Sixty years ago this weekend the first successful modern gender re-assignment surgery was announced. Of course it didn't happen here, but rather in Denmark. The lady in question went on to live a successful, somewhat famous life. Sad that she died of cancer so early.
Coming soon to a provider near you: a phone you can bend and twist without damaging it. Ellen is justifiably famous for abusing her electronics. She recently went through two phones in three months. This could be a godsend for her phone insurance provider.
NASA's MESSENGER probe has found very strong evidence that there is water on Mercury. As with the moon, the ice hides in permanently shaded craters, where the temperatures can be as low as -370F. Yes, they mention the water could be used to support a manned mission, but it's my understanding that it's actually more complicated to visit the inner planets than it is the outer ones. In other words, don't hold your breath.
A man... somewhere in the world... has cooked up an almost-autonomous flying drone to walk his kids to the bus stop. There are still navigation issues, and (as with all choppers this size) range is a real problem, but it does work. Hmmm... Olivia's school isn't much more than about 1/3rd of a mile from here. Interesting...
The summit of Everest? Sure. Take a left once you get past Green Boots. If you pass the chick with the tassel, you've gone too far. Ya know, a place that's so forbidding they have to leave your body where it dropped... well, to me that's not really an ADVERTISEMENT. Well, except maybe for crazy, or Darwin.
A new series of observations has led astronomers to the counter-intuitive conclusion that small galaxies hold the largest black holes. One of them is a galaxy that's a quarter the size of our own but which holds a black hole four thousand times bigger than the one in the Milky Way. And ours is no slouch! The findings challenge existing theories about galaxy evolution and promise to increase grant money for astronomers for years to come.
And now, a list of 32 "best internet memes of 2032". At my house, Ellen and Olivia have both driven #9 completely into the ground. They should also start a "precious wee" meme, for the same reason.
A shocking video emerged today showing a grotesque bulge in a woman's buttock apparently caused when her botched silicone implant 'flipped inside out'.
Instead giving her a smooth, plump appearance, the implant has popped out and is left protruding in an ugly disc shape at the back of her cheek.
With video goodness!
I guess it's "picture Wednesday" around here. This time, here's a "log" of weapons-grade uranium. Weird that they were so careful to make it difficult to judge scale. I wonder how much it weighs?
Volcanoes? Really? How about some hi-rez photos of the south pole of Saturn? It's like the whole planet can be adjusted with a gigantic hex key or something.
What better way to cross the middle of the week than with a series of really neat volcano pictures? I know living near one is bad news, but they sure look impressive.
21st century problems: Germany to reinstate anti-bestiality laws in an effort to shut down "erotic zoos." Not only will people eat anything that doesn't eat them first, they will also (apparently) f- anything that doesn't, well, you get the idea. Geeze. I guess there really are still guys (and I'll wager it's 99.99% guys) who haven't heard about the internet.
Another day, another "Pac-Man moon" discovery. I don't know what to make of it, and neither do the scientists. Bonus: nerds making arcade jokes.
A pair of Canadian thieves recently got a lesson in 21st-century trucking. This is the first time I've ever read about GPS being used in precisely this way, but I can't help but think it's one of the main reasons for installing such a system. I imagine it only costs a fraction of a whole truck, let alone its cargo.
It's all fun and games until the dumplings start to explode. Another unexpected feature of the modern world: getting a look at the entire world's local access programs.
I've been wondering why dash-cams are so damned popular in Russia ever since I saw my first giant "never ever ever drive in Russia" crash compilation. Now, finally, I have an answer. Yes, it's al-Jazeera, so what? All that means is they make no attempt to hide their bias. Since it's a straightforward fact-finding account that's not about the US, I think they're good.
Maybe those Mayans were onto something: according to at least one journalist, the Lingerie Football League is starting to be taken seriously. I didn't even know there WAS an LFL until the whole referee fiasco early this season. So, the outcome of a small union strike is awareness and attention for an amateur women's sports league. Unintended consequences, we haz dem!
Now, let's be clear here. Under no circumstances does "milking" make anyone in the West anywhere near as weird as even the most normal person in Asia. But it's still pretty strange. Also seems like it'd be really cold, too. When cameras became a ubiquitous option in mobile phones, I'm not sure anyone would've picked "silly picture themes" as a logical outcome.
The magical specks of color that float down the city streets are normally just a mishmash of multicolored confetti, but this year, shredded confidential documents from the Nassau Police Department were also in the air.
The worst part is that the documents were shredded horizontally, so they were still highly readable. Some strips that stuck to parade attendees contained Social Security Numbers of officers and others detailed crimes like a pipe bombing in the Kings Grant area of Long Island.
So much for responsible recycling!
New artifact finds on various Mediterranean islands may cause some of our ancient cousins to add the name "sailor" to their resumes. The emphasis here is "may." So far the new stuff doesn't seem to be older than the humanity that looked at you in the mirror this morning. One of the ways to differentiate hominid lines is the stone tools they make. In a strange way, it's as if technology was hard-wired into our earliest ancestors, whose toolkits varied little if at all in their history, sometimes for millions of years. I find it strange this aspect was not mentioned in the article. In other words, if there were Neandertal sailors, we should be able to spot that by the tools.
A series of snapshots taken in a computer store more than thirty years ago may represent the oldest visual record of Apple's first commercial computer. I remember always wondering, as I'd look at Apple IIe's in various department stores, where the Apple I's all were. Now that I see what they actually look like, I'm not wondering all that much anymore. Home built, indeed.
By using materials that mimic the structures found on the back of a desert beetle, MIT scientists have announced the invention of a self-filling water bottle. Strangely, it still seems to need a power source to work. I wonder how they'll manage to keep the bottle open to the air but closed to all the bugs?
Making the rounds: a Swedish woman has been arrested for "violating the peace of the deceased" after photos of her in "sexual situations" with skeletons surfaced on the internet. Since it's the Daily Mail, you betcha that the article contains a few (SFW) examples of same. This all seems to have gone down (as it were) in September, so no idea why it's only come up (I can do this all day) just now.
You think losing your keys is bad, Google's managed to lose a whole damned island. Or did they? Look, I'm not saying it's aliens, but...
Just when you thought Japan had the Weirdest Country in Asia race all wrapped up, China comes roaring up on the outside lane. I'm studying this place, doing research for a new book, and it still doesn't make any sense.
Yes, actually, they are watching you. I grew up in the 70s, an era when there were only 4 channels and parents thought nothing of plunking their kids in front of whatever was the "Movie of the Week." Which seemed to include a large share of scary mannequin movies. Or at least, that's what I remember. And those giant oil paintings in the parlor room, with the eyes that... Wait... I could swear those things just... AAAGG!!!!
The more you know: Never, ever, EVER piss off your Thai wife.
Solving the real problems: San Francisco city council narrowly passes an ordinance against public nudity. But don't worry! Several exemptions were carved out to ensure winkies will wave proud during various festivals held throughout the year. Remember, folks, the vast majority of people who want to be seen naked by strangers are the last people in the world who should be seen naked by strangers.
So, what happens when an ad company gets a clever idea for using cats in a commercial? If you picked "THIS IS AN OUTRAGE," come down and collect your prize. Considering the level of sophistication typically found in youtube comments, I'm surprised they only found three who completely fell for it.
An elderly California man has been arrested for murdering and dismembering his wife. Bonus: the couple were well-known in the neighborhood, she for chasing people around with a knife and walking in public without any pants, and he for a habit of cross-dressing. Not that there's anything wrong with... well, you know, except for the whole "tossing bits of the wife into trash cans" bit. That part's definitely wrong.
Answering the important questions: why do British and American pop singers seem to have the same accent when they sing? I remember debating this with my classmates at least as far back as junior high. We always thought it had something to do with the act of singing itself. According to this guy, that's not quite the case.
Like the Fark headline says: Here's an amusement park ride where women get off before the ride is even over.
"So? How was the ride?"
By studying special meteorites, scientists have determined Martian water came from the same place that Earth's water did. Trying to draw such far-reaching conclusions from such a small amount of evidence seems a bit of a stretch to me, but I'm not a geologist. Or, you know, whatever sort of -oligist or -onemer you have to be to do that sort of work.
Remember that scene in Indianapolis with the houses blown apart into match sticks? There's a reason you've never seen such devastation from a simple natural gas explosion.
Should I not do that? Was that wrong? Even a quick perusal of the article will reveal that, why yes, alcohol was almost certainly involved. With a day-old conviction for DUI and driving on a suspended license, you can already tell this person's decision making skills are... sub-standard.
Don't think of it as a haunted highway, think of it as a ghost hotel you can drive through. Looks like someone showed up to Halloween a little late this year.
NASA's Curiosity rover hasn't photographed any dust devils yet, but instruments seem to indicate it's been run over by a few of them already. Bonus: The density of the atmosphere around the probe can vary by almost a third over the course of a year.
When the cure is almost as bad as the disease: a trial with monkeys suggests a valid treatment for inflammatory bowel disease may be... worms. As in, "the kind of thing you give your dog a pill for" worms. I know IBD is a pretty awful thing, but... really? And I thought leech treatments were weird.
For the person in your life with everything, we have a 7 foot long "gummy python". Since this one doesn't breathe or have a pulse, technically Ellen actually can have it. Of course, since it doesn't breathe or have a pulse, Ellen probably won't want it. I've never been particularly fond of that style of candy, so whatevah...
Around here, we call this "Tuesday." Well, ok, yes, I guess we actually call it "any day that ends with a 'y.'" But we have fun!
At 6ft 8in tall, he would have been easily eligible to compete amongst those giants of sport in the U.S. basketball leagues today.
In third-century AD Rome, where men averaged only about 5ft 6in, he would have been a giant the likes of which most people had never seen.
It's no legend - archaeologists believe have discovered the first complete ancient skeleton of a person with gigantism near the capital of the ancient empire.
Read then entire article here.
No... no word from David on this either.
A recent re-examination of 500,000 year-old stone weapons is forcing scientists to re-think the history of technology and our ancestors. Wear studies have revealed that hafted weapons like arrowheads have been around far longer than previously thought.
Using lenses NATURALLY, Scientists have captured images of what may be the most distant object yet discovered in the universe. At a whopping 13.7 billion light years away, the inelegantly named MACS0647-JD is a galaxy which existed when the universe was only 3% of it's current age and size.
By using advanced brain scanners, scientists have proven a man assessed as completely vegetative is in fact conscious and aware. Fortunately, unlike that old Metallica video and the movie clip it used, he's not tapping out "kill me" or anything like that. The findings will likely force a re-assessment in how patients are judged to be "completely nonresponsive."
You know you're getting old when you realize this used to ALWAYS be the reason for a kid not being at the bus stop to be picked up. Sadly, that is by far no longer the case.
Ever wonder why certain musical chords just sound better than others? You're not the only one. That we hear music at all, and in a way that's mathematically so predictable and regular, is to me the larger mystery.
Ok, yes, getting an olive oil injection probably won't do someone any good, but cancer? Really? The injection was five years ago! Seems more coincident-y to me, is all I'm sayin'. SFW.
It looks like being German was no protection against standard youthful incompetence. General Abrahms, I think was the source of this joke: "Take any average tank crewman, give him an anvil, and fly him out into the middle of a desert and leave him alone for four hours. It's the middle of the desert, they're all alone, it's just a lump of iron, and he has no tools. I promise you, when you pick him up, the anvil will be broken."
An Arizona woman has been arrested for aggravated assault for allegedly hitting her husband with her car because he refused to vote. Surprisingly, "alcohol was involved" is actually NOT part of the story. I still think it was probably involved in the crime itself.
The latest news from everyone's favorite doomsday device has put paid some of the more popular theories of supersymmetry. Most people think the Large Hadron Collider will spend its most productive days discovering new particles and proving new theories, but DIS-proving things is every bit as important. Falsifiability is, after all, at the core of science. If you can't somehow prove a thing wrong, it's simply not science.
Old and busted: love hotels for people. New hotness: love hotels for dogs. I get it, that childless singles and couples tend to anthropomorphize their pets. Hell Ellen does that so convincingly she gives them all distinct voices. But a hotel for the pooch to get their freak on? Bah. Your money, your rules. Just don't steal the towels.
And now, a B-52 doing a really low fly-by. The angle of attack is probably not a coincidence. It's quite possible to configure a BUFF to fly forward with its nose pointed down. I'm not sure how strong the ground effect is with one of these things, but if it's significant it's probably not possible for it to fly any lower.
A few more pictures can be found in this comment thread.
Ever wonder what it looks like when a whole house really explodes? How about two of them? Neighborhood seems kinda upscale for there to be a meth lab involved, but stranger things have happened. Seems like the simplest answer would be a leaking gas line, but who the hell knows? With picture!
And in the "just when you thought nature couldn't get any more f'd up" file, we have a parasite that substitutes itself for a fish's tongue. The article includes very helpful, and skin-crawl-inducing, pictures of the beastie. Oh, and by parasite? Yeah, not the itty-bitty ones you can barely see. Yeesh...
Things seem to be moving fast in the "Star Wars VII" world. I've never seen Little Miss Sunshine, but I liked Toy Story 3 quite a bit, and so did just about everyone else. Bonus: intentionally or not, they seem to have let slip the next one will be a sequel to Jedi. Me, I'm thinking a "hand-the-torch" sort of thing that'll include the original cast members getting blown up or something. But who knows?
Life in the modern world: a teenaged couple in Tulsa OK each started out as the opposite sex. More power to 'em. I just wish I wasn't so worried about them being THIS open about it all. When your fame goes global, the net is wide enough that a distressingly large number of utter lunatics will now know who you are.
Just when you thought the mishmash of this country had seen every combination possible, something like the Sherpa who speaks Yiddish comes up. Spending a dozen years away from your family must truly suck, but probably not as much as watching them starve trying to eke out a living in the Himalayas.
Scientists have announced the discovery of a nearby star system with a planet that could support life. Yes, it's seven times more massive than Earth, and all we really know for sure is its orbit is inside the "habitable zone," where temperatures that allow liquid water exist. But hey, it beats some giant gas ball that twirls around its sun three times in twenty-four hours, eh?
NASA engineers have teamed with their European counterparts to create network technologies that can be used at interplanetary distances. I can't help but think the article may be oversimplifying things a bit. I'm reading the ultimate resolution as some sort of store-and-forward technology, which is a pretty huge "duh" for anyone who knows much about high latency environments.
She wasn't trying to hurt the little girl, she was just trying to figure out if the little girl was tasty. I love the sense of scale, of just how big the damned things are. I also like how every single cat owner in the world knows exactly what is going through that thing's head. A cat is a cat is cat, and the only reason the cats in my house are safe is because they weigh less than 10 pounds.
Judging by the MRI images of her injury, F-1 test driver Maria de Villota is indeed lucky to be alive. From what I've gathered from the autopsy reports of Indycar driver Dan Wheldon's fatal accident last year, this is very similar to what his injuries looked like. Only he was going about 120 mph when he hit. Anyway, if Alex Zenardi can have a race career without his legs, I can't help but hope Ms. de Villota will be able to persevere with her injury.
Personally, I get it. I mean, it's not often you get a photo opportunity like this. The details of the story explicitly state that Stewart wasn't doing his iconic "facepalm" move, but was instead simply distracted briefly. At least he didn't get caught with a finger in his nose or anything.
Remember that Bentley stuck somewhere downtown when Sandy hit? I'm betting this is the one. It's probably just as well he's not being all that careful with it. There's probably not that much left to salvage.
A new study of stone tools found in South Africa is pushing back the time scientists believe humans became "culturally" modern. The problem is that we seem to have reached our modern anatomy tens of thousands of years before we can find any evidence of (comparatively) advanced culture or technology. Some say this is just the result of a patchy fossil record. Others claim some other, so far mysterious, things needed to happen before we could achieve our full potential. The discovery of these "microliths" would lend credence to the "spotty record" camp.
Which, of course, will mean yet another slow-motion flame fest in the academic journals. Nobody in anthropology comes up with an original idea without a decades-long trial by fire.
It's one thing when the mean drunk is a big guy with an attitude. It's something else entirely when the thing with the mean attitude weighs north of two tons.
And now, the lighter side of hurricane Sandy. It seems to include ALL the footage that was used to make those silly storm-related pictures we all saw two weeks ago. Laughter definitely beats the alternative.
There's low passes, and then there's low passes. Yes, their airshows are cooler than ours, right up to the point when an airplane lands in the crowd. Then, not so much.
So, what does a commune run by computer nerds end up looking like? "[L]ess like a farm than an unhygienic encampment for overeducated misfits." A nice warts-and-all look at yet another attempt by 20-somethings to forget every single common-sense thing learned by humanity in the past fifteen thousand years. You'd think their hippie grandparents could at least teach them about hygiene.
Specimens of a whale so rare it's never been seen alive have been found on the coast of New Zealand. The spade toothed whale was previously only known from a few skull fragments, the last of which was collected more than 25 years ago. The two whole specimens are the remains of a mother and calf who beached themselves two years ago. The find almost went unremarked because conservationists misidentified the remains at first.
Curiosity's science mission nets more and more data every day. Exactly how they're using variations in carbon in the atmosphere to model change over billions of years is a bit of a mystery to me, but that's nothing unusual. Bonus: they seem to have landed in the wrong place to work out the mystery of Mars' methane (ha!) There doesn't seem to be any in Curiosity's crater.
A famous sports car most of you have never heard of is being brought back to life. I remember seeing Renault Alpines in sports car review magazines back in the 80s. They were cool then, and they'll undoubtedly be cool now. Likewise, they probably won't officially reach these shores. Ah, well.
After three years of delays Boeing's new 787 is finally entering service. They sold a LOT of these things long before the prototype made its first flight, so there are a whole lot of airliners (and a whole lot of sales reps) that are going to start being happy again.
Ten, maybe fifteen years ago when the A380 and the 787 were still on the drawing boards, the industry was at a kind of crossroads. The Airbus people thought the future was bigger and better "hub and spokes" patterns, while the Boeing people thought the future was more point-to-point flights. Now that both are finally in service, it'll be interesting to see which vision was the correct one.
Ellen: "No, Olivia! It's really time for bed!"
"But mom! It's not even 8:30!"
"No, don't you remember, we changed hours. It's actually 9:30!"
"Because of... the weather... and stuff... IT'S TIME FOR BED!"
British archeologists have found evidence that, while you and I think vampires are (at best) something scary that doesn't sparkle our ancestors took them all too seriously. It'd be nice to think all that happened to a corpse, and not someone who could still feel. It'll help me sleep at night, at least.
Not only is the super-capable rover Curiosity doing all sorts of interesting science on Mars, it's also occasionally taking a self-portrait or two. I was puzzled why the camera arm didn't seem to be in the picture. Turns out it's a big ol' composite. In other worse, 'shopped.
The final surviving Space Shuttle is heading for its retirement home today. Since they're taking it from one part of KSC to another part of KSC, the move will be nowhere near as difficult. Since the thing is still about as big as a medium-sized airliner, there will still be a bit of drama. But only a bit.
Fans of Apollo-era gear (and really, who isn't?) will likely find this behind-the-scenes look at JSC's restored MOCR2 of interest. For those not fluent in NASA-speak, this is the mission control room that was responsible for directing most of the Gemini and Apollo flights of the 60s and early 70s. The article says it was restored in 1992, which means I just may have toured it WAY back in the day. To be honest, nowadays I just can't recall.
And now, tarantual cakes. And by "cakes," I'm not talking about a big round one with a frosting spider. I'm talking about a full-on correct and to-scale version of a common nightmare that just happens to be a bit more edible than the original. And it ain't cheap, either.
CVN-65 is on schedule to make its very last journey. Nobody meant for it to last more than fifty years, just like nobody really gave much thought to what would finally happen to it at the end of its life. When you consider what the world was like when it was designed, I'd wager most people back then thought it'd end up a nuclear-toasted cinder. It's effectively going to die in its bed, and in the doing has helped make sure we'll all do the same. Not such a bad end, when you think about it.
This one is actually pretty big, probably 5 lbs or so.
And since everyone likes a highlight reel...
Note: in the early years, Ellen and Amber would carry auxiliary candy buckets and hand them off as one got too heavy to hold. This time Olivia hauled the same bag the whole time.
Leave it to a bunch of lunatics on bicycles to record the neatest film of Manhattan flooding I've seen so far. I wonder if the insurance on that Bentley will cover a total loss from flooding? I can't see leaving it there for any other reason.
To be fair, it's not like they're submarines or anything. You haven't been able to submerge a conventional car and get away with it in at least thirty, more likely forty, years. The catching fire and exploding part is a new feature, though.
Spy photos of the upcoming Alfa 4C are starting to surface. The good: looks like the concept has more or less remained intact into production. The bad: STILL no real news as to when it may end up in the US. Oh, this one will be too expensive for us, but it'd be nice to see one driving down the street one day.