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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chinese Snap to Attention for Bra-Removing Contest

Ben Muessig Contributor
(May 18) -- Since the dawn of women's apparel, men have been trying to score by unhooking brassieres. This contest, however, brings the game to a whole new level.

A Chinese shopping mall hosted a competition to find out who could unclasp bras the fastest using just one hand.

Competitors raced to undress a line of eight masked women who stood on a stage in the Guangzhou mall wearing bras and short-shorts.

Quirky China News / Rex / Rex USA
A competitor tries to undo eight bras with just one hand in a contest held by a shopping mall in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China on May 8.

Eager participants entered the contest to fulfill their dreams and have the chance to take home a mall gift certificate for 1,000 yuan -- about $146 -- according to

Event organizers insisted the May 8 event didn't objectify women -- it educated men.

"The workings of a woman's bra are a mystery for many men -- this activity helped more people understand bra culture and explore its secrets," a mall spokesman told the Mumbai Mirror.

That might be the case, considering the fact that a female shopper took top honors by unclasping all eight bras in just 21 seconds.

The victor, who declined to give her name, said she might have had an unfair advantage over her male rivals, according to Fox Chicago.

"I didn't expect to win -- maybe it was because I get so much practice in my everyday life," she said.

James Cameron's Personal Pandora


DNP Random Things
Pacific Coast News

Hollywood director James Cameron is the most successful director of all time with Avatar grossing over $1.292 billion and Titanic pulling in $1.242 billion at the box office so it makes sense that his Malibu spread is equally epic.

PHOTOS: See James Cameron's House Here

Cameron bought the six bedroom, seven bathroom, 8,272 sq ft property back in 1989 for a modest $3.475 million.

Wedded Bliss: Hollywood’s Most Married Celebs

He currently shares the property with his fifth wife actress Suzy Amis and their three children. The home boasts a tennis court, swimming pool, gourmet kitchen, interior garden and courtyard, guest house and an indoor cinema.

In late 2003, Cameron’s Archer Trust paid an undisclosed amount to buy the late actor George C. Scott’s 6,672-square-foot house right next door that he now uses mostly as a production facility for his staff and crew.

But with his bank balance bulging following the success of Avatar, Cameron could now easily afford to buy the whole gated community where his two homes currently sit.

The environmentalist has taken elaborate precautions to protect his properties from any Malibu brush fires this summer. He built his own pump house so that he can beat back any dangerous flames! He told New Yorker Magazine: “We have a big fire problem here- we take the pool water, mix it with Class A foam, and pump it out over the whole property. Everybody else just runs for the hills.”

And after previous wildfires got close to his homes in previous years Cameron admitted that he and his staff had run some emergency drills just in case.

He revealed: “We sit and wait. Put on our yellow coats and our breathing gear and wait. And, you know what? It’s impressive.

“When these hills light up with a hundred-foot-tall wall of flames coming over the top of the hill there, you feel like it’s Armageddon.”

The mega-wealthy director even has his own customized red Humvee platform fire truck parked in the driveway just in case!

Happy 30th Birthday, 'The Empire Strikes Back'!

By: Gary Susman

Movie sequels are seldom as good as or better than the originals. The best sequel ever? According to a recent survey of movie buffs, it's not 'The Godfather Part II' or 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day.' It's 'Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back,' a movie released 30 years ago this week, on May 21, 1980.

To mark the anniversary, there will be celebrations big and small throughout the year, starting with this weekend's marathon of the original 'Star Wars' trilogy on Spike TV, with Saturday's screening of 'Empire' simulcast on MTV's jumbotron in Times Square. The remembrances will culminate in the publication in October of 'The Making of The Empire Strikes Back,' by Lucasfilm insider J.W. Rinzler, a coffee-table tome with hundreds of pages of never-before-seen photos taken during the production. Meantime, you can amuse yourself by inserting your own face into 'Empire' footage, courtesy of the jokers at JibJab.

Why the hoopla? Because, for most moviegoers, 'Empire' remains the best of all six 'Star Wars' movies. It turned 'Star Wars' from a one-time special event into an enduring saga. It wielded massive influence on other movies (and throughout pop culture) that is felt to this day. And of course, it's still a powerful stand-alone entertainment experience, with its own memorable characters, jaw-dropping visuals, roiling emotions and the wallop of that all-time devastating third-act plot twist. Here are some of the ways 'Empire' continues to rock our galaxy.

That Vision. George Lucas' vision for the follow-up to his 1977 blockbuster was grand and vast, even bigger than his own lofty ambition. Which is why he was wise to produce 'Empire' but hand over the writing and directing tasks to others who were actually better at characterization and dialogue than he was. He hired legendary screenwriter Leigh Brackett ('The Big Sleep') to flesh out his story, and after she died in 1978, he hired young hotshot Lawrence Kasdan (not yet known for his scripts for 'The Big Chill' and Lucas' own 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'). Kasdan is widely credited with the movie's memorable dialogue (including Yoda's twisted syntax), while journeyman director Irvin Kershner has been praised for the movie's grim tone, thrilling combat sequences, and deep wellsprings of emotion.

As Kasdan explained in a 2000 interview, the success of 'Star Wars' and Lucas' decision to step back freed the filmmakers to do what they wished. "Everybody sort of loosened up. And that's where all the fun comes from," Kasdan said. "It's gritty -- Kershner had a huge impact on the way it looked. It looked better than 'Star Wars': it's shot better, it's lit better, the effects are better. George can tell you. So it has a much better look, and you're letting the characters do much more interesting stuff."

That Tone. For a summer blockbuster, 'Empire' is awfully dark. The heroes of the first movie spend most of the second getting their butts kicked. By the end of the film, Han Solo is frozen in carbonite and being hauled off by Boba Fett to Jabba the Hutt's lair; Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and Lando Calrissian have barely escaped with their lives; and Luke has had his hand chopped off and has suffered the psychic wound of learning the horrifying truth about his origins. Sure, everything would be resolved in the next movie, but in the meantime, none of that darkness stopped 'Empire' from being a huge critical and commercial hit. That's a lesson not lost on the makers of "middle" films ever since, including 'The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,' 'The Matrix Reloaded,' 'Quantum of Solace,' 'The Dark Knight,' and of course, Lucas' own 'Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones,' which climaxes with Count Dooku inflicting on Anakin Skywalker an injury much like the one he'll inflict on Luke in 'Empire.'

Those Shots. 'Empire' often seeks to out-dazzle its predecessor. Instead of the sand dunes of Tatooine, there's the icy wasteland of Hoth and the misty swamps of Dagobah. Instead of a military base inside a space station, there's a city in the clouds. Instead of empty stretches of outer space, there's an asteroid field. There's the pulse-pounding land battle on Hoth and a much-improved lightsaber duel in Cloud City. All of these make 'Empire' awe-inspiring simply to look at.

• Those Characters. New to the 'Star Wars' universe in 'Empire' are such dangerous folk as Boba Fett, a bounty hunter whose mysteriousness (his face is always hidden under that badass helmet, and he's silent except for about three lines of dialogue) is the source of his power and fascination. (He becomes much less interesting in the prequel trilogy, when we learn about the childhood trauma that pushed him over to the dark side.) There's also the triple-crossing Lando Calrissian, whose slipperiness and ultimate heroism are skillfully embodied by that master of smoothness Billy Dee Williams.

And of course, there's Yoda, the character upon whom the whole movie hinges. Yoda is the movie's biggest gamble: essentially a puppet (animated and voiced by Frank Oz, the Muppeteer behind Cookie Monster and Miss Piggy) who has to seem venerable and wise enough to teach Luke both self-restraint and self-confidence. Getting him right was the hardest part of the movie, Kershner recalled in a 1990 interview. "When you saw the rushes, you saw something come alive that had never been done on film -- a piece of rubber and plastic, not acting as a puppet, but acting as a living thing," Kershner said. "It was a character that would swallow and breathe and blink. He was incredible! Frank Oz did a great job with his team." The result was not only the 'Star Wars' saga's most lovable, quotable character ("Do. Or do not. There is no 'try'"), but also an influence on every movie since that's had a wizened, sensei-like mentor who puts the hero through the wringer before teaching him or her to kick ass. (See 'The Karate Kid,' 'Kill Bill, Vol. 2,' and 'Kung Fu Panda.')

Those Little Details. Boba Fett's battered armor. The Einstein-like wrinkles that make up Yoda's furrowed brow. That scar on the battle-hardened Luke's face. (Mark Hamill suffered the scar in a 1977 car accident, but Luke getting mauled by a wampa in the first two minutes of 'Empire' does a pretty good job of explaining his altered appearance.) Leia's snobby "nerf herder" insult to Han. (It's a throwaway line, but it inspired the name of the band Nerf Herder, known for creating the theme song to TV's 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer.') Those pinpricks testing Luke's new prosthetic fingers, proving he remains human even with a robotic limb because of his ability to feel pain. That improvised but character-defining exhange between Leia and Han before he's dipped in carbonite. (It was Harrison Ford's idea to respond to Leia's "I love you," with "I know.") As in 'Star Wars,' all these details accrete to form a panoramic portrait of a fully lived-in galaxy populated with fully characterized individuals, a universe of planets and people that seem to breathe and live life beyond what can be contained on the screen.

Han and Leia Say Goodbye in 'The Empire Strikes Back'

That Plot Twist. 'Empire's' climactic surprise, in which Luke learns that his father is not a dead hero but his own living nemesis and the guy who just symbolically castrated him by chopping off his sword-wielding hand, may be the greatest third-act twist in the history of movies. It's the fulcrum on which the whole trilogy pivots. (In fact, the whole 'Star Wars' saga turns on it, since the prequel trilogy will be devoted entirely to the question of how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader.) It's what turns 'Star Wars' from a deftly executed genre piece with great special effects into a saga heavy with psychological, sexual, spiritual, mythic resonance.

No wonder it was such a closely guarded secret; until the movie's release, only five people knew it: Lucas, Kershner, Kasdan, Hamill, and James Earl Jones, who dubbed all the dialogue for David Prowse's Darth Vader. ("Darth Vader"... sounds like "dark father," doesn't it? How did we not figure that one out when the initial 'Star Wars' was released?) These days, with our culture of spoilers and Internet leaks, it's harder than ever for filmmakers to keep such secrets. Let's hope they keep trying, though. Because if there's one thing the enduring appeal of 'Empire' teaches us, it's that, sometimes, we want more than just to be entertained. We want to be astonished.

*Follow Gary Susman on Twitter @garysusman.

Behold! The First Pictures of Lufthansa's New Airbus A380

by JetSetCD

It's nearly 6am here at Hamburg Finkenwerder, the private airfield (which is more like a mini-city) of Airbus, and we're writing this in the middle of the press conference to hand over the first A380 to Lufthansa.

In only a couple more hours, after the pomp and circumstance dies down, we'll be boarding the superjumbo for her inaugural flight from Hamburg to Frankfurt. Be sure to stick around and follow along with us, but right now, we can't wait to show you what are the first unofficial photos of the Lufthansa A380, which we shot ourselves only moments ago as the first group of press to arrive on site here at XFW.

Gallery: Lufthansa's A380 Interiors: First Class

Gallery: Lufthansa's A380 Interiors: Economy Class

Gallery: Lufthansa's A380 Interiors: Business Class

Gallery: First Images of the Lufthansa A380 Exterior

Check out more outtakes over on our Twitter and over the next few days. It's only a 40-minute flight, but their secret new First Class seats, updated in-flight entertainment and more mean full investigations on our part.
Enjoy the pics, and expect more soon!

Disclosure: We've snuck off to Germany for the A380 launch thanks to Lufthansa.

50 Awesome Super Mario Cakes

There may be nothing better than having a Super Mario Bros. themed cake at your birthday, wedding or party. How can you go wrong really? I mean…take one of the greatest memories from our childhood and add some suga’ to it. These sweet creations are almost too awesome to eat…who am I kidding…I’d me chin deep in each and every one of these if they were in front of me.

…and if you’re looking for something good to eat why not try the Luther Double Down?

click here for the full gallery:

The Best Coffee at Starbucks Isn't on the Menu

Like most office drones, it’s hard to pass by a Starbucks on the way to work without stopping for a cup of America’s finest. But a new trend has baristas cringing and customers rejoicing: the Instant Brew. It’s not on the menu, but most baristas will make you one if the store isn’t too busy.

The Instant Brew is when baristas brew coffee directly into the cup and not into a giant vat of joe. It’s also known as a pour-over or single-drop. This trend is becoming more popular among small specialty coffee houses, and it produces a stronger brew similar to a French press, but without the grit.

Thanks for the image
There's a few more items from Starbucks which may further piss off your local barista.

  • The Short Cappuccino: A cheaper, better cappuccino served in a smaller eight-ounce cup. This is a more European-size portion of the drink without the extra milk most baristas use to fill the tall cups. Most foodies agree that a proper cappuccino should be one part espresso, one part steamed milk and one part foam.
  • Biscotti Frappuccino: buy an individual biscotto and ask your barista to blend it into any Frappuccino drink for a crunchy treat.
  • Red Eye: a shot of espresso in regular drip coffee
  • Black Eye: two shots of espresso in regular drip coffee
  • Green Eye: three shots of espresso in regular drip coffee (with a side of insomnia and serious heart palpitations)
  • Poor Man’s Latte: order an Iced Americano with no water and half ice, then pour in your own half-and-half at the condiments station; the result is a Breve Latte for a fraction of the cost.
  • Chocolate Cream Frappuccino: a Frappuccino made with chocolate syrup and chocolate Frappuccino base
  • Cake Batter Frappuccino: a vanilla Frappuccino made with both vanilla bean and almond flavoring
  • Crunch Berry Frappuccino: a strawberry-and-cream Frappuccino with hazelnut flavoring; it tastes just like Crunch Berries cereal.
  • London Fog: Earl Grey tea blended with vanilla flavoring
  • Zebra Mocha (aka Penguin Mocha): a combination white-chocolate/chocolate mocha
  • Red-Tux Mocha (aka Bleeding Penguin): a Zebra Mocha plus raspberry flavoring
Starbucks is also testing new brewing methods in key markets. Their concept store, Roy Street Coffee and Tea, also serves beer and wine and creates little heart-shaped designs in their cappuccinos. More importantly they offer cold-press coffee using the elusive Clover coffee machine, an $11,000 device that takes hours to brew a pot of coffee, served cold and black.

What the M’s stand for in “M&Ms”



Today I found out what the M’s stand for in “M&Ms”.

In 1941, Forrest Mars Sr., of the Mars candy company, struck a deal with Bruce Murrie, son of famed Hershey president William Murrie, to develop a hard shelled candy with chocolate at the center. Mars needed Hershey’s chocolate because he anticipated there would be a chocolate shortage in the pending war, which turned out to be correct.

As such, the deal gave Murrie a 20% stake in the newly developed M&M; this stake was later bought out by Mars when chocolate rationing ended at the end of the war, in 1948.

The name thus stood for “Mars & Murrie” the co-creators of the candy.

Bonus Factoids:

  • The “M&M” was modeled after a candy Forrest Mars, Sr. encountered while in Spain during the 1930s. During the Spanish civil war there, he observed soldiers eating chocolate pellets with a hard shell of tempered chocolate. This prevented the candies from melting, which was essential when included in soldiers rations as they were.
  • During WWII, production of M&Ms skyrocketed due to the fact that they were sold to the military and included as part of United States’ soldiers rations.
  • The original M&M colors were: red, yellow, brown, green, and violet.
  • M&Ms were served in cardboard tubes when they debuted.
  • The “M” printed on the M&Ms was originally printed black. This was changed to white in 1954.
  • William Murrie, father of Bruce Murrie, was originally hired by Milton Hershey in 1896 as a salesman. In his first week on the job, he managed to over sell the plant’s production capacity. This so impressed owner Milton Hershey, that he tabbed Murrie to be the future President of Hershey; this later happened in 1908, a position he held until retiring in 1947.
  • When William Murrie first took over running Hershey, the annual sales of the company was $600,000. Upon his retirement in 1947, he had grown the company to now have a gross annual sale amount of 120 million dollars; which means, over the span of those 39 years he increased the annual sales rate an average of around 50% per year.
  • In the 1920’s, Murrie tried to convince Hershey that they should produce a chocolate bar with peanuts. Hershey didn’t like the idea, but let him go ahead as long as the bar wasn’t under the Hershey brand name. And so, in 1925, the “Chocolate Sales Corporation”, a fictitious company Murrie came up with, debuted the “Mr. Goodbar”, which was wildly successful.
  • Forrest Mars Sr. not only helped invent the M&M, but also famously invented the Mars bar, which was a “malted milkshake in a candy bar”; he also launched the Uncle Ben’s line of food product.
  • At the time of his death at age 95 in 1999, Forrest Mars, Sr. had grown his father’s company to the point where he now had amassed a fortune for himself of over 4 billion dollars. At that time, he ranked 30th on the list of richest Americans, with his sons Forrest Jr and John ranking 29th and 31st. He left the company to his children who still exclusively own it today (it is not a publicly traded company).


There's Nothing Lego Lovers Can't Achieve

By: By Dorina Graham


Lego fans are some of the most passionate and imaginative fanboys. There seems to be nothing that Lego lovers can’t achieve. When they combine technology with Lego creations, the results are pure geeky genius.

Lego iPhone Docks

(image credits: unplggd,@cdharrison)

Here’s a perfect example of what a person who loves Lego and technology can create. Chris Harrison has many Lego and Apple tributes in the form of Lego iPhone docks. On the left is a Star Wars Lego iPhone dock, while the image on the right displays the new and improved green dock.

Lego iPad Stands

(image credits: unplggd.,mocdocks)

If you have an iPad, you probably need a iPad stand. These are better than most because they are constructed from Lego and you can make these DIY stands. Rob Marquardt built the top iPad stand so it will function in landscape or portrait. Jeff Eaton designed the iPad Stand MkII, so that is also supports the iPad vertically and horizontally.


(image credits: technabob)

To do your banking with Lego flair, you might like to try a credit card transaction on this functional Lego NXT ATM. Built from Lego bricks, the Lego NXT Automatic Teller Machine includes HiTechnic IRLink and a Codatex RFID Sensor. It requires a PIN number on the functional keypad and has a display screen. This Lego ATM also accepts banknotes, changes notes into coins, gives cash back from bank cards.

LEGO MultiCuber Relay 2×2x2 3×3x3 4×4x4 5×5x5 IAssemble

This Lego robot is called the MultiCuber. It can solve Rubik’s Cubes at a competitive level. MultiCuber is constructed from Lego Mindstorms components and a laptop. It can solve 2×2, 3×3, 4×4, and 5×5 cubes.

Tweet Controlled LEGO Mindstorms Robot

(image credits: technabob)

Social media combined with Lego, how cool is that? The Lego Mindstorms robot NIKO can receive commands to be remote-controlled. Send special command tweets to @N900Niko to put the robot through its paces. NIKO can take picture, move forward and spin around. Have to you tried social media networking with a Lego robot yet?

Industrial Robot, RV-2 SQ : DigInfo

Mitsubishi Electric came out with a new robot arm that can work with small pieces in small spaces. The RV-2SQ is 10% faster, moves on 6 axes at high speeds, and best of all, builds Lego vehicles.

LEGO Technic SuperCar: Bugatti Veyron

(image credits: mocpages)

If you have a soft spot for fast cars, then this MOC of a Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grandsport may make you drool. It can be operated by remote control, including the sequential gearbox with 7+R speeds, convertible top, all wheel progressive brakes, handbrake, retractile spoiler and flap. This Lego technic supercar has a scale of 1:8.

LEGO Blackberry

(image credits: gearfuse)

King of Lego sculptures, Nathan Sawaya, created a five-foot tall Lego model of the Blackberry Tour 9360. Even better, the screen display works! He integrated a large flat screen TV into the model to simulate a Blackberry screen.

LEGO NXT Key Card Strong Safe

This Lego NXT safe, is accessed by a black and white key card. If the light sensor reads the right bars in the proper position, the safe will open. If not, the key card is rejected and access is denied. There is a NXT display screen at the back of the safe. The screen reads, checking…and if the card is correct, it then reads Access Granted before playing a little tune.

LEGO Ferrari F1

(image credits: gadgetlite)

If you are a big Lego fan, then you might dream of someday owning a Lego vehicle. If you like Ferrari then you might also love this car. This Ferrari F1 racer actually drives and is human-sized. It took 80,000 Lego bricks to build this Ferrari racer.

LEGO Computer

(image credits: brickshelf)

This custom PC mod is Big Blue. It’s a tribute to the greatest Lego sets from the past including the Yellow Castle, the Firefighter Station, and Galaxy Explorer. It also has an HDTV tuner, spectrum analyzer, and built in touchscreen.

LEGO Router

(image credits: tfvlrue)

Luke put his geeky creativity to work again and came up with a fully functioning Lego router. It has two air vents, a row of clear bricks for the LEDs to shine though, and an opening for ports in the back. It also matches the Lego computer that he built. A boring Linksys WRT54GL router turned into a Lego router, that’s geeky greatness right there.

Lego mindstorms NXT Motorcycle 2

This Lego Mindstorms motorcycle is pretty cool. It’s not a trke, it’s a bike with front-wheel drive. We can’t wait until they make a human-sized version.

Here’s a helmet…

(image credits: topspeed)

Until there is a Lego motorcycle that can be ridden, perhaps Lego lovers will settle for this Lego helmet?