German police seek speeding British Muppet
German traffic police have been left looking like proper muppets by a British prankster. An Audi TT with British registration plates has been repeatedly caught speeding on roads in the Bavarian city of Bayreuth. But because continental speed cameras are set up for left-hand drive vehicles, the cameras keep missing the driver’s face.
Instead, they keep capturing clear views of a manic Muppet-like toy which the cheeky Brit has propped up on his passenger seat. But police admit they are even baffled about the identity of the muppet.
The No.1 suspect is Animal – the manic drummer from The Muppet Show’s house band The Electric Mayhem. But several residents of Sesame Street are also in the frame, including the lovable monster Grover and Bert’s rubber-ducky-loving sidekick Ernie.
Now police have released one of the photographs in the hope someone will recognise the furry speed demon. A German police source said: “The number plate is not enough. We need clear evidence of who is driving the vehicle too.
Many thanks Hauptkommissar Schulze!
“But because this is a British vehicle we can never get a decent picture. The driver has obviously worked this out because he has placed a large puppet in the passenger seat.
“This may be an example of the famous British sense of humour but it is still dangerous driving. The driver has been caught on camera on several occasions and the puppet is on the passenger seat every time. We suspect he positions the toy deliberately before accelerating past the camera.”
Monday, October 27, 2008
German police seek speeding British Muppet
NEW YORK (AP)—A suburban police chief likened the conflicting accounts of an accidental overdose at Isiah Thomas’ home to a “cover-up” and rebuked the former New York Knicks coach Saturday for saying it was his teenage daughter who required treatment.
“It wasn’t his daughter,” Harrison Police Chief David Hall told The Associated Press. “And why they’re throwing her under the bus is beyond my ability to understand.”
Authorities were called early Friday to Thomas’ Westchester County home, where police said a 47-year-old man was taken to the hospital and treated for an overdose of sleeping pills. Several media outlets reported that police confirmed it was Thomas who went to the hospital.
But reached on his cell phone Friday, the 47-year-old NBA great told the New York Post he had not been treated for a sleeping pill overdose, and that it was 17-year-old daughter Lauren who had a medical issue.
It “wasn’t an overdose,” he told the newspaper. “My daughter is very down right now. None of us are OK.”
Hall forcefully refuted Thomas’ statement.
techradar.com — Hooray for cheap PCs. The price of systems and components alike continues to drop faster than Gordon Brown's approval ratings – but there's a sacrifice. For more, check out these tips and tricks to achieve a whisper-quiet system......
'You never give up on something that is worth doing,' Gale Anne Hurd says of future 'Hulk' movies.
By Larry Carroll
Edward Norton in "The Incredible Hulk"
Hurd, the super-producer behind the "Terminator" and "Punisher" franchises, fell in love with the big green guy as a child, purchased the rights to him in the early '90s while Marvel was in disarray and continues to cherish him as the most powerful of all superhero stories. And now that the character is relaunched, Hurd has big plans for the years ahead.
"When girls are growing up, they're the ones who are picked on," she said. "I had an older brother, and there's no way that you could ever really fight back. So, to me, the Hulk was wish fulfillment. [My family] had a little cabin, and in the summers we'd go up there. It didn't have running water and it didn't have electricity, but the big thing there was a market we would go to before we went up to our cabin, and they sold 'Spider-Man,' 'Incredible Hulk' and 'Fantastic Four' [comics].
"I always bought them out," the now-53-year-old Hollywood power player laughed. "That was my treat for the summer."
This past June, Hurd returned the favor by giving audiences a summer treat with "The Incredible Hulk," a film that established Edward Norton as the new Dr. Bruce Banner. And although Marvel Studio's president of production recently told us that Hulk's future is somewhat uncertain, Hurd revealed that she has every intention of creating an "Incredible Hulk 2" and that Norton is signed on to once again get angry.
"It's all going to depend on the screenplay and where his character goes in any sequel, because he does have a multiple-picture deal," she said of Norton, who told us recently that he's waiting to hear from Marvel regarding Hulk's future. "[Norton's situation] is the same with every franchise like this, when you have one of the top actors of his generation."
Those who've seen "The Incredible Hulk" know that a not-too-subtle sequel hint was dropped when Tim Blake Nelson's Samuel Sterns had a sample of Banner's blood drip into an open wound on his head, causing him to mutate. Hurd said that a proper "Hulk 2" would pick up on this event.
"The Leader," she said when asked what Nelson was transforming into when last we saw him. "It would be a blast [to put the Leader in the sequel], and Tim Blake Nelson is tremendous and a very talented filmmaker in his own right."
But before any Hulk/Leader throw-down can take place, she said, Hulk will likely be seen alongside Iron Man, Captain America and the other heroes being recruited by Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury. "Next, he's likely to appear in an 'Avengers' movie, but that's completely up to Marvel," she explained. "It's wonderful that Marvel now controls so many of their own characters, and they can create a Marvel universe in film and populate it with so many of their characters who naturally exist together. I think an 'Avengers' film is a very exciting prospect."
Asked about her own involvement in the summer 2011 film, she revealed that just because Hulk will be involved with "Avengers" doesn't mean she will. "That I couldn't tell you," Hurd said. "There haven't been any discussions about that."
So instead, she's thinking about a "Hulk 2" these days. "When I think of all the many, many, many villains in the Hulk universe, we've now done the Abomination, so wouldn't it be great to tackle the Leader?" she beamed. "It's a completely different type of cerebral villain, which would give the movie a terrific new take on the character."
And even if "Hulk 2" doesn't come along until 2012 or beyond, the wait wouldn't be a concern for Hurd, who once took 12 years between the second and third "Terminator" films. "You know what? You never give up on something that is worth doing," she promised. "General audiences responded really well [to 'The Incredible Hulk'], and so we look forward to having the opportunity to do it again."
Zero Emission Motors’ Volt electric scooter
If you’re looking for an inexpensive electric scooter tailor-made for city driving, then the new Volt electric scooter from Zero Emission Motors might be just the ticket for you. The new Volt electric scooter (named just like the newly-announced electric car, but unlike the car, available today) is a new electric scooter just released by our friends over at Zero Emission Motors - we got the opportunity to meet Adam Maoz, president of the company, a couple of weeks back at the Kick Gas festival in San Diego, and got to see the Volt in person.
The Volt electric scooter is a mid-range electric scooter product that straddles the gap between low-power electric scooters (<>
The Volt electric scooter is driven by a 1500 watt / 48 Volt motor and can propel you at speeds up to 30 mph for up to 30 miles per charge. We like the 1500 Watt motor because it provides enough power to get you up hills without slowing down too much, and will also provide good acceleration when you need it.
Details on the Volt electric scooter
The Volt electric scooter features all the trimmings you would expect from a scooter in this range - mirrors, headlights, taillights, blinkers and brake lights, keyed start, a horn, and an under-seat storage compartment and glove box. An odometer is included to let you know how far you’ve traveled, and a speedometer is also provided. A battery indicator is also provided to let you know how much charge you have left. The battery pack is lead-acid, and takes about 8 hours or so to fully charge using the included battery charger, which you can plug in to any wall outlet. It costs about $0.10 for a full charge, which means $10 of electricity will get you about 3000 miles worth of travel. Try that with gasoline.
The Volt is capable of seating up to two people at a time - its weight limit is 500 lbs. And at $1,495 plus $150 shipping, we think this e-scooter gives a you lot for the price. The Volt electric scooter is available today from Zero Emission Motors.
By David A. Burney and Lida Pigott Burney, Natural History Magazine
The Makauwahi Cave in Hawaii may be the richest fossil site in the entire Pacific Island region, loaded with bird and fish bones and ancient Polynesian artifacts. Credit: Alec Burney
From the moment we saw it, we knew the place held many great secrets. We had been looking for new fossil sites on the south side of the Hawaiian island of Kauai in 1992 with our colleagues, Helen F. James and Storrs L. Olson of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., along with their children, Travis and Sydney, and our own, Mara and Alec.
And what we found was a cave — once a Pleistocene dune field, and later a sinkhole with pickling-jar powers — that may be the richest fossil site in the Hawaiian Islands, perhaps in the entire Pacific Island region.
Sixteen years after our discovery, we have excavated seeds, pollen, Polynesian artifacts, thousands of bird and fish bones, and more from this half-acre pile of sediments spanning many millennia. The site has yielded up some of the island's long-kept secrets, telling of a time when the largest land animals here were flightless waterfowl, such as the turtle-jawed moa nalo (Chelychelynechen quassus). Moreover, it documents the great changes that occurred when first Polynesians, and later Europeans, Americans, and Asians, arrived with boatloads of invasive alien species.
The first boats began arriving roughly a thousand years ago, kicking off the first of three stages of extinction on Kauai. In the first stage, Polynesians probably overhunted the large flightless birds, while introduced rats, chickens, and small pigs disrupted their remaining nests. Later, but before Captain Cook arrived in 1778, the agriculture of a growing Hawaiian population wiped out more species. Finally, Europeans arrived and brought goats and other livestock that finished the job.
In 2000 we learned the long-lost nineteenth-century name of the cave, Makauwahi, thanks to a local archaeologist, William K. "Pila" Kikuchi, who recovered the name from an essay written by a high school student more than a century ago. It means something like "smoke eye." That may have been in reference to Keahikuni, a mid-nineteenth-century native diviner who read the future in spirals of smoke rising from the sinkhole.
The story struck a resonant chord, as we had begun thinking about Makauwahi Cave as a preserver of the future at least as much as the past. In 2004, we were granted a lease on the cave property, including the surrounding seventeen acres of dunes, wetlands, and abandoned farmland, by the owners, Grove Farm Company. Using the fossils as a guide, we set out to suppress plants introduced in the last two centuries and to favor those that evolved here or were brought from other Pacific islands by the first human inhabitants.
The most unusual patch of land is on several acres of weedy thicket formerly used for cane and corn farming. After only three years of rehabilitation, nearly a hundred species of native and Polynesian trees, shrubs, and ground covers are now thriving. Planted by volunteers, including some of the same folks who helped us sift the fossils from the cave sediments, and the eager assistance of hundreds of schoolchildren from all over Kauai, the new forest has flourished beyond all expectations.
Thousands of acres of abandoned farmland throughout the Hawaiian Islands could grow native plants just as well as this!
Unfortunately, many of the animals that disappeared from Kauai were unique to the island. But even if we can't have giant, flightless waterfowl, we can make the area more attractive to the surviving species of birds, animals, and insects that are indigenous to the island. In this way and others, we'd like to think we can be a little like old Keahikuni the Diviner in telling the future. Here at Makauwahi, which has given us such a powerful sense of the past, we can find a better future for an island world that was nearly lost.
Throughout the summer our friends at Busted Coverage, Uncoached, Don Chavez, and On 205th have been regularly updating us on the comings and goings of NFL cheerleaders. Keeping up with the pretty ladies of pro football got us to thinking about the prerequisites to being an NFL cheerleader, namely a hot body, a cute face, a killer front court, and the use of all limbs.
Oddly enough we can think of several actresses who meet these requirements, all of whom would have made solid NFL cheerleaders in another life. To keep things manageable we’ve limited our list to anyone who has ever headlined a feature film, regardless of how shitty. Here are our favorites.
Shannon Elizabeth. Talk about fitting the mold. Just think, she could have made it as a cheerleader, a Hooters waitress, OR a boat show model. That’s what we call range.
Halle Berry. Die Another Day and Catwoman may as well have been audition tapes.
Jessica Simpson. How ironic is it to think Jessica would have probably joined the Cowboys’ cheerleading squad if the whole being famous thing hadn’t worked out?
Eva Mendes. We are almost certain she did a tour of duty as a Dolphins cheerleader. We’ve got our research team (two homeless guys) digging through old calendars as we speak.
Heather Graham. Circa 1999. She may have missed her true calling.
Carmen Electra. A stretch as an actress, we know. You have the brilliant minds behind Epic Movie and Disaster Movie to thank for her ability to make this list.
Jessica Biel. She has roughly five years of cheerleader shelf life left. If she makes a few more movies like Next she may need them. Keep your fingers crossed.
Denise Richards. Circa 1998. Being married to Charlie Sheen we’re pretty sure she’s already familiar with the wardrobe.
Rosario Dawson. Stich a fleur-de-lis on this outfit and you’ve got yourself a Saints cheerleader.
Rebecca Romijn. Circa 1996. It’s a shame LA didn’t have a pro team in the mid to late nineties, she may have found herself waving pompoms.
Angelina Jolie. Circa 2001. She’s probably too good of an actress to make this list but we really wanted an excuse to post a Lara Croft photo.
And Jessica Alba. We’re counting on her post-pregnancy boobs to help her achieve the front court quota.
We’re sure we’ve missed several. We’re also sure our audience is made up of just the people to point out our deficiencies. Let us have them.
Posted by gjblass at 4:09 PM
Several months back we did a popular feature on twelve actresses who would have made great NFL cheerleaders. That was easy to compile seeing that all that is really required to be a successful NFL cheerleader is a hot body, a cute face, a killer front court, and marginal motor skills. Well, it’s recently been brought to our attention we never did a similar feature for college football cheerleaders, so here we are.
The prerequisites to be a CFB cheerleader are a bit different from the NFL variety. Not only do the pretty ladies need to be cute and petite, but they also have to convincingly handle elementary memorization and pull off the occasional back handspring. And for all that, they get cut a little slack in the front court department. To keep things manageable we’ve limited this list to anyone who has ever headlined a feature film, regardless of how terrible. Here are our favorites:
Sophia Bush. Sophia almost definitely missed her calling. Just how far can six seasons of One Tree Hill get someone anyway? If she’d been on the squad at our alma mater we wouldn’t have been allowed to attend games due to the restraining order.
Rachel McAdams. We don’t have the exact number in front of us, but we’re pretty sure somewhere around 8 out of Rachel’s first 10 roles involved playing a cheerleader of some sort, which is ironic since she’s Canadian and everyone knows Canada is anti pom pom.
Kate Bosworth. Yeah, we’re man enough to admit we’ve seen Blue Crush. And we walked away convinced Kate would dominate a basket toss.
Isla Fisher. Isla has more than enough spirit to go around.
Mila Kunis. Mila has Pac-10 written all over her.
Elizabeth Banks. Zack & Miri probably should have considered going the fool proof cheerleader/locker room route.
Kristen Bell. We’re of the opinion that Kristen was genetically engineered to be the top of a pyramid.
Natalie Portman. Does the Ivy League even sanction cheerleading squads?
Kate Mara. We Are Marshall would have been a whole lot more depressing if not for Kate in uniform.
Anna Faris. House Bunny Anna, yes. Scary Movie Anna, not so much.
Vanessa Hudgens. The ASU squad is currently holding a spot open for Vanessa. Keep your fingers crossed.
And Jessica Alba. We’re pretty much convinced Alba would have been good at anything, outside of making watchable movies of course.
Keep an eye out for our upcoming “Cheerleaders Who Would Have Made Great Actresses” piece, and, based on the popularity of that, our potential “Actors Lame Enough to Be Male Cheerleaders” follow up.
Posted by gjblass at 4:02 PM
by John Laumer,
"Daddy the cat is out...you didn't start the mower did you?" "Has anybody seen the automatic lawnmower?" Just one of many questions people will have about a solar powered lawnmower that toodles about the yard like an escaped Roomba vacuum. Husqvarna's website describes the product this way:
Being the worlds first fully automatic, robotic lawn mower, the Auto Mower is the ultimate user friendly mower. You don’t have to lift a finger to get a perfect lawn.
What they are forgetting is that lawn-mowing on the weekend is a male hominid ritual that will not easily change. Retired guys in the suburbs make sure they are seen cutting grass on Saturdays or that mowing is available as an excuse to miss church on Sunday (should it rain on Saturday). When it doesn't happen, friends call to see 'if everything is alright?'
No need to worry about kitty, though, according to the sales literature: Many Automower owners have pets – and this isn’t a problem. The animals get used to the Automower and it becomes like a member of the family.
Besides the quietude, I can see that there are multiple environmental benefits. No bagging: it's pure mulch mower. Reduced fugitive emissions. Owners can cancel their US$40/week landscaping contract, and count the savings against the capital and operating cost of the Automower Hybrid (said to be around $20.00/year in electricity). Wonder what the payback period would be in California?
Here's the real money for me: if enough people switch to Automowers, those big trucks lugging trailers full of lawn rigs will get off the roads, improving air quality. Gawd I hate those things in traffic.
See the basic setup and operational explanation below.
Before the Automower can get to work, you will need to simply staple a wire to the perimeter of the lawn. The wire will be overgrown and become invisible within a month. This wire can be sensed by the robotic mower and will ensure that only this area of grass is cut. The Automower will then work irregularly around the lawn – whatever its shape - until all parts have been covered. This gives the lawn an even result and a carpet-like finish. ‘Islands’ can be created by laying the wire around plants and flower beds. And if the mower hits any other obstacle, such as a tree or rock, it just reverses safely and selects a new direction before continuing.There's no comparison to a reel mower. With this baby on autopilot you can go away for a two week trip and find you lawn perfectly kept. Try that with a reeler.
The Automower comes with an automatic charging station. Once placed in a suitable position in the garden, this will keep its maintenance-free battery charged at all times. Besides the low running costs (around 12-25 dollars a year for the electricity consumed, depending on lawn size), the mower is so quiet that it won’t disturb your neighbours. And with no emissions, it is environmentally friendly.
Via:Husqvarna. Image credit:Husqvarna website banner excerpt.
Guernica by Pablo Picasso (1937) - turned into 3D art by Lena Gieseke in 2008
Today is Pablo Picasso's birthday, and to help celebrate the Cubist movement co-founder, here are Neatorama's quick 10 fun facts about the guy:
1. Picasso's Full Name Has 23 Words
Picasso was baptized Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso. He was named after various saints and relatives. The "Picasso" is actually from his mother, Maria Picasso y Lopez. His father is named Jose Ruiz Blasco.
2. When He Was Born, The Midwife Thought He Was Stillborn
Picasso had such a difficult birth and was such a weak baby that when he was born, the midwife thought that he was stillborn so she left him on a table to attend his mother. It was his uncle, a doctor named Don Salvador, that saved him:
'Doctors at that time,' he told Antonina Vallentin, 'used to smoke big cigars, and my uncle was no exception. When he saw me lying there he blew smoke into my face. To this I immediately reacted with a grimace and a bellow of fury'" (Source)
3. Picasso's First Word: Pencil
It's like Picasso was born an artist: his first word was "piz," short of lápiz the Spanish word for 'pencil.' His father Ruiz, an artist and art professor, gave him a formal education in art starting from the age of 7. By 13, Ruiz vowed to give up painting as he felt that Pablo had surpassed him. (Photo of Picasso as a 4-year-old-boy: Source)
4. Pablo's First Drawing
Le Picador by Pablo Picasso (1890)
At the tender young age of 9, Picasso completed his first painting: Le picador, a man riding a horse in a bullfight.
La première communion (First Communion) by Pablo Picasso (1896)
His first major painting, an "academic" work is First Communion, featuring a portrait of his father, mother, and younger sister kneeling before an altar. Picasso was 15 when he finished it. (Source)
5. Picasso was a Terrible Student
No doubt about it, Picasso was brilliant: artistically, he was years ahead of his classmates who were all five to six years older than him. But Picasso chafed at being told what to do and he was often thrown into "detention":
"For being a bad student I was banished to the 'calaboose' - a bare cell with whitewashed walls and a bench to sit on. I liked it there, because I took along a sketch pad and drew incessantly ... I could have stayed there forever drawing without stopping" (Source)
6. Picasso's First Job
Picasso signed his first contract in Paris with art dealer Pere Menach, who agreed to pay him 150 francs per month (about US$750 today).
7. Did Picasso Steal the Mona Lisa?
Actually no, but in 1911, when the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre, the police took in Picasso's friend, the poet Guillaume Apollinaire. Apollinaire fingered Picasso as a suspect, so the police hauled him in for questioning. Both were later released. (Source)
8. Cubism: Full of Little Cubes
Le Guitariste (The Guitarist) by Pablo Picasso (1910)
In 1909, Picasso and French artist Georges Braque co-founded an art movement known as cubism. Actually, it was a French art critic Louis Vauxcelles who first called it "bizarre cubiques" or cubism, after noting that Picasso and Braque's paintings are "full of little cubes."
9. Picasso was a Playboy
- Fernande Olivier (Picasso's first love, she was 18?; he was 23)
- Marcelle Humbert AKA Eva Gouel (she was 27, Picasso was 31)
- Gaby Lespinasse (he was 34, I don't know how old Gaby was, but she was young, that's for sure!)
- Olga Khokhlova (Picasso's first wife; she was 26 and he was 36 when they met)
- Marie-Thérèse Walter (she was 17, he was 46)
- Dora Maar (she was 29, Picasso was 55)
- Françoise Gilot (she was 21 when she met Picasso, who was 61)
- Geneviève Laporte (one of Picasso's last lovers. She was in her mid-twenties and a French model of Picasso, who was in his seventies when the affair started)
- Jacqueline Roque (who became Picasso's second wife. She was 27 and he was 79)
Le Rêve (The Dream) by Pablo Picasso (1932)
Marie-Thérèse Walter was Picasso's model for Le Rêve. In 2006, casino magnate Steve Wynn agreed to sell the painting for $139 million, but accidentally put his elbow through the canvas the day before the sale was to be completed!
10. Picasso's Car
Okay, it's not exactly his car, but I couldn't resist. Last year, 44-year-old mechanic Andy Saunders of Dorset, England, spent six months converting his old Citroen 2CV into a cubist work inspired by Pablo Picasso!
Milan Lucic #17 for the Bruins, is off to a great start this year he had his first career hat trick this past Saturday against the Avalanche. He is always entertaining to watch with his spirited play, but no more so than the Bruins last game vs. Toronto on 10/23.
By Dusan on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007 at 3:28 am PST
Just in case you were salivating about that iPhone’s visual voicemail system, now you can get it on your phone. That’s actually in case you own one of the latest BlackBerrys (8800 series, Pearl of Curve) or a Windows Mobile based smartphone. SimulSays is a free program that adds that cool “visual voicemail twist” to your phone, and thanks to its integration with your address book, it allows you to reply to known caller’s message by phone, SMS or e-mail. The service is still in beta, but as far as we can tell it works quite well.
500 to be leased next year, but only in 3 states and at $850 a month
The BMW Group
BMW is jumping into — OK it's actually more like testing — the market for all-electric vehicles with its Mini brand, announcing a pilot project to lease 500 completely electric Minis in California, New Jersey and New York.
"By introducing the Mini E, the BMW Group is underscoring the resolve with which it works towards reducing energy consumption and emissions in road traffic," the company said in a statement ahead of the car's debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Nov. 19-20.
The specs aren't bad: a lithium-ion battery range of 150 miles, a top speed of 95 mph and 0-60 mph in 8.5 seconds.
But there are some downsides. The car will initially be available only as a two-seater because the battery takes up the space that had been a back seat.
And then there's the lease itself: $850 a month. That does include all technical maintenance and the cars themselves will be quite the fashion statement — each decked out with a huge yellow electric plug logo on the roof and a serial number on their front fenders.
Of course, the cost of charging the Mini E will be minimal — pennies per gallon.
The vehicles can be recharged overnight at any standard power outlet. BMW will also install a high-speed "wallbox" charger at a customer's garage that can recharge the battery pack in just 2.5 hours.
BMW also touted the Mini E's ability to decelerate with less braking and while charging the battery.
"As soon as the driver releases the gas pedal, the electric motor acts as a generator," it stated. "This results in braking force, and the power recovered from the kinetic energy is fed back to the battery ... In city traffic, some 75 percent of all deceleration can be done without the brakes. Making substantial use of this energy recuperation feature extends the car's range by up to 20 percent."
BMW didn't promise to mass produce the Mini E specifically but did state that it "aims to start series production of all-electric vehicles over the medium term."
Other major carmakers are also moving towards all-electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids, and several startups, especially California-based Tesla, are trying to carve niches.
BMW, for its part, urged potential Mini E customers to be part of its "pioneering mission."
"Customers will join forces with BMW Group experts to assist in the project's scientific evaluation," the company stated. Aiming to monitor driver behavior and car performance, "Mini E engineers accord high importance to staying in touch with the drivers on a regular basis."
Posted by gjblass at 3:02 PM