Simon Crisp: October 2008 Archives

Halloween pumpkin becomes robotic Dalek

If you have half-heartedly cut a face out of a pumpkin for Halloween, shame on you.

A team of scientists, and fully signed up sci-fi geeks, have produced a robotic Dalek pumpkin which can move around and even rotate its 'head.'

Robotics expert Huosheng Hu (yes, that makes him Dr Hu) and a team of boffins from University of Essex created the six inch Dalek.

They used cutting edge technology developed from the department of Computing and Electronic Systems which has also produced football-playing robotic dogs and the world’s first autonomous robotic fish.

"This was a bit of fun for Halloween, but the University of Essex was an ideal place to turn to as we have one of the leading and best-equipped robotics research groups in the country," said Dr John Woods.

'Poor' people now buying iPhones

Think your shiny new iPhone makes you look flash? Think again, economic analysts have found that it is now poor people who are buying them.

Okay so maybe not begging on the street, swigging bottles of cider poor, but those with less spare cash than your average early adopter.

In fact, despite its hefty price tag and monthly contracts, the 3G Apple iPhone is being seen by chavs as a way of 'saving' money.

Lower income people - those from household earning less than £25,000 - are said to be seeing it as an alternative to shelling out for a digital camera, phone, GPS and often computer.

For that reason this is where Apple have seen the strongest growth in sales over the past three months, much to the annoyance of Apple fanboys.

Attractive dads have ugly sons

Beautiful women have their fathers to thank for their good looks, research has found.

Psychologists discovered that while attractive dads pass on their good looks to their daughters, their sons will not be so lucky.

This means classically attractive guys are likely to have ugly sons ... and that Wayne Rooneys father should have been a male supermodel.

Boffins from the University of St. Andrews studied family photo albums judging  people of the same families separately for attractiveness and femininity or masculinity.

They then worked out the impact having sexy parents on a child's attractiveness, concluding that while a daughter gets her good looks from her father, sons do not benefit from either having a good looking mom or dad.

The Exorcist is top scary movie

The Exorcist is the movie most likely to induce nightmares in viewers, a survey has found.

A poll of 6,000 scaredy-cat movie watchers found the 1973, head-spinning cross-masturbating classic was the horror film most likely to follow them into their dreams.

21 percent of movie lovers said 'The Exorcist' was the most haunting with 'Halloween' in second, with 11 percent, followed by 'The Ring' in third. 

"Nightmares are a possible side effect of all these films," said a spokesperson for Blockbuster who commissioned the survey, for purely scientific purposes.

"Some will take that as a warning and others as a recommendation." he added.

Man wants to marry comic-book character

A man has launched an online campaign to legalize marriages between humans and cartoon characters.

Thousands of fellow cartoon-lovers have already signed up with the Japanese wierdo man to be given the right to say "I scooby-doo" and marry a toon.

Taichi Takashita aims to collect one million signatures before presenting his petition to the Japanese government. 

Something tells me they will take it off him while backing away and pressing the panic button under their desk. 

Takashita says he feels more at ease in the 2D world and has given up on trying to find a partner in the real world ... I can't imagine why such a normal and well adjusted person would struggle to find a wife.

Water addict died after hosepipe binge

A man who was addicted to drinking water died after bingeing on a hosepipe, an inquest heard.

51-year-old Andrew Else was found soaking wet and unconscious in Berkshire after drinking a fatal amount of water from a hose earlier this year.

Toxicology reports found that the aquaholic (yes you read that correctly) had consumed copious litres of water in a short period of time.

They believe this diluted the levels of sodium in his blood causing heart failure and ultimately his watery death.

A coroner said Andrew had a fascination with drinking water spanning many years but did not understand the dangers of consuming too much H2O.

Mom can only recognize Sean Connery

Doctors have reported an unusual case of a woman who is unable to recognize the voices of her own family members ... but is able to pick out the tones of James Bond star Sir Sean Connery.

While the 60-year-old mom is not able to recall even the sound of her own daughter's voice, she can happily identify the burr of the Scottish former 007.

Researchers at University College London say she grew up with the odd Phonagnosia condition and has never been able to identify who is talking to her unless she can see them.

But bizarrely the unnamed woman discovered she was able to remember the sound of Edinburgh-born Sean Connery and recognize the sound of his voice.

Asked who is her favorite James Bond, you can guess what she said.

VIDEO: X-Rated High School Musical

A sexy teacher put on her own x-rated 'high school musical' when she performed a spontaneous saucy strip at a start of term party.

The German babe, in her 20s, should have been supervising the 15-year-old pupils when she striped down to her underwear at the school in Hungary.

It is thought the teacher joined pupils in a game of truth or dare and obviously, she didn't want to reveal something about herself, but was willing to reveal others.

It was only another teacher intervening which stopped her going further ...  much to the disappointment of whopping students, and thousands of YouTube viewers.

A number of the pupils parents are said to have complained to the school, many of the dads complaints seemed to centre around the fact that there were not teachers like her when they were at school.

£30,000 for 'near identical' logo

A Government agency has paid £30,000 to have minor alterations made to their logo.

Obviously when the 'Border and Immigration Agency' became the 'UK Border Agency' earlier this year, their logo needed to change to reflect their new name.

But now it has been revealed the changes - which could have been done by your average seven-year-old in five minutes - cost a whopping £30,000.

The agency, part of the Home Office, paid £12,000 in design fees, plus £17,000 to allow the bungling bureaucrats to use it.

A booklet was even produced, at an additional cost of £1,200, to 'teach' managers how the logo should be used - at least these people aren't responsible for anything important ... like securing the UK borders.

A nine-year-old boy came face-to-face with an escaped CHEETAH in his back garden.

The animal had escaped through a faulty electric fence from Hamerton Zoo, Cambridgeshire, and found its way into the nearby garden.

Young Toby Taylor was shocked to see the animal as he went out to play ... and promptly did the sensible thing and ran away from it.

After telling him off for slamming the door "But mom there is a Cheetah in the garden" his mum Jules called 999 and keepers from the zoo came to collect the beast.

Zoo bosses say the 6ft-long animal, which can reach speeds of up to 70mph,  would not have attacked the lad, though at one stage it tried to bite its owners as they captured it.

Judge sticks pin in Sarkozy's voodoo case

A judge has thrown out attempts by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to stop stores selling voodoo dolls of him.

The pint-sized President tried to ban the sale of the dolls which feature his face and are covered with some of his most unpopular quotes such as "work more to earn more."

Users are encouraged to stick pins into the quotes they disagree with.

Sarkozy said the 'voodoo doll' should be withdrawn from sale because he has "exclusive and absolute rights" over his own image.

But the French judge ruled the doll was "within the authorised limits of free expression and the right to humour," something not understood in much of France.

A room with a padded floor, lavender-scented pillows, green lights and a specially composed soundtrack has been designed to be the most relaxing in the world.

The creators say it is even good enough to chill out a stressed banker at the peak of the credit crunch.

Visitors to the room lie down on the floor for 15 minutes and look at an artificial sky as they are bathed in green lights and played soothing tunes.

The designer from the University of Hertfordshire says the room is based on scientific findings and not his grandmothers advise of taking a "lie down in a dark room" if your feel stressed.

"The subdued green light enhances the production of dopamine in the brain and provide a calming sensation." said Professor Richard Wiseman.

False leg fell from rollercoaster

A false leg, 53 shoes, 327 mobile phones and 10 items of underwear are just some of the odd items that have been found under a rollercoaster.

Staff at Alton Tower's have started clearing the site under the retiring Corkscrew rollercoaster ahead of its closure on November 9.

But they have been shocked by the bizarre items found, because the site is closed to members of the public, it is thought they fell off looping thrill-seekers.

Also found under the 728 metres long 44mph Corkscrew, were a prosthetic ear, 800 pieces of jewellery, and over one thousand caps.

How scared must someone have been to have left the ride and not noticed that they were missing a leg?

When working out if someone's face is familiar, the first feature people look at is the nose, scientists have found.

It was thought people looked at the eyes first in order to recognize a face, but using eye tracking technology boffins have found it is actually the nose ... even if you haven't got a conk like Pinocchio. 

The researchers showed subjects images of faces they had seen a few minutes prior and images of faces they had never seen. The subjects had to decide in a very short time whether they recognized each face or not.

A computer at UC San Diego 'watched' the movement of the subjects eyes and how long their eyes stayed at each location.

You can tell the photos were only of the peoples face, otherwise mens focus would have drifted south to see if they "recognized" a womans breasts.

A drunk student ruined a new £10,000 Mini by driving up a flight of stairs in a bid to recreate a scene from The Italian Job.

But the posh prat - who had only been given the £10,000 car hours earlier by his rich parents - ended up busting his front tyres, blowing up the radiator and causing the airbags to explode.

After speeding around the uni campus in the early hours of the morning, driving over pavements and lawns, the Bristol student and former Harrow schoolboy crashed into the the steps at their digs Wills Hall.

Two police cars and a helicopter were sent to arrest the 18-year-old for drink-driving after their actions woke other students.

He now faces a prison sentence after just one month at university. A police spokesman said: "He tried to recreate the Italian Job – but in the film they don't get caught."

Star Trek planet may really exist

NASA astronomers believe there may be a planet orbiting the star Epsilon Eridani, just like Mr Spock's planet Vulcan in Star trek.

Using a powerful telescope the stargazers spotted that the triple-ringed star has an asteroid belt like that which lies beyond Mars in our solar system.

Using a logic that even Mr Spock would be proud of, they deduced that this could be and probably is home to planets like ours.

They say the discovery greatly boosts the chance that this new solar system could be inhabited ... and gives Trekkies a reason to dust off their pointy ears. 

"This system probably looks a lot like ours did when life first took root on Earth," said Dana Backman, a NASA astronomer at the SETI Institute.

Cambridge University might have been home to some of Britain's brightest minds over the years, but that doesn't mean everyone there is a literary genius.

A misspelt sign at the university car park has prompted a wry smile from visitors - especially those from Oxford - by referring to Sidney Sussex College as a collage.

The sign which reads "Entrance To Collage Car Park Only" was installed during the month-long closure of a road to repair a broken sewage pipe.

But academics are keen to stress they had nothing to do with it stating it had been created by contractors employed by Anglian Water.

Given our tendency for the (more than) occasional spelling mistake, we don't normally like to point out the failing in others ... but then it is not often we get to lord it up over places like Cambridge University.

Wearing red can boost attraction

Men find themselves more attracted to women who are wearing red clothes, experts have found.

Blokes are instantly more attentive and generous towards ladies in red, say the researchers, they would also spend more money on them ... but the men don't know why.

Researchers from the University of Rochester showed men photos of women wearing different colours and asked the to rate their attractiveness, how much they would spend on a date and a series of other questions.

Red proved an aphrodisiac for men who found the lady in red more attractive, both physically and sexually they also said they would lavish more money on her.

But the men were not able to identify what what shaping their opinions, good news for women who are off to buy a new red dress.

Next Bond could be filmed in Birmingham

Bond movies are known for their glamourous locations as much as their action scenes but star Daniel Craig says the next 007 could be filmed in Birmingham.

In an interview the current Bond said that if the credit crunch hits Hollywood and studios try to save money, the exotic locations will be the first thing to go.

If that happens the next movie could be set in the UK, switching Bangkok or the Bahamas for Birmingham.

Craig said: "There are plenty of places we could shoot in the British Isles. If the credit crunch hits the movie business, who knows? Bond in the Lake District, Liverpool... or Birmingham."

That got us thinking, what would it be like if Bond villains spoke with a Brummie accent "Nah Mr Bond, I expect yam to die" ... and what would Casino Royale have looked like in Brum?

Revelers in Dallas had a ball when two of the world's largest beach balls were released in the city.

It took a team of people to start the balls rolling, and bouncing, from an an office building in the Guinness record breaking event.

The balls measured 36 feet in diameter and stood more than three stories tall but were still made from the traditional beach ball material.

Organizers Carnival Cruise Lines had to ensure the enormous balls were at least 10 meters in diameter to break the Guinness world record.

It is not know how the giant beachballs were inflated ... but with that much hot air required we can only assume David Cameron popped to Dallas to help out.

Drunks burgle police station

A pair of drunken burglars stole police equipment including stab vests and the key to a patrol car, when officers didn't lock the door to their station.

Shane Bowkett, 22, and Matthew Goodchild, 21 helped themselves to the items from the station in Newent, Gloucestershire after a visit to a local pub.

They had initially gone to the station because they though a family member might have been arrested (as you do) but found the door to the station unlocked.

Doing what any self respecting low-life would do they grabbed the stuff and  made a run for it, ignoring the fact that if there is one crime police are likely to solve, it is one against them.

The pair were unsurprisingly caught and appeared in Gloucester magistrates court where they both admitted burglary and were each given a 12 month conditional discharge.

Finding a hubby with a Super Bowl ad

A woman is trying to raise $3 million in a bid to advertise for love during the Super Bowl.

Amy Borkowsky says she wants to raise the cash to take out a 30 second TV advert during the NFL championship game in the hope of finding a potential husband.

She says it is the best way to find a potential husband because it will allow her to reach the largest number of men - over 90 million people watch the Super Bowl each year, 60 million are men.

Typically it is large corporations like Pepsi, Budweiser and Doritos who buy the mega expensive advertising spots ... not desperate single women looking for Mr. Right.

New Yorker Amy says she is already working on ideas for the advert including testimonials from former lovers, a jingle or a sports-style comparison between herself and other women.

Council killjoys have told a teenage band they need £5 million if they want to have their photo taken on a sea-side pier.

Southend band All Systems Go! wanted to get a picture of themselves at the local landmark and asked a mate to take a few snaps.

But as they were having their photo taken a Southend Council worker told them they would have to stop unless they had £5 million insurance cover.

Drummer Rob Gulston, 18, phoned his stepfather who contacted the council only to be told this was council policy and the lads could not have their picture taken there.

The band now plan to write a song in response to the council killjoys and perform it outside the council offices ... now if only they could think of something which rhymed with "public liability insurance."

Tower fights curse with extra ravens

Bosses at the Tower of London are buying four extra Ravens in a bid to prevent a 350-year old curse from coming true.

Ravens have been kept at the Tower of London since the 1800s when King Charles II was told if there were less than six ravens a disaster would strike the nation and the Royal Family.

Since then the birds - along with a spare - have been kept in residence at the London attraction.

But now, possibly because of the economic crisis, four extra young birds are being acquired.

It is thought the two six-month-old birds Gundolf and Hugine, along with the two more will be added next week, have a better chance of staving off the credit crisis than Alistair Darling.

Bikers thought to be 'biggest' motorists

Bikers are thought to be the best endowed motorists, a survey has found.

3,000 people were asked whether they found motorbike owners or car drivers most attractive, and who they guessed were most likely to impress between the legs.

57% of those surveyed found members of the opposite sex in biking leathers a turn-on, and the majority of women thought bikers would be 'bigger'.

In Wales a whopping 87.5% of women believed that motorbike riders are the best endowed of all motorists.

Maybe the Welsh women got confused and thought the motorbike counted as the big thing between their legs ... but either way, guess where a load of bikers will be heading this weekend?

Apple iTunes f**k up censors song titles

An error on the Apple music website iTunes has seen thousands of inoffensive song titles censored.
Tracks by artists such as Girls Aloud, Queen and Katy Perry have been censored with asterisks making some song titles unreadable.

Apple say software intended to blank out profanities and had gone wrong picking up words such as "hot", "Johnny" and "teen" as explicit references.

The blunder left Cheryl Cole and co singing "Long h*t summer", the Queen hit became "K****r Queen" and "H*t 'n' Cold" by Katy Perry also fell foul of the automatic censor.

One iTunes user said: "W**t a f**k up, h*w c***d a****e t***k t***e w***s a*e o*******e. A***e a*e a l**d of s****d c***s." 

Purple pizzas could fight cancer

Boffins have created a purple tomato which they claim could help fight cancer ... and create an odd looking pizza.

By genetically modifying the humble tomato with genes from snapdragon flowers the researchers have created what some are calling the 'ultimate superfood'.

They say the purple tomatoes grow high in health-protecting anthocyanins which protect against cancer, heart disease and age-related degenerative diseases.

Anthocyanins - health-promoting compounds - are commonly found in berries such as blackberry, cranberry but experts say few people eat enough of them to get the benefits. 

They hope that increasing the levels in more commonly eaten fruit and veg could make us all healthier ... if they can do that why not just put all the healthy stuff into a Mars bar and be done with it?

DJ continues as radio studio burns

A Greek radio DJ was so dedicated to his show that he continued a live broadcast despite his studio bursting into flames.

An internet video shows the host on Athens station City 99.5FM continued chatting to listeners as a fire started in a bin behind him.

Initially he seemed unaware of the fire, but as it spread from the bin to studio furniture he spins around and attempts to put it out, but with no success.

Eventually a fellow City 99.5FM employee comes in an manages to put out the blaze, amazingly the broadcast was not interrupted.

At least the host can now claim to have the hottest radio show in Greece. (video after the link)

Brains work best at age of 39

Our brains work best when we are 39-years-old, say scientists ...  after that it is all downhill.

Boffins have found that from the age of 40 onwards signals in the brain begin to slow down.

The experts from the University of California, Los Angeles, say this is because we loose a fatty skin that coats the nerve cells and acts as insulation for fast bursts brain signals.

But after 40 this deteriorates and our bodies do not repair the protective sheaths meaning signals passing along the neurons in the brain slow down, along with our reaction times.

The scientists tested this by measuring how quickly a sample of men could tap their index fingers ... apparently in Los Angele this is a measure of how well your brain works.

Geologists find 'dinosaur dance floor'

Geologists have discovered what they have dubbed a 'dinosaur dance floor' - a meeting place where thousands of dinos gathered.

The impressions on the Arizona-Utah border in the US were once thought to be potholes but experts now believe they are an amazing concentration of dinosaur footprints.

Located within the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument the three-quarter-acre site has thousands of dinosaur tracks, averaging a dozen per square yard in places.

It is thought the dinosaurs were gathering around a series of watering holes, suddenly we have mental images of T-Rex propping up the bar.

"This kind of reminded me of that – a dinosaur dance floor – because there are so many tracks and a variety of different tracks," said Marjorie Chan, professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Utah. 

Official sweet taster is a sweet job

If you have got a sweet tooth this could be the ideal job, a confectionary company is looking for an official sweet taster.

Swizzels Matlow, makers of Love Hearts, Rainbow Drops and Parma Violets are hiring someone for one year in a bid to help them develop new sweets.

The lucky applicant will sample ranges of highly confidential prototype sweets to offer their opinion on.

As such they will need a good sense of taste, smell and an eye for package design ... they should also have their own dental plan.

A spokesman for the company said of the role: "By bringing an official sweet taster on board, we’re hoping to get a new and original take on the confectionary products of the future.

Artist pushes the envelope for posties

An artist posted a set of cryptic envelopes in a bid to discover how far a postman will go to make his deliveries.

On one of the envelopes there was an unsolved crossword - the postmen had to find the answers to form the address - on another the address took the form of an eye test.

On others illustrator Harriet Russell drew mazes, anagrams, illustrations, puns and visual games. Each required the postman the do something to reveal the address the package was meant for.

In total she sent 130 odd envelopes and amazingly 120 arrived safely at the intended address, even when it required the postie to fill out a crossword, or join the dots, to work out the exact address.

Now 75 of the envelopes are to be published in a book 'Envelopes: A Puzzling Journey Through the Royal Mail' complete with the postmarks to prove they went through the Royal Mail system.

Gadget to put a stop to stopping at lights

Motoring engineers have created a gadget which they claim could mean you will never get caught at a red traffic light.

The 'Travolution' device tells drivers what speed to go at to ensure traffic lights are always green when they arrive at them.

Makers Audi claim it would cut exhaust emissions because fewer cars would be stationary and that it will improve fuel economy by ending stop-start inefficiency.

It works by receiving signals from near-by traffic lights about the time remaining until their next green phase and calculating the speed which the driver must maintain in order to pass through the light during this green phase.

Test in the Germany firm's hometown of Ingostadt have proved so successful they have been given the green-light to expand the trial, but you wouldn't expect them to be given any other colour light, would you.?

Toilets are the new offices for Americans

More than half of Americans have let their work 'spill' into their bathrooms, a survey has revealed.

53 percent of those quizzed by Nokia admitted taking a work related phone call or reading an email while on the toilet.

In the interest of openness we feel we should point out that a quick NewsLite straw poll suggested we here are even more likely to work from the loo ... where do you think I am writing this?
The survey of 500 people also found 24 percent have allowed a call or email to interrupt them while in the throes of passion, and 23 percent while on a date.

Julie Morgenstern, a time management and organization expert said: "We must have the discipline to maintain separation between work and personal life, so that both are balanced and fulfilling," said Morgenstern. 

Dubai hotel urged to free shark

Environmentalists are calling for the release of a shark which was "rescued" by an aquarium at a Dubai hotel.

The Atlantis Hotel insist the endangered species - nicknamed Sammy - was "rescued" off the coast of Dubai six weeks ago when it was spotted in in distress.

But campaigners argue the hotel always planned on catching a whale shark as a tourist attraction for its giant aquarium - a tank built to invoke the ruins of Atlantis.

The environmentalists now want the hotel to say if or when the 4m shark, who could grow up to 12m (39ft) will be released.

This could end up as a cross between Jaws and Free Willy.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy says he will sue the makers of a "voodoo doll" featuring his image if they do not withdraw it from shops.

The doll is being sold as part of a kit which includes pins and a instructions on how to cast a spell on Sarko.

It features Sarkozy's face and the body is covered with unpopular phrases the French leader has been reported to have said including "work more to earn more" and "get lost, jerk"

But Sarkozy has demanded the 20,000 kits be taken from stores stating that he has "exclusive and absolute rights" over his own image.

Publishers K&B have so far refused to pull the doll from shops ... and are currently sticking as many needles in the Sarko dolls as is humanly possible.

Eating fast, not fast-food, makes you fat

Scientists say people who eat too quickly are THREE TIMES more likely to be  overweight than those who take their time over a meal.

They say those who wolf down their dinner and eat until they feel full are much more likely to be clinically obese.

Boffins from Osaka University, Japan studied the eating habits of over 3,000 adults quizzing them about how full they felt after a meal and how long the ate for.

It was found those who ate 'until full and ate quickly' had a higher body mass index, or were what is commonly know as 'biffers.'

The researchers were going to conduct the study in the US or the UK but were unable to find anyone who didn't have an obese BMI rating.

Buses with the slogan "There's probably no God" could soon be driving around the streets of London.

The adverts, which also tell readers to "stop worrying and enjoy your life" are the idea of the British Humanist Association (BHA)

Atheist Bus Campaign have already raised well over the £5,500 from supporters they needed to get the anit-God ads on 30 London bendy-buses for a month.

Supported by prominent atheist Professor Richard Dawkins the BHA say the slogan will offer breath of fresh air amongst the posters advertising salvation through Jesus or threatening us with eternal damnation.

Critics say the busses are a sure way to eternal damnation ... well they are if you get the No 59 to Brixton.

Barack Obama wins the (very) young vote

Senator Barack Obama has won the vote as the children's choice for the next President of the US.

Over 2.2 million kids voted online in the Nickelodeon 'Pick the President' poll with 51% of the vote, 1,167,087 opting for Obama.

49% or 1,129,945 viewers of the kids TV channel picked McCain ... but only after they were told they could not vote for Spongebob Squarepants.

The poll has been conducted every election year since 1988, and kids have correctly predicted the winner in four out of the last five U.S. presidential campaigns, even they could see Bush shouldn't have got a second term.

"Nickelodeon has a long history of empowering kids and providing them with an opportunity to voice their opinions," said Cyma Zarghami, President of Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group. 

Head of Paul McCartney lost on train

A massive search was launched yesterday when a £10,000 waxwork head of former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney went missing.

The head was being transported across London for a valuation ahead of an upcoming sale, but forgetful auctioneer Joby Carter accidentally left it in a cardboard box on a train.

Joby had taken the Macca head to Hammersmith for Beatles memorabilia expert Peter Blake - the man who painted the iconic Sergeant Pepper cover - to take a look at it.

But on his way back to Maidenhead Joby forgot to pick up the box containing the head when he left the train, leaving it to continue on a 'Magical Mystery Tour.'

He asked for the 'Help' of guards at the station who immediately contacted lost property at the stations next stop but to no avail, the head has gone missing, and without a 'Ticket to Ride.'

VIDEO: Man dances with a 13-tonne digger

It is more like 'Strictly Come Digging' for Frenchman Philippe Priasso who performs bizarre dance routines with heavy machinery.

During 'dances' he will balance precariously on the rotating 13-tonne digger and twirl around it.

The artist says his performances - which are accompanied by classical music - are designed to change the way people view machines.

He recently performed 'Transports Exceptionnels' at London's Victoria Park as part of Dance Umbrella's international festival of contemporary dance.

If Philippe can look this graceful with a 13-tonne digger, how come on John Sergeant makes it look so difficult to dance with leggy blonde (and world class dancer) Kristina Rihanoff on Strictly Come Dancing.

Sonic the Hedgehog is top game character

Sonic the Hedgehog has been voted the most popular video-game character of all time.

The prickly blue character topped the poll of over 500 gamers,m beating Italian plumber Mario into second place.

Also in the top ten - commissioned to mark the start of the London Games Festival - were Lara Croft from Tomb Raider, Pikachu from Pokemon and the more old-school Pac Man.

Between them Sonic and Mario took 45 percent of the votes ... and hours and hours of our childhoods.

The first game to feature Sonic was launched in 1991 on the Sega Megadrive by the Japanese video games company.

These are not just mince pies, these are M&S mince pies ... they go out of date a month before Christmas.

Marks & Spencer are selling mince pies which go past their best well before the festive season begins.

Consumer groups have spotted that some of their 'Deep Filled Mince Pies' should not be eaten after the start of December, despite saying 'Classics for Christmas' on the box.

A spokesman for the company - drawing parallels between their mince pies and puppies - said they are not just for Christmas.

"Customers enjoy eating them in the autumn and the build-up to the festive season" he added, presumably talking about the mince pies and not the puppies.

Scientists say the Bee Gees 1977 hit Stayin' Alive could be used to help save heart attack victims.

Research has found it contains 103 beats per minute making it the ideal beat to follow if performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on victims of a cardiac arrest.

To test whether listening to the song helps people administer more consistent CPR they got doctors to perform chest compressions on mannequins while listening to the track, then without the music.

The researchers at the University of Illinois College of Medicine found those listening to Stayin' Alive gave better CPR and believe the tune motivated them to keep up the consistent rate.

They suggest that people who are unsure of the correct CPR rhythm should match chest compressions with the beat of the song ... though if someone regained consciousness to find a crowd of people singing 'Stayin' Alive' it could give them another heart attack.

Police in Jamaica are investigating the theft of entire beaches from the island's north coast.

Detectives say hundreds of tons of sand have been stolen from resorts where a good beach is seen as one of the most valuable assets you can have.

Up to 500 truck-loads of sand had even been nicked from individual resorts.

Oddly no-one saw the massive amounts of sand being taken and the Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, has ordered a report into what has happened.

Police say they are carrying out forensic tests to try to catch the thieves ... but maybe they should be looking for anyone who has recently built themselves a five-storey sand-castle.

Palin meets mimic Tina Fey on SNL

Vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin has joined her Saturday Night Live mimic on the hit US comedy show.

Palin has showed she is able to laugh at herself by introducing the show from a fake news conference where her spokesman told journalists "no recording devices and don't write anything down".

She followed Tina Fey on stage after hearing 'fake Palin' say of Obama: "His words are smooth when he's talking, he's like an angel whispering in your ear. He makes John McCain sound like a garbage truck unloading trash at a landfill."

"I'm not going to take any of your questions," said the real thing as she took to the stage. 

"But I wanted to take this opportunity to say, live from New York, it's Saturday Night."

Lingerie designers have created the world's most expensive bra worth a whopping £3million.

Modeled by Adriana Lima the Victoria's Secret bra contains nearly 3,900 precious gems, thousands of tiny black diamonds, 117 one-carat round diamonds and 34 rubies.

As you may have noticed in this picture it also contains the Brazilian supermodels 34B breasts.

The 'Black Diamond Miracle Bra' is said by its makers to give maximum cleavage lift and was created by jeweler Martin Katz.

And you thought the underwear you bought for your girlfriends birthday was pricey.

Passenger jet had 'near miss' with UFO

A passenger jet had a 'near miss' with a UFO as it flew in to Heathrow Airport, Ministry of Defence files have revealed.

In 1991 the captain of the Alitalia airliner saw a brown missile-shaped object shooting past them overhead show files made available by the National Archives.

He shouted "Look out - look out" to his co-pilot during the incident near Lydd in Kent but the UFO was not identified, though the MoD ruled out it being a missile or weather balloon.

The unexplained close encounter is one of 19 files covering sightings between 1986 and 1992 are being made available online today.

Others include a RAF pilot who was told to shoot down a massive UFO and a 14-year-old who saw a missile flying at low level, before it disappeared up through the clouds.

Stoned Age: Prehistoric drug kit

Scientists have discovered prehistoric drug kits used by stone age humans to cook up herbal highs.

The kits, which show stone age man really was a stoner, include ceramic bowls and tubes used to inhale hallucinogenic drug fumes dating back to 400BC.

Found on the Caribbean island of Carriacou it is believed the kits originated in South America and were carried the 400 miles to the islands.

Some believe rocker Keith Richards may have misplaced the the bowls on an early Rolling Stones tour.

While these are the oldest 'drugs kits' found, investigations in Mexico and Texas suggest that humans have been using mind-altering drugs for 5000 years.

A NBA basketball star has been left red-faced after a British amateur out-skilled him in an impromptu basketball contest.

Devin Harris was in the UK ahead of a match at the O2 arena between his team the New Jersey Nets and the Miami Heat, but the star will regret clashing with locals on a training court.

The point guard was showing fans in Stockwell, south London his skills when a slim 28-year-old wearing jeans and a jumper challenged him to a game of one-on-one.

But after blocking a number of shots from the US star who earns $7.8 million dollars a year, amateur Stuart Tanner from Surrey dribbled the ball around him to score, he even nutmegged the NBA ace before scoring a second shot.

Not content with scoring on the court Tanner also scored a internet hit by posting a video of his exploits on YouTube, so far it has been watched by 4 million people.

Searching the net boosts brain activity

Boffins have found that searching the internet can stimulate and improve brain function.

Tests showed that typing searches and clicking on links triggers key centers in the brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning.

The researchers from the University of California Los Angeles used a sample of 55-76 year-olds and performed fMRI brain scans on them as they used the web or read a book.

Compared to people who do not go online very often, web-savvy internet surfers registered increased activity in the frontal, temporal and cingulate areas of the brain, apparently that's good.

However you should not use this as an excuse to spend your free time searching for online porn rather than reading Proust - a daily dilemma I know many of you have.

Uni spends £400,000 on creepy body parts

A university has spent £400,000 buying 200 plastinated body parts from Gunther von Hagens’ laboratory in Germany.

Warwick University splashed the cash on the specimens, which have been used in the German scientists creepy Body Worlds exhibitions, to help medical students.

The long-lasting body parts are created by removing body fat and water from bodies donated to the Institute for Plastination and impregnating a plastic polymer to preserve the body or body part. 

They will now be used teach anatomy to medical students ... and help the science department hold the best Halloween parties the university has ever seen.

Warwick Medical School’s Chair of Clinical Anatomy Professor Peter Abrahams said the specimens were essential for anatomy teaching, "Our students can use these specimens again and again to understand how the body works," he said.

Skip artist's work is far from rubbish

Some people think all modern art should be thrown in the skip. But one artist has created a contemporary collection using the large metal containers.

Oliver Bishop-Young has turned the unsightly yellow boxes into urban escapes including a skateboard park, a living room, a park and even a swimming pool.

The 22-year-old says the converted skips can offer people some space in urban London, where they wouldn't expect to find it.

Oliver also hopes his works will encourage people to recycle old furniture and clothes.

Lets hope they don't get so 'encouraged' they start stealing empty skips to create their own back garden swimming pools.

Boffins have come up with a mathematical formula which they claim holds the key to the perfect shower.

They say a balance of privacy, pressure, time and temperature in the shower 
need to be achieved in order to create the perfect showering experience.

The formula - devised by Neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis -  also takes into account several basic shower features including the force of the jet and the pattern of the spray.

We have a alternative, but equally valid equation for the perfect shower, it is the one you discover Kelly Brook is already using as you step in.

Dr Lewis, who was commissioned by Mira Showers said: "Creating the optimum shower is no easy feat – but a worthwhile endeavour, it offers psychological benefits. 

Northerners have dirtier hands

If you have got a meeting in the North of England today you might want to hold off on that handshake.

Research has found that he further north you go, the more likely people are to have faecal bacteria on their hands.

The study was conducted by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine to provide a snapshot of the nation's hand hygiene habits.

The boffins took swabs from the hands of commuters outside a number of UK train stations and tested them to see what bacteria they were carrying around. 

After analyzing the samples and looking at the results they have vowed never to go further north than the M25.

200ft pink rabbit can be seen from space

Artists in the Alps have created a giant pink knitted rabbit so big it can be seen from space.

The 200ft pink bunny, which looks like a huge discarded toy, took more than five years to build out of soft, waterproof, materials stuffed with straw.

The makers - an Austrian art collective - now encourage visitors to its home in the Italian Alps, near the village of Artesina to climb on it and even sleep on it.

But even they were surprised to discover their creation could be seen from space and had appeared on satellite images taken for Google Earth.

I'm guessing they were not as surprised as the first person to look at the photos, lets hope they didn't spit their coffee out all over those Google computers.

Ringo Starr hate my fan mail

Former Beatle Ringo Starr is a tosser. Well that is what he says he is going to do with any fan mail sent to him, toss it in the bin.

The grumpy rocker made the odd outburst in a video on his website telling fans he did not have time to reply and not to send him anything after October 20th.

On hearing the odd news I listened to his 'album', after that replying to fan-mail sounds like a more productive way of spending his time, maybe that's just me.

"After the 20th of October please do not send any fanmail to any address you have. If that is the date on the envelope, it's gonna be tossed," Ringo says in the clip.

"I'm warning you with peace and love, I have too much to do. "So no more fan mail. Thank you, thank you. 

Kebab shop made food next to dead body

A kebab shop owner in the UK continued to prepare food as an employee's corpse lay nearby, a court has heard.

Police found the body on a sofa near the kitchens of Pappu Sweet Centre in Wolverhampton while boss Jaswinder Singh continued to make kebabs opposite him.

Wolverhampton Magistrates' Court heard that officers found an 'awful smell' and a number of flies were landing on the food, there was also a dead rat found under a cooking pot.

I think we all have a good idea what one magistrate didn't have for lunch yesterday, and may well never be eating again.

Jaswinder Singh, who admitted a string of hygiene offences, has been banned from running any food business and ordered to pay nearly £4,000 in fines and costs.

An internet game where players as young as seven create online hooligans who fight with blades and guns has been unsurprisingly condemned.

In the controversial game 'Little Hooliganz' lads are encouraged to log-on and train their little yobs to fight with other gangs.

They also steal virtual cash to splash out on beer and violent weapons such as samurai swords.

But makers say the game - for which more than 10,000 players have signed up for the game within one week of launch - does not glamorising football violence.

I am guessing the spokesperson for Blouzar Ltd has his tongue firmly placed in his cheek when he said the following.

iPod users risk losing hearing

One in 10 people who listen to music on an iPod or other MP3 could permanently lose their hearing, an EU study has revealed.

Scientists say music lovers who listen at high volume for more than one hour per day over five years risk permanent harm.

They say this means 10 million people across Europe could be affected, though given the popularity of Eurovision, would that be a bad thing?

While EU standards restrict the noise level of personal music players to 100 decibels the study found may listen at the maximum volume to block out noise from traffic or public transport.

The EU Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks say  between 124 and 165 million people in Europe have bought an MP3 player in the last four years, and many listen at high volumes exceeding 89 decibels.

Britney Spears gets too steamy on TV

Britney Spears' new video has been deemed too steamy by some TV bosses who are adding extra computer generated steam to cover her naked body.

The video for 'Womanizer' was recorded in high definition and fans hoped to get a detailed look at Brit's newly toned bod.

But on some stations the steamy scenes where a sweaty Britney lies naked in a sauna, are being covered up with extra computer generated steam, much to the annoyance of fans.

One fan said on a internet chat room: "I had seen clips and couldn't wait to see Brit in HD, then when I did on ABC some idiot had covered her up with steam, what did they think the point of the video was ... the song?" 
The "Womanizer" video was shot in Los Angeles by director Joseph Khan, who also worked with the star on her "Stronger" and "Toxic" videos.

Doll 'preaches pro-Islamic message'

Toy makers Fisher Price have been criticized by parents who say one of their toys preaches a series of pro-Islamic messages.

It has been claimed the 'Little Mommy Cuddle 'n Coo' doll - aimed at young girls - utters statements such as 'Islam is the light' and the not so pro-Islamic 'Satan is King.'

The £19.99 toy is meant to be restricted to making coos and giggles but parents insist it the pro-Islamic messages are clearly audible.

Some claim a Muslim factory worker must have tampered with the units ... and they would rather the toys stuck to traditional sexist patriarchal messages.

A spokesman for Fisher Price dismissed the claims saying: "The Little Mommy Cuddle 'n Coo dolls feature realistic baby sounds including cooing, giggling, and baby babble with no real sentence structure."

WI: Sex, Myths and Spicy Tips

The Women’s Institute have launched a video sex guide for members including tips on positions, saucy outfits and even sex toys.

Aimed at the over 50s the video filmed by Janice Langley, of the WI in West Sussex, is about as far removed from the traditional WI topics of jam,  gardening and sewing as you can get.

At this rate they will soon be swapping sexual partners rather than knitting patterns.

It the vid Janice talks about the odd subjects of how to have sex after a stroke, with arthritis and following a hip operation.

"Members of the WI are as open-minded as any other women," she tells viewers. "We are modern women, and talk about diverse topics — including sex.

Prince Charles might appear in a future episode of Doctor Who, say his office who claim he has not snubbed the hit show.

It had been reported that Charles had said no to requests by the shows makers for him to star in an episode the BBC sci-fi series.

But now it has been claimed that the Prince of Wales had himself not seen the request, and that it had been declined by a Clarence House official.

A spokesman said this meant should the makers of the show resubmit a request for him to star in a future episode it would be considered.

If only Charles had his own (wine powered) TARDIS, he wouldn't have to make the U-turn announcement, he could just go back in time and say that in the first place.

Crazy council bosses have installed signs at a sports centre giving tips on playing squash, to blind people.

The £5,300 signs - written in Braille - even give advice on acceptable sports attire for the court.

Seemingly ignoring the fact that blind people are unable to play squash the advice at Halesowen Leisure Centre goes on to give tips about on-court safety.

A spokesperson for the Royal National Institute of Blind People confirmed that while blind and visually-impaired people are able to play many sports,  squash is not one of them.

However Dudley Council, which owns the leisure centre, defended the signs saying: " Council leisure centres are available for everyone and we pride ourselves on making sure people of all abilities have access to information and facilities. 

Pets get stressed by couples break-ups

Pets are getting so stressed when their owners break-up that they are developing obsessive and compulsive disorders, a animal charity has claimed.

They say stressed-out cats and depressed dogs are even turning to self-harm because they can't cope with their owners breaking up.

The PDSA are now calling for couples to consider the feelings of their pets if their relationship comes to an end ... maybe their moggie should get some of the CDs.

A spokesman said that your dog chasing its tail or excessively licking a limb could be a sign on depression as could a cat chewing on woollen items.

They added that couples should try to make more time for their animals during a break-up or divorce and try and establish the most compassionate ways to help pets through the stress caused by a split.

Brits spend £50,000 on gadgets

Brits will spend an average of £50,000 on electrical gadgets over their lifetime, a survey has found.

But it is not all giant plasma screens and iPods the poll discovered that there are some, more humble appliances, we have to buy again and again.

For example people buy an average of 20 kettles throughout the course of their lives adding up to £1,000, the poll also found we spend £400 on alarm clocks

But the poll of 3,000 people says the device we will spend the most on are computers, costing on average £500 they are replaced every 4 years which means they cost £7,500 per lifetime.

Working on those figures I would have bought enough computers to last me till the year 2200.

VIDEO: Banjo used in brain surgery

A musician played his banjo as doctors performed brain surgery on him, to test the success of the procedure.

Eddie Adcock was one of the world's top banjo players until he had developed a tremor which caused his hands to jerk uncontrollably, it threatened to ruin his career.

So recently he underwent the brain op where he was fitted with a pace maker which sends a small current to shut down the region of his brain causing the tremors.

But to make sure it was a success Eddie was not only awake, but playing his instrument during the operation at the Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

For the brain surgeon it was like tuning a radio, he kept fiddling around in Eddies head until he started playing something he liked.

Sunday Lunch is nations favourite meal

If you enjoyed a roast lunch for Sunday dinner yesterday, you are not alone - the popular meal has been voted the nations favourite.

A survey has found over half of Brits (54 percent) sit down for a Sunday roast dinner each week.

That makes it almost as much of a British institution as couch potatoes, teenage mothers and violent gangs of hoodies.

53 percent of those surveyed for Age Concern said the they enjoy the meal most when they spend it with their family. 

However one fifth of people (19 percent) say they are prevented from serving a Sunday roast because it takes too much time ... maybe that is just an excuse not to invite Grannie round.

50 things to do before going home

16 months ago Brett Rounsaville decided to quit his job, leave his home and set out to accomplish all the things in life he wanted to do.

He made a list of the top 50, including sleep in a lighthouse, milk a cow on an Amish farm, walk to the top of the Empire State building and be in a movie. 

The designer from California, who had virtually no budget, also vowed not to return home until he completed all of the challenges he had set himself.

But this month the 27-year-old (a little early for a mid-life crisis, isn't it?) is due to cross off the final items on the list and head home ... if he can remember where he lives.

"I made a list of fifty things I had wanted to do and I had the opportunity to take a month off of work so it seemed like a no brainer," he said

VIDEO: Weatherman proposes live on TV

A TV weatherman stunned his presenter girlfriend when he proposed to her live on-air.

Emily Leonard, of Texas based KAMC looked shocked when boyfriend appeared on the screens in her studio, as well she might, he works for another station.

Matt Laubhan then told viewers the normal sports report on the morning show was being replaced by some "breaking news" asking them to "sit back and watch me make a young woman cry, hopefully in a good way.

He then walked over to the desk where Emily was presenting the live show, dropped to one knee and asked her: "I was wanting to know if you might want to marry me, how about it?" 

Nice to see Matt is an old fashioned guy and stuck with the tradition of adding 'how about it?' at the end of the proposal. 

School bans pupils from eating Marmite

A council in Wales has banned pupils at 51 schools from having Marmite on toast for breakfast.

They say the move - which puts them firmly on the hate side of the "Love it or hate it" debate - is because the 100-year-old product contains too much salt.

Marmite used to be served along with jams and marmalade at all of the school breakfast clubs run by Ceredigion Council but now it has disappeared.

A spokesperson for the council said the clubs were there to improve the health and concentration of children and anything served must be healthy and nutritionally balanced.

He added that Marmite had been removed from the menu because it includes a high level of salt ... not just because he hates it.

Brits find big boobs too much of a handful

Women with big breasts are more popular with men in Northern Europe than they are in the UK, a survey has found. 

A European survey of 13,000 people found men in Britain have modest tastes when it comes to boob size and are put off by anything more than a handful.

31 percent of Brit men said they would prefer not to have a relationship with a busty woman.

And a whopping 80 percent said they wouldn't consider dating anyone above a "D" cup ... the key word there is 'dating', other things were not ruled out.

9 percent added that they found big breasts a turn off.

Bebo tries social networking in space

Over 500 Bebo users today had messages sent out into space in a bid to make contact with extra-terrestrials.

The social networking site this morning broadcast the messages from a giant RT-70 radio telescope in the Ukraine.

Within 1.7 seconds the messages - picked to reflect life on earth - had passed the moon and were on their way to the planet Gliese 581C, some 129 trillion miles away.

That means that in 42 years the users could hear back that ET has rejected their friends requests.

Celebs including Radio One DJ Scott Mills and Britain's Got Talent winner George Sampson had their messages sent into space ...  poor aliens.

The good news is you could be genetically good at computer games, the bad news is the same gene means you suffer premature ejaculation.

A study of 200 men in Holland found that those who suffer from climaxing too soon during intercourse (well whose girlfriends and wives suffer) have a version of a gene that controls serotonin levels.

This gene means they ejaculate an average twice as quickly as other men say researchers from Utrecht University.

But it also means they have faster reactions than most men are are often excellent at computer games and fast sports like tennis.

Bearing that in mind, you might want to think twice before you brag about how good you are a Halo 3.

Hippies plan to grow old gracefully

The '60s generation may have lived most of their lives instigating  social change, but they will have a conventional old age, research has found.

In the swinging sixties post-war baby boomers would have said they planned to take their bohemian lifestyles to their graves.

But now as they approach their retirements the lure of Countdown has become too much and most are looking forward to watching TV, playing records and going for walks.

The research by Keele University found that while they have challenged expectations as teenagers, young adults and middle aged, it would stop there.

Explaining their change in attitude towards growing old most of the '60s generation said they blamed 'the man'.

A hotel in Hull has started giving guests a guide to help them understand locals who speak in in a distinctive dialect.

The document is now included in the welcome pack to all guests staying at the The Holiday Inn Express.

The hotel chain say it was introduced three months ago to help guests communicate with locals and that many have said they found the translations helpful during their stay.

In it are translations for words such as "myrrh-bile" (mobile phone), "summatup?" (is something troubling you) "skeg" (to look) and "ballung" (crying.) 

Guests are said to have found the translations helpful though locals do not appear to be impressed claiming it is "insulting" - well we think that is was they were saying ... can we get one of those guides?

Researchers have found that 5-month-old babies can distinguish an upbeat tune, from a lineup of gloomier compositions.

But it takes another four months before the can do the opposite and pick out sorrowful sounds from a pack of happy pieces.

The boffins from Brigham Young University say it is an example of how babies make sense of the world long before they can talk.

Incidentally at just 4 months the babies are able to identify a Girls Aloud track ...  but unable to show they want it to stop.

Professor Ross Flom said: "One of the first things babies understand communicatively is emotion, so for them the melody is the message.

A German farmer who accidentally amputated both of his arms in a combine harvester has received two full arms in the first transplant operation of its type.

Karl Merk, 54, says he has increasing mobility in his new limbs since the operation in July and he hopes to soon be shaking the hands of the doctors who helped him.

But it could be two years before he fully re-learns how to use his hands.

The 15 hour operation took place at the Technical University of Munich and involved a 40 person team led by Dr Christoph Höhnke and Prof Edgar Biemer.

"I am confident that our patient, a former dairy farmer, will one day fulfill his ardent desire to use his own hands to drink a glass of milk." said Dr Höhnke.

A bungling criminal was arrested after he showed off an incriminating tattoo to a CCTV camera as he nicked a sat-nav from a car.

The tattoo, which he pointed right at the camera, even included his name and date of birth ... presumably he didn't have a business card to leave for them.

Aaron Evans, 21, was yesterday sentenced at Bristol Magistrates Court to 28 weeks imprisonment after the court heard how he broke into the covert police 'honeytrap' car which was fitted with hidden cameras.

The camera got a clear view of Evans' neck which showed the detailed tattoo  and police had an even easier time finding him than the would have expected.

Now the only people reading his tattoos will be his new 'friends' in the prison showers.

Davina would make top gym buddie

Big Brother host Davina McCall has been voted as the person most gym-goers would want to work out next to.

A survey of over 1,000 exercisers found the presenter was a popular choice because she is seen as being fit and can motivate people, but is not exercise obsessed.

Those polled said Madonna and David Beckham would be the worst people to go the the gym with because they are intimidating ... unless you are Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Other people who proved popular included Will Smith, Chris Moyles, Nell McAndrew and Kelly Holmes.

Hang on, Chris Moyles, at a gym, is that to help motivate you or to make you look good even if you are struggling to step up onto the treadmill?

A tortoise is making a 'slow' recovery after undergoing an rare operation which removed a bladder stone the size of a small egg.

The huge stone - which took up almost one quarter of her body -was spotted during a routine X-ray of Polly, an African pancake tortoise at Bristol Zoo.

During the procedure, the zoo’s expert vets cut away a hole in the bottom of Polly’s shell in order to remove the bladder stone, which could have killed her within weeks.

The bladder stone weighed 19g and measured 3.7cm (1.5 inches) by 3cm (1.2 inches) and Polly measures just 14cm (5.5 inches) inches long from head to tail.

The extra space in her shell means that Polly now feels like she has had a house extension.

Cactus Kid adverts banned from TV

A series of adverts where a teenage girl is seen running away with her  "cactus" boyfriend has been ordered off the air.

The ads have been branded "offensive" and "irresponsible" by a media watchdog after 32 complaints were lodged.

Viewers said the adverts for Oasis fruit drinks - which feature a man with spikes growing from his green skin - condoned teenage pregnancy and under-age sex.

I think if the sight of the 'cactus-man' prompted these 32 people to have sexual thoughts, they have got bigger problems than what TV adverts are being aired.

Coca-Cola, who make the drink said the commercials were removed from reality and were cleared for broadcast.

Driver puts Minnie-Me photo on MySpace

Minnie Driver has shunned magazine offers to cash in on the birth of her baby son, by posting a picture of him on MySpace.

Many celebs now sell the first photographs of their children to glossy magazines for huge sums of money, some even adopt extra children just to get more cash.

But the 38-year-old British actress has posted the photo on the internet because she says she simply wanted to share the photo with family and friends.

The image of her holding 9lb 12oz Henry was taken shortly after the birth on September 8 in Los Angeles.

We like the way the image was released, it is the only way we can afford to have celebrity babies on NewsLite ... most A-listers won't sell the shots for a pint and a packet of crisps.

Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin stars in a new martial arts video which shows why so many world leaders are afraid to stand up to him.

'Let's Learn Judo With Vladimir Putin' is a Judo training DVD where the 56-year-old is shown throwing his best moves.

Every year images are released of the former President showing how macho he is, whether shooting animals, fishing without his shirt or taking on daring ski routes.

But Putins training partners in the vid are not just making him look good for the camera, before he took a strangle hold on Russian politics the former KGB officer was also a regional judo champion.

The UK government is set to try to boost Gordon Brown's image in a similar way ... look forward to the new bare-chested cage fight PMQs.

Men prefer women to have natural breasts rather than fake boobs irrespective of their size, a survey has found.

The survey of over 2,000 men - including a number of celebs such as Russell Brand and T4 host Steve Jones - found 89 percent of men would rather women kept their natural breasts than invest in a larger, plastic pair.

Did anyone tell Russel Brand he didn't need to go off and conduct his own 'research' into the matter?

The poll by Heat magazine also found 47 percent of men have felt a fake pair and 87 percent think bigger isn't always better. 29 percent said they thought padded bras were ‘false advertising’

Serial womaniser Russell Brand, said: "I prefer natural, to tell you the truth. In my thoroughly researched and valid academic view, they look amazing: the symmetry, the softness, the roundness ... it's the touch too." 

BAAARMY - Police taser runaway sheep

A police officer used a taser stun-gun on a runaway sheep which had escaped onto a busy road.

Motorists looked on in horror as the officer produced the gun and shot the animal which had found its way onto the A55 dual carriageway in North Wales.

The police had been called out after the sheep escaped from a nearby field and had halted traffic on the busy road causing huge tailbacks.

After using the 50,000 volt weapon the Welsh policeman dragged the animal from the road ... it is not known what he did with the sheep next ... but we can guess.
People who witnessed the 'stunning' performance by police say it was excessive and the ram could have been herded off the road without using the gun. 

Researchers have found what are believed to be the oldest footprints on Earth dating back 570 million years.

This pre-dates the period boffins thought creatures first started using legs by 30 million years - when was the last time you got something wrong at work by 30 million years?

The tracks - found in what was once a shallow sea in Nevada - form two parallel rows of tiny dots, each about 2 millimeters in diameter.

The unknown creature is believed to have had a centimeter-wide body and walked on many spindly legs like an centipede or leg-bearing worm.

It is thought to even pre-date the creature at the end of the Guinness Evolution advert.

X-Factor judges are toast

Simon Cowell takes great relish in telling X-Factor hopefuls they are toast, now he has been given the same treatment.

Artist Lennie Payne has created portraits of all the judges on the hit ITV show including Cheryl Cole, Dannii Minogue and Louis Walsh ... using slices of toast.

The 'food artist' from Essex uses slices of white bread which are coloured by burning them with a blowtorch and then scraping them with a knife.

It is a good job Sharon Osbourne is not on the panel this year - given that she is a few sandwiches short of a picnic Lennie wouldn't have known how many slices to use.

Lennie said: "This has been great fun to do! I've been using Warburtons Toastie as my canvas for years because it's the perfect shaped slice.'

Scrabble-mad Allan Simmons has finally scored the 17 point word he has wanted for over 30 years, Champion.

The 52-year-old Scot has realised his lifelong ambition of becoming the UK Scrabble champion after entering the contest every year since 1971.

So dedicated is Allan to Scrabble, he recently quit his job as a IT manager to become a 'scrabble consultant' (I have no idea what that is either) and his car registration reads W70RDS.

But this year his hard work (or craziness) paid off and with words including eggy, yutz, bogart and sheering, Allan scooped the title at the London finals

Beating Craig Beevers by three games to one the father-of-three won a trophy and a cheque for £1000.

Man pays £1,950 for beer dash taxi

A man paid for a cab to drive 1,500 miles to a German beer festival after he missed the last flight to join his pals on his stag-do

Oddly the man, known only as Dave, had not already been drinking when he agreed to the £1,950 cost for the journey.

Cabbie Mick Hogan from Portsmouth said he could not believe it when the man  told him he needed to get to Oktoberfest in Munich.

He told the punter it would cost £1,700, plus £250 for the Channel Tunnel and a hotel for the night and was shocked when he agreed.

The cab driver says he would not like make the journey everyday but being paid £2,000 to go to a beer festival is never a bad start to a weekend.

£10,000 operation gives cat miaow back

A pet owner has spent £10,000 on an operation to give her cat its miaow back after it suffered a rare throat condition.

Vets diagnosed Cadbury the cat with a paralysed larynx which left it unable to make any noise.

But rather than live with a mute moggie, owner Jean Kelly stumped up £10,000 to give Cadbury two operations, a stint in intensive care, six days in an oxygen tent and four months nursing care.

After the op 13-year-old Cadburyy is now back to his miaowing best and enjoys nothing more than sitting in the conservatory and purring.

Jean's insurance company paid £6,000 towards the costs, but she had to fork out the remaining £4,000 ... or buy a bag and a few bricks.

A man has raced against trains on the London Underground in a bid to get more people walking to work.

Tim Don took on the tube in two challenges, a sprint against the Bakerloo line from Baker Street to Edgware Road and a 5km endurance versus the Circle Line running from Tower Hill to St. James's Park

Rather than being chased along the track Tim ran overground from station to station winning the sprint in a time of 2 minutes 47 seconds compared to the train which took 7 minutes.

The endurance took him 16 minutes 59 seconds with the train taking just one second longer. But running to work might not be quicker for everyone, Tim is a former Olympian and world triathlete champion

Of his race Tim said: "Running or walking to work is the perfect way for people to combine exercise in their daily routine, no matter how busy they may be. 

Australians shouting 'g'day mate' to each other as they throw another shrimp on the barbie will soon become a thing of the past, a report has found.

Researchers say the nasal tones and phrases, like those of Crocodile Dundee actor Paul Hogan, were developed was a way for Aussies to distinguish themselves from their British forebears.

Now though this need to distinguish themselves is not as strong argue the experts from the Australian National University.

They say a standard Australian accent is emerging where words like "mate" are no longer be pronounced "mite."

The news will mean that Americans will soon find it even more difficult to tell the difference between Brits and Aussies ... they will have to pay more attention to the teeth and tans.

These are recipes even Gordon Ramsey might struggle with ... a new cookbook has been released celebrating the art of cooking with testicles.

Recipes for 'testicle pizza' 'battered b*llocks' and 'goolies goulash' are all included in "Testicle Cookbook - the art of cooking with balls."

Also there (as much as we didn't them to be) are photos and guides to peeling, slicing and preparing the perfect testicle.

No this is not a load of b*llcks, the 31 recipe book is the creation of Ljubomir Erovic, a chef from Serbia where testicles are a traditional delicacy

He says more people should experiment with testicles, but not their own: "All testicles can be eaten ... except human, of course." 

A thief replicated scenes from the Pierce Brosnan movie The Thomas Crown Affair when he hired an army of decoys to help him get away from a crime.

The jobs had been placed on Craiglist offering people $28.50 per hour if they turned up wearing a blue, long-sleeved shirt, yellow safety vest, eye protection and ventilator mask.

They were told to wait near a Bank of America branch in Monroe, Seattle ... meanwhile our criminal was around the corner wearing the same outfit attacking an armored truck guard and stealing from the cash delivery.

It is similar to, but not as stylish as, the 1999 movie where Pierce Brosnan's art thief, dons a trench coat and bowler hat, makes off with a priceless masterpiece as museum security guards are distracted by a horde of lookalikes he had hired.

JK Rowling is world's best paid writer

Harry Potter conjures up a whopping £5 per second for his creator JK Rowling.

Last year her books sold more than 400 million copies netting the author a total of £170m and making her the world's best paid writer.

For the statistically minded that is £466,600 per day, £19,400 per hour, £323 per minute or £5.39 per minute ... not bad for a few books about a boy wizard.

In fact, her income was six times more than literature's next-biggest earner, James Patterson and more than the rest of the top 10 best paid authors combined.

A spokesman for US business magazine Forbes who compiled the list said: "It was wizardry that transformed JK Rowling from a destitute single mother on welfare into a best-selling billionaire.

Boffins have developed and tested an 'invisibility cloak' which they say could reduce the risk of large waves overtopping coastal defenses.

Mathematicians at the University of Liverpool, say they can 'trick' waves into taking a new path by making 'invisible' coastal defences out of a metamaterial - a unique structure that can bend electromagnetic radiation.

Some have questioned whether these people are really scientists as they seem to think waves can 'see' coastal defences.

The experts' creation interacts with the water, guiding it in different directions as it nears the centre of the structure - similar to a whirlpool but because the waves are never broken-up they exit the structure as though they had never been disturbed.

Dr Sebastien Guenneau, from the Department of Mathematical Science, said: "Water crashes against these defences, breaking the wave and causing a lot of damage to roads and property hidden behind them.

BBC nuclear bomb attack script revealed

You should be glad you never heard the following coming from your TV or radio during the 1970s ... it would have meant Britain had been the victim of a nuclear attack.

"This is the Wartime Broadcasting Service. This country has been attacked with nuclear weapons. Communications have been severely disrupted, and the number of casualties and the extent of the damage are not yet known. 

"We shall bring you further information as soon as possible. Meanwhile, stay tuned to this wavelength, stay calm and stay in your own homes."

It is the start of a chilling script written by the BBC and the UK government in the early 1970s when they felt the threat of a nuclear attack was all too real.

It has also been revealed the BBC stockpiled entertainment programmes to boost public morale in the event of a war. So at least in the event of a nuclear attack we wouldn't have had too many TV repeats to moan about.

Bosses at Playboy are trying to help out during the economic crisis in the only way they know ... by asking women of Wall Street to strip-off.

The adult mag is looking for the sexiest Women of Wall Street to pose for an upcoming photo-shoot.

It will be less 'bear market' and more 'bare market' for the models and less 'banking' and more ... (yes, they can finish that one themselves) 

Anyone who fancies stripping off for the mag must either work for a financial institution or have recently lost their job at one.

"Given the current economic climate, we thought that Wall Street could use something to smile about right now," stated Gary Cole, Playboy's Senior Vice President and Photo Director.

A Dutch city is to reward prostitutes with free designer clothes and furniture.

Eindhoven will give reward points to street prostitutes in exchange for good behavior - they will then be able to spend the credits in city stores.

You can just hear Bruce Forsyth saying: "What do points make? ... Prozzies."

But the points will no be given out for good 'job performance' they will go to those who take part in activities such as workshops where they can learn a range of skills to equip themselves for other work.

The move comes because City Hall plans to close the legal zones for street prostitutes in Eindhoven by 2011.

Australians told to eat kangaroos

An advisor to the Australian government claims that Aussies should ditch beef and lamb and start snacking on Skippy.

Economist Ross Garnaut says eating kangaroo could even help save the planet because they emit one-third as much methane as ruminant animals, such as cattle, sheep and goats.
In a 600-page study commissioned by the Australian government the expert suggests the switch because roos have a different digestive system.

It is predicted that increasing kangaroo numbers to 175 million by 2020 would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 16 megatonne.

The idea could cause a stink with animal lovers but farting sheep and cattle currently constitute 11 per cent of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions.

University teaches how to win arguments

A university course has been launched to teach students how to win arguments and even encourage them to become more argumentative.

Professors from the University of Kent say the course 'For The Sake Of Argument' will promote the skill by holding three arguments in a day and asking people to join in.

Students will be taught the art of rational persuasion including how to understand an opponent's position, devise good reasons and express themselves clearly.

But the course could come back to bite the boffins when students start using the techniques to argue for an increase in their grades.

Professor of Philosophy Laurence Goldstein said: "Arguing is an intrinsically enjoyable activity, and sometimes a view may be put forward that is so subtle and persuasive that it can be savoured like a work of art or a piece of music. 

World's heaviest man to get married

Once weighing over 90 stone, Manuel Uribe was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the heaviest living man in the world.

But now after losing more than half his body weight, thanks to a a bed-based exercise regime and new diet, the 43-year-old is set to marry his long term girlfriend.

He even says he is now so fit, he should be able to walk down the aisle unaided - something that would have been impossible when he weighted a whopping 1,200 lbs and didn't get out of bed for five years.

Despite this he says he and girlfriend of two years, Claudia Solis, have always had an 'active' sex life adding that she bathes him in bed every day.

They will wed  on Oct 26 at his hometown Monterrey, northern Mexico, I'm guessing there will be one hell of a wedding cake.

A group of language-loving word-nuts have launched a new video dictionary where people are encouraged to define words that matter to them.

Over 250 years after Dr Johnson published the first-ever English dictionary in 1755, the new online edition says it wants to be democratic with people explaining personal meaning.

Users can 'claim' words by sending in videos recorded on a webcam or mobile phone and their clip will appear on the site above the more professional Collins English Electronic Dictionary definition.

Celebrity lexicographers including Big Brother moaner Nikki Grahame, and Toby Anstis are also featured on the site ... maybe they should look up the word celebrity in a proper dictionary.

Nikki Graham, offers a chilling insight into the way her brain works when defining the word "invention" by questioning how we use technology.

A gadget has been released which uses ultrasound technology to collide alcohol molecules, artificially ageing wine and making it taste much better.

The £350 device claims to be able to make even a £3 bottle of supermarket plonk into something you could get away with passing off as a posh vintage bottle.

However should wine expert Gary Vaynerchuk be one of your guests you might want to reconsider.

Inventor Casey Jones says It takes just 30-50 minutes to improves the taste, look and bouquet of the drink.

"By changing the chemical balance of the alcohol esters, a few minutes in the wine ager can make a cheap bottle of wine taste like a mature vintage," he said.

British women have now got bigger boobs than ever before, research has found.

Shops say the average bra they are selling is now an entire size bigger than it was just five years ago, jumping from a 34C to 36D.

Demand is also said to be booming for G, H and J cup bras ... making men H, A, P, P, Y.

The reasons for the bigger breasts are said to be changing body shapes, more accurate bra measuring techniques and the increasing popularity of boob jobs.

A spokeswoman for Debenhams said: "Many of the large sizes we're selling regularly today would have been unheard of just a decade ago.

£1,000,000 banknote sold for £78,300

A rare UK bank note for one million pounds has been sold at auction for £78,300.

There have only ever been nine £1,000,000 notes produced and only two remain ... but the private buyer did not get bargain it first appears.

They will not be able to pop into the local Tesco and use it to pay for their shopping, not because with current prices it might not be enough, but because it was cancelled six weeks after it was issued.

The whopping note was produced by the Treasury on August 30, 1948 in connection with the Marshall Aid Plan after World War II and wre intended for internal use as 'records of movement' for the short period only. 

A spokesperson for Spink, the specialist auctioneers, who sold the note earlier today said: "It is believed that nine examples were produced and only two, Numbers Seven and Eight, survived. 

Crisp makers Walkers are offering a £5,000 reward for the return of the original Monster Munch monsters so they can bring back the classic adverts.

First launched in 1977 the adverts featured three crisp-loving monsters and the ads ran into the 80s.

Now, as the the snack is being relaunched, Walkers wanted to dust off the monsters for a new advert, but discovered the trio had gone missing.

They fear the outfits may have been nicked by TV souvenir hunters.

A spokesperson for Walkers said: "Back in the 1980s everyone loved the Monster Munch ads, but now we’ve lost our monsters and need to get them back- someone must know where they are."

Getting distracted helps problem-solving

Scientists have found that getting distracted can help people find a solution to complex problems.

Look over there ---->

But the psychology researchers from University of Toronto say it does not have the same benefit if you when confronted with easier problems. 

So it may not help explain to you boss why you are surfing the internet while you should be working ... unless you are a astro-physicist tackling a complicated equation.

"Conscious thought is better at making linear, analytic decisions, but unconscious thought is especially effective at solving complex problems," said Professor Adam Galinsky. 

Buddhists pay to 'die' in pink coffins

Thousands of Buddhists are paying to 'die' and re-emerge as a new person in a bid to escape their economic woes.

They believe that by paying £3 to 'die' in a pink coffin at the monastery in Thailand - read sleep for five minutes - they are reborn without any bad karma.

It is not that dissimilar to Britain where people have been known to try the same with a canoe.

As nine people 'die' in the coffins a group of monks chant spells over them to help them wake up happy and free of worries about the slowing Thai economy or government wobbles.

The monastery currently holds a two-hour 'rebirth' session each day and can get through 200 deaths, that is almost as many as even the most MRSA riddled NHS hospital.

Urban bears 'live fast, die young'

Black bears which live near urban areas have a rock-and-roll lifestyle where they weigh more, get pregnant at a younger age, and are more likely to die violent deaths, say scientists.

A 10-year study followed 20 bears, ten which lived around Lake Tahoe, Nevada and 10 "wildland" bears from outlying wild areas. 

They found the urban bears ate garbage, weighed 30 percent more and got pregnant at a young age... are they sure they weren't following Britney Spears.

The boffins say city-bears give birth when they are between 4-5 years old, as compared to 7-8 years for bears in wild areas. Some urban bears even reproduced as early as 2-3 years-old.

Wildlife Conservation Society researcher Jon Beckmann, said: "Because of an abundant food source – namely garbage – bears are being drawn in from backcountry areas into urbanized landscapes where they meet their demise."

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