Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mysterious figure found on mars photo debunked?

We reported some days ago that a mysterious figure found on a mars photo might either be Bigfoot (unlikely) or probably rather a Tusken Raider from Star Wars.

The Planetary Society Weblog writes though that color images from space are practically never taken at the same time. The cameras are using monochrome detectors and to obtain color images they have to take the photo of the same spot at least three times with different color filters. In the mysterious mars figure photo Spirit took aim at that particular spot first with blue filters. One minute later after saving the first files it put an infrared filter over the scene and shot the scene again. About half a minute later it took the scene for a third time with a green filter.

During this time the humanoid figure stood perfectly still. If it would have moved the figure would have appeared blurred on the picture. And if thats not proof enough they explain that the same rock-figure was photographed several days earlier at the same place - same position.

If you want to know more then head to the The Planetary Society Weblog

How to achieve a deep uninterrupted sleep

From Readers Digest:

Today Americans get 25 percent less sleep than they did a century ago. Nearly 4 out of 10 don't get the minimum 7 hours of sleep necessary for optimal health and daytime functioning, while 15 percent get less than 6 hours most nights.

Since we're all in agreement that a good night's sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health and mood, pick three of these tips to follow each night until you get the night's sleep you so desperately crave.


3. Sprinkle just-washed sheets and pillowcases with lavender water and iron them before making up your bed. The scent is scientifically proven to promote relaxation, and the repetition and mindlessness of ironing will soothe you. Or, instead of ironing your sheets, do the next best thing: Put lavender water in a perfume atomizer and spray above your bed just before climbing in.


10. Tuck a hot-water bottle between your feet or wear a pair of ski socks to bed. The science is a little complicated, but warm feet help your body's internal temperature get to the optimal level for sleep. Essentially, you sleep best when your core temperature drops. By warming your feet, you make sure blood flows well through your legs, allowing your trunk to cool.


16. Drink water before bed, not fruit juice. One study found it took participants an extra 20 to 30 minutes to fall asleep after drinking a cup of fruit juice, most likely because of the high sugar content in juice.


21. Take a hot bath 90 to 120 minutes before bedtime. A research study published in the journal Sleep found that women with insomnia who took a hot bath during this window of time (water temperature approximately 105°F), slept much better that night. The bath increased their core body temperature, which then abruptly dropped once they got out of the bath, readying them for sleep.

To read everything follow this link:

Lovely cat photo from Dr. Hemmert on Flickr

From Milky Way Set to Moon Rise

Beautiful time lapse photography of the Milky Way setting behind the large telescopes of Paranal Observatory, north Chile, followed by light from the moonrise.

Toy Story 1 and 2 coming back to cinemas in 3D

Pixar's Toy Story and Toy Story 2 are returning to theaters on October 2nd, 2009 and February 12th 2010. The two movies will receive a complete digital makeover called Disney Digital 3D. John Lasseter the director of the first two Toy Story films is supervising the 3D process while director Lee Unkrick will continue with his work on Toy Story 3.

via []

Wonderful and funny animal pictures

You can find more funny animal photos if you follow this link:

Friday, January 25, 2008

Fighting with your spouse can make you live longer: study

From Reuters:
NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Fighting with your spouse can actually be good for your health with people who bottle it all up found to die earlier, a new study shows.

Researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and its Psychology Department released preliminary findings after 17 years of following 192 couples.

The couples fell into four categories: where both partners expressed anger when they felt unfairly attacked, where neither partner expressed their anger, and one category each for where the wife suppressed her feelings and where the husband did so.

"I would say that if you don't express your feelings to your partner and tell them what the problem is when you're unfairly attacked, then you're in trouble," said Ernest Harburg, lead author of the study, in an interview.

To read the whole story follow this link:

Photo from rneubi on Flickr

Hearttouching video: Lion reunited with men who raised him

Twin girls lead scientists to breakthrough in childhood cancer research


Identical twin sisters have led British scientists to a breakthrough in leukaemia research that promises more effective therapies with fewer harmful side-effects.

By comparing Olivia Murphy, 4, who is in remission from acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, and her healthy sister, Isabella, researchers have traced the tumour stem cells that drive the most common form of childhood cancer.

The discovery will enable doctors to screen young leukaemia patients to establish the severity of their illness and spare some the harrowing side effects of aggressive chemotherapy.

via []

Bin Laden’s Son speaks out: Why, why, why should civilian people die?

Omar bin Laden:

“Peace isn’t going to come with bombs. Peace isn’t going to come with fighting. To arrest Osama, it’s not going to solve anything. You take Osama bin Laden away, and what are you going to get? You might get something a hell of a lot worse. That’s what we’re afraid of.”

“The world has chance now to find new solution, to find new chance for peace because still my father alive,” Omar bin Laden said. “If my father die, there will be a lot of people say, ‘Now I am head of al-Qaida.’ You will find thousands of al-Qaida everywhere.”

He said he has been moved to speak out, “not for my father, not for President Bush, just for civilian people dying every day, some in Palestine, some in Iraq, some in Afghanistan. Why, why, why should civilian people die?”

Farmer builds castle behind hay bales to hide it from building inspectors (with pictures)

A farmer lived with his wife and children for 4 years in a mock castle which he built behind a screen of hay bales to evade planning regulations. Robert Fidler wanted to take advantage of a provision of planning law that allows buildings without planning permission to be declared legal if no objections are made within 4 years.

The castle includes a conservatory, marquee structure, wooden bridge, patio, decking and tarmac racecourse. There are also two turrets at the back as well as a canon. But chances don't look too bright since Reigate and Banstead Borough Council in Surrey said that the provision does not count because the property was hidden. The building which is about 30km south of London will probably be destroyed.

via [Yahoo]

Here is the proof: Post is slower than snails

An IT worker in Poland who received in January a priority letter which was sent on 20th December calculated that a snail would have been faster than the post.

Michal Szybalski calculated that it would have taken the snail less than 10 days to get to his home. The distance between his home and the senders is 11.1km and he assumed that the snail travels at 0.48km per hour.

You can read the whole article here.

Photo from Miala on Flickr

Thursday, January 24, 2008

German teenagers sent to Siberian labor work camps for therapy

German teenagers sent to Siberian labor work camps for therapy

Uniformed Robber steals $350,000 from the bank across the FBI HQ

Uniformed Robber - The best home videos are here

A man who impersonated an armored car guard walked out of a Wachovia bank after officials let him sign for a locked bag of cash. He took about $350,000. The bank officials only realized that they were robbed 11 hours later.

Chinese teachers have to pass the same exams as their students

Here is something which wouldn't hurt for many western schools to do as well:

More than 8000 high school teachers had to take part in an end of term exam in Shenyang, China. Not as supervisors, but as examinees. The teachers are required to take the exams to test their knowledge on the courses they taught and if they do not score high enough they won't receive rewards and bonuses in the future.


(Image courtesy of Shenyang Evening News)

Thieves in Malaysia load stolen cow into the back seat of a car

Thieves in Malaysia were able to push an adult cow in the back of a sedan. When villagers spotted them they chased after the thieves. During the chase the driver lost control of his car and drove into a tree, injuring the cow. When the villagers got to the crashed car they saw one person running from it, but the police believes that more people are involved in the theft. The injured cow was slaughtered by the villagers.

Read the whole story here:

Picture Source

10 Quotes from Stephen Hawking

The author of the "The Land Salmon" Blog posted 10 of his favorite quotes from Stephen Hawking.

10. "Einstein was wrong when he said "God does not play dice". Consideration of black holes suggests, not only that God does play dice, but that He sometimes confuses us by throwing them where they can't be seen."

9. "I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road."


1. "Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end."

If you want to know more then follow this link:

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mysterious humanoid figure found on mars photo

Could it be proof for life outside of our planet? While the reporter says that it might be a Bigfoot like creature we rather believe that it could only be one of the Tusken Raiders from Star Wars.

Update: Also check out our article Mysterious figure found on mars photo debunked?

Minimoo - Animal shaped USB drives reports about Minimoo which is the name of a new line of USB drives which are manufactured in Sweden. It wouldn't be anything special if the drives wouldn't be shaped like animals. At the moment there are 4 models to choose from and prices range from 43$ for a 1GB to 74$ for a 4GB drive.

More info on GeekAlerts:
Minimoo Website:

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

France is getting ready for the Olympics

France is getting ready for the Olympics - Video from Rémi GAILLARD

Deadly Venoms From Cone Snails, Cobras, Black Widows - the best medicine?

Neurobiologists such as Prof. Baldomero Olivera from the University of Utah believe that the deadly cone snail venom could hold the molecular keys for cures of diseases like Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer's.

Scientists only scratched the surface of what they would call "the gold mine of new and powerful toxins" but to obtain enough venom for analysis it requires 50-100 snails and the impacts on the environment must be considered.

George Miljanich at Neurex Pharmaceuticals in San Francisco isolated a component within the cone snail's venom that alleviates chronic human pain. Biochemists at this lab came up with an experimental drug called SNX-111 which has proven to be a unique and effective medication.

In tests with cancer patients and victims of severe pain, SNX-111 alleviated the suffering without the side effects of morphine.

To find out more follow this link:

Photo: View from Alcatraz (HDR - High Dynamic Range)

A view from one of the decks from Alcatraz.


7 Proposed Futuristic Sky Cities


As the world’s population continues to boom so does density in major conurbations. This increase in density is actually increasing around the world as an influx of people move to the cities in search of jobs and the (often hollow) promise of a better life.

The shift from oil to biofuels is augmenting the problem because land that may have been used for development will be required to grow the crops needed for energy production in the future.

This leaves the world’s major cities with a conundrum: how do you accommodate more people in the same space? For many the answer lies in the architectural philosophies of Paolo Soleri, an Italian-American visionary accredited as the father of arcology.

If you want to know more about the Shimizu TRY 2004 Mega-City Pyramid (Tokyo), Crystal Island (Moscow), Ultima Tower (San Francisco), Bionic Tower (Shanghai / Hong Kong), X-Seed 4000 (Tokyo), Sky City 1000 (Tokyo) or the Millennium Tower (Tokyo) then follow this link:

Red Yeast Rice instead of Zetia and Vytorin to fight Cholesterol?

The Daily Green got an article how a recent study questioned the efficacy of two popular prescription drugs. The talk is about Zetia and Vytorin which reduces disease causing cholesterol. The producers of the drugs are Schering-Plough Corp and Merck & Co.

At the same time a traditional Chinese medicine is big in the talks: Red Yeast Rice
It is used since 1000 years for improving blood circulation and for alleviating indigestion and diarrhea and widely available as dietary supplements.

According to the Mayo Clinic there is strong scientific evidence that it lowers blood levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein/LDL ("bad cholesterol"), and triglyceride levels.

The FDA though ordered recently that several red yeast rice supplements which are sold over the counter are taken off the market: red yeast rice/Policosanol Complex (Swanson Health Products Inc. / Nature's Value Inc.), Red yeast rice (Kabco Inc.) as well as Cholestrix from Sunburst Biorganics.

The reasons which were given were that the statin content in those supplements was close to those from the prescription drugs. There are people which believe though that the real reason is that Big Pharma is concerned with the profitability of their key prescription statin drugs and encouraged the FDA to this move.


Kevin Everett - News mistake

The Kevin Everett blooper which was brought to attention by Keith Olbermann

Monday, January 21, 2008

CompUSA refuses to accept cash

Are you wondering why CompUSA is going out of business? Maybe you aren't, but this story might still interest you:

When a man wanted to pay for his iMac the clerk at a CompUSA store flipped out, telling him that he has to pay with a credit card and called the manager. When the manager, together with a security cop, showed up they told him that the clerk was right and that they don't accept cash.

CompUSA's corporate department confirmed it and said that every store is free to set their own policies. He later got a call back apologizing for what happened and telling him that they will make sure that he can pay with cash.

So he called the local store to see if the items he wanted were still in stock and got this reply: "I know who you are, your the guy that wanted to pay cash. My district manager & corporate called me and read me the riot act over this. Thanks for getting me in trouble!"
And was hung up on.

Read the full story here:

Picture Source

Photo: Ruins (HDR - High Dynamic Range)

Ruins a HDR (High Dynamic Range) Photo

Flickr Source

Mind reading car assists drivers to stay focused


A team from the Technical University of Berlin found they could improve reaction times in real driving conditions by monitoring drivers' brains and reducing distractions during periods of high brain activity.

They were able to speed up driver's reactions by as much as 100 milliseconds. It might not sound much, but this is enough to reduce breaking distance by nearly 3 metres when travelling at 100 kilometres per hour, says team leader Klaus-Robert Müller.

"In a real life situation this could be enough to prevent an accident or stop someone being injured, or worse," he says. "We now have the brain-interface technology to make this a reality."

To read the whole article follow this link:

Picture Source

I am a Host at The Olive Garden

Greg Erskine worked for one year as a host at a restaurant of The Olive Garden. During that time he made cartoon strips of things he experienced there.

Follow this link to get to his site:

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Baby Panda Sneezes

Isn't the baby panda cute?

Welcome to Mythbusters

Also check out this picture:

Via []

Oops... Lucky Me! 10 Accidental Product Discoveries

"Chef George Crum made the interesting discovery of potato chips after a customer complained to him about his potato fries being cut way too thick. Being a wise guy he sliced a potato paper thin and then fried it to a crisp. The diner loved it, thus creating the world's very first potato chip."

If you want to know more products which were discovered by accident then head over to

Insider reveals the truth about Xbox 360 "Red Ring of Death" failures


Since it's launch in Fall of 2005 Xbox 360 systems all over the world have had major hardware failure problems resulting in millions of costumers having to mail their Xbox back to Microsoft. No one really knows what has been causing these problems since the official lines never divulged the specific problems or rates of failure. All a person has to do is to press the power button on their Xbox 360 and there is a chance that it will just up and fail to boot up and shine the "Red Rings of Death". Microsoft decided to extend the warrantee for the Xbox 360 but the cloud of fear and uncertainly still hang around the game system.

Q: So what do you think the real failure rate of the Xbox 360 is? Some have estimated it as high as 30%. I got my Xbox in early 2007 and so far so good but what do you think the chance is that it's going to die on me one day.

It's around 30%, and all will probably fail early. This quarter they are expecting 1 M failures, most of those Xenons. Some of those are repeat failures. Life expectancy is all over the map because the design has very little margin for most of the important parameters. That means it's not a fault tolerant design. So a good unit may last a couple of years, while a bad unit can fail in hours.

Q: How many times does an Xbox 360 unit have to be sent in and repaired before they will replace it with a completely new unit?

That's not how it works. You send in a broken box, you get back a working box (hopefully). So there is a rotating stock of the original units that get repaired and returned to service. Plus, they keep finding these cashes of launch units here and there and using them too. Didn't you hear during the holidays that bundles were found with units made in 06? Those were pulled back from the retail channel last spring when the new heatsink was done, and had the new heatsink placed on them and then put into the shipping flow like any other box.

Read the whole interview here: