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Friday, May 23, 2008

Beautiful Minds: Stephen Wiltshire

Would You Pick Up This Hitchhiker?


Dude is holding an axe in his hand for some freakin reason.

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The 11 Most Scorching-Hot Female Gaming Cosplayers

"MAI SHIRANUI" - From the costume to the cleavage, this mystery cosplayer is the best damn Mai Shuranui we've ever seen.



These are without a doubt, some of the finest looking girls dressed up as video game characters. From Tifa to Chun-Li, the SlobsofGaming are paying tribute to the most beautiful cosplay girls in history.

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for those interested in the history of COSPLAY or (コスプレ kosupure?), short for "costume play" check out the WIKI

Get Real: How to Spot Fake Breasts/Cigars/Diamonds/Mirrors

Morpheus once asked Neo, “What is real? If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.” So when it comes to breasts, can your brain interpret which electrical signals are emanating from the real deal and which are from the fakes? How was Kramer able to spot a fake Cuban cigar in just one puff? How can a woman tell if her husband spent two days’ salary on her wedding ring as opposed to the standard two months? When you’re busy popping that forehead pimple in the mirror, how can you be sure there’s not a team of sweaty detectives on the other side, watching your every move in a cloud of cigarette smoke? Here are some tips on how to discern between what’s real and what’s not.

Breasts
Less than 10 years ago you could spot a fake pair from a mile away, and like a tractor beam they could pull you in for the entire mile. Implants used to make women look like they had whoopee-cushions surgically installed in their chests. But with all the advancements in breast augmentation techniques and technology, the difference isn’t as ap-pair-ent. Pun intended.

real fake boobs

Look
Most real breasts are not gravity-defying, perfectly round spheres looking like they’re ready to burst through any amount of clothing in their way. They usually have a natural sliding curve like a ski slope, and one is almost always slightly larger than the other (this difference is hard to tell while the bra is still on; further investigation may be required).

Depending on the skill of the surgeon, the nipple placement can also be an indicator to the breast’s authenticity. They could be too high, too low, or pointing in different directions.

Real breasts move and shape-shift according to the woman’s movement. For instance, if she bends over they should hang, if she lays on her back they should flatten. Fake breasts maintain their shape and are often motionless. One method to discover the truth is the self-explanatory “Trampoline Test”. Another method is the popular “Can I rest my beer on them test”.

Feel
Breasts consist of mostly fat and are therefore soft and squishable to the touch. Fake breasts are so firm you can bounce a quarter off them.

Cuban Cigars

Feel
One surefire way to tell the real Cuban from a “Dominican in a Cuban wrapper” is to roll the cigar between your fingers. Contrary to the world of breasts, a real Cuban will have a consistent firm feel to it, whereas a fake will have squishy spots.
The leaves are also an important indicator. Real Cubans are rolled with supple, soft whole leaves. Fakes are rolled with the brittle, shredded scraps of leaves which break and crumble easily to the touch. If the cigar passes the roll test, clip off an end and notice the tobacco. If it falls out, it’s definitely a fake made from factory floor tobacco shavings.

real fake cohibas

Look
A box of real Cubans will contain cigars of uniform chocolate color and equal length. Fakes, again due to the leaves, will have both light and dark colors, and are often varying in length.

cuban cigar

On the box you should look for a seal from the Cuban government and a “Habanos” sticker on the cover with the black silhouette of a tobacco leaf. You should also check the bottom of the box for three burnt markings: Hababo S.A. is the mark of the official Cuban cigar export agency; hecho en Cuba, which means “Made in Cuba”; and totalmente a mano, which means “totally by hand”.

For a thorough comparison between real vs fake Cuban cigar boxes, please visit http://havanajournal.com/cigars/cohibas.

Diamonds

The closest thing to a real diamond is the cubic zirconia and the best way to figure out the difference is to bring it to a professional. If the $50-$75 appraisal fee is beyond your budget, you should read a book on better money management. But here are some simple tests you can perform at home.

diamond.jpg

Weight
A fake weighs approximately 50% more than a real diamond of the same size and shape. Nice to know, but unless you happen to have a diamond to reference, slightly complicated to demonstrate.

Transparency Test
Place the stone upside down on a newspaper. If the writing is legible through the stone then you’ve got yourself a fake.

Fog Test
Clean the surface of the stone then breathe on it. If the stone remains foggy for a few seconds, it’s a fake. A real diamond will clear up instantly. If the stone melts under your breath, the garlic you ate was very real.

U.V. Test
Place the stone under an ultra violet black light. If it shows a medium to strong blue fluorescence, it’s a real diamond. The only problem with this test is that a lack of blue fluorescence not only indicates a fake, but it could also indicate a diamond of very high quality.

diamond-test.jpg

Mirror

There was an email which circulated offering paranoid people everywhere a failsafe way to determine whether or not the mirror they were undressing in front of was in fact a mirror and not a looking glass for peeping perverts. You were to place your fingernail against the surface: if there is a gap between the image and the nail, the mirror is genuine; if they touch, you’re being ogled. This test is what’s really fake here, however, as it only determines whether the reflective part of the mirror is on the surface, or behind a sheet of glass. Two-way, or transparent mirrors are laminated windows which have been treated with Mirropane, a product which is reflective on one side while allowing light to pass through both sides. For the fake mirror to work the spy-ee needs to be in a brightly lit room, while the spy-ers need to be in the dark.

two_way_mirror.jpg

Two way mirrors usually act as windows and are therefore set into the wall itself. Real mirrors tend to hang and are not flush with the wall.

The real fingernail test is to tap the mirror with your fingernail. If it makes a hollow sound there’s a good chance it’s a fake mirror with an open space behind it.

Turn off the lights. If there is a hidden camera or a team of sweaty detectives you’ll be able to spot them through the glass. A flashlight will help to illuminate and expose the room on the other side.

two_way_mirror2.jpg

If you’re in a changing room and you don’t have access to the lights, simply go in for a closer look, cupping your hands around your eyes and getting your face as close as possible to the glass. If it’s a fake mirror you’ll be able to see right through it.

25 Ways to Tell You're Grown Up

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Giant 'Real Time' Telescope Connects London to New York



In all its optical brilliance and brass and wood, there stood the Telectroscope -- a 37 feet long by 11 feet tall dream of a device allowing people on one side of the Atlantic to look into its person-size lens and, in real time, see those on the other side via a recently completed tunnel running under the ocean. Think 19th century webcam.

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20 Biggest American Football Stadiums [w/ pics]


If you really want to get the full effect of watching a football game in the midst of a crowd then you should make it a point to visit one of the these theaters of footballing dreams, some of which are among the largest stadiums in the world. It is here where the game will really come to life!

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Top 12 Most Powerful Musicians of Today


May 22, 2008

When compiling a list of the Most Powerful Musicians, one must take into account not just album sales, but also clothing lines, fragrances, sold-out tours, charities, endorsement deals and, of course, relevancy. When you throw all of these important ingredients together and bake for more than 15 minutes of fame, you get the following 12 entertainers.


12. 50 Cent The King of Drama

powerful-musician-50-cent.jpg

At the age of 12, Curtis James Jackson III (aka 50 Cent) started dealing drugs. He was then arrested, served 6 months, and got his GED. Then, in 2000, he was shot nine times - DRAMA! - only to come back stronger than ever, breaking into the music industry and being one of today's most successful rappers. It's a compelling story, hence the making of Get Rich or Die Tryin', the semi-autobiographical movie in which he also starred. And then, even though he didn't retire like he said he would after Kanye West sold more albums than he did, 50 Cent is proving he's still a fighter: he has 6 - yes, SIX - movies in the works and a new album (most likely) coming out later this year - which is aptly titled Before I Self Destruct. Duly noted.


11. Christina Aguilera The Chameleon

powerful-musician-christina-aguilera.jpg

Christina Aguilera is one of the most successful female recording artists of the decade. She has had 18 Grammy nominations, 5 Wins, and has sold over 37 million albums worldwide. Although she just gave birth to her first son in January, she shows no signs of slowing down. She doesn't have a new album coming out in the near future, but she has 2 best-selling European perfumes with a 3rd on the way. She also has made her mark by avidly supporting such charities and organizations as Missing Kids, Women's Cancer Research Fund, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur. She also donated all of her wedding gifts in support of Hurricane Katrina victims. Christina Aguilera wears many hats - a singer, a songwriter, a philanthropist - and she looks great in all of them.


10. Miley Cyrus The Teen Queen

powerful-musician-miley-cyrus.jpg

At first glance, 15-year-old Miley Cyrus might just look like your typical well-to-do teenager: a bubbly, happy-go-lucky girl, making silly YouTube videos with her best friend, Mandy. But oh yeah - she is also the star of that hugely-popular Hannah Montana TV show; has a Hannah Montana clothing line; toured extensively with those Jonas Brothers, selling-out tickets in record speed; has had a number 1 album and is about to release another one that will most likely shoot to the top; and, according to Forbes magazine, is earning $3.5 million+ per year. She is a Disney dream come true, but a consumer's nightmare since she is the sole reason that mom's everywhere are breaking the bank - and that's pretty damn powerful.


9. Bono The Global Ambassador

powerful-musician-bono.jpg

If there is one person who fully demonstrates that activism and celebrity can go hand-in-hand, it is Bono. By day he is merely the lead singer of U2, one of the greatest rock bands of all time, but by night, he is healing the world. To wit: he was the founder of the multinational non-government organization DATA (Debt, Aids, Trade in Africa), was the co-founder of Product Red and the ONE Campaign, was named a Person of the Year by TIME magazine, was an organizer of the Live 8 concerts, was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, and was even granted an honorary knighthood by the UK. The only logical next-step: Sainthood.


8. Kanye West The Loudmouth

powerful-musician-kanye-west.jpg

Kanye West is kind of like that little kid at the grocery store who throws a fit when no one buys him that KitKat bar in the check-out aisle. You see, he will complain when he doesn't win the Best Album Grammy and will storm the stage in outrage when he doesn't win the Best Video Award at the MTV Europe Music Awards. But in the end, he still manages to sell a shitload of albums, sell-out concert after concert and wrangle fellow powerhouse performers to go on tour with him, such as Rihanna, Lupe Fiasco and N.E.R.D. So no matter how much kicking and screaming he does, the man's got clout and talent - and in the end, he will always get that KitKat bar.


7. Beyonce The Bootylicious Businesswoman

powerful-musician-beyonce.jpg

Her body may be Bootylicious, but both Beyonce's vocal talent and business-savvy are what have propelled her to the top of her game. She no longer is the lead singer of some passe girl group, but rather a solo artist/brand who has won 5 Grammy Awards for her chart-topping albums, been nominated for 2 Golden Globe Awards for her hit movie Dreamgirls, has launched a fashion line with her mom called House of Dereon, and is the face of Pepsi and L'Oreal. She's got piles of personality and charm to boot and it also doesn't hurt that she recently married R&B rapper/producer/ultimate-moneymaker Jay-Z. With so much going for her, Beyonce has proven that she truly is Irreplaceable.


6. Timbaland The Music Maestro

powerful-musician-timbaland.jpg

Timbaland is the man with the Midas touch. He has produced chart-topping beats for all the musical heavy-hitters and is the man responsible for putting OneRepublic on the map with that little ditty Apologize. You may have heard of it. His latest endeavour was Madonna's Hard Candy which recently debuted at number one in 27 countries, proving once again that Timbaland knows how to spin dance-able gold and that's simply The Way He Are.


5. Hilary Duff The Mini Mogul

powerful-musician-hilary-duff.jpg

Once upon a time, Hilary Duff was the star of a little Disney TV show called Lizzie McGuire. What followed was a career explosion which included a successful solo career (selling over 13 million albums worldwide), an affordable personal clothing line (Stuff by Hilary Duff), lucrative endorsements (namely with Elizabeth Arden), and now a blossoming film career (War, Inc.), all while avoiding the controversies of sex-tapes and DUIs. This 20-year-old "good girl" reigns supreme; however she better watch out - Miley Cyrus is taking notes and is set on dethroning Queen Duff. Let the war of the Disney Darlings begin...


4. Diddy The Unstoppable Entrepreneur

powerful-musician-diddy.jpg

P. Diddy, Puff Daddy, Sean Combs, call him whatever you want - the man has proven that he is more than just a name. In a career speckled with controversy (such as being held partly responsible for trampled audience members at a charity concert, charges of assault, and an arrest for weapons violations), there is no denying that the man is a marketing juggernaut. Along with his successful rap career, he has his own extremely lucrative clothing line Sean John, re-invented the Making The Band TV show, and has even appeared on Broadway - but perhaps his biggest contribution to the music industry has been his founding of Bad Boy Records which houses the likes of Yung Joc, Keyshia Cole and Danity Kane. Oh yeah - his butler, Farnsworth Bentley, has even become famous simply for being Diddy's butler. You know when that happens that you're dealing with Hollywood royalty.


3. Madonna The Living Legend

powerful-musician-madonna.jpg

There is a reason Madonna "Madge" Ciccone has been nicknamed Her Madgesty; she truly is the Queen of Pop, ranked by the Recording Industry Association of America as the "Best Selling Female Rock Artist of the Twentieth Century." She has an estimated net worth of over $400 million, her last 4 albums have debuted at number one, her new buddy Justin Timberlake just inducted her into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, and she recently signed a 10-year contract with concert promoters Live Nation for $120 million! Showing no signs of fatigue, 49-year-old Madonna is as fit, healthy and savvy as ever, proving that she'll be around for more than just 4 Minutes.


2. Jay-Z The Franchise

powerful-musician-jay-z.jpg

It takes a lot of guts to retire from the music industry, only to come back a few years later, bigger than ever - but that's exactly what Jay-Z did. And it takes a lot of guts to head up a successful record company, only to eventually leave it for an even better deal - but (again) that's exactly what Jay-Z did. In 2004, he was appointed as president and CEO of Def Jam Recordings, where he signed such major newcomers as Ne-Yo and Rihanna, but when Live Nation came a'callin' with a $150 million deal, Jay-Z was quick to take it. With 25 Grammy nominations and 7 wins, he is allowed to take risks - but for Jay-Z, it has all just been a walk in the park.


1. Justin Timberlake The New King of Pop

powerful-musician-justin-timberlake.jpg

Back in 1991, the "King of Pop" Michael Jackson released an album entitled Dangerous, which launched 6 Top 20 hits. Flash forward 15 years and Justin Timberlake releases his second solo album, FutureSex/LoveSounds, which goes on to launch 6 Top 20 hits. The only difference here is that when Michael Jackson accomplished said feat, he was nearing the end of his musical career - Justin Timberlake is only just beginning. Girls love him, guys want to be him, and parents think he's the perfect boy to have over for Christmas dinner. He inducts Madonna into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, he dates respectable women, and he loves getting Punk'd. He sings, he dances, he plays piano and guitar, he beatboxes, and now he acts. It seems the man can do no wrong, and thus he ends up at number 1. The New King of Pop, indeed.

New Mazda 6 ups the Ante





Car companies don't admit mistakes, but Hiroshi Kajiyama doesn't have a problem fessing up to a few missteps. He's the chief program engineer for the forthcoming 2009 Mazda 6 and although his English isn't perfect, it's clear he knows the current car has problems.

Weak engines, a tight backseat and a dull interior were all on his fix-it list. He talks to us about maintaining plenty of zoom-zoom in the new car, and of course, an exciting exterior design wouldn't hurt either. "We sought an exterior design capable of stirring emotions and distinguishing the Mazda 6 from the competition. We also strived to achieve a character that encourages a strong level of interaction with the driver," says Kajiyama.

He'll need all those things to make the 2009 Mazda 6 a success. Sales of the Mazda 6 have stagnated at roughly 80,000 units for more than a decade. Over the same time period, the Hyundai Sonata and Nissan Altima have come out of nowhere to pass it by. Mazda is aiming for over 100,000 yearly sales this time around. Here's what Kajiyama and his team did to make it happen.

Make It Bigger
Unlike the current-generation model, the 2009 Mazda 6 that goes on sale here later this summer is unique to North America. And like so many things that are uniquely American, the 2009 Mazda 6 is bigger in almost every dimension than its European and Japanese counterparts.

At 193.7 inches long and 72.4 inches wide, the 2009 Mazda 6 is larger than a Toyota Camry, yet smaller than a Honda Accord. The Mazda's 109.8-inch wheelbase is within an inch of the Nissan Altima and considerably shorter than both the Accord and the Chevrolet Malibu.

All those extra inches add up to a far more spacious interior than the current model. The Mazda 6 now gives rear passengers more leg-, shoulder and hiproom than the Accord, Altima and Malibu. Only the Toyota Camry offers more room in back and it's not by much.

Add Some Power
Super-sizing the Mazda 6 means more weight, of course. In this case, the Mazda 6 with the four-cylinder engine packs an extra 141 pounds, while the V6 model adds 169 pounds. That adds up to 3,547 pounds with the V6 in place — about average for the class.

To compensate, Mazda did the American thing and upped the displacement of both the base four-cylinder engine and the top-of-the-line V6. With 170 horsepower and 167 pound-feet of torque, the slightly larger 2.5-liter inline-4 no longer gets roasted by its peers. Along with its bump in displacement from 2.3 liters, the four-cylinder features a new two-stage intake, more efficient cylinder heads and a less restrictive exhaust manifold.

When connected to the standard six-speed manual, the Mazda 6 with the four-cylinder delivers 21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. Switch to the five-speed automatic and the Mazda 6 returns 1 extra mpg in the city and on the highway.

If $4-a-gallon gas doesn't faze you, the 3.7-liter V6 delivers 272 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. These are class-leading numbers, but the fuel mileage figures drop to 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway, similar to the Chevrolet Malibu V6 (17 mpg/26 mpg) and significantly less than the Honda Accord V6 (19 mpg/29 mpg). A six-speed automatic is the only available transmission for the V6, and every Mazda 6 sends its power to the front wheels.

The Payoff on the Road
First we drive a Mazda 6 with the four-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission, and the extra weight of the bigger chassis doesn't drag it down. There's plenty of midrange torque and a smooth, refined feel near the 6,200-rpm redline. For anyone but the truly power-hungry, the 2.5 is plenty of motor for day-to-day driving.

There's no sport shift program for the automatic, but there's no need for one. Kajiyama says that the U.S.-specification transmissions were recalibrated to take advantage of the extra torque generated by the larger engines we get here. Downshifts come easily and upshifts are quick. A manual gate is there if you want to choose your own gears.

We drive a four-cylinder car equipped with the six-speed manual and it's just as enjoyable. The clutch take-up is easy to modulate and the shift lever notches from gate to gate cleanly. Then again, with poorer EPA mileage numbers than the automatic, the case for buying the manual transmission is pretty weak.

We expect some torque steer from the V6-powered model and feel almost nothing. Not bad considering how strongly it pulls away from a stop. Along with all the extra power, the V6 also sounds a bit quieter than the admittedly unobtrusive four-cylinder. Kajiyama tells us that all V6-powered cars get an extra layer of insulation at each corner of the bumpers and under the rear seat. It makes a noticeable difference, certainly enough for Mazda to consider adding it to the base models if costs allow.

Didn't Change the Good Stuff
One element of the Mazda 6 that hasn't changed is the way it communicates with the driver. The lively feel of the current-generation Mazda 6 has been one of the few reasons to consider it over the competition, and none of that responsiveness has been lost.

The steering is lightly weighted, yet the feel of the pavement still filters through the three-spoke steering wheel. Strong, easily modulated brakes and a tightly controlled suspension allow you to push the Mazda 6 hard before surpassing its modest handling limits. It feels like an Audi A6 that's had several hundred pounds removed.

Base models get 16-inch wheels and tires, but the upgraded Touring and Grand Touring versions of the four-cylinder "i" model are upgraded with 17-inch wheels and 215/55R17 rubber at each corner. The base V6 has the same 17-inch setup, while top-of-the-line V6s get 18-inch wheels and 235/45R17 tires.

Less Interior Shine Is a Good Thing
Quality is a theme Kajiyama repeats often. Sometimes he's referring to the sound of the engines, while other times it's the feel of the interior. The effort has paid off, as the new cabin looks and feels like a top-tier midsize sedan.

Unlike the cheap-looking design of the old 6 with its metallic trim, the new cabin goes easy on the metal accents in favor of a starker, almost Germanic look. Yeah, it's a little on the dark side, but the quality of the materials and clean overall design keep it inviting.

Simple features like the continued use of a three-dial climate control system and large, easy-to-read analog gauges are a welcome sight. The steering wheel is just the right size, and the seats have a good range of adjustment. Even the optional navigation system is fairly simple to use and adds little to the dashboard clutter. The layout is less confusing than the Accord and more visually appealing than the Camry's odd attempts to look fashionable.

With the driver seat adjusted to suit a 6-footer up front, we're more than comfortable sitting in back. There's plenty of knee room, decent toe room and ample headroom despite the sloping C-pillars. At 16.6 cubic feet, the trunk offers the most room in the class and its cleverly mounted support struts don't intrude on the space either.

Consider It Fixed
So with all of its major flaws corrected, the 2009 Mazda 6 now sits squarely in the middle of the midsize family sedan segment. It's no longer the sedan to buy just to be different, although its appealing shape still counts for something in a class dominated by soulless styling.

Going bigger and heavier usually means stripping away any notion of agility, but the Mazda 6 remains closer to a sport sedan than any of its competitors. Throw in an expected starting price of just over $19,000 for the base four-cylinder and the Mazda 6 competes well on the value scale, too.

It's a solid overall package with few faults. The next time Kajiyama introduces a new Mazda 6, he won't have to admit to mistakes on the old one.

Chismillionaire's Friday weekend movie pick-Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

When we last saw Indiana Jones on screen, it was 1938, and the world stood on the brink of war as Dr. Jones chased down evildoers to find the Holy Grail. Nineteen years later, he’s cracking his whip again, and many things have changed ... but some have remained the same. Again, the world is at a precipice, this time caused by the specter of nuclear annihilation, and Indy’s struggle is once again to ensure that a precious, mysterious object remains safe from those bent on destroying humanity.

He's Still Got It- Van Damme Friday

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