“Have you discovered a new unique restroom lately? All over the world leading designers are transforming aesthetically pleasing places for people to pee, poo and, well, be pampered, all in the name of making the daily commute to the restroom a little less dreary.
We want to know where the most aesthetically creative ones are for a feature. From nightclubs and restaurants to airport lounges and shops, for the most unique, most out there, well designed loo”
Japan’s single women are being offered the ultimate sleeping partner - a comfort to cuddle up to, but one which does not snore or make demands.
The Boyfriend’s Arm Pillow, shaped like a man’s torso with one sturdy arm, has been on sale since December and has so far been snapped up by 1,000 singles.
One woman, Junko Suzuki, told AP: “It makes me relaxed… I can hold the arm and feel something warm at my side”.
Ms Suzuki, who is separated from her husband, says the pillow has other advantages.
“It keeps holding me all the way through. I think this is great because this does not betray me,”
“American cities have begun to wage war against graffiti artists using the latest consumer tech: namely, integrated digital photography and GPS platforms feeding into a central database run as an online service.
Graffiti Tracker, the company behind this initiative (motto: “every wall tells a story”), says on its website that graffiti is “a serious crime that requires the most intensive analysis and research, from beginning to end”.
The idea is that municipal authorities snap pics of graffiti and upload it to the company’s secure servers, with GPS location data automatically added. The central Graffiti Tracker operation then makes use of analysts with “rigorous training allowing them to look behind the spray paint”, and also employs “satellite imaging” to work out “who the most active vandals are, or which gang members are associating with each other the most”.
Harassed plods can then “attack the graffiti problem at its root and make arrests that send a zero-tolerance message”. They can “see the path of damage behind each active vandal”.
A lot of graffiti perps are so-called “taggers”, who purposely identify themselves in their work. When a police force nabs one of these individuals, using the Tracker database they can potentially charge the spraypaint-loving miscreant with dozens or hundreds of offences rather than just one, and thus land them with a hefty spell up the river rather than a mere judicial wrist-slap.”
1. October 5, 1960
Early Warning System radar in Greenland mistakes a reflection off the moon for a massive Soviet missile barrage. Catastrophe is averted when radar operators catch the error.
2. October 25, 1962
A guard at an Air Force base in Duluth, Minnesota, shoots someone climbing a fence (not knowing it’s a bear), which triggers a miswired alarm at an Air National Guard base in Wisconsin. Nuclear-armed F-106 fighter jets scramble.
3. November 9, 1979
A training tape depicting a Soviet attack is inadvertently played on Norad computers. Senator Charles Percy (R-Illinois), visiting at the time, describes a scene of “panic.”
4. June 3, 1980
Phantom inbound missiles appear on computer screens at Strategic Air Command and, later, at the Pentagon. Before the problem is discovered, SAC readies its B-52 bombers for takeoff.
5. September 26, 1983
Soviet systems report US ICBM launches. The colonel on duty, fearing a false alarm, doesn’t recommend a counterstrike. The “missile plumes” turn out to be the glare of the sun, but Soviet high command reprimands him anyway.
6. November 1983
Able Archer 83 – a realistic NATO training exercise – includes rehearsing for nukes. The edgy Soviets, who notice an increase in communications between the US and the UK before the drill, think it’s the real thing.
7. January 25, 1995
Russian radar interprets a NASA research rocket as a US submarine-based missile. President Boris Yeltsin puts his country on alert.
8. June 6, 2002
At the height of India-Pakistan nuclear tensions, a 32-foot asteroid explodes over the Mediterranean. Had it fallen to Earth hours earlier, it would have caused a blast over south Asia indistinguishable from a first strike.
What if the great events in history had turned out differently? How would the world today be changed?
Niall Ferguson wonders about this a lot. He’s a well-known economic historian at Harvard, and a champion of “counterfactual thinking,” or the re-imagining of major historical events, with the variables slightly tweaked. In a 1999 book Virtual Histories, Ferguson edited a collection of delightfully weird counterfactual hypotheses. One essay argued that if Mikhail Gorbachev had never existed, the USSR would still exist today. Another posited an alternative 18th century in which Britain allows its colonies to develop their own parliaments — so the Americans never revolt, and the USA never exists.
The essays were fun, but Ferguson really craved a more holodeck-like experience. He wanted to have a computer simulation that would let him set up historical counterfactuals — based on real-world facts — and then sit back to see what happens. “I was always thinking that one day the right technology would come into my life,” he told me.
Last year, it finally did. Ferguson was approached by Muzzy Lane, a game company that had created Making History — a game where players run World War II scenarios based on exhaustively researched economic realities of the period.
As he played it, he realized the game was good — so good, in fact, that it forced him to rethink some of his long-cherished theories. For example, he’d often argued that World War II could have been prevented if Britain had confronted Germany over its invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938. France would have joined with Britain, he figured, pinching Germany between their combined might and that of the Russian army. “Germany wasn’t ready for war, and they would have been defeated,” he figured. “War in 1938 would have been better than war in 1942.”
But when he ran the simulation in Making History, everything fell to pieces. The French defected, leaving Britain’s expeditionary force to fly solo — and get crushed by Germany. His theory, as it turns out, didn’t hold water. He hadn’t realized that a 1938 attack would not leave Britain enough time to build the diplomatic case with France.
The game, in essence, helped him think more clearly about history. “I found that my scenarios weren’t as robust as I thought. And that’s really exciting, because normally counterfactuals happen in my head,” he says. “Now they can happen on the screen.”
”Supermarket chain Asda is to stop selling CD singles because of dwindling sales, it has announced.
The company said customer demand had fallen because of cheaper album prices and the popularity of downloads.
“We’re reluctantly saying goodbye to one of the most important products in music history,” the retailer’s music buyer Andy Powell said.
Singles will be phased out from this week. Asda said the space would be used to promote “breakthrough albums”.
Downloads have overtaken CDs as the most popular way to buy singles - accounting for 79% of the market in 2006”
n. Tourism that involves travelling to places associated with death, destruction, or a horrific event. —dark tourist n.
If you have ever been to the world war battlefields in northern France, the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, a Holocaust museum or even a military cemetery, then you’ve participated — perhaps unknowingly — in dark tourism. The term applies to the increasingly popular pursuit of visiting sites where people have suffered or died in tragic or spectacular circumstances. The killing fields of Cambodia, the gulags of the former Soviet Union and the ruins of New Orleans have all become tourist hotspots, while more than half a million people visit the extermination camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau each year. …
“You sass that hoopy Douglas Adams? Now there’s a frood who knew where his towel was. You are invited to join your fellow hitch hikers in mourning the loss of the late great one. Join in on towel day to show your appreciation for the humor and insight that Douglas Adams brought to all our lives.”
[Hitch hiker slang: sass = meet, know, have sex with; hoopy = really together guy; frood = really amazingly together guy.]
Here’s Wakefield’s claim to fame. from here:
Only a few decades ago, over 90% of the world’s forced rhubarb crop was grown in this small area. Here rhubarb grows in forcing sheds while it is still winter, preceding the crop grown out-of-doors. There is even a rhubarb festival each February. Rhubarb flourished in this part of the country because it seems to have had the ideal combination of conditions necessary to cultivate rhubarb on a large scale. These included:
- suitable soil,
- sufficient rainfall,
- supplies of soot and ash to condition the soil,
- cheap fuel to heat the sheds,
- large numbers of small market gardeners.
Forced rhubarb grown in these sheds is deemed to be much more tender than that grown outdoors in Summer. Without daylight the rhubarb leaves are an anaemic green yellow, and the 2ft-long stalks smooth textured and crimson. The pickers must pull the stalks in the dark; any exposure to light will stop the growth of all the rhubarb. By the end of March the harvest is over and the root stock is totally exhausted.