Could Jackie Evancho be the next Susan Boyle?
The latest episode of 'America's Got Talent' (Tue., 9PM ET on NBC) featured a special twist. The show presented only acts that have never been seen before, and these contestants had to submit their auditions through YouTube. So, we got some surprises -- and the best one was the 10-year-old opera singer.
Jackie Evancho is small. She's tiny. She's very young. But she has a big, big voice. She's an incredibly amazing opera singer. And the judges were stunned by her performance. But anyone would be stunned, after hearing such a singing voice come out of such a young child.
Judge Howie Mandel said this: "All we [wanted] to do was find that one moment; that one gem. ... And you know what? This is the moment; you're the star."
Piers Morgan was even more straightforward in his praise: "That is one of the most extraordinary performances I've ever seen."
What do you think? Could little Jackie win it all? We're still a little shocked by how amazing her voice is.
You can check out the full performance below:
Thursday, August 12, 2010
|Are these outfits offensive?|
Last year, the festival -- which takes place the first weekend in October and is part of the annual global celebration of German heritage and culture -- was nearly booted from Soulard Market Park when a handful of market vendors and nearby homeowners complained that drunken revelers were peeing in public and tearing up flower beds.
This year Oktoberfest moves to Lyon Park, near the Budweiser Brewery and away from the neighborhood's residential areas, so noise and rowdy behavior won't be an issue.
But this time around, a kerfuffle is being caused by advertisements for the festival that feature a quartet of comely beer-toting women sporting traditional German folk costumes -- and massive amounts of cleavage.
The ads (see images below) depict four waitresses from festival-sponsor Johnny's Restaurant & Bar in Soulard. They are similar to ones that ran last year on billboards near freeways and major streets in the city.
John McKinstry, the founder of the seven-year-old festival, says his organization had a deal with Metro advertising contractor JCDecaux for the ads to appear on bus shelters in St. Louis city and county. The company handles advertising sales and installation for 662 bus stops in the region, according to its website.
McKinstry says he asked JCDecaux if the content of the ads -- which cost $11,200, about ten percent of Oktoberfest's total publicity budget -- was going to be an issue.
"I did say, 'You've seen our girls. Because of the nature of some of the pictures, you need to be sure and run this by whomever,'" McKinstry recalls. "They said 'We don't really have a problem with it, but just so you don't have the expense of printing all this up, we'll run it past [Metro] just to be sure.'"
Last week the arrangement fell through when Metro decided that the ads were too racy for their tastes. McKinstry says that in attempt to appease Metro, Oktoberfest created a new poster -- one that's slightly more modest than the original -- but the transit agency wouldn't change their minds.
McKinstry provided before and after pictures. Here's the original:
And here is the second one, which looks nearly identical to the original except blurry and with some cleavage edited out with Photoshop.
"It was a total runaround," McKinstry complains. "I heard back from [JCDecaux] and they said '[Metro] doesn't want any of the girls up at all in the posters. I was livid. Nobody would give me any answers. I want to know who sets the policy. We can't put the posters up because there's some faceless bureaucrat out there."
JCDecaux did not return a call seeking comment for this story.
Reached by phone yesterday afternoon, Janet Jennewein, director of sales and marketing at Metro, confirmed that the Oktoberfest account was indeed canceled by her agency. She declined to comment further, except to say that Metro has a written policy that spells out whether advertising content is suitable for the agency's bus shelters.
Metro spokeswoman Dianne Williams provided a list of Metro's (click for .pdf)
"Advertising Standards and Guidelines." Williams did not respond to an email asking how the Oktoberfest ads broke the rules.
One passage prohibits anything that "contains material which is likely to offend, discomfort, or annoy Metro customers, or make them feel unwelcome, unsafe, or uncomfortable." Another guideline bans anything that "fosters sexual, racial, religious or other offensive stereotypes," which these posters would certainly seem to do -- if sexy stein-wielding frauleins could somehow be considered offensive.
According to Metro's website, ticket sales only account for about 20 percent of its operating costs -- the rest comes from taxpayer dollars and other sources, such as advertising at bus shelters.
"The travesty in my mind," McKinstry says, "is that Metro is already having a hard time making ends meet. We were willing to spend $11,200 for posters that aren't as revealing as the billboards we already have. We were spending money in the city. Now we're going to spend it somewhere else."
And what would a Johnson commercial be without its '80s counterpart, the Wunder Boner?
I don't know if this parallel DB25 to serial DE9 to serial Mini DIN-8 to USB converting ghetto chain works, but a reader says it does, and I really, really want to believe him. Here's the alleged proof:
It can be doctored, but the world would be a better place if it were real—even if it probably breaks the laws of quantum physics. [Thanks Mike!
BY LUKE FUNK
MYFOXNY.COM - Your thumbprint might soon be the key to an afternoon candy bar. A Massachusetts based vending machine company is joinng the growing ranks of companies that are field-testing new technologies.
Next Generation Vending and Food Service is experimenting with biometric vending machines that would allow a user to tie a credit card to their thumbprint.
"For a certain demographic that is pretty cool," says company president John S. Ioannou.
Next Generation is currently testing about 60 of the biometric machines in various locations in the northeast.
The company is also testing other technologies. Ioannou says the key to the transforming the vending machine business is making the consumer feel more engaged.
The days might be numbered where a consumer watches a bag of chips roll through the machine and drop. Next Generation is also testing a machine that includes a 46" touch-screen display that acts similarly to an iPhone display. The user can click on an item, flip the image and even see the nutrional information on the back of the packaging.
Ioannou says initial results are good saying, "The feedback is extraordinary."
The machines include internally mounted cameras to monitor what is going on outside of the machine.
The tests are scheduled to run through the end of 2010. After that, Next Generation will decide if it is worth rolling out across its sales region in the northeast and Pennsylvania.
The company is also installing wireless or Ethernet connections on all of its current machines so there will be real-time reporting of the amount of goods in the machine for restocking purposes. Monitors will even be able to report when a coin is stuck in the machine. All of the current machines will be upgraded by the end of 2011.
There are other innovations that are being tested outside of the United States, including machines that use retinal scans to identify and charge consumers for their purchases.
Photo by Yvonne Ayoub
Within the plumage of a peacock lies a complex architecture that's continuously changing color. Or so it seems. Though the colors of a peacock are revered, it is just as stunning--if not more so--without them. Often referred to as an albino peacock, it is nothing of the sort. It's technically a white peacock which is a genetic variant of the Indian Blue Peafowl.
The colors in the feathers of a bird are determined two factors: pigment and structure. For example, the green in some parrots is a result of yellow pigments over blue-reflecting feathers. In the case of a white peacock, its unusual lack-of-color is due to a missing pigment. This missing pigment is dark and absorbs incident light, making diffracted and interference light visible (i.e. common peacocks). The effect is similar to that of oil on water.
Photo by *amy&kimball
Pigment colorization in birds comes from three different groups: melanins, carotenoids, and porphyrines. Melanins occur as tiny specs of color in both the skin and feathers, and ranges from the darkest black to pale yellows. Carotenoids are plant-based and are acquired only by eating plants or by eating something that ate a plant. They produce bright yellows and brilliant oranges. The last pigment group, Porphyrins, produces a range of colors including pink, browns, reds, and greens.
But feather structure is as important to color as pigment. Each feather consists of thousands of flat branches, each with minuscule bowl-shaped indentations. At the bottom of each indentation is a lamellae (thin plate-like layers), that acts like a prism, splitting light. It's the same principle for butterflies and humming birds.
Photo by Dileep Govindaraju
UCF coach George O’ Leary is either really oblivious or just an impressive con artist. Given his uh, history, I’m thinking it’s the latter. He’s somehow convinced UCF alumni, fans and the general public that he had no idea that it was Shanna McLaughlin, a Playboy Playmate, doing a photo/video shoot in his locker room.
You’re sly Mr. O’Leary, but I’m onto you.
“I approved the magazine,” O’Leary told a Sentinel reporter after practice ended Saturday. “The guy called my office and basically wanted to know if they could do a magazine shoot. There was a UCF girl who had her MBA and all that. And the only thing I asked is, ‘Is that a magazine that is distributed on campus?’ And they said, ‘Yes.’ They’ve done I think four, since I’ve been here at least four, initial copies of football [previews] opening up the football season.”
Wait, just hold on a second here–she has her MBA? Well then, by God, she must be a clean, wholesome woman who was just going in the locker room to be filmed doing “Hail Marys” with her rosary.
Video and photos of the pure, innocent Shanna McLaughlin below.
UCF coach O’Leary: I gave permission for Playmate shoot in UCF locker room [Orlando Sentinel]
An expedition to the Colombian Amazon has just revealed a new species of titi monkey that's the size of a house-cat and sports a bushy red beard, Conservation International announced today. The discovery is also described in the journal Primate Conservation.
Titi monkeys hail from South America and are territorial, monogamous, and always possess furry, never prehensile, tails. Most have a white, bar-shaped patch of fur on their foreheads, but the new monkey, Callicebus caquetensis, is an exception, as you can see.
(Photos: Javier Garcia)
(These images also come to mind, but that's too much pop culture...)
Scientists Thomas Defler, Marta Bueno and Javier García discovered the new monkey in what is known as the Department of Caquetá, Colombia. They couldn't celebrate for long, however, as they realized this species is critically endangered due to rapid loss of its forest home.
Caquetá has experienced political unrest for many years. Due to the presence of insurgent groups, travel to this region was extremely difficult. García, however, grew up there, and had heard talk about the mysterious, yet previously undescribed, monkey. He was able to examine the local wildlife while hiking and using GPS. Doing this, he found 13 groups of the new monkey, which has a very distinctive, complex call.
Crank up your volume a bit and listen to the call here:
“This discovery is extremely exciting because we had heard about this animal, but for a long time we could not confirm if it was different from other titis," said Defler. "We now know that this is a unique species, and it shows the rich diversity of life that is still to be discovered in the Amazon."
In addition to the other mentioned features, Callicebus caquetensis has grayish-brown hair and a long tail stippled with gray.
Titi monkeys such as this form life-long relationships. Pairs are often seen sitting on a branch with their tails entwined. They usually have one baby per year. As a new baby arrives, the parents force the oldest baby to leave to allow them to focus on the newborn.
(An illustration of some titi monkeys; Credit Stephen Nash)
The families of this new titi species stick together in groups of about 4 individuals and can be seen in the trees close to some of the main rivers of Caquetá. But, according to CI, this newly discovered species is struggling to survive.
It is estimated that less than 250 Caquetá titi monkeys exist -- a healthy population should be in the thousands. The main reason for this small number is the degradation of the forests in the area, which have been felled for agricultural land. It is very dangerous, and sometimes impossible, for these animals to move to other patches of forest as they have to cross grassy savannah or barbed wire fences to reach them.
The researchers ask that the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classify this new monkey as Critically Endangered, meaning it faces an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future.
“This discovery is particularly important because it reminds us that we should celebrate the diversity of Earth but also we must take action now to preserve it,” said José Vicente Rodríguez, head of science at Conservation International in Colombia and president of the Colombia Association of Zoology. “When world leaders meet later this year in Japan for the Convention on Biological Diversity, they must commit to the creation of many more protected areas if we want to ensure the survival of threatened creatures like this in the Amazon and around the world.”
Leave it to Mercedes to think about making a 3D movie that defines speed.
Mercedes SLS AMG, a closed section of the Isle of man, an ex-Formula 1 star and BBC presenter David Coulthard, Britains best 3D teams, boom cars and choppers.
- Assemble Britain’s brightest talents in 3D technology.
- Ask David Coulthard to drive the SLS AMG as fast as he possibly could (and mind you – he is fast).
- Track the paces with “another” Mercedes SLS AMG with a boot 3D camera (driven by none other than rally ace – Robbie Head), a modified 4×4 with a V10 engine, special boom cars and several helicopters.
Note: Once the camera’s were off, Coulthard went on to accomplish his personal goal of clocking 162 mph on the snake-like Isle of Man, which is the country’s lone stretch of public roadway that doesn’t have a speed limit
Check out the video (in true 3D) on Sky’s 3D pub channel this Sunday. Wired reports that the producers have brokered a deal “with a major electronics brand” to show it on the company’s gear across its stores.
You can also check out the trailer for the film, and a “making of the film” below.
Remember the McDonald's drive-thru customer who went all 28 Days after she was told they'd stopped serving Chicken McNuggets? Obviously a story like this is a hundred times more awesome if you can watch the actual attack, and fortunately for us the security footage of the event is now available.
The woman's friend told the local news station that the manager is to blame because she's rude to customers: "They called her names first." Also, "You get home, there's no fries, so you go back up there and, you know, she's gonna argue with you about it." And finally, "Well it was New Years. You know, stuff like that-- you drink."
Update: Here's a higher-quality version of the video, although it may not stay up on YouTube for very long. (Thanks to GitEmSteveDave!)
"McNugget rage caught on tape at Toledo McDonald's" [KSDK] (Thanks to Pete!)
By Josh Tyler:
Being a man isn’t what it used to be. When my grandfather was born ninety years ago, he was pushed into a world which expected certain things from him because of his gender. He was a man, he had to stand on his own two feet. He would be a provider, a fixer, and when it was called for, a fighter. A man had to be independent. A man had to be strong. A man had to be in charge. A man had hair on his chest and even more hair on his balls. He’d take care of women, knowing that they couldn’t take care of themselves. He’d keep his emotions to himself, because there were things to be done and no time for tears. He’d make a living with his hands, he’d grow calluses on his finger tips. A man’s role was certain, you were born knowing what kind of a person you were supposed to be. But even then, the world was changing.
I wonder what the world would look like now, to my grandfather. Could he understand it? Could he comprehend it? Even before he died a decade ago, my grandfather seemed like a stranger lost in a strange land. He stayed trapped inside a cocoon of his own devising because the world had moved on, and there was simply no way he could move on with it. Most of those changes have been for the better. Men have, after a little prodding, willingly sacrificed their dominant place in society and moved over to give women an equal place next to them. In doing so we’ve gradually modified what it means to be a man, and that’s mostly been for the better too. But inside every guy there’s that caveman waiting to get out, that testosterone fueled badass who wants to take charge and grab hold of the universe with his own two hands. For awhile, movies provided an outlet for that. Stallone and Schwarzenegger built their careers on it in the 80s. But then that too, changed. And maybe that wasn’t always for the better.
Movies are, to those funding them, an investment. You put money in and you hope that, if the people you’ve given the money to use it right, you’ll get even more money back out. At some point, someone in Hollywood figured out that the best way to make the most money was by filming something which catered to the widest range of tastes possible. You can make an action movie, and a lot of men will want to see it. But action movies, more than any other type of movie, cost a lot of money to make. If you’re going to spend that much on a film, then you want to make sure you get as many people as possible buying a ticket. So you take that action movie, add a female character, give her a romantic subplot, and then maybe women will want to see it too. Or if you really want to get the girls battering down the box office, you make your male characters softer, weaker, better looking, better dressers, chiseled chins, smaller muscles, and more relatable to more types of audience members. Make your male lead a pale, frail-looking, well-mannered, tortured vampire. Make your male lead someone even your mother could love. Sensitive is sexy, isn’t it?
The stars of The Expendables are not pretty, and the movie doesn’t try to clean them up. It tells the story of men who are old, and worn, and wrinkled, and meaty. The film’s heroes are balding and calloused, their faces made of leather and stone. Their idea of fashion sense is wearing Kevlar vests over Hawaiian shirts. The Expendables contains no romantic subplot. The closest it gets to romance is in the decision to help a girl because she’s pretty, and even then it’s only because protecting girls is what real Men do. When one of the Expendables wants to say I love you, he does it by beating up a bunch of other dudes. Expendables is a movie for men. There’s a plot, but they don’t pay much attention to it. There are characters, but more often than not The Expendables is happy to ignore names and simply refer to its major players as “Men”. When Eric Roberts calls Steve Austin “this man” he says it in a way that you know MAN was written on his script in all capital letters.
The Expendables is a manly movie in every sense of the word. It’s a film about Men taking action, Men blowing things up, and Men punching what’s wrong. It’s the kind of movie you just don’t see anymore. The explosions and gunfire are still there in our modern, action-movie world, but the guys are always secretly sensitive and there’s always a girl. He’s socially responsible, maybe he even recycles. I bet he’s a good dancer. Not the Expendables.
Except in the real world, Men don’t exist anymore. We’ve scrubbed them from our society. Those that are left, we mock and ignore. Sensitive is sexy and modern men are probably more like Patrick Dempsey than they are like Sylvester Stallone. I know I am, and I like it that way. But even a weakling nerd like me has a little Stallone inside him somewhere, and I need him. It’s the caveman inside a man that gives him the strength to stand up and do what’s right, when it isn’t easy. It’s the caveman inside that gives a man the endurance get up every morning and go to a job he hates, just to make enough money to put his kid through college. It’s the caveman who propels our soldiers, bravely off to war, defending their country in the face of certain death. Women do those things too and since I’m not one, I won’t pretend to know what it is that pushes them to be better people; but for men, I think a lot of what keeps us going, what keeps pushing us to achieve, is that inner caveman.
I’ve still got a little of that buried somewhere inside me, maybe in part because I’m over thirty, and old enough to remember the glory days of barbarians and badasses in my movies. But where are our sons going to find their inner caveman? How will your boy know what being a Man is all about? He won’t get it by shaving off all his body hair, oiling up, and watching So I Think You Can Dance. The Expendables is not a great movie, maybe it’s not even a good movie, but it’s a MAN movie in all capital letters. For fathers, The Expendables is a rare opportunity to share a little bit of the manly movie magic they shared with their dads, with their own sons.
You could take your son to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and let him live in a world of hipster dufus imagination, and that’ll be a lot of fun. But there’s plenty of time for fantasy. This weekend, for one weekend, maybe even for the last weekend ever, it’s the weekend of Men. Don’t let your son grow up without a little bit of The Expendables swinging a club somewhere deep down inside him. He’ll need that inner caveman. The world is changing and that’s a good thing, as long as we hang on to a little piece of whatever it was that made us men to begin with. This may be your last chance to share what that is, with your kid. Leave the women at home and growl your way into a theater with your son. Be Men.
When it comes to sports venues, it's usually pretty cut and dry. There's the field of play, the seats for spectators, some bathrooms, some concessions, and that's about it. Even venues that are considered to have character (Wrigley Field, Fenway, etc.) pretty much follow the same formula. But if you search hard enough, you’ll find there are some truly amazing venues that are worth of being called unique. Here are nine such examples.
9. “Janguito Malucelli” (Eco-Stadium) - Brazil
Home of the Brazilian football team Corinthians Paranaense, Brazil’s “Janguito Malucelli” is billed as the country’s first eco-stadium. The 6000 spectator seats are built straight into the hillside, and the entire stadium was built without the use of concrete. In order to minimize impact on the neighboring forest, all of the wood used in the structure was recycled.
However, the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa, is truly a unique setting. Originally built for the 1989 film of the same name, the field is right in the middle of an Iowa farm. Rows of cornstalks sit in place of an outfield wall, and the iconic farmhouse used in the film still stands. Visitors are encouraged to play in ongoing pickup games, and the field is occasionally used for reenactments with the “ghost players” from the film. If you build it, they will come.
7. Igralište Batarija - Croatia
In the U.S., a lot is made of the “historic” nature of stadiums such as Wrigley Field and Fenway Park, even though neither stadium has even hit the century mark. Granted, the fact that you can watch a game from atop the “Green Monster” at Fenway or from apartment rooftops at Wrigley is somewhat charming. But it doesn’t compare to watching the game from a fifteenth century castle. Fans of the HNK Trogir soccer club in Croatia can do just that. And if the castle is filled up, the stadium itself has 1000 extra seats.
6. Uummannaq Ice Golf Course - Greenland
While there are many stunning golf courses throughout the world, the “ice golf” course in Uummannaq, Greenland might take the cake. Home to the 2009 Ice Golf Championship, the course was set up and maintained by locals. It is 600 km north of the Arctic Circle, and only golfers with a handicap of 36 or better were allowed to take part.
5. Allianz Arena – Germany
While the giant, bean-like structure is interesting enough, what really makes this Munich soccer stadium unique is the fact that entire facade is able to change color. Aside from being a gimmick to draw publicity, it also serves a more practical purpose. Since the stadium is home to multiple teams, the color is updated to correspond with whatever club is playing on a particular day.
4. The Float at Marina Bay - Singapore
Many stadiums offer an ocean view. But how about a sports venue that’s actually on the Ocean.
The Float in Singapore is a multipurpose stadium that is literally floating on the water. Designed as a temporary stadium to be used until completion of permanent structure, the Float will be in service until at least 2011. While the stadium itself can hold up to 30,000 people, the actual floating field can only handle about 9000.
3. Estádio Municipal de Braga - Portugal
This stadium in Braga stands out because of its close proximity to a rock quarry. By close, I mean the structure is carved directly into the side of the rock. While one goal faces the rocky terrain, the other offers sweeping views of the city. Widely considered one of the mist beautiful stadiums in Europe, it won the Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award for the best new global design in 2006.
2. Gjøvik Olympic Mountain Hall - Norway
Built for the 1994 Winter Olympics, Gjøvik Olympic Mountain Hall is located in the mountains of Gjøvik, Norway. Literally. It’s completely inside of the god damn mountain. The stadium is used primarily for hockey, and can seat up to 6000 fans. It is considered the world’s largest cavern hall for public use.
1. Burj Al Arab Hotel Helipad Tennis Court - Dubai
The Burj Al Arab Hotel converted their 321m high helipad into what must be the most fascinating, if not practical, tennis venue in the world. What it lacks in spectator seating it more than makes up for in 360 degree views of Dubai. While in town for the Dubia Championships, Roger Federer and Andre Agassi were lucky enough to play a friendly scrimmage here. More than a few tennis balls went over the side.
After three years of stalled progress, New York subway riders will soon be able to surf the Web via free Wi-Fi. Transit Wireless, a conglomerate of wireless and construction companies that was awarded a contract back in 2007 to embark on a Wi-Fi project with New York Transit, has come up with the money it needs to move forward with the project.
Broadcast Australia will foot the bill that is expected to cost $200 million. As part of the deal, Broadcast Australia will take a majority stake in Transit Wireless. In 2007, Transit Wireless promised to complete the job in 10 years. Now, it will have two years to wire six subterranean stations near 14th Street on Manhattan’s West Side to transmit mobile-phone signals to passengers on the platform. It will also have as many as four more years to complete the remaining 271 underground stations.
The Wi-Fi will come by means of smoke detector-size antennas which Transit Wireless will begin installing within the next two months. Once the project is complete, riders will have mobile service on the platform, mezzanines and portions of the tunnels. Because the work on the subway system is limited to the platforms, it is not expected to interfere with regular train service.
As early as this fall, car passengers and anyone else who happens to be within 400 feet of Internet-enabled vehicles may be able to surf as well. Venture capitalist Alex Mashinsky plans to outfit 1,000 livery cars in New York City with free, ad-supported Wi-Fi. The mobile hotpots will enable car passengers as well as anyone who is within 400 feet of the Internet-enabled vehicles to surf the Web.
In the beginning, cars from LimoRes Car & Limo Service, UTOG Corporate Car Service, and Velocity Limo will get the Wi-Fi service. Eventually, Mashinsky hopes to be able to offer Wi-Fi beyond just the inside of cars. Since livery cars idle extensively, many people on foot will be able to take advantage of the initial free Wi-Fi offering. Once a person walks beyond the range of the hotspot, however, the individual must find a new hotspot or stop surfing. Mashinsky hopes next-generation wireless technology will address this and make it easier for cars to provide Wi-Fi to the streets of Manhattan.