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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Now even ET is making crop circles (with a little help from GPS and MICROWAVES)

By Daily Mail Reporter

UFO fanatics clinging to the belief that extra-terrestrials are responsible for crop circles sometimes like to echo the X Files catchphrase: ‘The truth is out there.’

But, as it turns out, the answer might actually be much closer to home - inside your kitchen in fact. 

Because, for example, this 200ft image of a pipe-smoking alien – carved into a Wiltshire field – could have been created using an ordinary microwave oven, according to scientists.

From kitchen to field: Microwaves may have created this 200ft alien crop circle near Cherhill, Wiltshire
From kitchen to field: Microwaves may have created this 200ft alien crop circle near Cherhill, Wiltshire

A handheld device called magnetron – made using parts from the common household cooker and a 12-volt battery – may have ushered in a new generation of crop circles.
Professor Richard Taylor, a physicist, claims to be able to reproduce the intricate damage inflicted on crops using such a gadget developed by his team at the University of Oregon.

He believes similar advances have been made by others – despite avid UFO spotters insisting that the growing phenomenon is beyond scientific understanding.

Prof Taylor said microwaves – the radiation waves that are capable of heating food when utilised in an oven - cause crop stalks to fall over and cool in a horizontal position.
The technique could explain the speed and efficiency of the artists and the incredible detail that some new crop circles exhibit, such as the alien, which was created two weeks ago alongside an ancient white horse at Cherhill, near Stonehenge.

Strange goings on: The two-week-old alien appeared alongside an ancient white horse, near Stonehenge
Strange goings on: The two-week-old alien appeared alongside an ancient white horse, near Stonehenge

Dispensing with rope, wooden planks and bar stools that have traditionally been used to create such designs, Prof Taylor suggested these spectacular patterns could also be carved with lasers.

And he believes the satellite Global Positioning System could track the markings.

Mathematical analysis of some of these ever-more complex designs has revealed the use of constructions lines, invisible to the eye, that are used to design the patterns.

Writing in Physics World, he said: ‘Crop-circle artists are not going to give up their secrets easily. 

‘This summer, unknown artists will venture into the countryside close to your homes and carry out their craft, safe in the knowledge that they are continuing the legacy of the most science-oriented art movement in history.’ 

Physics World editor Matin Durrani said: ‘It may seem odd for a physicist such as Taylor to be studying crop circles, but then he is merely trying to act like any good scientist - examining the evidence for the design and construction of crop circles without getting carried away by the side-show of UFOs, hoaxes and aliens.’ 

But as fascinating as the patterns are to scientists, farmers find crop circles infuriating.
Tim Carson, who owns the land where the recent alien design appeared, has had 125 circles on his land since 1990. 

The price in ruined crops is particularly steep this year because of soaring fuel and fertiliser costs, and a 25 per cent drop in wheat yields due to the drought.

Booming: Crop circles in Wiltshire are attracted tourists to the area to see them, but farmers are unhappy with the lost income they cause
Booming: Crop circles in Wiltshire are attracted tourists to the area, but farmers are unhappy with lost income

Cropping up: This circle is one of those that has appeared at Devizes in the last few weeks
Cropping up: This circle is one of those that has appeared at Devizes in the last few weeks

Elaborate: This 409 circles in this creation brought the farmer whose land it was on thousands in media fees and helicopter landing fees
Elaborate: This 409 circles in this creation brought the farmer whose land it was on thousands in media fees and helicopter landing fees

‘I’m beginning to get a bit tired of it all,’ said Mr Carson. 

‘Each circle costs me £1,000 in lost income. This year, I decided to destroy circles as soon as I found them, but that means losing more crops. And, whatever you do, the circles affect the growing next year, as the thick mat of crops covers soil, compromising its quality.’

Every year, 50 to 60 circles materialise in the rolling chalk downlands of Wiltshire. 

In the rest of the world put together, only 40 to 50 appear annually. 

And, in recent years, a booming tourist trade has developed. From Belgium, Holland, America, Norway and Australia, crop-circle enthusiasts come in their thousands — each with their own theory, each rushing to a new site as soon as it is reported.

This week, within hours of the first reports of a new circle on Windmill Hill — near the neolithic stone circle at Avebury — a Dutch tour party of nine people rushed to the spot.

‘There are heaps of biophysical anomalies here,’ said the tour leader, Janet Ossebaard, 45, author of Crop Circles: Scientific Evidence.

Hard at work: Crop circles are often made by groups of six who work at night using basic tools such as bamboo sticks, tape, and 3ft-wide wooden planks
Hard at work: Crop circles are often made by groups of six who work at night using basic tools such as bamboo sticks, tape, and 3ft-wide wooden planks

‘This wasn’t made by people, otherwise you’d see damage from board marks [where hoaxers lay planks to flatten the wheat]. It’s been hit by a plasma vortex.

‘You can see the burn marks on the crops and cavities,’ she says, holding up a grain stalk, which does indeed have small holes in it. 

‘We also found a half-fried caterpillar. This is a vortex that has been intelligently guided — not by hoaxers, nor the Army [which is heavily represented in this part of Wiltshire].’
Crop circles have been reported in England since 1678, when a Hertfordshire news pamphlet referred to The Mowing Devil, a creature that cut a farmer’s oat crop into a series of concentric circles. 

In the 19th century, occasional circles were recorded and the first-known photograph of one appeared in Sussex in 1932. 

But it wasn’t until the early Nineties that Wiltshire crop circles started multiplying at an extreme rate. 

In 1990, Led Zeppelin released an album, Remasters, with a picture on the cover of an elaborate crop circle created on Mr Carson’s land.

U.S. government: Insurers must cover birth control with no copays


A box of Tri-Cyclen Lo birth control medication for women is seen in a pharmacy in Toronto
Mark Blinch  /  REUTERS
Birth control pills such as Ortho Tri-cyclen and Triquilar will be completely covered by insurance with no copays required, according to new rules released Monday.

U.S. health insurance companies must offer women free birth control and other preventive health care services under Obama administration rules released on Monday, a historic decision supported by family planning groups and opposed by conservative groups. 

The rules from the Health and Human Services Department are part of the nation's healthcare overhaul and largely follow recommendations from an advisory group released last month . Under the new guidelines, no copays would be required.

The U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, commissioned by the Obama administration, recommended that all U.S.-approved birth control methods -- including the "morning-after pill," taken shortly after intercourse to stop a pregnancy -- be added to the list of preventive health services.

The recommendation faced opposition from conservative and religious groups that balked at using taxpayer money to cover birth control, especially the "morning-after pill."

The guidelines go into effect on Monday, requiring insurers to provide free coverage of preventive care services for women in all new plans beginning in August 2012.

"These historic guidelines are based on science and existing literature and will help ensure women get the preventive health benefits they need," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.

The HHS added an amendment allowing religious institutions to choose whether to cover contraception services in their insurance. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had urged the HHS to exclude birth control as a service.

The adoption of the recommendations is a win for organizations such as the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Planned Parenthood.

"Eliminating cost sharing for these crucial preventive services will make needed care more accessible and will improve the health of millions of women," said Iowa Democratic Senator Tom Harkin, who had urged HHS to accept the report's guidelines.

The health department's guidelines followed the IOM's recommendations to require free screening for gestational diabetes, testing for human papillomavirus in women over 30, counseling for HIV and sexually transmitted infections, lactation counseling, screening for domestic violence and yearly wellness visits.
Research suggests that the public supports adding birth control to the list of services.

A Thomson Reuters/NPR survey in May found 76.6 percent of respondents believe private insurance plans, without government assistance, should cover some or all costs associated with birth control pills.

Bin Laden Group to build world's tallest tower


Bin Laden Group to build world's tallest tower
Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud shows a model of the Jeddah Tower on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding has hired Saudi Bin Laden Group to build the world's tallest skyscraper in Jeddah, reports.

Jeddah Tower will be 1,000 meters (3,281 feet) tall and will contain a Four Seasons luxury hotel, apartments, condominiums and offices that overlook the Red Sea, Financial Times reported.

Kingdom Holding is paying Bin Laden Group, one of the world's largest construction companies, about $1.2 billion to take on the five-year project, according to Financial Times.

Saudi Bin Laden Group was founded in 1931 by Muhammad Awad bin Laden, the billionaire father of terrorist Osama bin Laden. It built much of Saudi Arabia's highways and infrastructure, as well as entire districts and cities.

The company constructed additions to the Muslim nation's two holiest mosques in Mecca and Medina. It operates throughout the Middle East and was chosen in 1964 to reclad the golden Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem.

Over the years, Saudi Bin Laden Group has expanded into a conglomerate that includes engineering, manufacturing and telecommunications, according to business analysis site

Osama bin Laden, the 17th of 52 children, inherited part of his father's fortune, but his radical activities led the family to disown him in 1994.

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, a nephew of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, announced the tower building contract Tuesday. He owns 95% of Kingdom Holding, according to Financial Times.

When completed, Jeddah Tower will easily surpass Dubai's 828-meter (2,717-foot) Burj Khalifa as the world's tallest building.

The Chicago firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture designed the project and will oversee its development, reported. Adrian Smith was one of Burj Khalifa's designers when he was with Skidmore Owings and Merrill.

High School is the Millenium Falcon!


Half of European men share King Tut's DNA

By Alice Baghdjian

LONDON Aug 1 (Reuters Life!) - Up to 70 percent of British men and half of all Western European men are related to the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun, geneticists in Switzerland said.

Scientists at Zurich-based DNA genealogy centre, iGENEA, reconstructed the DNA profile of the boy Pharaoh, who ascended the throne at the age of nine, his father Akhenaten and grandfather Amenhotep III, based on a film that was made for the Discovery Channel.

The results showed that King Tut belonged to a genetic profile group, known as haplogroup R1b1a2, to which more than 50 percent of all men in Western Europe belong, indicating that they share a common ancestor.

Among modern-day Egyptians this haplogroup contingent is below 1 percent, according to iGENEA.

"It was very interesting to discover that he belonged to a genetic group in Europe -- there were many possible groups in Egypt that the DNA could have belonged to," said Roman Scholz, director of the iGENEA Centre.
Around 70 percent of Spanish and 60 percent of French men also belong to the genetic group of the Pharaoh who ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago.

"We think the common ancestor lived in the Caucasus about 9,500 years ago," Scholz told Reuters.

It is estimated that the earliest migration of haplogroup R1b1a2 into Europe began with the spread of agriculture in 7,000 BC, according to iGENEA.

However, the geneticists were not sure how Tutankhamun's paternal lineage came to Egypt from its region of origin.

The centre is now using DNA testing to search for the closest living relatives of "King Tut".

"The offer has only been publicised for three days but we have already seen a lot of interest," Scholz told Reuters. (Edited by Paul Casciato)

The Most WTF Bacon Products

By K. Thor Jense

Bacon makes everything better, they say. Unfortunately, that's not true. Some things just shouldn't have bacon added to them. In this feature, we'll examine real-life products that are just too much bacon.

Credit: J&D


One of the best things about bacon is its consistency - that perfect combination of grease and crunch that literally melts in your mouth. So the idea of perverting that into a mayonnaise-based spread is horrible. Jon Stewart recently latched onto Baconnaise, made by the redoubtable J&D Corporation, as a horrific example of the over-the-top fattification of American cuisine. But do you know what the worst thing about it is? It's vegetarian. There's not a single fleck of bacon in it. Instead it's all tocopherols and gluconic acid. Yum.
Bacon Envelopes
Credit: J&D

Bacon Envelopes

Nobody likes to lick envelope glue - well, except for that weird kid who sat in the back of homeroom and always wore the same sweat pants every day. But I'm not sold on the idea that adding artificial bacon flavor to the sealant flaps is going to make the process any more pleasant. From the fine people at J&D, "Bacon-Flavored Mmmvelopes" let you send out all of your important correspondance in a bacon-flavored envelope. Reports of dogs attacking mailmen and running off with these envelopes have not been confirmed.
Bacon Mints
Credit: Archie McPhee

Bacon Mints

There are lot of things that I'd like my mouth to smell like - freshly-printed $100 bills, spearmint, sex pheromones - but I can honestly say that I have never woken up in the morning wishing my breath had the greasy tang of bacon. Luckily, the hard-working lunatics at the Archie McPhee company did, and they created these Altoid-esque breath fresheners that fuse pork essence with just a little hint of mint. Reports from the field call them "the worst candy ever eaten," so buyer beware.
Bacon Vodka
Credit: Bakon

Bacon Vodka

Potatoes and bacon go together just fine on your breakfast plate, but in a cocktail glass? I have to say I'm skeptical. Bakon vodka is, by their estimation, a "superior quality potato vodka with a savory bacon flavor." No chemical additives are used, and drinkers report it's not harsh on the throat like many other novelty vodkas. But the whole point of vodka is that it's as close to tasteless as a consumable spirit can get, making it ideal for a wide variety of mixed drinks. What are you going to make with bacon vodka? Besides a mess of puke in your toilet the next day.
Air Bacon
Credit: Royal Bacon Society

Air Jordans Made Of Bacon

We're going to start moving away from the strictly food-oriented items into some other, less edible uses for bacon. Or at least I hope you aren't supposed to chow down on this pair of Air Jordans made entirely out of crisped hog flesh. I would recommend wearing two pairs of socks if you're going to take these puppies out for a jog.

Bacon Toothpaste
Credit: Archie McPhee

Bacon Toothpaste

If the bacon breath mints just aren't doing the trick for your outrageous halitosis, why not kick things up a notch with a tube of bacon toothpaste? Guaranteed to leave your mouthhole smelling like a slab of greasy, smoky meat, this tube of paste is probably about as effective for getting your teeth clean as brushing with liquefied Gummi Bears. But who cares, right? It tastes like bacon!
Bacon Lube
Credit: J&D

Bacon Lube

If there's one thing you associate with bacon, it's grease. So the concept of a bacon-based sexual lubricant makes scientific sense. It's still just incredibly gross, but at least it makes sense. The bacon-obsessed chemistry maniacs at J&D wanted to add a little sizzle to your bedroom activities, so they created this water-soluble personal lubricant to make your lovemaking smell like the kitchen at Denny's. Don't use it and then bang a chick in the kitchen at Denny's, though. That would be wrong.
Bacon Soda
Credit: Mad Meat Genius

Bacon Soda

The Jones Soda company is notorious for releasing some extremely funky flavors - who can forget their Thanksgiving offering of turkey and gravy? - but they went over the top in 2010 with their absolutely disgusting bacon soda. Packing a fizzy mouthful of smoky, greasy flavor, the drink was roundly reviled by everybody who sampled it. Thick, smoky, and revolting, Jones touted it as being an ingredient in a cocktail containing bourbon, cream, soda water and a raw egg. No thank you.
Bacon Bra
Credit: Tumblr

Bacon Bra

If you're already employing the bacon lube in the bedroom, why not kick things up a notch Emeril-style with this sultry bra made of nothing but the finest bacon. Unfortunately, this isn't pre-cooked, so you won't be able to chew it off your ladyfriend's sweater puppies in the throes of passion without possibly getting food poisoning. I guess if it was cooked it might chafe the sensitive nipple areas.
Bacon Lip Balm
Credit: J&D

Bacon Lip Balm

Eating all this bacon is well and good, but what if you want to have the taste of meat on your lips all day long? The only real answer is bacon lip balm. All of the bacon flavor without the calories, fat or general obesity, this balm will keep your lips kissably soft. But nobody will want to kiss them because you'll smell like an unwashed frying pan. I guess that will help keep them soft, though.

Bacon Soap
Credit: Michael Zary

Bacon Soap

And, finally, we close with the personal hygiene product for the man who just has to have everything smell like bacon. Anybody who's seen Fight Club knows that fat can be rendered into soap, and what kind of food is fattier than bacon? Soapmaker Michael Zary saved all of his bacon grease for weeks before rendering it, adding lye and water, and creating these bars of solid piggy cleanliness. Alas, much of the bacon flavor is stripped by this process, but a combination of essential oils and flavor elements brings it right back.

Granddad at 29... but hospital staff demand his ID because they think he's too young to be the FATHER!

By Daily Mail Reporter

A 29-year-old man who has become one of Britain's youngest grandparents was left red-faced after nurses asked him to prove he was over 16 as he tried to visit his daughter's baby. 

Unemployed Shem Davies was overjoyed when 14-year-old Tia gave birth to Gracie earlier this month. 

But when he tried to visit the ward, maternity nurses thought the fresh-faced granddad was in fact the teenage father of Gracie and asked him to prove his age. 

Shem and former girlfriend Kelly John, 30, became parents to Tia at the age of 15. Their daughter's boyfriend, Jordan Williams, is 15. 

Shem said: 'It is an absolute joy to see Gracie thriving. I'm incredibly proud of Tia. She'll be a brilliant mum. At first I wasn't overly pleased that she was pregnant but I soon got over than. Now it's all about being positive.

Happy family: Jordan, bottom left, with Tia and Gracie, and proud grandparents Shem and Kelly
Happy family: Jordan, bottom left, with Tia and Gracie, and proud grandparents Shem and Kelly

'I've got to know Jordan and he's shaping up to be a decent young man,' Shem told The People.

But the arrival of Gracie wasn't easy as Tia was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, seven weeks before her due date.
Worried doctors decided their best option would be to deliver the tot by Caesarean section.

The condition, which often leaves expectant mothers with high blood pressure and protein in their urine, could lead to life-threatening symptoms for both mother and baby.
Tia said the contrast between the carefree fun of the school playground and then the fear of death for her and the baby was something she would never forget.

Happily after a 25 minute operation Gracie was born but only weighed 2lb and was rushed to the special care unit at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, which is close to the family home.

Little Gracie is still being kept in an incubator but has managed to put on enough weight which means she will be allowed home in a few weeks. 

A week after Gracie was born Tia celebrated her 15th birthday in the ward surrounded by friends and family.

Fighter: Tiny Gracie is thriving but will be in an incubator for a few weeks
Fighter: Tiny Gracie is thriving but will be in an incubator for a few weeks

Proud parents: Jordan and Tia with their newborn daughter Gracie who was born prematurely
Proud parents: Jordan and Tia with their newborn daughter Gracie who was born prematurely

The teenager, who has been dating Jordan for 18 months and wants to be a hairdresser, said she didn't plan on celebrating her birthday in hospital but added that her baby daughter was the best present she could ask for.

Once mother and daughter have been released from hospital they will be staying with grandmother Kelly so that Tia can finish school.

Grandad Shem, who has a young son of his own, said he is keen to get stuck in and help Tia and Jordan settle into life.

Jordan, who sat his final GCSE just weeks before Gracie arrived, said he understands responsibility. 'I'm captain of the school rugby team and that's like having 14 kids.'

Father and daughter: Shem with his daughter Tia and granddaughter Gracie
Father and daughter: Shem with his daughter Tia and granddaughter Gracie

Despite her young age, mother Tia says that she would not be happy if newborn Gracie became pregnant at 14 but that she would do as her mum did, which is respect her choice to have a child.

She also paid tribute to her mother, who was 15 when she was born, saying that she could not have wished for a better parent and role model adding that they have a very close relationship.

Britain's high teenage pregnancy rate means that many more young people in this generation are set to become grandparents in their late twenties and early thirties.

The latest figures show in 2009 38,259 girls under 18 became pregnant, but nearly 50 per cent had a termination.

The UK still leads the way when it comes to young mothers, and our rate is five-times higher than in the Netherlands and twice that of France and Spain.

Tetris for Sega Mega Drive on Sale for $1 Million


Like new and signed by the game's creator.

If the $8 million price tag for the T-Rex iPad was a little too rich for your blood, then maybe you would prefer to place a bid on eBay for a $1 million copy of Tetris for the Sega Mega Drive, better known stateside as the Sega Genesis.

What makes this particular "like new" copy so valuable is its rarity – only a handful are known to be in existence – and the fact that it's signed by the game's creator, Alekséi Pázhitnov.

If six zeroes are more than you can handle, feel free to throw in an offer and hope for the best.

Dog Tucks Himself Into Bed

Dog Tucks Himself Into Bed - Watch more Funny Videos