The teenage girl who is allergic to WATER

Teenager Ashleigh Morris can't go swimming, soak in a hot bath or enjoy a shower after a stressful day's work - she's allergic to water.

Even sweating brings the 19-year-old out in a painful rash.

Ashleigh, from Melbourne, Australia, is allergic to water of any temperature, a condition she's lived with since she was 14.

She suffers from an extremely rare skin disorder called Aquagenic Urticaria - so unusual that only a handful of cases are documented worldwide.

When Ashleigh gets wet her body explodes in sore, itchy red lumps that take about two hours to ease.

She has to wash. But showering is a painful experience and she can only do it for a minute at a time.

These brief showers are the only contact Ashleigh has with water. The one thing she doesn't miss is the washing up.

"People find it hard to believe, they say things like 'Oh my god, how do you wash.

"That makes me feel dirty, but I consider myself a very clean person," she said.

Most of us take showering for granted but for Ashleigh it's a painful endurance that often reduces her to tears.

"Although my rash is unsightly, and often looks like I'm diseased, the feeling is so much worse than it looks," she said.

"I can't go anywhere for about two hours afterwards because it's so severe.

"There's been many occasions where I've been so itchy, I've made myself bleed from scratching."

Away from water pretty Ashleigh appears like any other healthy teenager.

She leads a busy life studying Journalism and Public Relations at university and working in an office.

But if she gets wet she attracts unwanted attention.

"People stare at me in the street," said Ashleigh who lives with her mum Louise Miller, 42.

"After a shower I stay at home until it goes away, that frees me of the burden of having to explain."

Ashleigh spends a lot of time explaining her condition because few people have heard of it. Most doctors and dermatologists have never seen a case of it. "Many people don't even believe me when I tell them," said Ashleigh, who hardly believed it herself at first.

She developed the condition five years ago after an acute case of tonsillitis. She was prescribed a heavy dose of penicillin that rid her of the tonsillitis but left her with another problem.

"I suddenly started getting a rash after I showered or swam," says Ashleigh who used to swim regularly and spend a lot of time at the beach.

"I tried to ignore it but it got progressively worse so I went to see a dermatologist."

Ashleigh's dermatologist, Professor Rodney Sinclair, told her the penicillin had altered the histamine levels in her body and caused the Aquagenic Urticaria to occur.

There is no cure and no successful treatment for the condition so the gravity of the situation began to dawn on the 14-year-old Ashleigh.

"I was in disbelief for a while, but I soon realised how serious it was.

"I cried for a few hours, then picked myself up, and kept going. I realised it was something I had to live with," she says.

So Ashleigh found ways to avoid water - she stopped doing sports and anything that made her sweat.

She makes sure she stays in air-conditioned places and always has an umbrella in her car. Her family and boyfriend of three years, Adam, 23, are very supportive but her condition makes intimate moments with her Adam a little difficult.

"We have to sleep with a sheet between us at night, and I can't go near him if he's sweaty," said Ashleigh.

Even the experts seem a little vague about Aquagenic Urticaria.

Dermatologists agree there's an association with elevated blood histamine levels, but there are other processes at work since antihistamine drugs often provide no relief at all.

Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists says: "There isn't a wealth of information about Aquagenic Urticaria because it's extremely rare.

"We're not sure how many cases there are in the world and we do not yet fully understand the precise mechanisms that trigger the weals."

[via dailymail]

Read More →

11 Neighbors from Hell-Pictures

Thank god for zoning laws, covenants and deed restrictions.

1. So that's where the bodies are buried.

(Photo by DistortedSmile).

The full-size image is even scarier.

2. Is it a pool or a baptistry?

(Photo by Digital_Freak).

3. And you thought one gnome was one gnome too many.

(Photo by Morgan).

4. Who needs sod when you've got asphalt.

(Photo by Eastrocker).

5. Trespassers should be the least of his worries.

(Photo by Matt Daniels).

6. Art? Eyesore?

(Photo by Henry Delgado).

7. When obsessive-compulsives decorate.

(Photo by Alison G.).

(Photo by Kim Ripley).

(Photo by MoniMania).

8. Just because you have the extra paint doesn't mean you should use it.

(Photo by Sean Cadzow).

9. America, Fuck Yeah!

(Photo by Steveningen).

Courtesy of the America, Fuck Yeah Flickr group.

10. Is Jame 'Buffalo Bill' Gumb home?

(Photo by Images That Surround Me).

11. His and her pig sculptures?

(Photo by LizardGal).

[via mishmash]

Read More →

Can You Predict Happiness?

If you think you can predict what you will like, think again. When people try to estimate how much they will enjoy a future experience, they are dependably wrong, according to research by Harvard psychologists — and the reason is something they call "attentional collapse." When we imagine future experiences, we tend to compare them with alternative experiences — experiences we've had in the past, or other experiences we might have before or after. But the fact is that none of those alternatives come into play once we're actually in the moment. That's what Daniel Gilbert, author and Harvard psychology professor, means by "attentional collapse": it's the idea that when we are actually having an engaging, encompassing experience, it acts like a black hole of imagination, sucking in all of our attention and making our preconceptions irrelevant.

The thought of a weekend office picnic, for example, sounds tedious compared with a trip to the spa, but fun compared with working overtime on a Sunday. But these comparisons have little bearing on our actual experience of the picnic because once we arrive and start chatting with colleagues or playing softball, the experience draws our attention away from the alternatives. "The kinds of comparisons we're making when we're imagining the future aren't the kinds we make when we get there," Gilbert says.

In his latest research, conducted in collaboration with social psychologist Carey Morewedge of Carnegie Mellon University and presented last weekend at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Boston, Gilbert bolsters the theory that our inability to predict enjoyment of our future experiences keeps us from accurately predicting what will make us happiest in the future overall.

Take the simple act of eating a potato chip. In a series of experiments, Gilbert invited Harvard undergraduates to a lab stocked with potato chips, along with either sardines or chocolate. To compare expected versus actual enjoyment of the experience, one group of students was asked to predict how much they would enjoy the chips compared to the relatively better food (chocolate) or the worse food (sardines); this forecasting group was asked to imagine eating the chips before, after or instead of the alternatives. Students in another "experience" group were instructed to eat the chips and the other foods. Turns out that the other foods had no impact on the actual enjoyment of eating chips. "People who are simply imagining how much they're going to like chips imagine they're going to like them much more if they're eaten after sardines, than if they're eaten after chocolate," Gilbert says. "That's wrong."

Whether the students ate chips before or after sardines or chocolate, it made no difference. Rather, eating a potato chip was an experience unto itself. "It's the taste of that crackily, greasy, salty, crunchy, fried potato flavor — it's the consuming experience you're having and your attention collapses on this moment," says Gilbert.

So what does eating potato chips have to do with our larger, more important life decisions? Consider the choice to marry one sweetheart over another. If you pick the genial, down-to-earth banker, will you forever regret letting go of that free-spirited artist who loves traveling as much as you? Probably not. The very fact that you'll be living with — and experiencing — one spouse and not the other means that the passed-over option will quickly fade in your mind. "The people you don't marry don't move in with you," says Gilbert.

Envisioning what life would have been like with an alternate spouse becomes difficult and increasingly irrelevant as you settle into the life you've selected. "Once you make a choice in life, the unchosen alternatives evaporate," he says. According to Gilbert's earlier research, which he featured in his 2006 book, Stumbling on Happiness, when faced with an irrevocable decision, people are happier with the outcome than when they have the opportunity to change their minds. "It's a very powerful phenomenon," he says. "This is really the difference between dating and marriage."

But what if the person you didn't marry moved in next door? Suddenly your attention isn't completely collapsed on your own marriage, and every day you can witness the alternative life you overlooked.

Gilbert simulated that scenario with potato chips. As in the other experiments, one group of students was asked to eat the chips and other foods, and another was asked to imagine doing so. Only this time, two more groups were asked to eat — or imagine eating — to the beat of a metronome. Those who ate at a normal pace — one chip for every 15 seconds — came to the same misguided conclusions as other students: predictions did not correspond to their actual levels of enjoyment. Yet those who ate chips more slowly, one every 45 seconds, had very different results. Their forecasts were almost completely accurate.

Eating the chips slowly is an "experience that isn't engaging, so your mind is free to wander to all of the other things you could have been doing," Gilbert says. The same phenomenon occurs while driving, when you move into the right lane, only to have the traffic stall as the left lane speeds by. Suddenly, "it really hurts to be in the right lane," he says. "You're not driving, you're not engaged, you're not navigating. You're just sitting and your mind can wander and you can think about all the things you might have done instead of getting in the right lane."

Yet the moments when we are actually able to dedicate that level of comparison to an experience while we're having it are few and far between, Gilbert says. In the vast majority of scenarios, "the roads we don't take in life disappear a lot more quickly than we think they will."

So what does this mean for how we should contemplate our next big decision? For Gilbert, it's simple. "When looking into the future, never trust your gut. That doesn't mean it's always wrong, you should just never trust it. It never hurts to stop and ask."

[via time]

Read More →

5 Things I Didn’t Know about Poop

1. Bird poop is white because birds can’t pee. Their kidneys work like ours do, but instead of producing urine, birds excrete a white paste. The paste, along with what comes out of the intestines, unites and is excreted through the bird’s cloaca, a multi-purpose hole which means sewer in Latin. And, yes, by multi-purpose, I mean they even mate through it.

2. Many dogs eat poop. This I know because, sadly, my dog used to eat his own poop on occasion. What I didn’t know was that eating poop has a name: coprophagy, and is, of course, more popular with dung beetles than dogs. If your dog eats his/her own feces, one way to discourage the behavior (other than immediately cleaning up after your dog) is to douse the poop with hot sauce or vinegar.

3. The reason why some poops float is because they have a lot of gas in them. Rather than coming out as flatulence, the gas gets stuck in the poop and forces it to the surface of the water. If there’s a lot of fat in your diet, likewise your poop might float.

4. Cavemen were better equipped to chew and digest many plants and vegetables. They had larger molars and longer digestive tracts better at handling foods rich in indigestible cellulose, like, er, corn, for instance. Evolution has worked against our ability to chew and digest corn, which is why when some kernels get swallowed whole they appear in poop.

5. The word poop comes from the Middle English word poupen or popen, which used to be the root of the word we now call a fart. Clearly poop has onomatopoeic origins.

[via mentalfloss]
Read More →

Their Deepest, Darkest Discovery

Scientist Create a Black That Erases Virtually All Light.

Black is getting blacker. Researchers in New York reported this month that they have created a paper-thin material that absorbs 99.955 percent of the light that hits it, making it by far the darkest substance ever made -- about 30 times as dark as the government's current standard for blackest black.

The material, made of hollow fibers, is a Roach Motel for photons -- light checks in, but it never checks out. By voraciously sucking up all surrounding illumination, it can give those who gaze on it a dizzying sensation of nothingness.

"It's very deep, like in a forest on the darkest night," said Shawn-Yu Lin, a scientist who helped create the material at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. "Nothing comes back to you. It's very, very, very dark."

But scientists are not satisfied. Using other new materials, some are trying to manufacture rudimentary Harry Potter-like cloaks that make objects inside of them literally invisible under the right conditions -- the pinnacle of stealthy technology.

Both advances reflect researchers' growing ability to manipulate light, the fleetest and most evanescent of nature's offerings. The nascent invisibility cloak now being tested, for example, is made of a material that bends light rays "backward," a weird phenomenon thought to be impossible just a few years ago.

Known as transformation optics, the phenomenon compels some wavelengths of light to flow around an object like water around a stone. As a result, things behind the object become visible while the object itself disappears from view.

"Cloaking is just the tip of the iceberg," said Vladimir Shalaev, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University and an expert in the fledgling field. "With transformation optics you can do many other tricks," perhaps including making things appear to be located where they are not and focusing massive amounts of energy on microscopic spots.

U.S. military and intelligence agencies have funded the cloaking research "for obvious reasons," said David Schurig, a physicist and electrical engineer at North Carolina State University who recently designed and helped test a cloaking device. In that experiment, a shielded object a little smaller than a hockey puck was made invisible to a detector that uses microwaves to "see."

The first working cloaks will be limited that way, he said -- able to steer just a limited part of the light spectrum around objects -- and it could be years before scientists make cloaks that work for all wavelengths, including the visible spectrum used by the human eye.

But even cloaks that work on just a few key wavelengths could offer huge benefits, making objects invisible to laser beams used for weapons targeting, for example, or rendering an enemy's night goggles useless because objects would be invisible to the infrared rays those devices use.

The Defense Department did not fund development of the new blacker-than-black material, created by Lin and his colleagues. But military officials were among the first to call after a description of the work appeared in this month's issue of the journal Nano Letters, Lin said in an interview.

Still Curious? Read More

Read More →

Man Proposes During NBA Halftime; Doesn't Go As Planned

Wow, I feel really bad for this guy. At least someone handed him a beer on the way out..

Read More →

Fascinating Fart Facts

Wafting Through Great Moments of Wind

A Hearty Honk
On average, a man with a healthy diet lets out about a quart of gas every day, divided between 10 to 15 farts. (Mayor McCheese, on the other hand, can probably blow down White Castle with his sesame-seed buns.)

Ladies, Please
Women fart slightly less than men, approximately eight or nine times every day, but their gas is more concentrated. (And if they ask, it smells like Clairol Herbal Essence.)

Blowing in the Wind
Flatulence is composed of approximately three-fifths nitrogen, one-fifth hydrogen, one-tenth carbon dioxide, and small amounts of methane and oxygen -- all of which are essentially odorless. The joy comes from trace amounts of other chemicals, especially ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and skatole (excrement), which people can smell at levels of 1 part per 100 million parts of air.

Making Whoopee
The Whoopee Cushion was inspired by an invention that's several centuries old: The "fool's bladder," a balloon made from a pig bladder that jesters reportedly used to entertain royalty. (An ancient gag that never gets old.)

Rover Let's It Rip
Why is it easy for your uncle to blame his farts on the dog? Because Fido gulps lots of air when he gulps his food and water, causing him to be quite flatulent.

Firing Scud Missiles
Your flatus has a temperature of 98.6, like you, when it's inside your body, but cools quickly as it flies away from the launching pad at ten feet per second.

Cutting the Coli
The human colon has at least 395 types of bacteria, but E. coli is the highest-ranking offender, according to Stanford University DNA researcher Dr. Paul Eckburg. E. coli creates gas by munching away at the meal you ate a few hours ago and microfarting what it doesn't need. (And you thought E. Coli was just found on spinach and fast-food-drive-thru workers.) A Complex BreakdownBeans, mushrooms, cabbage and onions cause a lot of gas because they contain complex sugars that your body simply can't break down. (So, remember, the reason hippies stink is because of the bean loaf, not the patchouli.)

Johnny Splits Sides with Crack Splitters
Johnny Depp has employed a fart machine on several movie sets to break the tension, including "Chocolat" and "Finding Neverland." In the DVD extra "The Magic of Finding Neverland" the sound of farts can be heard during dinner, and Depp explains: "We sort of saved the fart machine for special moments. [Director] Marc [Forster] and I planned it out early on that we needed it to loosen that dinner scene up, so we hid the Fart Machine under the table and waited for the boys' close-ups and just started nailing 'em, and it worked like a charm."

The Godfather of Farts
During the filming of "The Score" (2001), Marlon Brando would find out where his co-star Robert Deniro was going to sit in a particular scene and then tape a fart machine underneath the chair (according to Edward Norton).

[via asylum]
Read More →

9 (More) Useful Websites You Should Know About, But Probably Don't

The following is a continuance of my previous article, Nine Websites You Should Know About, But Probably Don't. We decided that there were still some extremely useful websites that were left out, so I'm writing a continuation article to cover these sites.

Genre:Instant Messaging.

Why It's The Best: A one stop shop for all your instant messaging clients - Meebo allows you to sign into all of your instant-messaging services into the browser window, without having to download any of the individual clients (MSN, AOL/ICQ, Yahoo, Jabber/Gtalk).

Genre: Product Reviews.

With all the product reviews floating around the internet, it's hard to know who's behind these reviews. Review sites like Epinions pay their users to write reviews, so most of these reviews are written by people who never even bought or used the product.

On the majority of reviews are written by people who have been verified to have actually purchased the product, so the reviews are quality oriented, unbiased, and trustworthy. (See how the Verified Buyer system works) Also, they used a "tag based review system" where you can find products and reviews that match your user profile, needs, and interests.

Genre: Music.

Why It's The Best: An easy to use and extremely accurate music recommendations system, all you have to do is type in the name of your favorite band or artist, and immediately the site will start playing songs which you can thumbs up, thumbs down, or skip over. The more you tell the system what you like and don't like, the more accurate the recommendations will be. There's no registration and no downloads required.

Genre: Community based lending.

Why It's The Best: Prosper is a site where you can lend people money for an interest rate you set the minimum to and bid in increments of $50 to $25,000 on loan listings you select. If you're on the borrowing side, you can list how much you want to borrow and set your maximum interest rate, and lenders can compete for the loan by lowering their offered interest rate. Lenders can easily check the borrowers credit grade to assess their risk. Read more under How it Works.

Genre: Local reviews.

Why It's The Best: Yelp is the best local guide in the San Francisco Bay, Chicago, New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Seattle, and pretty much every city that matters in the U.S. You can read reviews on everything from restaurants to home services within your area, and find which places to try out and which to avoid.

Genre:Auction site.

Why It's The Best: Etsy is essentially an eBay for all things handmade. Users can buy and sell homemade goods, promoting a vision for a better economy.

Genre: Textbook renting.

Why It's The Best: is a site I randomly stumbled upon through one of the founders I met through Facebook. Chegg provides a new way of getting your college textbooks for cheap by renting them for a fraction of their cost price. Additionally, Chegg promotes an "eco-friendly" business model by planting a tree for each textbook rented. They have an inventory of over 2 million book Titles.

Genre: GrandCentral gives you “One number for life” which lets you forward all your calls from any number, and answer calls at any phone you want.

Why It's The Best: You can easily switch phones in the middle of a phone call, screen your calls, check your voicemail by phone/email/or online, organize/store/and record calls, customized voicemails, and a lot more. For the full description and features, click here.

Genre: Sells cool stuff for cheap.

Why It's The Best: Woot sells one consumer electronics product a day until it is sold out (which is typically very fast since they offer it at a major discount). Users can discuss the product up for sale on the forum, and they show you all kinds of stats like percentage sales per hour, quantity breakdown, revenue they incurred for that product, and so on. A very fun way to get really cheap electronics!

[via webupon]

Read More →

Ten Longest Bridges In World

Here is a list of the ten longest bridges in the world with pictures and descriptions. Those beautiful photos are showing to us that there are no borders and everything is reachable.

10. Seven Mile Bridge

Seven Mile Bridge

The Seven Mile Bridge, in the Florida Keys, runs over a channel between the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Strait, connecting Key Vaca (the location of the city of Marathon, Florida) in the Middle Keys to Little Duck Key in the Lower Keys. Among the longest bridges in existence when it was built, it is one of the many bridges on US 1 in the Keys, where the road is called the Overseas Highway.

9. San Mateo-Hayward Bridge

San Mateo Hayward Bridge

The San Mateo-Hayward Bridge (commonly called San Mateo Bridge) is a bridge crossing California’s San Francisco Bay in the United States, linking the San Francisco Peninsula with the East Bay. More specifically, the bridge’s western end is in Foster City, the most recent urban addition to the eastern edge of San Mateo. The eastern end of the bridge is in Hayward. The bridge is owned by the state of California, and is maintained by Caltrans, the state highway agency.

8. Confederation Bridge

Confederation Bridge

The Confederation Bridge (French: Pont de la Confédération) is a bridge spanning the Abegweit Passage of Northumberland Strait, linking Prince Edward Island with mainland New Brunswick, Canada. It was commonly referred to as the “Fixed Link” by residents of Prince Edward Island prior to its official naming. Construction took place from the fall of 1993 to the spring of 1997, costing $1.3 billion. The 12.9-kilometre (8 mi) long bridge opened on 31 May 1997.

7. Rio-Niteroi Bridge

Rio Niteroi Bridge

The Rio-Niteroi Bridge is a reinforced concrete structure that connects the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Niteroi in Brazil.
Construction began symbolically on August 23, 1968, in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in their first and thus far only visit to Brazil. Actual work begun in January, 1969, and it opened on March 4, 1974.
Its official name is “President Costa e Silva Bridge”, in honor of the Brazilian president who ordered its construction. “Rio-Niteroi” started as a descriptive nickname that soon became better known than the official name. Today, hardly anyone refers to it by its official name.

6. Penang Bridge

Penang Bridge

The Penang Bridge (Jambatan Pulau Pinang in Malay) E 36 is a dual-carriageway toll bridge that connects Gelugor on the island of Penang and Seberang Prai on the mainland of Malaysia on the Malay Peninsula. The bridge is also linked to the North-South Expressway in Prai and Jelutong Expressway in Penang. It was officially opened to traffic on September 14, 1985. The total length of the bridge is 13.5 km (8.4 miles), making it among the longest bridges in the world, the longest bridge in the country as well as a national landmark. PLUS Expressway Berhad is the concession holder which manages it.

5. Vasco da Gama Bridge

Vasco da Gama Bridge

The Vasco da Gama Bridge (Portuguese: Ponte Vasco da Gama, pron. IPA: [’põt(?) ‘va?ku d? ‘g?m?]) is a cable-stayed bridge flanked by viaducts and roads that spans the Tagus River near Lisbon, capital of Portugal. It is the longest bridge in Europe (including viaducts), with a total length of 17.2 km (10.7 mi), including 0.829 km (0.5 mi) for the main bridge, 11.5 km (7.1 mi) in viaducts, and 4.8 km (3.0 mi) in dedicated access roads. Its purpose is to alleviate the congestion on Lisbon’s other bridge (25 de Abril Bridge), and to join previously unconnected motorways radiating from Lisbon.

4. Chesapeake Bay Bridge

Chesapeake Bay Bridge

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge (commonly known as the Bay Bridge) is a major dual-span bridge in the U.S. state of Maryland; spanning the Chesapeake Bay, it connects the state’s Eastern and Western Shore regions. At 4.3 miles (7 km) in length, the original span was the world’s longest continuous over-water steel structure when it opened in 1952. The bridge is officially named the William Preston Lane, Jr. Memorial Bridge after William Preston Lane, Jr. who, as governor of Maryland, implemented its construction.

3. King Fahd Causeway

The King Fahd Causeway is multiple dike - bridge combination connecting Khobar, Saudi Arabia, and the island nation of Bahrain.

King Fahd Causeway Bridge

A construction agreement signed on July 8, 1981 led to construction beginning the next year. The cornerstone was laid on November 11, 1982 by King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and Sheikh Isa bin Salman al-Khalifa of Bahrain; construction continued until 1986, when the combination of several bridges and dams were completed. The causeway officially opened for use on November 25, 1986.

2. Donghai Bridge

Donghai Bridge

Donghai Bridge (simplified Chinese: ????; traditional Chinese: ????; pinyin: D?ngh?i Dàqiáo; literally “East Sea Grand Bridge”) is the longest cross-sea bridge in the world and the longest bridge in Asia. It was completed on December 10, 2005. It has a total length of 32.5 kilometres (20.2 miles) and connects Shanghai and the offshore Yangshan deep-water port in China. Most of the bridge is a low-level viaduct. There are also cable-stayed sections to allow for the passage of large ships, largest with span of 420 m.

1. Lake Pontchartrain Causeway

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge

The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, or the Causeway, consists of two parallel bridges that are the longest bridges in the world by total length.[2] These parallel bridges cross Lake Pontchartrain in southern Louisiana. The longer of the two bridges is 23.87 miles (38.42 km) long. The bridges are supported by over 9,000 concrete pilings. The two bridges feature bascule spans over the navigation channel 8 miles (13 km) south of the north shore. The southern terminus of the Causeway is in Metairie, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans. The northern terminus is at Mandeville, Louisiana.

[via thecontaminated]

Read More →

Sometimes You Get the Trees, Sometimes They Get You [PICS]

The beauty of running are the things you pass by as you run along. You get to see things that you don’t notice as you drive by in a car. You may have run the same route 50 times but you find yourself seeing something different each time. I ran by a tree than had grown over a fence and it got me to thinking, there are probably some cool picture of things “swallowed” by trees. Here are some of the cooler ones I’ve found


Most policeman keep track of how long you’ve been parked in a spot by marking the tires with white chalk. This may be the only instance ever where they can measure the time by counting rings in a tree.


This must be what people are looking for when they are looking for a money tree. Instead of the normal throwing a penny into a fountain and making a wish, people hammer a penny into this log. I absolutely guarantee my wish starts off with a smashed finger on this one. I always have better luck with fountains anyway.


This proves that anything against a tree for a long period of time will be eaten by it. This wash basin was merely leaning against the tree and with time, the tree has grabbed it and lifted it up.


Another one of those, how frickin long has that motorcycle been there? This is definitely the best bike lock I’ve ever seen.


You know those neighbors that never take down their Christmas lights? This is what they’re trying to get to. Lights grown right into the tree. Just plug them in and the tree is ready to go. I see a future in this one. A “plug in” live tree.


This is what they call a “live frame” It only takes about 10 years to make each one. The funny thing about this picture is that despite the fact that the tree has swallowed the sign, we still all know exactly what the sign says. Evidently the photographer didn’t.

[via elitefeet]

Read More →

Artificial Energy Islands Could Power The World

Ocean waves are already being used as a source of renewable energy, but could differences in water temperatures in the sea be our next source of green power? A decade old idea to generate renewable electricity for the globe with offshore, floating ‘Energy Islands’ could soon become a reality. The concept - creating artificial islands to collect wind, wave and solar power in the tropics - is based on the work of Jacques-Arsène d’Arsonval, a 19th-century French physicist, who envisioned the idea of using the sea as a giant solar-energy collector.

Inspired by Jacques-Arsène d’Arsonval, architect and engineer Dominic Michaelis, his son Alex Michaelin (also an architect), and Trevor Cooper-Chadwick are developing a new technique called Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) that takes advantage of differences in temperature between the ocean surface sea (up to 29°C in the tropics) and water a kilometer down (which is typically 5°C). Here’s how it works: warmer surface water is used to heat liquid ammonia, converting it into vapor, which expands to drive a turbine — which in turn produces electricity. The ammonia is then cooled using cold water from the ocean depths, returning it into a liquid state so the process can start all over again.

Their goal is to build a network of “energy islands”: floating hexagonal-shaped platforms of reinforced concrete and corrosion-resistant metals that would generate electritict via wind, wave, and solar in addition to having an OTEC plant. It’s estimated that each island complex could produce about 250MW, and that 50,000 “energy islands” could meet the world’s energy requirements (as well as provide two tons of fresh water per person per day for the entire world population — desalinated water is one byproduct of the OTEC process). OTEC plants work best when there’s a temperature difference of 20°C between water at the surface and the water below, making tropical and sub-tropical seas the best candidates for energy islands.

The concept will be launched later this year at Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Earth Challenge, which offers $25 million in prizes for innovative solutions for combating global warming.

+ Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion

Via the Guardian & the Telegraph

[via inhabitat]
Read More →

'Anonymous' takes anti-Scientology to the streets

"Anonymous" now has a bunch of faces to go without its name. The loosely bound group of net activists who've got a beef with the Church of Scientology showed up Sunday at the church's largest Los Angeles' locations. The protests were part of a global day of demonstrations against Scientology. Hordes of masked, costumed (and mostly young) picketers showed up in Boston, New York, Toronto, the U.K., Australia and a dozen other locations (thanks wikinews).

Many of the Los Angeles picketers wore the Guy Fawkes masks made popular in the movie "V for Vendetta," and it seemed like every other person was recording the event with a digital camera, camcorder or cellphone.

The protests were peaceful and colorful, with music and chanting (often: "Religion is free -- No Pay Per View" -- a reference to an alleged tiered system whereby the religion's adherents must pay money to gain spiritual clarity). A near constant stream of horn honks provided the background noise as cars passed the Scientology center on Sunset Boulevard and continued as the mob moved to the so-called Celebrity Center on Hollywood Boulevard. At least one ambulance and several fire department vehicles honked as they passed.

Security personnel, some wielding video cameras, were stationed at every entrance to the Sunset Boulevard center. Most wore impassive expressions and, when spoken to (or in some cases, danced with) by rollicking protesters, would betray no more than the wryest of grins.

Protesters were quick to hand leaflets to any cars that slowed or stopped for red lights -- and many drivers freely accepted them.

"Ask a Christian about the Bible; you will be answered," read one leaflet. "Ask a Scientologist about their text: You will be answered -- after your check clears."


A Fawkes-masked spokesman for Anonymous, who wouldn't give his name but whom several protesters identified as the organizer of the L.A. event, explained one of the group's concrete goals.Img_0121

"We want set off a government investigation into how they got tax-exempt status," said the man, who said he was in his early 20s.

Scientology was granted the tax-exempt status in 1993 after a protracted battle with the IRS, which for 25 years had maintained that Scientology was a business and not a religion.

When contacted for a comment on the protests, a Scientology spokesperson issued a statement that read, in part: "'Anonymous' is a group of cyber-terrorists who hide their identities behind masks and computer anonymity" and it "is perpetrating religious hate crimes against Churches of Scientology and individual Scientologists for no reason other than religious bigotry." The statement did not mention the Sunday protests.

The protesters Sunday looked mostly young, white and computer-oriented -- few had anything like a serious tan -- but among the group were other more established anti-Scientogy elements, such as investigative journalist Mark Ebner, Mark Bunker from Xenu TV, and several people who identified themselves as former Scientologists.

Asked to explain the sudden groundswell of opposition to Scientology, Lynn Fountain Campbell, who said she'd been part of the church for 40 years, said, "It's just reached a critical mass. People just aren't scared anymore."

"They try to make people shut up," Campbell added, "and I'm not the shutting up type."


[via latimes]
Read More →

Police take advantage of a Drunk Girl

Police take advantage of a Drunk Girl that came to a Police Station. For some reason they forgot that there are cameras in the building.

Read More →

The girl, 10, who could die from shock just by watching a scary film

Like most children her age, Jennifer Lloyd loves watching her favorite shows on TV.

But when a scary bit is about to happen the ten-year-old has to leave the room quickly - because the sudden shock could kill her.

Jennifer is one of just six known sufferers of polyglandular Addison's disease, which causes her to become ill whenever she is surprised or shocked.

The condition means she is unable to produce adrenaline in response to alarm or any sudden form of emotional or physical stress.

Instead her body goes into shock and her organs could shut down unless she receives medical treatment.

It means Jennifer can only watch television with the permission of her parents, who also watch with her then ensure she leaves the room if they fear something startling is about to happen.

Since Jennifer was diagnosed three years ago, her parents Amanda, a nurse, and Robert Lloyd, 47, an engineer, of Prestwich, Greater Manchester, have been desperate for more information on the disease.

Named after Dr Thomas Addison, who first described it in 1855, the condition affected U.S. president John F Kennedy.

The polyglandular form of the disease is far rarer than the ordinary one.

The inability to produce adrenaline has a knock-on effect on blood pressure, major organ function and salt levels.

Jennifer suffers from stomach and kidney problems as a result of the condition and has to take a complex range of medication to help her body cope.

Her parents also carry an emergency kit to provide extra medication-when required.

Mrs Lloyd, 44, said: "When anything particularly good or bad happens, we have to handle it very carefully so it doesn't surprise Jenny.

"We always have to expect the unexpected."


Read More →

Amazing portrait of a 32,000 barbies, 200K cig boxes

Artist and activist, Chris Jordan creates amazing images that portray America’s consumption. Chris’ hope is that his images will have a different effect than raw numbers alone. Since simple numbers no matter how large can be rather abstract it can be difficult to connect with ones impact. Whereas a visual representation of vast quantities can help make meaning of 106,000 aluminum cans, the number used in the US every thirty seconds or two million plastic beverage bottles, the number used in the US every five minutes.

This project visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs. The underlying desire is to emphasize the role of the individual in a society that is increasingly enormous, incomprehensible, and overwhelming.

As with any large works they must be seen in person to participate in the full experience. We hope the images here and on Chris' web site arouse your curiosity and desire to do so when possible.

Images courtesy of Chris Jordan

Barbie Dolls, 2008
Depicts 32,000 Barbies, equal to the number of elective breast augmentation surgeries performed monthly in the US in 2006.

Partial zoom:

Detail at actual print size:

Skull With Cigarette, 2007 [based on a painting by Van Gogh]
Depicts 200,000 packs of cigarettes, equal to the number of Americans who die from cigarrette smoking every six months.

Partial zoom:

Detail at actual print size:

Plastic Bottles, 2007
Depicts two million plastic beverage bottles, the number used in the US every five minutes.

Partial zoom:

Detail at actual size:

[via divinecaroline]

Read More →

More Post From The Web