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Friday, May 15, 2009

Jay Leno books Conan O'Brien as last guest

O'Brien takes over 'Tonight Show' June 1

Associated Press

Jay Leno's last guest on "Tonight Show" will be the man who's taking over for him -- Conan O'Brien.

Leno wraps up his 17-year-run as host of NBC's late-night show on May 29. The network says that O'Brien will be Leno's final guest. Then O'Brien steps in as "Tonight" host June 1.

The big names making the cut for Leno's final week of shows include Mel Gibson, Prince and Billy Crystal -- who was Leno's first guest when he took "Tonight" over from Johnny Carson in 1992.

Carson's final guests were Bette Midler and Robin Williams, who appeared on Carson's next-to-last show. He hosted his final "Tonight" broadcast without guests.

This fall, Leno will begin a daily prime-time show for NBC.

The 16 Most Horrific Human Growths of All Time (Photos)

What’s the worst you’ve ever felt? After seeing what the people below have suffered and gone through, you might have a whole new perspective of what’s really bad.

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Pa... Is This What Them Folks Call a Carpool?

DIY Solar Panels From Armageddon Energy

BY Ariel Schwartz

armageddon solar

Rooftop solar panel installation is often a time-consuming and complicated process, but Armageddon Energy's new prefab panels are practically roof-ready when they come out of the box.

A solar "clover"--enough to provide 400 watts of power--is made up of three 10 to 12 pound silicon hexagonal panels, a triangular frame and a micro-inverter. The panels can be easily connected with a series of uncomplicated tab and slots. Then all that's left is for a professional, or mechanically-inclined homeowner, to secure the clovers to the roof, angle them towards the sun, and plug them into the home power system. According to Armageddon, the process only takes a few minutes.

Armageddon's solar panels are significantly lighter than traditional 40-pound silicon-panels, mainly because the solar cells are coated in Teflon instead of glass. At $6 per watt, the panels produce power cheaply, too--that's $1 per watt less than conventional systems.

Armageddon recently completed solar panel prototypes and is currently working on a beta round. The company expects commercial production to begin in about a year. But by the time Armageddon's panels make it to market, they'll have some competition in the prefab arena. Veranda Solar is working on a panel design that requires only a screwdriver and a standard home outlet. Can IKEA-branded DIY panels be far behind?

[Via Greentech Media]

33 iPhone Games for REAL Gamers.

They look like your favorites... but how do they play? GamesRadar guides you through the minefield of mobile gaming that is available for the Phone.

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Maths can be fun – if only it's taught properly

By Jo Boaler

MATHEMATICS should be one of the most useful subjects children learn in school – yet thousands leave school each year unable to use simple mathematical methods. Or, worse, they are traumatised by their experiences in maths classes.
This unacceptable state of affairs means that many adults are left vulnerable, not only to financial ruin, but in any situation involving mathematical thinking or reasoning.

It should be the right of all children to be given a basic but sound mathematical knowledge and understanding. Yet thousands of students finish classes annually fearing or hating maths.

The reason for this is the way mathematics is usually taught in schools. Students spend hundreds of hours being shown a dry and narrow version of the subject that is nothing like the mathematics of the world and nothing like the mathematics used by mathematicians.

Maths exists in the petals of flowers, the rhythms of raindrops and the social networks that connect us; it is at the core of scientific and medical breakthroughs and it is a diverse and varied subject.

Ask mathematicians what mathematics is and they will generally tell you it is the study and exploration of patterns. Ask schoolchildren what mathematics is and they will usually tell you it is a vast collection of rules that have to be remembered.

Why are their descriptions so different? The reason is this: schoolchildren rarely experience real mathematics. Instead of posing questions, solving real and interesting problems, using and applying methods, and investigating patterns and relationships, children spend their time watching a teacher demonstrate methods and then practising them.

It is important for children to learn standard methods, but this is just one small part of a very broad subject, and it is the breadth of the subject that is generally denied to children, at great cost.

Children also suffer because they come to believe that maths achievement equals intelligence, and to fail at maths is a sign of being stupid. This idea serves to erode children's confidence in their ability to think, and it is the reason so many children feel traumatised when they don't do well in maths.

In fact, not wanting to engage in the narrow, fake version of maths often taught in schools is perfectly reasonable, if not commendable. Children who are subjected to dry and narrow maths classes need to know this and they need to be introduced to the real mathematics – the varied and exciting subject that will help them for the rest of their lives.

Fortunately, parents (as well as teachers) can be powerful in introducing children to the real mathematics that they will enjoy and take with them into their adult lives.

Sarah Flannery, the young Irishwoman who won the European Young Scientist of the Year award for the discovery of a "breathtaking" new mathematical algorithm, revealed that her mathematical success was due more to the puzzles that she worked on at home with her family than all the years of maths classes she experienced in school.

There are many ways in which parents can help their children meet the real and exciting maths that exists in the world, and do well in maths at school. Here are just a few:

&149 It is really important that children know that everyone can be good at maths and everyone can reach high levels.

There is a pervasive view in the UK that only some children can do well in maths; this is wrong and damaging. Encourage and support children and never say "I was terrible at maths at school". Research found that when mothers said this to their daughters, their achievement went down.

• Introduce children to maths puzzles and games such as sudoku (there are many children's versions around), snakes and ladders (for early number work), Rubik's cubes, jigsaws, draughts, chess, dominoes, Connect 4 and any logic puzzles. They will all help enormously with mathematical work.

• Talk about maths together. Find a puzzle or problem that involves maths and discuss it with your children. Many parents read books to children every night but never discuss maths with them. My friend used to put a maths puzzle in her son's lunchbox each day. He is now a mathematician.

• Encourage children to develop a flexible view of numbers. For example, think about adding two numbers such as 96 and 17 in your head. This may seem tricky, but if you break the 17 into 4 and 13 then the sum becomes 96 + 4 + 13, which for most people is much easier.

Low achieving children do not treat numbers flexibly – they try to count carefully, even when this usually results in mistakes, as they don't think they are allowed to break numbers apart. Give children lots of these kinds of problems that encourage the breaking apart of numbers. They can be addition, subtraction or multiplication problems, and they should be thought about mentally, without using pen and paper, with children being encouraged to find different ways to solve them. This has many benefits – children learn a flexible view of maths, they learn that maths problems can be solved using different methods and they develop sharpness in mental maths.

• Ask children questions as they work on maths, but when they say something incorrect, try to find the logic in their answer, even if it isn't the answer you were looking for. Rather than saying "No, that is wrong" find the logic in their thinking and build on it, saying "Oh, I see what you're thinking – you're looking at it as if …"

If children are simply told they are wrong, they are likely to feel disheartened, whereas if they hear there is some logic in their thinking – and there will be – they will gain confidence, which is critical to success.

• Encourage children to see the maths that is everywhere in the world: explore petals and pinecones, try to find sequences of numbers on car number plates when on journeys, work out the time it will take to get to destinations using the speed and the distance, discuss the different shapes and patterns in your garden or park. Maths is all around us.

• Encourage children to think of themselves as great problem-solvers, and to see any maths problem as a puzzle they can solve through exploration and persistence.

• Last, but not least, if your child is not spending time in school working on diverse and varied mathematics, discussing ideas and problem solving, arrange to talk to your child's teacher or the school's maths co-ordinator and express your support for a problem-solving approach to maths.

Sometimes, this is all the teacher needs to hear to move to a more active, exploratory and real version of the subject.

• Jo Boaler is the Marie Curie professor of mathematics education at the University of Sussex and author of The Elephant in the Classroom. Helping Children Learn and Love Maths (Souvenir Press).

Mind blowing beat box chick

Vertical Farm in Dubai Uses Seawater

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto

seawater night shot image
Images from Studiomobile via Designboom

A good rendering is a thing of beauty, and when it is of an amazing vertical farm, so much the better. Italian architects Studiomobile has developed a Seawater vertical farm to be built in Dubai.

"The seawater vertical farm uses seawater to cool and humidify greenhouses and to
convert sufficient humidity back in to fresh water to irrigate the crops."

seawater daytime image

It is designed to work with seawater:

seawater technology image

phase 01
The air going into the greenhouse is first cooled and humidified by seawater,
which is trickled over the first evaporator. this provides a fresh and humid climate
for the crops that in these conditions need very little water as they are not stressed
by excessive transpiration.

phase 02
As the air leaves the growing area it passes through the second evaporator which
has seawater flowing over it. during this phase the humid air mix with the warm
dry air of the ceiling interspace. thus the air is made much hotter and more humid.

phase 03
The warm air is forced to flow upward by the stack effect that is temperature induced.
in the central chimney the warm and humid air will condense when in contact with
plastic tubes where cool sea water is pumped. in the surface of the condenser many
drops of fresh water will appear, ready to be recollected in a tank to water the crops
and for other uses.

seawater detail image

Designboom via PSFK

seawater interior image

21 Completely Insane Mugshot Tattoos

You know, i've always thought about getting a small tattoo, you know, maybe a cute bunny wabbit on my butt, or maybe 'I love my mom' on my upper arm - But these criminals have clearly decided no to take the 'subtle' approach.

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A Special Balls Deep Message To The Class Of 2009

This is Balls Deep with Drew Magary. Read him at KSK. Follow him at Twitter. NSFW Inga after the jump.

It's graduation time again. Last year, I penned a message to the outgoing class of 2008, a message you almost certainly forgot because there was a picture of Cassandra Lynn sitting at the top of the page. And seeing a photo of Cassandra Lynn is like getting a defibrillator to your penis. So we'd best make this a yearly ritual for you new seniors out there, just to keep things fresh in your little ADD-addled brains.

This is the time of year when every university out there spends a great deal of energy flying in celebrities to give grad speeches. And do you know WHY colleges do this? It isn't because these people they get are actually all that inspiring. No, the reason that Oprah Winfey, for example, was hired to speak at this year's Duke graduation was specifically so that the school's student body could brag to other non-Duke people that they had some famous asshole talk at their graduation. "Who spoke at your Brandeis graduation, Tiffany? Oh, congressman Edolphus Towns? That's nice. (stifles chuckle) BUT WE HAD A WOMAN SPEAK TO US BY THE NAME OF OPRAH. PERHAPS YOU'VE HEARD OF HER. SHE IS MY CLOSEST BLACK FRIEND."

That's the reason there are celebrity graduation speakers: to boost the already healthy egos of the graduating class. It's strictly for name-dropping value. Oooh, you guys are so special, Fed Chairman Ben Barnanke wanted to give you a pep talk! This is bullshit. College grads don't deserve to be feted by celebrities, or honored, or lifted up with inspiring words. They deserve to be BROUGHT THE FUCK DOWN BY THE CRUSHING WEIGHT OF REAL LIFE'S BITTER DISAPPOINTMENTS. They deserve a stern lecture from someone like me, who is NOT famous, NOT inspiring, and NOT attractive to look at.

I bet you grads had one hell of a spring, didn't you? Oh, I bet you spent your whole spring taking a miniscule courseload, lounging on blankets outside on the quad, fucking each other, drinking your gay little Twisted Teas... I bet you even smoked pot on Wednesday morning, just for the hell of it. I bet you just had the time of your fucking lives the past four years, didn't you?


Guess what, fuckos? Party's over. You're out of college now, and your parents are now too poor to nurse you through grad school. No more fantasy life for you. No more ice luges. No more intellectual discourse. No more ripe teenage pussy. That's all over now. YOU ARE FUCKED. Your days will now consist of searching for a job in a marketplace where no available job of any sort fucking exists. Your commencement speaker will probably tell you your class "faces enormous challenges," or some bullshit euphemism like that. This is a lie. A challenge is something you can overcome. You, on the other hand, are completely, unavoidably fucked. You're not going to cure cancer. You're not going to stop wars. You're not going to save the planet. If you're lucky, you may stumble upon a $2 coupon for Honey Nut Cheerios one day. That will be about it.

Otherwise, you are entering a world that is running out of money, a world that will slowly choke itself to death unless it somehow stumbles upon a miraculously clean, cheap energy source that has yet to be invented and almost certainly never will be. Ten years from now, your degree will be 1/100th as useful as a fucking life vest. So wipe that nauseating smile off your faces and heed now this glimpse into your very near future…

95% of your future happiness will come from finding a good parking spot. You know that annoying Joni Mitchell song where she bitches and moans, "They paved paradise, put up a parking lot. OOOOOH BOP BOP BOP!" Suck it, you hairy-bushed twat. If it were up to me, there would be a 17-level parking garage on every other block in this fucking country. I swear to fucking God, I spend the majority of my time every weekend stalking outgoing Trader Joe's customers in my Honda, watching them walk to their cars, then having them wave me off because they weren't actually getting out. HEY COCKTEASE, GIVE ME A FUCKING HEADS UP.

I promise you, when you reach my age, not only will you exult at finding a great parking spot, but you'll immediately tell the first person you see about having secured it. "Yeah, I got a GREAT spot! I didn't even have to wait! Usually, that lot is a NIGHTMARE. God, I feel fucking good!"

The greatest indicator of your future success in the business world will be your ability to lie. Your degree is worthless. The only thing that will determine your chances of getting ahead is a surefire way to convince your boss you weren't cc'ed on some email that told you to do something you never bothered to fucking do.

At some point, you will not be able to sleep in past 8 or 9AM, and this will piss you off. I used to be cool. I used to be able to sleep until noon no problem. I SPAT RIGHT IN MORNING'S FUCKING EYE. No waking up at dawn for me. Waking up early is crazy gay. Am I right?

Except then I got a job, so I had to wake up early every day. Then, my body got used to waking up early every day, so it just woke the fuck right up at the same time on weekends, too. "But Body," I said to my big fat body, "There's nothing to fucking do, and I wanna sleep more." But my body wouldn't have it. Then I got married. Then I had kids. And holy shit, do kids wake up early. Not only does my kid come storming into the room at 6AM, but she screams WAKE UP at the top of her lungs every damn time. Having a kid is just like having a really mean spinning instructor. They give no fucking quarter. They're like tiny little Hitlers.

Now, even if there are no kids around, I wake up at 7AM at the latest. This should be good for me, I suppose. I get to run out and experience the full day, or something. But I don't feel that way. I feel like a complete asshat for getting up that early. I feel lamer than shit. Which is completely irrational. Then again, most anything I think or do now is beyond explanation. So rest up, kids. Because soon you'll be chewing Ambien like they're fucking Bubbalicious.

The day you become old is the day you find yourself looking at a paint swatch book. Holy shit, that shade of blue is only .000001 degrees away from that shade of blue! You practically have to view them at the atomic level to know the fucking difference! How the fuck am I supposed to choose? Fun fact: any paint color you choose will end up looking like a radically different color once applied to your walls. Why? Because the people at Sherwin-Williams are pricks, that's why.

You will begin caring about stupid shit in the front section of the newspaper. I used to read USA Today in college. I would read only two sections: Red and Purple. The green section was for boring assholes, and the front section was about a bunch of stupid political bullshit. I never cared about politics or world affairs when I was younger. College kids who care about politics are fucking douches. But suddenly, annoyingly serious shit like health care actually started to matter to me. And I don't like it one bit. I read an article in The Atlantic a while back. Voluntarily. I can't begin to tell you how annoyed I was at myself for this.

Don't get married just because there's a run on weddings. Happens to every group of friends, particularly women friends. Someone gets married off in your little group, then a bunch of your friends do likewise. It's like a run on wide receivers in the late second round of your fantasy draft. Do not get swept up in this. I had the good fortune of marrying someone I like, and it's what keeps me sane every day. But Lord knows I've seen a fuckload of people out there get married just because it everyone else was doing it and they got all swept up in the idea of being married. There isn't a surer way to fuck yourself for life than by doing this.

The reason so many people get divorced now is because they don't take the time to figure out if they actually enjoy the company of the person they're fucking. Marriage can make life infinitely better, provided the person you choose to marry is as dedicated to your happiness as you are to theirs. But if it's anything less than that, NEVER GET MARRIED. EVER. Or else your life will be a giant fucking rut. Guaranteed.

Weekends will stop being fun. During weekdays, you get to sit at a desk and look at Keyboard Cat videos.

During the weekend, you get to pull weeds, install smoke detectors, and feed screaming children. Guess which part of the week is more enjoyable? HAPPY MONDAY, FUCKO.

Rent. If you rent, you can call someone to fix shit if it breaks. FOR FREE. Is that worth not ending your life owning some old house your kid is just going to sell for pot money anyway? Fuck and yes.

You will get dumber every day from now on. You're done learning. Time to start forgetting shit! The other weekend I was sitting in the parking lot shuttle bus at the Baltimore airport, on my way to get my car after a flight, only to realize I had left my car keys at my parents' house, which was now 300 miles away. I then bit down on my own finger until I had broken the skin. I am retarded, and I am only getting worse. IT'LL HAPPEN TO YOU.

Going out will stop being appealing to you. What? I have to put on pants? And pay $5 for a drink when I have 30 beers in the fridge? And talk to people? FUCK. THAT.

There is no point in raising your kids well, because other people's retard kids will end up ruining them anyway. You can teach your kid good manners. You can feed them nothing but organic dairy products milked from an angel's tit. You can read your kid 500 Sandra Boynton books every night. I promise you, none of it will matter. Because once your kid goes to school, some spoiled sack of shit kid with horrible parents will teach your kid the word "pussyfart," get them hooked on straight Whoppers, and immediately undo every good thing you did. Trust me. Other people can't parent for JACK SHIT.

If you have more than three kids, you are an asshole. What the fuck are you trying to prove with more than three kids? Kids siphon up precious food and water, produce oceans of shit-ridden waste, and give American parents large tax breaks most of them really don't deserve. If you have more than three kids, and really even two, you deserve to have your have your uterus filled with sand.

You will find yourself, at times, tired of drinking. But you will continue drinking anyway. Beats the alternative, which is NOT drinking.

You will begin mailing in EVERYTHING. At some point, you will become so inundated with shit to do, that you will do ALL of it half-assed, because that's really the only way it'll all get done. Look at this column. It's nothing but a bunch of fucking bullet points. Really, I'd like to put more effort into everything I do. But I've got my country's 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder, and Gilder to frame for it. I'm swamped!

Never put sauce on top of pasta. You're a grownup now. Make (or heat) the sauce in a separate pan, add a bit of the pasta water to it, drain the pasta a minute early, and then finish cooking the pasta in the sauce. That's how they make it taste good in restaurants. Do it and your date will put out.

The key to a decent existence is owning a good bed. Most of your future life will be consumed with addressing reams and reams of tedious bullshit. You'll have to work. You'll have to run errands. You'll have to clean shit and pick shit up. Your only salvation is that fucking bed at the end of the day. So make sure it kicks ass in every conceivable way. Get it all: the pillowtop mattress, the egg crate, the featherbed underneath, the nice comforter on top… ALL THAT SHIT. No day is ever that horrible if you have a sultan's rest awaiting you. You'll still wake up at 6AM involuntarily. But at least you'll still be nice and cozy when you do.

Got all that, graduates? Feel ready to go out and change the world now? No? Good. Because the world changes on its own terms, without your fucking input, thank you very much. The only thing you can do is adjust. Remember: the world has been around a whole lot longer than you have, and it has a limitless arsenal of ways to DESTROY YOUR FUCKING SHIT. So don't go out there thinking your going to impact it in any kind of meaningful way. You'll be here a little longer, then you'll die, then shit'll move on without you. Don't like it, Pollyanna? Tough fucking shit.

Look on the bright side. At least when you die, you'll finally be able to sleep in again. Until then, here's the boob scene from "Porky's Revenge" to numb your soul.

Jealous female gorillas solicit unproductive sex

Female gorillas get friskier when their silverback has sex with another female, even when they themselves cannot conceive. The finding suggests they use sex to gain an advantage over competing females.

Tara Stoinski and colleagues at Zoo Atlanta in Georgia totted up how often four captive female gorillas invited sex or copulated over two years. They found that even pregnant or lactating females solicited more sex on days when other females were sexually active.

With only one male around, females could not have been trying to confuse him about his paternity, one commonly offered explanation for non-reproductive sex.

Most likely, they were offering sex to curry favour with the male, or to prevent him from impregnating other females. "With another female in the mix, the male may copulate less with the first one, or he could be depleting his sperm," says Stoinski.

In the wild, she adds, such competition between females could increase the chance that the male will protect the favoured female's offspring from danger.

Journal reference: American Journal of Primatology (DOI: 10.1002/ajp.20692)

If you would like to reuse any content from New Scientist, either in print or online, please contact the syndication department first for permission. New Scientist does not own rights to photos, but there are a variety of licensing options available for use of articles and graphics we own the copyright to.

" title="A female gorilla (left) sends a "come hither" look to the silverback male (Image: Cate Gillon/Getty>">

A female gorilla (left) sends a "come hither" look to the silverback male (Image: Cate Gillon/Getty>

The Six Flags Mascot: Like Being Kicked in the Eyes By AIDS

This man has no business giving me advice on anything post-Cold War Era, let alone my choice of amusement park.

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Top 10 Crazy Chinese Cities

Top 10: Crazy Chinese Cities

In exploring Chinese city life, there will be stories of municipal makeovers and furious industries. As former leader Mao Zedong’s slogan read: “There is no construction without destruction.” And so China goes, jackhammering its way into the ultra-modern future.

As cities cram themselves full of busy bodies in suits, these 10 crazy Chinese cities are building their way to a brand-new urban lifestyle. Since 1978, urban China has grown from 13 cities to a mind-boggling 661. We've all heard of Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong, but what are the other 558? Allow us to introduce you to 10 of them.

Population figures exclude each city’s suburbs. The figures are limited to the urban center, or what is also called the urban agglomeration.

Start with No.10

Man Builds World’s First Fully Solar-Powered Motorcycle

Richard Gryzch has built what he claims is the world’s first fully sun-powered electric motorbike.

A project that has taken him more than two years. In fact, to finance building the bike Cryzch sold his other motorbikes and even a house.

He calls the bike a Solar Flyer. A name inspired by those Radio Flyer wagons.

“Everyone told me I was crazy for doing it,” he said. “But I’m riding it and it works. And it could change everything. No gas, just hit the throttle and go,” he boasted.

Details about the bike are scarce, but it travels up to 50 miles on a full charge and has a top speed of 90 mph.

“People look at me at the stop light and just say, ‘What is that?” Gryzch said. “I just shrug my shoulders and tell them, ‘it’s solar powered.”‘

Still, Gryzch plans to outdo himself. He hopes to hit a travel range of 300 miles. I hope he does too!

Coke to launch bottle partly derived from plants

* Coke to test "plantbottle" in North America this year

* Says up to 30 pct of new bottle comes from plant material

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Coca-Cola Co said on Thursday it has developed a new plastic bottle that is partly made from sugar cane and molasses, raising the bar in the battle for the most environmentally friendly packaging.

Coke will test the new bottle in North America with Dasani bottled water and certain carbonated brands later this year. The test will expand to the vitaminwater brand in 2010.

Up to 30 percent of the new "plantbottle" will be made from a material derived from sugar cane and molasses, which is a by-product of sugar production, Coke said.

Plastic bottles are made from a non-renewable, petroleum-derived substance.

Many large food and drink makers are looking to make their packages smaller and more environmentally friendly, especially since retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc introduced a "packaging scorecard" to rate suppliers on their ability to cut waste and conserve resources by reducing packaging.

Rival beverage makers PepsiCo Inc and Nestle are also introducing lighter-weight bottles that use less plastic.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Gary Hill)

Marijuana potency surpasses 10 percent, U.S. says

By Jeanne Meserve and Mike M. Ahlers

OXFORD, Mississippi (CNN) -- The average potency of marijuana, which has risen steadily for three decades, has exceeded 10 percent for the first time, the U.S. government will report on Thursday.

Mahmoud ElSohly says marijuana's potency will continue to rise before tailing off in the next five years.

Mahmoud ElSohly says marijuana's potency will continue to rise before tailing off in the next five years.

Scientists working for the government predict that potency, as measured by the drug's concentration of the psychoactive ingredient THC, will continue to rise.

At the University of Mississippi's Potency Monitoring Project, where thousands of samples of seized marijuana are tested every year, project director Mahmoud ElSohly said some samples have THC levels exceeding 30 percent.

Average THC concentrations will continue to climb before leveling off at 15 percent or 16 percent in five to 10 years, ElSohly predicted.

The stronger marijuana is of particular concern because high concentrations of THC have the opposite effect of low concentrations, officials say.

In addition, while experienced marijuana users may limit their intake of potent marijuana, young and inexperienced users may not moderate their intake and possibly suffer from dysphoria, paranoia, irritability and other negative effects. Video Watch more on the increase in marijuana potency »

Potent marijuana also poses significant risk to the developing adolescent brain, said Edward Jurith, acting director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Increasing potency is leading to higher admissions to emergency rooms and drug treatment programs, officials say.

The average THC for tested marijuana during 2008 was 10.1 percent, according to the government, compared to 1983 when it was reportedly under 4 percent.

Even drugs seized at the United States' southwest border are showing increasing potency, the Office of National Drug Control Policy says. The median potency increased from 4.8 percent in 2003 to 7.3 percent in 2007. Marijuana from Mexico and other southern sources traditionally had lower THC content than other sources'.

"The children I'm most worried about are children who are heavy users ... people who use it on a daily basis," said Dr. Lawrence Brain, a child psychiatrist in Maryland.

Lloyd D. Johnston, a University of Michigan professor who has spent 35 years studying youth drug use, said youth marijuana use has fluctuated dramatically over that period.

"One of the driving forces of that ... is the degree to which young people think that marijuana is dangerous," he said. "Perceived risk has usually been a leading indicator of changes."

News about potency is not likely to change adolescents' behavior, Brain said.


"I'm not advocating the use of marijuana at all," he said. "But in some ways, it is out there. ... Telling them it's 10 percent -- three times more potent than what their parents smoked -- is not an argument they are likely to buy into or to even utilize in any constructive sort of way.

"I think they do what they do today. I don't think they consider or reflect on what it might have been like 30 years ago."

Does a Happy Meal CD contain profanity?

TAMPA, FL -- A new Happy Meal toy is causing outrage among some parents who think it is teaching their kids profanity.

Several parents around the country reportedly think a CD included in their kids' meals contains a word usually considered to be the worst of all curse words.

The song in question on the "Kidz Bop" music CD is a Gavin Degraw cover song. One of the lyrics contains the word"looking," but some parents feel it sounds more like the singer is saying the "f-word."

McDonald's insists there is no profanity in the song and the CDs will stay in Happy Meals.

Click here to listen to the lyrics and decide for yourself.

Spanish study shows cocaine in the air in 2 cities

MADRID (AP) — Air pollution has long been a fact of life in Spanish cities, but scientists now say it is not just smog that chokes people as they walk to work or stroll through the park. A new study has found the air in Madrid and Barcelona is also laced with at least five drugs — most prominently cocaine.

The Superior Council of Scientific Investigations, a government institute, said on its Web site Thursday that in addition to cocaine, they found trace amounts of amphetamines, opiates, cannabinoids and lysergic acid _a relative of LSD — in two air-quality control stations, one in each cities.

But it said there was no reason for alarm.

"Not even if we lived for a thousand years would we consume the equivalent of a dose of cocaine by breathing this air," scientist Miren Lopez de Alda said in a statement.

The scientific group stressed that "in no case should these levels be considered representative of the air in the two cities." It said the tests were done in areas where drugs were likely to be consumed.

In Madrid, the test site was close to a ruined building believed to be frequented by drug dealers. And in both Madrid and Barcelona, the studies were carried out close to universities.

The group said the study showed higher concentrations of the components on weekends, suggesting that drug consumption was up in these periods.

The research found cocaine in concentrations ranging between 29 and 850 picogram per cubic meter of air. A picogram is one-trillionth of a gram.

Mar Viana, another researcher who worked on the project, said the levels were far higher than those found in similar studies in Europe. She said one study in Rome and Taranto in 2007 revealed cocaine levels of 100 picograms per cubic meter.

According to the U.S. State Department, Spain is Europe's largest consumer of cocaine and hashish. It is also a major transit point for narcotics shipments from South and Central America as well as Africa.

The scientists detected the drug by placing quartz microfiber filters in the air-testing stations. They said the method was new and could help in measuring drug use in towns and cities in a fast and anonymous way.

The group said the findings would be published in the U.S. journal Analytical Chemistry.

$8 DIY Aluminum Laptop Stand

We've always been keen on DIY laptop stands, but reader Aaron Kravitz—inspired by an attractive $50 stand—went above and beyond, creating one of the most attractive DIY laptop stand we've featured to date.

To his credit, it's also a very inexpensive stand, especially considering its good looks. Aaron writes in:

Cardboard's great and all, but with $8 worth of metal, a hacksaw, and a few strips of leather, I built this thing. I got the idea from the $50mStand; seemed to me that making something that sexy shouldn't be all that hard. For the bend I used my hands and a sawhorse.

As far as specs go... nothing exacting, but here's what I found worked best.

Supports: 4 x 5.5", 1/8" by 1"
Bent Bar: 1 x 24", 3/32" by 3/4"

I chose aluminum because it looks nice, plus it's soft and easy to work with. I couldn't find any at home depot, but my local mom and pop hardware store had plenty; I got just what I needed for about $8. A quick look online and it looks like you can get it even cheaper.

The top supports are on 6.5" centers, the bottoms 6". This worked best stability-wise for a 15" MBP, but it works fine for anything bigger than a netbook. The supports only have one bolt apiece for looks, so I added a little bit of epoxy to each joint so things don't slide around. As for bending the bar, I really just eyeballed it. Unloaded the top is about parallel with the bottom, so it sags nicely with a laptop on top.

I added leather pads (found at a local craft store) attached with double-sided tape so my laptop won't get scratched; those who care about their desks might want 'em on the bottom too.

Naturally, this thing is pretty durable. I've been using it for over a year now and the only wear is on the leather pads.

The only DIY laptop stand we've seen up until now whose looks come close to Aaron's is the paper towel holder laptop stand, but Aaron's sweet DIY creation is another inexpensive and attractive alternative to the more expensive commercial options.

iPhone App shows camera view during e-mail

A new iPhone app called Email 'N Walk replaces the plain white background of the e-mail application with a live view of the camera. Why? So you can write an e-mail while walking -- and watch where you're going through the iPhone's camera lens. Good thing they didn't call it "Email 'N Drive"!

Happy Van Damme Friday --- The Eagle Path Movie Poster and Trailer

I hope everyone has a Happy Van Damme Friday and a great Weekend..

And finally here they are: the official movieposter and trailer of The Eagle Path!

The Trailer: