Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Friday, 31 May 2013

Burger King introduces a burger holder for people on-the-go - the Hands Free Whopper Holder -

Burger King introduces a burger holder for people on-the-go - the Hands Free Whopper Holder - 

Burger King has introduced a burger holder for people on-the-go.  It's called the Hands Free Whopper Holder and it's been introduced in Puerto Rico.

The contraption looks similar to the harmonica holder you might see Bob Dylan wearing but this one is designed to hold a hamburger.

The device is apparently part of the celebration for the company's 50th anniversary in Puerto Rico.

Burger King has its own site for the holder, complete with a video showing how the holder it made.

It gave out 50 of the holders to members of BK's loyalty program with the highest scores.

A tongue-in-cheek video for the gimmick shows a boxer, a dancer and even a tattoo artist using the hands-free whopper holder.

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NASA Radar Shows Near-Earth Asteroid Bringing Its Own Moon -

NASA Radar Shows Near-Earth Asteroid Bringing Its Own Moon - 

First radar images of asteroid 1998 QE2 were obtained when the asteroid was about 3.75 million miles (6 million kilometers) from Earth. (Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR)

A mile-long asteroid set to pass safely by Earth on Friday appears to be bringing along a companion.

Radar imagery showed that asteroid “1998 QE2″ is a binary asteroid, according to researchers at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena.

About 16 percent of asteroids that are about 655 feet or larger are binary or triple systems, according to JPL.

Data shows the main body of the asteroid is approximately 1.7 miles in diameter and has a rotation period of less than four hours. Radar imagery also shows the space rock has several dark surface features that suggest large concavities.

The preliminary estimate for the size of the asteroid’s satellite, or moon, is approximately 2,000 feet wide, researchers said. The moon appears in JPL images as a small, bright object orbiting 1998 QE2.

The radar observations were led by JPL scientist Marina Brozovic using a sequence of radar images captured by the agency’s 230-foot Deep Space Network antenna in Goldstone, Calif.

1998 QE2 is expected to pass safely by Earth at its closest distance of more 3 million miles — about 15 times the distance between Earth and the moon — before heading back out to deep space, where it isn’t expected to pass this close for another 200 years.

The fly-by comes just over three months after the football field-sized asteroid 2012 DA14 flew by just 17,000 miles past Earth.


Latest Kinect sensors allow games to feed off your fear - bring emotional gaming to your living room -

Latest Kinect sensors allow games to feed off your fear - bring emotional gaming to your living room - 

YOU’RE cornered and wounded. Cowering behind a crate, all you can do is hide and wait for the acid-spraying alien to move on. You desperately look for a pattern in its movements, hoping for a chance to sneak past to safety.

So far, so scripted. But the chance still doesn’t come. As you’re stuck in your corner, heart rate rising and a sheen of perspiration forming on your face, a camera by the TV feeds data to the game. The system is constantly judging. How much longer can you take the tension? Is this still fun?

The latest game spawned from the Alien film franchise is being made by Creative Assembly, a game studio in Horsham, UK. It is likely to be one of the first games to explore the potential of Microsoft’s next-generation Kinect sensors for the Xbox One games console. Announced at the same time as the unveiling of the Xbox One last week, the new Kinect is a huge improvement on its predecessor (see “New wave“). It will have HD colour and infrared cameras that can see if your eyes are open or closed in the dark. It will be able to detect your pulse from fluctuations in skin tone and, by measuring how light reflects off your face, it will know when you start to sweat.

This will allow the new Kinect to bring emotional gaming to your living room. Games can use the biological data to orchestrate your experience by adjusting the difficulty or intensity in real time, depending on how excited the system thinks you currently are.


California Fish Contaminated with Fukushima Radiation - Bluefin Tuna “Absolutely Every One” -

California Fish Contaminated with Fukushima Radiation - Bluefin Tuna “Absolutely Every One” - 

We noted more than a year ago:

The ocean currents head from Japan to the West Coast of the U.S.

Of course, fish don’t necessarily stay still, either. For example, the Telegraph notes that scientists tagged a bluefin tuna and found that it crossed between Japan and the West Coast three times in 600 days:

news graphics 2005  607819a FDA Refuses to Test Fish for Radioactivity ... Government Pretends Radioactive Fish Is Safe

That might be extreme, but the point is that fish exposed to radiation somewhere out in the ocean might end up in U.S. waters.

And see this.

CNN reports today:

Low levels of radioactive cesium from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident turned up in fish caught off California in 2011, researchers reported Monday.

The bluefin spawn off Japan, and many migrate across the Pacific Ocean. Tissue samples taken from 15 bluefin caught in August, five months after the meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi, all contained reactor byproducts cesium-134 and cesium-137 at levels that produced radiation about 3% higher than natural background sources

The Wall Street Journal quotes the studies’ authors:

“The tuna packaged it up and brought it across the world’s largest ocean,” said marine ecologist Daniel Madigan at Stanford University, who led the study team. “We were definitely surprised to see it at all and even more surprised to see it in every one we measured.”


“We found that absolutely every one of them had comparable concentrations of cesium-134 and cesium-137,” said marine biologist Nicholas Fisher at Stony Brook University in New York state, who was part of the study group.

The bad news is that it is only going to get worse.

As Reuters points out:

Unlike some other compounds, radioactive cesium does not quickly sink to the sea bottom but remains dispersed in the water column, from the surface to the ocean floor.

Fish can swim right through it, ingesting it through their gills, by taking in seawater or by eating organisms that have already taken it in ….

As CNN notes:

Neither [of the scientists who tested the fish] thought they were likely to find cesium at all, they said. And since the fish tested were born about a year before the disaster, “This year’s fish are going to be really interesting,” Madigan said.

“There were fish born around the time of the accident, and those are the ones showing up in California right now,” he said. “Those have been, for the most part, swimming around in those contaminated waters their whole lives.”

In other words, the 15 fish tested were only exposed to radiation for a short time. But bluefin arriving in California now will have been exposed to the Fukushima radiation for much longer.

As KGTV San Diego explains:

The real test of how radioactivity affects tuna populations comes this summer when researchers planned to repeat the study with a larger number of samples. Bluefin tuna that journeyed last year were exposed to radiation for about a month. The upcoming travelers have been swimming in radioactive waters for a longer period. How this will affect concentrations of contamination remains to be seen.

One of the studies’ authors told the BBC:

The fish that will be arriving around now, and in the coming months, to California waters may be carrying considerably more radioactivity and if so they may possibly be a public health hazard.

Japanese and U.S. officials – of course – are pretending that the amount of radiation found in the bluefin is safe. But the overwhelming scientific consensus is that there is no safe level of radiation … and radiation consumed and taken into the body is much more dangerous than background radiation.


Newest Trend: Well-To-Do Hamptons Residents Go ‘Glamping’ In A Trailer Park -

Newest Trend: Well-To-Do Hamptons Residents Go ‘Glamping’ In A Trailer Park - 

As summer approaches, some families are trading their year-round homes in East Hampton, for “trailers.” And it’s all to make some serious cash.

“It’s a piece of paradise. That we live here [is] a blessing to me,” Montauk resident Jeanette Esposito told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan on Thursday.

Esposito was talking about the Ditch Plains Trailer Park at Montauk Shores sitting at ocean’s edge — for 200 lucky families, complete with swimming pools and playgrounds.

Some call it “glamping” — or glamour camping.

“We don’t like to refer to them as trailers. Some people have the connotation it is rundown. I would say 90 percent of our residents live elsewhere for most of the year and they spend their summers here,” said Hugh Herbert of Montauk.

And some savvy Hamptonites are taking full advantage, squeezing in for the summer and renting out their sought after luxury million-dollar digs for the season.

Even owners of more modest homes are collecting $50,000 in rent for July and August. They will pay $1,400 a month to lease trailer space at Montauk Shores – quite a profit.

Hamptons realtors said the new trend makes financial sense.

“We are finding a lot more homeowners are putting their houses up for rent, due to paying for college, or economic distress,” said Jacqueline Dunphy of Corcoran Group Real Estate. “We have a place in Montauk called Ditch Plains is a very trendy trailer park. The homeowners go and live in that for whatever time period they’ve rented for.”

The Roupells from England are renting a trendy Hamptons home. Its owner went on a cruise with the cash collected. When asked if they feel they are getting bang for the buck, one said, “We definitely feel we are getting warmer weather than we ever have in London.”

Matthew Bergman lives full time in East Hampton and said he plans to rent his home for the month of August

“It’s just too much money to refuse,” Bergman said.

But the trailer park in Montauk is full and there’s a waiting list for interviews. The trailer park in Montauk has been around for more than 50 years. The people who run the place said this is the first time they remember seeing Hamptons families moving in for the summer.


Catholic Church's Top Exorcist Claims He Rid World of 160,000 Demons -

Catholic Church's Top Exorcist Claims He Rid World of 160,000 Demons - 

Gabriele Amorth

The Catholic Church's top exorcist, who claims to have sent 160,000 demons back to hell, says he wants Pope Francis to allow all priests to start performing the ritual to deal with a rising demand for exorcisms from the faithful.
Father Gabriele Amorth, 88, who also heads the International Association of Exorcists, told The Sunday Times that he will ask Pope Francis to allow all priests the right to do exorcisms without the church's approval. According to the report, priests currently need special approval from their bishop to perform the rite and it is rarely granted.
"I will ask the pope to give all priests the power to carry out exorcisms, and to ensure priests are properly trained for these starting with the seminary. There's a huge demand for them," said Father Amorth.
He explained that he was inspired to make the request after watching Pope Francis perform what he insists was an exorcism on a man "possessed by four demons" in St. Peter's Square.
"The pope is also the Bishop of Rome, and like any bishop he is also an exorcist," Amorth reportedly told La Repubblica newspaper. "It was a real exorcism. If the Vatican has denied this, it shows that they understand nothing."
"There was now, more than ever, a need for exorcists to combat people possessed by 'sorcerers' and 'Satanists,'" he noted in that report.

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Snakes fall from trees in DC park... -

Snakes fall from trees in DC park... - 


They're not on a plane, but snakes in a tree could still be scary -- especially when they're spotted in D.C.

DCist says an email in an Adams Morgan Yahoo Group by a D.C. police sergeant discussed snakes falling out of trees at Walter Pierce Park in Northwest.

The posting was reported by the website PoPville and reads:

"On Thursday, May 23, 2013 around 11:40am a call came in about a couple of snakes that fell out of the trees. When the snakes fell they scared the children, and everyone fled. This was in the playground area. I responded but found no snakes. I caught one small enough to fit inside an empty water bottle I had. It was probably a black rat snake. They are indigenous to trees and the warm weather is drawing them out."

Albimar Cuadrasleal, a painter who sometimes does work at a building near the park, tells WTOP the snake sighting occurred around the time when he was parking his car last Thursday.

He says he heard a commotion at the park, and helped remove about six children from the area. He says women at the park said the snake came out of a tree, and he took cellphone video of a snake in a playground at the park which is posted at the bottom of the page.

Cuadrasleal estimates the snake was about 4 feet long, and says he saw a smaller snake come out of a tree at the park about a week earlier.

The police officer who responded to the park for the snake sighting also tells WTOP he took the smaller snake he found to the National Zoo, where it was identified as a northern brown snake.

PoPville notes that the National Zoo says black rat snakes tend to be shy and will avoid confrontation if possible. They are not venomous, kill their prey by constriction and often will climb trees.

The zoo says some of the adult snakes also will "attempt to protect themselves."

"They coil their body and vibrate their tails in dead leaves to simulate a rattle," the zoo says. "If the snakes continue to be provoked, they will strike."

The Northern brown snake, meanwhile, also is non-venomous. Its prey includes worms and slugs.

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STUDY: Twelve minutes of exercise a week 'enough to stay fit'... -

STUDY: Twelve minutes of exercise a week 'enough to stay fit'... - 

Twelve minutes' exercise per week 'enough to stay fit'
Just 12 minutes of intensive exercise per week is enough to improve your health if you are overweight, a study has found.

Four-minute bursts of high-intensity exercise such as running on a treadmill, three times a week are enough to increase fitness, researchers found.
Overweight volunteers who undertook the regime for 10 weeks increased their body's oxygen uptake – a measure of fitness – by 10 per cent and saw small decreases in their blood pressure and glucose levels.
Health guidelines generally state that we should undertake at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 20 minutes of vigorous exercise per week in order to stay healthy.
But the new study suggests that just 12 minutes of high-intensity exercise, spread out across three sessions, could be enough to keep us fit and healthy, researchers said.
The team from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim studied the effects of different exercise regimes on 24 men who were overweight but otherwise healthy.

Three times a week for 10 weeks, the men undertook bouts of "vigorous" exercise, which involved running on a treadmill at a speed which raised their heart rate to 90 per cent of its maximum capacity.
For half of the men the regime involved simple four-minute sessions, three times a week, while the other half completed three sixteen-minute sessions, each of which was divided into four-minute segments.
Despite carrying out different amounts of exercise, the results for the two groups were strikingly similar.
Oxygen uptake – the amount of oxygen the body can use during exercise – increased by 10 per cent in the four-minute group, and by 13 per cent in the sixteen-minute group.
Blood pressure and glucose levels lowered by similar amounts in both groups, but the more intensive sixteen-minute sessions was more effective at lowering cholesterol and body fat.

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