Archive for November, 2011

First beer in space a Natural Light

Like James Tiberius Kirk, the first beer in space is of humble origin.

Like James Tiberius Kirk, the first beer in space is of humble origin.

There are those who say America’s best days are behind it.

But those sad souls have never met “Danny and Rich,” two ingenious lads who claim to have launched the first beer into space. (We can only assume Russians had vodka in space decades ago.)

Unfortunately, they did not slap a Saturn rocket on a keg of Guiness. Instead, they tied a weather balloon to a can of Natural Light.

Videos that may be viral marketing but are still impressive reveal both the low-tech plan, and the successful journey to 90,000 feet, which is so high some consider it space.

From the videos littering YouTube, it seems pretty easy to “launch” mundane objects (iPhone | Androids | Robots) into the ‘Natmosphere.’

Danny and Rich, who don’t seem to be rocket scientists, used a “parent’s garage” as mission control. They slapped a video camera and a can of beer into a foam cooler, tied a helium-filled weather ballon to it and set it free. …

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Poll: 35 million Americans dread being nice at Christmas

If you feel like the Grinch during Christmas, you are not alone, according to a new poll.

Reached by phone, this survey participant revealed an intense dislike for heat lamps and annoying "nose-eating rabbits."

Reached by phone, this survey participant revealed an intense dislike for heat lamps and "nose-eating rabbits." (AP Photo)

Consumer Reports reports “35 million Americans dread having to be nice for the holidays.”

While 35 million sounds like a huge number, if people responded to telephone surveys honestly that number would likely be a lot higher.

The survey of 1,013 U.S. residents conducted Nov. 4-7 asked people what they dreaded most during the holidays.

The findings indicate the following, plus a limited ability to think up synonyms for “dread.”

* 90 percent malign something.

* 68 percent don’t look forward to waiting in line.

* 37 percent fear putting on weight.

* 37 percent abhor getting in debt.

* 28 percent deride shopping, and will spend an average of 19 hours doing it.

* 24 percent find mordant the idea of seeing relatives.

* 23 percent loathe Christmas music.

* 16 percent …

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Pat Robertson: Mac & Cheese ‘a black thing’

TV preacher Pat Robertson, who once ran for president and had the support of millions of Americans, set the record straight on macaroni and cheese today while hosting yet another episode of The 700 Club.

Pat Robertson, in 1998, gave a thumbs-up to the impeachment of presumed mac & cheese aficionado Bill Clinton.

Pat Robertson, in 1998, gives a thumbs-up to the impeachment of presumed mac & cheese aficionado Bill Clinton.

It’s “a black thing” and he’s never tasted it, he said.

The informative exchange came after Robertson showed a clip of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice saying she enjoyed the gooey delicacy, but only during Thanksgiving, which is almost as unbelievable a statement.

The news shocked the 81-year-old evangelist.

“What is this mac & cheese? Is it a black thing?”

African-American 700 Club co-host Kristi Watts said yes, and that everyone else in the world needed to get on board and start eating more macaroni and cheese.

The show was not, to my knowledge, sponsored by Kraft.

Robertson is no stranger to controversy.

* In September, he said it is OK to divorce …

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Baby named for ‘Skyrim’ video game

Free video games for life is quite a treasure.

You think the pigeons in Centennial Park are bad? (Bethesda Softworks)

You think the pigeons in Centennial Park are bad? (Bethesda Softworks)

Especially when the game company offering the freebies is the maker of Skyrim (aka Elder Scrolls V), the latest in a series of award winning roleplaying adventure games.

Bethesda Softworks threw down a challenge early this year that they probably assumed no woman would take part in — simply have a child born 11/11/11 (the day of Skyrim’s release) and name it “Dovahkiin” (that means Dragonborn in dragon lingo) to win.

Quest complete.

The game company officially congratulated Megan and Eric Kellermeyer for their part in bringing baby Dovahkiin Tom Kellermeyer into this world bereft of magic (Xanadu does not count).

“Be it the real world or the game worlds we create, we wish young Dovahkiin the best in all his adventures,” Bethesda wrote on the company blog. They’ve even got a pic of the tyke surrounded in Skyrim loot.

The challenge came with a disclaimer of pure …

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Saudi women may be forced to cover ’sexy’ eyes

Ethnocentrism is an ugly thing, but it’s difficult to not be offended by a report that says Saudi women with “sexy” eyes may be forced to cover them up.

Saudi women may be forced to cover up even more.

Saudi women may be forced to cover up more. (AP)

USA Today reports a spokesman for the Orwellian entitled “Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice” as saying the group has the right to order women whose eyes seem “tempting” to shield them immediately.

The committee was set up in 1940 to enforce Sharia Law within the Islamic nation. “Religion police” patrol the streets enforcing dress codes — women already must wear a black cloak that covers almost everything — and other rules.

Fox News reports the committee, in 2002, refused to allow female students out of a burning school in Mecca because they were not wearing correct head cover. The decision allegedly contributed to the high death toll of 15 people who were killed in the fire.

Saudi Arabia — a longtime U.S. ally — is the only country in the world …

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Lying on Facebook could become federal crime

Have you ever lied on Match.com? Or created an account on Facebook using a fake name?

Many 'Harvard graduates' may soon be retooling their online profiles.

Did I say I went to Harvard? I meant ABAC! (AP Photo)

Do you have a teenage child that uses Google?

These common online behaviors aren’t illegal, yet.

A representative from the U.S. Department of Justice appeared before Congress Tuesday asking that august body to strengthen laws to “[improve] cybersecurity [of] our nation’s critical infrastructure, and the federal government’s own networks and computers.”

Noble goals, surely.

But the changes requested by Richard Downing, deputy chief of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section at the Department of Justice, would also broadly criminalize many things Americans currently do online, NPR reports.

The Justice Department, it seems, want to make it a crime to violate a website’s terms of service.

No one bothers to actually read those things, but it is a violation of Facebook’s terms of service to provide any false information on your …

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Can Penn State scandal get even worse?

The Penn State scandal is tragic, clearly, but rumors are it may get even worse.

Penn State students riot Thursday morning. (AP Photo)

Penn State students riot Thursday morning. (AP Photo)

Pittsburgh radio host Mark Madden dropped two potential bombshells in an interview Thursday morning, just hours after longtime Penn State coach Joe Paterno was fired and angry football fans rioted.

Madden said:

* Former assistant Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky was forced by Penn State to retire in 1999 in exchange for a university coverup of his actions with underage boys.

* Rumors are being investigated that Sandusky and Second Mile, a non-profit Sandusky founded in 1977 to help children, was pimping young boys to wealthy donors.

Madden, who has covered the Sandusky story for more than a decade, made his comments on “The Dennis and Callahan Show” when the hosts asked what the next development in the story would be.

You can see and hear the interview here.

Other elements of the story are troubling.

Why, after firing Joe Paterno, who never …

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Google TV adds porn

Sex sells, but can it transform Google TV into a winner?

Signs of the End Times: Kim Kardashian may help a Google product succeed. (AP Photo)

Signs of the End Times: Kim Kardashian may help a Google product succeed. (AP Photo)

The Los Angeles Times and other media are reporting the Vivid for Google TV channel launched Monday.

Vivid is the company behind such high-brow efforts as Kim Kardashian’s sex tape. After a lawsuit, the LA-based company settled with the unfortunately famous woman for $5 million.

Google TV, a $99 electronic box that makes it possible to watch Netflix or view websites on the living room boob tube, was released in 2010 to tepid reviews.

Logitech, the manufacturer of the standalone Google TV product, has had a hard time moving units. Recently, Logitech said more people were returning their units than keeping them. Probably because much of what the gadget does can be emulated by millions of PlayStation 3s and Xbox 360s already inhabiting precious entertainment center space.

A software update allows Google TV owners to use Android apps on a TV …

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Study: Humans have fewer friends than ever

Real friends are dreadfully passé now that we’ve got social media.

Who needs friends when you've got pets and nigh-unlimited wilderness?

Who needs friends when you've got pets and a penchant for protesting alone in the wilderness? (AP Photo)

Perhaps that’s the takeaway of two studies that says humans have fewer friends than ever, but are recouping lost emotional support by visiting Facebook.

ABC News reports on a Cornell study that says the number of “real” friends a person has has dropped from a whopping three all the way down to two since 1985.

A “real friend,” according to ABC, is someone who will “help us out in tough times, listen sympathetically no matter what, lend us money or give us a place to stay if we needed it, keep a secret if we shared one.”

Sounds a lot like grandpa!

The study quizzed 2,000 adults, asking them how many people they’d shared “important matters,” like who will be the Braves starting shortstop in 2012, during the past six months.

Sadly, 4 percent of those polled took the Simon & Garfunkel “I am an island” route and …

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White House: U.S. not hiding ET

The White House has finally confirmed a suspicion long held true by anyone who managed to sit through an entire episode of “Alf”: Extraterrestrials do not live on Earth.

And now, batting cleanup in the Klingon Field of Dreams ... (AP Photo)

And now, batting cleanup in the Klingon Field of Dreams … (AP Photo)

The official government response came in reply to an online petition seeking the Obama administration to “formally acknowledge an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race.”

Phil Larson, who works on space policy and communications at the White House, crushed the souls of conspiracy theorists and Star Trek fans in one succinct paragraph:

The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race. In addition, there is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public’s eye.

The Obama administration, perhaps sensing they’ve no hope of getting the Creationist vote, said alien life undoubtedly …

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