabbing the brass instrument in her flippers she 'plays' it jazz-style twisting from side to side during performances.

The walrus/saxaphone fun starts 38 seconds in to the clip.

Computer mouse is 40 years old today

The chances are your hand is on one right now, if so look down and wish your mouse a Happy Birthday.

While the odd device above looks like it would be more at home in a tool shop, this is actually the world's first mouse which was unveiled to the world 40 years ago today.

It was made of wood and featured a single red button on the top with a wheel tracking movement, the cable which hang from the back gained it the name 'mouse' from researchers.

Feeling clean affects moral judgment

If you have a difficult moral decision to make, you probably shouldn't mull it over in the bath or shower.

Research has found that people who have recently washed are less harsh when making moral judgements.

They say feeling clean significantly reduces the severity of moral judgments, showing that intuition can influence our perception of what is right and wrong. 

The boffins believe such is the impact that jurors who have washed their hands may make their verdict less severe and voters may be more likely to excuse a politician's misdemeanor if they have recently showered.

As a result UK politicians are considering bringing in new regulations to ensure everyone showers at least four times per day.

Explosion at The Office trading estate

An explosion has rocked the business park used as the location in the hit Ricky Gervais comedy The Office.

Fire services are currently tacking a blaze on Slough Trading Estate after what is believed to be a chemical explosion occurred at around 10am this morning.

Thames Valley Police say there are not believed to be any casualties and crews from Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service are still firefighting.

They added that the cause of the fire would be investigated but it is not believed to be suspicious.

The opening sequence to The Office was filmed on Slough Trading Estate, Berkshire and Gervais' team from paper merchants Wernham Hogg are based there. 

Town wants world's largest lava lamp

A US town plans to build the world's largest working lava lamp in a bid to attract tourists.

Soap Lake in Washington hopes that by installing the groovy 60ft high attraction sight-seeers will flock there rather than go to Paris for the Eiffel Tower or Seattle to see the Space Needle.

The town - population 17,000 - should at least gain a monopoly on time traveling giants from the 1960s.

"People will come to see this from all over the world, just as they do when visiting other structures of awe," says Brent Blake and John Glassco of Soap Lake, the team behind the concept. 

French men need biggest condoms in Europe

French men often claim they are the best lovers in Europe, now research suggests they are the biggest too.

A survey of European penis size found that it is French men who need the biggest condoms ... news they responded to with that familiar gallic shrug and air of superiority.

French men were found to have an average penis length of 15.48 cm while the Greeks were the smallest in the survey of 25 countries with a more modest member measuring 12.4 cm.

But some (everyone outside of France) say the research by the Institute of Condom Consultancy was flawed because it relied on measurements the 10,500 men provided themselves. 

... and remember diminutive garlic-muncher Napoleon always claimed to be taller than he actually was.

Blueberries can help fight memory loss

Eating blueberries can help reverse memory loss, scientists remember finding.

The boffins from the University of Reading found in tests that adding blueberries to peoples diet consistently improved their memory.

They say flavonoid rich foods trigger the part of the brain which is responsible for memory and learning - meaning diets rich in fresh fruits may increase your memory capacity.

Dr Jeremy Spencer, from the department of food biosciences says the research could even help in the  treatment of diseases like Alzheimer's.

If your memory is already so bad you can't remember to buy blueberries when you go to the supermarket the chances are you won't remember reading this anyway.

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