Simon Crisp: August 2008 Archives

VIDEO: Panda birth made to look easy

A panda at a Japanese zoo makes giving birth look as easy as chewing on bamboo. 

When keepers at Kobe Municipal Oji Zoo knew 12-year-old Tan Tans due date was approaching they must have expected a harder days work than this.  

Panda births are normally a traumatic process but Tan Tan made it look easy when she gave birth to a 25cm-long cub on Tuesday afternoon.

The sex of the cub is yet to be determined by zookeepers and they are inviting members of the public to suggest a name for the 100g baby panda.

Tan Tan, who like most pandas was reluctant to get it on with mate Ko Ko, was artificially inseminated at the zoo and it is the first time a panda has given birth their.

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Boffins have discovered why flies are so hard to swat, and in doing so they also discovered the prefect way to swat a fly.

The flies brain plans the best way to avoid a good swatting within 100 milliseconds of spotting you looming towards it with a rolled up newspaper say experts from the California Institute of Technology.

Within that time the fly also places its legs in an optimal position to hop out of the way in the opposite direction, leaving you swatting the table.

Researchers used high-resolution and high-speed cameras to monitor the flies as a graduate student attempted to swat them, says Bioengineering boffin Michael Dickinson.

"We also found that when the fly makes planning movements prior to take-off, it takes into account its body position at the time it first sees the threat," he said.

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Fewer people are tone deaf than watching X Factor would make you believe. 

Scientists say a surprising number of non-musicians unconsciously have perfect pitch—the ability to recognize and remember a tone without a reference.

Researchers at the University of Rochester asked musicians and non-musicians to listen to three notes played in a continuous stream in random order for 20 minutes.

They then replayed the note groups, plus new groups and asked if each group of notes was familiar or unfamiliar.

"Tests for perfect pitch have always demanded that subjects already have some musical training or at least familiarity with a particular piece of music, which really limits the pool of candidates you can test," says professor of music Elizabeth Marvin.

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A cleaner has cashed-in by selling a slice of wedding cake made for Prince Charles and Princess Diana, for £1,000.

The nine inch square slice of cake is decorated with the royal coat of arms in icing and the slice came from one of 23 wedding cake made for the day.

Given to the cleaner at Clarence House by a royal chef in 1981 it has lasted far longer than their marriage, and indeed Diana.

Yesterday the cake, which is in no fit state to be eaten, sold for £1,000 to a private collector at an auction in South Cerney, Gloucestershire.

Chris Albury, from the Dominic Winter Auction House said: "We have seen numerous small pieces of official presentation cake slices from this wedding over the years but this piece is altogether on a different scale.

Computer virus sent into space

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NASA has confirmed a computer virus has made it into space and is now lurking on computers onboard the International Space Station.

But they say the computers infected by the W32.Gammima.AG worm are not linked to the control systems meaning ISS shouldn't be sent crashing back to earth any time soon.

It is thought the virus entered orbit on a memory device, possibly a MP3 player, which was plugged into laptops on the ISS.

The W32.Gammima.AG virus copies itself onto  to steal log-on information - including usernames and passwords for online games, I hope astronauts have better things to do than play WoW.

"It is a nuisance for us," said a NASA spokesman. "The crew is working with teams on the ground to eradicate the virus and look for actions to prevent that from happening in the future."

Tens of thousands of people yesterday painted the Spanish town of Bunol red at the La Tomatina festival 2008.

The annual giant food fight - which has happened for the last 60 years - saw over 40,000 tourists descend on the town, near Valencia, which has a population of just 9,000.

Trucks dumped 100 tons of Roma tomatoes and for one hour people began hurling them at each other ... anyone who arrived late had to play ketchup. 

While some people wore swimming goggles to protect their eyes others used tennis racquets to hit away the projectile fruit.

When the times was up most people headed to the nearby river where hundreds of showers had been setup. Giant hoses were then used to clear the streets of tomato residue.


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The poor vibrator, once women thought it could do no wrong, now it is getting shouted at and told what to do.

Sex toy boffins (who knew there was such a thing) have invented a vibrator that can respond to women’s vocal instructions.

While the device will do as it is told for nine functions - which include faster, slower and harder - it has not yet mastered "mow the lawn' or "take the bins out."

The 'voice activated rabbit' can even be re-programed to react to "Give it to me" rather than "Faster"  ... but women probably should ask they teenage son to help them to program it like they would the DVD recorder.

"Communication is key to a healthy relationship and there's no relationship healthier than that of a woman and her vibrator," said Monique Carty of online sex shop onjoy.com

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In news that will no doubt have truckers across the UK sounding their horns with joy, the world's largest Scotch egg has been made.

While the Scotch egg was originally concocted by London food shop Fortnum & Mason in 1738, no-one had seen fit to make one the size and weight of a bowling ball ... until now. 

Using a 1.7kg ostrich egg from Waitrose, 4kg of Gloucester Old Spot sausage-meat, 940g of haggis and 800g of breadcrumbs for the coating, chefs at Brown's Hotel in London cooked the 6.2kg whopper.

After a cooking process of more than eight hours and ninety minutes alone spent boiling the egg, the egg won a place in the Guinness World Records Book.

Chef Lee Streeton said: "Genuine Scotch eggs epitomise good, honest food, so what could be better than making an extra large version using the best of British? 

Yoda name stops woman joining Facebook

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A Japanese woman called Yoda claims she was stopped from joining Facebook, because she has a name from a galaxy far far away (well Japan.)

Hiroko Yoda said that every time she tried to joint the site she was confronted with an error message. The force was not with her.

Suspecting the problem might be her Star Wars featured name, she tried spelling it wrong and sure enought she was allowed to join.

After contacting Facebook the author - who has several books on Amazon - was told Yoda was on a name blacklist because so many people tried to sign up as the Jedi master.

Eventually Hiroko Yoda was allowed to set up a profile on the site - but only after using her Jedi mind tricks.

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Since their introduction to Australia in the 1930s Cane toads have plagued residents and threatened to invade most of the country.

Now though scientists have some good news for Aussies.

After holding a series of 'toad sprint races' (maybe they weren't allowed to watch the Olympics) the experts say the toad could not survive in much of Australia because of cold weather.

They timed the cold-blooded creatures for a two metre sprint at a variety of different temperatures and found that as it cools down, so does the animals top speed.

"The cane toads cannot survive in much of Southern Australia because they would be too cold to move about and forage or spawn," said Dr Kearney from the Department of Zoology at the University of Melbourne.

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People don't normally cheer when they see someone jumping from the top of a city-centre building ... and not many people commit suicide in Speedos.

But neither was this guy, he was a contestant in the world's first urban cliff diving contest held in Hamburg, Germany last weekend.

Jumping off buildings, cranes and even a ship the divers accelerated from standstill to 90 kilometres per hour in just 2.5 seconds.

As they fell the performed stunts, then it was back to zero within four metres of immersion ... yes they were jumping into water.

Winner of the Red Bull Cliff Diving 2008 Orlando Duque from Columbia said: "he Port of Hamburg setting for this project is not only spectacular but also industrial, urban.

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Thieves must have been as quiet as mice when they stole £15,000 worth of cheese from the back of a lorry - while the driver slept.

Police in Hereford say several pallets of cheese were taken on Thursday evening after the driver parked his articulated lorry in a layby near the A466.

When he awoke the next morning, he checked the load to find the rear doors of the trailer unit forced and several pallets removed. 

As each pallet contained about £3000 worth of cheese and weighed about a ton police are considering the possibility an army of super-strong mice may have been involved.

Officers will now be using their noses to track down the criminals, it is getting close to lunch time and they have a slice of toast and a bottle of Lee and Perrins waiting.

Batmobile is not road legal on UK roads

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A Batman-mad car enthusiast spent £150,000 building his very own Batmobile only to be told he is not allowed to drive it on UK roads.

It took two years for the 5.7-litre V8 engine replica of the Batmobile from the 1989 film Batman Returns to be built, and the budget spiraled from an original £80,000.

While the 130mph car may have a glass fibre body and looks to make the Joker run scared, it would need wing mirrors and indicators to take to public roads.

If the Dark Knight had been filmed in the UK there would have been a scene where Christian Bale was pulled over and asked to produce a valid tax disc.

Rather than add the missing parts Phil Garlick, of Warrington, Cheshire, says he now plans to sell the Batmobile on his website, ideally to a crime fighting superhero, but failing that anyone with the cash.

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Well stone me, Neanderthals were not the primative, ape-like creatures we think of and actually invented tools as good as Homo sapiens, it has been claimed.

It had been thought the cavemen died out because humans developed better tools and weapons, allowing them to hunt for food easier.

But now experts say Neanderthals - who died out 28,000 years ago - had stone tool technologies which were just as good, if not better than humans.

A team from the University of Exeter spent three years recreating stone tools known as used by both Homo sapiens and Neanderthals.

It was expected that the Homo sapien tools would be better but tests showed their 'blades' were on a par with Neanderthal 'flakes' raising the question as to why Neanderthals became extinct.

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An odd battle between naturist German sunbathers and prudish Polish holidaymakers appears to be coming to an end, with an erection.

'The Battle of Usedom Beach' (not the most serious dispute in history between the two countries) centered on whether people should be allowed to be naked at the German-Polish border resort.

The problem was a fence which separated the tho countries was taken down revealing the free-spirited Germans to the Poles.

While the mostly Catholic Poles complained about being faced with naked Germans first thing in the morning, the Germans moaned the Poles were spying on them with binoculars.

But now a ceasefire has been arranged whereby signs will be erected to remind German sunbathers that the Poles want to keep their beach PG-13 and not to stray onto it.

LEGO men celebrate 30th birthday

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The yellow, round-headed, claw-handed LEGO minifigure has turned 30.

Since 1978 - when LEGO people were first manufactured - they have become a pop culture icon and are described (by Lego) as being the world's largest population.

With more than 4 billion of them around the world they are three times larger than China and 12 times larger than the USA ... then again they are chunks of plastic, and not real people.

LEGO, having already convinced themselves he is real, are even sending out quotes from the inanimate plastic toy in a press release about his birthday?

Possibly having inhaled too many fumes at the factory a spokesman quoted a LEGO minifigure as saying: "I'm sure plenty of people who see all the places I've been and things I've done probably wonder when I'll slow down.

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The Earth's magnetic fields causes herds of cows to point in the same direction, claim scientists.

Boffins noted that many small animals have a "magnetic compass" which can help their sense of direction or impact their behavior.

To test if the same was true for larger creatures the researchers from the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany did the same thing any self respecting scientist would do, loaded Google.

They looked at Google Earth images of 8,510 grazing and resting cattle in 308 pasture plains across the globe, recording which direction cows pointed.

Even though after zooming in the researchers were unable to distinguish the cows head from its arse (are they really scientists?) they confirmed the cattle tend to align their bodies in a north-south direction.

We're too clever to spell correctly

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Some words are frequently misspelt because we are too clever, claim researchers, who can't spell.

Give our number of mistake on this site the news must mean we are positive geniuses.

Experts from Collins dictionary say some words are commonly spelt incorrectly because of our knowledge of other words.

Supersede is said to be the most commonly misspelt word many write 'supercede' because their knowledge of the words intercede or precede.

Ian Brookes, managing editor of dictionaries at Collins, said: "The real spelling problems occur when people have learnt the rules or have a bit of knowledge, but then make mistakes in how they apply this." 

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Lawyers for Warner Bros - the makers of Harry Potter - have filed a lawsuit against against a upcoming Indian movie called Hari Puttar. 

WB feel that the Hari Puttar movie infringes on their boy wizard franchise and would be happy to cast a spell on the Indian producers.

They want to stop "Hari Puttar - A Comedy of Terrors" - in which a 10-year-old Indian boy moves to England with his family - from being released.

In the film when Haris family go on holiday the youngster is left 'home alone' fending off bungling burglars in striking resemblance with another American children's movie.

The Movie was due to be released on 12th September but a case is now being heard in the Bombay High Court.

Priest plans beauty pageant for nuns

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A priest is organising a beauty pageant for nuns and asking them to show off what god gave them.

Father Antonio Rungi wants contestants in 'The Miss Sister Italy' to show they can be more sister sexy and less sister Wendy in a bid to shake off the old and dour image.

"Nuns are above all women and beauty is a gift from God," the Italian told Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper.

He is asking the sexiest nuns from across Itlay to send him their photo (nudge, nudge) saying they will be used for internet users to vote for their favorite.

He added that the nuns are not being ask to strip down to their underwear and that it will be up to them whether they pose with the traditional veil or with their heads uncovered.

Boffins have created new software which will allow deaf people to use mobile phones.

While many handsets are able to make video calls, the quality has not been good enough to make out the hand gestures of sign language.

But now researchers in the US have made a breakthrough which will mean that in addition to putting up with people shouting 'can you hear me now?' you will have people signing 'can you see me now?'

Engineers from the University of Washington managed to get two-way real-time video communication showing enough frames to make out what someone was saying.

"A lot of people are excited about this," said principal investigator Eve Riskin, a UW professor of electrical engineering.

Toaster museum pops-up online

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A toaster mad German - who presumably never eats cereal in the morning - has created an online museum dedicated to the kitchen appliance.

Graphic designer Jens Veerbeck says he first got into toasters at a flea market in San Francisco fifteen years ago.

While there he bought a 1950s model, initially it was to be used but as he added others they became a collecton in their own right.

He now owns over 600 different models of toaster, believed to be the biggest collection in the world, including one worth over £3,000.

"The design of each single toaster is like a small window to the design trend of the corresponding decade and country," said Jens. 

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Aborigines have called for the return of a boomerang collected by Captain Cook on his first voyage to New Holland, Australia in 1770.

After 238 years they seem to have realised the boomerang wasn't going to come back on its own and have asked for it back.

By pure chance the call came just days after it was announced the boomerang was set to sell for £60,000 at auction. 

Aboriginal leader Merv Ryan is reported to have said his Gweigal people feel strongly about boomerang and it should return to the Sydney suburb of Kurnell, where Cook first met Aborigines. 

London auction house Christie's is still due to sell the boomerang on 25 September at an auction of Exploration and Travel along with a number of items gathered by Cook and other explorers.

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You probably wouldn't want to leave your children with this man ... but you certainly shouldn't play poker against him.

Dubbed the perfect poker face it is a composite of ten top players who have won the biggest single prize in poker.

The face would be hard to play against because it does not show any emotion, is expressionless and would never give away the cards in front of him.

The experts who put it together say they discovered a number of similarities between top poker players including a Roman nose, jutting chin, cupped-out ears and wide-set eyes.

Naomi Tickle, personologist and author of 'You Can Read a Face Like a Book', said: "Looking at these ten successful players there are many remarkable similarities, suggesting that there may well be a 'poker face' look. 

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A man will try to fly 22 miles from Dover to Calais with just a jet-powered wing strapped to his back. He has clearly never heard of Eurostar.

Daredevil inventor and Swiss airline pilot Yves Rossy will make the attempt next month using a 8ft jet-powered wing which he has been working on for the past four years.

The Jet-man says he is confident after completing a 10-minute test flight in Switzerland cruising the same distance as the channel crossing.

Jumping out of a small plane over the town of Bex wearing his wings and a heat-resistant suit like those of racing drivers he flew at 180mph before deploying two parachutes and landing safely.

"Everything went well, it was awesome, it's my longest flight with this wing. If there are no technical problems it's okay for the English Channel," said the 48-year-old madman.

VIDEO: Elephants are no Dumbo at maths

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Scientists have found that elephants are no Dumbo when it comes to maths - many can do mental arithmetic as well if not better than humans.

Researchers in Japan say the jumbos can count and add simple numbers with almost 90 per cent accuracy.

The animals were tested by dropping apples into to buckets, allowing the elephants to see them fall but look not in the buckets.

Experts then let the elephants choose a bucket to eat from, in most cases they opted for the bucket with most, for example, they knew three plus four was greater than one plus five, and snacked on the seven apples.

Oddly this is the same test given to maths A-Level students and the elephant could now be awarded an A*.

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Self-cleaing super toilets which the city of Seattle splashed out $5 million on four years ago have been sold for just $12,500.

The five stand-alone silver cylinders with automatic doors and spray-down cycles were meant to offer fantastic facilities for tourists in the American city.

But the loos caused a stink when prostitutes and drug dealers decided they were so nice the wanted to based themselves there.

Though a private contractor the toilets were listed on internet auciton site eBay attracting between 25 and 40 bids on each of the $1,000,000 loos.

The winning bidder - bagging all five bogs - was the owner of a local Speedway race track who says they will come in hand on busy days, and he is willing to overlook their seedy past.

Montreal gets global Monopoly top slot

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The Canadian city of Montreal has 'passed go' to take the top slot on a global version of the classic board game Monopoly.

It beat off competition from London, Paris, New York and Rome and can now look forward to being visited by a giant scottie dog and a top hat.

The locations were picked through a public vote with over 5.6 million votes cast for 70 cities, deciding 20 of the 22 of which will feature on the game.

"We are thrilled that the first-ever global game board includes an interesting mix of cities that showcases the dynamic cultures, sights and history of the planet." said a spokesperson for Hasbro. 

The game will include updated Chance and Community Chest cards are also now culturally relevant and  players may celebrate at Carnivalin Rio de Janeiro, organize an international music festival or host a St. Patrick’s Day festival in Dublin. 

Hubble photos help solve mystery

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Photos from the Hubble space telescope have helped university experts solve a 100 million-year-old mystery.

For years astronomers have been left scratching their heads over the weird structures around the active galaxy NGC 127 - the central dominant galaxy in the Perseus Cluster - with a supermassive black hole at its core.

But now boffins from the University of Cambridge have worked out that magnetic fields probably hold the charged gas in place and resist forces that would distort the filaments.

This skeletal structure has been able to contain and suspend these odd long threads for over 100 million years, something no-one has been able to explain before.

"We can see that the magnetic fields are crucial for these complex filaments - both for their survival and for their integrity", said Professor Andy Fabian.

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Last year year Chinese giant Xi Shun lost his title as the world's tallest living man to a Ukrainian who measured a whopping 8ft 5.5 inches

Short of a sudden growth spurt or an accident to Leonid Stadnyk there seem to be no way for the 7ft 8.95 inch man to regain his crown.

But yesterday it was announced that amendments to the rules would see Xi Shun given the title in the Guinness World Records book 2009.

All contenders to the title must now be measured in person by an official Guinness World Records adjudicator, something Stadnyk did not allow, possibly because he is really three children on each others shoulders wearing a long coat.

"We are the global authority on world records and our obligation is to provide the public with the most accurate information possible," said Craig Glenday, Editor-In-Chief of Guinness World Records.

Borat Mankini thong is Amazon bestseller

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When Sacha Baron Cohen donned a florescent yellow Mankini in Borat - The Movie, everybody laughed. We you do the same in Ibiza this summer no-one will.
 
Amazon.co.uk say the £4.86 'Borat Mankini Thong' has become a surprise summer bestseller for them after featuring in a spoof video by members of the Great Britain Olympic rowing team.

In the clip called 'Rowing, My Way', members of the team singing Frank Sinatra's My Way, with one member sporting the Borat-like swim suit on top of a mountain.

A spokesperson for Amazon.co.uk said: "With the success of Britain's Olympians in the pool, we'd expected to see a rise in swimwear sales, but the Mankini's success has taken us by surprise.

"Maybe the rowers have started an unlikely fashion trend - look out for a Mankini on a beach near you this summer!"

New species of insect discovered on eBay

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A new species of insect has been discovered ... on eBay.

Scientists used to embark on research trips in the hope of discovering strange new animals, not so for Dr Richard Harrington who simply logged on.

The vice-president of the UK's Royal Entomological Society paid £20 for the fossilised insect on the online auction site from an seller in Lithuania.

Measuring 2-4mm the insect is encased in a tiny 40-50 million-year-old piece of amber.

Having a hunch it was something special Harrington sent it to an aphid expert in Denmark, sure enough it has now been confirmed a new, albeit extinct, animal.

Fashiorexic women shop rather than eat

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A third of British women say they would go without food if it meant they could afford to buy more clothes, a survey has found.

The results show huge 32 percent of the women polled said would happily stave for their fashion calling themselves ‘fashiorexic’ (pronounced fash-o-rexic) 

Women admit to gorging themselves on fashion, not food, this summer with nearly half, 49 percent, spending more on looking good than eating.

On the plus side it might mean they can get into that smaller size now.

18 percent of said they were spending more than half their wages each month on clothes and accessories.

Animated actress could make the A-list

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At first glance she looks like any other actress as she delivers her lines ... but Emily is actually an animation.

She is the result of ground-breaking research into image modeling and photo-realistic computer-generated animation at the University of Southern California.

The boffins used a facial scanning system to create a computer-generated replica of actress Emily O'Brien and then passed the data to animation company Image Metrics who brought her to life.

And despite being made on a computer from combination of ones and zeros Emily is probably only about as 'fake' as most of the actresses working in Hollywood.

"Our goal was to create a completely convincing, animated computer-generated face," explained David Barton, Image Metrics' producer. 

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After hours and hours of 'hard research' experts have concluded that Scarlett Johansson is scientifically sexy.

Researchers at Brunel University used a 3D optical body scanner to measure 77 people and then asked volunteers to rate how attractive they were.

Dr Brown and a team of scientists identified a mathematical fusion of traits including greater height, wider shoulders, smaller breasts and shorter legs which they dubbed 'body masculinity'

Unsurprisingly they discovered most men fancy shorter, slim women with long legs and big boobs like Scarlett Johansson or Marilyn Monroe - those with a low body masculinity.

Commenting on the research, Dr Brown said: "It is widely believed that human beings are attracted to one another as a result of genotypic and phenotypic quality.

Hot chocolate could help brain activity

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Drinking hot chocolate could stimulate increased brain activity, research has found.

The experts also believe future advances (presumably not a new marshmallow flavor hot chocolate) could help in the treatment of debilitating brain conditions including dementia and strokes.
 
Harvard medical scientists, studying people aged 59 to 83, found that those who regularly drank a cocoa flavanol-rich had an eight percent increase in brain blood flow after just one week.

Scientists speculate that maintaining an increased blood flow to the brain could slow the cognitive decline of dementia when the flow of blood to the brain slows over time.

"This is just one more study adding to an increasing body of literature connecting regular cocoa flavanol consumption to blood flow and vascular health improvements throughout the body," said Harold Schmitz, Ph.D. 

Magpies recognize themselves in mirrors

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It had been thought only the great apes, dolphins, and elephants were able, like humans, to recognize their own bodies in a mirror.

But now the humble Magpie has been added to that list, and he is a right vain little prima-donna.

Psychologist Helmut Prior says he has evidence of self-recognition in magpies even though they have a brain structure very different from mammals.

He tested by placing a mark on the birds which could only be be seen in a mirror. He then observed their activity towards it and was able to conclude these birds recognized the image in the mirror as themselves, and not another animal.

When Helmut went out of the lab to get a drink he returned to find the bird trying on an dress, looking in the mirror and asking 'does my bum look big in this?'

No 10 snubs Clarkson PM petition

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When nearly 50,000 people signed a petition to get Jeremy Clarkson appointed Prime Minister few expected Downing Street to respond.

But yesterday bosses at Number 10 replied in a unique way, a YouTube video ... Gordon Brown will soon be answering PMQs on Twitter.

The 55 second slick clip was posted on the official Downing Street channel next to comments from Gordon Brown about troops being killled in Afghaniatan.

It shows the door to Number 10 and thanks the 49,447 people for voting saying they made a "compelling case" before adding "But on second thoughts, maybe not."

Production of the video has raised questions as to what the people inside Number 10 do all day though a spokesman said it was knocked up in "half-an-hour."

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A wild dolphin in Australia is teaching other wild dolphins to perform tricks it learnt while in captivity.

Billie, a female bottlenose, picked up the odd tricks in captivity during the 1980s when she was rescued by the local dolphinarium after getting trapped behind a marina lock and kept for three weeks.

But now it appears she has taught other members of her group how to 'tailwalk' - surging vertically out of the water and then propelling themselves backwards while remaining upright in the air, as though ‘walking’ through the water.

The discovery has prompted some to question whether the group, based off the coast of Adelaide, a rehearsing for an upcoming world tour.

Dr Mike Bossley, of WDCS Australia said: "I have observed all the local dolphins over a number of years, and have watched Billie occasionally performing tailwalks in the years since her release, sometimes in the bow wave of large ships, which is an awesome sight!

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A BBC TV pundit was mobbed by Chinese Olympic fans as he broadcast live from Tiananmen Square ... because they thought he was US super-swimmer Michael Phelps.

Adding salt to the wound, mistaken presenter Steve Parry he is a former olympic swimmer himself who gained a bronze medal for the 200m butterfly in 2004. 

He lost ... you guessed it, to a certain Michael Phelps.

"I am not Michael Phelps," he kept shouting as fans tried to have their picture taken with him and asking for his autograph, "I am Steve Parry from England."

Parry had been asked to take a cardboard cut-out of Phelps into Tiananmen Square to show how many people would want to have their picture taken with it.

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Bartenders say they can identify which political party a US drinker supports simply by looking at what drinks they order and how they behave at the bar.

And they are not just using the logic that Republicans must consume more alcohol to help themselves sleep at night.

100 bartenders in the Washington DC area were quizzed on their opinions of patrons' cocktail preferences in the survey by Beam Global Spirits & Wine.

The results showed Democrats are better tippers, have better pick-up lines and give more toasts while Republicans order their drinks straight up.

But parties are at a stalemate over drinking hours, with Republicans edging out for the first to arrive at happy hour and Democrats being the last to go home.

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Playing and chatting about computer games like World of Warcraft can improve your ability as a scientist, say (gaming-mad) scientists.

Boffins from University of Wisconsin (probably trying to explain why they were on WoW forums all day) used codes based on benchmarks for scientific literacy, to analyze online discussions about World of Warcraft. 

They looked at a random sample of nearly 2,000 discussion posts to see what types of conversations took place, such as social bantering versus problem-solving, that classified as scientific reasoning. 

It was concluded that the forum and game-based learning could supplement textbooks and science labs in fostering scientific thinking and problem-solving ability.

"These forums illustrate how sophisticated intellectual practices to improve game play mimic actual scientific reasoning," said researcher Sean Duncan. 

When men BBQ women do all the hard work

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When a man offers to cook on the BBQ it does not mean an evening off for his partner, she will often end up working longer than him, it has been found.

A healthy eating campaign say that while men might stand at the BBQ to cook meat, they do very little else.

Wives and partners are normally left to; shop for the food, prepare salads and deserts, set the table, serve the food, clear up and even do the dishes.

A spokesperson for 'Eat in Colour' said: "We are all familiar with the summer ritual. At the first hint of sunshine the nation’s menfolk dash to the garden centre and return triumphant with a sack of charcoal briquettes. 

"Donning a humorous apron they set out to show off their culinary flair and give us the afternoon off. But things don’t really work out that way."

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A weatherman was given the shock of his life when a seven foot python slithered up his shorts during a live broadcast.

Kurtis Gertz of US station KCCI-TV was reporting from the Iowa State Fair with the python over his shoulder when it took a fancy to him.

As Gertz chatted into his microphone, Dawn the snake darted up the right leg of his shorts, within seconds she was so far in she appeared from the bottom of his left leg.

The snake handler joked "She might have a crush on you," as he tried to get her out.

While they tried to get Dawn out Gertz said to the crowd "I've got a hunch this is going to make YouTube," and he was right, within days it has over 80,000 views.

The Banana Splits to make a TV comeback

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1960s children's classic The Banana Splits are heading back to TV screens after being given a modern makeover.

The costumed rock band made up of Fleegle (a dog), Drooper (a lion), Bingo (a gorilla) and Snorky (an elephant) will star in the new comedy shorts and music videos which will air on Cartoon Network starting in September.

The anarchic crew will keep the same theme tune - The Tra La La Song - but this time they will have a website, DVD, CD and their music will be available for download on iTunes.

The Banana Splits first appeared in 1968 as hosts of The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, which was created by Hanna-Barbera.

"Everything that made The Banana Splits hugely popular in the '60s is back, including the group's terrific humor and hit music," said Jordan Sollitto of Warner Bros.

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A rare frog which croaks in what experts say is 'northern accent' is to be given legal protection after it was reintroduced to Britain.

Minister for Wildlife, Joan Ruddock showed her 'Kermit-ment' to safeguarding the pool frog by introducing the measures which come into effect on 1st October.

From then it will be illegal to kill, take, injure, disturb, own or sell the frog which died out in the UK in the 1990s.

Scientists say they discovered the frog was northern by analyzing mating calls and matching them with frogs from Norway and Sweden - not because it used to be a coal miner and moans about prices down south.

Ruddock said: "The UK's native species need our support, and I hope today's announcement will help give the pool frog a secure future."

Government: Do Yoga at bus stops

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A weird government-funded campaign has been launched to encourage commuters to exercise while they wait for a bus.

As part of 'Every Stop Helps' posters will be displayed at UK bus stops showing one of six yoga and pilates-style positions.

The idea is that passengers should get into that pose while they wait for the bus. The posters even offer words of encouragement and tell travelers not to feel self-conscious.

However, exactly what a driver does when he arrives at a stop only to find four grannies in downward-facing-dog is yet to be seen.

The scheme is currently being operated on routes including the X41 between Blackburn and Manchester.

Top Gear channel revs onto YouTube

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Top Gear has become the first BBC show to get a dedicated channel on YouTube, meaning Richard Hammond now gets a chance to crash your computer too.

All the usual odd and wacky races from Jeremy Clarkson and Co, along with car-mad celeb interviews, will now be uploaded to the channel youtube.com/topgear.

It is the first time the Beeb has set up dedicated channel for a show, though they have disabled embedding meaning people can't add the videos to their own sites.

This is not the first time Top Gear has appeared on the video sharing network, a classic clip of an Atom sportscar on the show has gained almost four million views. 

Simon Danker, director, digital media, BBC Worldwide, said: "Top Gear has a massive audience across the globe so we thought it was time it had its own place on YouTube. 

Wear Phelps' swimsuit at your local pool

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You could soon be making a splash at your local swimming pool by wearing the suit Michael Phelps claims helped him win eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics.

While it won't mean you can swim and the same speed as the record breaking athlete you will look a plonker in your new £275 kit, guaranteed.

The Speedo LZR Racer - which goes on sale in October - was designed with NASA, has 10% less passive drag and is said to shave split seconds off the times of the worlds best swimmers.

Speedo says it scanned the bodies of more than 400 elite swimmers, tested more than 100 different fabrics to perfect the ultra lightweight fully bonded suit.

"When I hit the water, I feel like a rocket", says Michael Phelps, who was involved in the development of the LZR Racer.

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British intelligence service MI5 are launching a recruitment drive to get more homosexual applicants for jobs as spies.

They also hope any current double-homo-seven spies will also be encouraged to come out of the closet as the service aims to become more gay-friendly.

Spook bosses have already begun placing the spy ads in publications including a graduate recruitment guide produced by homosexual lobby group Stonewall.

A spokesman for Stonewall said the move was a positive step by MI5 and that he saw no reason why in 10 years the service's employment profile should not look very much like modern Britain.

"There is no reason why there shouldn't be a lesbian or gay director-general," he added.

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Want an orange but can't spare 40 seconds to peel one? ... No I've never had that problem either, but a supermarket would have the answer if I had.

Sainsbury's claim to have discovered an 'easy-peel' variety of orange which is guaranteed ready to eat within 35 seconds.

Costing twice as much as a normal orange the 59p Australian superfruit comes at a premium but just think of what you can do in those extra 15 seconds earlier.

The supermarket chain claim the odd orange is also 50 percent sweeter than other varieties.

A spokesperson for Sainsbury's said: "We are confident our new easy-peel orange will save our customers a huge amount of time and bother. 

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She was born 98 years before Facebook was launched, but that hasn't stopped Granny Ivy Bean becoming the social networks oldest user.

The former mill worker - who turns 103 next month - says she loves using the site to keep up to date with friends and family.

She first heard about it through her great grandchildren and wanted to know more about it ... now she is posting photos, videos and even status updates.

Ivy who is slightly deaf says she has over 3,000 friends on the site including her daughter, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Family members and carers at  Hillside Manor, Bradford, West Yorks help her keep her page up-to-date.

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Over 800,000 begonias were used to create a ornate flower 'carpet' in the centre of Brussels, begging the question 'wouldn't laminate flooring be easier?'

The giant 77m x 24m flower display - based on intricate pattern of a 17th-century French carpet - is built every two years and attracts over 100,000 tourists to the Belgian capital.

While it took a team of 80 florists four hours to create, it will only be in place for three days during which time the grass used can grow by 5cm.

The flowers are packed together one by one, 300 to every square meter of the ground and no soil is used at all.

A spokeperson for Flowercarpet said: "The actual making of the carpet is based on a plan worked out in advance, consisting of several stages. Everything starts, often a year in advance.


Legolympics: the Olympics in Lego

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Using over 300,000 tiny bricks a group of Lego fans have recreated the venues of the Chinese Olympics in amazing detail.


Included are the famous Bird’s Nest National Stadium, the Water Cube aquatics centre, rowing lakes, Equestrian centre and even the athletes village. 


Over 30 members of the Hong Kong Lego User Group spent weeks constructing the 8m x 3m project featuring  4,500 Lego people.


A spokesman for the group said: "We would like to promote LEGO creative culture to local public as well as promote China to international by LEGO."


Tennis, table tennis, beach volleyball, football, sailing and windsurfing are also among the sports featured in the replica.


M&S ditch their iPod school blazer

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Marks and Spencer have stopped selling a school blazer with built in iPod controls after teachers branded it irresponsible.

The 'Blazer for iPod' had been part of the M&S 2008 Back to School collection, but today it was deleted from their website and disappeared from stores.

The move came after teachers said the jacket would have encouraged children to flout school rules by listening to MP3 players in class.

Britain's biggest teaching union, the NASUWT went as far as to say M&S were irresponsible for selling it.

The £25-£30 blazer for boys and girls, has a five-function keypad in the lapel lining which allows the wearer to change the volume on the iPod and play, pause, fast-forward and rewind tracks.

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Scientists have created a bizarre sicence-fiction-style robot which is controlled by cells from a rat's brain.

The six inch bot is wirelessly connected to a rat's brain which is stored in a lab at the University of Reading.

Signals from the 'brain' - cultured neurons which are placed onto a multi electrode array - steer the robot left or right and can allow it to avoid objects in its path.

They are now hoping to 'teach' the robo-rat to become familiar with its surroundings.

Professor Kevin Warwick from the School of Systems Engineering, said: "This is tremendously exciting, firstly the biological brain controls its own moving robot body, and secondly it will enable us to investigate how the brain learns and memorises its experiences. 

Little Gordon Ramsay is F'ing popular

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A miniature Gordon Ramsey has become a surprise internet hit by mocking the TV chef and his four-letter rants.

A clip of the youngster blasting the quality of the lunch his mother has prepared - peppered with the F word - has been watched over 60,000 times on YouTube.

In the on-line ad little Gordon shouts "What the f**ks in here, it's f**king embarassing" before tipping his lunchbox out onto the kitchen table.

As his mother walks out crying he shout after her: "That's right here com the waterworks, that's going to help.

Hospitality group Caterer.com who recruit would-be chefs say the advert is the first of a upcoming series.

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It is the closest many of them will ever come to a book but the word WAGs has made it to the dictionary.

The word for the wives and girlfriends of sporting stars has been added to the latest edition of The Chambers Dictionary.

The 11th edition of the book also includes a host of 'modern' words and phrases which the publishers claim illustrates modern life.

Environmental issues are clearly a growing concern with the addition of the terms, carbon footprint, eco-village and green tax.

The revised edition also now includes Wags, nail bars and social networking as a sign of the times.

Workers watch Olympics at work

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One in ten office workers will watch some of the Beijing 2008 Olympics while they are at work, according to a recent survey.

Younger workers have the most interest in watching the games while on the clock with sixteen percent of workers aged 18-24 say they will catch some part of the Olympics while working.

Coverage of the games is available on a host of websites, some more legal than others, and they are expected to be a huge productivity problem for businesses.

13 percent of workers aged 25-34, 11 percent of workers in both age groups 35-44 and 45-54, and 9 percent of workers 55 and older will also be logging on to online streaming.

The survey of over 7,000 people also asked in which of the Summer Olympic sports they would most want to compete and win a gold medal, with swimming coming first. 

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An early contract signed by The Beatles and described as 'the most important music contract of all time' is expected to sell for £250,000 at a memorabilia auction.

Brian Epstein’s personal copy of the first fully signed agreement between himself and The Beatles will go on sale in London during September.

The Beatles all signed in their real and full names; John Winston Lennon, George Harrison, James Paul McCartney and Richard Starkey (Ringo Star.)

But the agreement also features the names and signatures of Harold Hargreaves Harrison and James McCartney who had to give additional consent on behalf of their sons as they were under 21.

Thought the contract is dated 24th January 1962 Epstein refused to ink his name for over half a year as he sought to fulfil his promise to the Fab Four – to secure them their first record contract.

Postmen want legal protection from dogs

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Postmen in the UK want legal protection from dogs, say the trade union that represents them.

While images of dogs chasing postmen have been a comedy staple for years, the Communication Workers Union say it is no laughing matter.

Last year almost 6,000 posties were attacked by a dog as they tried to deliver letters, some seriously and even hospitalized.

But a loophole in the law means they have no protection under the Dangerous Dogs Act which only covers public places.

This means owners cannot be held accountable for their animals actions though the same attacks could send them to prison if it happened on a public street.

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Despite earning on average 17 percent less than men, women are better at salary negotiation, say recruitment experts ... imagine if they weren't.

When asking for a raise men are said do it in terms of how much money they have earned, while women focus on skills and how they add value.

Aisling Tighe of management consultancy Perriam & Everett claims highlighting these skills if the best way to secure a top salary saying: "“It’s these ‘softer’ skills that can really make a difference to an organisations bottom line.”" 

And the recruitment managers and directors surveyed agreed.

64 percent said women were better at negotiating their salaries by using their softer skills to show how they add value more holistically through leadership, mentoring, and problem solving or customer service.

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Not content working-out in the shed like everyone else Steven Gerrard has built a gym in his garden ... bigger than his neighbours house.

The Liverpool splashed out £350,000 on the two-storey copper-and-glass building which has been built in the garden of his Freshfield home.

After several complaints the gym was given planning permission and will add to the value of Gerrards £2 million home.

The building has taken over eight months to complete and will now be filled with state-of-the-art exercise equipment for the midfielder and WAG wife Alex Curran.

But some of his neighbours (and probably blue Everton fans) say the new gym looks more like a supermarket.

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Regular running slows the effects of aging claim scientists who tracked 500 running grannies for more than 20 years.

The study found people who run are less likely to have disabilities in old age and will on average live longer than their non running OAP friends.

In 1984 researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine started following 538 over 50s who ran average of about four hours a week.

Fast forward 20 years and while 15 percent of the running grannies are dead, this figure is 34 percent in a control sample of non runners.

The runners - now in their 70s and 80s - were also found to be living higher-quality lives and more able to perform everyday activities.

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In the wild this little chap would be hunted for food or use in medicine ... luckily for him he was born at Bristol Zoo.

The Chinese box turtle weighed just 15 grams and measures 4cm long when it hatched three weeks ago. Now, not much bigger, he has gone on show tot the public.

When fully grown the endangered species turtle can weight 800 grams and measure over 16cm long, they can also live for 50 years.

Tim Skelton, Bristol Zoo Gardens' curator of reptiles, said he hoped the rare hatch would develop an "understanding of breeding and incubation" of the endangered turtles.

"Chinese box turtles are considered an endangered species so we are thrilled with this new arrival. 


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The new face of Tomb Raider has been revealed, and this time Lara Croft is a former gymnastic representative for Great Britain who has entertained Prince Charles.

23-year-old receptionist Alison Carroll will now join Angelina Jolie and Nell McAndrew (as well as a host of others we can't remember) as the official face of the Tomb Raider game franchise. 

She will now undertake a series of courses which will include a SAS survival, combat and semi-automatic weapon firing courses in Eastern Europe, and a crash course in world archaeology.

Once completely trained in the ways of video gaming’s leading lady, Alison will be lining up a host of international modelling assignments, starring in TV commercials, appearing on chat shows.

Alison Carroll said: "I still can’t believe they chose me to take on the role of Lara – and I can’t wait to get stuck in. 

Amy Winehouse gives us nightmares

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Up there with falling from a great height and being chased, Amy Winehouse has been named as one of the most common nightmares.

A survey of 3,500 brits found that one in ten has had a scary snooze in the last week and that women are twice as likely to have a nightmare.

The most common themes are being chased, losing a loved one, falling from a height, not having any money, being jobless and being attacked by spiders. 

And horror-flick-faced Amy is the famous person who most often makes a cameo nightmare appearance ... though this is probably just in people who have seen her that day. 

A spokesperson for Travelodge who commissioned the research said: "Thoughts, such as losing your job, being homeless, falling and being chased are a manifestation of how much the credit crunch is affecting our daily lives and causing distressed sleep patterns. 

100,000 condoms for Olympic sex sessions

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Sex looks like it has become the unofficial sport of the Beijing 2008 Olympics after 100,000 condoms were handed out to athletes.

The condoms are being given away in the Olympic Village along with sex education leaflets and videos in a host of different languages.

There are 10,500 athletes so they could have nine condoms each - if having sex with other competitors this would mean they are able to have it away 18 times during the competition - lets hope they still get time to compete.

Provided by the China Reproductive Health Industry Association, this is the first time the olympic condoms have been made in China and quality checks have been carried out to certify the condoms meet international standards.

Free condoms have been offered to athletes in the games since Barcelona in 1992.

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A NHS dentist who landed a multi million dollar record deal has been threatened with legal action if he continues to sing Prince's 'Purple Rain.'

Andrew Bain landed the Sony BMG contract on the back of an operatic performance of the 1984 Prince hit and as a result wanted it feature on his debut album.

But he will now not be allowed to use his classical/pop version after the ever contentious Prince threatened him with legal action if he does.

Other artists who have allowed him to cover tracks include; David Essex, Aerosmith, Dolly Parton, David Bowie and Snow Patrol.

Speaking today (Tuesday) the former dentist said: "I have the utmost respect for Prince, without 'Purple Rain' I wouldn’t be where I am today. 

Elephant memory is key to their survival

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Scientists who appear to have forgotten that elephants never forget have conducted more research on the subject.

They claim elephants remember the location of life-sustaining sources of food and water which may be the key to survival for their families during periods of famine and drought.

A study by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Zoological Society of London found groups with old females had a lower calf mortality rate during hard times.

These groups were also more likely to travel to areas which could have been visited by a family member over 60 years previously.

"Understanding how elephants and other animal populations react to droughts will be a central component of wildlife management and conservation," said researcher Dr. Charles Foley.

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An ATM which only only lets people withdraw £5 notes has been launched to help people in cash strapped areas manage their budgets.

The machine is located in East London but more to be rolled out across the UK in the next few months as the credit crunch continues.

Operators Bank Machine say consumers will also be limited to taking out £50 each day ... which as prices rise will barely cover the cost of a Starbucks coffee.

Over 20 spots in the capital have been identified where the company believe "consumers would benefit from managing their budgets with smaller denominations."

Last month Bank Machine launched the Fight for Fivers campaign with the aim of getting more £5 notes into circulation in the UK.

Scientists find the 'horror movie gene'

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The gene which leaves you covering your eyes while everyone else enjoys a horror movie has been identified.

Experts say they the gene controls how different people react to unpleasant pictures in what they call the 'startle reflex.'

After identifying people with the COMT gene researchers from the University of Bonn in Germany tested the reactions of 96 women.

Participants were shown emotionally pleasant pictures (such as animals or babies), neutral (such as a power outlet or hairdryer), or aversive (such as injured victims at a crime scene) 

As they watched a loud, 35-millisecond white noise, called a startle probe, sounded at random and they response was measured.

Chinese faked Olympic opening ceremony

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Chinese officials have admitted faking parts of the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics.

In fact they have gone one better than admitting it and are now even boasting about fooling people.

Millions of viewers worldwide watched in awe as a series of 29 firework appeared to be set off to show giant footprints in the sky running to the national stadium.

But bosses have now revealed the images which were shown as though live were in fact filmed over a period of 12 months.

"Most of the audience thought it was filmed live - so that was mission accomplished," Gao Xiaolong, head of the visual effects team for the ceremony boasted in the Beijing Times.

Eat Kangaroo and help save the world

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Snacking on Skippy would significantly cut greenhouse gases and could help save the planet, researchers claim.

Experts say eating more Kangaroo would lead to a reduction in the cattle and sheep populations, which are responsible for 60 per cent of global methane emissions.

Kangaroos emit one-third as much methane as ruminant animals, such as cattle, sheep and goats.

The experts predict that in Australia alone and increasing the kangaroo numbers to 175 million by 2020 would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 16 megatonne.

"Sheep and cattle constitute 11 per cent of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions," said researcher Dr George Wilson of the University of New South Wales.

Scientists closer to invisibility cloak

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Harry Potter's invisibility cloak could soon become real say scientists who have developed a material they say is key to producing the device.

Boffins have invented a new three-dimensional "metamaterial" which reverses the natural direction of light possibly paving the way for invisibility.

The experts from the University of California say the material 'bends' light in much the same way as when looking into a tank of water causing fish to appear in a slightly altered position.

The next step they say is to engineer the material properties in a certain manner and cover someone in it, making them invisible.

Because the material would bend the light looking at someone the cloak you would see exactly what was behind them.

Popcorn banned in cinema screenings

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A cinema chain is to trial 'popcorn free' screenings claiming people are fed up with the movie associated snack.

Picturehouse say popcorn has become a contentious issue for movie-goers who either love the taste or hate the noise it creates.

Now on Tuesdays no-one will be able to take the £4.50 snack in the cinema's 7pm screenings - if successful they cold be rolled out across their whole listing schedule.

Gabriel Swartland, head of media at the Picturehouse Cinema said: "If it's a success, and I've no reason to suspect it won't be, we'll roll it out across all our cinemas and make it a permanent fixture."

Popcorn has for years been popular with cinema chains who can make 90p for every £1 they charge, it also encourages people to drink more.

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Chelesa will start the Premier League with a scientific disadvantage, researchers claim.

And it has more to do with the colour of their shirts than the players wearing them, so the potential £20m bid for Brazilian Robinho may not be that important.

Boffins say teams who play in red gain an unfair advantage because referees are more likely to favour them in split-second decisions.

The psychologists argue this is the result of subconscious activity and only comes into play if athletes are of a similar ability.

But with three of the other top four teams, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool all wearing red it is bad news for Scolari's men.

Chinese going 08.08.08 crazy

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People in China are getting very eight-cited, not only does the Beijing 2008 Olympic games start today but it is also 'triple 8' day, the luckiest day for 100 years.

In chinese culture the number eight is seen as lucky making the date 08/08/08 the ideal day to do something special.

As a result over 16,000 couples are planning on getting married, many times the number who normally tie the knot even on a busy day. Some marriage bureaus are even holding 25 times the normal ceremonies.

But it is not just weddings, thousands of women are also hoping to give birth today, with with expectant mothers crossing their fingers and legs in hope.

Hundreds have booked in for a Caesarean section to ensure their child a luck birthday.

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Special saddles could be used to help bicycling police officers overcome erectile dysfunction and groin numbness, scientists claim.

Police officers who spend a large part of their working day on bikes, and a large number of recreational cyclists, are often said to have problems getting erections.

But researchers say changing their saddles could dramatically improve their sex lives.

90 US officers took part in a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Cincinnati where they had noseless bicycle saddles installed.

After six months of using the noseless saddles the officers form 5 metropolitan regions reported better erections and greater increased sensitivity in there penis.

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A website was inundated with responses from randy readers after it announced it was looking for sex toy testers.

Thousands signed up with the hope of landed the job where they would beasked to rigorously test 10 vibrators, bringing a new meaning to the term 'putting a hard day in at the office.'

20 lucky women were sent the £300 worth of sex toys and were asked to rate them in terms of, attractiveness, build quality, quietness, strength of vibrations and orgasm quality.

Lovehoney.co.uk has now released the results of all the 'hard work' the women put in and named their top sex toy.

A weird looking device called the Fun Factory Delight came top with many of the 20 testers giving it a 100 percent orgasm rating.

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For those who couldn't get to China for the Olympics, or those who are there and can't see anything because of the smog, Google has launched 3D models of the venues.

Venue models on Google Earth include the National stadium, the Olympic sports center gymnasium, the Beijing workers stadium and the Laoshan bicycle moto cross BMX venue.

Users can zoom around the buildings, view where they are in relation to each other and unlike the actual building they are not clouded by smog and you will not choke on the air.

Other Beijing 2008 features added by Google for the Olympics include special maps shows the medals won for each country and updated satellite imagery of Beijing.

For the next few weeks the Olympics is expected to dominate the internet and generate millions of searches.

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730,000 Brits have chatted to someone on their mobile phone WHILE having sex with their partner, is has been claimed.

A survey into the gadget habits of Brits also found 35 percent of us regularly use our mobile whiles on the loo.

So with the toilet and the throws of passion ticked off is there anywhere we would draw the line and put the mobile down?

Apparently not, some of bizarre places those quizzed said they had used their phones included; funerals, the dentists chair and even ... during a rectal examination.

Ross Burridge, Editor of igizmomag.co.uk which commissioned the research said: "We a’re a nation that loves our gadgets and it seems we take our mobiles everywhere with us - even to the lavatory."

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While they are loved by sandal-wearing, tree-hugging hippies everywhere, electric cars are not as popular with people who get run over because they can't hear them coming. 

But now a sportscar manufacturer thinks it has got a solution - make the eco-friendly vehicles sound like supercars.

Lotus, famous for gas guzzling cars, has created a electric "Safe and Sound" demo car which makes the noise of a V8 engine.

It is fitted with a waterproof speaker mounted above the radiator which plays a sound based on the vehicle's speed and throttle position. 

"Our advanced external sound synthesis technology increases pedestrian safety, while retaining the car's environmental benefits," said Mike Kimberley of Lotus.

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If you splashed out for a new 3G iPhone hoping to go one better than your mate, only to find he had bought one too, this could be your way to exclusivity.

A new application called 'I Am Rich' is now available to download from the Apple website, it costs $999 or £599 and does, well, absolutely nothing.

While there are all sorts of useful applications available for under £5.00 and many free, this one is just to mark you out from the hoi polloi and simply displays a glowing red gem.

Buying and installing the iPhone/iPod Touch application certainly marks you out as something, but it might fill a quiet afternoon for David Beckham.

On the Apple iTunes music store site, maker Armin Heinrich says: "The red icon on your iPhone or iPod Touch always reminds you (and others when you show it to them) that you were able to afford this. It's a work of art with no hidden function at all."

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An advert starring sexy actress Eva Mendes deemed too hot for TV has been banned again, this time from YouTube.

In the Calvin Klein perfume ad the actress is lying on a bed in a series of sexy poses and for a split second (shock horror) shows her nipple.

US TV bosses said the advert was too sexy for American audiences and banned it, predictably it became an instant YouTube hit.

Within hours of been uploaded it had been watched by over 360,000 viewers.

But now the  has been removed from the video site any anyone hoping to see the 34-year-old actress nipping out will instead see the YouTube message "This video has been removed due to terms of use violation."

Shell shocked: Cavemen ate tortoises

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While cavemen have a reputation for chasing saber-toothed tigers and hunting wooly mammoths, they were more likely to take home a tortoise for dinner.

Experts have found the remains of more than 500 tortoises in caves along the Costa Blanca in Spain, suggesting cavemen could have been a lazy as modern men.

They know they were eaten rather than kept as pets because there was evidence that they had been roasted and many had human toothmarks and cracked shells.

But the Spanish Fred Flintstones did not live on tortoise alone, also in the cave were pigs, deer, cattle and goats.

Paleontologists from the University of Tarragona in Spain believe the finds help shed more light on the lives of our cave dwelling ancestors.

OAP took 8mph buggy on busy A-road

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Police yesterday (Monday) pulled over a 81-year-old pensioner who had taken his mobility scooter out for a ride on a 70mph road.

The man caused tailbacks as he meandered his way down the busy A27 dual carriageway in Hampshire at just 8mph.

After several calls for concerned, read annoyed, motorists, the police pulled him over as he approached Portsmouth.

Though the pensioner who was on his way home after going shopping was not breaking the law - scooters are only banned from motorways - the cops told him his dual carriageway jaunt was not the wisest.

He was given a lift home to Hayling Island in the back of a police van, along with his scooter.

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A £400,000 study into improving the taste and texture of meat will mean your roast dinner could soon be packed with bags more natural flavour, say scientists.

The three-year research at the University of Nottingham will look at how muscle fibre types impact the appearance, texture and taste of the meat that we eat.

The boffins say meat tastes different because of the speed at which it grows, slow muscle fibres have flavour intensity and tenderness while meat from fast muscle fibres is considered to be tougher and drier.

They are now trying to develop ways to breed tasty animals faster.

"Genetically, we have been very successful in breeding animals that can grow very quickly but the down side is that comes at the price of eating quality," said Veterinary Medicine and Science Professor Kin-Chow Chang.

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Conservationists have found what they describe as a real-life "Planet of the Apes' in the Republic of Congo.

More than 125,000 western lowland gorillas have been discovered living in a small area of the northern parts of the country ... only 50,000 were previously thought to exist worldwide.

Experts say the area 'Ntokou-Pikounda zone', should now be set up as a protected area.

The critically endangered species occur in seven Central African nations and the Wildlife Conservation Society say this find should act as a rallying cry to protect vulnerable and endangered species.

"We knew from our own observations that there were a lot of gorillas out there, but we had no idea there were so many," said Dr. Emma Stokes who worked on the project.

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These pictures show the UK's major cities (and Birmingham) devastated by flooding.

Luckily this is not the result of the latest freak weather, but a new computer game where players must protect their city against floods

Floodsim.com is designed to help people understand the risk of flooding and  gamers are put charge of all flood policy decisions - riveting stuff that will have the makers of GTA quaking.

The game has the backing of Environment Minister Phil Woolas, the man whose job has effectively been turned into entertainment for the simulation.

"I am glad to see that this project has been developed to enable people to have a greater understanding of the risk of flooding," he said.

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Dieters who eat two eggs for breakfast lose 65 percent more weight, scientists have found.

The eggy start to the day also gave eaters higher energy levels and a greater reduction in body mass index compared with those eating a bread based breakfast.

Researchers from the Louisiana State University monitored two group of overweight adult, one group ate two eggs each morning the others a bagel (with the same number of calories and had identical weight.) 

Both groups were then asked to follow the same diet, but those who had started with the bagel were found to snack and eat more.

"People have a hard time adhering to diets and our research shows that choosing eggs for breakfast can dramatically improve the success of a weight loss plan," said lead researcher Nikhil Dhurandhar.

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When George Hedges goes to the park to for a game of fetch other pet owners would be forgiven for getting a bit nervous.

Rather than taking the normal dog George goes with Evie the Eagle - a huge bird of prey with a 8ft wingspan and talons as big as a man's hand.

Evie first showed her interest in playing fetch when she grabbed a tennis ball from a pond and took it to George during a flight.

Now she will swoop down and catch a ball as George throws it into the air.

George says he hasn't been able to say no to playing, even though (and possibly because) her razor sharp talons have left him needing hospital treatment when she gets carried away.

German police get 'bullet-proof bra'

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German police have revealed a 'bullet-proof bra' which they believe could help save the lives of hundreds of female police officers.

The bra was created for the Bundespolizei because it was found normal bras can become dangerous when worn under a bullet-proof vest.

If shot, the metal and plastic parts of a traditional bra can be pushed into the body causing serious injury.

The new vonderbra - while it won't stop a bullet - is said to be much safer because it does not have any underwire or fastener.

3,000 female police officers are being offered the new bra will be allowed to pick three from a range of designs, varying in size and style, all of which have the word 'polize' on them.

Beaches look better without Brits

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British holiday-makers spoil the look of European beaches and are the least desirable sunbathers, a survey has found.

A Europe-wide poll found Brits are seen as the least attractive, the worst dressed, the rudest and the heaviest drinkers ... have that many people seen Wayne Rooney on holiday?

But it seems we agree, 78 percent of Brits said we probably are the worst. 

One third of Spaniards and Germans named us as the worst dressed, with 22 percent of Brits agreeing and  71 percent of us are proud we drink the most while on holiday.

A spokesperson for lastminute.com who commissioned the research said: "Whether these findings are following a myth or a reality, the truth to the matter is that Britons do not allow this to get in the way of a good holiday and should feel as confident on the beach as their European counterparts. 


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Scientists have created a electronic tongue which can tell more about a wine than experts like Oz Clark and Matt Skinner.

Makers say it could be used to combat the growing problem of wine fraud where cheap bottles of plonk are re-packaged and passed off as vintage classics.

At the touch of a button the hand-held device - which never runs the risk of getting drunk - can identify where and when the grapes in a wine where grown.

Six sensors detect substances characteristic of a certain wine variety. Components such as acid, sugar and alcohol are measured and from these parameters the tongue can determine the age and variety of the wine.

"The device could be used to detect frauds committed regarding the vintage year of the wine, or the grape varieties used," said inventor Cecilia Jiménez-Jorquera.

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Pilots took toot the skies over London performing death-defying stunts in the Red Bull Air Race.

Flying at speeds of up to 250mph they navigated a course over the Thames where they needed to pass through gates and under pylons.

More than 40,000 spectators gathered at the O2 in Greenwich, south-east London to watch Kirby Chambliss, from the US win.

Local favourite, Paul Bonhomme went out when he struck a pylon in an early round. 

The race is being held in nine cities and moves on to three more before the final leg in November in Perth, Australia.

Meet the world's least scary snake

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Measuring less than 10 centimetres long and thinner than a spaghetti noodle this is the world's smallest, and least scary snake.

The Leptotyphlops carlae was recently discovered on the Caribbean island of Barbados and experts say it is near the minimum possible size for snakes to exist.

It is the smallest of the 3,100 known species of snake and feeds primarily on the larvae of ants and termites.

Though it has eyes they are too small to use and the snake relies on a sense of smell, using its tongue to 'taste' the air.

"Snakes may be prevented by natural selection from becoming too small because, below a certain size, there may be nothing for their young to eat,"" said Dr Blair Hedges, an evolutionary biologist at Pennsylvania State University.

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A celebrity chef had been left red faced after making a blunder with one of his recipes ... but that's nothing, anyone who ate if could have been killed.

In a magazine feature Anthony Worrall Thompson suggested people add a weed called henbane to their salads to give it a little more zing.

And it would have done, the chef had got his herbs mixed up - henbane is related to deadly nightshade and classified as a poison.

It was even used by famous killer Hawley Harvey Crippen to murder his wife.

Healthy And Organic Living magazine this month corrected the mistake saying: "Please discount this suggestion - Antony is very sorry for causing confusion, and had quite a different plant in mind."

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She is more Mona Leia than Mona Lisa - an artist has started recreating classic paintings with sci-fi and cult TV characters.

Jim Hance paints modern versions of some of the world's most famous paintings but replaces the main figures with those from his favorite television shows and movies.

In addition to painting Princess Leia from Star Wars in the famous Leonardo Da Vinci image, he has recreated 'The Last Supper' with the cast from A-Team and Simon Pegg and Nick Frost from Hot Fuzz became Raphaels cherubs from 'The Sistine Madonna'.

The 33-year-old Brit who now lives in Florida recently quit his job as a website designer after receiving praise for his £700 creations - and is already inundated with commissions.

Jim, formerly of Buckinghamshire says he merges classic icons, both the original painting and the characters, to break the monotony of the way they are posterized and merchandised.

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Free-running or parkour could replace cross country in schools across the UK as councils begin to show an interest in the new urban sport.

A number of councils have started holding courses for youngsters interested in getting into free-running and are now looking at getting it into schools.

In parkour runners use ledges, steps and barriers to help them perform jumps and stunts as they make their way around cities.

The sport has featured in a number of high profile movies including the latest James Bond and the Bourne Ultimatum.

But it could be lose some of the cool-factor when PE teachers start telling youngsters how to do it. 

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Fed up with the cold seas turning them into ice-cubes as they try to catch tubes a British surf company has created a heated wetsuit.

They claim heated panels in the £239 suit will allow UK surfers to stay in the water an extra hour without impacting on their flexibility or performance.

Named PRODIGY the suit make by Tiki surf of north Devon, has an integrated a system of removeable re-usable heat pads which can be activated when the winter (or summer) chill starts to set in.

The gel panels work much like pocket hand-warmers - when a metal disk inside them is flexed a reaction takes place generating heat - while it can only be used once per surf the pads can be reset once on dry land.

A spokesperson for Tiki said: "As a British company we have always focussed our development on cold water surfing.


The new Problogger - George Orwell

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He has been dead for 58 years but that hasn't stopped George Orwell from becoming a blogger.

To mark the 70th anniversary of his famous diaries, each entry will be published on the internet exactly seventy years after it was written.

The blog orwelldiaries.wordpress.com will run from 9th August into 2012 and detail his life and opinions on the descent of Europe into war, in real time.

While his writing is often regarded as some of the best in the world we will now see how his pageviews compare with famous bloggers such as Perez Hilton and Darren Rowse.

Orwell will become the only blogger not constantly checking his Alexa rating and site statistics.

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Thousands of people may have unwittingly damaged their eyes by glancing at the sun during today's solar eclipse.

Though there have been warnings about not gazing directly at the sun many are expected to have taken a quick look, risking permanent damage and possible blindness.

Experts say those watching the sun for just a few seconds could have 'solar poisoning' - permanent damages in their sight affected their eye's ability to recognise colour.

But they may not know it yet because it can take days to develop, along with permanent blind spots which cannot be treated even with medications.

"Even when the sun is almost completely covered by the moon and there's very little sunlight coming through, there's still an enormous amount of infrared and ultraviolet radiation" said a spokesperson for the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada before the eclispe started.

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Many children in the UK are not able to recognise the simplest fresh fruit and vegetables, according to new research. 

One in five 11-to-13-year-olds say they do not know what a potato looks like before it is made into chips and one third are unable to identify a bunch of celery.

Asked to name 40 items from a greengrocer's stall oranges were the most identifiable fruit with all the girls quizzed managing to recognize it, though it did leave two percent of boys baffled.

A pomegranate proved more tricky with only eight percent able to name it and only 4.5 percent of children recognised a turnip.

Tracey Kitchener-Kemp, from restaurant chain Tootsies, who commissioned the research said: "I'm a huge supporter of the recommended five-a-day portions of fruit and veg, but how can we expect them to try different kinds of food if they don't know what they look like in the first place?" 

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Fighting in a war before they were born, inventing a school and claiming to be a professional sportsman are just some of the lies found on jobseekers CVs.

Half of employers say they have spotted fictional items on peoples resumes and 57 percent say they automatically dismissed the applicant.

According to survey results Apprentice winner Lee McQueen was lucky to get the job because only six percent of people who are caught lying go on to get the job. 

Sir Alan Sugar famously caught Lee claiming to have spent two years at university when he actually dropped out ... at least he didn't claim to be a member of Mensa or the Kenedy family like this lot.

Job website careerbuilder.com surveyed over 10,000 people to compile the following top 10 list of the worst lies employers have spotted.

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This is what Earth would look like if it was stripped of all plants, soils, water and man-made structures.

The amazing image has been produced One Geology which aims to do for the rocks beneath our feet what Google Earth for the planet's surface.

There are 15,000 scientists in 79 countries working on the project which hopes the maps will act as tools for finding natural resources, understanding earthquakes and volcanoes and monitoring rising sea levels.

Between 60% and 70% of the Earth's surface is now available down to the scale of 1:1,000,000 and in the future you will be able to look at the rocks beneath your own home.

Ian Jackson, Chief of Operations at the British Geological Survey, who is coordinating OneGeology explained: "Knowledge of the rocks that we all live on has become increasingly important and sharing that knowledge at a time of global environmental change is crucial." 

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There is nothing new about laughing at fart jokes, academics say the first one was told in 1900 BC.

Researchers have found what is thought to be the earliest joke - but maybe you had to be there to find it funny.

"Something which has never occurred since time immemorial - a young woman did not fart in her husband's lap."

Okay I'll continue because I assume you are not rolling around on the floor in fits of laughter and that your sides are intact.

Dr Paul McDonald of the Uiniversity of Wolverhampton who conducted the research said: "Jokes have varied over the years, with some taking the question and answer format while others are witty proverbs or riddles.




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