Roll up, roll up!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Out Of Context Quote Of The Week

“I would not imagine that in 10 years, let alone 110, 'Posh and Becks' will mean anything.”

Message In A Bottle

The Time Traveller Convention

May 7, 2005, 10:00pm EDT (08 May 2005 02:00:00 UTC)
(events start at 8:00pm)

East Campus Courtyard, MIT

3 Ames St. Cambridge, MA 02142

42:21:36.025°N, 71:05:16.332°W

(42.360007,-071.087870 in decimal degrees)

No dress code whatsoever. We do request that you bring some sort of proof that you do indeed come from the future, and haven't just dressed like you do. We welcome any sort of proof, but things like a cure for AIDS or cancer, a solution for global poverty, or a cold fusion reactor would be particularly convincing as well as greatly appreciated. (No RSVP required.)

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Mystic Pizza

An 86-year-old US woman arrested for incessantly calling emergency services to complain about a pizza parlour has spent two nights behind bars.

Dorothy Densmore of Charlotte, North Carolina, called the emergency 911 service 20 times in 38 minutes.

Angry she could not get the meal delivered to her home, she demanded police arrest the pizza proprietors.

But when she refused to stop calling, police arrived with their own delivery, arresting her for abusing the hotline.

She told police that she had been called a "crazy old coot" by someone at the pizza shop.

Mrs Densmore has also been charged with resisting arrest.

Sleep Easy

The UK terrorism threat level has been lowered from "severe general" to "substantial".

Friday, May 20, 2005

The Light And The Dark

The Star Wars franchise has generated an estimated $20bn (£10.8bn) in revenue to date.

The five Star Wars films before Revenge of the Sith generated $5.7bn in cinema and DVD sales, and $9bn in merchandising as well as marketing revenues from corporate sponsors.

The latest Star Wars film has more promotional partners than virtually any other film.

Toys are the biggest merchandising category, prompting Toys R Us to open the doors of 316 of its US stores and 21 international branches at one minute past midnight.

Recruitment firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas estimates that US businesses will lose $627m through staff taking time off sick to be among the first to see it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Save The Children

The number of tobacco brand appearances in US films aimed at children has not fallen significantly despite an agreement to stop them, a study says.

Major tobacco companies agreed to stop pushing for their products to be promoted in the arts from 1998.

Before the deal 15% of films aimed at children showed tobacco brand names, or trademarks, while after it, 12% did.

The study by Hanover's Dartmouth Medical School appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The findings contrasted to the sharp drop in tobacco brand appearances in adult films, which fell from 30% before the agreement to 13% after it.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Careless Talk Costs Lives

US magazine Newsweek has said it erred in reporting that a copy of the Koran had been flushed down a toilet at Guantanamo Bay by US interrogators.

It said a US military investigation had failed to corroborate the story and apologised for carrying the report.

At least 15 people have been killed in anti-US riots in Afghanistan following the article's publication last week.

In Pakistan, an alliance of six conservative Islamic parties has already rejected Newsweek's retraction.

Alliance leader, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, said it was "a crude attempt, both by the weekly magazine and the American authorities to defuse the anger of the Muslims across the world".

In its latest edition, Newsweek's editor writes that its original source is not sure where he saw the assertion.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Out Of Context Quote Of The Week

“One of the problems for me is that I've got a face that falls into a miserable looking face.”

Give And Take

The oil-for-food programme was a $60bn (£32bn) scheme set up in 1996 which was supposed to allow Iraq to buy food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies with the proceeds of regulated oil sales.

The programme aimed to relieve the suffering of Iraqis under the sanctions and was formally ended in 2003 after the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Questions over the way the programme was conducted emerged in early 2004, after an Iraqi newspaper published a list of about 270 people including UN officials, politicians and companies it alleged may have profited from the illicit sale of Iraqi oil.

US Senate investigators later found that Saddam Hussein's regime made $17.3bn from abuses.

About $13.6bn allegedly came from selling oil to neighbour states keen to breach the sanctions.

The programme has already been the subject of several corruption investigations. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has been criticised over his son's work with the programme, but he himself, in an interim report by a UN committee issued in March, was cleared of wrongdoing.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Majority Rules

Hooded tops, baseball caps and swearing have been outlawed at Bluewater shopping centre in Kent as part of a crackdown on anti-social behaviour.

The retail and leisure complex is bringing in a zero-tolerance approach to intimidating conduct.

Managers have drawn up a code of conduct for the centre and people contravening it will be asked to leave the complex.

The rules outline the standard of behaviour expected, including not smoking, leafleting, or canvassing on site.

Guidelines say intimidating behaviour by groups or individuals, anti-social behaviour including swearing, and wearing clothing which deliberately obscures the face such as hooded tops and baseball caps, will not be allowed.

Bluewater also contains nearly 400 CCTV cameras, which are being constantly monitored.

North Kent Supt Martin Hewitt said: "By clearly setting acceptable standards of behaviour, this code will allow staff and police officers to work together in maintaining the quality of experience for guests."

Lost And Found

Even by conservative estimates, there are more living species on the planet that haven't been identified and documented than have. The number currently documented stands at roughly 1.75 million.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

In The Name Of Love

Kids in Japan will soon be wearing school uniform blazers fitted with global positioning system transceivers, allowing parents to track their whereabouts on a laptop. The uniform, made by Ogo-Sangyo based in Kurashiki, went on sale on 13 April.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Get Well Soon

US doctors are trying to find out why a severely brain-damaged man has suddenly started to speak after nearly 10 years.

Donald Herbert, 43, a firefighter, was badly injured in a house fire in 1995 and was deprived of oxygen for several minutes before being rescued.

He was in a coma for more than two months, and since then he has been blind, barely able to speak and unable to recognise family and friends.

He has been in a nursing home in the city of Buffalo, in New York state, for more than seven years.

But on Saturday he suddenly asked for his wife Linda and chatted with her, his four sons and other family until he fell asleep on Sunday morning.

Medical experts say it is almost unheard of for patients to recover from such severe brain injuries after so many years

His uncle, Simon Manka, told AP news agency he thought he had only been away for three months.

He has since maintained his recovery.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Dangers Of Breathing Out And Breathing In

One person dies from asthma every hour in Western Europe.


Camp X-ray at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba still contains approximately 520 prisoners from some 40 countries