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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Shopkeeper in Spain found Homer Simpson on a 1 Euro coin!


By Raquel Castillo

MADRID (Reuters) - A one euro coin has turned up in Spain bearing the face of cartoon couch potato Homer Simpson instead of that of the country's king, a sweetshop owner told Reuters on Friday.

Jose Martinez was counting the cash in his till in the city of Aviles, northern Spain, when he came across the coin where Homer's bald head, big eyes and big nose had replaced the serious features of King Juan Carlos.

"The coin must have been done by a professional, the work is impressive," he told Reuters.

The comical carver had not taken his tools to the other side of the coin displaying the map of Europe. So far, no other coins of the hapless, beer-swilling oaf have been found in circulation.

"I've been offered 20 euros for it," said Martinez.

(Writing by Sarah Morris, edited by Richard Meares))

MIT student newspaper publishes the banned DEFCON slides

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has sued three MIT students — Zackary M. Anderson '09, Russel J. Ryan '09, and Alessandro Chiesa '09 — and MIT to prevent the disclosure of security weaknesses in subway ticketing systems.

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Wonka: A Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory Recut Trailer



The film recut as a dark, hallucinogenic thriller slash morality tale.

Music: Requiem for a Dream/Clint Mansell, Fight Club/Dust Brothers, Tomorrow Never Knows/Beatles, Carrion/British Sea Power

Chris Higgins 7 Reasons “Clone Wars” Will Be Worth Seeing

by Chris Higgins - August 11, 2008 - 6:30 AM


The latest Star Wars movie, Clone Wars, opens this Friday. We’ve done our homework on the new movie, and it actually looks pretty good. As the seventh movie in the epic series, we turned up seven reasons why Clone Wars will be worth seeing.

1. No More Hayden Christensen!

AnakinMany Star Wars fans found Hayden Christensen’s portrayal of Anakin at turns wooden and whiny. In Clone Wars, the voice of Anakin is taken over by Matt Lanter (probably best known for his role as the evil quarterback Brody from TV’s Heroes). Familiar returning voices include Samuel L. Jackson (as Mace), Christopher Lee (as Dooku), and good old Anthony Daniels (as C3PO). Unfortunately we don’t get to hear from Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan — he’s been replaced by James Arnold Taylor, a voice actor with a resume a mile long, including the voice of Obi-Wan in the Clone Wars animated shorts, and the voice of Ratchet from the Ratchet & Clank games.

As far as I’m concerned, less Hayden Christensen means more awesome.

2. Awesome Anime-Inspired Art

Pointy Obi-Wan BeardThe look of Clone Wars borrows heavily from anime, depicting characters with stylized, chiseled faces, huge eyes, and angular bodies. Count Dooku’s face is comically elongated, and it looks like you could grate cheese on Obi-Wan’s pointy, multi-segmented beard. But aside from that, the move to full animation from the “greenscreen extravaganza” of the last three films solves a crucial problem: we no longer have that sense of creepy fakeness that comes from mixing live action and computer-generated effects (see: the uncanny valley). In Clone Wars, everything’s an effect, and the look hangs together better precisely because of its distinctive style.

The full animation look also frees up moviemakers to invent some insane battle sequences, including one in which the Jedi warriors and AT-TE walkers walk up a cliff during the fight. Another epic (though brief) battle scene has Anakin jumping from speeder to speeder in mid-air, cutting down droids.

3. Clone/Droid Carnage Galore

The Clone Wars are unique in Star Wars mythology because they were fought by the eponymous clones, versus a bunch of strangely fragile droids (probably shoulda up-armored those guys, eh?). Although the clones are portrayed as super-soldiers (they’re all Jango Fetts, after all), we get to see legions of them cut down by droids — and vice versa. And who doesn’t love a little droid-on-clone violence? Part of the fun of Clone Wars is in seeing how many clones and droids we can blow away in each battle.

Clones with fancy hair-dosAmidst the carnage, we’ll get to see more individuation among the clones. A major character this time is Clone Commander Rex, leader of the 501st Clone Trooper Legion. Rex is Anakin’s second in command during the Clone Wars, and although he’s a clone, he’s also an individual. Other clones are shown with tattoos and an almost comic array of hair styles and colors. Check out the videos “The Clones are Coming” and “Clone Wars Clip: Battle of Christophsis” on the the official site (click on “Videos” at the top, then pick your clip at the right) for a taste.

Kids take note: you can get tips on drawing “Captain Rex” from Star Wars illustrator Grant Gould. Check it out. (Seriously.)

4. Jabba’s Southern Uncle

Hutt concept artEarly reviews have mentioned an intriguing new character: Jabba’s uncle Ziro the Hutt, whom David German of the AP described as “a giant slug that speaks with a Truman Capote-like Southern drawl.” Um. Awesome? Although information about this guy is slim, Wookieepedia has a page on Ziro (warning: includes a minor spoiler related to action in Clone Wars), which includes some biographical info:

Starting out as a loan shark on Sleheyron, Ziro moved to Coruscant to pursue a bigger career. He eventually became a vigo of the criminal organization Black Sun, and had a tattoo of its symbol. He used a rundown tower that used to belong to the Lantillian Spacers’ Brotherhood as his personal base. The tower was transformed into a gaudy-looking pleasure palace.

All I’m gonna say is, I have to see Truman Capote’s Pleasure Palace at least once in my life. After that, I’m cool with finding a new definition of pain and suffering as I’m slowly digested over a thousand years.

5. It’s Actually Funny

Didst Thou Fart?Although you can’t tell it from the trailers, early reviewers have commented on the amount of humor in the movie. Some reviewers have even gone so far as to call Clone Wars a spoof, or a parody of Star Wars — and I think that’s a good thing. Much of the fun of the first three Star Wars films came from Han Solo’s wisecracks. This character (and his sense of humor) are completely lacking in the latter three films, replaced with absurdly over-the-top, possibly-racist slapstick (I don’t think I have to name names here); brooding and smoldering and whining (Anakin); and some “nice try” droid humor from C3PO and R2D2. In Clone Wars we can expect at least a return to the freewheeling ’70s vision of Star Wars, where swashbuckling swordplay meets crazy high/low-tech hybrid technology on the battlefield, mixed with a healthy dose of family-friendly comedy.

6. A Female Main Character Who Fights

Ahsoka, the new PadawanClone Wars introduces Ahsoka Tano, Anakin’s new Padawan. If there’s one thing Star Wars has been sorely lacking, it’s female characters who actually take part in the battle sequences. Sure, Princess Leia and Padme have been known to use a blaster in a pinch, but Ahsoka is actually on the battlefield, in the thick of things. Will this character bring girls to the Star Wars franchise? I guess we’ll find out on Friday.

In many ways Ahsoka is standing in for the previous Star Wars Padawans (Luke in the early films, then Anakin in the prequels), so there are bound to be a few Padawan Moments — which in the world of Star Wars means some kiddy whining followed by Important Lessons — but it’s encouraging to see a female warrior taking the stage after thirty years of male-dominated action sequences.

7. George Lucas Didn’t Write, Direct, or Produce It

George Lucas - Nope!What a relief! Of course Lucas’s fingerprints are all over this film (he kinda invented the franchise), but officially he doesn’t get any of the key production credits. Director Dave Filoni seems squarely in charge of this one, and Indiana Jones hat notwithstanding, I think we’re all glad to let others take the reins and bring a fresh perspective to the Star Wars universe. Clone Wars writers include Henry Gilroy (who has worked on lots of animated shows, including The Tick), Scott Murphy (whose IMDB page is slim, though he wrote two episodes of Angel and worked as an uncredited production assistant on Boogie Nights), and Steven Melching (who has done a ton of TV animation, and was a production assistant on 1991’s House Party 2). While these may not be the most prestigious writers on the block, at least they’re not George.

To Find Out More…

Watch the trailer in HD or check out the official site — the latter actually has a bunch of good videos, although watching director Dave Filoni introduce the videos while wearing his Indiana Jones hat is a little disconcerting.

To whet your appetite, starting Friday you can grab a Clone Wars themed Happy Meal from McDonald’s (the toy is — no kidding — a Clone Wars Bobble Head with a character’s head attached to a vehicle). If you need something now, pick up some of the new toys and other merchandise. Unfortunately you’ll have to wait until November before the Nintendo games (Lightsaber Duels for Wii and Jedi Alliance for DS) are released.

Rare Syndrome: Women Born With Male Chromosomes & No Uterus

There are probably about seven-and-a-half thousand people, women, in the U.S. with the condition with AIS, Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. "They have a vagina, like anybody else's..but it's basically just a pouch, it's not connected to a uterus. There is no uterus. But what they have internally is testes that you would typically find in a male."

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Trent Reznor's 'Year Zero' may be an HBO series

06:11 AM PT, Aug 8 2008

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Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails has been in talks in with HBO about making a two-season maxi-series out of "Year Zero," the dark future tale that Reznor has chronicled in his music as well as in a celebrated Alternate Reality Game (ARG) with the same title that was created by 42 Entertainment.

"It's the most exciting thing on the horizon, it's the thing that when I wake up in the morning it makes me say, 'God it would be cool if that happened," Reznor told me this week while sitting backstage before a Nails concert in Toronto. "This is my grand ambition. Will it happen? I don't know. It was fun sitting and telling [the HBO] guys and watching them shake their head and having writers on board and producers that are in to it. It's been a fun thing."

"Year Zero" began (as so many things do in the music of NIN) from a place of negative emotion and sonic experimentation. Reznor was increasingly outraged by the geopolitical situation during the Bush years and he wanted to channel that fury into music, but he was loath to drift into the limiting lexicon of protest lyrics.

"How could I express what I was feeling in a way that didn't sound like bitching about George Bush? I mean, you know, I love Neil Young but I didn't want to listen to that record, really," he said, referring to the singer-songwriter's "Living with War." "My reaction to that kind of record is, 'We know this. It's obvious.'"

"So it started with me trying to write it as a piece of fiction. I was thinking, 'It could be the worst idea ever in the world but, if it doesn't work, it doesn't have to come out.' I started by writing a kind of world bible about what life would be like around 15 or 20 years from now if things continue on the same path. I spent a few weeks filling it in with the events that could lead to this kind of time and place. Then as an experiment I started writing songs about people in this place and from different points of view."

The problem was the music was compelling and powerful, but it was more about sensation than story.

"I had a record that would make sense to me but no one else would ever know what it was because there was no narrative. It's modular, its a collection of snapshots. These were glimpses of a place. Maybe with liner notes I could communicate some of it, but how do you get liner notes in 2007?"

He considered a graphic novel. "That was the route we were going to go with initially. We talked to a different companies about releasing it. But it didn't feel quite right. We thought about a film, but that has a different timetable and too many people need to say yes. That wouldn't line up right. then I started thinking about how I could make it really interactive, something you experience rather than something you read."

Reznor remembered reading about 42 Entertainment and their deeply layered ARG for the Steven Spielberg film "A.I." He met with them and the result was a truly amazing through-the-looking-glass creation on-line, shaped by the 42 team working closely with the rock star and his art director, Rob Sheridan. "It's ahrd to explain it," Reznor said, and he's right. But the best way to get your head around it is through the nifty (and entertaining) case-study presentation that you can find here.

Reznor was delighted with the result. "It was probably the most fun thing I've done." Now he wants to finish the story he started and do it across a range of media.

"I just pitched it to HBO two weeks ago in L.A. It went great. Ideally, we're trying to get them to do a two-year limited series. I prefer that over a film. We would have a second ARG tying into the second album and ties into the series and they all happen together with a budget needed to pull that all off. There would be a tour down the road. The record completes the story, the ending that no one knows. I know what happens. I knew when I started it. And it's not what people think. "

-- Geoff Boucher

Photo of Trent Reznor by Myung J. Chun\Los Angeles Times

Hilarious George W. Olympic Action -- PHOTOS


These are just classic!!

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15 of the World's Weirdest 'Theme Restaurants' [PICS]

... highlighting such gastronomic delights as edible 'dead bodies', 'Spicy Condom Salad' and feces-shaped ice cream served in miniature toilet bowls.

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IKEA Solar Panels on the Horizon

IKEA solar, IKEA solar panels, IKEA goes eco, IKEA goes solar, ikea, greentech, solar power, solar panels, energy efficiency, green technology, alternative energy, ikea greentech, ikea photovoltaics

Eponymous big-box colossus IKEA has shown some great green developments lately, from flat-pack bike trailers to eco-friendly lines of housewares. Now the patent purveyor of all things flat-pack has announced plans to invest $77 million into its GreenTech energy fund with the goal of eventually producing solar panels, efficiency meters, and energy efficient lighting. Granted its massive distribution network, IKEA’s uptake of green tech could pose a monumental shift in the accessibility and affordability of these technologies.

IKEA solar, IKEA solar panels, IKEA goes eco, IKEA goes solar, ikea, greentech, solar power, solar panels, energy efficiency, green technology, alternative energy, ikea greentech, ikea photovoltaics

As far as big-box retailers go, it’s hard to dispute the sphere of influence that IKEA casts over the world market. Striking a golden balance between quality and affordability has allowed the furniture giant to build an extensive network of 270 stores in 35 countries, attracting half a billion customers every year. IKEA’s recent investment is exciting because it stands to mobilize these massive distribution channels towards the proliferation of green technology.

IKEA’s GreenTech fund was established eight months ago and is looking to invest in up to ten startups over the next five years. These investments will focus in five key areas: solar panels, alternative light sources, product materials, energy efficiency, and water saving and purification. IKEA hopes to bring its first wave of green tech products to market within three to four years.

+ IKEA

Via CleanTech Group and environmentalleader.com

Photo Credit: VeryBigJen

Magnificent Waterfall “Discovered” in Peru– Perhaps One of World’s Tallest

Peru\'s Gocta FallsThe big environmental news coming out of Peru this past week was that a huge waterfall previously unknown to the greater world was “discovered” in the country’s Amazon Rainforest region. The word “discovered” is in quotes because a community that lives near to the waterfall had known about its existence according to Andina News, but had chosen to keep their knowledge a secret to help protect the area from damage. Obed Cabanillas Silva, the explorer who “found” it, thinks that it might be taller than Peru’s Gocta waterfall (pictured to the left).

The Gocta Fall is third tallest waterfall in the world, although its status is disputed. It is 771 meters high (~ 2529 feet). If its measurements are accurate, only Venezuela’s Angel Falls and South Africa’s Tugela Falls are taller. It was also “discovered” in 2005, although local communities knew about its existence as well. According to Peru’s El Commercio newspaper (via Wikipedia), “local people feared the curse of a beautiful blond mermaid who lived in its waters if they revealed its whereabouts.”

Only several days after the news of the this new waterfall’s discovery was announced, an expedition has departed to see and document the waterfall. The group includes a topographer, photographer, and representatives from local communities. While this expedition’s hasty departure is not surprising, the “discovery” of the spectacular waterfall leaves me with two conflicting feelings.

The first feeling is one of excitement and inspiration. It’s fascinating to know that there are still discoveries to be made in the world. Just this week we had the announcement that a gorilla sanctuary had been found in Africa’s Congo. It is believed to be home to approximately 125,000 gorillas. Earlier this year, we also saw the first photos of an “uncontacted” tribe in Peru and Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest regions.

The second feeling I have is one that is worrisome. What if the local communities were correct? Will the area where the waterfall is located now be damaged with an influx of tourism? And even though the discovery of the gorillas in the Congo is great, what if it now leads more people to go there and kill them, study them, and so forth, leaving them at greater peril than before their presence was known? Just this week, news also came out that across the world, almost 50% of all primate species are critically endangered.

And what about the photos of the “uncontacted” tribe in the Amazon? Even though they provided a thrill, will some well-meaning, yet foolish anthropologist now try to contact them as part of his or her PhD Dissertation? And will the photographs serve the purpose of stopping the illegal logging that supposedly threatens the tribe’s survival?

In any case, now that the cogs on the machine are moving, I will be interested to hear how tall this “new” waterfall is in Peru, and whether or not it is one of the tallest in the world.

8 Opening Ceremonies Moments That Made Me Crap My Pants

By Sara Schaefer

OpeningCeremonies16.jpgDuring the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies, we witnessed the sheer power and brilliance of what it looks like when thousands of individuals come together for one purpose: to blow your f*cking mind. Throughout the event, I felt a mix of wonder, awe, surprise, joy, inadequacy, terror, and self-hatred - in other words, I was either whispering through tears “It’s just so…beautiful!” or I was sh*tting my pants.

I’ll admit it, it’s a little frightening to see what a country as big as China can pull off when they put their minds to it. I wondered what was responsible for such perfection: a culture of teamwork and self-pride? Or an authoritative regime with significantly more control over their people than we realized? Either way, I had a hard time imagining the U.S. pulling off something with such human precision, and half the time I felt like a fat, lazy slob. In the end, however, there’s no doubt, I’m JAZZED ABOUT CHINA! Who needs human rights when you can have human LIGHTS?

Here are the most pants-crapping moments from the ceremony:

IF GOD HAD A DRUMLINE…

OpeningCeremonies02.jpg

…this is what it might look like. As 2,008 drummers beat on drums that were thousands of years old (outfitted with some space-agey lights), Matt Lauer noted that the men were told to smile, because they realized this could be mistaken for a Persian-Army-esque battle cry.
MY FLAT SCREEN TV DOESN’T ROLL UP LIKE FABRIC

OpeningCeremonies03.jpg

The ceremony featured several light displays, screens, and electronic surfaces that seemed to flow as smoothly as silk. The grandest of all these was a giant LED screen that unfurled like a scroll. Do you think Circuit City will be selling these any time soon?
PIN ART ON A MASSIVE SCALE

OpeningCeremonies09.jpg

Remember those little Pin Art things we used to stick on our faces? Imagine it the size of a football field. While watching this, I couldn’t tell how on earth they were doing it - it didn’t look real. It was too fluid for machines, but I couldn’t comprehend how people could be doing this. Given what we’d already seen, I should never have underestimated them. At the end of this segment, thousands of men popped out from the boxes, waving happily.
MY CURVES CLASS COULD TOTALLY DO THIS

OpeningCeremonies21.jpg

From above, the 2,008 men doing Tai Chi in unison looked like crop circles. Because let’s face it, only aliens could make circles this perfect.
LITTLE GREEN MEN

OpeningCeremonies18a.jpg

These guys lit up like Peter Gabriel’s light bulb suit from the Sledgehammer video. They moved around the floor like swirling beads of water, eventually forming a beautiful bird. Then, they came together and formed a replica of the Bird’s Nest stadium, all standing on each other, for at least 3 minutes, while a small girl flew above them with a kite. Seriously, how did they HOLD THAT FORMATION for that long??? Communism, that’s how.
THIS OAR ISN’T HEAVY AT ALL! SERIOUSLY, WE’RE FIIINE.

OpeningCeremonies14.jpg

These oars were probably over 12 feet long each, but they waved them this way and that as if they were feathers.
WHAT NOW? I KNOW! LET’S BRING OUT A GIANT GLOBE!

OpeningCeremonies23.jpg

I kept wondering what the HELL was going on underneath the stadium - to house all these thousands of people, and giant structures like the globe. And I thought backstage at my college’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was chaotic! Then, during the song, pictures of children from all over the earth appeared above and on umbrella-like things held up by another hoard of people on the floor. Was it super cheesy? Yes. Was I sobbing uncontrollably? Maybe.
TINY EARTHQUAKE HERO + GIANT BASKETBALL STAR = HEART BONER

OpeningCeremonies04a.jpg

NBA star and Chinese Olympian Yao Ming walked alongside a tiny boy, who had not only survived the earthquake, but had saved two of his classmates from his school, where most of the children died. It’s just. Too. Much.

Needless to say, it was a grand, beautiful, and inspiring event that I’m pretty sure made London say “Well, f*ck.”

More pictures:

OpeningCeremonies07.jpg
The torch bearer shows us a new sport: fly-running! Also, note that this happened at the 4 and a half hour mark on my DVR.
OpeningCeremonies24a.jpg
Wouldn’t it be creepy if your saw yourself on one of those?
OpeningCeremonies22.jpg
The Tai Chi men do a move called “Collapse From Exhaustion.”
OpeningCeremonies19a.jpg
Last time you checked, little Fei Yen was in the backyard flying her kite…
OpeningCeremonies17a.jpg
I was at a party like this once in Prague.
OpeningCeremonies15a.jpg
I feel like I am at the Electric parade in Disney World!
OpeningCeremonies13a.jpg
Pop goes the army of two thousand men!
OpeningCeremonies10a.jpg
How did they know when to stand up, and just how high to go??? It boggles the mind.
OpeningCeremonies11a.jpg
At this point we heard the first of about 1 million references by broadcasters to the metaphorical “great wall” coming down in China.
OpeningCeremonies08.jpg
The torch burns bright, symbolizing China’s firey passion for perfection and pollution.
OpeningCeremonies01.jpg
We got the beat.

The Top 6 "Celebrities"who shouldn't be famous


I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point in recent history, it became ok to be famous for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Plenty of people have opinions on celebrity gossip on the whole – but the simple fact is – a lot of people that are followed constantly in the press are there for a reason – they’re extremely talented. Take Britney Spears for example – yes, she’s crazy, yes, she makes awful decisions over and over again, but the she’s also an outrageously talented and driven performer.

That’s more than we can say for this group of – well – what would you call a person without a job, career, talent or marketable skills that mostly parties and lives off their parents? Oh right… now we call them “Celebrities”.



6. Nick, Brooke & Linda Hogan

WTF, reality TV? How did it come to this? Having grown up in the 80’s, I am intimately aware of who Hulk Hogan is and just how much ass he can kick. Remember when he slammed Andre the Giant in Wrestlemania III? That was AWESOME! Well, that was also 1987, and shortly after, Hulk Hogan stopped being interesting to me. So now it’s 2008, and I have to see stories about his daughter Brooke, son Nick and estranged ex-wife Linda, all of whom look like they were dunked in bleach and slapped on a tanning bed at birth.


5. Tila Tequila

As we’ll see, this problem of fame for no reason can’t always be blamed on reality TV. This one is firmly the fault of myspace. As far as I can tell Tila is famous for two reasons:
• She’s reasonably good looking.
• She had a lot of time on her hands and was very good clicking the “add” button on myspace, which she did like 6 million times.

She got famous when Maxim decided to do a story on a hot chick with a lot of myspace friends. They found unemployed friend clicker Tila, and voila, another talentless celebrity was born.


4. Tori Spelling

I really don’t understand this one at all. The other day I caught a bit of her reality show, where her and her husband come out of a baby store and they are MOBBED by paparazzi? Now let’s review who they are:

She was known as the ugly girl on 90210, who was only their because her father was the producer. That’s the last thing of note she did, and that ended 8 years ago. And really, it was crap when it ended… the real root of her fame is 1990.

Her husband has never acted in anything bigger than a frickin Hallmark movie.

Now, I ask you, doesn’t this couple BELONG in obscurity? How can we possibly care enough to have the paparazzi follow them?


3. Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian is getting more and more well known lately due to her reality show, keeping up with the Kardashians. I want to remind you that this isn’t why she is famous – she landed the show as a result of her fame. As far as I can tell that fame was based on living in LA, she lounging around and not really do anything, partying, being hot, having a million dollar ass and sleeping with a lot of celebrities for a living. So that’s something.

I actually find her so hot I don’t care. But she belongs on the list.


2. Paris Hilton

This list was made for Paris Hilton. An heiress with no talent whatsoever, she was really the first one that made an entire career out of being photographed around people who are famous for a reason. And that’s all she can really do. We do give her points for trying just about everything else you can legitimately be famous for. We’ve seen her model – which I guess she’s ok at. We’ve heard her sing, which was much, much better than any of her truly awful acting attempts. She’s now opening a club in Vegas, which I think is much better for her true talent, partying and having your picture taken. We also appreciate how many sex tapes she’s released – some stars give you one, but she just keeps giving.


1. Everybody on the hills

Audrina Patridge, Heidi Montag, Lauren Conrad, Kristin Cavallari, Spencer Pratt & others. You’ve probably heard these names. You find them familiar, yes? What movie are they in again? Or is it TV? Are they in Gossip Girl? These my friends are the stars of MTV’s “Laguna Beach” with begat a spin off show “The Hills”. They are outrageously wealthy, privileged white people who live by the beach and go shopping in their Bentley’s. Most of them are making a career out of self promotion. Heidi Montag in particular seems to constantly release pictures of herself from photoshoots she organizes into the press. Audrina Partridge has new bikini shots coming out on at least a weekly basis. They are talentless and you probably wouldn’t want to hang out with them – but yet their fame grows.

So what’s the take-away here? Generally, I think even if you have nothing to give the world you can still be a celebrity. The rules:

1. Have famous and/or outrageously rich parents.*
* Millions of Myspace friends can be substituted.
2. Have and spend a lot of money yourself.
3. Be very, very hot and take a lot of hot pictures of yourself.
* Optional – release at least one sex tape.
4. Important – make sure not to attempt to do anything constructive.
5. Live and party in LA

Good luck folks!

Artist Transforms His Face To Resemble Different Landscapes


Photographer Levi van Veluw creates spectacular imagery - not the typical self-portrait.

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The 10 Cheapest Cars Per Mile Per Gallon


Best fuel economy for the buck
What to buy when you need to make every dollar count
Honda Fit
As car buyers are drawn to more fuel-efficient cars, a common challenge people face is how to get the most gas mileage for the money. Hybrids, for example, typically deliver the best fuel economy in their respective classes, but they sell for a premium. Begs the question: Is it better for your bank account to buy a small, less-expensive nonhybrid that still provides good, if not great, fuel economy?

If your goal in getting better fuel economy is to make every dollar count, the following list can guide you to some of today's best buys. Of the more than 260 vehicles that we've recently tested, these are the 10 cars that provide the best combination of low purchase price and high fuel economy.


Crunching the numbers

To get this list, we divided the as-tested price (including options and destination charge) for each vehicle we've recently tested by the car's overall mpg (including city and highway) in our fuel-economy tests. This tells you the price you'll pay for each mpg.

But gas mileage isn't everything. So, to ensure we aren't guiding you to cars that are mediocre in other areas, we selected only ones that meet our stringent criteria in performance, reliability, and safety for being recommended. And to make sure, the cars aren't going to blindside you with high ownership costs after you've signed on the dotted line, we selected only models that earn an excellent owner-cost rating.


Top 10 in price per mpg

Model As tested Price Overall mpg Price per mpg
Honda Fit Sport (manual) $15,765 34 $464
Honda Fit (base) 15,245 32 476
Toyota Prius (base) 23,780 44 540
Mazda3 i (manual) 17,290 30 576
Toyota Prius Touring 24,803 42 591
Nissan Versa 1.8 SL 16,675 28 596
Honda Civic Hybrid 22,400 37 605
Honda Civic EX (manual) 18,810 31 607
Hyundai Elantra GLS 17,555 27 650
Scion tC (base) 17,115 26 658
All have an automatic transmission unless noted.


Drawing on a price that's under $16,000 and good fuel economy in the low-to-mid 30's, both versions of the Honda Fit we've tested topped the list. That shows that you can pay more for a car with higher gas-mileage numbers (such as the Toyota Prius), but you won't necessarily get better fuel economy for the buck.

If you want a roomier car than the subcompact Fit, several compact cars made the list, including the Mazda3, Honda Civic, and Hyundai Elantra. And, despite their higher cost, three hybrids-two versions of the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic Hybrid-made the list, based on stellar fuel economy results.

The lowest price per mpg in our analysis came from the Toyota Yaris and Hyundai Accent with manual transmissions ($370 and $425, respectively). But because they scored too low in our tests to be recommended, they didn't make the cut. Which cars are highest? With the Dodge Viper SRT10 and Mercedes-Benz SL550, you'll pay more than $6,000 for every mile-per-gallon. And you'll have to feed these engines requiring Premium fuel, as well.

To learn more about fuel-efficient cars, hybrid technology, and gas-saving tips, visit our special section Guide to driving green.

Pulling the lid off pot

Seattle Times staff columnist

Marijuana has an image problem.

That's not the only problem with it, but its image probably keeps it lurking in the shadows: People who smoke pot are unkempt, unruly, counterculture. Best just to drink scotch or pop OxyContin.

If marijuana had the ad agencies that cigarettes have had, it would be legal, too.

I'm not craving a joint. It's not my thing, but I noticed that Hempfest is coming up this weekend.

Speakers at the Seattle festival will try mightily to pull the weed from darkness.

I agree with them that it makes sense to decriminalize marijuana use.

Bring it out into the light, regulate it, tax it, put trafficking gangs out of business and let police and courts do more important work.

Rick Steves, the travel entrepreneur from Edmonds, will be one of the main speakers at Hempfest.

We had a story in our paper Friday about a television program he and the ACLU made to get people talking about marijuana laws (marijuanaconversation.org).

Some local television stations were not willing to air the TV show, though I can't think of a station that hasn't carried entertainment programs in which weed played a part.

I guess it's like sex, which you can display a bit, but not discuss seriously.

Outlawing grass doesn't seem to have the intended effect, assuming the intent is to keep people from using.

According to the 2001 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, more than 83 million Americans older than 12 have used marijuana.

Marijuana production earns billions every year.

Think of what we could do with the taxes on legal marijuana. And we'd save the $7.5 billion a year the nation spends enforcing pot laws.

One of the big raps against pot is the idea that using it leads to using more dangerous drugs.

The other day, I asked a roomful of people about marijuana. One man, an educator, said that when he was in high school in 1972, he had a drug-education class.

The kids were told marijuana was the same as heroin.

The ones who experimented with it found out it wasn't, and some went on to try heroin figuring that since marijuana hadn't done them in and heroin was the same, it wouldn't hurt either. How's that for a gateway effect?

I'm sure arresting people for using pot has a gateway effect. A little time in jail gives a person the opportunity to learn more about other drugs and bigger crimes.

But if marijuana were legal, we could institute some controls and even have serious conversations about it.

I spoke with Steves, who is in Belgium. He said his interest started with "knowing so many people who were closet smokers but couldn't talk about it. I thought, 'What if everybody agreed [it should be decriminalized] but was too afraid to speak out.' "

He figured maybe people would listen to a straight-laced businessman.

Steves is pushing democracy, not pot. It bothers him that Americans shrink from discussing drug laws.

That's a truly sorry image.

Jerry Large's column appears Monday and Thursday. Reach him at 206-464-3346 or jlarge@seattletimes.com.

Phelps wins 3rd gold medal in 200 freestyle.

Michael Phelps won his third gold medal, breaking his own world record in the 200-meter freestyle. The American touched in 1:42.96 seconds, lowering his old mark of 1:43.86 set at last year's world championships in Australia. Silver medalist Park Tae-hwan of South Korea finished in 1:44.85 and American Peter Vanderkaay earned the bronze in 1:45.14.

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Bet You Never Thought Swimming Could Be This Intense




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Bernie Mac's Life in PHOTOS


Great photos chronicling the life and career of Bernie Mac - from his most famous roles to his life in Chicago

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Oops. My Boobs Broke the Glass!

Girls' Most Dangerous Sport: Cheerleading


By LiveScience Staff

For high school girls and college women, cheerleading is far more dangerous than any other sport, according to a new report that adds several previously unreported cases of serious injuries to a growing list.

High school cheerleading accounted for 65.1 percent of all catastrophic sports injuries among high school females over the past 25 years, according to an annual report released Monday by the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research.

The new estimate is up from 55 percent in last year's study. The researches say the true number of cheerleading injuries appears to be higher than they had previously thought. And these are not ankle sprains. The report counts fatal, disabling and serious injuries.

The statistics are equally grim in college, where cheerleading accounted for 66.7 percent of all female sports catastrophic injuries, compared to the past estimate of 59.4 percent.

The revised picture results from a new partnership between the sports injury center and the National Cheer Safety Foundation, a California-based not-for-profit body created to promote safety in cheerleading and collect data on injuries. The foundation provided the center with previously unreported data. The new data added 30 injury records from high schoolers and college students to the 112 in last year's report.

Catastrophic injuries to female athletes have increased over the years, since the first report was published in 1982.

"A major factor in this increase has been the change in cheerleading activity, which now involves gymnastic-type stunts," said Dr. Frederick O. Mueller, lead researcher on the new report and a professor of exercise and sports science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "If these cheerleading activities are not taught by a competent coach and keep increasing in difficulty, catastrophic injuries will continue to be a part of cheerleading."

Less than catastrophic injuries are vastly more common and they occur at much younger ages, too. Children ages 5 to 18 admitted to hospitals for cheerleading injuries in the United States jumped from 10,900 in 1990 to 22,900 in 2002, according to research published in the journal Pediatrics in 2006. The breakdown:

  • Strains/sprains: 52.4 percent
  • Soft tissue injuries: 18.4 percent
  • Fractures/dislocations: 16.4 percent
  • Lacerations/avulsions: 3.8 percent
  • Concussions/closed head injuries: 3.5 percent
  • Other: 5.5 percent

The new report released Monday found that between 1982 and 2007, there were 103 fatal, disabling or serious injuries recorded among female high school athletes, with the vast majority (67) occurring in cheerleading. The next most dangerous sports: gymnastics (nine such injuries) and track (seven).

Among college athletes, there have been 39 of these severe injuries: 26 in cheerleading, followed by three in field hockey and two each in lacrosse and gymnastics. The report also notes that according to the NCAA Insurance program, 25 percent of money spent on student athlete injuries in 2005 resulted from cheerleading.

In 2007, however, two catastrophic injuries to female high school cheerleaders were reported, down from 10 in the previous season and the lowest number since 2001. Yet there were three catastrophic injuries to college-level participants, up from one in 2006.

According to the report, almost 95,200 female students take part in high school cheerleading annually, along with about 2,150 males. College participation numbers are hard to find since cheerleading is not an NCAA sport.

THE BOSS BOWL

Photo

August 11, 2008 --

THE next Super Bowl is really going to rock. This year, Tom Petty rocked the halftime crowd at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. But Super Bowl XLIII on Feb. 1 in Tampa will feature Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, sources said. "He was just confirmed," a spy added. "Little Stevie (Van Zandt) has already rented out the Hard Rock Café for a party." A Boss rep didn't return calls or e-mails.

Man has Sex with Steel Bench, Almost Loses Penis


Many an adolescent boy, hormones raging, has succumbed to the siren song of a hump-able inanimate object (the mattress cushion, a toilet paper roll or in one cinematic instance, a pie). But let's hope they learn a lesson from the 41-year-old Hong Kong man who almost lost his penis as a result of intercourse with a steel park bench.

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8 More iPhone Tricks You Might Not Have Known


We recently showed you "12 iPhone Tricks You Might Not Know", and we're back to give you more. Due to all the great feedback our readers gave us, and some further iPhone experimentation (a.k.a. iPerimentation) on our part, we've found some other tips and tricks that can enhance your iPhone experience.

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Hot Buttered Samples: A Tribute to Mr. Isaac Hayes

Hot Buttered Samples:
A Tribute to Mr. Isaac Hayes

By conrad
August 11th, 2008

It was a sad, sad, day for the world of music yesterday. Hearing the news about Isaac Hayes passing away, had me thinking of all the great albums that Black Moses and the legendary Stax Records left us to always remember him by. Of course there is the now famous “Theme from Shaft,” which did win an Academy Award. But, my personal all-time favorite from Mr. Hayes would have to be the album “Hot Buttered Soul.”

That album, along with a slew of others have tickled my fancy for whenever I have a need for some realness. They just don’t make music of that caliber anymore. The Hip-Hop world knows what I’m talking about because it samples heavily from Isaac Hayes. On “Hot Buttered Soul,” everyone from the likes of NWA, Wu Tang Clan, and the Group Home have all used this musical masterpiece as the source for their own classics. But there were other Haye’s tunes that provided inspiration as well.

Isaac Hayes’ hot buttered soul spread wide and far. Listed below are my favorite Hip-Hop classics and the original sources:

Black Moses
Hip Hop Flock
Isaac Hayes

Issac Hayes - “The Look of Love”
“Live at the Sahara Tahoe” (1973)

This live performance of the “Shaft” classic
from 1973 sizzles!


Jay-Z

Jay-Z - “Can I Live”
“Reasonable Doubt” (1996)

Banger from the Hip Hop classic
“Reasonable Doubt.”



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You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video


Isaac Hayes

Issac Hayes - “Do Your Thing”
“Shaft” (1971)

If the music make you move,
cause you can dig the groove.
Then groove on - groove on.


Big Daddy Kane

Big Daddy Kane - “Smooth Operator”
“It’s a Big Daddy Thing” (1989)

The B-I-G, D-A-double-D-Y-K-A-N-E
I’m good and plenty - servin many and any.



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Isaac Hayes

Issac Hayes - “Hung Up on My Baby”
“Three Tough Guys” (1974)

An Italian attempt at the Blaxploitation genre.
Peep Black Moses playing a Chicago cop.


Geto Boys

Geto Boys - “My Mind Playin’ Tricks on Me”
“We Can’t Be Stopped” (1991)

I sit alone in my four-cornered room starin at candles…
A “classic” in every sense of the word.



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Isaac Hayes

Issac Hayes
“Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic”
“Hot Buttered Soul” (1968)

One of the illest song titles of all time.


Public Enemy

Public Enemy
“Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos”
“It Takes a Nation of Millions…” (1988)

One of the hardest Hip Hop songs of all time.



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Isaac Hayes

Issac Hayes - “Walk on By”
“Hot Buttered Soul” (1968)

This Bacharach cover starts off
the album in a smooth way.


Notorious B.I.G.

Notorious B.I.G. - “Warning”
“Ready to Die” (1994)

This banger starts off with a pager
at 5:46 in the morning.



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As an added bonus, here’s the Wu with Black Moses.

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In loving memory of Mr. Isaac Hayes! August 20, 1942 – August 10, 2008 R.I.P.

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