Simon Crisp: January 2008 Archives

Stupid emergency service calls

200x175.jpg“My husband has the TV remote and won’t let me watch EastEnders.” and “Can the police come round and take my mother-in-law away? She has been here for 18 days.” are just some of the daft calls made to UK emergency services.

Others include “Can you arrest my boyfriend? He has put my hamster out in the rain.” and “A friend has my library card, can you come and arrest her?”

The 999 examples have been released by South Wales Police who will changing their 999 greeting from “South Wales Police, how can I help?”, to “South Wales Police, what is your emergency?”

Jury to decide if mum threw apple away

200x175.jpgA young-mother faces up to six months in prison and a £20,000 fine - for throwing an apple core from the window of her car.

A UK jury will now decide whether 26-year-old Kate Badger, is guilty as  Wolverhampton City Council claims.

She is accused of "knowingly causing the deposit of controlled waste, namely an apple core, on land which did not have a waste management licence".

Ikea flat-pack houses on sale in UK

200x175.jpgFlat-pack houses from IKEA stores have gone on show in the UK.

The homes, ranging from one bedroom apartments to three bedroom houses will be available in Tyneside costing up to £149,995.

The timber-framed 'BoKlok' structures will be sold by the Swedish furniture giant exclusively to first time buyers earning between £15,000 and £35,000.

200x175.jpgSpecial surgical gowns with zips where incisions should be have been designed to help medial students know where to cut.

It is hoped the gown - with nine zips to show the main points of entry - will improve students understanding of where surgical incisions need to be made, and what they mean to the patient.

The zips show the would-be surgeons where to make cuts to perform tasks such as removing the appendix and conducting open-heart surgery.

Playground for the over 60s

200x175.jpgWhile the brightly-coloured swings and see-saws might look brand new, the people playing on them don't - welcome to the UKs first playground for the over 60s.

The young at heart pensioners of Manchester, UK, have with the help of a local housing firm, built this £15,000 play-ground to keep themselves fit.

Six pieces of specially designed equipment provide gentle exercise for different parts of the body such as hips, legs and torso.

Naked flights on German airline

Nudists will soon be able to strip off during their flights, thanks to a new service from a German travel firm. will on Friday start taking bookings for the worlds first nude flight, costing £370.

But the 55 passengers traveling from Erfurt to the Baltic Sea resort of Usedom, will have to remain clothed until they board the plane and dress again before disembarking.

The crew say they will remain clothed for "safety reasons."

BIC biro artist

200x175.jpgAt first glance this looks like a photograph of a night out, but the image has actually been drawn with BIC ballpoint pens.

The stunning pictures, which can measure three metres high, are painstakingly drawn by Spanish artist Juan Franciso Casas based on photographs he has taken.

31-year-old Casas says he can use four of the humble 14p blue BIC biros to create each of his two metre tall drawings - but always uses blue.

Near miss for Earth

200x175.jpgAn asteroid up-to 2,000 feet across has passed close to the Earth - as you may have noticed, it didn't hit.

The object '2007 TU24' whizzed past just 1.4 times the distance from the Earth to the moon.

A collision of a similar sized object happens on average once every 37,000 years and would have a major impact on the human population.

TU24 was spotted in October by the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona.

200x175.jpg"He spends his morning in a workspace-specific perceptual abstraction before a two hour inter-departmental liaison facilitation, is constantly blamestorming, but always gets away with is because of his boss-spamming."

While the above sentence might not make much sense to you, experts say it is loaded with the latest office buzzwords being used in UK.

Translated into normal speak it reads: "He spends his morning day-dreaming before a two hour lunch, is constantly blaming other people for missing his deadlines but always gets away with it because he looks busy when the boss walks in.

Mc A-Levels

Fast-food giant McDonalds is to award staff A-Level standard qualifications in burger bar management.

The UKs Qualifications and Curriculum Authority says it has given permission after the firm asked if they could offer the courses with a academic qualification.

The "basic shift manager" courses train staff in aspects of managing a burger restaurant, customer services, marketing and human resources.

Giselle's Disney photoshoot

Giselle, Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Biel are the latest stars to be photographed by Annie Leibowitz as Disney characters.

Giselle became Wendy Darling from Peter Pan, Jessica Biel became Pocahontas and J-Lo traveled on Aladdin's magic carpet as Jasmine.

The photographs have been released mark Disney Parks Year of a Million Dreams celebration in 2008.

Run doughnut run

3,000 sweet-toothed athletes entered a race with a difference where they had to run four miles and eat 12 calorific doughnuts.

The Krispy Kreme Challenge saw entrants from all over the US gather at North Carolina State University where the race began.

Contestants ran the two miles from the university belltower to Krispy Kreme ,where they had to devour 12 Original Glazed doughnuts before running the two miles back - all in under 60 minutes.

'Worst waxworks' set for sale

200x175.jpgSome of the world's worst waxworks, including the heads of Shirley Bassey, Prince Charles and Kevin Keegan are set to go on sale.

Louis Tussaud’s House of Wax in Great Yarmouth is auctioning off 75 of the items which helped it gain notoriety for being one of the worst museums in the world.

The heads, which date back up to 30 years, are supposed to portray celebrities, Royals, politicians and sportsmen as they were in their younger days.

Anonymous v Scientology

An online vigilante group have declared war on the Church of Scientology and launched an attack on their web servers.

Anonymous, a collection of hackers and activists accused Scientology of "campaigns of misinformation" and "suppression of dissent," before causing at least one of the church's websites to crash.

The group also claims it stole "secret documents" from the Church's database, which are now circulating on file-sharing networks.

Ringo walks out of live US Show

Ringo Starr, walked off the set of US TV show Live with Regis and Kelly after he was told to cut his performance short.

The 67-year-old former Beatle was promoting his new album, Liverpool 8 and due to play the title track, but he wasn't happy when bosses told him he only had two and a half minutes.

Starr's publicist said in a statement after the show: "We offered to cut back our chat time and asked them to fade or go to commercial. 

Three Little Pigs - could offend Muslims

A digital book telling the fairy tale 'Three Little Pigs' has been slammed by a UK government agency, because it could offend Muslims.

The CD-rom version of the story tells the classic tale in a modern way and is called 'Three Little Cowboy Builders'. 

But judges at this year's Bett Award, where Becta - the government's educational technology agency is a partner - said that they had "concerns about the Asian community and the use of pigs raises cultural issues".

They also warned that the story might "alienate parts of the workforce (building trade)".

Mussolini car for auction

200x175.jpg(Off-beat News) A sports car built for fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini is set to sell for £1,000,000 at auction.

The dark red, 1935 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300 Pescara Spyder was built to the special order of Mussolini with a dickey seat and the engine was specially tuned to deliver 95bhp rather than the 68bhp of the standard model.

The car was driven in the 1936 Mille Miglia by Ercole Boratto finishing 13th overall and 3rd in class.

70 year-old vacuum cleaner

200x175.jpg(Funny News) A 95-year-old woman has finally had to replace her trusty vacuum cleaner - after using if for 70 years.

Edith Kingsland, a former bed-and-breakfast keeper from Kent, UK, bought the cleaner in the 1930's.

Se used the it everyday around the B&B hotel she kept with her late husband in the sea-side resort.

Edith says she is struggling to get to grips with her new model complaining that it is too big and too heavy.

Commercial spaceship unveiled

200x175.jpgVirgin Galactic have released the final design of their ship which will take high-paying passengers into space.

Starting in 2010 the ship will take eight people (two pilot astronauts and six ticketed passengers) on two-and-a-half hour sub-orbital trips.

Despite each seat costing £100,000 Virgin Galactic say 200 people have already booked with another 85,000 having registered interest.

Over half of singles say they will 'research' a potential date on social network sites such as Facebook before saying yes.

53 percent of men and 54 percent of women claim they use websites like Facebook, MySpace and Google to check up on would-be love interests before agreeing to go out on a date with them.

This means they can see who the person is friends with, look at pictures of what they get up to and some even claim to contact the persons previous partners to ask them what they are like.

NASA photo of green man on Mars

(Weird News) NASA have released a photo from mars which appears to show a little green man walking down a hill on the red planet - though sceptics think it could be a rock.

The image was sent back to Earth by Spirit, Nasa's Mars explorer vehicle which landed there four years ago.

While initial inspections didn't highlight anything out of the ordinary, users of  astronomy websites spotted the figure which seems to be a woman with an outstretched arm.

Desperately seeking Gordon

(Off-Beat News) Brit artist Alison Jackson, who specializes in creating photos with celebrity look-a-likes, says she is struggling to find a Gordon Brown.

Jackson has produced cutting edge satirical images with political and celebrity look-a-likes including Tony Blair, George W Bush, Britney Spears and David Beckam.

For six years she has tried to find a suitable Gordon Brown - without success.

"It's exasperating," she said.

Lego - more than child's play

(Offbeat News) An artist has shown that the humble Lego brick is more than just child's play - by creating an entire exhibition based around brick forms.

33-year-old Nathan Sawaya's show 'The Art of the Brick' features more than 30 works and uses over one million colorful LEGO bricks

Items on show include a 5ft hand, life size sculptures and abstract 2 dimentional 'canvas.'

Nightclub full of babes

(Funny News) Some nightclub events have a strict entry policy, not this one - you don't have to prove your age, in fact you don't even have to be able to talk, or stand up.

'Baby Loves Disco' is a nightclub event with a difference, despite being held in 'serious' venues and having a fully stocked bar, it is aimed at the under sevens. 

The events were first held on the east-coast of America but are now planned at nighclubs across the UK.

Blind seal on show at zoo

(Quirky News) Visitors to Los Angeles Zoo can now see the latest attraction - but he can't see them.

Alfred, a harbour seal, was rescued off the coast of New Jersey in March 2007. He was blind, underweight and unable to capture fish to eat.

In October, when it was decided he was non-releasable, he was taken to the zoo where he has spent four months in quarantine and getting used to his new surroundings.

RAF break-dancing marshall

(Funny News) A RAF marshall has become an internet hit after a video of him directing fighter jets while break-dancing was posted online.

Senior Aircraftman Dean Tabreham can be seen doing 'the caterpillar' and  moonwalking to Michael Jackson all while controlling planes worth tens of millions of pounds.

The video was made by RAF staff and has raised £1,000 for Cancer Research UK.

* The dancing start 90 seconds into the clip (it's worth waiting for)

Most depressing day of the year

(Odd News) Scientists have calculated that Monday 24 January is going to be the most depressing day of 2008.

Poor weather, credit card bills from christmas and failed new year resolutions all add up to a pretty depressing day says Cliff Arnalls, a tutor at  Cardiff University.

He has even produced an equation (1/8W+(D-d) 3/8xTQ MxNA) which explains why today will be a dark day for many.

Is there a Starbucks near here?

(Quirky News) A coffee-mad computer programmer is on a quest to visit every Starbucks store in the world.

Winter from Houston, USA, claims he has already visited 7,726 of the coffee giants 8,505 stores - a staggering 92.4% of them.

His journey has already seen him visit stores in England, Japan, Spain and Hong Kong as well as 7,269 across America.

Pupils leave adverts in homework

(Funny News) Dopey school-children who are trying to cheat by downloading their homework from the internet are even leaving in adverts, say their teachers.

58% of teachers surveyed from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) say they have come across plagiarism by their pupils.

Some are so happy to cut-and-paste they are even forgetting to delete Google Adverts and references to the website they are copying from.

German Polar Bear becomes internet star

The Polar Bear cub who shot to fame after being taken from its mother amid concerns she could harm the youngster has become an internet star.

The city of Nuremburg, Germany, which owns the zoo, have had over 1.5 million visitors on a website they setup for the bear.

Thy have also been bombarded with over 25,000 emails and postcards with proposed names for the five-week-old ball of fluff.

* Photo Credit: Ralf Schedlbauer / City of Nuremberg

A team of internet scammers have themselves been conned into wasting hours of their time - hand writing the entire 293 pages of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

When he received an e-mail offering him a slice of a $27 million fortune from the Federal Republic of Nigeria our 'scammer scammer' didn't just hit the junk button.

Instead he told them he could not reply because his company were conducting research into hand-writing adding that they could earn $100 per page if they wanted to help.

£30,000 toilet to spend a penny on

A former bus driver's toilet has gone on sale in Edinburgh for £30,000.

The single-storey lavatory measures a wee 6.4 square metres but includes 2 WC cubicles and washing facilities.

The property is one of the smallest in the Scottish capital where house prices now average £130,000.

Police officers in the UK have been blasted by bosses after posting sick images of their crashed police cars on Facebook.

The group 'Yes I Have Had A Polcol' has over 300 members and features dozens of images - some with officers posing up next to the accidents.

Met Commissioner Sir Ian Blair said it was “totally unacceptable” for officers to post pictures bragging about hitting pedestrians and damaging police cars and vans.

Suicide tree can be seen from space

Botanists have discovered a new kind of Palm so big it can be seen from space.

The gigantic Tahina spectabilis, found by accident in Madagascar, grows over 18m high and it's leaves can each measure 5m in diameter.

But the plant has an unusual and spectacular life-cycle, after growing to dizzying heights it bursts into branches of hundreds of tiny flowers using so much energy it dies.

Mac users have 'different' brains

Psychologists claim users of Apple Mac computers have a distinct mindset that predetermines their responses to and interpretations of situations.

A study of 7,500 people found that Mac users are more liberal, less modest, and more assured of their own superiority than the population at large.

The boffins from Mindset Media say that as such, Mac users are also more likely to seek varied and novel experiences, believing that imagination and intellectual curiosity contribute to a life well lived.

Teacher stared in sexy web advert

A teacher at a top UK school who appeared in a saucy internet advert has been suspended from her job.

Sarah Green, who taught at £7,000 per year Stockport Grammar school starred in the ad where she simulates having sex with a workman two years before she started teaching.

But after the video - available on YouTube - was watched by pupils, Headteacher Andrew Chicken suspended her pending an investigation.


Rome invaded by 500,000 balls

A protester brought Rome to a standstill in a bizarre fashion, by releasing 500,000 multi-coloured plastic balls down the Spanish Steps.

Graziano Cecchini, who has previously poured red dye into the Trevi Fountain has he pulled the stunt to raise the profile of Burma and the Karen people.

The balls which bounced down the steps like the recent Sony HD adverts and while some were collected by passers-by it took officials hours to clean up the rest.

Citroen apologize to China

Car manufacturer Citreon has been forced to say sorry to China after using an image of Mao Zedong pulling a funny face in one of its adverts.

The French auto giant ad used the image in a Spanish campain along with the phrases "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's" and "It's true, we are leaders, but at Citroen the revolution never stops."

The image is similar to that which stares out from Tiananmen Square but had been distorted to show him pulling his lips to one side and squinting his eyes.

Black is the new black

Boffins have developed a new shade of black  30 times darker than the current benchmark for the colour.

For years a carbon substance has been kept by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology as the international guide for black, but now scientists have created one so black it absorbs 99.9 percent of light.

Normal black paints, by contrast, only absorbs around 90 percent of light - meaning that most of us can hardly imagine the darkness of the new black.

How do you boil an egg?


Only half of young adults in Britain know how to boil an egg, a survey has revealed.

Just 51% of 18-24-year-olds knew it took three minutes to soft boil an egg, one in 20 though it would take 10 minutes and 15 % had no idea at all.

The poll for Farmhouse Breakfast Week surveyed 1,950 people with 65% getting the time right.

The British Egg Information Service says eggs should be put in cold water which is then brought to boil and left for three minutes to get a really soft boiled yolk and set egg white.

Shopping trolley tells you what to buy

A new intelligent shopping trolley which tells you what you should be buying and navigates you around the supermarket so that you can find it, has been launched.

The MediaCart, which was designed with Microsoft, monitors your shopping habits before suggesting items, recipes and providing you with money off vouchers.

It will even act like a Sat-Nav telling you where to go in the store to find the items you are trying to buy.

Banksy wall sells for £208,100

A wall covered in graffiti by elusive artist Banksy has sold online for £208,100 - now the winning bidder needs to take it home.

The work, which features a stenciled design of a painter putting the finishing touches to the name Banksy, is spray-painted onto the wall of a post-production company in London.

When Luti Fagbenle, who runs the company which owns the wall, saw it he decided to cash in on the work knowing original Banksy's can sell for over £250,000.

Darwin Awards 2007

An alcoholic who gave himself a sherry enema has been awarded the Darwin award for 2007.

The annual award is given to the person who improves the human gene pool by accidentally removing themselves from it.

Michael a 58-year-old from Texas, USA, was described by his wife as being addicted to enemas and she said often used alcohol in this way. On one fateful occasion he used two 1.5 litre bottles of sherry and passed out - the following morning he was found dead.

Scouts get PR badge

Scouts once learned how to tie knots and pitch tents but they will soon be taught in the dark arts of spin and public relations.

The UK Scout Association has this week introduced 40 new badges which also skate-boarding and street sports.

To be awarded the PR badge scouts will have to write press releases and visit media outlets.

Australians pick word of 2007

Tanorexia (obsessed with tanned skin) and Chindia (Chine and India) are just two of the words Australians are currently voting for as their favorite words of 2007.

The online vote organized by the Macquarie Dictionary contains 85 new words which reflect global developments and trends.

Other words include 'salad dodger' an overweight person, 'Manscaping' male grooming and 'Man-flu' a mild cold whose symptoms are exaggerated by the sufferer.

FBI wiretap cut off over unpaid bill

The FBI have had an international wiretap cut off after the American agency failed to pay its bill, a U.S. government audit has revealed.

The wiretap had been enacted under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, for electronic spying in terrorism and intelligence cases but was disrupted when payment was not received in time.

"Late payments have resulted in telecommunications carriers actually disconnecting phone lines established to deliver surveillance results to the FBI, resulting in lost evidence, including an instance where delivery of intercept information required by a ... FISA order was halted due to untimely payment," the audit said.

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