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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ryanair to sell £5 tickets for standing-room only flights

Ryanair is planning to run flights where passengers stand during the journey at a cost of just £5 per ticket.

Michael O'Leary, the airline's chief executive, will set out proposals today that include charging customers to use the loo.

A standing area with "vertical seats" will be introduced at the back of its fleet of 250 planes.

He said that charging customers £1 to make use of facilities would encourage travellers on one hour flights to use lavatories at the airport instead of on the aircraft.

The Irishman said he intended to introduce coin-operated loos and added: "The other change we've been looking at is taking out the last 10 rows of seats so we will have 15 rows of seats and the equivalent of 10 rows of standing area."

A Ryanair spokesman said that Boeing had been consulted over refitting the fleet with "vertical seats" which would allow passengers to be strapped in while standing up, which would cost between £4 and £8 per person.

Safety testing will be carried out next year.

However, a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority said the plans would struggle to meet safety requirements.

He said: "It's aviation law that people have to have a seat-belt on from take-off and landing so they would have to be in a seat. I don't know how Mr O'Leary would get around that one. During turbulence passengers also have to have a seat-belt on."

Mr O'Leary was interviewed for ITV's How to Beat the Budget Airlines which airs on Thursday night at 7.30pm.

Creating photorealistic portraits with a finger and an iPad

Artists are taking to the iPad like ducks to water. The device seems to be a natural tool for many artists to use, and the public is now starting to see the fruits of the relationship in the form of some startling and beautiful digital art.

Kyle Lambert is a perfect example of an artist who has quickly adapted to the iPad as an art creation tool. The Cheshire, England based portrait artist recently spent six hours painting an astoundingly good portrait of performer Beyonce using an iPad, his finger, and the Brushes iPad app (US$7.99).

Lambert makes time-lapse movies of his creation process, and it's fascinating to see the details of Beyonce's face emerge from the digital canvas in the movie above. We'd also like to see what other professional artists are accomplishing with the iPad, so if you have a work that was created on the iPad or iPhone, let us know by clicking or tapping that Send a Tip link at the top of the page.

Thanks to Paul Kent for the tip!

Run Flash on iPad with Frash

Posted by: Ronald Williams

Flash on iPad ? Steve Jobs says, “No, it can’t happen because flash is not meant for its touchscreen technology.” But he is proven wrong by a developer with his new program, the Frash. With Frash, he was able to run flash on an iPad.

Frash is originally an adobe flash plug in that was released for the Android phones recently. You can use flash in the mobile Safari browser of iPad with Frash. See below the video of playing some flash games like “Kitten Cannon” on iPad with Frash.

Frash is still in its unstable form but it will soon be ready and Apple will have to find some other excuse for not running flash on iPad and iPhone. You have to jailbreak you iPad to use Frash. But if you don’t want to miss all those cool flash games, why not jailbreak you iPad. It may even work the same way on iPhone but only on the 3GS and iPhone4.

Cockney to disappear from London 'within 30 years'

Pearly king and queen
Cockney has been spoken in London for more than 500 years

The Cockney accent will disappear from London's streets within 30 years, according to new research.

A study by Paul Kerswill, Professor of Sociolinguistics at Lancaster University shows the Cockney accent will move further east.

In London, Cockney will be replaced by Multicultural London English - a mixture of Cockney, Bangladeshi and West Indian accents - the study shows.

"It will be gone within 30 years," says Prof Kerswill.


The study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, says the accent ,which has been around for more than 500 years, is being replaced in London by a new hybrid language.

The new accent, known in slang terms as Jafaican, is most famously spoken by rap star Dizzee Rascal.

"Cockney in the East End is now transforming itself into Multicultural London English, a new, melting-pot mixture of all those people living here who learnt English as a second language," Prof Kerswill says.

Prof Paul Kerswill on the new London language

Traditional Cockneys have moved out of the capital and into the surrounding counties of Essex and Hertfordshire, especially towns such as Romford and Southend, the study suggests.

In these areas, the accent and the culture continues to thrive and many teenagers still proudly claim their Cockney roots, according to the study.

"It has been transplanted to these towns," says Prof Kerswill.

To mark the change, Kings Place, an arts centre based in central London's Kings Cross, is asking Londoners to talk to elderly relatives and contribute Cockney poetry and phrases to an archive.

The study, called Multicultural London English: the emergence, acquisition and diffusion of a new variety, is due to be published in early 2011.

Italian creates world's largest maze

Franco Maria Ricci, the publisher behind Luigi Serafini's Codex Seraphinianus, creates seven-hectare maze at Fontanellato

Franco Maria Ricci's maze

An aerial view of Franco Maria Ricci's maze at Fontanellato near Parma. Photograph: Guardian

In a message announcing his retirement to the readers of art magazine FMR, the Italian publisher Franco Maria Ricci wrote: "To whoever asks me why, I shall answer in the same way as Voltaire: 'Laissez-moi cultiver mon jardin.' "

The full import of those words has only now become apparent six years later with the news that the man who published some of the world's most fantastical works ‑ and luxurious volumes ‑ has created its biggest maze. His labyrinth of bamboo hedges at Fontanellato near Parma reportedly covers some seven hectares (17.5 acres), which would make it more than five times larger than the Pineapple Garden Maze on Hawaii, the largest permanent hedge maze in the Guinness Book of Records.

The former publisher said he first confided his ambition to Jorge Luis Borges, who characteristically told him the world's largest maze already existed and was called a desert. The publisher of such flights of the imagination as Luigi Serafini's Codex Seraphinianus, an illustrated encyclopaedia dealing with a parallel world and written in an unintelligible alphabet, Ricci said he had based the design for his enormous labyrinth on mazes depicted in two Roman mosaics.

The maze will open to the public in 2012 when a visitors' centre has been built. Ricci said visitors would be advised to bring mobiles in case they needed help. A journalist from Corriere della Sera, which was given a first glimpse of the maze, recorded that he got lost on the return journey.

From Absinthe to Lizard Wine: Lethal Alcoholic Elixirs Around the World

By Alex Resnik

It’s in a blogger’s nature and interest to tout a catchy title, and such is the nature of “Lethal Elixirs.” However, it’s also in this blogger’s nature to strain the most scintillating factoids and pieces of categorical knowledge from the intwerweb mainframe milieu.

As such, consider the post below not a list of the world’s deadliest liquors, but rather suggestions for some of the more interesting ways to get your buzz on. And keep in mind that all of them can be lethal – if you drink enough. Sip, sip…


It’s made from sugar cane and is hugely popular among many Latin American drinkers. No, not rum – rather the national drink of Brazil: cachaça. Ranging anywhere from 38 to 80% alcohol by volume, cachaça – especially home-brews popular in the state of Minas Gerais – packs a punch.


Cachaça, like rum, is made from sugar cane. Unlike most rum, it’s made from the pure stuff (not molasses) so it can also be classified as a “rhum agricole.” In 2003, 1.3 billion liters of the stuff were produced in Brazil, though only a measly 1% was exported, mainly to Germany.

What does that mean for the gringo craving a taste? Almost all the cachaça found in the US is of the “industrial” type, passable for making a caipirinha but a far cry from the more delicious, very sip-able “artesanal” (artisanal) type, often aged in oak or other wood barrels to give it a golden hue.


Known in Brazil variously as aguardente, pinga, or caninha, cachaça is usually served in small cups at casual bars: order a pinga and you’ll get about three fingers of the stuff to take as a shot or just to sip on. Aguardente means “fire water,” and that’s exactly how it feels going down; a good cachaça has a sweet, funky aroma and a harsh back to it, similar to tequila. Chances are, you’ll either love it or hate it.


This brand of spirits is available in 151- and 190-proof concentrations, placing it at the top of our booze-o-meter. In fact, simple distillation cannot remove any more water from liquor once it hits a concentration of about 95% ethanol. Basically, you’re not going to find anything boozier than this.


As it’s a neutral grain spirit, Everclear is very low in congeners, those pesky impurities found in all distilled beverages that are said to contribute to hangovers. Unfortunately for party people everywhere, Everclear is most often mixed into horrid “cocktails” of the variety found at frat parties, so sugar and other ingredients offset any advantage the lack of congeners might have given you over your hangover.


Just a few examples of the many heinous concoctions made with Everclear include: Jungle Juice, Apple Pie Punch, Hunch Punch, Tucker Death Mix, PJ, Party Jungle Juice, Trashcan Punch, Alcoholic Jolly Rancher, Instant Death, Whoop Juice, Ladies’ Jungle Juice, Brain Fart, Alpha Gamma Rho Panty Dropper, Devil’s Piss, Elk Creek Water, Cherry Bomb #3, Killer Koolaid, Becky’s Magic Punch, Real Romulan Ale, Shut the Hell Up, El Bastardo, and Berry Deadly. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Maotai (茅台酒)

Never heard of maotai? That’s probably because China’s most popular liquor isn’t such a hit outside of the country. Classified under Chinese liquor distinctions as “sauce flavored” because of its strong fragrance and bold flavor, maotai has been described as tasting like a cross between stinky tofu and grappa (see below). Why it hasn’t caught on in the States is a mystery to us.

Weighing in at 53% alcohol, standard, maotai is distilled from fermented sorghum and has a soy sauce aroma to it. Maotai makes up about 30% of baiju (Chinese liquor) sales, and baiju in turn is arguably the most popular liquor in the world, with annual sales surpassing even those of vodka. Looks like it’s time to start acquiring that soy saucy, stinky tofu taste.



Like most peoples around the world, indigenous Latin Americans figured out their own beer fermentation process centuries ago. Long before the arrival of Europeans, the Inca began getting drunk their own way – a labor intensive affair.

Making chicha involves chewing on maize or another starchy plant, then spitting out the mass and letting it sit for several hours. Natural enzymes in the saliva break the starch down into a simple sugar that can then be turned into alcohol by wild bacteria and yeast. The result is a drink similar to beer in appearance, with a slightly lower alcohol content (1 to 3%).

Varieties of chicha are as numerous as the peoples who make it, all over Latin America, but you can expect to drink something slightly sweet, with a sour aftertaste. If the whole spitting thing turns you off, keep in mind that the fermentation process effectively sterilizes the drink.



From Turks to Mongols, Baskhirs to Uzbeks, and Yakuts to Kyrgyz, the Central Asian steppes are going wild for that creamy taste of Kumis!

At times called “milk champagne,” Kumis is a mare’s milk dairy product similar to kefir that has a mild alcohol content, ranging from 0.7 to 2.5%. Fermented over the course of hours or days, the drink is chock full of Lactobacilli bacteria that acidify it, and yeasts that carbonate and boozify it.

Traditionally among nomadic tribes, the kumis was carried throughout the day on horseback, where it was tossed around enough to keep it agitated, therefore not spoiling. Today, the process more closely resembles butter churning.



Distill kumis, and you’ve got arkhi, a favorite drink of countryside Mongolians. Often referred to simply as “vodka,” it’s a lot boozier than its cousin kumis, but still low-gravity at around 12%. Of course, Mongolian men who can’t drink arkhi are considered pretty pusillanimous.

Hejie Jiu

Requiring the most potently poisonous reptile available, hejie jiu is basically a rice wine or whiskey. The lizard, most commonly a gecko, is submerged in the spirits and left to stew for anywhere from 10 days to a year. It’s one of China’s strongest brews.


Hejie jiu is considered to be incredibly healthy; proof is in the rock-solid evidence that any reptile’s stare seems to scare away such ailments as cancer, arthritis, and ulcers [Ed note: Yea, I'l still be visiting my GP, thanks]. The more poisonous the animal is, the more potent the drink’s medicinal properties are said to be.

Ruou Mat Ran (ruợu mặt rắn)

Prepared table-side in finer Vietnamese restaurants, you might notice ruou mat ran being served when the waiter slices open a live snake to get at the gallbladder inside. The bile in the snake’s gallbladder is mixed into a glass of rice wine and served as an aperitif.


The drink is usually served before a dinner prepared from the rest of the snake. Ruou mat ran earns bonus points for not only getting you drunk, but also making you “strong” (if you’re a guy). In addition, this snake bile wine is said to bless the drinker with a variety of other health benefits.


For some people, grappa may bring back bad memories. Memories of a certain European trip, when imbibing the spirit distilled from grapes led to certain regrettable actions that would echo throughout the years… But that’s only for some, and I digress.


Actually considered a kind of brandy, in the tradition of Spanish orujo and Portuguese aguardente, grappa is made from leftovers of the winemaking process: pomace and grape skins, stems, and seeds. Sweet, deep, and abrasive, this one packs a funky punch, and leaves you with a hangover to match. Not that we would know.


Long considered a drink of bohemians at the fringes of society, there are a lot of myths and controversy concerning absinthe. First is the idea that the anise-flavored spirit has hallucinogenic properties. With such eccentric personalities as Toulouse-Lautrec, van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, and Aleister Crowley proudly pledging allegiance to the Green Fairy, it’s no wonder absinthe had been tagged a psychoactive drug and banned in the US and most European countries by 1915.


Absinthe is derived from a wide variety of herbs, most clearly anise but also wormwood, which contains thujone, a chemical previously thought to have psychedelic qualities. The truth is that thujone has been conclusively found to have no such characteristics. We chalk it up to absinthe’s very high 45 to 74% alcohol content, which is said to lend the drinker a clearer, more lucid drunk.


Artichoke liqueur, anyone? Cynar (pronounced “chi-NAR”) is actually made from 13 different herbs and plants, but the artichoke is king.

Image: www.20×

Europeans drink the bitters as an aperitif over ice or as a cocktail with a variety of sodas, juices, or other mixers. At 16.5% alcohol, expect cynar to leave you with a bittersweet taste. Campari claims “It perfectly conserves all the health properties of the ingredients used in its preparation,” and it’s “only moderately alcoholic.” Claiming it’s healthy and low in alcohol? Sounds like asking for trouble.

Yogurito (ヨグリート)

Japanese mega-retailer Rakuten has this to say about yogurt liqueur Yogurito:

“Yogurito (Yogurito) is stuffed full of delicious liqueur natural yoghurt natural yoghurt play. In conjunction with the sense Renjishusu Furuyoguruto Oh, please enjoy refreshing cocktails and soda divide.”

Enough said.


They also suggest two different cocktails one could make with Yogurito:

Yogurito Orange
Yogurito ················ 1 / 4
Orange Juice ··········· 3 / 4

Yogurito Soda
Yogurito ················ 1 / 3
Soda ··················· 2 / 3

Yogurito is produced in Europe but, yeah, only the Japanese drink it.

Eating champ leaves NY jail after hot dog fracas

Six-time hot dog eating contest champion Takeru Kobayashi, center, of Japan is taken into custody by New York police officers after he jumped on stage at the end of the hot dog eating contest in New York's Coney Island on Sunday, July 4, 2010.

(07-05) 11:25 PDT New York (AP) --

Japanese eating champion Takeru Kobayashi, arrested at a July Fourth hot dog-eating contest, was freed Monday after a night in jail, looking a little weary and saying he was hungry.

Kobayashi, wearing a black T-shirt bearing the message "Free Kobi" in green letters, was freed by a Brooklyn judge after he pleaded not guilty. The slim, boyish 32-year-old said he consumed only a sandwich and some milk in jail.

A contract dispute had kept Kobayashi out of Sunday's annual Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest, but he showed up anyway.

"I was there as a spectator, just to cheer on my buddies," he said through an interpreter outside court Monday. Fans chanted for him, and "in the heat of it, I jumped on the stage, hoping they would let me eat."


His attorney, Mario D. Romano, said his client was waved up onstage after spectators began chanting "Let him eat!"

"Shortly after he got on the stage, he was grabbed from behind by officers," Romano said.

Kobayashi was charged with obstruction of governmental administration, resisting arrest, trespassing and disorderly conduct.

Kobayashi, who's currently living in New York, had refused to sign a contract with Major League Eating, the fast food equivalent of the NFL. On his Japanese-language blog, he said he wanted to be free to enter contests sanctioned by other groups.

But a few days ago, he told Japan's Kyodo News: "I really want to compete in the (Coney Island) event."

Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, of San Jose, Calif., won by downing 54 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

Joey Chestnut won the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Brookly, New York Sunday, and Takeru Kobayashi was arrested shortly after for storming the stage.

After witnessing the drama involving Kobayashi, Chestnut said, "I feel bad for him."

Chestnut claimed the mustard-yellow champion's belt and a $20,000 purse but was disappointed with his own performance. The 26-year-old was aiming for a record 70 dogs in 10 minutes. Last year, he ate 68 dogs, four more than Kobayashi.

Major League Eating issued a statement calling Kobayashi's actions "inappropriate and unfortunate."

"Kobayashi was a great champion and we hope that he is able to resolve his current situation and move past this," the organization said.

NIN fans FINALLY finish professional quality Live BluRay In January 2009, Trent Reznor "leaked" 405Gb of HD footage of Nine Inch Nails' Lights in The Sky tour footage to fans. Jump forward 18 months and TODAY, after many audio and DVD releases, the thisoneisonus group is proud to announce the release of our final project from this footage - a professionally mastered, color-corrected and authored Blu-Ray.

click here for the torrent:

World’s Greatest Homeless Sign Ever!

There is no question in my mind that this is the greatest and most creative homeless sign I’ve ever seen. I would give this “man” ever single last dollar that I have in my wallet. I wish I knew where he was located so that I could send him a few sawbucks…if only I could see him.

…it makes me almost as curious as this.