Simon Crisp: June 2009 Archives

275x250.jpgA 24-year-old would-be burglar was left regretting targeting 72-year-old former boxer Frank Corti and his wife Margaret.

The bungling burglar didn't know Frank was a former boxing champ when he lunged at the pensioner in his Oxfordshire home, armed with a knife.

Quick-acting Frank dodged the weapon and restrained Gregory McCalium ... but not before landing a couple of quick right hooks to his face, leaving him with a black eye and swollen lip.

Frank, who served with the Royal Engineers in North Africa in the 1950s, then calmly called police who undoubtedly had a good laugh at McCalium's expense.

McCalium was today sentenced to four and a half years’ imprisonment after a judge told him he "got what he deserved". 

200x190.jpgA list of the most frequent search engine misspellings has been revealed, including Swan Flu, Susan Boil and Mysapce.

Yahoo! say many recent errors by their searchers are sound-alike spelling mistakes where people may not know exactly what they are looking for.

This explains errors such as Swan Flu for Swine Flu, Paperview boxing for pay-per-view boxing and Dancing With the Starts instead of Dancing With the Stars.

Others are accounted for as basic typos like Mysapce where it should be MySpace.

I would normally add a "witty" comment here, but given how frequently we include a typo or misspelling on NewsLite I think it is best not to start mocking misspellers.

200x190.jpgResearchers are studying footballers in order to discover why intense physical training alone, cannot turn an average bloke into a top quality player.

They argue that top players like Ronaldo and Samuel Eto'o share a mysterious X-Factor which is the source of their remarkable ball skills.

Tests at the University of Queensland found that while being in excellent physical condition helps a player's performance, there is an innate ability which is more important.

This means that while intense training regimes can improve players, some are always going to be better even without trying.

It is thought that being able to identify the footballing x-Factor in young players could help teams pick who to buy ... hopefully it won't involve a Saturday night ITV show.

200x190.jpgThere is much more consensus among men about who they find attractive, than there is among women, a study has found.

Boffins say (though not in as many words) that this explains why, if you are a man, you are likely to think that Megan Fox is hot.

A team of psychologists from Wake Forest University got more than 4,000 people to rate photographs of men and women (aged 18-25) out of ten for attractiveness.

They found that while men gave top marks to the same people, women were more varied in who they fancied.

The study also "revealed" that men thought women who looked thin and seductive were more attractive ... I'm so glad this study was a able to "reveal" that, otherwise we would never have known.

200x190.jpgMeet Pabst, a boxer-mix who was recently named the world's ugliest dog 2009.

His under-bite, scrunched face and wonky ears might not make him a natural beauty, but Pabst was the star of the show at the World's Ugliest Dog contest in California this weekend.

The former rescue dog beat off stiff competition to take the dubious title - and $1,600 in prize money - at the annual Sonoma-Marin Fair.

Owner Miles Egstad of California had a beaming smile as he said how proud he was of his pooch ... not so much when people started discussing how dogs look like their owners.

275x250.jpgAn error by the Royal Mint has left tens of thousands of 20p coins are actually worth over £50 each.

The rare blunder has seen many coins produced this year which do not have the date stamped on them.

Experts now say this makes them worth at least £50, potentially far more in the future - the last time an undated coin entered general circulation was over 300 years ago.

To identify the coins you are looking for a mismatch of designs where they used the old portrait of the Queen and the new reverse side - neither have a date stamp.

Excuse me for a moment ... I'm off to search down the back of the sofa.

200x190.jpgA cheeky artist has been awarded a £20,000 grant to look at women's bums and peoples attitudes towards them.

Sue Williams, from Swansea, will use the cash from the National Lottery to create plaster cast moulds of women’s rears.

She says she will start off with her own, and hopes the project will help her understand how people see bums around the world, including it's "racial fetishism" in Africa and Europe.

The Arts Council of Wales - who issued the grant - say they just hope Sue doesn't make an ass out of herself.

275x250.jpgResearchers say men are better at using a hammer in the dark, but that women are more accurate during the day.

Boffins tested the "hammering performance" of a range of people, under various lighting conditions, measuring how easily they could knock a nail into a block of wood.

They found some people were naturals - getting the job done after a few clean strokes of the hammer - whereas others ended up with the nail bent in the middle or a sore thumb.

But oddly the team from the University of Massachusetts discovered men were better when the lights were turned off, while women were more accurate in proper lighting conditions.

So men, next time your missus asks tells you to do some DIY, tell her to get it started and that you will take over at 10pm.

275x250.jpgThe BBC filmed an additional scene which was slotted into soap opera EastEnders, making reference to the death of Michael Jackson.

Producers say the news has had such an impact worldwide, that it would make the show more realistic if characters were talking about what had happened.

As a result they recorded a scene where characters Denise Wicks and Patrick Trueman are seen discussing the news - it was added into the show broadcast on Friday.

In the past show bosses have shot additional scenes to include the election of US President Barack Obama and England's progress in the World Cup.

The pop legend died, aged 50 after suffering a cardiac arrest at his Los Angeles home on Thursday 25 June.

200x190.jpgIf you have a problem deciding what to order at the bar, never go to Delirium Cafe in Brussels, they serve over 2,400 different beers.

The bar set the world record for the most varieties of beer commercially available, back in 2004 (with 2004 beers) - but since then they have kept adding to their selection.

Now they have close to 2,500 beers in stock, and while many come from Belgium, over 75 different countries are represented in their cellars, including offerings from unlikely beer producers like Russia and Sri Lanka.

The beer menu is over 200 pages long and ranges from lagers to fruit beers and traditional Belgian Trappist ales ... it also make for a more interesting read than most celebrity autobiographies.

200x190.jpgA solar powered plane, which makers hope will soon be able to fly around the world, has been revealed by Swiss adventurer Dr Bertrand Piccard.

Piccard says they will now start testing the 1,500kg "Solar Impulse" plane which has a massive jumbo-jet-sized wingspan of 61m, ahead of his attempt to fly across the Atlantic in 2012.

The catchily named propeller plane "HB-SIA" is powered by four motors which are driven by 12,000 solar cells on each wing but only weights the same as a family car.

While it has batteries, the team behind the £80million project say it still has problem flying at night or in dark weather conditions.

200x190.jpgA golf buggy has been released which allows paralysed and disabled golf fans to continue playing the game.

The Paragolfer device works like a electric wheelchair for getting around the course, but the seat raises to a standing position when they reach their ball.

It then holds them upright, and in the right position, so they are able to swing their club and make a shot.

Belts on the £10,000, three-wheeled device keep the golfer in place, and makers say it can cope with all the terrain found on a golf course, including long grass and sand traps.

The only problem with the machine seems to be that it will prompt lots of awkward pauses in club houses around the world as people hear themselves asking "What is your handicap?"

The philosophy of the underground

200x190.jpgDrivers on the London Underground have been issued with a book of philosophical quotes to read out along with their normal announcements.

The usual "mind the gap" and "the next station is..." will now be joined by insights from the likes of Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Einstein and Mahatma Gandhi.

Bosses hope the quotes - compiled by Turner Prize-nominated artist Jeremy Deller - will lift the moods of passengers as they are read out over the tanoy.

Examples include, "Everyone should be respected, but no-one idolised" (Albert Einstein) and "An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory" (Friedrich Engels).

I'm guessing that the majority of passengers will not even notice the new announcements as they sit pondering their own philosophical questions like "Who's better: Batman or Superman?"

200x190.jpgA photographer who wanted to show how much high-streets have changed has accidentally created a internet sensation.

Jason Powell struck on the idea of holding an old photo where it was taken, and then taking a new photo of it, showing it with its modern day surroundings.

The resulting images have been viewed over 250,000 times and hundreds of fans have started creating their own "Looking into the past " images.

Jason, 30,  started taking the photos in Leesburg, near Washington DC, where he lives and gets the original images from the Library of Congress.

200x190.jpgAn artist is using the Twitter updates of Stephen Fry as the subject for his latest work.

Morgan Ritchie is taking 100 tweets by @stephenfry and creating an illustration for each one, the images which are then displayed on his website.

The project "100 Days Of Fry" will continue take one update per day, until the 9th September.

Ritchie says the work is a test of his visual story-telling abilities and that he picked Stephen Fry because his tweets are "descriptive, funny and witty".

It is a good job he didn't pick my tweets, there are only so many drawing one man can do of someone sat at a computer drinking coffee.

200x190.jpgA 35,000-year-old flute has been discovered in Germany which experts say it the world's oldest musical instrument.

The bone flute was found in a cave in the Ach valley in south-west Germany, where early modern humans are understood to have settled after leaving Africa.

It is made out of bone of a griffon vultur - a species which had an impressive wingspan of 265cm - the flute is 21.8cm long, has five finger holes and manufacturer carved two deep, V-shaped notches in one end to form the blow.

The team from Tubingen University say that this shows music was widespread in pre-historic times ... now Germans just have David Hasselhoff.

200x190.jpgDrugged-up wallabies are responsible creating some of Australia's crop circles, it has been claimed.

Wallabies in Tasmania are said to keep breaking into poppy fields and eating opium poppies - used to make morphine - which causes them to act strangely.

They then start hopping around in circles, bumping into each other and accidentally creating the sort of crop circle patterns normally associated with UFOs and aliens.

A government official said the UHOs (Unidentified Hopping Objects) had become a problem for the Australian poppy industry which supplies about 50% of the world's legally-grown opium.

They will try installing bigger fences but the problem is some of these wallabies can be "as high as a kite".

Why motivational posters don't work

200x190.jpgOffices around the world are decorated with awe-inspiring images of landscapes or wildlife and motivational messages, but they don't work, it has been found.

Researchers have tested the effectiveness of office motivational posters and discovered the only people they spur on are those who are already motivated.

The team from the University of Iowa, say many companies just put the posters on the wall but do not have a broader motivational campaign.

As a result the boffins claim the posters work on people who were naturally upbeat and positive, but prompt negative responses and mocking from the less positive individuals and more skeptical.

In that case it is probably a good job the only motivational on the wall at NewsLite towers is the one you can see after the link.

iBath uses your iPhone to run a bath

200x190.jpgIf running a bath just isn't technical enough for you, this could be your ideal solution, an iPhone application to fill the tub.

The bathomatic, dubbed iBath by users, allows you to control the depth and temperature of your bath, even if you are miles away.

Makers Unique Automation say the app works by sending a phone signal to your bath and could be used from the next room, or even as you are on your way home.

While the app can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store, you will also need a special £4,000 bath with taps which can receive the signals.

200x190.jpgIf you are planning on asking someone to do you a favour, make sure you are speaking into their right ear.

Scientists have found we are much more likely to help someone out if they make the request in our right ear.

It is thought to be because info received through the right ear is processed by the left side of the brain. This is more logical and better at deciphering verbal information.

Scientists in Italy tested this by asking 176 nightclubbers for a cigarette. They obtained significantly more cigarettes when they spoke to the clubbers' right ear compared with their left.

The boffins debated keeping the findings to themselves so their friends didn't get wise to their right-ear begging ways, but eventually published a paper on the study.

200x190.jpg16-year-old tennis star Michelle Larcher De Brito says officials will not stop her loud grunts.

The Portuguese teenager has been recorded making 110 dB screeches as she hits the ball in some matches - that's not far off the noise of a chain saw.

During the French Open her moans got so loud that an opponent even complained to the umpire that it was becoming unbearable.

But speaking at a Wimbledon press conference yesterday, Michelle said she would not stop making the noise because it was part of her game.

"Nobody can tell me to stop grunting, tennis is an individual sport and I'm an individual player." she said. That means she will continue screaming, even when the umpire says "Quiet please".

275x250.jpgA fully working mobile phone which is targeted at children too young to go to school, is set to be launched in the UK.

The £85 phone looks like a cheap colourful toy but works just like any other cellphone.

It features a colour LCD screen and has two big illustrated buttons on the front to directly call mommy or daddy.

Makers say the GlowPhone has built-in games to keep children entertained and will give parents "peace of mind" knowing they can always contact their child.

I'm sorry but where exactly is your four-year-old going on their own that you might need to call them?

Hydrogen-powered bug car unveiled

200x190.jpgA two-seater hydrogen-powered car has been revealed which has a top speed of 50mph and can travel over 240 miles without refueling.

The Riversimple open source car also emits less than 30 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer, far less than current eco-cars.

Boffins from Oxford University helped create the car which will be leased to customers and costs just 15p per mile to run.

Being hydrogen-powered means that rather than exhaust fumes, the car emits only water ... but is currently incredibly hard to find somewhere to refuel.

Makers hope the cars will be on the roads by 2013, let's hope that by then you don't have to spend the entire 240 mile driving range looking for somewhere to top up.

200x190.jpgMore than 60 dogs spent the weekend catching waves, rather than fetching sticks, at an annual US surfing dog competition.

The dogs competed in three different cat-egories for those under 40 pounds in weight, over 40 pounds, and teams, where humans joined the dogs on the boards.

Some looked more comfortable than others perched on the surfboards, and while a few wore lifejackets, others were more than happy in just sunglasses.

Thousands of spectators turned up to watch the dogs - and no-one laughed at their doggy-paddling when they fell from their boards.

275x250.jpgAn eco-friendly washing machine, which uses just one cup of water to wash a normal sized load of clothes, has been revealed.

The machine, which could go on sale as early as next year, was developed by boffins from Leeds University.

It replaces most of the water with reusable nylon polymer beads which attract and absorb dirt, cleaning clothes in the process.

Experts say this leaves clothes just as clean, but uses over 90 percent less water and 30 percent less energy.

Finally the breakthrough means that smelly hippies won't have an excuse not to wash their clothes.

200x190.jpgScientists in Canada have turned their attention to reducing bovine burps, in a bid to save the environment.

Cows are said to cause three-quarters of the world's total methane emissions and have a major impact on global warming.

As a result, the Canadian scientists from the University of Alberta are trying to breed cows which do not burp as much.

Altering a cow's diets has already reduced their methane emissions by 25 percent, but now the boffins are looking at the genes responsible for methane rich burps.

It is hoped that a burp free cow could be just around the corner, not a sentence I ever envisioned myself typing.

200x190.jpgDesigners have come up with a tent which they say would be easy to find in a crowded festival field, because it glows when you sent it a text message or get closer.

The "Orange Solar Tent" would also use solar power to charge your mobile devices and could even heat your sleeping service.

It also has a touchscreen LCD display which shows energy generated and consumed as well as providing a wireless internet signal. Unfortunately the tent is still at the concept stage.

So as you struggle to find your old fashioned tent at Glastonbury this year, console yourself with the thought that in a couple of years it won't be a problem ... you will be too old to go to festivals.

200x190.jpgBicycle thieves across the UK have been tested to see how quickly they steal an unlocked bike. They passed with flying colours.

Shiny new bikes were left in ten city-centres and researchers hid around the corner, timing how long they took to disappear.

All of the bikes were stolen within four hours, with the average being two hours and 22 minutes.

But bike thieves in London can sit back proudly, there the test bicycle was nabbed in just 17 MINUTES.

It is estimated that 300,000 bikes are stolen across the UK each year - but only 10 of them are thought to be lost in bike theft experiments.

200x190.jpgA New York couple have become the first people to get married in zero gravity by saying "I do" in an weightlessness simulating aircraft.

Noah Fulmor and Erin Finnegan wed in a specially modified Boeing 727-200 which made parabolic arcs above Florida to create zero gravity in 30 second bursts.

They flew like superman and flipped like gymnasts throughout the eight minute ZERO-G ceremony officiated by US astronaut Richard Garriott.

Luckily when Noah was told "You may now kiss the bride" neither of them were suffering from space sickness - though they did have problems lining up.

Pizza Hot: The world's hottest pizza

200x190.jpgA UK pizza chain has launched what it thought to be the world's hottest pizza.

The "Pizza Calabria Volcanica" from Bella Italia is topped with hot chilli peppers, spicy njuda sausage and scorching hot arrabiatta sauce.

Makers say it is so hot they warn people it will test their taste-buds and even serve it with a nice cooling glass of milk.

Vittorio Lettieri - the man who created the fiery food - says side effects of eating a Calabria Volcanica can include a numb tongue and watering eyes.

The recipe has been submitted to the Guinness World Records for verification ... if they can find an adjudicator brave enough to taste it.

200x190.jpgA teenage girl who was struck by lightening survived the 300,000-volt power surge ... because she was wearing an iPod.

14-year-old Sophie Frost had taken shelter from the storm as she walked home in Essex, when she was hit by the lightening.

Luckily for her, the cable of the headphones is thought to have diverted the power surge away from her vital organs.

Not so luckily, it gave her serious burns to the chest and meant she had to be rushed into hospital for treatment.

Doctors say it could have been far worse ... Girls Aloud could have been playing on her iPod - then she would have damaged her ears too.

200x190.jpgSkateboard legend Tony Hawk has taken photos of himself cruising through the halls of The White House on his board.

The 41-year-old had been invited to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave by Barack Obama, for a Fathers Day event with a host of other famous dads.

But while there Hawk, who takes his skateboard everywhere, asked permission to skate through the foyer and the nearby Old Executive Office Building.

He then uploaded images to Twitter along with the message: "This really happened. Thank you for the invite, President Obama." Malia and Sasha Obama will no doubt soon be asking why they are not allowed to do the same.

200x190.jpgT-shirts which hold in your belly and even give the appearance of a toned torso have been revealed, to the joy of slobs everywhere.

The "Ript Fusion" tee is said to shave inches off your stomach by using a patent pending design and a dual layer of fabric.

Makers claim that using technology developed for athletic wear it can make you look slimmer by compacting the abdomen and back, creating a flatter silhouette.

"Men today care about their appearance and their health, but are unwilling to compromise comfort," said a spokesperson for the company.

She didn't mention that men also care about beer, food and sitting on the sofa watching sports.

200x190.jpgAstronauts on the International Space Station have watched the new Star Trek movie while 220 miles above Earth.

The movie was beamed over to the ISS where the crew set up a laptop in the Unity module to watch the J.J. Abrams space movie.

NASA astronaut Michael Barratt said he had been a Star Trek fan since watching the original series, "Like many of my NASA coworkers, I was inspired by the idea of people from all nations coming together to explore space," he said.

He added that he had been disappointed by the lack of Vulcans at NASA training centres.

200x190.jpgA rare coin which was found in a field near Salisbury is set to sell for over £10,000 at auction later this month.

It was discovered by a woman -who wants to remain anonymous - as she was walking through the field and saw it sparkle.

She picked it up and took it home before dusting it off and noticing how unusual it was. The coin was then taken to Spink auction house in London who valued it.

They say the coin is an extremely rare Anglo-Frisian Solidus coin from ninth century England worth over £10,000.

I can understand the woman wanting to remain anonymous but I think we can safely assume people in Salisbury call her "That woman who keeps walking around the field".

Rock-on with some concrete speakers

200x190.jpgIf you like listening to "heavy" rock music, these could be the speakers for you ... they are made out of concrete.

Makers say the dense material means they produce the perfect sound because its stiffness and high damping qualities cuts the distortion which occurs in wooden or plastic speakers.

Creator Gavin Alexander says he got hooked on trying to use the building material to make speakers in the 60s and has been improving them ever since.

Lets hope he has got it right because they have also got a heave pricetag - £6,500 per pair.

200x190.jpgA 15-year-old girl who sends over 14,000 text messages per month has won £30,500 in a texting competition.

Kate Moore battled it out with other prolific texters to win the National Texting Championships in the US.

Not only did she have to prove she could text quickly but she had to do it while blindfolded and while navigating an obstacle course.

The event ended with a tie-breaker where Kate had to beat another youngster to the send button after texting: "Zippity Dooo Dahh Zippity Ayy... MY oh MY, what a wonderful day! Plenty of sunshine Comin' my way... Zippitty Do Dah Zippity Aay! WondeRful Feeling Wonderful day!" 


200x190.jpgIf you are someone who is constantly spilling your coffee over your desk, this could be the computer for you.

Makers say the WPC-500F is fully waterproof and given it can work fully submerged in water the odd spill is unlikely to cause it any harm.

It is designed for use in submarines but there is nothing to stop you using  it as a normal PC, as long as you have the £1,200 to pay for it.

A spokesperson for makers Stealh said: "The machine is completely sealed on all six sides and can withstand the harshest of environments."

That is all well and good but do they know just how clumsy my wife is?

200x190.jpgHundreds of long-haired rockers have set a new world record for the largest number of people playing air guitar simultaneously.

440 people strummed their hearts out on imaginary instruments during the recent 2009 Download festival in Leicestershire to take the record.

The event was organized by EA to promote their upcoming game Brutal Legend
and wiped the floor with the previous record of 318 air guitarists.

All of the rockers were watched by an official adjudicator as they played along to Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades.”

One of the rockers said: "It was great out there, but I don't know if you noticed the guy next to me was out of key."

275x250.jpgArtist Sandhi Schimmel may use recycled bits-and-pieces to create her artwork, but it is far from rubbish.

Schimmel's latest creation 'The Birth of Venus' is her take on the Botticelli classic and is made using her unique painting and mosaic style.

Utilizing resources that would otherwise go to waste she hand cuts and applies tiny pieces of waste paper and glass to create a mosaic effect.

"I started cutting up paper and cards - recycling junk. Eureka! I got what I was looking for." she said. She probably shouldn't makes it sound that easy, she is charging $8,100 for this one.


200x190.jpgCat owners, you may want to skip reading this article because tests have found that dogs are smarter than your beloved felines.

Psychologists tested cats understanding of cause-and-effect connections between objects to measure how bright they were.

The test saw fish treats attached to a piece of string, and placed under a plastic screen. They then saw if the cats could work out that pulling on the other end of the string would pull the treat closer.

While the cats managed it with one string, when a second parallel un-baited one was added, they were left confused.

Previous tests on dogs had seen them complete this relatively easily, proving that dogs are better ... at least if you are going to spend your evening playing with strings with them.

200x190.jpgIt takes just six minutes from drinking alcohol to it having an impact on brain activity, research has found.

Researchers say this is the first time the speed at which humans can get drunk has been accurately measured.

In the tests they got people to take an alcoholic drink while they were  lying in the MRI scanner, until they reached a blood alcohol content of 0.05  percent.

As they did this, the boffins from University Hospital Heidelberg monitored brain activity to see how quickly the alcohol kicked in.

After coming up with such a crazy experiment I am surprised the researchers had any booze left.

275x250.jpgA portable safe has been launched which promises to keep your mobile phone and keys safe as you take a dip in the sea.

The 'Yelpie' features a motion sensor alarm to protect your belongings on the beach meaning you don't have to hold your wallet above the water when paddeling.

Upon setting a pin code the box is locked and sensors are activated, after which an ear piercing 90dB alarm will be triggered if someone grabs it and tries to do a runner.

However, if someone accidentally knocks it with a beach ball while you are off getting an ice cream you could find yourself the becoming the most disliked person on the beach. 

200x190.jpgA tiny frozen microbe which has been trapped in ice for over 120,000 years, could hold clues to what alien life is like, experts claim.

Boffins say they have brought the bug - which was found beneath 3km of ice in Greenland - back to life, and that it may hold clues as to what life forms might exist on other planets.

A team from Pennsylvania State University spent 11 months slowly defrosting the
tiny purple bacteria, called Herminiimonas glaciei in an incubator.

They say the bug's tiny size, it's 50 times smaller than E. coli, helped it to survive in the liquid veins among ice crystals - much like life could exist on frozen worlds such as Mars.

I think maybe these scientists should have watched Jurassic Park at some point during the 11 month defrosting process, if they had they'd know how this is going to end.

275x250.jpgReality TV judge Piers Morgan has stripped off to pose in a series of adverts for a mens fragrance which smells of meat - no you did not misread that.

Flame - the odd smelling meat perfume - goes on sale today for £4.99 at Selfridges and is produced by burger chain Burger King.

But bizarrely the meaty aroma is not the strangest thing about this product, that's the ads showing a near-naked Piers.

Speaking at a launch event Piers insisted that he had not used a body-double for the photo shoot. Remind me, didn't Piers end up losing him job last time he denied photos were faked?

200x190.jpgThe highest cafe in the UK has opened at the top of Mount Snowdon - but 3,500ft up it's a long way to go for your daily mocha.

Based in the new £8.4 million Hafod Eryri visitor centre the cafe is quite literally head and shoulders above the average Starbucks and Costa Coffee.

It has taken over three years for construction workers to finish the granite and glass summit building and cafe, designed by architect Ray Hole.

They faced 150mph winds, violent hale storms and worked in temperatures which frequently dropped to minus 20 degrees centigrade.

Luckily the cafe will not have to rely on hardened trekkers for custom - there is also a steam train which runs to the summit.

200x190.jpgA Scottish bagpiper is set to annoy busk his way around the US to remind Americans how many of them are of Scots descent.

Rob Calder yesterday started his six-week trip across the US which will see him perform in New York, Washington, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.  

He hopes hearing his sweet sweet music will encourage some of the 25 million people of Scots descent living in America to visit Scotland.

The 32-year-old - who has played the bagpipes since her was 14 - will also be raising money for charity Ecas (Yeah, people will probably donate cash just to get him to stop).

I can't help but think he would have more success if he was handing out free whisky and NOT subjecting people to what must be the most annoying 'musical' instrument on the planet. 

Guilty looking dogs don't feel sorry

200x190.jpgDogs who look guilty after breaking a vase are not feeling sorry for their actions, but reacting to their owners response, it has been found.

Tests showed that dog owners tendency to attribute a "guilty look" to a dog has very little to do with whether the dog has done something it shouldn't, but if they believe it has.

Researchers tested a series of pets by telling owners their dog has misbehaved (sometimes when it has, sometimes when it hadn't) and monitoring their behavior.

Professor Alexandra Horowitz from Barnard College in New York said a dog’s guilty look is a response to the owner’s behavior, and not necessarily indicative of any appreciation of its own misdeeds ... she added that she was sorry to Fido.

200x190.jpgSick of finding your child's toys on the living room floor? How about sticking them together to create a bigger toy and then selling it for £12,000.

That is what sculptor Robert Bradford has done with his latest creations 'Toy Soldier' and 'Toy Angel'.

The artist from Cornwall says that one day he found a box of toys his children had outgrown and started putting them together to make various colourful shapes.

He now uses old toys purchased at car boot sales to create his works the latest of which 'Toy Soldier' is made from action toys such as guns, airplanes and walkie-talkies.

There are also several video games controllers used in the body ... so lets just hope his children don't want to play Mario any time soon.

9,000-year-old beer to be relaunched

200x190.jpgA brewery is relaunching the world's oldest beer by using on a 9,000-year-old Chinese recipe.

Chateau Jiahu is a blend of rice, honey and fruit which is said to have been all the rage in ancient China.

But after being forgotten about for around 9,000 years the beer is set to make it's return after beer experts Dogfish recreated the brew.

Brewers analyzed preserved jars of the beer found by archaeologists in the Neolithic villiage of Jiahu, in Henan province, Northern China, to perfect they drink.

Lets just hope the archaeologists didn't misread the jars and the brewers have accidentally recreated a 9,000-year-old cough medicine.

275x250.jpgBoffins have developed a robot which uses the locomotional patterns of marine animals to move through water more efficiently than standard propulsion methods.

Before you doze off, what that basically means is that in the future boats will wiggle and swim through the water like fish.

Researchers from the University of Darmstadt analyzed hundreds of videos of fish swimming before building their 1.5m long bot, and hoped in the future their tech will be used for ship propulsion.

They add that the snaking motions would also be more efficient and reduce the churning up of seabeds ... I can't see it helping people with seasickness too much though.

200x190.jpgWashing all the cars in the car park of a company where you want to get a job, has been named one of the top 10 unconventional ways to get a potential employers attention.

A survey of employers found one-in-five were now seeing job seekers trying unusual tactics to capture their attention during the recession.

Examples highlighted include someone who handed out personalized coffee cups and one who attended an interview dressed as a bunny because it was around Easter.

Another odd example was a man who found out details of the barber a potential employer used and asked him to speak on his behalf while cutting his hair.

Oddly the success of these tactics has not been revealed, but would you say "I don't think you are right" to someone while their mate was holding a pair of scissors to your head?

Dancing dads are a work of art

200x190.jpgDancing dads who embarrass there children with cringeworthy moves are being invited to take part in a modern art exhibition.

Fathers who like to throw shapes at weddings, birthday parties or in their front room, are being asked to upload videos of themselves to Salfords Lowry Centre.

The best (or should that be worst) will then be invited to have free professional dance tuition and take part in an exhibition over the summer.

A spokesperson for the centre said: "People around the world use dance to express their emotions, to tell stories, to worship and to communicate. Dance can be an art form."

That was quite clearly someone who has never seen me on a dance floor speaking.

200x190.jpgWhen you think of concept vehicles what springs to mind first? Curvy sports cars, maybe something which can turn from a car into a boat or plane.

Not the good folk over at Husqvarna who have spent months designing what they think will be the ride-on lawn mower of the future.

The Panthera Leo is made out of recycled materials, features an electric engine for silent operation and has three hanging cutting decks like those found on an electric razor.

Designers say its green credentials make this an eco-friendly lawn mower ... pretty hard for a device which only exists to cut down nature.

200x190.jpg
At first glance it looks like these gadgets have been carefully wrapped in brown parcel paper - but on closer inspection you can see they are made entirely out of cardboard.

Artist Kyle Bean, has produced the cardboard replicas of gadget like an iPod, Nintendo DS and a laptop computer as a comment on how quickly technology becomes out of date.

The 22-year-old design graduate from Brighton bends, folds and glues recycled corrugated cardboard to recreate the intricate shaped of the gadgets before adding a small battery pack inside to make a tracing paper screen glow.

He says each item takes him two days to create and is a statement about the way many people see modern technology as disposable ... not because he can't afford and Apple iPhone 3GS.

275x250.jpgResearchers in Indonesia have unearthed a complete skeleton of an extinct elephant which died over 200,000 years ago.

The experts say it is almost unheard of to find remains in such good condition, and that it was only possible this time because of the odd way the elephant died.

While most dead elephants at the time would have been ripped apart and eaten by carnivores, boffins say this Dumbo got caught in quicksand, preserving it for generations to come.

They say the elephant was much bigger than modern-day Asian examples and would have stood at over four metres tall - the height of a double decker bus.

Sorry for using a double decker bus as our default unit of measurement for extinct but huge animals, but at least we are not the only ones.

275x250.jpgA group of over 2,500 students have set a new world record ... by dressing as Smurfs at a Swansea nightclub.

The revellers all painted their skin blue and slipped into white costumes in a bid to smash the previous record of 1,253 blue people set last year in Ireland.

A team of five adjudicators for the Guinness World Record organization counted 2,510 Smurfs at the Oceana nightclub, more than double the previous record.

Organizers say there should have been more Smurfs, but a number of people had an allergic reaction to the blue face paint ... luckily it wasn't enough to risk the record and leave them red-faced.

200x190.jpgLike the idea of finding buried treasure on the beach but don't want to look a total prat waving a metal detector around? These could be for you.

Wearing a pair of metal detecting sandals you will stand the same chance of finding treasure but only look half (okay, maybe 75%) as daft.

The sandals have a copper coil built into the right sandal, powered by a battery pack, and using beat frequency oscillation can detect the presence of metal up to 2' underfoot.

When you are standing over metal the £40 sandals will flash, buzz and vibrate giving fellow beach-goers a shock.

... but nothing like the one you could get if you walk into the sea wearing them.

200x190.jpgResearchers studying the impact of climate change on the Arctic have some of the largest carbon footprints, it has been claimed.

Scientists studying environmental issues at the pole have a carbon footprint DOUBLE the average - meaning they are responsible for producing twice as much carbon dioxide.

This is because they travel long distances using air travel and use devices like icebreakers and snowmobiles, all of which produce large amounts of carbon.

Experts from the University of Calgary now argue those studying climate change need to to consider ways to reduce their own carbon footprints.

You can now expect to hear climate change deniers using the words 'pot' kettle' and 'black' a lot more often.

200x190.jpgA primary school have used a Lonely hearts style advert to help them find a new headteacher.

Ridgewell Primary School in Essex describes itself as "popular, attractive, small but bubbly" in the Times Educational Supplement advert

It goes on to say they are "enthusiastic, happy and keen to learn" and are looking for someone "with a GSOH, energy and vision."

School bosses at the school which has about 80 pupils aged four to 11 say they came up with the odd ad because last time they tried recruiting the didn't get many responces.

Possible applicants should note that the advert ends by offering a link to see pictures of the school ... taken 20 years ago before it piled on the pupils.

200x190.jpgIf you can't tear yourself away from the computer for long enough to get lunch this could be your ideal desk accessary.

The tiny microwave plugs into the USB slot on your computer and can be used to heat up a snack or drink in seconds.

It was designed by Heinz and experts at GAMA Microwave Technology, and measures just 150mm x 160mm x 190mm making it the world's smallest microwave.

Before you rush out and try to order one, spare a thought for all the poor IT managers across the country who just let out a collective gasp as they imagined you spilling sticky food all over 'their' keyboards.


200x190.jpgAcademic researchers have analyzed hours of James Bond movies in a bid to discover what sort of woman the MI6 spy goes for.

They found that in 20 movies there were 195 female characters, of which Bond had "sexual contact" with 98.

Comparing the ones he beds to those he doesn't, they say they have identified his type as younger, slim, attractive and brunette.

Professor Kimberly Neuendorf of Cleveland State University said Bond also likes women with an American accent and those who carry a gun.

Shocking isn't it? No not that Bond doesn't like blondes but that this is what passes a academic research at the moment.

A piano playing cat has had a special piece of music written for her by an acclaimed classical conductor.

Mindaugas Piecaitis from Lithuania says he was amazed when he saw a YouTube video of Nora playing the piano.

In the clips - which have been watched by over 20 million people - Nora sits in front of a piano and strikes the keys with her paws, apparently enjoying the sounds she makes.

Mindaugas initially wanted to feature Nora in a performance by the Klaipeda chamber orchestra, but then decided to write and original work inspired by her.

The orchestra spent days rehearsing the four minute piece 'CATcerto' ahead of purr-forming it live, but when they did, it was the cats whiskers. Watch the video after the link.

200x190.jpgA political party which is made up of pirates is to set sail for Brussels after winning a seat at the EU Parliament.

But fans of swashbuckling sea-goers could be sorely disappointed, the party is focused on the reformation of copyright law.

The Pirate Party (PiratPartiet) was set up in Sweden in 2006 to compete in domestic and European elections and yesterday gained 7.1 percent of the vote in EU elections winning them a seat in the European Parliament.

From there they will continue to fight for the abolition of the patent system and to strengthen the rights to privacy online.

I wonder if some EU meeting will now be conducted in Pirate-speak - "Will all those in favour of spending the afternoon pillaging say Yarr."

200x190.jpgMarks & Spencer is to start selling a school uniform which is entirely made out of recycled rubbish.

The blazers, skirts and trousers are all made from plastic bottles which are washed and melted before being refined and woven into a polyester.

Shoes are even made from chopped up waste leather shavings which would normally be sent to landfill.

A M&S spokesperson said of the range: "Using recycled materials helps to conserve the earth's natural resources and protect the environment for future generations."    

Primark are expected to launch a rival uniform anytime now ... it will be made by gluing 75 crisp packets together.*

200x190.jpgThousands of children could be injured in trampoline related accidents this summer, it has been warned.

Medics say they have seen a sharp increase in the number of children been admitted to hospital after falling off the bouncy garden toys.

One hospital in Dundee, Scotland, has even treated over 50 trampoline injuries in the last six weeks.

While some accidents happen when there is no adult supervision, many are said to occur when parents try to join in the fun - with their bouncing increasing the risk to kids.

This is because the weight difference causes them to get out of phase with each other and means the trampoline is in the wrong position as the child land ... however if you have an heavily obese child you should be fine.

Algorithm simulates sounds of water

200x190.jpgThe splish splash splosh of water is one of life's most simple things - but scientists have spent years trying to simulate it on computers.

Currently water sound effects are added to animations, simulations and computer games from recordings or Foley artists.

But computer scientists claim they have now produced an algorithm which accurately simulates the sounds based on the physics of the objects shown on screen.

It uses the geometry of the scene to calculate the movement of air bubbles in water - it is these bubbles which create the sounds as water pours and splashes - to produce a realistic effect.

The research has been part of a $1.2 million scheme ... which seems a bit much given we  all make these noises when we go to the toilet.

200x190.jpgIf you are someone who gets easily grossed out by creepy crawlies then you are also more likely to vote Conservative, a study has found.

Researchers have discovered that the emotion of disgust is linked to political beliefs with more squeamish people positioning themselves on the right.

Tests in the US assessed peoples disgust sensitivity and political ideology by asking questions about insects, slime, gore and a range of political topics.

Participants who rated higher in disgust sensitivity were also more likely to oppose gay marriage and abortion, but be in favor of tax cuts.

The bizarre thing is this means people who would squirm when confronted with slime would still vote for David Cameron.

200x190.jpgResearchers have spent months tickling chimps, orangutans and gorillas in a bid to discover more about the evolution of laughter.

They claim the fact that apes laugh when their feet are tickled proves laughter is hard-wired into humans,

Academics from the University of Portsmouth recorded over 800 sounds made by apes being tickled, and then compared them to sounds made by human babies.

The similarities are said to prove laughter is part of our evolution ... and that if apes could use computers, they too would be uploading video of their laughing babies to YouTube.

200x190.jpgScientists have created a pair of interactive data glasses which could let you surf the internet just by moving your eyes.

The glasses use a tiny projector to beam a computer screen onto the inside of the lens while a camera tracks eye movement to scroll through pages or even 'click' on links.

German researchers say they came up with the idea after seeing how data eyeglasses, which display info onto a lens, have become "everyday objects" (maybe they have spent too long watching James Bond movies).

Their design uses a CMOS chip with an eye tracker in a microdisplay to make it interactive, and would connected to a normal PDA. Designers say they would be ideal for doctors to see patient data during operations

Other uses could allow engineers to access construction drawings on-site ... or browsing the web as you accidentally walk into a tree.

275x250.jpgA pair of gay penguins at a German zoo have hatched a chick and are now raising it as adoptive parents.

The adult male penguins Z and Vielpunkt at Bremerhaven zoo were given the unhatched egg when it was rejected by its biological parents.

Zoo bosses had previously noted how the pair had rejected female penguins, tried to mate with each other, and even attempted to hatch offspring from stones.

After being given the egg they took it in turns to sit on it until it hatched four weeks ago, and they are now said to be raising the chick as heterosexual penguins would.

Experts say homosexual behaviour bas been well documented in many different animals, particularly penguins, but protesters still argue that "just because it happens in nature doesn't mean its natural."

200x190.jpgHearing a mobile phone ring - particularly if the ringtone is a familiar song - not only distracts us but also stops us from learning new things, tests have found.

Researchers claim that in situations where people are trying to learn something new, the interruption of a mobile phone can greatly impact how much info they will be able to remember.

Tests - in which lessons were interrupted by a phone ringing for 30 seconds - saw pupils scoring about 25 percent worse for recall of course content presented during the distraction.

But results were even worse if the ringtone played a popular song which students recognized, with their cognitive performance impaired for longer.

Psychologists argue the study shows why mobile phones should be banned at schools and in meetings ... and why no-one should ever have Britney Spears as their ringtone.

200x190.jpgIn news which will come as a surprise to absolutely no-one, scientists claim women enjoy gossiping and dishing dirt.

However, they now think chatting with girlfriends can also make women happier and healthier.

Tests by the University of Michigan showed that talking to friends boosts the level of progesterone produced by a woman's body - a hormone which makes them feel better and reduces anxiety or stress.

The increased hormone levels are also said to make women more willing to help other people ... so maybe when she comes off the phone it is a good time to ask for a cup of tea.

200x190.jpgA man who last year lost his job at a UK bank has resorted to advertising himself on eBay in a bid to find a job.

Given that no-one seems to be buying houses at the moment it is not surprising that mortgage adviser Andy Palmer is struggling to get work.

But the 30-year-old from Kent is now advertising himself on the auction site - normally more associated with mobile phone accessories and dodgy jewelry - and says he will do 'anything'.

Modest Andy, who used to work for Northern Rock and says he is a "Fantastic Employee" is offering to do 35 hours work in month in exchange for £1,997.

Knowing the mentality of the average eBay user he has added that he will not do anything that involves sex, illegal activities, or causing harm or injury to himself or others.

French footballers wear Braille kit

200x190.jpgThe French international football team yesterday played a match with their names written on their shirts in Braile.

Players had donned the dotted shirts to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of French inventor Louis Braille who came up with the innovative way for blind people to read.

Nicolas Anelka, Franck Ribery and Patrick Vieira each had their names reproduced on their shirts - which will be sold for charity - for their side's friendly against Nigeria.

But fans were left disappointed by the lack of on-pitch communication between the team in the shock 1-0 loss.

Some claimed the players should have been issued with dark glasses and white sticks as well as the Braille shirts.

200x190.jpgFor astronauts space travel can be a right headache, literally. Many suffer 'exploding' headaches which leave them unable to do anything, research has found.

It had been thought that space headaches were related to space motion sickness but now Dutch boffins think something else is causing the pain, which can last for hours.

A study on 17 super healthy astronauts - none of who normally suffer headaches on earth - found that 12 had the pains during missions.

The headaches kicked in at various stages of the missions, but mostly during the launch and while on the space station.

Researchers want 'space headache' classified as a separate entity illness rather than as a symptom of motion sickness ... astronauts meanwhile just want another Paracetamol.

200x190.jpgSpinning blades should give it away that lawn mowers can be dangerous, but that doesn't stop 200,000 Americans injuring themselves with one year year.

Statistics produced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission show many numbskulls lose fingers, toes and even arms to the gardening tool every summer.

Other common injuries are said to included broken bones, burns and eye injuries.

The problem is now so bad even plastic surgeons - presumably fed up with putting these people back together - are even issuing guidelines on how to help prevent lawn mower-related injuries.

While their advice takes the form of ten tips I think we can improve of that by summing everything into one concise point - "If it is sharp and spinning, don't put your F'ing fingers in there."

Penguin poo is visible from space

200x190.jpgScientist trying to locate colonies of emperor penguins in Antarctica have found an unusual way to do it ... looking for their poo from space.

Researchers have had problems working out exactly where the penguins live because individually they are not big enough to show up on satellite images.

But the British Antarctic Survey have found that while the flightless birds are too small to be seen, the mess they leave on the ice isn't.

Scientists have now discovered 10 new colonies of penguins all because of the  reddish-brown streaks on the ice ... they never mentioned that in March of the Penguins.

200x190.jpgHistory students have the most active sex lives of all university students, a survey has found.

A poll of 850 students at Oxford University found it was not only their brains which are getting a workout at the esteemed academic institution.

Questions about their sex lives found history students have sex more than anyone else, though they were closely followed by those doing degrees in politics, philosophy and economics.

The poll also found a link between sex lives and final exam results, students who have sex frequently are most likely to get a 2:1 while those who have sex less than once a month are likely either to achieve a first or to fail.

Oh yeah, they also found that 15 percent of Oxford students are still virgins ... and then promptly started making jokes about how the figure would be closer to 20 percent at Cambridge.

200x190.jpgA cancer patient who refused to accept his doctor's prognosis that he had only months to live, and placed a bet that he would live another year, has won £10,000.

Jon Matthews, from Milton Keynes, was diagnosed as being terminally ill in early 2007 and docs told him he was unlikely to survive until the end of the year.

But Jon refused to accept the news and bet £100 at his local bookies he would live to June 2008. When he did he pocketed £5,000 winnings. Today Jon picked up an additional £5,000 after making it another year.

He also placed a £100 bet, this time at 100/1, that he will live till June 1 2010. If he makes it he will this time win £10,000.

Asked if he was confident on winning again Jon said he would bet his life on it.

200x190.jpgDrinking chocolate flavored milk after exercise helps muscle recovery better than specially designed carbohydrate sports drinks, it has been claimed.

Researchers found that the natural properties of milk boosted the muscle recovery in footballers as much, if not more than, expensive sports drinks.

The boffins tested the muscle damage in university football players over a series of weeks, comparing those who drank chocolate milk after training to those drinking a 'high-carbohydrate recovery beverage'.

Chocolate milk drinkers were found to have significantly lower levels of creatine kinase - an indicator of muscle damage - compared to those on the carbohydrate beverage.

The odd news comes as no surprise to Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney who has been drinking milkshakes after matches for years, well what else are you going to order with your Big Mac?

200x190.jpgA digital radio station which became a surprise hit with listeners by playing nothing but birdsong will go off the air this morning.

Birdsong Radio was set up 18 months ago as a temporary filler station on the UK's national DAB network when another station closed.

It only ever played a single looped recording of birdsong which was taped 20 years ago by Quentin Howard who is now the chief executive of a number of radio stations, but despite this the station attracted thousands of daily listeners.

However, because the looped audio meant it was impossible to run adverts on the station, it will now be replaced by a more traditional station 'Amazing Radio' - playing songs by unsigned bands.

Radio bosses said they understood that many listeners would be disappointed by the closure of Birdsong Radio but suggested if they liked listening to birds that should open their window or go outside.

200x190.jpgNext time you sit on a park bench take a look for a memorial plaque, it could be more interesting than you think.

Odd examples have started cropping up across the UK offering strange memorials to members of the Devenish-Phibbs family.

One in Stone, Staffordshire reads: "In memory of Autumn Devenish-Phibbs, sister and dedicated dental nurse. She would have hated this plaque.""
 
Another in Glasgow states: "Barbara Devenish-Phibbs' dying wish was that we got her a bench inscribed with her final words. These, unfortunately, were "*****ing shut ***** pig ****ing, or I'll **** a ***-**** *** It'll **** **** you ***** ****ers off"

Dozens of the humorous/tragic plaques have been spotted and are been recorded online by 103-year-old Croy Devenish-Phibbs, who says he only uses the internet on Wednesdays ... make of that what you will.

Wikipedia bans Church of Scientology

200x190.jpgWikipedia - the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit - have banned the Church of Scientology from changing entries on their site.

The ban, voted for last week by the Wikipedia arbitration committee, means that all computers owned by the freaky cult church will be blocked from editing.

Bosses say the move was brought in after it was discovered that the Church had been editing Scientology-related articles and removing or adding information to promote the Church's studies.

While some claim the move will prevent the group from misrepresenting themselves on Wikipedia, other say it just means other users won't see what a bunch of nutjobs they are.




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