Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

‘Call of Duty: Ghosts’ video game passes $1-billion in sales to retailers - in ONE day -

‘Call of Duty: Ghosts’ video game passes $1-billion in sales to retailers  - in ONE day - 

Activision Blizzard Inc.’s latest title from its blockbuster “Call of Duty” video game franchise surpassed $1-billion in sell-in sales – the number of copies shipped to retailers – a day after its launch, the company said on Wednesday.

The franchise’s tenth instalment “Call of Duty: Ghosts,” a gritty military-themed shooter game, was released worldwide on Tuesday. Activision is yet to announce actual retail sales and units sold of its “Call of Duty: Ghosts” title.

In cities such as London and San Francisco, excited “Call of Duty” fans queued up at retail stores at midnight launch events. Activision hosted a glitzy pre-launch party in London to celebrate the release of the game, which was developed by Activision’s Infinity Ward studio.

In September, Activision’s smaller rival Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. said its popular action-adventure game “Grand Theft Auto V” crossed the $1-billion mark for retail sales after three days in stores. Take-Two at the time said that was the fastest rate of sales for any video game.

Activision, also known for its “Skylanders” games, has been delivering a “Call of Duty” title every year over the past decade.

Last year, the game maker’s first-person shooter title “Call Of Duty: Black Ops II” took 15 days to hit $1-billion in global sales after its November release. That game touched $500-million in retail sales on its first day.

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Tests Show - Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned with Polonium -

Tests Show - Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned with Polonium - 

And so another conspiracy theory, that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned with Polonium, becomes non-conspiracy fact. From Reuters:

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned to death in 2004 with radioactive polonium, his widow Suha said on Wednesday after receiving the results of Swiss forensic tests on her husband's corpse.

"We are revealing a real crime, a political assassination," she told Reuters in Paris.

A team of experts, including from Lausanne University Hospital's Institute of Radiation Physics, opened Arafat's grave in the West Bank city of Ramallah last November, and took samples from his body to seek evidence of alleged poisoning. "This has confirmed all our doubts," said Suha Arafat, who met members of the Swiss forensic team in Geneva on Tuesday. "It is scientifically proved that he didn't die a natural death and we have scientific proof that this man was killed."

She did not accuse any country or person, and acknowledged that the historic leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization had many enemies. Arafat signed the 1993 Oslo interim peace accords with Israel and led a subsequent uprising after the failure of talks in 2000 on a comprehensive agreement.

Allegations of foul play surfaced immediately. Arafat had foes among his own people, but many Palestinians pointed the finger at Israel, which had besieged him in his Ramallah headquarters for the final two and a half years of his life.

The Israeli government has denied any role in his death, noting that he was 75 years old and had an unhealthy lifestyle.

An investigation by the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television news channel first reported last year that traces of polonium-210 were found on personal effects of Arafat given to his widow by the French military hospital where he died.

That led French prosecutors to open an investigation for suspected murder in August 2012 at the request of Suha Arafat. Forensic experts from Switzerland, Russia and France all took samples from his corpse for testing after the Palestinian Authority agreed to open his mausoleum.


The head of the Russian forensics institute, Vladimir Uiba, was quoted by the Interfax news agency last month as saying no trace of polonium had been found on the body specimens examined in Moscow, but his Federal Medico-Biological Agency later denied he had made any official comment on its findings.

The French pathologists have not reported their conclusions publicly, nor have their findings been shared with Suha Arafat's legal team. A spokeswoman for the French prosecutor's office said the investigating magistrats had received no expert reports so far.

One of her lawyers said the Swiss institute's report, commissioned by Al Jazeera, would be translated from English into French and handed over to the three magistrates in the Paris suburb of Nanterre who are investigating the case.

The Al Jazeera investigation was spearheaded by investigative journalist Clayton Swisher, a former U.S. Secret Service bodyguard who became friendly with Arafat and was suspicious of the manner of his death.

Hani al-Hassan, a former aide, said in 2003 that he had witnessed 13 assassination attempts on Arafat's life, dating back to his years on the run as PLO leader. Arafat claimed to have survived 40 attempts on his life.
Now... whoever may have wanted the leader of the Palestinians dead?

He escaped another attempt on his life when Israeli warplanes came close to killing him during the invasion of Beirut when they hit one of the buildings they suspected he was using as his headquarters but he was not there. In December 2001, Arafat was rushed to safety just before Israeli helicopters bombarded his compound in Ramallah with rockets.
Oh wait...


Bibles and Booze: Congregations Across America Attempting to Attract New Members With Beer -

Bibles and Booze: Congregations Across America Attempting to Attract New Members With Beer - 

A new report released by NPR outlines that a number of congregations across America are now using beer as a way to attract new members.

The effort is an experiment in finding methods that will appeal to those who otherwise would not set foot in a church. Some beer-based gatherings are held right in the the church building, and others are hosted at the local pub.

One of the locations highlighted in the report is Fort Worth, Texas, where Church-in-a-pub, sponsored by “Pastor” Phil Heinze of Calvary Lutheran Church, is held each week at the local bar.

“I find the love, I find the support, I find the non-judgmental eyes when I come here,” attendee Leah Stanfield told the publication. “And I find friends that love God [and] love craft beer.”

Approximately 30-40 people meet for the weekly gathering, which includes Bible readings, fellowship and communion–all over pizza and beer at Zio Carlo pub.

The Regional Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recently recognized Church-in-a-pub as a synodically authorized worshiping community. In 2014, another area “pastor” plans to expand the concept throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

While Calvary Lutheran Church holds their gathering in a bar, the First Christian Church of Portland, Oregon hosts a monthly “beer and hymns” night at the church building, where congregants get together to sing hymns, talk and drink beer.

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Glow-in-the-dark ice cream made from jellyfish protein - 


Glow in the dark cuisine may seem like something straight from a science fiction movie, but a British inventor has turned dreams into reality with his newest creation: glow in the dark ice cream.

Charlie Francis, founder of Lick Me I’m Delicious Ice Cream, was thrilled to discover that Chinese scientists had synthesized the luminescence protein from jellyfish.

“Naturally we wanted to have a go with some of the stuff, so we ordered some, played around and eventually made this,” Francis posted on the blog for his company website, which features a picture of his mystical creation.

The specially extracted proteins interact with pH levels on the human tongue so the ice cream radiates light when licked.  And the more you lick it, the brighter it gets. But there’s a catch — an expensive one. Food enthusiasts may be ecstatic about this new trend but jellyfish ice cream doesn't come cheap. One scoop will set you back about $220.

Adventurous eaters need not despair. For a cheaper version of this phosphorescent food, Francis offers a gin and tonic sorbet that glows under a UV light - the quinine from tonic exhibits luminescent properties.

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