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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Graft Lab’s Vertical Village in Dubai Has Spider Web of Solar Panels

by Yuka Yoneda, 10/07/09

vertical village, vertical village, solar power, solar energy, photovoltaic, dubai, graft lab, desert, green building, green construction

At first glance, Graft Lab’s dazzling complex in Dubai may appear to have a cluster of sparkling geometric pools at its base. But upon further inspection, the web-like structures are actually something even more desirable than a place to take a dip in the hot desert – a means of collecting the scorching rays of the sun and transforming them into energy. Dubbed the Vertical Village, this multi-use building and accompanying massive array of solar collectors was designed to work smarter, not harder, which is expected to earn it a LEED Gold certification when it is completed.

vertical village, vertical village, solar power, solar energy, photovoltaic, dubai, graft lab, desert, green building, green construction

The architects at Graft Lab (also responsible for the unique and ethereal Bird Island) must have been taking good notes in their LEED classes because the Vertical Village incorporates the most basic mantras of energy-efficiency in hot climates: reducing solar gain and maximizing solar production. Each hockey-stick-shaped building within the village is self-shading on its north side and on the east-west axis to reduce long-angle sun penetration. A massive bed of solar collectors lies at the south end of the complex and has the ability to automatically position itself toward the sun to maximize solar-energy aggregation. The roof of the village has veins like a leaf which can break up the solar field into smaller, more manageable portions.

Aside from its energy-harvesting features, the Vertical Village is also quite breathtaking to behold. The way that the buildings have been sliced and tilted gives each one a unique, futuristic look. Residents and visitors will be able to take full advantage of hotels, cinemas, restaurants, shops and a theater.

+ Graft Lab

Via Ecofriend

Sex-mad men search for 'lesbian' Chako Paul City

SWEDISH tourism bodies have been swamped with inquiries from millions of men captivated by a mythical town rumoured to be home to 25,000 sex-mad lesbians.

The town of ‘Chako Paul City’ is said to have been founded in 1820 in the northern Swedish woods by a wealthy man-hating widow.

Two blonde women are rumoured to stand guard at the town, which also features a medieval castle.

Many of the town’s female residents turned to homosexuality “because they could not suppress their sexual needs”, Chinese news service Harbin News reports.

The myth has been embraced by the Chinese media, with millions of men crippling the country’s internet providers trying to find out how to get to the town.

However, men have been warned by media reports that they risk being “beaten half to death” by police if they dare pay a visit.

"I've no idea where this came from but it's not true," local authorities' spokesman Claes Bertilson told Sweden’s new service The Local about the rumour.

“At 25,000 residents, the town would be one of the largest in northern Sweden, and I find it hard to believe that you could keep something like that a secret for more than 150 years.”

Mr Bertilson said he did not know where the fictitious account could have originated.

“I have no idea where something like this could have come from,” he said.

Although Per Wilhelmsson of the tourist office in Umea in northern Sweden said he had never heard of Chako Paul City, he did confirm that tourism in the area is bustling.

“Our tourism industry is doing quite well, among the best in northern Sweden,” he said.

Geniuses create breakfast machine, forget the bacon

Oct 7th 2009
By Chris Connolly

Fans of Wallace and Gromit and Pee Wee Herman will be cheered by the news that a automatic breakfast machine is now a reality.

The Rube Goldberg-type invention was masterminded by Yuri Suzuki and Masa Kimura in Amsterdam of Platform 21.

Using recycled parts from their previous work including toy cars and IKEA lamps -- and soliciting input and suggestions from visitors -- the duo constructed a vast, yet fully functional machine that prepares omelettes, coffee and toast with jam.

Unfortunately, eagle-eyed Asylum readers will note the machine does not cook bacon, rendering it all-but useless. Back to the drawing board Yuri and Masa.

Check out the video, some pics and the machine's obvious inspiration below...

Of course we still love Pee Wee's attempt. Less functional and, you know, real, perhaps, but still awesome.

Updated: There's always Family Guy's attempt too...

Updated 2: ... And the obligatory Lego version of the above.

The Most Badass Accordion Performance You've Ever Seen

The musician's name is Aleksandr Hrustevich. He's Ukranian and has a YouTube channel called 'Hrustevich'. There are more incredible performances to be seen and heard there.

BTW, the huge button accordion he's playing weighs a ton. He must have incredible arm and finger muscles to be able to do what he does!

Arlington Heights considers large beer can prohibition

Measure seeks to curb public drunkenness, associated crimes

Beer ban

Arlington Heights Officer Robert Kostka, left, puts empty alcohol containers into a trash bag held by intern Georgi Michev at an abandoned building near Northwest Highway and New Wilke Road. (Tribune photo by Stacey Wescott / September 28, 2009)

Arlington Heights officials are expected to decide next week whether to pursue steps to curb public drunkenness which could potentially cost liquor store retailers millions of dollars in lost sales.

Under consideration is a ban on sales of individual large cans of beer and similar single servings of alcoholic beverages at grocery and liquor stores.

Advocating for the ban are police, who say it would help address disorderly conduct, including fighting, theft and public urination -- especially in the village's downtown and near its two train stations.

Many of those creating the problems are homeless, police said, who are able to scrape together the $2 or so it takes to buy a single 24-ounce can of the ice-style beer, which has a higher alcohol content than conventional beer.

But a dozen liquor retailers told trustees at a meeting last month that the proposed ban would hurt their bottom line and they are proposing alternatives. Officials are expected to consider whether to pursue the ban on Monday.

"We are trying to balance public safety and economic interests," Village Manager Bill Dixon said. "Public safety should prevail."

Authorities in other towns with similar liquor sales restrictions say that they work, but that a ban is not a catch-all.

Evanston has had a similar ban in place for years. "It's effective to a degree," said Evanston police Cmdr. Tom Guenther. "People can still get liquor."

Mount Prospect prohibits sales of refrigerated or chilled alcoholic beverages in containers smaller than 750 milliliters, about 25 ounces. "Since the ordinance was passed, we haven't had any violations or any complaints," said Officer Bill Roscop.

Chicago also restricts sales of single servings of alcohol, but allows sales of beer in single containers larger than 16 ounces.

The proposed ban in Arlington Heights includes sales of single containers of beer unless they are 40 fluid ounces or more, single containers of wine unless greater than 12 ounces or 375 milliliters, and other containers of alcohol except in containers greater than 16 ounces.

"We look at this as a comprehensive approach to a rather severe social problem we've had here in the village," Police Capt. Richard Niedrich said.

But Connie Karavidas, a co-owner of two Teddy's Liquors stores in Arlington Heights , said retailers are meeting with village staff in hopes of convincing them there are workable alternatives to a complete ban. Some options on the table include self-policing by retailers and increased crackdown on littering and public drunkenness.

"Two million dollars in sales stands to be lost," Karavidas said.

One of the ideas retailers have pitched was to go after the drinker rather than the drink as happens in Green Bay, Wis. Wisconsin law allows identification of problem drinkers as "known habitual drunkards," according to Kail Decker, assistant city attorney and city prosecutor for Green Bay.

Green Bay's police department has established a "no serve list" of such people based on a 3-strike rule. Those involved in three disturbances involving alcohol land on the list. Retailers keep the names of those on the "no serve list" in a binder behind the counter, Decker said.

Arlington Heights Assistant Village Attorney Robin Ward said Illinois has no such law, so she isn't sure whether the approach would work.

Decker thinks the Green Bay system helps cut down on problems.

"It helps. It's one more roadblock," Decker said, but admits "there are much greater social issues that need to be attacked."

Exactly the point, say those trying to help the homeless with alcohol abuse problems. Todd Stull, clinical director for Palatine-based Journeys from PADS to HOPE, wrote a letter to Arlington Heights trustees in support of the ban.

"It will cut easy access to alcohol for those homeless clients who abuse alcohol, giving Journeys a larger and more effective window of opportunity to intervene with these clients," Stull wrote.

Beauty of Battle Cat - '80s Toy Paintings

We here at StreetLevel love our '80s toys, but San Francisco artist Robert Burden takes his love to a whole other level. Like Adrian Riemann, Burden has taken to making high-art out of He-Man. He recently spent 420 hours painting He-Man's faithful sidekick Battle Cat. Burden also spent a year painting his man-sized Voltron he titled, "Defensor Mundi."
Inspired by his personal collection of '80s action figures, he's also painted The Penguin, G.I. Joe villian Serpentor and Hulk Hogan, among others. Watch time-lapse videos of him painting both Battle Cat and Voltron after the jump.

20 Things In Nature That Look Exactly Like Boobs

“I love breasts” (especially Alyson Hannigan’s) would be the understatement of the year. When I suck on a Twix bar, I always make sure to tweak the other Twix bar with my thumb and forefinger. When I blow up balloons, I inflate two-at-a-time, so it looks like boobs are growing from my mouth. When I’m with my grandmother I… usually take her to Denny’s (Wait, what did you think I was going to say? Really? You’re a jerk.) Here are 20 pics that prove Mother Nature is a breast man. (Check them out after you listen to “99 Words For Boobs.”)

20. Mushroom Boobs
Did mother nature get a… cap job?

19. Slutty Hills
That’s some fierce hair around the areolae.

18. Naughty Tree-Lady
We’re not going to make a joke about “sporting wood.” If you want that kind of crap, watch “Accidentally on Purpose” or one of the many other turd-ridden Jenna Elfman vehicles.

17. Frog with Big-Ol-’Uns
Actually, now I’m jealous. How come my pet doesn’t have bigger breasts? Is there a goldfish plastic surgeon I could see, immediately?

16. Oranges
Juicy, round oranges look hot. Plus, if you like orange-skinned women, this is about as close as you will get without hanging outside a tanning salon.

15. More Mushroom Boobs
It’s simply amazing how an ordinary fungi can have such a sexy look. I wonder if mushrooms have any other magical properties.

14. Cactus
I keep telling myself to stop groping it. I keep ending up in the emergency room.

13. Loquat Fruit
I’m pretty sure that, in some language, “loquat” translates to “motorboat.”

12. Melons
Also, note that they look like testes. I’m not sure if that excites me even more.

11. Hills “At Attention”
It must be a cold day.

10. Even More Mushrooms
Why does every mushroom look like an (albeit lopsided) rack? It’s just like those Rorschach inkblots they gave me in junior high. Boobs are all I see!

9. Chinese Cliffs
You know what they say, “Once you’ve climbed Chinese mountains… you’ll never go back.” Although, I think that saying may have originally applied to strict Chinese border enforcement policies.

8. Another Dirty Debauched Tree
This is why there aren’t more family fun days spent in the park. That and all the homeless junkies that live there.

7. Lemons
If you juxtapose two of any fruit just right, you get a tight set of headlights. I went with lemons.

6. More Fungi Boobs
In unrelated news, I found a field of mushrooms I want to marry.

5. Cactus Boobs
Cacti have always been the cocktease of the desert.

4. Magic Mountains
There’s four of them! Why is that sexy, but cows’ udders aren’t?

3. Ocean Rocks
It must be a sight when the white ocean foam gushes between them.

2. Boob Island
Many a lonely sailor has crashed their vessel between these beauties.

1. Mushrooms Again!
They’re back for the top spot. Fungi easily sport the best racks of the natural world.

For more interesting nature pictures, be sure to check out – aw, who are we kidding, here are more boob pics. Also, here are some boob pics.

Evan Hoovler co-wrote the National Lampoon book, “Pimp it Yourself,” and is the former head writer of the T.V. show “Abused News.” He executive produces the sketch comedy troupe, Drunk Nerds.

Pot legalization gains momentum in California

NORML President speaks duringa  kickoff campaign in support of Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010
Reuters – Allan St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML), speaks …

SAN FRANCISCO – Marijuana advocates are gathering signatures to get as many as three pot-legalization measures on the ballot in 2010 in California, setting up what could be a groundbreaking clash with the federal government over U.S. drug policy.

At least one poll shows voters would support lifting the pot prohibition, which would make the state of more than 38 million the first in the nation to legalize marijuana.

Such action would also send the state into a headlong conflict with the U.S. government while raising questions about how federal law enforcement could enforce its drug laws in the face of a massive government-sanctioned pot industry.

The state already has a thriving marijuana trade, thanks to a first-of-its-kind 1996 ballot measure that allowed people to smoke pot for medical purposes. But full legalization could turn medical marijuana dispensaries into all-purpose pot stores, and the open sale of joints could become commonplace on mom-and-pop liquor store counters in liberal locales like Oakland and Santa Cruz.

Under federal law, marijuana is illegal, period. After overseeing a series of raids that destroyed more than 300,000 marijuana plants in California's Sierra Nevada foothills this summer, federal drug czar Gil Kerlikowske proclaimed, "Legalization is not in the president's vocabulary, and it's not in mine."

The U.S. Supreme Court also has ruled that federal law enforcement agents have the right to crack down even on marijuana users and distributors who are in compliance with California's medical marijuana law.

But some legal scholars and policy analysts say the government will not be able to require California to help in enforcing the federal marijuana ban if the state legalizes the drug.

Without assistance from the state's legions of narcotics officers, they say, federal agents could do little to curb marijuana in California.

"Even though that federal ban is still in place and the federal government can enforce it, it doesn't mean the states have to follow suit," said Robert Mikos, a Vanderbilt University law professor who recently published a paper about the issue.

Nothing can stop federal anti-drug agents from making marijuana arrests, even if Californians legalize pot, he said. However, the U.S. government cannot pass a law requiring local and state police, sheriff's departments or state narcotics enforcers to help.

That is significant, because nearly all arrests for marijuana crimes are made at the state level. Of more than 847,000 marijuana-related arrests in 2008, for example, just over 6,300 suspects were booked by federal law enforcement, or fewer than 1 percent.

State marijuana bans have allowed the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to focus on big cases, said Rosalie Pacula, director of drug policy research at the Rand Corp.

"It's only something the feds are going to be concerned about if you're growing tons of pot," Pacula said. For anything less, she said, "they don't have the resources to waste on it."

In a typical recent prosecution, 29-year-old Luke Scarmazzo was sentenced to nearly 22 years and co-defendant Ricardo Ruiz Montes to 20 years in federal prison for drug trafficking through a medical marijuana dispensary in Modesto.

At his bond hearing, prosecutors showed a rap video in which Scarmazzo boasts about his successful marijuana business, taunts federal authorities and carries cardboard boxes filled with cash. The DEA said the pair made more than $4.5 million in marijuana sales in less than two years.

The DEA would not speculate on the effects of any decision by California to legalize pot. "Marijuana is illegal under federal law and DEA will continue to attack large-scale drug trafficking organizations at every level," spokeswoman Dawn Dearden said.

The most conservative of the three ballot measures would only legalize possession of up to one ounce of pot for personal use by adults 21 and older — an amount that already under state law can only result at most in a $100 fine.

The proposal would also allow anyone to grow a plot of marijuana up to 5 feet-by-5 feet on their private property. The size, Pacula said, seems specifically designed to keep the total number of plants grown below 100, the threshold for DEA attention.

The greatest potential for conflict with the U.S. government would likely come from the provision that would give local governments the power to decide city-by-city whether to allow pot sales.

Hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries across the state already operate openly with only modest federal interference. If recreational marijuana became legal, these businesses could operate without requiring their customers to qualify as patients.

Any business that grew bigger than the already typical storefront shops, however, would probably be too tempting a target for federal prosecution, experts said.

Even if Washington could no longer count on California to keep pot off its own streets, Congress or the Obama administration could try to coerce cooperation by withholding federal funds.

But with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's announcement earlier this year that the Justice Department would defer to state laws on marijuana, the federal response to possible legalization remains unclear.

Doug Richardson, a spokesman for the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy, said the office is in the process of re-evaluating its policies on marijuana and other drugs.

Richardson said the office under Obama was pursuing a "more comprehensive" approach than the previous administration, with emphasis on prevention and treatment as well as law enforcement.

"We're trying to base stuff on the facts, the evidence and the science," he said, "not some particular prejudice somebody brings to the table."

(This version CORRECTS Corrects state population in graf 2 to more than 38 million, sted 40 million)

ND woman's 7-foot-long dog could be record

buy this photo In this Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2009 photo, Boomer, a 180-pound Landseer Newfoundland dog, drinks water from the kitchen sink at Caryn Weber's home south of Casselton, N.D. The dog stands 36 inches tall at the shoulders, measures 7 feet from nose to tail, and weighs 180 pounds. Weber will send his measurements to Guinness World Records for consideration as the tallest living dog. The previous record holder was a Great Dane that died this summer. He measured just over 42 inches at the shoulders. (AP Photo/The Forum, Dave Wallis)

Big Dog
Big Dog

CASSELTON, N.D. (AP) - Boomer may be a buster: Measuring 3 feet tall at the shoulders and 7 feet long from nose to destructive wagging tail, his owner thinks he might be the world's tallest living dog.

Boomer, a 3-year-old Landseer Newfoundland, keeps all four paws on the ground when he drinks from the kitchen faucet at his family's eastern North Dakota farm house. He can stare into a car window eye to eye with a driver, and a 20-pound bag of dry dog food lasts a couple of weeks, said owner Caryn Weber.

"He comes into the house and his tail is so high everything gets knocked around,'' said Weber, figuring that her furry, black and white dog thinks he's a puppy.

Weber plans to send his measurements to the Guinness World Records, thinking he might be a record breaker. Male Newfoundlands average 28 inches tall at the shoulders and weigh 130 to 150 pounds, according to the American Kennel Club.

The previous record holder, a nearly 4-foot-tall Great Dane, died this summer.

Boomer earned the nickname Ripley as a puppy thanks to the dark humor of her sons after he had multiple surgeries because of an abdominal hernia. He grew so fast that his stitches ripped.

The name Boomer emerged when he started using a deep, hoarse bark that can keep visitors at bay at the family farm near Casselton, about 175 miles east of Bismarck near the Minnesota line.

"We've had potential hunters come into the yard, and a few have seen him standing there and they've turned around,'' she said.

"He's got a pretty good sized bark, too.''

South Park's Best Musical Moments

courtesy of

posted by: Matt Tobey

Obviously, South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut contains some amazing music. After all, it's the greatest musical of all-time to feature Satan and farting Canadians. But the show South Park has also included dozens of hilarious songs. So, in honor of tonight's mid-season premiere, I've assembled a list of what are arguably the best songs in the show's history.

Kyle's Mom's a Bitch

The list continues below. More clips and full episodes can be found at South Park Studios.

An all-new episode of South Park airs tonight at 10pm / 9c, followed by the series premiere of Secret Girlfriend.

See also: South Park's Best Political Moments

I'm Going Home

What, What, In the Butt

Hitler Sings

That's Called a Montage!

Let Your Soul Take Flight

Somalian Pirates We!

A Present from Deep Inside of You

You Gotta Do What You Wanna Do

Santa and Jesus

Love You Bay-Bay

R Kelly Sings with TC and JT

Fingerbangin' Into the Night

Jesus Baby!

Chocolate Salty Balls