Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The Ultimate Fail Collection of 2011 -

The Ultimate Fail Collection of 2011 -

Canada’s Top 10 list of most-watched YouTube videos -

Canada’s Top 10 list of most-watched YouTube videos -

The mock agony of a dog teased with non-existent meaty treats was the world’s No. 2 YouTube video of 2011.

“Ultimate Dog Tease” grabbed the No. 1 spot in the U.K. and was No. 2 in Canada — its country of origin.

The sad gastronomic fate of an adorable, talking German shepherd — captured on video and voiced by Halifax comedian Andrew Grantham — has been watched 74 million times by people around the world.

Although that’s more than double the population of Canada, it’s a drop in an ever-deepening YouTube bucket. The Google-owned, free online video service is growing at a rate of 48 hours of video a minute, according to Google Canada spokesperson Aaron Brindle.

In all, the world has so far watched or replayed YouTube videos 1 trillion times in 2011.

Another Canadian who climbed to the top of the world’s YouTube pyramid this year was adorable 12-year-old Winnipegger Maria Aragon. She has sung and keyboarded her way through Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” more than 45 million times by now.

In Canada alone, Google’s year-end ranking puts Aragon’s performance in third place, right behind the talking dog.

The big winner, both around the world and in Canada, was American pop singer Rebecca Black, whose vapid, auto-tuned single “Friday” inspired tens of millions of views, not just for the official music video, but for a raft of parodies and covers, which include one by the cast of TV hit show Glee.

The ultimate in mindless songs, “Nyan Cat,” clawed its way to sixth spot in Canada.

Commercial interests also had their moment in the spotlight, as ads by Kijiji.ca and Volkswagen picked up slots on Canada’s Top 10 list of most-watched YouTube videos

1. Rebecca Black, “Friday” (Official Video)

This song, created by a hit factory in the U.S., was a viral sensation, proving that a lack of talent is no impediment to fame these days.

2. Talking Animals, “Ultimate Dog Tease”

You simply can’t go wrong with animals and this dog-sided conversation racked up the hits earlier this year.

3. Maria Aragon, “Born This Way” (Cover)

This Winnipeg girl took the world by storm with her version of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” She eventually ended up performing with star at Gaga’s Toronto concert.

4. Kijiji.ca, “Eric Wants to Sell His Stuff. Fast”

How did this crack the list? This commercial for Kijiji had more than 10 million views.

5. Michael Bolton, “Jack Sparrow”

The Lonely Island guys did it again, with their hilarious video guest starring Michael Bolton, who had a little too much Pirates of the Caribbean on the brain.

6.“Nyan Cat”

Likely the worst earworm you will hear all year.

7. Charlie Sheen, “Songify This”

Winning, warlock, tiger blood. These are just some of the words that Charlie Sheen added to our collective lexicon this year. This interview set to music sums up the actor’s very weird year.

8. Volkswagen, “The Force”

Volkswagen won the Super Bowl with its ad featuring a tiny Darth Vader trying to use the force around the house. Bonus points for releasing it early online.

9. “Einstein vs Stephen Hawking”

Einstein and Stephen Hawking split flow all scientician style! Aww yeah, that’s an Epic Rap battle there!

10. Emerson, “Mommy’s Nose Is Scary”

Emerson can’t decide whether his mom blowing her nose is hilarious or terrifying. No argument about how adorable this video is

First Ever 'Earth-Sized' Alien Planets Discovered - orbiting a star 950 light-years from Earth -

First Ever 'Earth-Sized' Alien Planets Discovered - orbiting a star 950 light-years from Earth - 
Kepler planets vs. Earth

Two planets orbiting a star 950 light-years from Earth are the smallest, most Earth-size alien worlds known, astronomers announced Tues., Dec. 20. One of the planets is actually smaller than Earth, scientists say.
These planets, while roughly the size of our planet Earth, are circling very close to their star, giving them fiery temperatures that are most likely too hot to support life, researchers said. The discovery, however, brings scientists one step closer to finding a true twin of Earth that may be habitable.

"We've crossed a threshold: For the first time, we've been able to detect planets smaller than the Earth around another star," lead researcher Fran├žois Fressin of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., told SPACE.com. "We proved that Earth-size planets exist around other stars like the sun, and most importantly, we proved that humanity is able to detect them. It's the beginning of an era."
To discover the new planets, Fressin and his colleagues used NASA's Kepler space telescope, which noticed the tiny dips in the parent star's brightness when the planets passed in front of it, blocking some of its light (this is called the transit method). The researchers then used ground-based observatories to confirm that the planets actually exist by measuring minute wobbles in the star's position caused by gravitational tugs from its planets.
"These two new planets are the first genuinely Earth-sized worlds that have been found orbiting a sunlike star," University of California, Santa Cruz astronomer Greg Laughlin, who was not involved in the new study, said in an email to SPACE.com. "For the past two decades, it has been clear that astronomers would eventually reach this goal, and so it's fantastic to learn that the detection has now been achieved."
Chances for life
The two Earth-size planets are among five alien worlds orbiting a star called Kepler-20 that is of the same class (G-type) as our sun, and is slightly cooler.
Two of the star system's planets, Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f, are 0.87 times and 1.03 times the width of Earth, respectively, making them the smallest exoplanets yet known. They also appear to be rocky, and have masses less than 1.7 and 3 times Earth's mass, respectively.
Kepler-20e makes a circle around its star once every 6.1 days at a distance of 4.7 million miles (7.6 million kilometers) — almost 20 times closer than Earth, which orbits the sun at around 93 million miles (150 million km).
The planet's sibling, Kepler-20f, makes a full orbit every 19.6 days, at a distance of 10.3 million miles (16.6 million km). Both planets circle closer to their star than Mercury does to the sun. [Infographic: Earth-Size Alien Planets Explained]
These snuggly orbits around their star give the newfound planets steamy temperatures of about 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit (760 degrees Celsius) and 800 degrees Fahrenheit (430 degrees Celsius) — way too warm to support liquid water, and probably life, researchers said.
Fressin said the chance of life on either of these planets is "negligible," though the researchers can't exclude the possibility that they used to be habitable in the past, when they might have been farther from their star. There is also a slim chance that there are habitable regions on the planets in spots between their day and night sides (the planets orbit with one half constantly facing their star and the other half always in dark). But astronomers aren't holding out hope.
"The chances of liquid water and life as we know it on Kepler-20e and f are zero," Laughlin said.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/12/20/first-ever-earth-sized-alien-planets-discovered/