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Friday, April 17, 2009

The four faces of the Bengal tiger

Displayed for the first time in a specially constructed studio in South Carolina, these 18 images show the four varieties of Bengal tiger.

click here for these amazing Pictures!!! | digg story

WB releases Final Half-Blood Prince HD trailer!

WB releases final Half-Blood Prince HD trailer!

NEW POSTERS: As promised, Yahoo has released new Half-Blood Prince posters as well! Thanks!

It's here! Warner Brothers has officially released the final trailer for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Coming in at 2 minutes and 20 seconds, here is plenty of new footage available: Katie Bell being tortured, the Sectumsempra battle, Draco on the Astronomy Tower, as well as Snape uttering the cold words, "It's over." Download links:

WINDOWS HD: Small | Medium | Large

WINDOWS STANDARD: Large | Medium | Small

FLASH: Small | Large

QUICKTIME HD (best version to watch): Large | Medium | Small

QUICKTIME STANDARD: Large | Kinda Large | Medium | Small

IPOD: Click Here

Giz Explains: The Difference Between $100 and $100,000 Speakers

A speaker system can cost as little as $35. Or as much as $350,000. As a normal person, you probably have just one question about speakers that cost as much a Ferrari: What. The. Hell.

How Speakers Work
Especially when you consider just how simple the overall mechanism behind a standard speaker is: It moves air. Essentially, what happens in a speaker—loudspeaker, to be technical—is that the alternating current from an amplifier runs to the speaker and through the voice coil (which is just, wait for it, a coil of wire) turning the coil into an electromagnet. That, in turns, creates a magnetic field between it and the permanent magnet in the driver. As the current alternates between positive and negative, the magnets are attracted and repulsed, moving the cone back and forth. Voila, it emits the soothing sounds of Bach or Korn. (Driver diagram from Wikipedia's unusually exceptional loudspeaker article.)

But that's probably not quite what you think of when you hear "speaker." You're probably thinking of a box with a circle thing and maybe a hole in it. That's actually a loudspeaker system, and it actually has more than one kind of speaker inside of it, called drivers. That's because the driver tuned to deliver high frequencies—a tweeter—ain't so good at delivering bass, which is why you need a woofer or subwoofer (low and lower). And then you've got mid-range speakers—for mid-range sounds—in higher-end systems. Your average GENERIC SPEAKER COMPANY set skips this middleman. So generally two or more drivers are stuffed in a box or cabinet, called an enclosure.

Lovely, but that doesn't explain what separates these $107,000 YG Acoustics Anat Reference II speakers from the $50 Logitech Z-2300s on my desk—which are even THX certified. So, we enlisted some help: Cnet's Audiophiliac Steve Guttenberg, who lives and breathes speakers ranging from the sensible to the ludicrous, and Paul DiComo and Matt Lyons, speaker guys who came from Polk and are now at Definitive Audio.

If you read our profile of Audiophile Maximo Michael Fremer "Why We Need Audiophiles," it probably won't surprise that when initially asked simply, "What the difference between ten dollar speakers and ten thousand dollar speakers?" the Definitive guys' initial answer was, "Well, it ought to be that they sound better." Even Steve told us, "You can't apply a Consumer Reports kind of index to something that's as subjective as audio quality."

No, but seriously.

The Goal of a Loudspeaker
A speaker's ultimate goal is "to sound like reality"—the elusive dragon that every audiophile chases—so on a broad, not-very-useful level, how close it comes to matching that reality is the difference between good and bad, expensive and cheap speakers. To be slightly more technical, the "spec" is clarity: The lower the distortion of the original sound it recreates, the better the speaker. In fact, basically every other spec, every confusing number you read on the side of a box is actually totally meaningless, according to both Steve and the Definitive guys. Steve singles out watts as "one of the more useless specifications ever created." If you have to look for a number when buying speakers, Steve said one that's "kind of useful" is sensitivity/efficiency, which would be something like 90dB @ 1 watt, which relates how loud a speaker will play at a given power level.

Three Characteristics
But when pressed, there are a few qualities Paul and Matt from Definitive singled out in amazing speakers—what they call the big three:
• More dynamic range, or simply the ability to play louder without sounding like trash as you crank the volume. With good speakers, you want to keep cranking it up, like accelerating a fast car.
• Better bass. That doesn't mean louder, "but better." It's more melodic, and not muddy—you can actually hear individual notes, an upright acoustic bass being plucked.
• "A very natural timbre." Timbre is the "tone color" or how natural the sound is—if you played the voice of someone you know on a speaker with excellent timbre, it would sound exactly like them. Or if two different instruments play the same note, you'd be able to tell them apart very easily and cleanly.

Beyond that, what audiophiles are looking for—which Mahoney alludes to in the audiophile profile—is a speaker's ability to create an image, the picture. That is, its ability to create a sense of three-dimensional sound. The defining problem of designing speakers, say the guys from Definitive, is that "physics is dogmatic." So every speaker is built around a set of compromises.

To put that in some concrete—rather than seemingly religious—terms, you can't have a small speaker that sounds good. So one defining quality of six-figure speakers is that they are large. They have bigger woofers and tweeters. More surface area means better sound. There are also simply more drivers—every driver you add is like when you add another string to a guitar, to create a better-nuanced sound. So, for instance, a $300 speaker from a "quality manufacturer" you'll get a 5 1/4-inch woofer and a 1-inch tweeter. A $3000 pair of speakers might have two 5 1/4 mid-range drivers and then a 10-inch woofer.

Build Quality
Build quality is the other thing. A "dead box," or an enclosure that doesn't create any sounds of its own—since that's distortion—is key and something that costs a lot of money. You just want sound from the drivers themselves. The quality of the woofer and tweeter themselves, obviously, comes into play—their ability to handle more power, since that's what translates into volume.

At the extreme end, Steve says, they can just handle more power without breaking—as the copper wire inside heats up, it can deform or melt, and the driver gets messed up. Pricey speakers don't do that. In terms of exotic materials or construction, Steve mentioned ribbon tweeters, which are only in the highest-end speaker systems—they're "literally a piece of aluminum foil that's suspended between magnets that vibrates back and forth" producing excellent clarity. Better speakers also have intricate dividing networks to make sure the right signals go to the right place—they get more complicated as the price goes up.

Dollar Figures
So how much do you have to spend to get a good system in the eyes (ears?) of an audiophile? Definitive recommends $1000 for a home-theater component setup. (In other words, don't buy a home theater in a box.) You can also get a pretty decent pair of "neutral, natural sounding" speakers for $300—they "won't knock your ass" and won't be great as some things, but they'll be alright. There's no magic one-size-fits-all speaker system, however. It depends on the room and the situation. (If your couch is against a wall, skip the 7.1 surround, says Steve.) Heavier speakers tend to sound better than lighter ones, though that's not an absolute.

But what's the upper limit? Well, there isn't any. Paul from Definitive said he heard these $65,000 Krell Modulari Duo last month and "was mezmerized." It's like wine to oenophiles, Paul said. As Steve puts it most simply: "To people who are into it, it's worth it."

Force is strong for Jedi police

Jedi Knights such as Yoda use the Force to battle the evil Empire

Eight police officers serving with Scotland's largest force listed their official religion as Jedi in voluntary diversity forms, it has emerged.

Strathclyde Police said the officers and two of its civilian staff claimed to follow the faith, which features in the Star Wars movies.

The details were obtained in a Freedom of Information request by Jane's Police Review.

Strathclyde was the only force in the UK to admit it had Jedi officers.

In the Star Wars films, Jedi Knights such as Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda use the Force to battle the evil Darth Vader, who has strayed to the dark side.

Jane's Police Review editor Chris Herbert, who requested the information, said: "The Force appears to be strong in Strathclyde Police with their Jedi police officers and staff.

"Far from living a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, some members of the noble Jedi order have now chosen Glasgow and its surrounding streets as their home."

Provided voluntarily

A spokeswoman for Strathclyde Police confirmed: "At the time of the request, 10 (eight police officers and two police staff) had recorded their religion as Jedi."

She added that the force monitored "six strands of diversity" - age, disability, gender, race religion and belief, and sexual orientation.

The force said the information was provided voluntarily and securely stored.

About 390,000 people listed their religion as Jedi in the 2001 Census for England and Wales. In Scotland the figure was a reported 14,000.

The Office for National Statistics did not recognise it as a separate category, and incorporated followers of Jedi with atheists.

Last year, brothers Barney and Daniel Jones founded the UK Church of the Jedi - which offered sermons on the Force, light sabre training, and meditation techniques.

Strathclyde Police employs 8,200 police officers and 2,800 civilian staff.

The bar which gets you tipsy on its air

Gin and Tonic
Special dress code: Drinkers leave the G&T-smelling bar in their special protective gear

Adults are often reminded to drink responsibly but customers entering a new cocktail bar where they are literally enveloped in a mist of alcohol are warned to breathe responsibly.

Just 40 minutes inside the venue – which delivers an intoxicating vapour of gin and tonic – will leave you feeling slightly merry.

Punters are also advised to don special protective suits as they enter the walk-in cocktail to avoid going home smelling like a brewery.

To complement the whiff of G&T the bar is decorated with giant limes and massive straws to make visitors feel as if they are inside the drink.

The experience is further enhanced by a special soundtrack featuring the noise of liquid being poured over ice cubes.

The bar, which has capacity for 40 people, is the brainchild of gastronomes Sam Bompas and Harry Parr.

Their other wacky innovations include scratch and sniff cinema and jelly banquets.

Mr Bompas said: 'It's something we have always wanted to do. We are about making food on an epic scale and this is an epic cocktail.

'If you think of what you do in a bar you might spend 40 minutes per drink, so we've calibrated the mixology to account for that much.'

Mr Parr said: 'Here we've vaporised a cocktail.

In the future I would like to make a liquid banqueting table.'

The Alcoholic Architecture bar can be found in Ganton Street, the Newburgh Quarter, central London.

It is open between 7pm and 9pm on selected dates until April 25.

Tickets, priced £5, are available for hourly slots and customers must be over 21.

Go to for more information and tickets.

7 Lost Cities of India

Image: Dineshkannambadi

Vijayanagara Empire ruins

Join Environmental Graffiti on a grand journey to visit the seven lost cities of India: you’ll learn about bustling sea ports, prosperous centres of trade, beautiful houses of worship and powerhouse capital cities of great empires. Although these cities eventually fell to war or natural disaster, their legacies live on in majestic temples preserved as World Heritage Sites or transformed into museums and galleries, sophisticated art pieces and modern day reliance on the knowledge and age-old techniques developed by the citizens of ancient cities in agriculture, bead-making and metallurgy. So what are you waiting for? Hop on and enjoy the ride back in time.

1. Vijayanagara Empire

Virupaksha Temple at Hampi
Virupaksha temple at Hampi
Image: Ajar

Sangama dynasty princes Harihara I and Bukka Raya I founded Vijayanagara in 1336. This mighty city was the capital of an empire of the same name, one of the largest superpowers in Hindu history. The golden years of this Indian realm lasted about 20 years, from 1509-29, under Krishnadevaraya. During this time, the city itself covered 33 sq km and the empire stretched across almost the entire peninsula south of the rivers Krishna and Tungabhadra.

Ancient marketplace
Ancient marketplace
Image: Dineshkannambadi

Agricultural riches brought material wealth to the empire, which was also busy with international trade. But as with many powerful domains, the empire eventually fell; collapsing under the attack of Deccan sultans in 1565, the empire never recovered, and was finally conquered in 1646 by the Sultanates of Bijapur and Golkonda. The city’s ruins are now designated as a World Heritage Site, and surround modern Hampi in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

Tree in courtyard of Vittala Temple
Tree in courtyard of Vittala Temple
Image: Laertes

A tree grows in the courtyard of the must-see 16th century Vittala Temple, a building that Krishnadevaraya started but never finished. A visit to the beautifully sculptured monument calls for a stop at the outer ‘musical’ pillars, which echo when tapped.

2. Puhar

A seven-tiered building now stands as the Sillappathikara Art Gallery
Sillappathikara Art Gallery
Image: Kasiarunachalam

Puhar is a town in the Nagapattinam district in the southeastern state of Tamil Nadu in India. Ancient Puhar was called Kaveripattinam (or Poompuhar or Kaveripumpattinam), the flourishing port city capital of of the early Chola kings in Tamilakkam. Located near the mouth of the Kaveri river, the city served as a great trading centre, where large ships docked to bring lovely merchandise to citizens from lands far afield. The legendary city was praised in song, poetry and heroic literary epics about the Chola kings, and is described most fully in the epics Silapathikaram and Manimekalai. Scientists believe that a tsunami possibly caused by Krakatoa 416 AD washed most of the great town away.

Puhar Beach - modern day
Puhar beach
Image: Kasiarunachalam

3. Muziris

Muziris is the Greek-Roman name for an ancient port-city located on the Malabar Coast of South India. Although there has been confusion as to the location of the port, it is generally known to be located somewhere in the southern and southwestern region of India, possibly around the ancient town of Kodungallur, which is beside the mouth of the Periyar river in Kerala. In early 2004, archeological findings in Pattanam revealing remnants of Roman commerce led researchers to believe that the ancient Muziris was located in this modern-day city. The findings suggest that South India actively traded international goods with West Asia, the Near East and Europe through the port at Muziris. The ancient name of Pattanam is believed to be Maliankara, where Thomas the Apostle is said to have landed.

Roman map of India showing Muziris on the east coast
Roman map of India showing Muziris
Image: Unknown author

It is unknown as to when the port was created, though scientists agree that it likely existed before 1500 BC and that it was a major trade centre by 500 BC; it is believed the city was likely wiped out by an earthquake in the mid-13th century CE.

4. Lothal

Conceptual image of Lothal
Conceptual image of Lothal
Image: Jagged 85

The ancient city of Lothal can be found in the state of Gujarat. Dating from 2400 BC, this lost city is one of India’s most important archaeological sites from the Indus Valley era. It was discovered in 1954 and excavated between 1955 and 1960 by the Archeological Society of India (ASI); renewed excavations in 1961 revealed trenches in the northern, eastern and western flanks of the mound, proving that inlet channels and ‘nullahs’ (ravines or gullys) connected the dock with the river.

The dock at Lothal
The dock at Lothal
Image: Rama’s Arrow

Lothal draws fame and recognition for being the site of the world’s earliest dock. It was an essential segment of the trade route between West Asia and Africa. Lothal is also known for the earliest depictions of realism in art and sculpture, and for being 2,000 years ahead of the Greeks in its citizens’ navigation savvy. Techniques and tools used for bead-making and metallurgy are still used today, 4,000 years later.

5. Kalibangan

Kalibangan is located on the southern banks of the Ghaggar (Ghaggar-Hakra River) in the Hanumangarh district of Rajasthan state. Known for being the site of the earliest ploughed agricultural field (ca. 2800 BC), the regular, grid pattern of furrows used in this ancient field is a practice that is still used today.

The western mound, known as the ‘Citadel’ can be seen here in the ruins of Kalibangan
Western mound
Image: Kk himalaya

Italian Luigi Tessitori was the one who made the important link that Kalibangan was the site of an ancient Indus Valley Civilization. Unfortunately, Tessitori did not see the site fully excavated before he died in 1919; in fact, the ASI did not complete excavations until 1969 (a nine-year project). What archeologists found were two mounds representing two phases of settlement: the first between 3500 BC and 2500 BC and the second between 2500 BC and 1750 BC. Evidence points to an earthquake around 2600 BC that brought an end to the first settlement while the second settlement was believed to have been abandoned because of a dried up river.

6. Surkotada

The site of Surkotada is located 160 km north-east of Bhuj in the district of Kutch, Gujarat. The ancient mound is surrounded by sandstone hills covered with red laterite soil, giving the whole area a reddish brown colour, where only cacti, small babul and pilu trees and thorny shrubs exist.

Present-day Kutch desert
Kutch desert
Image: Malay Maniar

The mound of this lost city was discovered by Shri Jagat Pati Joshi of the ASI in 1964. Surkodata was occupied for an uninterrupted period of 400 years beside a large river 750 m wide (now a tiny stream) that flowed past the northeastern side of the site. The first period lasted from 2100 BC - 1950 BC; the second phase, from 1950 BC - 1800 BC, brought a new wave of people, marked by new types of pottery and instruments. This phase ended with a large fire, bringing in the final phase, from 1800 BC - 1700 BC. While most of the Indus Valley Civilization has decayed or died out by 1700 BC, Surkotada was still functioning as a mature, civilized city.

7. Pattadakal

Temples located at Pattadakal
Image: Dineshkannambadi

Pattadakal is a town located on the banks of the Malaprabha River in northern Karnataka. The group of ten 8th-century CE monuments includes majestic temples, a monolithic stone pillar and a Jain sanctuary. The monuments are an architecture buff’s dream, representing various Hindu temple styles and created by ancient kings and queens over two centuries.

Jain Narayana Temple at Pattadakal
Jain temple
Image: Dineshkannambadi

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

15 Hottest Mother Daughter Combos in Show Business

April 16th, 2009 by Sarah
Hollywood is not for want of beautiful women, or iconic show business families. There are however, much fewer attractive mother-daughter combinations than one would likely imagine. While we all know the more popular ones, there are some surprising examples, found when this topic was further investigated. Baring in mind, some of these women have passed (away or their prime), this list has been compiled to present the most beautiful mother-daughter combinations in Hollywood, even if their hotness was short-lived or long-gone.

Goldie Hawn - Kate Hudson


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These two are perhaps the most famous of the mother-daughter pairings in Hollywood. These days, most recognize Hawn s simply Kate Hudson’s mom, but judging from old pics from the early 1980s (or the 1970s as above), she was quite the looker. Hudson, definitely took after her mom in the looks department, and has carved out a leading woman career for herself. In 2004, this pairing became a grandmother, and mother respectively - with the birth of Hudson’s son (fathered by The Black Crowes’ front man Chris Robinson) Ryder Russell Hudson

Peggy Lipton - Rashida Jones


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Peggy Lipton is best known for her role in the 1970s “The Mod Squad”. She married Prolific music producer Quincy Delight Jones in 1974, and gave birth to two daughters, Kidada (1974) and Rashida (1976). While the eldest daughter is probably best known for having been Tupac Shakur’s fianc when he passed away, Rashida followed in her mother’s acting footsteps. Since she started acting in 1997, she has become increasingly popular, mostly due to her role as Karen Filipelli on “The Office”, or for playing opposite Paul Rudd in I Love You, Man (2009).

Lisa Bonet - Zoe Kravitz


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When people found out that Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz were having a child, they could only speculate about what their uber-attractive offspring would end up looking like. I think few people are surprised, and no one is disappointed. She looks like a perfect combination of her parents.

Bebe Buell - Liv Tyler


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Bebe Buell was very similar to the “Penny Lane” character in Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous (2000). Her list of famous musician lovers included: Todd Rundgren, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Steven Tyler, Rod Stewart and Elvis Costello. She was also involved with Jack Nicholson at some time. during her il-lust-rious career. Her daughter, Liv Tyler (born 1977) was actually the biological daughter of Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler (as her name suggests), even though she believed Rundgren to be her father throughout the late 1980s. When Tyler finally got clean and sober, Buell and her daughter dropped the “ the way..” bomb on him. The two Tylers have enjoyed a close relationship since. The lips, we’re thinking, are a dead give away.

Marcheline Bertrand - Angelina Jolie


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Bertrand is definitely lesser known than her famous well-endowed and philanthropic starlet of a daughter; she was wed to Jon Voight from 1971-1978. Their marriage produced the bearer of Hollywood’s most famous set of lips, and her brother, actor James Haven. Bertrand’s filmography was somewhat limited, and by the ealy 1980s she had moved on to pursue producing. While she sadly passed away two years ago, Bertrand is generally remembered in a positive light, and it is safe to say she was quite a looker herself during her youth.

Tippi Hedren - Melanie Griffith - Dakota Johnson


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The Hedren-Griffith-Johnson pedigree is definitely a forced to be reckoned with. Hedren is probably best known for being part of John Hitchcock’s The Birds and Marnie; Johnson is best known as the much-lauded byproduct of Griffith’s brief marriage to Miami Vice star, Don Johnson. While Melanie Griffith has generated a fair amount of criticism for her appearance lately, it goes without saying that she was once hailed as one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood. Her daughter, Dakota, is certainly following in her footsteps.

Susan Sarandon - Eva Amurri


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While some people will say that Susan Sarandon has not aged that well, others claim that she is an earnest example of an aging starlet coming to terms - without resorting to intense plastic surgery and over-the-top youth-yearning outfits. Suffice to say, there is little to argue about her scenes (especially the nude ones) in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Amurri, her daughter, shows all the signs of following her mother’s footseps, most notably when it comes to the breast department.

Janet Leigh - Jamie Lee Curtis


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Janet Leigh is probably best known for having played the role of the blond bombshell that gets slayed in the shower - and subsequently bleeding chocolate syrup - in Hitchcock’s seminal suspense- thriller, Psycho. Her daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, enjoyed a long Hollywood career as a leading lady, and got down to her essentials in True Lies (strip scene anyone?). While Leigh has since passed away, and Curtis has passed her prime, there is no sense in compiling this list without their inclusion.

Lisa Marie Presley - Riley Keough


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Similar to Jamie Lee Curtis, Lisa Marie Presley lost her hotness a long time ago. We’re speculating that it had a lot to do with her untimely marriage to everyone’s favorite freak, Michael Jackson, during the mid 1990s. But I’d be lying if I said that (at one time) thoughts of her going to town on my own graceland did not get me at least at half mass. Her daughter on the other hand, is smoooookoing. It’s just a bummer she’s dating Ashley Parker Angel, or Ryan Cabrera or whatever that douchebag’s name is.

Demi Moore - Rumor Willis


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Ok, it goes without saying that Demi Moore is the all-time hottest MILF in Hollywood. At least for me, anyways. Have you ever seen her in Striptease? Game over. But with that said, it would be hard to imagine the apple falling far from the tree. Moore’ daughter with noted bad ass, Bruce Willis, is now hitting the Hollywood club semi-actress scene, and it seems that she is gradually becoming more attractive. While each makeover and minor plastic surgery procedure is bringing her closer to”hotness”, we are including her in this list in good faith that she will one day move entirely away from her status as a butterface. Do us proud Rumor.

Janet Jones - Paulina Gretzky


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Wayne Gretzky was the perfect example of a nerd that was good at one thing. For most (Steve Jobs and Bill Gates) this means computers, but for Gretzky it meant Hockey - he is still currently the NHL’s all-time highest scorer. His wife was different: a corn-fed Midwestern beauty that went on to become a model, actress and fitness guru in the 1980s, she was perfect shoulder candy for “The Great One”. Their daughter,21 year old Paulina, is aspiring to be the next great Canadian songbird, and has been actively modeling since 2005. Rumor has it, she is also a scratch golfer, so for any men with a chance of dating her, it’s safe to take her to the course with you.

Bianca Jagger - Jade Jagger


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Mick Jagger was married to Bianca Jagger (Née Peréz-Mora Maricas) from 1971 to 1979. During this time, the rocker and British-Nicaraguain model parented Jade (1971), who has gone on to enjoy a successful career as a model, and more recently, a jewelery designer. We think that she should have stuck to modeling - just look at that picture. In 1992, Jade herself gave birth to a daughter, Georgia, who sometime next year (may even make it onto the follow up to this list, per Hedren-Griffith-Johnson. Only time will tell…

Jerry Hall - Elizabeth Jagger


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Jerry Hall is perhaps best known as having been Mick Jagger’s (yes, Jagger again) long-time partner and Common Law wife, and with whom she gave birth to their four children. But during the height of her career, Hall was one of the most in-demand models in the world, often earning in excess of $1000/day. The eldest of her and Mick’s children, Jade was born in 1984 and is following in her mom and older half-sister’s footsteps as a model. In 2002, she added “actress” to her resumé, with a supportive role in Igby Goes Down, and she continues to do print work - most recently with French-based Lancôme.

Colleen Farrington - Diane Lane

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Diane Lane is that actress that for some reason is much hotter than her name sounds. For some reason, “Diane” sounds like she should be one of your mom’s overweight friends. Lane, however, is definitelooker even at the ripe age of 44. What al ot of people don’t know about her, is that her mother was a famous playmate during the nascent stages of Playboy. Farrignton went on to pursue a career in lounge-singing and more modelling after having been the magazine’s Playmate of the Month in October 1957. Pictures from this issue are available online, and we suggest you do a Google image search for more information.

Pearl Lowe - Daisy Lowe


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Pearl Lowes was known as the lead singer for 1990s rock bands, Powder and Lodger, but perhaps she is most famous for having bore Gavin Rosdale’s first child via a one-night stand (Sorry, Gwen). Since becoming a mother (of Daisy, above), Pearl decided to pursue modeling and textile/fashion designing. Only 39 herself, she gave birth to Daisy in 1989. Like her mother, the younger Lowes is currently generating a fair amount of attention as a model, having been featured in “Harpar’s Bazaar”, “W Magazine”, and Italian “Vogue”. She has something of a “Mandy Moore” thing going for her, and we are interesting in seeing her grace the covers of some more racier publications.

Secret (Natural) Ingredient: Surprising New Uses for Olive Oil

Earache relief
Warm olive oil can soothe your child’s (or your) achy ear, says Rachel Lewis, MD, a pediatrician at Columbia University Medical Center. (Note: Only for kids 2 and up.) Use a syringe to place 2 to 4 drops of warm oil in ear (5 to 10 in your own). Follow up with doctor.

Stainless steel polish
Stainless steel appliances are magnets for fingerprint smudges. Make those marks vanish by applying a very light layer of olive oil with a soft cloth in a circular motion, says Catherine Houska, consultant to the Specialty Steel Association.

Dry-hair conditioner
Revive damaged hair with this treatment from John Masters of John Masters Organics hair- and skin-care lines: Saturate hair with extra-virgin olive oil, then wrap with a warm towel for 20 minutes. Shampoo, rinse, and condition if needed.

Skin soother
Olive oil’s essential fatty acids are a natural Rx for rough elbows, hands, and cuticles, says dermatologist Lisa Donofrio, MD, of the Yale University School of Medicine. Nightly, rub a small amount of the extra-virgin variety into parched skin.

Pac-Man Runs Amok

French prankster Remi Gaillard creates havoc with a real-life version of Pac-Man. (via Metafilter)

Top 10 Sex Festivals Around The World (SFW)

In their own fashions, the following events provide a space to celebrate the beauty of getting laid. Each place holds popular, annually scheduled events, and they all have inherent shock value. So what are you waiting for? Go and get some.

read more | digg story

World's most accurate clock unveiled

Perfect timekeeping has taken a step closer to reality after scientists developed a clock that loses just a second every 300 million years.

By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent
Atomic clock: World's most accurate clock unveiled
Ultra-cold strontium atoms in an atomic clock Photo: PA

The researchers claim the new atomic clock is more than twice as accurate as timepieces currently used to regulate international time zones and satellite systems.

Like its predecessors, the strontium atomic clock at the University of Colorado, harnesses the natural – and extremely consistent – vibration of atoms to keep track of time.

But it makes the "pendulum effect" of atoms even more consistent by holding them in a laser beam and freezing them to almost minus 273 degrees – the temperature at which all matter stops resonating.

"An atom consists of a nucleus and some electrons that spin in clearly defined orbits around the nucleus," said Professor Jan Thomsen, a nuclear physicist at the University of Copenhagen, who has worked with the new experiments together with researchers at the University of Colorado.

"By using the focused laser light one can make the electron swing back and forth in a clearly defined way between these orbits, and it is that which forms the pendulum in the atomic clock".

Even though the increase in accuracy represents only a small fraction of a second, it has great potential in areas to do with the determination of great distances - for example, measuring the distance to distant galaxies in space.

Now the team want to go a step further.

"We dream of getting an atomic clock with perfect precision," said Prof Thomsen.

5 Things You Didn't Know: SNL

You may know all the words to "Lazy Sunday" and do a mean Debby Downer, but did you know these facts?

By Ross Bonander, Entertainment Correspondent

Dwayne Johnson and SNL cast, Aired 3/7/09 - Credit: NBC Universal, Inc.
5 Things You Didn't Know: SNL

Between its premiere in October of 1975 and the start of its 34th season in September 2008, Saturday Night Live has racked up over 100 Emmy nominations and has become "one of the most distinctive and significant programs in the history of U.S. television," according to the Museum of Broadcast Communications. Time magazine considers it the "graduate school of American comedy" and it has duly launched the wider careers of dozens of major actors and comedians, a list too long to include here.

After so many years, the show has had its share of un-funny seasons, yet when SNL is good, it's TV's sharpest satire and no one is safe. Among the most recent victims was Hawaii's tourism industry, hilariously skewered in a March 2009 skit with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. The skit, which played up a handful of Hawaiian stereotypes, prompted outrage from the Hawaii Tourism Authority, and further solidified SNL's long-held reputation for stirring controversy, whether by lampooning popular culture or eviscerating American politicians.

As it approaches the finale of its current season, we present 5 things you didn't know about SNL.

1- SNL wasn't the first SNL

Before SNL got on the air, Howard Cosell launched his own Saturday-night variety show, Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell on ABC, which featured a cast called the "Prime Time Players." Frustrated that the name they wanted had been taken, SNL began under the title NBC's Saturday Night, but they took a shot at Cosell's show by calling their own cast the "Not Ready for Prime Time Players."

Despite giving Billy Crystal a national profile, Cosell's show lasted only three months. Thus, in 1977, SNL added the word "Live" to their own title, and shortly thereafter dumped "NBC."

Cosell himself would host the finale of SNL's 10th season in 1985.

2- SNL wanted Albert Brooks as a permanent host

The role of the SNL guest host has become an institution that began with George Carlin. Since then, SNL has landed a spectacularly broad range of hosts, and while most have been big names in the entertainment industry, many have been from the sports world (including Joe Montana, Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and even O.J. Simpson) and others have been from arenas such as finance (Steve Forbes and Donald Trump), and others still from politics including two sitting NYC mayors (Koch and Giuliani), and perhaps the show's most bizarre host, Ron Nessen, who was at the time White House Press Secretary to sitting President Gerald Ford.

Yet, had SNL had its way, there would have been a permanent weekly host. Initially, that's what they had asked of actor Albert Brooks, who instead turned down the role and suggested the current format of a different host every week.

There are a few more things you didn't know about the comedic TV hit, SNL...

3- Lorne Michaels tried to launch an SNL competitor

Canadian-born SNL creator, Lorne Michaels, worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Company in the 1960s, even starring in his own comedy series, The Hart & Lorne Terrific Hour. He later moved to Los Angeles and worked as a writer for NBC before launching SNL in New York in 1975.

After five years, however, he had enough with SNL and left the show. Most of the writers and all of the regulars followed suit. For the next few years, with a few exceptions (Eddie Murphy, Joe Piscapo and, later, Billy Crystal and Martin Short) the show's regulars were awful and ratings suffered.

Michaels returned to SNL in 1985 (bringing a new group of regulars with him, including Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Lovitz), but before he did, he launched the abysmal comedy variety show The New Show, which tanked after just two months.

4- Muppets creator Jim Henson had an SNL segment

Jim Henson's gang of Muppets dates back to the 1950s (at least in form if not in name), and they received their biggest exposure on Sesame Street in 1969. However, before he launched The Muppet Show in 1976, Henson had a segment on SNL's first season.

Called "The Land of Gorch," these Muppets were in a total of 15 decidedly adult-themed sketches (about drugs, adultery and even species extinction), some of them written by Chevy Chase and Al Franken, and only one of them by Henson himself. Among the show's writers, the job of writing the sketches was extremely unpopular, a fact that contributed to its demise in early 1976.

5- Cold air is pumped into the SNL studio

If you've ever waited outside 30 Rockefeller Center to get tickets to SNL, you know that, especially in the winter months, it can be a long, bitterly cold and drawn-out affair that requires a lot of luck.

If you do get in, SNL recommends you bring a coat, as they keep the studio at a fairly chilly temperature during both rehearsal and taping by pumping in cold air. The reason? If it were nice and cozy inside, audience members, on their feet most of the day enduring the cold weather, would be less likely to laugh -- much less be alert enough to do so -- during taping.

Hair Salons Donating Recycled Hair to Mop Up Oil Spills

The aspiring stylists at Paul Mitchell Schools want your hair during Earth Week -- and not just to practice their art. They'll be giving any shorn locks to a novel environmental organization that recycles hair into highly absorbent mats for use during oil spill cleanups.

From April 20 to 24, the nearly 100 Paul Mitchell Schools in the U.S. are offering $10 to $15 haircuts and are donating the clippings to Matter of Trust in San Francisco. The decade old nonprofit has been in the business of fashioning recycled hair into products that soak up spilled oil for the past seven years.

It takes about a pound of recycled hair to make a hair mat that's a foot square and half an inch thick, said Lisa Craig Gautier, who established Matter of Trust with her husband, Patrice Olivier Gautier.

A mat of recycled hair.
Images of mats and booms made from recycled hair courtesy of Matter of Trust.

"A mat that size can soak up a quart of oil," Gautier told us today, "and it can be wrung out and used up to 100 times -- as long as there's no sand in it."

That's great because each of the Paul Mitchell Schools can yield as much as 5 pounds of hair a day, said a spokeswoman for the brand.
Each Paul Mitchell School can yield as much as 5 pounds of hair a day.
Images of stylists in training courtesy of Paul Mitchell Schools.

The brand contributes to several nonprofits ranging from environmental causes such as forest preservation to groups that help the ill and the people who care for them. Individual schools also lend their support to various concerns, but this is the first time that all of them will be shipping their daily haul of discarded hair to a recycler.

"We're all very, very excited about the initiative," the spokeswoman told

Matter of Trust will take human hair of any type -- straight, curly, permed, straightened, processed, dyed -- "but only HEAD hair, please!" says its website.
A volunteer holds up an oil-soaked hair mat used in a beach cleanup after the Cosco-Busan spill.
Images of mats and booms made from recycled hair courtesy of Matter of Trust.

Matter of Trust's mats and booms are used by volunteers and others at cleanups. The booms are made by stuffing hair clippings into donated nylon stockings and are used to help ring spills into a confined area.

Volunteers wielded the mats onshore in San Francisco after the container ship Cosco-Busan collided with a pylon of the Bay Bridge in 2007 and spilled thousands of gallons of bunker fuel.

The mats are also used to line tarps and holding areas for oil-sodden birds, seals and otters as they're cleaned up following spills.
Matter of Trust also makes booms by stuffing recycled hair into donated nylon stockings.
Images of mats and booms made from recycled hair courtesy of Matter of Trust.

Right now, Matter of Trust has about 15,000 pounds of hair in its warehouse and always welcomes more, said Gautier.

She and colleagues also would welcome ideas on how to update the manufacturing process for making the mats -- which is basically like creating felt on a large scale. Knitters do this on a small scale by wetting down their handiwork and tossing it into a dryer, usually with a tennis ball, to create a matted texture. In the mat-making process, wet hair is jostled vigorously and then repeatedly pierced by machinery with tined surfaces until it becomes matted.

"It's a very simple, Old World sort of process," said Gautier. But very few textile manufacturers who do that sort of thing remain in the U.S. Seventeen have closed up shop -- moving elsewhere or getting out of the business entirely -- after being battered by the economy, and the two that are left work mostly with oil-based materials, she said.

For $30,000, used equipment -- marked down from $500,000 -- can be bought for the felting process. But that wouldn't be the smartest investment, because the resources for repairs and replacement parts are almost non-existent, Gautier said.

"And when it breaks, we'd have a 3,000-square-foot paperweight on our hands," she said.

So, in addition to hair, "what we're really looking for is innovation," Gautier said.

"We're determined to figure out a process so this can be a green business and a green industry, here, in the U.S.," she said. "I think the answer is out there -- we just need to find it, or it needs to find us. "

Images of stylists in training courtesy of Paul Mitchell Schools.

Images of mats and booms made from recycled hair courtesy of Matter of Trust.

Cheers! Now You Can Recycle Your Wine Corks

Published by Joe Gillach

Used wine bottle corks. Never give them much thought. After the corkscrew does its job, I simply throw corks away or find some arcane use, like guarding the tips of scissors or stabilizing a wobbly table leg. So I’ll confess skepticism when I read about a new environmental organization formed to promote the recycling of wine corks, ReCORK America.

What’s next? I wondered. Single-stream recycling for toothpaste caps, shoelaces, or those unnecessary rubber bands around the daily newspaper?

To dig a little deeper, I called up ReCORK’s head of public relations, Roger Archey, who also happens to be the West Coast marketing head for Amorim, the world’s third largest manufacturer of cork stoppers, selling over three billion annually.

Archey piqued my sustainability interests when he mentioned that Amorim was the first natural cork supplier in the world to receive FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification in 2007. Because natural cork is a renewable resource—the stripped cork bark regrows in 10 to 12 years while the trees can live 150 years—it has environmental advantages over the plastic stopper and metal screwcap alternatives.

A PricewaterhouseCoopers life cycle analysis published a last week showed that carbon dioxide emissions of screwcaps are 24 times higher than natural cork stoppers, and plastic stoppers produce 10 times more CO2 than natural cork stoppers. The research, commissioned by Amorim, compared the performance of cork stoppers versus aluminum screwcaps and plastic stoppers on seven key environmental indicators. Cork won on six of seven dimensions, placing second to aluminum closures only on water consumption.

Archey was starting to turn me into a believer. And not just me—organic groceries giant Whole Foods recently partnered with ReCORK on a six-month trial in which customers at 25 Northern California Whole Foods stores may drop off their corks for recycling.

“Frankly, the public doesn’t think too much about the world of closures,” Archey confessed, referring to the industry term for wine bottle caps. It turns out that more than 13 billion corks are manufactured worldwide every year, along with stoppers for billions of plastic and aluminum bottles. This all adds up to a whole lot of unnecessary landfill that slips below the public’s radar.

Wine and champagne corks are often the one souvenir that people keep to commemorate benchmark events such as birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, and even funerals. Hang onto these—but know that ReCORK aims to get his hands on as many of the remaining corks as possible.

Despite the arcane nature of ReCORK’s recycling effort, Archey says that people are responding with enthusiasm. He recently received a call from a Florida couple who wanted to recycle their collection of 750 corks that they began amassing back in 1954 to commemorate the milestones in their marriage. (That’s nearly 14 milestones per year—perhaps one secret to a happy marriage.)

The French American International School in San Francisco recently tallied the 100,000th cork in their collection. Archey was invited to the school ceremony, where officials proudly handed over to him the latest batch of 20,000 corks gathered by students—presumably with their parents’ assistance—from local restaurants, hotels and wine bars. Très bien!

ReCORK is also focused on higher volume opportunities, capturing used and surplus corks from winery tasting rooms, bottling lines, and quality assurance laboratories. In addition, they are establishing more collection locations with key retailers and restaurants in larger metropolitan areas.

Today the ReCORK program ships most of its harvest back to Portugal, where they are ground up by Amorim. The resulting material goes to manufacturers of flooring tiles, building insulation, shoe soles, fishing rod handles, bulletin boards, place mats, gaskets, and packaging materials. Ground recycled cork even figures as an ingredient in soil compost. In time, Amorim hopes to develop California-based uses for recycled cork, to reduce the expense and carbon-load of overseas shipping. Looks like solid Cradle to Cradle thinking to me.

Amorim hopes the recycling campaign may grow a way to start a dialogue directly with consumers about cork closures. That would be a big change from the past, when only wine critics cared about wine stoppers.

Having lost 20% market share to plastic and metal alternatives in recent years, natural cork producers are looking for ways to educate consumers about the green benefits of their product. By promoting the recyclability of cork, Amorim hopes to encourage consumers to think about both the ecological and authenticity value of natural cork. Archey points out the inconsistency in creating an organic wine, only to “close it with a petroleum plug.”

The cork recycling campaign mounted by Amerim, and now embraced by Whole Foods, is anything but profitable; it will be some time before it breaks even. “It is mostly about doing good, one cork at a time,” Archey says.

I’ll drink to that!