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Friday, November 12, 2010

Hugh Hefner giving away Golden Tickets to the Playboy Mansion


Hugh Hefner Golden Ticket Playboy Mansion Party

If you've been reading Nerve for the last year or four, you know I've been carefully watching the fall of Playboy Enterprises and chronicling its every desperate gasp, often with, I admit, unrestrained glee. But the collapse of Hugh Hefner's great empire is nothing to celebrate -- we'll all miss out on an institution that broke the "nudity barrier," lasted countless generations, and gave us great issues month after month, with high-quality journalism and fiction writing... oh, and knockers. Lots of knockers.

Now, Hefner is up to something that has me scratching my head once again. He's slipping ten "Golden Tickets," a la Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, into this month's Playboy. Each ticket entitles the bearer and a guest to something called "The Midsummer Night's Dream Party" at the Playboy Mansion. This includes a hotel stay and round-trip transportation, although you'll probably end up spending the night so as not to miss the orgy.

The party and "Golden Tickets" represent a rare chance for the average schmo to go hang out inside the Mansion, the subject of billions of rumors, movies, news stories and STDs. Based on a 200,000 copy print run, your chances are 1 in 20,000 of getting in.

Chinese build 15 story building in just six days

A level 9 Earthquake-resistant, sound-proof, thermal-insulated 15-story hotel in Changsha, complete with everything, from the cabling to three-pane windows was built in just six days total.

Secret Brooklyn Bridge subway station revealed

Cory Doctorow

Kalaisha sez, "A once abandoned (or, rather, off limits) subway station from 1908 in Brooklyn is now accessible to the public. And it is beautiful. Beautifully preserved too!"

The city closed the station in 1945, mostly because at its height only 600 people a day used it, and because the loop created an unsafe gap at the platform. In 1995 the city vowed to restore the site and turn it into a part of the transit museum, but those plans were scrapped years later.

The station is still not open to the public, but there's a trick you can use to see it for yourself. Until recently the MTA would force passengers to get off before the train made the loop, but now passengers are allowed to stay on. So the next time you reach the end of the line, keep going. And check out these amazing photos courtesy of John-Paul Palescandolo.

The Abandoned City Hall Subway Stop Now Visible To Tourists (PHOTOS) (Thanks, kalaisha!)

(Image: John-Paul Palescandolo and Eric Kazmire)

16 ‘Athletes’ Featured on the Cover of Playboy


The archetypes of the female athlete's body and the Playboy cover girl's body don't overlap much. The assets of a successful female athlete aren't exactly the body parts that your typical Playboy reader would prize, so when an athlete fits the Playboy mold, it's a pretty big deal. It doesn't happen often, but it happens sometimes. And it happens a lot more if you consider professional wrestlers "athletes," which is totally something we're gonna do, lest this list stop at four or five entries. So, for those of you that think power and the competitive fire is as sexy as a killer rack, this list is for you.

16. Lisa Guerrero - Sportscaster
Sportscasters are close to athletes, so she makes the cut. In January 2006, Lisa Guerrero made the cover of Playboy after a broadcasting career that included working with Fox Sports NFL and co-hosting the World Series of Pop Culture. While she may not have been garnering the appreciation she wanted from those two roles, the Playboy appearance more than made up for it. Since her appearance, she has racked up over 20 TV appearances on major network, proving that posing for Playboy isn't always a last resort for your career.

15. Kiana Tom - Fitness Expert
The Irish, Chinese, and Hawaiian Tom had been a fixture on mid-morning ESPN as an exercise show host when she got the call to be on the cover of the May 2002 cover of Playboy. Her balance of athleticism and looks made the issue one of the best-selling of the decade, despite the fact that she was pretty far from a household name.

14. Chyna - WWE
Chyna was what many considered to be a quintessential female wrestler. Big, muscular, somewhat masculine-looking. However, that didn't stop her legions of fans from beating a path to the newsstands when she appeared on the cover of Playboy in November of 2000 dressed up like Xena: Warrior Princess. Her sex tape, which leaked later, showed that sexuality can take all sorts of weird, weird forms.

13. Arianny Celeste - UFC
arianny_celeste_naked_playboy (1)
Celeste made recent appearance. Recent like, this month. Arianny Celeste is a ring girl for the UFC and is a 24 year-old from Las Vegas, Nevada. Her self-proclaimed responsibilities consist of "...don’t trip over your feet, and try to look hot and graceful." May her song never die.

12. Rachelle Leah - UFC
Octagon girls are athletes for the sake of this piece. While her athletic pedigree may be questionable at best, her modeling pedigree is not with pictorials in Maxim, Men's Fitness, 944, Muscle and Fitness, Vegas Magazine and Stuff.

11. Sable - WWE
Perhaps the most well-known of the WWE girls, Sable seems to set the tone for many of the entrants on this list, so we would be remiss if we didn't include her. With a pretty spectacular three Playboy covers to her name, it's safe to say she helped nurture the tight relationship that would exist between Playboy and the WWE. Her first cover in April of 1999 was one of the highest selling issues of all time, ushering in a new era of semi-talented, mostly attractive WWE vixens.

10. Christy Hemme - WWE
Christy Hemme was a WWE wrestler and now works as an interviewer (?) for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (double ?). She fancies herself a tomboy (seriously, has there ever been a girl in Playboy who didn’t consider herself a tomboy?), she loves Harleys, and she’s from the California desert. No real surprises here, folks. She’s in the April 2005 issue for those of you…ahem…”scoring” at home.

9. Gabrielle Reece - Volleyball
Ahhh. An athlete whose athletic credentials stand up to scrutiny. The 6’ 3” bronze volleyball goddess posed in Playboy back in January 2001 at the very end of her marriage to Laird Hamilton, proving that Gabby knows how to twist the knife. However, the two reconciled a year later and are together raising their two children. Sadly, her heyday as a beach volleyball star predated the sport’s inclusion as an Olympic game, but her looks and talent has afforded her many magazine covers and television hosting gigs. The most notable of which was her stint on MTV Sports where one could refer to her as the female Dan Cortese. One shouldn’t, but one could.

8. Ashley Harkleroad - Tennis
Ashley Harkleroad Playboy Cover(4)
Harkleroad may have only gotten as high as #39 on the ATP circuit, but in August of 2008, she was #1 on the Playboy bunny circuit, scoring a cover and four page fully-nude pictorial. She has the distinction of being the only female tennis player ever to pose for the men’s magazine, a trend we all hope she kickstarts giving the depth and breadth of talent in the sport.

7. Ashley Massaro - WWE
Uh…5’ 5”, 112. This WWE star got on board with the wrestling gig after winning their 2005 Raw Diva Search. I guess if you’re gonna look for divas, you go after the raw ones first. Makes sense. She also was on Survivor: China, which demonstrates her amazing ability to…be on TV. Also, Rolling Stone magazine alleged that Massaro had been under the employ of an LA escort agency, which actually sounds pretty much in character, though the charges were never substantiated. I guess we’ll never know if this sexy wrestling diva was secretly a streetwalker. Sigh.

6. Mia St. John - Tae Kwon Doe/Boxing
A graduate of Cal State Northridge, the 43 year-old St. John started off as a college Tae Kwon Doe phenom, having amassed a record of 27-1, but took her talents to greener pastures as a boxer in 1997 under contract to Don King and appearing on several Del Hoya undercards. However, most men probably know her from her 11-page spread in the November 1999 issue of Playboy, earning her the nickname “Bunny Boxer” late in her career.

5. Candice Michelle - WWE
I’m beginning to think that the WWE and Playboy have some sort of reciprocal use agreement, which would actually make a lot of sense. Known simply as “Candice”, Michelle wrestled in the WWE from 2007-2009 after becoming a spokesmodel in 2005. She has the word “faith” tattooed on her wrist, which she has publicly declared to be a personal affirmation but, in this writer’s opinion, is probably just a way of showing her enthusiasm when it comes to all things George Michael. Her daughter, AkiAnne Rose was born on May 23rd of this year with a horrible name.

5. Amy Acuff - High Jump
Acuff graced the famous 2004 “Women of the Olympics” cover having made the cut by not only competing as a high jumper in the 2004 Olympics, but the 1996, 2000, and 2008 Olympics as well. Despite these four appearances, she never placed higher than her fourth-place finish in 2004. Her modeling career has been similarly prolific with appearances in Esquire, FHM, and Maxim in addition to the aforementioned Playboy spread.

4. Torrie Wilson - WWE/WCW
Wilson graced the cover of the May 2003 issue and was featured again with Sable in the May 2004 issue. Her appearances in the magazine stirred up a whole lot of fake drama in the WWE universe as rival RAW Diva Nidia and her onscreen boyfriend Jamie Noble staged several trips to the Playboy mansion to speak with the man himself regarding his decision to include Wilson and exclude Nidia from the mag. Heady stuff.

3. Maria Kanellis - WWE
maria kanellis 3
Last WWE girl, I promise. The stunning Kanellis made the cover of the April 2008 issue after having wrestled in the WWE since 2005. In a not-very-shocking turn of events, Kanellis’ appearance in Playboy was turned into a running plot on the wrestling equivalent of “Days of our Lives” which probably ended up with two girls ripping their evening gowns off or something.

2. Amanda Beard - Swimming
Perhaps the most accomplished athlete on this list (sorry, WWE girls), Beard has competed in four Olympiads and has garnered 7 medals for her efforts, including two golds. As her swimming career wound down, her modeling career was just winding up culminating in a cover in the July 2007 issue of Popular Science. Just kidding. It was Playboy.

1. Katarina Witt - Ice Skating
This 44 year-old East German vixen posed in December 1998 at the wonderfully mature age of 33. Witt was a perfect match for Playboy as she certainly had (has) the looks and the princess-like qualities of female figure skaters lend themselves well to the gentleman’s magazine. Her appearance in Playboy garnered her what’s perhaps the highest honor available: Playboy sold out of the Katarina Witt issue for only the second time in history. The first? The inaugural issue whose cover featured some chick named Marilyn something.

Green Invasion Turns Lima's Historical Center Into A Park (Photos)

by Paula Alvarado


Green Invasion - Urban Installation At Lima - Photo
Photo: Genaro Alva.

With the goal of recovering the historical center of Peru's capital city, a group of organizations put together an event called Gran Semana de Lima or Lima's Great Week, which aimed to create new life in the streets.

Among other activities, there was a contest for urban interventions and one of the winners was this amazing project called Green Invasion by architects Genaro Alva, Denise Ampuero, Gloria Andrea Rojas and industrial designer Claudia Ampuero.

Using recycled tires, plastic and lots of grass, the team turned the concrete filled Pasaje Encarnacion in a beautiful park and point of encounter where kids were allowed to step into the green, as Plataforma Arquitectura notes.

Green Invasion - Urban Installation At Lima - Photo
Photo: Musuk Nolte.

Green Invasion - Urban Installation At Lima - Photo
Photo: Genaro Alva.

As in many cities in Latin America, in Lima there's a real state frenzy that is rapidly moving forward building the highest amount of sq. meters per piece of land at the cheapest price, leaving recreation and public places relegated. While the World Health Organization says there has to be 8 sq. meters of recreation area per person, in Lima there's only 1.98.

The green invasion was a response and a call for attention to this subject, showing how important public areas and green spots are for a city and its inhabitants.

Green Invasion - Urban Installation At Lima - Photo
Photo: Genaro Alva.

Green Invasion - Urban Installation At Lima - Photo
Photo: Musuk Nolte.

Although it's not entirely clear, most likely this park was left in the neighborhood after the event ended, and local organizations and people were invited to add plants and items to the park.

The architects also hoped this could be an example for other neighborhoods to copy.

Green Invasion - Urban Installation At Lima - Photo
Photo: Genaro Alva.

Green Invasion - Urban Installation At Lima - Photo
Photo: Genaro Alva.

What's more to say? Great urban interventions make our cities more livable, even more if they're filled with good old plants that embellish the surroundings and purify air. More on Lima's Great Week at their website.

Newly Discovered Lizard Species is All Female, Survives by Cloning

by David DeFranza

new lizard clone photo

Though it's been a well-known ingredient to chefs in South East Asia for some time, the lizard is new to science. Photo credit: L. Lee Grismer

Though it has been a regular item on menus across the Mekong delta for as long as anyone can remember, the lizard, now known as Leiolepis ngovantrii, has just recently been introduced to science.

The unusual description of the species places it in the one percent of reptiles that reproduce via parthenogenesis—in which embryos are clones of their mothers.

Endangered and Threatened Species That are Apparently Delicious (Please Don't Eat Them)

Lee Grismer, one of the herpetologists responsible for the discovery, explained:

It's an entirely new lineage of life that was being eaten and sold in restaurants for food...but it's something that scientists have missed for hundreds of years.

DNA analysis revealed that the lizard was, in fact, a new species. It also turned up the unusual fact that all of the specimens were female.

The trait is uncommon, but not unheard of. Some species of lizards and fish have been known to adapt to parthenogenesis—a trait much more common among plants and insects—when stressed by habitat depletion, pollution, or over-hunting.

So are the lizards in danger of being eaten into extinction? In this case, probably not. The dish, Grismer commented, is an acquired taste that "feels like something very old and dead [is] in your mouth."

VW Unveils its Electric Car: Test Driving the Golf Blue E-Motion

by Brian Merchant

Photos: Brian Merchant

You probably haven't heard much about Volkswagen's forays into the electric car realm -- frankly, until recently, there hasn't been much to talk about. But that's finally changing, as the world's second largest carmaker just unveiled its Golf Blue E-motion electric car. Slated for a 2014 release, the e-motion will essentially be an electrified version of the popular Golf ("the most successful car Europe has ever seen"). VW invited TreeHugger out to its HQ in Wolfsburg, Germany to take an early model of the Golf E-motion for a spin:

Until earlier this year, Volkswagen's electric strategy was vague, always seeming far off on the horizon. But earlier this year, it announced that it planned to roll out a hybrid Jetta in 2012, an electric version of its Up in Europe in 2013, and the electric Golf in the US by 2014. By 2018, VW is aiming to have electric cars comprise 3-5% of its fleet.


The electric Golf will appear generally similar to the standard model that crowds European roadways everywhere (According to my unofficial calculations, about 83% of all cars in Europe are Golfs). The car we drove, in fact, was built with a standard Golf body. Essentially, the aim is to create an electric Golf that looks and feels like the version that the (non-US) world knows and welcomes. And I throw in that caveat because the Golf isn't terribly popular in the United States; it's far less present in the states than cousin Jetta.


As with just about all electric cars, the e-Golf is loaded with torque. It's full of pep, and quick off the line. It handled reasonably well, and was genuinely fun to drive, though it was prone to seize up a bit with too much acceleration. Braking is also a work in progress, as the current brakes displayed too much of that all-too-familiar stickiness that often plagues regenerative systems.

However, that stickiness comes with an upside in this case -- by shifting between D and D3 (and in between) the driver can choose how active the regenerative brakes are, and decide how much kinetic energy will be recovered. In D3, the brakes are extremely sensitive, but you'll send the maximum amount of energy back to the battery. It's a cool innovation (and a technology that's hopefully explored further in the future), and the most revolutionary feature of the electric Golf.


Driving the electric Golf looked and felt something like this:

The Golf gets around 150 kilometers (93 miles) on a charge, and uses a battery consisting of 180 lithium ion cells (holding a charge of 26.5 kWh). As for the rest of the stats, they look something like this:


An interface on the dash intuitively relays how much charge is left, and in the test drive model, all other features remained intact. A VW engineer explained how the instruments work, and outlined how to drive the electric Golf:

The no-frills experience of driving the e-Golf likely stemmed from the early version of the concept, yes, but also certainly from VW's approach to the electric car. Driving the Golf felt a lot like driving a comfortable, utilitarian sedan that you'd driven a million times before. VW isn't trying to create the most exciting, eyeball-grabbing EV on the market -- it's simply providing consumers with a solid, reliable option for its customers demanding electrification.


Complaints aside, it was already a pleasure to drive the Golf, though it was certainly less polished than, say, the Volt, which provided a thoroughly smooth ride. Which makes sense -- the e-Golf has 3 or 4 years to go before its scheduled for production, and the VW engineer said they're still ironing out many of the kinks, the braking among them. But it's a very promising start, and come 2014, folks interested in electric cars can expect another highly practical (and likely reasonably priced) option to be on the market.





Jamie Foxx Talks Prop. 19, Thinks President Obama Must Be Smoking Weed


Now that Conan O'Brien has a new talk show, 'Lopez Tonight' has moved to a different starting time (weeknights, 12AM ET on TBS). 'Lopez' is now more of a late late night experience. In honor of the show's new schedule, actor Jamie Foxx appeared, got George Lopez a little drunk, and then started talking about drugs.

Foxx celebrated the "after hours" time slot by having Lopez do some shots of booze. Once the pair was a little tipsy, Jamie shifted the conversation to the topic of Proposition 19 -- the attempt to legalize marijuana under California law.

The actor discussed his own prodigious pot consumption, then advanced a novel theory -- that Barack Obama is stoned all the time.

Jamie theorized that the president was engaging in some recreational activities. "Barack is so smooth," he said. "He's always cool -- even when 'they' yell at him. ... The president is smoking [pot]!" he yelled.

Foxx continued to argue that Obama must be "baked" to handle the amount of stress he faces. He added that Obama seemed to remain calm no matter what: "Even if they're like, 'Mr. President, you're just so wrong, you're just the worst!'" But even if Obama is always calm, Jamie was pretty loud and animated while discussing his theory. But then, he was drunk(-ish), not stoned, so that's understandable.

Nintendo Files Trademark For Phrase "It's On Like Donkey Kong"

Donkey Kong

The phrase “It’s on like Donkey Kong” has been part of the pop-culture vernacular for decades, but now Nintendo is attempting to claim ownership of the nostalgic idiom by filing a trademark request with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

It’s all part of Nintendo’s preparation for the November 21 release of its upcoming Wii title Donkey Kong Country Returns


I find it strange that Nintendo didn’t do this sooner. I mean, the phrase has been around forever, and it’s not like Nintendo was ever going to abandon Kong, so the big guy’s never really going to be out of the public consciousness anyway. I guess better late than never, right?

Van Damme Friday : Get Out Your Dancing Shoes.....It's Friday!!!

funny animated gif