May 2009 Archives

200x190.jpgA coffee-mad computer programmer is on a caffeine-fueled quest to visit every Starbucks store in the world.

37-year-old Winter from Houston in the US has already visited over 9,000 stores where his coffee purchases have cost him a massive £60,000 (isn't that just two frappachinos and a slice of cheesecake).

This week Winter arrived in the UK to do coffee-drinking battle with our 400 Starbucks stores and has also visited Japan, Spain and Hong Kong in his quest.

He estimates thats he has only 3,000 stores left to visit in the world, of course that is until Starbucks opens more ... last year when we covered his story he only had 700 left to see.

200x190.jpgStinking Bishop cheese - as favored by Wallace of Wallace and Gromit fame -  has won Britain's Smelliest Cheese Championships.

The stinky cheese, which some claim smells like a rugby club changing room, was picked as the smelliest by judges at The Royal Bath and West Show.

Judges on the Shepton Mallet, Somerset panel said that while all of the competing cheeses had a strong odor the Stinking Bishop was by far the strongest.

Driftwood by Whitelake Cheeses came second with St. Oswald by Gorsehill Abbey taking third stop  at the contest

Makers of Stinking Bishop say they hope clinching the title will encourage more people to try it ... I'm not sure promising it will make your dinner party smell like a rugby club changing room is the best way to do that.

200x190.jpgMore than 500 blonde women will take to the streets of Latvia this weekend in a bid to take peoples minds off the economic gloom.

Organizers hope that seeing the blonde women parade through the city will make them forget rising unemployment levels and dire economic situation in the Baltic state.

The 'fair-haired lovelies' will then take part in a concert, fashion show and oddly a blonde golf contest.

A spokeswoman for Go Blonde (bet you can guess her hair colour) said Latvia is suffering one of the most severe recessions in the European Union and they hope this could give people some positive emotions.

The blonde parade on Sunday will be held under the motto "make the world a brighter place" - you have got to admire their logic.

200x190.jpgWords can evoke thoughts of different colours, sizes, shapes and even tastes scientists have claimed.

Researchers say that on hearing a word, we all assign it different characteristics producing a jumble of simultaneous sensations.

It had previously been thought that only 1 percent of the population had synaesthesia - a condition which makes people see shapes and colours when reading words.

But boffins from Oxford University now think we are all "synaesthetes" up to a point after tests showed people associate lower-pitched sounds with larger and more rounded shapes.

The researchers think this new finding could lead to a new dining experience which uses words to prompt enhance or even evoke tastes ... but haven't McDonald's already done it, I get a nasty taste in my mouth every time I hear the word BigMac.

200x190.jpgA council mayor has become a surprise YouTube hit after jumping into the audience and crowd-surfing at a rock festival.

Noel Atkins, the 93rd mayor of Worthing, had been asked to attend the Christian rock festival in West Sussex as his first official public engagement after getting the top job.

But it appears the excitement all got a bit too much for him and he dived into the crowd - complete with his mayoral chains and smart suit.

Lets just hope he doesn't expect this sort of treatment at every event he goes to now ... although it certainly would be a cool way to start meetings at Worthing Borough Council.


200x190.jpgThe elite of Britain's Monopoly players (who knew there was such a thing) this week battled it out for the title 2009 UK Monopoly champion.

After a series of grueling games at the May Fair Hotel in London Monopoly-mad John Broomfield scooped the title.

He now gets the chance to represent the UK in the Monopoly world championships which will be held at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas in October.

If he wins the two-day, all-expenses-paid, event he will take home US $20,580 - the total amount of money used in the game.

However, he may want to check in the fine print that the prize isn't paid in the famous faux money before booking his flights.

200x190.jpgCuckoo's - famous for their spring song and surrogate mother finding ways - have become one of the UKs most threatened birds.

Wildlife experts claim numbers of the bird are down 40 percent from levels just 15 years ago and that they even face domestic extinction.

They are now so rare the RSPB have added them to a "red list" of the 52 most vulnerable species which also includes the lapwing, house sparrow and starling.

It is thought the decline is linked to the loss of habitat for other birds - because the cuckoo lays its eggs in other birds nests.

Either that or other birds have got wise to the con ... at least we will always have cuckoo clocks to remember them by.

200x190.jpgEye of the Tiger - the theme from Rocky 3 - has been named as the most motivational song for runners.

A poll over over 5,000 marathon runners found that the 1982 classic was the song which
most listened to as they trained.

The London Marathon athletes claimed listening to it meant they could run for longer without getting demotivated while training for the event.

It is the third year in a row the hit has topped the annual realbuzz.com poll, once again holding Spencer Davis Group's 'Keep on Running' in second place.

However even the most ardent Survivor fan may want something else on their iPod too ... I dread to think how many times the four minute track would play in the time it took me to run 26.2 miles.

200x190.jpgHigh-street store Next has recalled a range of men's underwear after receiving complaints that they featured a picture of Hitler.

The £18 'comic strip' hipster boxers and £13 nightwear trousers were quickly removed from sale after the retailer was contacted by a irate customer.

He had claimed that among the cartoons on his pants was an images of Hitler giving a Nazi salute to a fleet of planes.

While bosses at Next insist the image was inspired by a picture of Russia's Lenin, they have taken 5,200 pairs of the underwear off sale in case anyone else was offended.

200x190.jpgIf you were planning on listening to the Champions League Final as you drove home tonight, experts are warning you to think again.

Researchers claim listening to live football matches on the radio whilst driving is highly dangerous as it affects drivers behaviour and concentration levels.

Tests showed football fans drove faster and closer to other vehicles during vital moments in games such as goals, penalties and fouls.

As a result the experts predict that listening to football has caused millions of road accidents and advice people not to listen to the Manchester United v Barcelona match.

... did we mention they were probably bitter Chelsea fans?

200x190.jpgMillions of butterflies from Africa have started swarming into the UK, wildlife experts have claimed.

The Butterfly Conservation Trust say 'Painted Lady' butterflies are migrating to Europe seeking cooler temperatures.

While this has been happening every summer for years they claim this year it the largest influx of the orange and black butterfly in decades

The group - who have spotted huge swarms in the South East - is now asking members of the public to help them monitor the migration by logging sightings on their website.

According to some experts up to 50 of the exotic migrants are arriving in the UK every minute ... something the Daily Mail got all excited about before they realized it was only butterflies.

200x190.jpgGiant dinosaurs are 'misrepresented' in most museums and held their heads up not out in front of them, research has found.

Boffins claim that Sauropods - which measured up to 30m and weighed as much as 10 elephants - actually stood like giraffes with their heads raised.

This means that most museums and documentaries, including the BBC show 'Walking With Dinosaurs' have got it wrong by showing them with their necks held horizontal and their heads near the ground.

So while we now know sauropods held their head upright ... we also know some dinosaur 'experts' have got theirs hung in shame.

200x190.jpgScientists have discovered some birds are brainy enough to operate basic machines and even make tools to get food.

Researchers from Cambridge University who were testing the intelligence of rooks say they were stunned by the birds abilities, especially as wild rooks don't use tools.

In the experiments, four rooks learnt to use a hook tool to get food out of a tube and even creatively bend a straight piece of wire to make the hook to reach the food.

The birds, named Cook, Fry, Connelly and Monroe, also learnt to drop stones to operate a trap door which gave them access to more tasty treats said aptly named researcher Chris Bird.

Yes, you read that name correctly, which makes a story about rooks using tools a bit pointless ... birds are already studying at Cambridge.

200x190.jpgFor the alcoholic geek this has got to be the ideal job - getting paid to drink wine and then Twitter or blog about it.

A US winery is looking for a suitably web savvy alcoholic wine-lover to become their 'Lifestyle Correspondent' where duties will include tasting hundreds of wines and then writing about it online.

Other responsibilities of the $10,000 per month job are learning about the wine making process and finding good picnic spots for tourists visiting the California winery.

If that wasn't enough for you the bosses at Murphy-Goode Winery are also offering free accommodation in a picturesque house in sunny Healdsburg.

Actually forget you read this, it's not for you, you wouldn't like it there anyway ... I'm off to pen my application.

200x190.jpgThe cover of the latest issue of the New Yorker magazine was created entirely on an Apple iPhone.

Artist Jorge Colombo used 'Brushes' a £2.99 finger painting app to create the image which more than holds its own on the newsstand.

Colombo says he spent about an hour on 42nd Street fingering the screen of his phone to create the commissioned moody city-scape.

He added that unlike when he takes his pens and brushes out, he was able to work uninterrupted by curious passers-by ... though he was more attractive to would-be muggers.

While some people have praised Colombo's cover, others say he has not put in the required effort, claiming he was just phoning it in.

200x190.jpgA maths whizz and music fan says he has produced a mathematical equation which determines what makes the blues, "the blues."

Prof Jason Brown of Dalhousie University claims he has used a series of mathematical principles to analyze the chord progression which is common across many blues songs.

He says this can be used, not only to see what makes blues popular, but also to look at how other rock, jazz or pop songs owe their structure and their universal appeal to this progression.

Research showed the common chord progression works like a roller coaster using the most 'exciting' chords together to build ups and downs in a song.  

The professor has not commented on suggestions that his 'research' was actually just a ploy to get university bosses to let his band play to an assembled audience.

200x190.jpgA Japanese author is having his latest novel printed entirely on rolls of toilet paper.

The book is the latest work from Koji Suzuki - the writer behind 'The Ring' - and tells the story of a ghost which hides in a public toilet.

At just nine short chapters the author says 'The Drop' can be read in a few minutes and is printed several times on each roll of toilet paper, each copy taking up just 90 cm.

Printers Hayashi Paper say the unusual print run was not a comment on the quality of the book but the ideal way of producing a "horror experience in the toilet" ... I've had a few of those.

Hopefully this scary loo roll book won't have you on the edge of your seat, otherwise it could get a bit messy.

200x190.jpgNaughty Brits are turning to kinky sex including bondage to beat the recession blues, a survey has revealed.

A poll of over 2,000 saucy Brits found that a massive 76% had taken part in bondage play in the last 6 months.

The 'researchers' claim it is no coincidence the increase has happened as the recession has kicked in and that couples are spending longer in the bedroom having sex as a 'cheap' activity.

They claim 68% have started using restraints such as handcuffs and that 18% have used a blindfold during their lovemaking

Admittedly the survey was done by a sex toy retailer - so maybe the people they know are slightly kinkier than average - but have your neighbours started screaming about the recession late at night?

200x190.jpgA service which lets you Tweet and update you Facebook status after your death is set to be launched.

'WebWill' allows users to prepare messages on Twitter, Facebook and Myspace which will be automatically updated if they come to an untimely end.

After the system is informed of your mortal demise (from a pre-registered contact) it then updates your services which can include a blog post or spooky email to a list of friends.

The service also allows the web profiles of the recently departed to be handed over to a friend or family member.

At least this means your lasting legacy to the interweb doesn't have to be your Tweet "Going skydiving today, can't wait."

200x190.jpgA British zombie movie has become a surprise hit a the Cannes Film Festival ... especially given it only cost £50 to make.

Colin - which tells a horror story from a zombie's perspective - was shot on a home camcorder by budding Brit director Marc Price.

It starred 'actors' who volunteered through Facebook and the only money Marc shelled out, was for video tapes, tea for the crew - normally a 'low budget' movie costs around £100,000.

But despite it's budget backing Hollywood studios and movie distributers are said to be fighting over the rights to the flick which could be released worldwide.

Studio bosses say they can't understand how the movie could have been made so cheaply ... I guess they underestimate how much the average Facebook user looks like a zombie without needing any special effects.

200x190.jpgDon't expect great service at this London restaurant, in fact don't expect any service at all.

Inamo has done away with waiters who take you order and bring you the bill (28 minutes after you asked for it) and replaced them with interactive tables.

Pan-Asian menus are projected onto the top of dining tables where restaurant-goers select what they want with orders sent digitally straight to the kitchens.

Diners can watch live images of each dish being prepared by chefs with each table having it's own projector mounted overhead.

Users can even ask for the bill, change a virtual tablecloth or play games while they wait for their meal ... and best of all the table doesn't expect a tip.

200x190.jpgYouTube has been flooded with thousands of pornographic videos by a team of internet pranksters.

The videos are understood to have been uploaded by members of 4Chan message boards as a protest about YouTube's policy of silencing copyright music videos.

Many of the vids start off as clips of popular acts, such as Hannah Montana or the Jonas Brothers, before fading to the pornographic content.

Bosses at YouTube, promise warn some of the sexy videos - which they are trying to locate and delete - could remain online for days.

Users of the site said they wished the porn hadn't been hidden in Jonas Brothers videos as they found that a right turn-off.

200x190.jpgFestival goers will be giving it some welly this summer - but only when the battery in their mobile phone dies.

A device is being launched for Glastonbury which uses an air bed foot pump and sheer legwork to charge a mobile phone - promising to help music lovers stay connected on site.

The 'Orange Power Pump' phone charger attaches to a standard foot pump which drives a turbine. This energy is then converted into an electrical current to charge a mobile.

Makers of the device claim you can generate enough energy to make a five minute call in the same time as it would take to inflate a pillow ... luckily for lazier campers 600 more traditional chargers will also be available.


Queen has a gold-plated Nintendo Wii

200x190.jpgAs Queen there is not much HRH Elizabeth II goes wanting for, a point that was proved yesterday when she had a gold-plated Nintendo Wii delivered.

Last year it was revealed that the Q-wii-n had got hooked playing on Prince William's Wii and in particular a ten-pin bowling game.

But now she will not have to wait her turn after being sent the specially commissioned gold finished gaming machine - a lot more fitting for a monarch than white plastic.

The console was sent to Buckingham Palace by games publisher THQ Inc along with a copy of their latest game 'BIG Family Games' which includes golf, tennis, ladder golf and lawn darts.

Her Royal Highness will be able to play against other royals like Prince Philip and Prince Charles or on her own ... once she gets used to calling her character a Mii rather than a One.

200x190.jpgDon't worry, this surfer has not just been attacked by Jaws ... he is wearing a 'Shark Attack' wetsuit.

The wetsuit - created by Dutch designer Diddo Velema - makes it look like the wearer has been savaged by a shark thanks to a unique printing process.

Custom inks are used to add the gory textures which appear like a torn wetsuit, ripped skin and wounds going down to the bone.

Diddo, who has a design studio in Amsterdam, said: "Wetsuits are both functional and protective, but why must they all look the same?"

Okay, being different is one thing, but having a look which will mentally scar children making sandcastles on the beach and leave them scared of the sea seems a bit excessive.

200x190.jpgI would like to tell you this was just like any other day in London where every afternoon we all take to the roofs to enjoy a pot of tea.

But it was actually a publicity stunt held yesterday to promote London to tourists and highlight some of the city's most iconic buildings.

'High Tea Day' - a one-day celebration of tea drinking - saw people enjoying a cup of tea on top of The Roundhouse, Monument, IPC Building, Kensington Palace and Westminster Abbey.

Less committed or acrophobic tea drinkers sipped their brews 'in' rather than 'on' hotels or even at their office desks.

200x190.jpgA giant tortoise with a damaged shell has been fitted with a 'toupee' by vets so it does not feel self conscious.

It is thought 23-year-old Timmy - who weighs 154 kilos - had his shell broken by another tortoise at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park in Devon.

After cleaning up the hole in the shell, which could take 18 months to grow back, vets suggested creating a fibre glass replacement to act as a "crash helmet".

The Zoo's maintenance technician took a cast from a similar size tortoise and then cast the  fibre glass shell, adjusting it for a perfect fit.

He resisted the temptation to add go-faster-stripes or make the faux shell more aerodynamic to add 0.000001 mph to Timmys top speed.

200x190.jpgAn artist has started creating crocheted versions of dangerous items which he has always wanted to play with, and then posing for elaborate photos with them.

Howie Woo has crocheted grenades, sticks of dynamite, UFOs and even ray guns from harmless wool before using his props to create the stunning images.

The 35-year-old from British Columbia, Canada said he came up with the idea last year and learnt Amigurumi - a Japanese style of crocheting or knitting stuffed characters - to help him achieve it.

"I like crocheting items that I've wanted to play with since childhood, like spaceships and ray guns," said Howie starting another of his yarns.


Why geeks are better in bed

200x190.jpgIT workers and other professional geeks are less selfish and more adventurous in bed, a survey has found.

The poll of over 2,000 Brits found that while geeks are great in bed business owners and gym buffs make the worst lovers because they are too selfish.

82% of male IT workers polled said they considered their partner's sexual needs above their own, compared to just 41% of gym and fitness workers.

Office workers and the unemployed came next on the list of most considerate lovers.

The partners of the IT workers agreed they made good lovers claiming that it was not just at work where the know all the right buttons to press.

200x190.jpgA UFO which was recently spotted by hundreds of people over Arizona was in fact a NASA research balloon, say the space agency.
 
Many reported the UFO sighting after seeing the 'balloon-like' craft in the skies on Sunday.

But a spokesperson for NASA today dashed the hopes of the would-be UFO-spotters by telling them the 'balloon-like' craft was just that ... a balloon.

NASA, and the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility claim it was a 4,000-pound balloon sent to measure the gamma ray emissions at high altitude - like the one pictured.

It is said to have taken off on Sunday morning in New Mexico and drifted over Arizona before coming down at 9pm on Monday evening.

200x190.jpgA team of doctors this week used Twitter to update relatives of a patients progress ... while they were operating on him.

As three-year-old John Gilbreath received a kidney from his father at Childrens medical centre in Texas medics used a laptop to detail how the op was going.

Updates said things like "The kidney is making urine. Everyone in the OR is excited!" and "Dr Desai and Dr Mitchell are starting to close John's incision."

While some of the tweets were a little gory they had the desired effect of raising the awareness of living organ donations ... and at least they didn't use TwitPic.


200x190.jpgA surprising number of people are able to recognize the faces of everyone they have ever met, scientists claim.

Psychologists from Harvard University say they have discovered a group of people "super-recognizers" who can easily recognize someone they met in passing, even many years later.

While it was known around two percent of people suffered from 'face blindness' it was not thought the same existed at the other end of the spectrum.

But using standardized computer face recognition tests the boffins were able to prove the existence of super-recognizers.

One woman even told the docs she had been able to recognize a waitress who had served her once over five years ago ... it must have been a really bad cheesecake to stick in the mind that long.

200x190.jpgA necktie which conceals an iPod for you to listen to while you work has gone on sale.

The iTie has a small pocket on the rear which makers say can hold business cards, cash, or an Apple iPod Nano.

Inventor Joe Sale came up with the idea for the iTie while working in sales, he wanted a better tie than everyone else and started building prototypes.

In addition to the iPod pocket he added buttons which keep it in perfect position and had its design protected by a number of patents and trademarks.

Joe says the typical buyers are young affluent professionals, tech savvy who has to wear neckties on a regular basis ... but who don't pay attention in meetings.

Taller people earn more money

200x190.jpgTall people earn more than their shorter counterparts, it has been found.

Researchers say that an additional five centimeters height is worth around £500 per year to the average man.

The team from The Australian National University used data from a selection of men finding the average was 5 feet 10 inches tall.

They then compared height and salary discovering that men who are six feet tall could expect to earn and extra AUS $950 per year.

While this may be the case we don't suggest wearing platform shoes to work and demanding a pay rise just yet.

6mm TV becomes world's thinnest LCD

200x190.jpgThe world's thinnest LCD television was today revealed by LG ... measuring just 5.9mm thick.

Coming in 42 and 47 inch models the TV uses a proprietary LGS (Light Guide Sheet) technology to keep so slender and at just 6.1kg is about 50% lighter than competitors.

Korean manufacturer LG say the new TV makes the previous thinnest - a 7mm JVC model - look fat by comparison.

The even had a model hold a coin next to the TV to prove its thinness ... they do know coins aren't a universal measurement of size don't they?

200x190.jpgScientists have created a device which they claim will tell you if you are 'okay to kiss' - or are in need of a toothbrush.

The boffins say their pocket-size breath test kit checks for malodorous bacteria brewing in your mouth far better than using the palm of your hand.

Tel Aviv University researchers developed the test after discovering a new population of bacteria which is partly responsible for producing bad breath.

Using the test is said show if the bacteria is present in your mouth before the smell occurs, and prevents passing it on to someone you are smooching with.

It is hoped the product will be available within the year and the team is currently working on the form factor ...  well you don't want to look like you are conducting a science experiment before leaning in for a kiss, do you?

200x190.jpgYoko Ono is set to judge an interactive haiku poetry competition on social network Twitter.

The event - which will see the 17-syllable poems appearing on a billboard at London's King's Cross station - started yesterday and runs till Friday.

People travelling into Kings Cross are being asked to submit Haiku-style poems on the subject of the British Summer via Twitter with the phrase @kingsplace.

Entries - one of which will be shown every 20 minutes - will then be judged by Yoko Ono and leading UK poet Jackie Kay MBE who will pick the winner.

In Haiku news I guess I could have said: "Station passengers, haiku Twitters all seen by, one Yoko Ono."

200x190.jpgIf you want to lose weight you should start with a good night's sleep, scientists claim.

Boffins have discovered that people who suffer sleepless nights are more likely to be overweight than their snoozy counterparts.

While 'long sleepers' had a BMI of 24.5 the team from Walter Reed Army Medical Center found that 'short sleepers' had a higher BMI of 28.3.

The researchers say their next step will be to investigate what is driving the weight differences, and why sleep and weight appear to be connected.

But you can be sure they will be having a lie-in before getting started on that one.

200x190.jpgOver 2,500 Minis enthusiasts took to the roads this weekend to celebrate the British motoring icon’s 50th birthday.

After parking bumper to bumper, to take the world record for the most Minis to be parked together, they drove from London to Brighton.

The annual drive - now in its 46th year - sees owners of classic and modern Minis come together to show off their vehicles.

Amazingly, of the 2,500 drivers who took part there are understood to have been a couple who DIDN'T make an Italian Job joke or do a dodgy Michael Caine impression.


VIDEO: Baby elephant born on webcam

200x190.jpgA zoo in Belgium yesterday broadcast the birth of one of its elephants live on the internet.

Antwerp Zoo had installed the webcam in the elephant enclosure ahead of mother Phyo Phyo giving birth to her baby.

Yesterday around 350,000 elephant fans tuned in to watch (some of) the 38 hour labour which resulted in the birth of an as yet unnamed daughter.

Footage showed the newborn baby elephant just seconds after the 8.45am birth being welcomed by aunt Yu Yu Yan, and sister May Tago.

The baby - who weighed in at 100kg - will be named on Tuesday. 

200x190.jpgA single speed camera in London has generated over £1million in speeding fines in just five months, it has been revealed.

The camera - installed to snap motorists as they sped through roadworks on the A316 - was set to catch drivers doing more than 30mph on the road which normally has a 50mph limit.

It caught over 16,000 drivers (that's over 100 each day) who were fined and issued around 50,000 penalty points collectively.

Works at the site in Hanworth, South-West London were said to include improving road signs and markings, putting in more street lighting.

A spokesperson for the organization which installed the camera was unavailable for comment ... but his call waiting music was "Money Money Money" by ABBA.

200x190.jpgThe words meat and lasers probably aren't the first to come to mind when you think of getting new business cards, but one company is planning to change that.

Using meat jerky and a high powered laser they have been able to produce a range of business cards which will certainly get you noticed in a meeting.

The team from Pennsylvania take thin slices of meat jerky and then use a 150 WATT CO2 laser to burn you contact details onto the business card-sized slices.

While the card certainly make an impression the also give recipients a great excuse for not making contact with you after a meeting ... "Sorry I never called you back after our meeting ... my dog ate your card"



200x190.jpgThe rain in spain shows traces of cocaine. The air in Barcelona and Madrid is said to be laced with cocaine and other drugs.

Tests have found the air in the Spanish cities contains more illegal drugs than most European cities - most prominently cocaine.

A study by CSIC, (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas) also found traces of amphetamines, heroin, cannabis and LSD in the air.

But it was the level of cocaine which socked researchers, there was eight times the amount in Rome -  850 picograms per cubic metre of air compared to 100.

However even at this level it would take 1,000 years of breathing it in to be equal to one dose ... sorry if I have just spoilt your holiday plans.

200x190.jpgA tiny but rare blue diamond has been sold at auction for a record breaking 10.5 million Swiss francs, that is £6.2million.

It is smaller than a 1p coin and weighs just 7.03 carats but because of the rarity of blue diamonds it had a massive price tag.
 
The diamond was sold at a Sotheby's auction in Geneva to a unnamed phone bidder who plans to have it mounted on a platinum ring.

While the bidder wanted to retain his anonymity his wife probably won't be so modest and will show the ring off to friends at every opportunity telling them just how much it cost.

Belgian city will go vegetarian

200x190.jpgGhent is set to become the world's first vegetarian city.

Once per week the Belgian city will hold a meatless day during which all civil servants and elected politicians will eat only vegetarian meals.

Schools are also expected to follow with the meat free days which city bosses think will help improve Ghent's environmental footprint.

They claim that because livestock are responsible for nearly one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions the move will make the city greener.

But aren't they forgetting something, livestock are only responsible gas emissions when they are alive, not when they are on a plate with fries.

200x190.jpgA giant reproduction of a page from a Tintin adventure has been unveiled as the world's largest comic strip.

Measuring 672sqm the classic Hergé image has gone on show in Brussels Grand Place as part of a comic festival.

It shows a scene from the book 'The Adventures of Tintin: Destination Moon' is a whopping 30,000 times the normal size of a page.

The image also weighs around 350kg ... as a result no-one has been able to turn the page over and see how it ends.


Smarter women have better sex

200x190.jpgBrainy women get more pleasure from sex and even enjoy more orgasms, scientists have found.

Researchers studied over 2,000 women asking them questions to gauge their emotional intelligence (EI) and quizzing them about the practicalities of their sex lives.

It was discovered that those with a high EI — the ability to manage feelings — were generally the ones who enjoyed themselves most in the bedroom.

Many of those with a low EI said they found it impossible to reach a climax during sex.

The odd news will no doubt be quoted by countless men who are now able to say their poor bedroom performance isn't to blame for the lack of their partners orgasm, but the fact she is a bit dumb.

200x190.jpgGoogle has launched its first ever TV advert, promoting its web browser Google Chrome.

The ads are currently airing in the US where the company hopes to raise awareness of the browser, which is used by less than two percent of web users.

Designed by an in-house creative team at Google Japan the 30-second video is a stop-motion animation of a tray of toys rearranged to resemble a Chrome browser window.

The clip had been intended as a "fun video" rather than a TV advert traditional advert but bosses decided to air it anyway.

Writing on the Google blog Mike Steib, Director of Google TV Ads said: "We designed a Google TV Ads campaign which we hope will raise awareness of our browser.

200x190.jpgDarth Vader telling Luke Skywalker "Luke, I am your father" is a line most movie fans will never forget ... or it would be, if it had ever been said.

The line, from The Empire Strikes Back, was never actually said and is the most misquoted line in movie history.

A poll asked over 1,500 movie fans to name their top movie misquotes with 17 percent voting for the Star Wars blunder.

Real fans will of course know that it was "No, I am your father" delivered by David Prowse in the jaw-drop moment that has been eternally misquoted since its release in 1980.

Number two comes from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs where “Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?” has been turned into the “Mirror, mirror on the wall…” (15 per cent).

200x190.jpgA device which knows the speed limit of any road and automatically slows speeding cars is being tested in London.

The Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) is being developed by Transport for London and uses new digital speed maps of the city.

Using GPS technology is 'knows' the speed limit and display it on a dashboard screen, when a button is pressed the vehicles speed is also limited.

Initially the gadget will be tested in taxis and busses but bosses hope motorist will be able to have the speed limiter installed within a year.

When traveling at the correct speed a smiling green face is displayed, if speeding it turns into an angry red face ... if going ridiculously fast it probably turns into Jeremy Clarkson.

200x190.jpgA daredevil set a world speed record for the fastest jet-pack flight on Friday, then broke it again on Saturday ... before smashing it on Sunday.

Eric Scott from Denver took his hydrogen-peroxide-powered jet pack to a record breaking 43mph on Friday at MotorFair, a motor show in Scotland.

Barely 24 hours later he upped this to 54mph before speeding to a James Bond scaring 68mph at the event on Sunday.

The speeds were verified for Guinness by a traffic cop with a Falcon radar gun. Luckily due to the height above the track he was unable to issue Eric a speeding ticket.

200x190.jpgA massive 1,200 metre long dinner table has been erected in Brussels, prompting one of the world's biggest picnics.

Organisers say the table - which seated around 4,800 people - was put in place over the weekend to celebrate the food and drink of Belgium.

The 'Table for the people of Brussels' ran from the cities Midi train station to the area around the Grand'Place and people were encouraged to bring food with them from home or local food stalls.

A spokesperson said: "The focus was on slow food, simple and tasty things, a spirit of friendship and the pleasure of sharing with others."

But one diner added: "I just wish it hadn't taken 45 minutes to pass the salt back and forth."

Taxi driver cashes in on honesty

200x190.jpgAn honest taxi driver who returned a lost bag containing over £20,000 in cash, is now being given money by strangers.

The Argentine cabbie tracked down an elderly couple who had left the bag in the back of his car, despite knowing what it contained.

But now after the story of his honesty was publicized, a website has been set up in his honor asking people to donate something to him for his extraordinary act of honesty.

The donations came pouring in from well wishing members of the public and currently over £15,000 has been pledged.

One way to view this is as an amazing act of kindness which could restore your faith in humanity ... another is that he is still £5,000 down

The Simpsons stamps launched in US

200x190.jpgPostal bosses in the US have given 'The Simpsons' the stamp of approval, by putting the family on their own stamps.

To mark the popular TV show reaching its 20th series, Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson will each appear on their own 44 cent stamp.

It is the first time a US stamp set has been devoted to a television series while still in production and a whopping ONE BILLION Simpsons stamps will be printed.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service said they hoped the stamps could star youngsters stamp collecting ... well I suppose using them is out of the question, do most youngsters even know you can send bits of paper around the country?

200x190.jpgWhen KFC promised viewers of Oprah Winfrey free chicken, some fans thought it was too good to be true.

And they were right, within hours there were queues outside the stores and KFC began to run out of their newly launched grilled chicken meals.
 
Some restaurants even had to employ extra staff to manage the crowds which formed after the show on Wednesday.

KFC bosses say as a result they are currently unable to honor the freebie vouchers which viewers were able to download from Oprah.com

They are asking coupon holders to provide their details and will then mail new vouchers out in stages, hopefully this will calm what some are calling the Chicken Riots of '09.

200x190.jpgHuge tarantula spiders have invaded a town in the Australian outback, after being forced out of their natural habitat.

The 'bird eating spiders' normally live under mulch and logs keeping out of the way of humans, but experts say recent heavy rain has forced them out of their homes.

As a result scores of the eastern tarantulas have turned up in Bowen, a coastal town northwest of Brisbane, where locals say they have been shocked by their size.

The eastern tarantulas, which live up to 30 years, can have a leg span of 16cm and are so venomous they are able to kill a dog with one bite.

A local pest control officer said he had been inundated with calls and has warned residents to wear shoes when going out ... I think I would be in a full body suit.

200x190.jpgA group of bikini-wearing promotional girls had to used their heads for their latest PR job ... by standing on them.

The odd campaign saw the orange swimwear-clad girls turned upside down in front of London landmarks to plug Tango.

It was organized by the fizzy soft drinks company and 'prankster site' Bragster which had convinced the Tango to print 2.5 million of their cans upside down.

Apparently there were a few blokes posing there too, but I can't say we noticed.

200x190.jpgA cow which broke out of a halal slaughterhouse in New York and spent an hour running around Queens, could now be spared from the chop.

Yesterday "Molly" escaped from the NY slaughterhouse and managed to moo-ch for over a mile up 109th Ave before being caught by Emergency Services.

Even normally unflappable New Yorkers admitted that seeing the 500 pound beast charging around their streets had shocked them and seen some running for cover.

After being 'darted' the black heifer was taken to the city's Animal Care and Control where staff gave her the name.

They are now trying to place the cow with farm sanctuary ... and are milking the extra publicity it has given them.

A stuntman and motorcycle fan has set a new speed record for riding his motorbike on ice.

Craig Jones took a customised nitrous-injected Buell 1125R bike to Lake Dellen in Sweden where he reached a speedy 148.7mph (238km/h).

His tyres were even specially adapted with protruding spikes to increase grip on the perilous surface which was often just inches thick.

I guess you could say he took the phrase "skating on thin ice" to a whole new level.

200x190.jpgCampaigners who claim Marks and Spencer 'tax' women with big breasts are set to confront bosses of the high-street store.

Busts 4 Justice, was set up last year by Beckie Williams because she felt it was unfair that M&S charges £2 extra for bras that are a size DD or bigger.

Now over 10,000 women (and a couple of men) have joined her group and they even bought shares so the can to attend the firms AGM in July.

Beckie says she plans confront chairman Sir Stuart Rose about the issue, which he has refused to do anything about.

Anyone would think Sir Stuart and co were holding out in the hope the large-chested women will stage a protest outside their offices.

200x190.jpgA budget airline is planning on holds mid-flight weddings allowing couples to marry as they fly to their honeymoon.

EasyJet have written to authorities in Luton - where their headquaters are based - asking if pilots could be authorised to officiate weddings in the air.

A spokesperson for the company said they were hopeful of a positive outcome and they wanted to have the ceremonies at 30,000ft.

Lets just hope the bride and groom get onto the plane early enough to get seats next to each other.

200x190.jpg After two days of intense competition the winners of the paper aeroplane world championships have finally been decided.

Over 250 contestants from 83 countries took part in the finals in Salzburg, Austria, each trying to prove they could produce the world's best paper plane.

Using nothing but a standard A4 sheet of paper and arm-power they vied for a selection of titles including 'Longest Airtime' and 'Longest Distance.'

The winners were issued with a certificate ... which they promptly folded into a plane and threw it as far as they could.

200x190.jpgBBC TV host Jonathan Ross is the most influential twitterer in the world, it has been found.

Using a specially developed algorithm to measure influence rather than just followers @Wossy even comes ahead of world leaders and news organisations.

JCPR looked at users of Twitter.com measuring the interest their posts generated amongst their readership and involvement with the Twitter community.

A complicated looking equation was then used to rank them in order of influence, with celebrity blogger Perez Hilton coming in as the second most influential and Stephen Fry a close third.

The mathematician who spent years at university only to find himself doing 'work' like this probably feels a bit of a Twit himself.

200x190.jpgTourists to Sears Tower in Chicago will soon be able to enjoy a view normally reserved for Spiderman.

Glass balconies are being installed near the top of the tallest tower in America, offering dizzyness-inducing views 102-stories straight down.

Bosses for the 442m (1,450ft) tower say there will be three layers of half-inch thick glass and that the balconies will be able to hold about five tons.

The idea for "The Ledges" is said to have come from the hundreds of forehead prints left on windows at the top of the tower which attracts 1.3 million visitors each year.

A spokesperson for Sears Tower said: "Visitors are constantly trying to catch a glimpse below. Now they have a unique and unobstructed view of the city.

200x190.jpgA bungee jumping Brit has won the chance to live on a tropical Australian island for six months ... and even get paid for being there.

Charity worker Ben Southall beat off competition from 35,000 contestants to become caretaker of Hamilton Island which has been dubbed "the best job in the world."

Lucky Ben will now get paid £75,000 to complete his 'duties' which include going scuba-diving to check on marine life and writing a blog about his experiences.

The 34-year-old from Hampshire also gets to live in a three bedroom beach home with its own swimming pool and golf cart to get around on.

The selections process included going snorkelling, attending barbecues and time at a spa ... why can't all job interviews be like that.

200x190.jpgHapless Somali pirates got more than they bargained for when the ship they were trying to hijack turned out to be an anti-pirate navy ship.

It is thought the bungling gang had mistaken the French navy ship - filled with weapons and angry commandos - for a cargo ship, and tried to attack it.

But as they approached the NIVÔSE, 500 nautical miles east of Mombassa, it dawned on the pirates they had made a mistake.

To be honest it was probably the helicopter firing warning shots and the two boats of commandos dispatched to bring them in, that gave it away.

The pirates tried to turn and flee but were soon captured with all 11 surrendering ... and wishing they had taken a better pair of binoculars.

200x190.jpgVincent Van Gogh didn't cut off his own ear, but had it chopped off by a sword-wielding fellow artist, it has been claimed.

Researchers believe the tormented artist had been arguing with a fellow painter over a prostitute when the injury occurred.

They claim French painter Paul Gauguin had waved his blade to get rid of Van Gogh, but accidentally lopped off his ear.

When police investigated Gauguin told them Van Gogh  had inflicted the injury himself because he was mad, something he did not dispute.

German historian Hans Kaufmann, who has spent 10 years investigating the event, says this is the truth, and not just earsay.

200x190.jpgFrench people spend longer in bed than those from any other country, research has found.

A study into the leisure habits of people from 30 countries found that the French spent by far the longest amount of time sleeping. They spend an average of NINE hours in bed, over than an hour longer than people from Korea or Japan.

American's were found to be almost as fond of their beds - with 8.5 hours - said researchers from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

It seems to me the researchers have jumped from 'time spent in bed' to 'time spent sleeping' a bit too quickly ... remember this is the French we are talking about.

200x190.jpgTeams of humanoid robots have battled it out on a miniature football pitch to win the US RoboCup 2009.

The bots have been produced by college students and take each other on in 20 minute games on a 4.4 by 6.8 meter pitch.

While they are not quite up to bending it like Beckham - more like trying to kick the ball without falling over - fans say the games were entertaining.

Organizers hope that by 2050 they will be able to produce a robotic football team capable of taking on a professional team of humans ... why wait, they look like they could give Newcastle a good game already.

200x190.jpgPamela Anderson and Sharon Stone have been named as the sexiest single celebrity moms.

Dating website date.com quizzed male and female members about which famous single mothers they found the hottest.

Pamela Anderson topped the vote from men with Sharon Stone coming second. Women reversed these positions, putting Sharon Stone on top, so to speak.

Other sexy celeb moms on the lists included, Kate Hudson, Kate Moss, Britney Spears and Reese Witherspoon.

A spokesperson for date.com said: "Pamela Anderson and Sharon Stone juggle the rigors of solo parenting with the demands of their busy careers, and still manage to look sexy even when they're just out running errands with their kids.

200x190.jpgAn artist and medical student has combined his interests by X-raying everyday objects to create works of art.

44-year-old Satre Stuelk from New York uses a radiology CT-scanner to produce the stunning images of everything from a Barbie to a Big Mac.

After mapping the inside of the objects on the £650 per hour machine at Cornell University, he processes the images on a computer before printing them.

The resulting images have been shown at galleries around the world ... luckily he hasn't yet mixed up his art and work hanging a patients insides on a gallery wall.


200x190.jpg The 16 finalists for what has been dubbed the "world's best job" have arrived on the Australian island where they hope to live for the next six months.

Applicants will now complete a series of tasks as bosses pick the winner who will become caretaker of Hamilton Island.

But the job is better than it sounds, the lucky winner will be paid £150,000 Australian dollars and live for six months in a luxury villa.

"Caretaking" duties include going scuba-diving to check on the marine life and writing a blog about their experiences ... not the same as being a caretaker at the local swimming pool is it? 

200x190.jpgAn intruder who repeatedly sneaked into an Australian office to eat, wash and sleep has been caught, by a tiny camera hidden in a box of cereal.

Bosses at the office became suspicious after noticing they got through an odd amount of cereal and milk each night and that the sofa cushions were often in the wrong place.

Thinking staff might be using the office for illicit late night liaisons marketing boss Doug Chapman set up a hidden camera to catch them in the act.

But when he played back the footage he saw an unknown late night visitor slipping into office via a ventilation panel, helping himself to up to six bowls of cereal and settling in for a nap on the company couch.

The man also washed up the dishes and put them away before leaving ... making him more productive than some of the members of staff.

200x190.jpgGoogle bosses have employed a 200-strong herd of goats to help them keep their headquarters tidy.

The goats have been brought in to the search company's Mountain View base in California to clear weeds and mow grass.

Dan Hoffman from the search giant said they decided to take a low-carbon approach rather than using gasoline mowers to tidy fields.

"A herder brings about 200 goats and they spend roughly a week with us at Google, eating the grass and fertilizing at the same time," he said.

Unfortunately for the goats they do not get to enjoy perks of working for Google like use of the beanbag-filled meeting rooms, ping-pong tables and a free cafeteria.

200x190.jpgBritish women are the fattest in Europe with an average portly BMI of 26.2, a study has found.

The research looked at the at the Body Mass Index (BMI) of thousands of women across the continent concluding that French women where the most slender with a rating of just 23.3.

Women in the Netherlands, Greece and Portugal were - like the Brits - ranked as overweight, though no-one else came as close to being clinically obese with a BMI of 30.
 
Other slim countries included Italy and Austria, but researchers stressed that French women were the best ... by the way did I mention that the research was carried out by the National Institute of Demographic Studies IN FRANCE.

200x190.jpgCalifornia's "top cop" Attorney general Jerry Brown has himself become a victim of crime, he has revealed.

Brown - who previously served two terms as governor of California - recently had two tyres stolen from his state-owned Toyota Camry hybrid.

Writing on Facebook about the theft he said: "Even though I am California's "top cop," 2 of my tires were stolen. No matter. I got 2 new ones and I'm rolling again!"

Police say no-one has been arrested yet and added that the tyres were taken from outside Browns home in Oakland.

The odd news is pretty shocking ... who knew Attorney general would have and update a Facebook page, yet alone writes in text speak.

A football-mad Brit has set a new world record for the longest time controlling a football ... by keeping one in the air for over 24 hours.
 
Dan Magness started his his marathon keepy-uppy session in London's Covent Garden at 2pm yesterday and finished today after around 250,000 touches.

He wiped the floor with the previous Guinness World Record of 19.5 hours, held by Martinho Eduardo Orige's from Brazil.

During his training the 25-year-old from from Milton Keynes was regularly going on 15 mile runs immediately followed by six hours of non-stop kick-ups.

Football-loopy Dan says he has also taught tricks to Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney, but we are not sure whether to believe someone who has banged their head so many times.

Warning: .TV domains are sinking

200x190.jpgPeople trying to register .tv domain names are being warned that the island of Tuvalu, which the domain represents, is sinking.

Domain registrar GoDaddy is even claiming that, because the Pacific Ocean island could go the way of Atlantis, users should opt for .com or .net domains instead.

As a result of global warming Tuvalu - which at it's peak is just 5m above sea-level - could disappear, and if it ceases to exist so will .tv domains.

What the odd news means for us at newslite.tv is not clear ... but we have our bathing suits ready.

200x190.jpgSome birds have a near-perfect sense of rhythm - and a remarkable talent for dancing - scientists have found.

Researchers filmed Snowball, a sulphur-crested cockatoo, bobbing his heads and tapping his feet as music played.

They then slowed the recording down to prove that Snowball changed his dance moves and was able to keep time as the beat altered.

The boffins say it was previously thought only humans were able to do this and the research could help explain our relationship with music and how the capacity to dance came about.

As with all serious scientific papers the research has appeared in a peer reviewed scientific journal ... and on YouTube. Click through for the video, and a guaranteed smile.

Bank holiday DIY injury warning

200x190.jpgIf you are thinking about catching up on some DIY this bank holiday weekend, think again, it could be the most dangerous thing you do this year.

Experts have warned that over 200,000 Brits ended up in hospital last year as the result of do it yourself accidents, many on bank holiday weekends.

They claim most are the result of over-ambition and lack of knowledge adding that knives were the number one cause of DIY injuries in 2008 resulting in 20,000 A&E visits,

This was followed by saws (15,000); grinders (6,500); hammers (6,000); chisels (4,000); screwdrivers (3,500); power drills (3,000); axes, planes and welding equipment (2,000).

So if your partner is nagging you to fix something around the house just send them a link to this page, consider it a "Get out of DIY free" card and go to the pub instead.

200x190.jpgDigital jewellery could soon be used to let lonely pensioners know when their friends and family are thinking about them, it has been claimed.

Researchers are creating a range of jewellery which uses mobile phone-type signals to communicate with each other.

The idea is that when stroked gently, a necklace or bracelet would cause a corresponding piece of jewellery many miles away to vibrate.

Newcastle University boffins claim this would let the older wearer know their family was thinking about them and reduce feelings of worry and anxiety.

I can think of another device 'which uses mobile phone-type signals' capable of letting them know their family was thinking about them ... a mobile phone.




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