Of course, we could’ve just ducked and let this one zipped right above our head. But it’s just too good to pass. Cadbury, the British candy-maker owned by U.S. giant Kraft Foods Co., decided that nothing will be more effective to call attention to its latest chocolate bar than to compare it to a certain past-her-prime British supermodel, known equally for both the designer clothes she sports and hyper high-strung temper she Continue reading →
For anyone who’s watched the comedian Robin Williams‘s inspired bit about golf, but never got around to hitting its hard plastic-rubber-and-resin ball into oblivion, it’s hard to conceive its appeal, despite the game’s certified ability to generate passion and revenue throughout the world.
What was once a favorite among celebrities and millionaires, is no longer considered as such. Even small communities now Continue reading →
Lovers have long known that an intimate meal by candlelight can be a promising preamble for a night of romance and dream. Except when you ever so casually disclose, between delicious courses of your newest recipes and repeated sips of a fine vintage, that those wonderfully scented candles are actually made of… human fat.
No need to beg your guest to come back, wait, you forgot your bag, I was just kidding and all that. Chances are, you’ll never see that person again and don’t be surprised if you learn that the words “creepy” and “disgusting” pop up right along your name on an Internet Continue reading →
Mass Squid Stranding May Help Understanding of Whale Deaths
Despite extensive research, and the suspicion that noise pollution has a lot to do with it, the reason why whales, dolphins and other marine species beach themselves to death remain elusive.
The odd phenomenon, which has been recorded since Aristotle times, has been attributed to a number of causes, from increased human activity, to shifts in deep-sea currents to geological changes in the seabed. But none of them has been considered a determining factor.
The picture is clearer when it comes to squids, though. Recent experiments have proven that noise does affect the physiology of cephalopods and in many cases, lead them to beaching.
After thousands of squid washed up along the shores of Spain, in 2001 and 2003, Continue reading →
If verbal expression is the most crucial distinction between human beings and animals, then when a language disappears, a fundamental part of what define us as species is also lost.
The path of technological development, current evolutionary patterns, even the so called globalization, all contribute to the depletion of the languages spoken nowadays, estimated to be between 6,000 to 7,000.
It’s virtually impossible to assess the damage caused to our civilization by the extinction of languages. But anthropologists agree that its pace is accelerating along with the disappearance of tribes and cultures. In Mexico, for example, Ayapaneco, a language that has been spoken for centuries, is in serious risk of extinction. In fact, there are only two known people fluent in this ancient tongue and they are not speaking to each other.
No one knows why, but Manuel Segovia and Isidro Velazquez who live 500 meters apart Continue reading →
Scientists are excited about it. Doomsayers, not so much. It turns out that a large asteroid is coming to visit our home planet before the end of this year, at a quite respectably close distance: the equivalent of only 0.85 of the distance between Earth and the Moon.
Considering its size, it’ll be an unique, and sobering, opportunity to scrutinize up close an object with the potential to end our civilization.
That’s why scientists are so eager to learn everything we Continue reading →
All across this great land of ours, about 25 million people are out of work, and many of them have, sadly, started to give up all hope to ever finding a job. What? with the economy looking up if you are a big corporation CEO or even know someone at your local McDonald’s, if you are neither, you’re really not up to be Continue reading →
Some art forms are just like Rodney Dangerfield: they get no respect. Collage is one of them. And since your kid came home from school with some magazine cutouts glued to paper in the shape of, say, a rising sun, you too joined the dismissive crowd.
Not that, at the same time, you didn’t recognize his artistic genius, a proof, no doubt, of his superior genetic pool, and melted down when you read the words, “To the World’s Best Person.” Secretly you knew, however, this is being done since, Continue reading →
For years, archaeologists have believed that our male ancestors were traditionally buried lying on their right side with the head pointing towards the west. And women were laid to rest on their left side, head facing east.
Now a recent discovery of a burial site in the Czech Republic is challenging such assumptions. The skeleton of a late Stone Continue reading →
Good evening. We’re starting our meal tonight with a selection of moldy cheeses and goat’s curd; Chocolate Soil, a.k.a., geophagy, with Papua New Guinea mud cakes; bacterial jelly and a generous serving of sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, otherwise known as Haggis. All served with a glass of gin punch.
The fermented entree special is fish on soy sauce with pickled Continue reading →
New York City, circa 2008. The economy is booming, the housing market is hot all over, people are investing in all sorts of things, besides the stock market. It was the kind of time many would be checking the papers often, searching for that je ne sais quois offer that always gets nice dreams ignited.
Or so thought former marina owner Jacques Guillet when he Continue reading →
Here’s a nice, old fashioned murder mystery, to go along with your Sunday toast and coffee.
When the throat-slashed body of Rick McCormick was found in June of 1999, in a cornfield off Highway 367, near St. Louis, very little was known about the man.
The police file says that the high-school dropout was born in Missouri in 1958, was unmarried but had fathered four children, and had a statutory rape conviction in his record. At the time of his death, he was also unemployed, living with his mother off his disability checks.
Coming to think of it, it’s remarkable how a police file can be stuffed with minutia Continue reading →
She’s a 12-year old, she’s kinda small, and the picture of her round tabby face is making the rounds for all to see. That’s because when she purrs, she thunders. It actually sounds as loud as a 737 coming at you from a mile away. Seriously, people measure these things.
Now Smokey may purr all the way to the Guinness Book of Records. To give you an idea of how loud she sounds, most cats purr in the 25 decibels range, while she clocks at up to 90 decibels easy, regardless whether she’s eating, dreaming or just Continue reading →
As the world pulls its collective hair watching dozens of workers struggle to contain the radiation from Japan’s leaky plants, scores of scientists around the world lose sleep over the damage caused by nuclear crisis past. While the Fukushima disaster has already surpassed the combined radiation produced by Chernobyl and Three Miles Island, other, less well known nuclear disasters may better guide us out of this dangerously overheated, seawater soaked, plutonium infused mess.
Over at the New Scientist magazine, for example, technology features editor Sally Adee revisited an over 20-year old case that resonates Continue reading →
What a difference 40 years make. In the 1970s, they were fond of Steve Wonder music. Now only the Royal Philharmonic will do.
When “The Secret Life of Plants” was published in 1973 by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird, it became a instantaneous hit and a pop culture phenomenon.
In it, with the use of sophisticated audio technology, the Continue reading →
Through history, many have distinguished themselves as master collectors. From the divine to the odd, from the historical to the utterly abject, collecting has either been considered a labor of excellence or a dangerous psychosis, depending of course, on what’s been collected. But every once in a while everyone gets blown out of water by an unusual collection. Did anyone say lint?
People have collected art, antiques, ancient books and rare coins. Some became known for developing a taste for the Continue reading →
Since some cities can’t seem to cut down the number of fatal traffic accidents involving bicycles, they’re going after the next best thing: those white bikes that memorialize the victims of such fatalities.
It’s a funny logic and, in the context of bicycle riding, the irony of trying to shoot the messenger can not be lost. You may even think that it’s another sight of the kind of backlash against bikes the New York local media has been focusing on, lately.
Heated arguments between drivers and riders have taken over sidewalks and airways of local evening programs, and advocates and detractors themselves feel sometimes the need to pause, Continue reading →
When scientists, marine biologists and environmentalists learned that a juvenile sea turtle was found dead off the coast of Argentina, most already knew the cause: digestive blockage.
That is because more and more turtles are dying today from ingesting too much plastic, which they often mistake by jellyfish. An examination of the gastrointestinal obstruction Continue reading →
Some Christians are just fine going to church every Sunday. Some make a special effort to conduct themselves according to the precepts of the lord. But for some, that’s simply not enough. For those with a yet unfulfilled, burning ardor to serve god, there are classes to be taken. Not Bible classes; pole dancing classes.
That’s right: a dance studio in a Houston, Texas, suburb is Continue reading →
‘The space vehicle is shoddily constructed, running dangerously low on fuel; its parachutes — though no one knows this — won’t work and the cosmonaut, Vladimir Komarov, is about to, literally, crash full speed into Earth, his body turning molten on impact.
As he heads to his doom, U.S. listening posts in Turkey hear him crying in rage, “cursing the people who had put him inside a botched spaceship.”‘
This is a heart-tugging excerpt of “Starman,” an upcoming Continue reading →
From the department of, “it seemed like such a good idea at that time:” In preparation for the reopening of the Longleat Safari Zoo, in Wilkshire, U.K., and to please its 100 or so playful rhesus resident macaques, management came up with a novel (and expensive) idea: why not give them their own Continue reading →
When American antique book dealer and collector, Wilfrid M. Voynich, discovered the manuscript that now bears his name, in Frascati, near Rome, he couldn’t have known that the enigma of its authorship would be still strong, almost a century later.
For since its discovery, in 1912, celebrated cryptologists and scholars, many of whom went on to start intelligence and Continue reading →
Public perception is a bitch. For some of us, the empathy bone is so thick that we won’t hesitate making decisions based purely on emotions or the spare of the moment. The rhetorical question above anticipates what could as well be a branch of “racial profiling,” that
many a policy maker of the future may find perfectly valid upon deciding which (or should we say, who?) will live a long, fulfilling life as a family slave, and who’d be destined to scrap. But only if the Terminator revolution proves to be just a figure of a cameron’s imagination, that is.
It turns out that one of the worst eating addictions of Americans has also a hold on people across the pond (and we say this looking anxiously over our shoulders; unlike women issues or politics, this is bound to attract a lot of passionate reader Continue reading →
It’s a great thing to survive a car crash. Not so great but still good, considering, if you survive but lose a limb or some part of your body. But to lose a foot and have it stolen, well, we don’t want to sound spoiled but it is kind of bad, in a double jeopardy kind of way.
But that’s what happened to one Karl Lambert, from Florida, in 2008. Survived a car crash? Check. Continue reading →
So you’ve been listed on Fortune 500 for the past few years. Your private jet has an anti-missile defense system. You’d only allow Architectural Digest to feature your mansion in the Bahamas if they’d use your 19-year old girlfriend on its cover.
Nice, but no cigar.
The only way your friends Continue reading →
George Lucas is taking to the U.K. Supreme Court his fight to preserve the rights to the famous stormtrooper helmets, used in the “Star Wars” movie saga. He’s suing British artist Andrew Ainsworth, who created and manufactured the original helmets used in the first films of the series, and who a few years ago, Continue reading →
Just in time for its 446th birthday — and three years ahead of the opening game of the World Cup — Rio de Janeiro is launching this month its new public transportation system: a sky ride above stunning vistas of one of its biggest shantytowns, the Complexo do Alemão.
The $74 million project is expected to carry 30 thousand Continue reading →
Science is finally catching up with The Beatles music. Who knew? It’s true that it took a number of calculations and a lot of brain work (besides a considerable delay), but a mathematician finally figured that “Strawberry Fields Forever” is actually a compression of two versions of the song.
We know, we know. No disrespect to Professor Jason Brown, of Dalhousie’s Department Continue reading →
Her voice was first heard in 1989. Oceanographers have been following her songs for two decades. It all indicates that she’s a baleen whale, a subspecies that includes the great Blue, the Fin and the Humpback whales. But there’s something very sad about this creature.
Unlike any other in the ocean, she (or he, no one knows its gender) sings at a 51.75Hz frequency, way above the 12 to 25Hz range of every other whale. It’s a frequency her kind can’t Continue reading →
The ancient shepherd, whose body was found in 1991 in the border of Austria and Italy, has now finally shown his face. Dutch artists Alfons and Adrie Kennis reconstructed it based on his facial bone structure and suddenly, you can actually picture him climbing the slopes of the Austrian Alps.
Europe’s oldest human mummy, he’s believed to have met a violent death at about 45 years Continue reading →
Derek Diedricksen is a multitasker who makes a living doing carpentry, writing comic books, D.J.ing, and playing drums for a Rage Against the Machine tribute band. But more and more he’s becoming Continue reading →
Once they snaked at high speeds under the streets of New York City. Now they sit underwater and house a rich marine life in no hurry to go anywhere. Old subway cars, some still covered in graffiti, are being regularly dumped off the Atlantic coast since at least the early 2000s.
They’re loaded onto barges and taken to points off Maryland, Georgia, New Jersey and South Carolina, among other locations. There they are dumped to serve as artificial reefs, and to attract Continue reading →
We hate to be the ones to tell you but when someone complains about intense headaches for years, they may have something lodged in their skulls. For knife blades, chopsticks, and all sorts of blunt objects are more commonly found in the heads of people from all over the world than you’re led to believe. And most of the victims don’t even know they are carrying them.
Take Li Fu, from the Yunnan Province, China, for instance. Continue reading →
One of the cornerstones of the mystical experience, an essential component of pretty much every tradition of spirituality since immemorial times, is now facing a big challenge: scientists at the University of Geneva claim they have “fooled” research subjects into thinking they were out of their bodies during an experiment.
Using a clever combination of cameras and virtual reality Continue reading →
When a tree falls in the desert, and no one is there to witness its toppling, does it still makes people mourn it? That’s what everybody is wondering now that a 80-year old cottonwood was toppled by who knows who off Highway 50, in Nevada. There are many trees like that all over the U.S., of course, but what sets this one apart is, or rather, was its collection of shoes.
Middlegate folks will tell you that once upon a time in the Continue reading →
Someone is asking to be invited to the next wedding at Buckingham Palace, of one Prince William and Kate Middleton, and she’s neither taking a no nor a cake for an answer.
Let’s say, you have this friend from England, who’s either visiting or lives in the U.S. for a while. Nice chap, good to be around, fun do to things with. Oh, and don’t get him started into politics: he’s not just engaged in current affairs; he’s perfectly Continue reading →
Just in time for another solar flares cycle, comes news that a giant gas planet may be hidden in the outskirts of our solar planet. But the possibility that there’s such a hidden heavenly body, which was quickly named Tyche, for the Greek goddess Continue reading →
A war has broken up over the estate of Chicago’s Museum of Peace. And as it goes, John Lennon has a starring role. A lawsuit over the estate of the no longer active museum is causing a ruckus for it involves the fate of a series of unique memorabilia items, including an acoustic guitar that once belonged to the former Beatle.
The museum was founded in 1981 and Lennon and wife Yoko Ono were featured in exhibits there, such as a 1983 show called “Give Peace a Chance.” But it Continue reading →
Now here’s a story we keep hoping it’s a hoax but so far there’s no sight of that being the case. Reports from Singapore and Vietnam have been documenting a number of food intoxication cases traced back by they eating fake rice.
The staple of Asian cuisine, rice is never missing from the daily Continue reading →
Scientific societies the world over are struggling with a recent discovery that affects the very foundation of where they stand: the international prototype of the kilogram appears to weigh less than it did when it was manufactured in the late 19th century.
Now, this prototype has been sealed underground at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, in Sèvres, France, for over 100 years, locked within a safe that can only be Continue reading →
This is a story that won’t get much mileage for a while, but it’s already covering a lot of road, nevertheless. As car designers try to find more sustainable and less costly ways to outfit their models, they’re looking into some forms of food to replace Continue reading →
Every Sunday, a pub in Burton, Staffordshire, hosts a special regular: Basil the horse, who’s known to love a pint after a refreshing ride. The nine-year old steed has been coming in for years and never once made a fool of himself.
In fact, he became a hit among the locals, who enjoy his company and admire his restrain. Now, just look around the pub you’re at right now and think about how many of the presents you could say the same.
As for that old saying, you can lead a horse to the water but you can’t make him drink, it’s got it all wrong. Never mind the water; just make sure to invite Basil for an ale that he’ll drink it, no fuss about it.
Hundred of thousands took the streets all over the world this past weekend. No, not just to support the Egyptian people’s right to self determination. Many were just demonstrating against the use of homeopathy, the alternative health system created by Samuel Hahnemann in the 1700s.
They ingested thousands of bottles of homeopathic medicines in front of stores that sell them in the U.S., England, Australia, and South American and Asian countries. Neither anyone died of overdose, Continue reading →