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Thursday, September 23, 2010

10 Great New Green Restaurants in the U.S.

by Jeff Kart, Bay City, Michigan

photo cups coffee green restaurant association 
Photo via CUPS blog

The restaurant business can be an extremely wasteful one -- and those times when you don't have time to cook or just feel like someone else's cooking, can have a serious impact on your footprint. Luckily the foodies have options, with more and more sustainable restaurants springing up around the world. With this in mind, we've culled 10 great new restaurants in the U.S., with help from the extensive Green Restaurant Association database and reviews from both diners and other publications. Each restaurant -- offering a variety of cuisine -- has been in operation for less than a year.

Restaurants can accumulate points in seven categories to earn a green badge from the Green Restaurant Association:

  • Chemical and Pollution Reduction
  • Water Efficiency
  • Waste Reduction and Recycling
  • Sustainable Furnishings and Building Materials
  • Sustainable Food
  • Energy, and Disposables.

Based on the number of points earned, restaurants are designated as a 2-Star (at least 100 points) or a 3-Star (at least 175 points) Certified Green Restaurant.

1. CUPS 3-star (194.42 points)

Location: La Jolla, California

Cuisine: Organic Cupcakes/Lounge

Review from Yelp:

I opted for the chocolate milk and my bf got the maple w/bacon...wowza!! I'm telling you..we could've skipped breakfast and just had some of those! It tasted like pancakes w/bacon and syrup..mmmm.. The cupcakes were very moist and generous w/the topping as well.


At CUPS, 30% of main dishes are vegetarian. They source certified organic items, boast many vegan options, and feature recycled flooring, countertops, and decor. They also recycle cardboard, paper, plastics, glass, and aluminum, and staff dines on 100% reusables.

2. Frontera Grill & Topolobampo (3-star certified, 175.02)

photo frontera topolobampo chicago 

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Cuisine: Mexican Fusion

Review from Frommers:

Owners Rick and Deann Bayless are widely credited with bringing authentic Mexican regional cuisine to a wider audience. Their restaurant is the place to taste real Mexican food, so don't show up expecting a plate of nachos with processed-cheese topping. The building actually houses two restaurants: the casual Frontera Grill (plain wood tables, terra-cotta tile floor) and the fine-dining Topolobampo (white linen tablecloths, a more hushed environment). At both restaurants, the focus is on fresh, organic ingredients supplied by local artisanal farmers.


Frontera features local and regionally-sourced certified organic foods and water is served only upon request. If every U.S. restaurant did this, the Green Restaurant Association tells us, we would save 26 million gallons of water per year.

The restaurant has a full-scale recycling program, composts pre-consumer and post-consumer waste and is conveniently located close to major public transportation outlets, helping reduce pollution. Plus, their vehicles use alternative fuels.

3. Adam's Sustainable Table (3-star certified, 253.29)

photo sustainable table fish oregon 

Location: Eugene, Oregon

Cuisine: Eclectic (they have a little bit of everything, from comfort food to Northwest specialties)

Review from Tripadvisor:

Adam's recently received the award as the first 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant in Oregon. This might lead you to think that the food is MERELY good for you, but Adam has maintained his reputation as a fine chef while sticking to his mission: sustainability and a zero carbon footprint. We go back regularly for the salads, the hormone free meat and fresh fish. Especially good last time was the "hand cut papardelle with braised lamb". We also love the bread, baked in the restaurant. Though the menu has changed from the original Adam's Place, the martinis have remained. And they are excellent.


At the Sustainable Table, to-go containers are made from 100% recycled (35% post-consumer recycled) content that's processed without chlorine; others are made from corn-based material. The restaurant's decor is made up of everything from refurbished chairs and tables to bamboo window treatments and lamps made from recycled cans.

4. Del Posto (3-star certified, 175.62)

photo del posto new york 

Location: New York, New York

Cuisine: Italian

Review from The New York Times:

Del Posto, which means "of the place," has ample ethnic grounding in Italy's fancier restaurants. It also has something more important: mostly terrific food, distinguished by first-rate ingredients (the arugula here makes arugula at many other restaurants seem like iceberg in drag), clear flavors and, more often than not, superior cooking.


Del Posto sources sustainable seafood; uses low-flow sink aerators, which help conserve water; and installed compact fluorescent lamps and occupancy sensors in the restrooms and walk-in cooler. They also buy free-range and hormone-free meats.

A full-scale recycling and composting program includes grease recycling, and the interior features recycled materials including tables made from salvaged wood.

5. Uncommon Ground (3-star certified, 228.16)

photo rooftop garden uncommon ground 

Location: Chicago

Cuisine: American Comfort Food

Review from Frommers:

When you're looking for refuge from Cubs game days and party nights in Wrigleyville, Uncommon Ground offers a dose of laid-back, vaguely bohemian civility. Just off busy Clark Street, the cafe has a fireplace in winter (when the cafe's bowl -- yes, bowl -- of hot chocolate is a sight for cold eyes) and a spacious sidewalk operation in more temperate months.


Uncommon Ground serves local food, and uses reclaimed wood in its decor and furniture. The uniforms are even made from organic cotton, and there's a full-scale recycling and composting program.

6. Comb Ridge Coffee (3-star certified, 208.5)

photo comb ridge coffee utah 

Location: Bluff, Utah

Cuisine: Coffee Shop

Review from Tripadvisor:

In a land where people get confused when you try to explain what being vegetarian means, Comb Ridge Coffee is a king among restaurants. My soy chai latte was so awesome, I went back for another and the food is excellent. Great atmosphere; my fiancee and I sat on comfy sofas and read magazines for awhile before continuing our journey. I'm so glad this place exists!


Comb Ridge serves only organic food and fair-trade coffee. In addition, kitchen equipment is energy efficient; glassware and dishes are reusable; and the restaurant runs a full-scale recycling and compost program.

7. Michael & Ping's Modern Chinese Take-Out (2-star certified, 134.5)

photo michael pings ny take out 

Location: Brooklyn, New York

Cuisine: Chinese Fusion

Review from Metromix New York:

You'll find standards like beef and broccoli, kung pao chicken and steamed pork dumplings, but unorthodox (and un-Chinese) additions like banh mi and pad thai announce that this isn't your typical old-school delivery joint.


Michael & Ping's offers vegan and vegetarian food options and has installed energy efficient dish and ice machines, hand dryers, and occupancy sensors.

8. Muir Woods Trading Co. ( 3-star certified, 175.28)

photo muir woods trading co california 

Location: Mill Valley, California

Cuisine: Healthy American

Review from Yelp:

All the ingredients were locally made and you can taste the goodness. I had the Tyler recommended special of grilled cheese and tomato soup. Bread - it's like a 9 grain. Cheese - mix was 2-3 different cheeses - white cheese, which is yum not sure which type, but it's tasty. Tomato soup is light and not too heavy. Totally recommend it.


Muir Woods purchases local food, sourced from less than 100 miles away; certified organic food; sustainably sourced seafood; hormone-free meat; and 30% of their main dishes are vegetarian. They also have salvaged booths and tables, and recycled countertops.

9. Seaglass Restaurant & Lounge (2-star certified, 131.1)

photo seaglass restaurant massachusetts 
Credit: Akuppa

Location: Salisbury, Massachusetts

Cuisine: American Seafood

User review from Zagat:

Went for drinks & ap on a week night (wed) and as everyone confirms the view is awesome, esp if you can sit by the window. Had the signature martini with the blue curacao which was delicious, my wife got a margarita, I think it was yummy. We split the ahi tuna ap, which was perfect. We were so impressed with the view we reserved a window table for a saturday night for her b-day. Hope the dinner is as good as the ap and the view.


Seaglass features locally sourced food from less than 100 miles away and recycles cardboard, plastics, glass, and aluminum. The business vehicles are fueled by waste vegetable oil, and paper products are recycled. And can you go wrong with a view that has been called breath-taking?

10. Sopraffina Marketcaffè (2-star certified, 124.7)

photo sopraffina chicago

Location: Chicago

Cuisine: Italian

Review from Centerstage Chicago:

The menu at the cafe includes thin crust pizzas, pizza-stuffed peppers, an extensive selection of salads (such as the Hilltop with candied walnuts, fresh pears, dried cranberries and gorgnozola), gourmet sandwiches with roast beef, tuna and turkey served on the signature flatbread, lasagna and homemade soup.


With several locations in the Windy City, Sopraffina offers several vegan and vegetarian purchases; 30% of their main dishes are vegetarian. There's also a reusable mug program and all deliveries are made by foot or bicycle.

'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1' Trailer: The Trio Faces Dark Times

By Gabrielle Dunn

Though the word is overused these days, "epic" is the only one we can think of to describe the brand-new trailer for 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I.'

The second trailer, released today, reveals a much darker wizarding world. As the heart-pounding music swells, we see Harry and his friends battle the Dark Lord, show their best "emotional acting" faces and deal with some pretty heavy stuff. Watch it after the jump.

Ron, Hermione and Harry -- or the trio -- look worn out and worse for the wear. The cinematography and mood created by the trailer gives me high hopes that the film will be a beautiful roller coaster, and one of the best 'Harry Potter' movies to date.

So what actually happens in the new trailer? Among the clips you'll see: Voldemort sitting at a table of Death Eaters as Snape says, "We've taken over the ministry," Voldemort declaring he must be the one to kill Harry Potter, shots of the trio walking across a sweeping English countryside and, later, Apparating into oncoming London traffic, and multiple "Harrys" being created for protection of the real deal.

And if that wasn't enough, there are also flying motorcycles and dragons, snakes, fires, lightning, house elves and text that reads "Only one can live." It's enough to give any Potterhead the chills.

'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1' hits theaters on Nov. 19. Check out the trailer above and tell us what you think in the comments.

Designers Create a "More Efficient" Chainless Bike

by Stephen Messenger, Porto Alegre, Brazil
stringbike photo  
Photo via StringBike

The Bike, Unchained

A group of designers in Hungary have done away with what has long been a staple of bicycle design, those oily old chains, with their creation, the StringBike. Instead of being propelled forward the traditional way, this novel new bike utilizes a clever symmetrical rope and pulley system that may make cycling safer, smoother, and more efficient -- and it just may be the way everyone pedals around in the future.

stringbike photo

While the StringBike's system of strings is a bit more complicated than the chain and gears you're used to, the way it operates is actually surprisingly simple.

PhysOrg explains how it works:

The rotation of the pedals forces arms at each side to swing forward and backward on its shaft. When moving forward, the arm pulls the driving wire that is wound around a drum on the rear wheel, forcing the wheel to rotate. The arms at each side alternate so that when one is moving forward the other is moving backward.

The new system has 19 "gear" positions and the transmission ratio can be changed at any time by turning a shifting knob on the right handle grip. This moves the pulley shafts up and down along a traction path on an eccentric disc, which has 19 notches to adjust the height of the pulleys and distance between the center of rotation and the shaft. The gears can be changed even if the bicycle is stationary, but gear change speed increases with the speed of the bicycle.

Here's a video to give you a better idea.

Doing away with those clunky old chains in exchange for the StringBike's polyethylene rope comes with plenty of advantages for the cycling enthusiast. Because the drive system is symmetrical, utilizing both legs separately, the StringBike is said to be more efficient and easier to handle on winding streets.

And there are several other advantages of the string system that bike commuters, in particularly, are sure to appreciate. The unique design allows for quick removal of the rear tire to make the bike easier to store or carry around. Also, the strings are dry -- meaning no more arriving to work with oil-stained pant legs.

Only time will tell if this wildly innovative new string-based system can catch on in the world of bicycle design, but still one thing is for certain -- imagination, and perhaps bikes too, are best left unchained.

15 Cases of Bizarre and Mysterious Weather

by Cowboy

Moonsoons. Droughts. Hail stones the size of bowling balls. With all this crazy weather going on, you might think those end-of-the-world conspiracy 2012 kooks could be on to something. Well, stop worrying. Weird, unexplained weather systems have been wreaking havoc on mankind since day one, and most were a lot worse than mere chunks of ice falling from the sky. Don’t believe it? Well, feast your eyes on some of the most mysterious cases of weather ever.

Great Balls of Fire

They’re technically great balls of lightning, but you get the point. Throughout history, there have been numerous accounts of “ball lightning”– fiery spheres of electricity that seem to appear out of nowhere. Also known as a plasma vortex, these lightning balls have even been described as having minds of their own. Imagine if instead of just flying a kite into some lame regular lightning, Ben Franklin had played a badass game of volleyball-(lightning).
According to Science Frontier, one such occurrence was in 1977, when a coast guard officer caught glimpse of a “brilliant, yellow green, transparent ball with a fuzzy outline” the size of a bus that seemed to float down the hillside off the coast of Wales. While occurrences of ball lightning are rare and decisively hard to predict, humankind is still making headway in understanding this strange phenomenon. In 2007, scientists in Berlin actually claimed to have created ball lightning in the lab. Sheiser!

Red Rain in Kerala

Regular rain can totally ruin your day, especially if you don’t have an umbrella, so imagine rain that can stain your clothes pink — not to mention scare the ever-living bejesus out of you. The Red Rains of Kerala was a phenomenon that occurred in the Indian state of (you guessed it) Kerala, between July 25th and September 23rd, 2001. Red is definitely the creepiest possible color rain could be, because it looks like freakin’ blood is descending from the heavens like some sort of biblical apocalypse that will judge the souls of all men.
Explanations for the red rains of Kerala have been diverse, ranging from logical suggestions that the red cells found in the rain were extraterrestrial beings, to complete crackpot theories that claim that the cells are a specific type of algae that is very commonly found in the Kerala region. The Red Rain of Kerala still remains a great mystery in many respects. For example, how did the algae spores come to be injected into the rain drops at high altitude, and at such a specific time, and to such an extent? We may never know the answers to these questions, but one thing is sure: if you’re ever holidaying in Kerala, stay on the safe side and wear red. Or black.

Fire Tornadoes

Just in case horrible blood-rain isn’t crappy enough weather for you, fire tornadoes are something everyone wants to avoid. Fire Tornadoes are just like regular tornadoes (which aren’t too friendly), but are made entirely of fire being blown around at really high speeds. They occasionally sprout up after long dry spells and windstorms, and can often lead to intense brush fires and extreme pants-wetting.
Also known as fire devils or firenados, these whirlwinds of destruction can quickly devastate entire cities. In 1923, the great Kanto earthquake in Japan caused one such fire tornado that killed 38,000 people in fifteen minutes. The largest recorded fire tornadoes have reached up to 200 feet high and 10 feet in diameter, and can contain winds of over 100 mph.

The Candy Man Cometh

Not all freaky weather events involve death and destruction. In 1857, Lake County, California was treated to a sweet storm of falling candy.
The small frontier town was pelted with sugary crystals over the course of two nights. While no one could explain the bizarre weather, the locals made the best of the situation, with the women supposedly making syrup from the fallen sugar flakes, and the children eating the delicious crystals until they passed out after some of the most intense sugar crashes of the entire 19th century.


Hail can be pretty cool — you can hear it clinking on a tin roof, you can catch and eat it like a little snowcone, it can damage your annoying neighbor’s shitty car — but when those hailstones are weighing-in at more than 450 pounds, they cease being shift from entertaining and start being, well, death. Megacryometeors are very poorly understood by scientists; so much so that it’s surprising religious nuts haven’t cited them as proof of God’s existence. Oh wait, of course they have. Researchers are not sure of the genesis of these huge chunks of (presumably) space ice due to a number of mysterious factors, including their appearance on cloudless days and nights and the fact that they primarily appear in both the middle of summer and the middle of winter. The largest ever of these icy beasts was a 880-pound (400 kg) monster that fell in Spain 2004. It landed right next to a young girl, whose then-urine-soaked pants immediately froze, giving her serious frostbite.

Falling Fish

While many of these strange weather stories seem to be freak occurrences, one such oddity is said to happen on a more regular basis. Lluvia de Peces, or Rain of Fish, is a phenomenon that’s been appearing for more than a century on a yearly basis in Honduras. Residents of Yoro claim that after a large thunderstorm, hundreds of live fish appear on the ground. Every year, the city hosts a festival to celebrate the annual fish-fall, making a feast of the mysterious sealife.
While many scientists believe the event is caused by fish traveling through underground water spouts or being carried through the air by tornadoes, some locals call it the “Father Subirana miracle”. Father Jose Manuel Subirana, who once prayed for three days and three nights for God to provide food for the poor town, is cited by many Hondurans of the religious persuasion as the key explanation to these strange happenings.

Flying Frogs

Claims of frogs falling from the sky have popped up everywhere from Minnesota to Greece. England appears to be the king of falling frogs, with reports dating back hundreds of years. A more recent frog storm was in 1981 in Southern Greece, where residents of the small town of Naphlion awoke to find frogs apparently raining from the sky. Stranger still, this species of frog was not Greek, but rather endemic to North Africa!
No one seems to be sure how or why these incidents occur; French physicist Andre-Marie Ampere hypothesized the frogs might have been swept up in strong winds. Other, more recent theorists on the matter conjecture that it is impossible that the frogs could have fallen from the sky at all, because of the fact that the trauma they would receive upon impact would be enough to literally explode their squishy little bodies.

Crazy Chrysalises

Frogs aren’t the only wildlife that have fallen upon the English countryside. According to the London Times, a mass of jellyfish-like creatures rained down on Bath, England in 1871.
London Times, April 24, 1871:
“…upon the 22nd of April, 1871, a storm of glutinous drops neither jellyfish nor masses of frog spawn, but something of a [line missing here in original text. Ed.] railroad station, at Bath. Many soon developed into a wormlike chrysalis, about an inch in length.”
Now that is a creepy as hell; don’t let them anywhere near your ears — they’ll take over your brains! According to the Scientific American, some specimens were taken to a local tavern, “where scientific men, upon observing the creatures, pronounced them to be marine insects, probably caught up in a cloud by a waterspout in the Bristol Channel.”

Brain Storm

Falling globs of jello may be nasty, but it’s got nothing on the great brain storm of 1851. On February 15th of that year, Simpson County, North Carolina was besieged by one of the most disgusting weather systems of all time. According to witnesses, pieces of flesh, liver, brains and blood rained down over an area of 30 feet by 250 yards. Maybe they were victims are a terrible aircraft explosion, and, you know, all the debris fell somewhere else. Oh wait, it was 1851; the Wright Brothers weren’t even sperm yet. Blood and guts raining from the sky, huh? And you thought it was bad when your picnic got rained out!

Killer Fog

London is famous for its fog, but you probably didn’t know that once upon a time it was fatal. In the late 1800’s, in the midst of the coal-powered industrial revolution, parts of London were engulfed in industrial pollution. In 1880, a thick poisonous fog swept through the city, killing nearly 2000 people. Despite this tragedy, little was done to curb the coal industry’s murderous mist. Thousands more have died over the years, most recently in 1952, when a mix of fog and coal smoke killed another 4,000 (although, some recent estimates put that number at an astonishing 12,000), which finally led to anti-pollution laws being instated by the city of London.

Triple Suns

And you thought the twin suns of Tatooine were cool. Triple suns, or “dog suns”, have been spotted all over the globe. So why aren’t we all burning up from the extra heat, or at least bestowed with some sort of Kryptonian-like powers? It’s because the extra suns are just a mirage — the result of sun rays being refracted by hexagonal plate-like ice crystals. But don’t tell the folks in China that. A recent triple sun there led one newspaper to believe they were being invaded by aliens. If that were true, you have to admit, disguising yourself as a sun (something there is definitively one of) isn’t exactly an example of extraordinary intelligence.

Creepy Clouds

Clouds don’t really strike fear into the hearts of… anyone. But imagine you were in prehistoric times (or at least pre-History Channel), and giant, swirling masses suddenly appeared in the sky that seemed to be reaching down like huge ghostly fingers. You’d be one freaked out cave-man.
But while your primitive mind might imagine some massive sky-giant was trying to kill you, what you were probably witnessing were Mammatus clouds. These towering cumulonimbus clouds have often been associated with severe storms or tornadoes, but in reality are no more dangerous than your average rain cloud. They do, however, have the ability to flip you the bird, which is at least mildly insulting.

Pennies From Heaven

Falling frogs and fish may not be your cup of tea, but surely most of us wouldn’t mind a cloud full of money raining down. Although, on second thought, a falling silver dollar could probably leave a nice little dent in the old cranium.
Over the years, there have been several reports of just that. In 1940, coins were seen falling on the Meshchera region of Russia. A few years later, pennies and halfpennies supposedly rained on lucky schoolchildren in Hanham, England. And in 1976, 2,000 marks floated down from the skies over Limburg, West Germany.

Snow Donuts

Just a few years ago, Ajax, Ontario looked like something from a Homer Simpson fantasy.
The entire lakefront was covered in what looked like giant donuts. While they appeared to be some sort of ice sculptures or an elaborate prank, they were, in fact, naturally rolled snowballs caused by the wind. Apparently, the conditions must be just right for this to occur: the temperature must be around freezing with strong gusts of wind in an open area. Any attempts to eat the donuts were to be ill-fated, and Ajax’s general hospital had to treat a record-breaking 354 separate cases of brainfreeze.

Man Storm

While this strange weather pattern is rare, an incident of falling men was documented by Martha Wash and the late Izora Rhodes of The Weather Girls in their 1982 hit “It’s Raining Men”, and once again by Ginger Spice in her post ‘Girls’ career.
Co-written by Paul Jabara (who also wrote “Last Dance” for Donna Summer) and The Late Show’s Paul Shaffer, “It’s Raining Men” has been heard in every male strip club for the past 20 years, making it one of the longest-lasting weather systems in history. When will this terrifying phenomenon abate? No one knows for sure, and even more terrifyingly, it can strike any time more than three cosmos are consumed in succession.

Eight Video Games Performed Live

Posted by Jeremy M. Zoss


pole position.JPG
When real people recreate games
Video game fan art takes many forms, from drawings of characters to elaborate cosplay. And then there are those who take things a step further and attempt to bring the world of a game into our own. Several groups of gaming fans have attempted to recreate video games live, and here are some of our favorite results of those experiments.

Performing video games "live" can mean many things, and thus you'll see a few different interpretations on this list. There are video games performed on stage, stop-motion videos and even an elaborate construction project. Of course, there are several more live-action gaming homages out there, so please feel free to share your favorites in the comments.

Live-Action Super Mario Bros.

This classic clip recreates a familiar scene from Super Mario Bros. in impressive detail.

Live-action Tetris

The classic puzzle game performed live on stage. We'll have to let a critical violation of the game's rules slide due to technical limitations.

Live-action Duck Hunt

Nintendo's Duck Hunt is recreated on stage by the same group that created the Tetris video above. The anime twist can be attributed to the fact that it was performed at an anime convention.

Human Pong

Each of these stop-motion videos was created by Swiss artist Guillaume Reymond,  who designed them for a Belgian gaming festival in 2007.

Human Space Invaders

Guillaume Reymond's take on the classic shooter.

Human Pole Position

Reymond's version of a racing game is based on the primitive Pole Position - he would have had a hard time pulling off the comparatively more sophisticated Pole Position II.

Mega64's Assassin's Creed

Live versions of video games is what comedy group Mega64 does. Here's one of our favorites.

Remote-controlled WipeOut

A very different take on a live-action video game, German designer Malte Jehmlich's physical recreation of WipeOut was a huge viral hit on the 'net a few months ago. By building a WipeOut-inspired track and pairing video game controls with an actual physical car, he completely reinterpreted the relationship between games and the real world.

10 Inspired (& Inspirational) People Who Overcame the 'Impossible'--to 'Do It ...

by Miss Cellania

The news that quadruple amputee Philippe Croizon swam the English Channel over the weekend reminded me of so many people I’ve written about, that I had to look in my files and bring you another inspirational list of people who are labeled as disabled in one way or another, but who still accomplished exactly what they were not supposed to be able to do.

1. Tom Willis

Tom Willis is a motivational speaker from San Diego who has no arms. He has a small appendage on his left side resembling a partial hand, but not on his right side. Willis arranged to throw out the first pitch at a 2008 San Diego Padres game through the TV station that broadcast the games. He pitched right across the plate with his foot and drew national attention. That experience led to Willis’ ambition to throw out a first pitch at every major league baseball stadium. The Pitch for Awareness National Tour takes Willis to different cities where he offers his motivational program to schools and civic organizations. He’s pitched at ten stadiums so far this year, and is scheduled next at the Texas Rangers game on September 30th.

2. Gabe Marsh

Ed and Ann Marsh of Guntersville, Alabama have birthed, adopted, or fostered 60 children altogether. Ann Marsh taught them all to swim for their own safety, and saw many of them on the Guntersville swim team. Then in 2004, they took home newborn Gabe, who had no legs and only one full arm. But Gabe wanted to swim like the rest of the kids, so at age five he jumped in with them -and swam! Now six years old, Gabe swims on the local team like his siblings. And he’s gaining speed with every meet.

3. Cody McCasland

Cody McCasland was delivered prematurely in 2001 missing several bones in his legs, and had other birth defects as well. He was not expected to live for more than a few days. Cody underwent multiple surgeries to correct defects in his organs and limbs. His legs were amputated in 2003. That same afternoon, Cody was caught trying to walk on his stumps! He was fitted with prosthetic legs and learned to walk immediately -and never looked back. He started using running prosthetics at age five. Cody runs, swims, plays games, and competes in athletic competitions. He’s won gold medals for both swimming and running, and hopes to represent the US in the Paralympic Games someday. At just short of nine years old, Cody is also busy speaking to groups about limb differences and promotes the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

4. Josh Sundquist

Josh Sundquist was nine when his left leg was amputated due to bone cancer. He took up skiing at age 13, and was a member of the 2006 U.S. Paralympic Ski Team. Sundquist is also the founder of a social networking site for amputees, His book, Just Don’t Fall: How I Grew Up, Conquered Illness, and Made it Down the Mountain, became a best seller when it was released earlier this year. But that’s not all: Sundquist is a rapper, a dancer, and a wit, as you’ll see in The Amputee Rap.

5. Carly Fleischmann

Carly Fleischmann doesn’t speak. Her parents thought their severely autistic daughter would never communicate with other people. However, they devoted their lives to providing education and intensive therapy for Carly, which paid off spectacularly when she was eleven years old -that’s when she was introduced to a computer. Carly stunned her family and therapists by typing words almost immediately. The girl who never spoke poured her heart out about what autism is like. Now fourteen years old, Carly still doesn’t speak, but communicates with her family and teachers by computer, and everyone else through her website and her Facebook page.

6. Liu Wei

Liu Wei touched a wire and was electrocuted at age ten. He spent 45 days in the hospital and his arms had to be amputated. Liu’s parents insisted he learn to feed himself without arms so he could be independent. He became adept at using his feet, and at age 18 began to learn piano. Now 23, Liu performed on the TV series China’s Got Talent this past summer and brought the crowd to tears with his performance, playing the piano with his toes.

“For people like me, there were only two options. One was to abandon all dreams, which would lead to a quick, hopeless death. The other was to struggle without arms to live an outstanding life,” Liu explained to the judges on “China’s Got Talent.” Thankfully, Liu chose the latter option.

7. Bethany Hamilton

Bethany Hamilton was an accomplished amateur competitive surfer at age 13 and planned to surf professionally as an adult. But on October 31st, 2003, a tiger shark bit her left arm off as she was surfing in Hawaii. Even without her arm, Hamilton did not want to give up surfing. Within a month of the attack, she was back in the water. Not only did she have to relearn how to surf, but she had to face the fear that she might encounter another shark. In fact, she’s seen sharks while surfing a few times. Hamilton was awarded an ESPY in the category Best Comeback by an Athlete in 2004. By 2005, she was surfing competitively again, and turned pro in 2008. Hamilton wrote and produced the award-winning 2007 documentary of her life, Heart of a Soul Surfer. Hamilton has also appeared on numerous TV shows.

8. Callum Truscott

If you had no legs, you would, of course, want to play football (soccer). Callum Truscott does just that, on his school team of able-bodied classmates. The 12-year-old from St Austell, Cornwall, participates in swimming competitions and is taking dance classes as well. Callum was born with legs that end just below the knees. He wears prosthetics for soccer, rugby, and cricket. Although safety rules prevent him from playing official rugby matches, he is a star on the football team. Callum is also an endurance swimmer, recently beating most of his classmates in a 1,500 meter race. He wants to become a sports instructor someday.

9. Vinod Thakur

Vinod Thakur was born without legs. He learned to walk on his hands, and made his living repairing cell phones in New Delhi. Thakur taught himself to dance by watching hip-hop videos on the internet, and after only five months of practice, auditioned for the TV show India’s Got Talent. His performance in the first round of competition made him an instant star on the subcontinent. Thakur would like to open a dance school where he can teach other disabled people to dance.

10. Philippe Croizon

Philippe Croizon is a 42-year-old French quadruple amputee. In 1994, he was hit by 20,000 volts of electricity from a power line while working with a television antenna, causing so much damage that all his limbs had to be at least partially removed. Saturday, Croizon became the first quadruple amputee ever to swim the English Channel, which you can watch in this video. He expected the crossing to take around 24 hours, but completed it in just over 13 hours, using prosthetic flippers. Croizon’s next endeavor? He plans to swim the Strait of Gibraltor!

For more stories, see these previous articles:

50 Useful Adobe Photoshop Techniques, Tutorials and Tools

50 Useful Adobe Photoshop Techniques, Tutorials and Tools — In this review you'll find an overview of new useful Adobe Photoshop techniques and tutorials that we've found and collected over the last months. We sincerely hope that at least some of the techniques presented there will help you improve your graphic design skills in Adobe Photoshop.

Click here:

Run, Moron, Run: 11 Epic Takedowns of Field-Crashing Fans



It takes a special kind of person to want to rush the field or court in the middle of a sporting event. They could simply be overrun by passion, they could be just drunk, or they could have deep psychological issues that require attention from TV and stadium audiences alike. The cause doesn’t really matter.

In the end, it all goes down the same way. Without doing too much research, it’s safe to assume that no one in the history of sport has gotten on and off the field without getting taken down, usually with extreme prejudice. So why does it keep happening? Who cares? As Matt Diaz of the Braves demonstrated last night, it’s just fun to watch. So let’s get to the 11 of the more glorious examples of stupid of fans rushing the field and getting taken down...hard.

11. Twins Fan ALMOST Gets Away”

Whatever the field security of “robbing a home run” is, it happens in this video. This has some really great elements, including: the fan showing how slow and out of shape the security guys are; the security team just generally looking like the Keystone Cops; and all the drama of a narrow escape. In this video, the fan becomes our protagonist. We want him to get over that wall. We NEED him to get over that wall. But alas, it’s not meant to be. Security latches onto the one thing they can, his remaining leg, only to pull him and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory (for the fan). He’s just another statistic in the tally of “morons that got pummeled by security.” In the meantime, keep drinking too much at sporting events and don’t forget to stretch before you jump that rail.

10. Harvard Cheerleaders Take Down Yale Flag Thief”

Read that title. Read it again. There’s virtually nothing else to say here. Only a Yale fan could get taken down by a team of Harvard cheerleaders. This guy probably went from thinking he was going to be “the guy that stole the Harvard flag” to “the guy that got jacked by HARVARD CHEERLEADERS.” Life can change that fast, folks.

Bonus feature: Listen to the Harvard fan in the closing screaming “KICK HIS ASS!” in the final seconds of the video. High comedy.

9. Bikini Girl Gets Preferential Treatment”

This is NOT one of the best takedowns in sports, but I include it to demonstrate a point. Takedown procedures are (gasp!) gender-biased. Or at least hot-girl biased. This girl gets her swerve on with virtually no fallout, save for a gentle escort off the field. We all know that, deep down, no one really wanted her to leave. If she was tackled like the rest of them, this would have been easily more disturbing than the knife guy a few items up.

8. Rob Ray and the Buffalo Sabers Dispense Justice

Rob Ray’s all-out assault on this poor sap who jumped on the ice makes Matt Diaz and his take down look like a game of paddy-cake. Ray is so determined to beat the living s**t out of this guy that he actually hits the cops who are trying to haul the fan off.

7. Red Sox Fan (Again) Gets Taken Down Like a Steer”

In unsurprising news, Red Sox fans are making a repeat appearance on this list. This kid goes for the unorthodox “infield approach” with predictable results. What’s pretty extraordinary about this takedown is the security guy’s ability to stay in front of him and wrap him up. If it wasn’t for the hair, this guy’s style could be mistaken for that of a young Troy Polamalu.

6. Dogpile on Dodger Fan”

Following the gravity of that last item, let’s get back to what crashing the field is all about: unbridled stupidity. =Again, the fan gets out there and does the same-old, same-old, but the gratuitous dogpiling after the initial takedown is pretty awesome. I think these fans forget that this is one of the few times security is able to demonstrate their chops to everyone watching, so don’t think for a second that they’re all not gonna get in on the action, overkill notwithstanding.

5. Fan Storms Field with Knife”

Most of the entries on this list are ridiculous and somewhat entertaining. Well, when you take a mentally unstable soccer fan and put him in the madness of a South American football match, things get really serious really quickly. While it doesn’t appear the player was stabbed, this is certainly a sobering moment for players and fans alike. Couple the action with the paramilitary security utilizing riot shields and flak jackets, and this is definitely a contender for “scariest fan crashing the field”. Again, kudos to the security for taking this guy down before he cause tragic results.

4. Philly Fan Tasered”

While fans rushing the field are generally idiots, they don’t really do any harm other than disrupt the flow of an otherwise generally uneventful baseball game. Which is why so many people were up in arms when some kid at a Philly game did the SOP for field-crashing (run around in circles like a spastic toddler) and he was brought down with the use of a taser rather than good old-fashioned security strong arming. At the end of the day, the kid was fine, security got chastised, and no one learned a lesson, but it will go down as probably the most militaristic of takedowns seen in a while.

3. Boston Fan Take Down”

There are elegant ways of taking down field crashers, then of course, there’s the Boston way. In all the ways Matt Diaz was artful and full of grace, Sox security are most assuredly…not. While it may not be the most humane way of dealing with a minor nuisance, I’m sure Fenway management is sleeping easy knowing that these guys are on the case if something serious goes down.

2. Matt Diaz Takes Down “Red Man”

One of the more tasteful take downs we’ve had the pleasure of witnessing. After a guy in a red body suit, no doubt in a nod to Charlie Kelly’s “Green Man” on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, gets on the field and manages to weasel his way around security for the requisite 20 seconds, Diaz decides to stop the madness then and there with a suave leg extension that causes the fool to trip up and well, get apprehended. The whole affair is reminiscent of Thomas Crown taking down the art thieves in the introduction to The Thomas Crown Affair.

Matt Diaz, the Thomas Crown of fan-tacklers.

1. Hockey Ref Destroys Fan

In general, you’re much better off rushing a baseball game than you are a hockey match. For one, it’s less slippery. Two, it’s less friggen violent. When the refs are looking for an excuse to body-check your dumb ass, it’s best to steer clear. Need proof? Watch this epic fan take down by an NHL ref.

Futuristic sci-fi gadgets, available today

From engines powered by garbage to a ray gun that zaps fat, these futuristic gadgets from movies, TV and novels were once purely the realm of science fiction, but now you can get the real thing.

Far future predictions of tech gadgets rarely work out. Not many of us ride a jetpack to work or step into a transporter to beam over to France on a whim, and the flying car is still a figment of the imagination (if not downright impossible). Even the light saber in Star Wars, which would be really handy as a hand-to-hand combat weapon, has never materialized. (Of course, it also defies the laws of physics.) Why can’t book authors and moviemakers ever get it right?

Well, it turns out that a few “far future” gadgets actually do exist, and you can order them on Amazon. Here’s a quick rundown of the best products and where you’ve seen them.

GE VScan

In the Star Trek movies, a tricorder provided a quick and painless diagnosis. This GE medical scanner uses the same technology. It works almost exactly like an ultrasound, but it can find critical issues such as fluid around the heart without any invasive surgery

. The pocket device, about the size of a smartphone, weighs about one pound. Scans take about two minutes.

Cyclone Power Technologies

In the Back to the Future movies, a DeLorean runs on garbage. Cyclone Power has a steam engine that runs on fuel made from corn husks, orange peels, or just about any biodegradable agent. The engine requires no fossil fuel oils at all, so it’s safe for the environment. Yet, the engine is no slouch: it has enough power for a large farm tractor.

StayHealthy Body Fat Analyzer

In the Doctor Who series, a body fat analyzer could convert your extra fat into an alien creature. This body fat analyzer doesn’t go that far. It sends a “mild” electrical current through your body and measures the amount of fat. That way, you can get a much clearer picture of exactly how much weight loss you really need, as opposed to just the bottom line.

Zeltiq fat burner

Matt Groening’s Futurama presents goofy science-fiction ideas as well-known facts. In several episodes, characters zap fat with a ray gun. Yet, the Zeltiq fat burner does just that, by freezing fat cells so they eventually deteriorate. The product is already in use as a cosmetic surgery aid but will eventually become a home appliance that anyone can use.


Arthur C. Clarke famously predicted we’d be using GPS tracking in his many novels, and even nailed the part about triangulation. He wrote about how objects and vehicles would be “geo-located” by revolving satellites. Yet, things are getting out of control: your location can be shared from your cell phone at all times and you can create a constant stream of your whereabouts, using tools such as Loopt and Google Latitude. Next year, your car will also stream its exact location (OnStar service does this already). Eventually, real estate agents will feed listings to you as you walk by a new home for sale. And what’s next? GPS will link more closely to credit card transactions – your Burger King stops will be much faster.


In Philip K. Dick’s Zap Gun novel from 1967, he predicted that – in 2004 — we’d still be fighting a cold war with Russia, but our weapons would be consumerized into household aids. The Ionator, from a small Minnesota company, looks like something from the book. It zaps germs by spraying a chemical that separates grime from counter-tops. The hand-held gun is futuristic enough that, when you use one, you feel like you should be wearing a Star Trek uniform.

Introducing Sports Reporter Barbie

In the latest of what we imagine to be a plethora of Barbies, Mattel has released a “Barbie I Can Be News Anchor Doll” that will be available this holiday season. The “power pink” jacket, pink skirt and high heels to go along with a pink folder to keep her pink bubble-lettered notes should be enough ammo for USA Today’s Christine Brennan to organize a protest – or a riot – outside of Mattel headquarters. According to the product details, a “special code inside each package unlocks career-themed content online.” We can only assume it’s a montage of locker room dong. Ines Sainz’s jeans sold separately. [via; screengrab via]

The Coilgun Makes the Rubber-Band Gun Look Like a Kid's Toy

By Alastair Plumb

Last week we introduced you to the rubber-band machine gun of your slightly disturbed dreams. This week, we've got a 1.25 kilojoule coilgun, a homemade electromagnetic pulse accelerator that makes the rubber-band machine gun look like a tiny, shiny peashooter.

The video below explains (in worrying detail) exactly how it works. In layman's terms, it acts as a battery-powered rifle that uses a series of electromagnetized coils to propel bullets at alarming speeds.

The weapon was made over two years by the bizarrely nicknamed "Larsplatoon." Though this is an incredible technical accomplishment, it does tread a very thin line between "Good God, that is awesome" and "If he gets too good at this, I'm going to get a bit worried."

The demonstration of the fearsome microwave-destroying machine kicks off at the 2:50 mark in the video below, at which point your nerdgasms should be coming on thick and fast. Oh, and just in case it wasn't patently obvious: Please, please, please, don't try this at home. To be honest, we're not sure Larsplatoon should be trying this at its home either.