The Mideast, never a region to rest easily, is once again on edge after Iran claimed Monday to have launched a monkey into space.
Fortunately, the monkey, whose name is not Netanyahu, survived the 75 mile vertical ride aboard the “Pioneer” capsule.
Iranian media said the launch, announced on the 27th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, was a “major achievement.”
I am sure most primates would agree.
Monkeys and space have a long history. In 1948, NASA launched a rhesus monkey named Albert from White Sands, New Mexico. His rocket exploded on the way up. The next year, Albert II became the first primate in space, but died after his parachute failed to deploy.
Albert III must have heard some things through the banana vine and gotten the heck out of there.
Later in 1949, scientists attached sensors to Albert IV for his historic ride. His vital signs remained good
UPDATE: Definite hoax by film students.
Original column follows: Video hoaxes are older than the Internet (see Bigfoot), but video editing technology is so good now that it is getting difficult to separate online fiction from reality.
Tuesday, someone posted a video on YouTube of an eagle allegedly nabbing a child in a Montreal (that’s in Canada) park.
In real time, it looks very real. The eagle swoops down and lifts the unsuspecting child a couple feet off the ground before dropping the babe largely unharmed to the turf.
The cameraman captures the moment of liftoff, but the camera loses focus as he rushes to the alleged rescue.
Skeptics say the video can’t be real. One animal expert says the bird is not a golden eagle, as is alleged, but is an osprey. I don’t see how the species of the bird disproves the video.
But other folks with more time on their hands (and eagle eyesight) say
Twitter has suspended an account linked to Westboro Baptist Church, either for messages detailing the group’s plan to picket the funerals of those killed Friday in the Connecticut school shootings or because the account has been hacked by the group Anonymous.
The URL for Westboro’s Twitter feed only says the account of church spokesman Shirley Phelps-Roper has been suspended.
Phelps-Roper, hours after the shootings in Newtown, Conn., tweeted “‘Westboro will picket Sandy Hook Elementary School to sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment.”
Westboro Baptist, which has just a handful of members in Topeka, Kan., has been in the news before, of course. It first gained notoriety for anti-gay protests at the funerals of U.S. soldiers.
Anonymous hackers must have been displeased, reports are the group hacked the church’s website — godhatesfags.com — and took control of Phelps-Roper’s @DearShirley Twitter account.
Examiner.com reports the hack is the
As the Mayan End of the World approaches, Russians are hoarding matches and torches like they’re forming a D&D raiding party.
“People are buying candles saying the end of the world is coming,” Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said in a Guardian article. “Does no one realize that once the end of the world comes, candles won’t help them?”
The Russians are not alone, of course.
According to a Reuters survey of 16,000 people in 21 countries, at least 10 percent of the population is genuinely concerned that we’ll all be annihilated on Dec. 21, the day one Mayan calendar ends. Other Mayan calendars say nothing unusual will occur in 2012.
“Preppers,” folks who hoard food, ammo and whatever else they think they will need during whatever apocalypse they have conjured, are located all over the world, including the U.S.
Heck, there’s even a TV show about them, Doomsday Preppers, on the National Geographic Channel.
“War never changes,” the saying goes, but the implements of destruction certainly do.
Rebels in Syria working to topple dictator President Bashar Assad have slapped together a homemade tank that uses a video game controller to aim its machine gun. Hit up Agence France-Presse for a picture.
A crew of two controls the SUV-sized vehicle. One steers with a wheel like you’d find in a car. The other aims the forward-mounted gun with the PlayStation-styled controller.
Five cameras attached to flatscreen TV show the video gamers … I mean rebels … what is going on outside.
The homegrown “Sham II” hasn’t been used in battle yet, but I wonder if Sham I was controlled with a Wiimote?
I’m not sure I’d want to go into battle in a $10,000 homemade tank, but you have to credit the rebels for thinking outside the metal, wheeled box.
The “Faces of Meth” — before and after police mugshots of drug users that depict the effects of methamphetamine on the human body — debuted eight years ago this month. It has aged a lot better than the folks using the drug.
A new ad has just been released and the pictures will horrify you. I’ve used one of the least shocking photos at right.
Many Americans learned most of what they know about meth from the TV crime drama “Breaking Bad.” In the acclaimed TV series, a high school chemistry teacher makes the drug in a home lab and begins selling it, raking in millions and running afoul of organized crime.
That’s what makes the drug so hard to control. Almost anyone can make it using common chemicals.
Making meth is dangerous. Toxic gasses are created and homemade labs have been known to explode.
Using meth is even worse. Whether injected, snorted or smoked, meth affects the central nervous system, creating a temporary high. It also creates brain damage and in a matter of months
Twice as many drivers are impaired by drugs than alcohol, according to a $650,000 study paid for by the U.S. government, which, despite being $16 trillion in debt, is spending money like a drunken sailor on ecstasy.
Speaking of bankrupt governments, the study was conducted in California, where survey takers risked death to “wave over hundreds of late-night California motorists over two weekends this summer.”
Oddly enough, 1,300 people agreed to pull over and take a survey, according to an article in The Orange County Register. Drivers were paid $20 for their time, saliva, and presumably, honesty.
Tests showed that 14 percent of drivers had at least one drug in their system. Marijuana tokers accounted for more than half of the positive drug tests. Illegal drugs and prescription or over-the-counter medications that could impair driving, were responsible for the rest.
The test was able to determine if
Few mortals can afford to shop like Oprah Winfrey. Fortunately for modern peasantry, however, she’s willing to share her “Favorite Things” each year so we can try to be more like her while Christmas shopping.
Some of the items she mentions are even affordable.
Like Microsoft’s Surface tablet computer, which retails for a mere $500 or so.
The former daytime talk show host likes the Surface so much she’s collecting them like bargain bin copies of “A Million Little Pieces.”
Sunday, she (or someone controlling her Twitter account) tweeted “Gotta love that SURFACE! Have bought 12 already for Christmas gifts. ”
Unfortunately for Microsoft, who may or may not have paid for the publicity, the tweet emanated from an iPad.
Oprah’s affair with the Surface must be a mere dalliance.
In 2010, she danced around an iPad adorned with angel wings. ”From our very first moment together, I knew it had stolen my heart,” she said. Let’s hope Oprah’s spiritual partner, Stedman Graham,
Mickey Mouse, who has been dating Minnie for almost 100 years, may not recognize her new look.
Minnie, who was no Clarabelle Cow, is getting an even smaller dress size, according to a petition at Change.org. So far, 13,000 petition signers are not happy about it.
Mickey may want to look into purchasing elevator shoes and a sack of high-fat cheese wheels. His animated GF will now be 5-feet 11-inches tall and wear a size zero dress, which, according to women I work with, is really small.
The change is being made so Minnie will “look good” in a Lanvin dress in the Barneys NYC department store window this holiday season, according to the petition.
Unreported is Minnie’s original height and dress size.
The petition writer says girls are already under “tremendous pressure … to attain Photoshop perfection” and cites the following information from the non-profit National Association of Anorexia and Associated Eating Disorders website:
A foreclosed American Dream has led many to drink in recent years.
The good news?
Americans work less for beer than any country on Earth, according to The Economist.
The handy graphic, readable even by those who’ve downed a cheap pitcher of Tuesday suds at Moe’s and Joe’s, reveals Americans work only 5 minutes for beer. For those bad at math, that equals a 12-pack per hour.
The next closest countries, the Czech Republic and Germany, may have better cheap beer, but they have to work two more minutes before enjoying one.
The poor (literally, sadly) folks in India have to work almost an hour.
The global average is about 20 minutes, according to The Economist, which got its data by dividing the retail price of a beer by the median wage of 150 countries.
Beer powerhouse Belgium is strangely missing from the list.