The Top 13 Worst Jobs with the Best Pay

[via business week]

These are dirty jobs and somebody has to do them. At least they get paid well for their efforts

Think you have a lousy job? You're not alone. So do about half of your fellow workers—and about a quarter of them are only showing up to collect a paycheck, according to a survey conducted by London-based market information company TNS. Grumbling over the size of that check is common, too. About two-thirds of workers believe they don't get paid enough, says TNS—even though many of them may actually be overpaid, compared to average compensation data.


Average pay: $269,500 (

Let’s face it: None of the reasons to see a gastroenterologist — the doctors who plumb the depths of the human digestive system—is pretty. And that’s one of the reasons why GI remains one of the least-sexy specialties. It also has the potential to be among the more monotonous, since GI docs spend a good chunk of their time on routine (and unpleasant) procedures such as colonoscopies. But all those billable procedures also make GI one of the most lucrative specialties in medicine.


Average pay: $125,663 (

High average salaries and reasonable, flexible hours make podiatry look like a pretty attractive career choice—at least for those who don’t squirm at the thought of dealing with bunions, ingrown toenails, and pus-filled foot ulcers. There’s also the (lack of) prestige factor to consider: Because podiatrists are DPMs (Doctors of Podiatric Medicine), not MDs, they face the same “not a real doctor” stigma as chiropractors and optometrists. Getting started in the field can also be difficult, especially for those without surgical training—loan default rates for podiatrists are among the highest in medicine.

Private Security Contractor in Iraq

Average Pay: $120,000

Calling it a “high-risk” job might be an understatement. Though nobody knows the exact number, more than 300 private contractors have been killed in Iraq since the start of the war. In one particularly gruesome 2004 attack, four employees of security subcontractor Blackwater were ambushed, mutilated, and hung from a bridge in Fallujah. And yet, despite the ongoing hazards, companies have had no shortage of willing employees. Why? The money: Hired guns in Iraq can earn $10,000 a month protecting diplomats and escorting convoys in Iraq—about 10 times the base pay of an Army private.

IT Worker

Average pay: $103,400 (

Information technology is a high-demand field—and a demanding one. One survey this year rated IT as the most stressful profession. Four out of five IT workers said they feel stressed before they even get to the office, just thinking about spending another day on the phone with laymen, explaining where to find their computers’ off buttons.

Crop Duster Pilot

Average pay: $53,870

One of the most dangerous (and least glamorous) professions in aviation, crop dusters face the hazards of low-level flying (with potentially deadly obstacles such as power lines, fence posts, and water standpipes), as well as long-term exposure to toxic chemicals. While salaries are generally lower than those of airline flyers, experienced agricultural pilots with a good work record can earn up to $80,000 a year.

Crime-Scene Cleaner

Average pay: $50,400

If crime-scene cleanup was just wiping blood off the floors—well, that would be easy. But CSI fans with get-rich-quick dreams should note the job involves more than handiness with a mop and a tolerance for the smell of decomposing flesh. Getting rid of bodily fluids typically calls for more rough-and-ready methods, such as ripping up carpet, tile, and baseboards. It also sometimes means working in confined spaces (if someone was electrocuted in an attic, for example). And when tearing up old houses, workers face exposure to hazards such as lead paint and asbestos—not to mention the combustible chemicals involved in drug-lab abatement.


Average pay: $46,867

Working 12-hour shifts underneath a drilling rig is no cakewalk. Drilling goes on even in the worst weather conditions, the rig’s engine blares so loudly that crew members communicate with hand signals, and the air swirls with dust and chemicals. Roughnecks get stuck with the dirtiest, and most dangerous, grunt work of all, for instance, changing hot drill bits and connecting new sections of pipe. The cash-rich oil industry is strapped for good workers though, so they’ll pay up to $100,000 for specialized or supervisory positions.

Toll Collector

Average pay: $45,000

The worst part of being a toll collector isn’t the environment (the ever-present smell of exhaust, the deafening traffic noise, exposure to bad weather through those open windows) or the hours (eight-hour shifts that either start early or in the morning or go until late at night), or even the threat of a tollbooth holdup. It’s the sheer boredom of being trapped in a two-and-a-half-foot-wide booth for hours at a time, with only a radio (and the occasional highway flasher) for amusement. The pay is good, though—toll collectors are union workers—with solid benefits and overtime that can double take-home salaries for some workers.

Long-Haul Trucker

Average pay: $43,200 (

With long hours behind the wheel, frequent stretches away from home, and constant pressure to make deliveries on time, life on the open road can be lonely and stressful. Throw in the dangers of highway accidents, irregular sleep patterns, and fatty truck-stop grub, and it’s perhaps no surprise that the trucking lifestyle can shave 15 years off a driver’s life expectancy. While the average American male lives to be 76, the typical male truck driver can expect to live to age 61. Job security is good, though, as is the pay. First-year company drivers can earn $30,000 to $45,000; salaries for experienced drivers with good safety records can push $85,000.


Average pay: $42,400 (

Preparing corpses for public viewing is a skilled job that requires specialized knowledge of anatomy, microbiology, pathology, chemistry, and cosmetology—not to mention a strong stomach. And because the Grim Reaper doesn’t clock out at 5 p.m., hours can be long and unpredictable.

Sewer Inspector

Average pay: $34,960

You get used to the smell, they say. But claustrophobics, hypochondriacs, and the rat- or roach-fearing need not apply for the job of sewer inspector, a job that is self-explanatory: crawling on all fours through several inches of raw sewage, armed only with flashlights and chest-high waders, in search of cracked or clogged pipes. Starting salaries are typically on the low end, all things considered, but a sewer inspector on the town payroll in Hampton, N.H. made $61,058 last year.

Crab Fisherman

Average pay: $29,000

Fishing is the most dangerous job in the U.S., according to the government’s latest statistics, and crab fishing in the stormy waters of the Bering Sea is especially perilous. Workers brave the icy winds and pounding waves to put in grueling 20- or 21-hour days launching and retrieving 800-pound crab pots. The upside: Experienced deckhands could earn $60,000 in just a few months of work—or more, for a big haul.

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Don't Judge Too Quickly [Funny vids]

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What's the Best Diet? Eating Less Food

[via time]

Low fat, low carb, high protein — there's a diet plan of every flavor. And if you're one of the millions of Americans who struggle with weight, you've probably tried them all, likely with little success. That wouldn't surprise Dr. Frank Sacks, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and lead author of a new study published in the Feb. 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, whose findings confirm what a growing body of weight-loss evidence has already suggested: one diet is no better than the next when it comes to weight loss. It doesn't matter where your calories come from, as long as you're eating less.

"We have a really simple and practical message for people: it's not so much the type of diet you eat," says Sacks. "It's how much you put in your mouth."

In the analysis of 811 obese patients from Massachusetts and Louisiana, participants were randomly assigned to one of four heart-healthy diets: low fat or high fat, with either average or high levels of protein. All four regimens also included high amounts of whole grains, fruits and vegetables and substituted saturated fat, found in foods such as butter and meat, with unsaturated fat, found in vegetable oil and nuts. The participants were encouraged to exercise 90 minutes a week. (See the top 10 food trends of 2008.)

On average, the study participants lost about 13 lb. after six months of dieting, or about 7% of their starting weight, regardless of which diet plan they followed. At the one-year mark, the dieters had regained some of the lost weight, and after two years, average weight loss was about 9 lb. Only about 15% of participants were able to lose 10% of their body weight or more. Across the board, however, patients lowered their risk of diabetes and reduced blood levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing good cholesterol (HDL) and overall heart health.

Catherine Loria, one of the study's co-authors and a nutritional epidemiologist with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, which funded the study, was encouraged by the findings. "People do have to choose heart-healthy foods," she says, but "I think the beauty of the study is that they have a lot of flexibility in terms of the dietary approach."

But that's where the trouble begins. It's hard enough to figure out what to eat. Eating less of it is even harder. Researchers had hoped to get study participants to eat 750 calories less than they expended each day — an objective that proved unsustainable. Dieters adhered to the initial plan for the first several weeks, but by the six-month mark, they were consuming only 225 calories less than they expended — about a third of the goal — according to a calculation based on overall weight loss. "It's very difficult to reduce your calories enough to really sustain a lot of weight loss," Loria says. (See pictures of facial yoga.)

One failure of most diet plans is that people get hungry and quit, says Sacks, who acknowledges that the sudden reduction of 750 calories in his study was perhaps too steep. "I think what that teaches us is that maybe it's better to make a more gradual change in intake," says Sacks. "That's what I recommend to my patients: let's try to pick a gradual or realistic reduction in calories that's not going to make you really hungry a lot and that you can sustain day after day."

But eating less, however simple it may sound, is hardly a one-man job. Some nutrition experts argue that the balance of responsibility needs to fall more heavily on society at large. Martjin Katan, a professor of nutrition and health at Amsterdam's VU University, wrote an accompanying editorial that analyzed the merits of the diet study. He suggests that focusing on individual diet plans of any kind may be misguided, and that only community-wide change will truly be able to stem the tide of obesity. He points to a small town in France that tapped all of its residents to solve the problem — building more outdoor-sports facilities and creating walking routes, hosting cooking classes and even intervening with at-risk families. After five years, obesity among children was down to 8.8%, less than half the rate of neighboring towns. That success, he writes, "suggests that we may need a new approach to preventing and to treating obesity and that it must be a total-environment approach."

It's a useful lesson for American adults, two-thirds of whom are overweight or obese. Long-term weight loss has proved frustratingly elusive for many obese individuals, but study after study has shown that community and peer support help people take off weight — and keep it off. In this study, the participants who took advantage of group and individual counseling offered as part of the diets had far greater success than those who chose to go it alone. Over the course of two years, participants who went to at least two-thirds of the counseling sessions dropped about 22 lb., 13 lb. more than the average of the entire study population. "Losing weight and sustaining it for two years is difficult," Sacks says. "To help people do that, they need some level of support to keep their motivation and focus."

But the bottom line, according to most obesity experts, is to set realistic goals. Expect what is achievable: a 250-lb. person isn't likely to slim down to supermodel proportions in her lifetime, but she may be able to lose 10 or 20 lb. A moderate 5% or 10% reduction in body weight can significantly improve health, by lowering cholesterol and the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. For many doctors who work with obese patients, the goal is not thinness but well-being — and, ultimately for the patient, self-acceptance.

As for the secret to losing weight? There is none. "It's basic physiology," Loria says. "Eat fewer calories than you expend."

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Man ticketed after he was hit by car

[via upi]

The stepson of a Denver man who was hit by a car while helping two elderly women cross a large street said police ticketed his stepdad for jaywalking.

Ken McDonald, stepson of Jim Moffett, 58, said his stepfather was driving a bus Friday night when he dropped off two elderly women who tried to cross Federal Boulevard to reach their trailer home, the Rocky Mountain News reported Thursday.

"With that light snowstorm, my stepdad didn't think they could cross the street safely," McDonald said. "There's a six- or seven-block area where there's really no place to cross. So, he got off the bus with another passenger, and they helped the ladies cross."

However, once the group had made it about halfway across the road, a "pick-up driver got impatient and passed in the left hand turn lane," McDonald said. "He plowed right into my stepdad -- but not before he pushed the old ladies and the other guy out of the way."

Moffett was taken to St. Anthony Central Medical Center with bleeding in the brain, broken bones in his face, a dislocated shoulder, a broken wrist, a possible ruptured spleen and liver, and a destroyed right knee.

McDonald said it is "absolutely obscene" that police ticketed Moffett and the other man for jaywalking. The driver of the pickup was ticketed for careless driving causing injury.

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The $2,000 car you can't buy

[via msn]

The much-anticipated Tata Nano -- at just half the price of the next-cheapest car in the world -- will be sold in India beginning in April. You won't find it in the US, though.

The cheapest car in the world is expected to begin rolling off assembly lines March 23, seven months behind schedule.

India's tiny Tata Nano, priced at 100,000 rupees, or about $2,000 at current exchange rates, will not be sold in the United States. Cars will reach dealerships across India in April, and production for the first year is expected to reach 250,000 vehicles.

The Nano's unveiling in January 2008 caused a stir worldwide and especially in India, where there are fewer than 10 cars for every thousand people, compared with 40 per thousand in China and 450 in the U.S.

Indians bought about 1 million cars in 2007. Far more middle-class Indians buy and transport their entire families on scooters.

Despite the frenzy of enthusiasm that ensued, production of the ultracheap car stalled when protests from farmers forced Tata Motors to abandon its West Bengal factory. The car will be built in small numbers at several current Tata factories until a dedicated factory is finished.

Tata, India's leading producer of trucks and third-biggest carmaker, last year bought Ford Motor's (F, news, msgs) Jaguar and Land Rover brands for $2.3 billion. While India's relatively small passenger-car market hasn't collapsed nearly as much as North America's, sales of passenger trucks, buses and other large vehicles tumbled 51% in January, a big blow to Tata.

35 horsepower, millions of fans

The company's Nano Web site has seen more than 30 million hits, and social networks such as Facebook have thousands of interest groups and communities around the car.

Why the fuss? The Nano -- its working name was the "People's Car" -- is just half the price of the next-cheapest car in the world, a Chery Automobiles QQ3 sold only in its domestic market of China. The $5,200 Suzuki Maruti is the current least expensive option for Indians, where per capita incomes are nearing $1,000 after years of explosive economic growth. In the U.S., the cheapest option is the Nissan Versa, which, at $9,990, is about five times the price of Nano.

With a snub nose and a sloping roof, the world's cheapest car can hold five people -- if they squeeze. And the basic version is spare: There's no radio, no air bags, no passenger-side mirror and only one windshield wiper. If you want air conditioning to cope with India's brutal summers, you need to get the deluxe version. Analysts estimate taxes, delivery and extras will add 30% or so to the car's cost.

At 10 feet long, the Nano is about 2 feet shorter than a Mini Cooper. Its 623-cubic-centimeter, two-cylinder engine is estimated to produce about 35 horsepower, good for a top speed of 75 mph.

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Shhh...Secret U.S. Oil Discovery - Largest Reserve in the World!

[via usgs]

3 to 4.3 Billion Barrels of Technically Recoverable Oil Assessed in North Dakota and Montana’s Bakken Formation—25 Times More Than 1995 Estimate—

North Dakota and Montana have an estimated 3.0 to 4.3 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil in an area known as the Bakken Formation.

A U.S. Geological Survey assessment, released April 10, shows a 25-fold increase in the amount of oil that can be recovered compared to the agency's 1995 estimate of 151 million barrels of oil.

Technically recoverable oil resources are those producible using currently available technology and industry practices. USGS is the only provider of publicly available estimates of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources.

New geologic models applied to the Bakken Formation, advances in drilling and production technologies, and recent oil discoveries have resulted in these substantially larger technically recoverable oil volumes. About 105 million barrels of oil were produced from the Bakken Formation by the end of 2007.

The USGS Bakken study was undertaken as part of a nationwide project assessing domestic petroleum basins using standardized methodology and protocol as required by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 2000.

The Bakken Formation estimate is larger than all other current USGS oil assessments of the lower 48 states and is the largest "continuous" oil accumulation ever assessed by the USGS. A "continuous" oil accumulation means that the oil resource is dispersed throughout a geologic formation rather than existing as discrete, localized occurrences. The next largest "continuous" oil accumulation in the U.S. is in the Austin Chalk of Texas and Louisiana, with an undiscovered estimate of 1.0 billions of barrels of technically recoverable oil.

"It is clear that the Bakken formation contains a significant amount of oil - the question is how much of that oil is recoverable using today's technology?" said Senator Byron Dorgan, of North Dakota. "To get an answer to this important question, I requested that the U.S. Geological Survey complete this study, which will provide an up-to-date estimate on the amount of technically recoverable oil resources in the Bakken Shale formation."

The USGS estimate of 3.0 to 4.3 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil has a mean value of 3.65 billion barrels. Scientists conducted detailed studies in stratigraphy and structural geology and the modeling of petroleum geochemistry. They also combined their findings with historical exploration and production analyses to determine the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil estimates.

USGS worked with the North Dakota Geological Survey, a number of petroleum industry companies and independents, universities and other experts to develop a geological understanding of the Bakken Formation. These groups provided critical information and feedback on geological and engineering concepts important to building the geologic and production models used in the assessment.

Five continuous assessment units (AU) were identified and assessed in the Bakken Formation of North Dakota and Montana - the Elm Coulee-Billings Nose AU, the Central Basin-Poplar Dome AU, the Nesson-Little Knife Structural AU, the Eastern Expulsion Threshold AU, and the Northwest Expulsion Threshold AU.

At the time of the assessment, a limited number of wells have produced oil from three of the assessments units in Central Basin-Poplar Dome, Eastern Expulsion Threshold, and Northwest Expulsion Threshold.
The Elm Coulee oil field in Montana, discovered in 2000, has produced about 65 million barrels of the 105 million barrels of oil recovered from the Bakken Formation.

Results of the assessment can be found at

The follow is one of those emails you get forwarded to you with just the facts called out if interested...


The U. S. Geological Service issued a report in April ('08) that only scientists and oil men knew was coming, but man was it big. It was a revised report (hadn't been updated since '95) on how much oil was in this area of the western 2/3 of North Dakota; western South Dakota; and extreme eastern Montana ..... check THIS out:

The Bakken is the largest domestic oil discovery since Alaska 's Prudhoe Bay, and has the potential to eliminate all American dependence on foreign oil. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates it at 503 billion barrels. Even if just 10% of the oil is recoverable... at $107 a barrel, we're looking at a resource base worth more than $5.3 trillion.

'When I first briefed legislators on this, you could practically see their jaws hit the floor. They had no idea.' says Terry Johnson, the Montana Legislature's financial analyst.

'This sizable find is now the highest-producing onshore oil field found in the past 56 years.' reports, The Pittsburgh Post Gazette. It's a formation known as the Williston Basin, but is more commonly referred to as the 'Bakken.' And it stretches from Northern Montana, through North Dakota and into Canada. For years, U. S. oil exploration has been considered a dead end. Even the 'Big Oil' companies gave up searching for major oil wells decades ago. However, a recent technological breakthrough has opened up the Bakken's massive reserves... and we now have access of up to 500 billion barrels. And because this is light, sweet oil, those billions of barrels will cost Americans just $16 PER BARREL!

That's enough crude to fully fuel the American economy for 41 years straight.

2. And if THAT didn't throw you on the floor, then this next one should - because it's from TWO YEARS AGO!

U. S. Oil Discovery- Largest Reserve in the World!
Stansberry Report Online - 4/20/2006

Hidden 1,000 feet beneath the surface of the Rocky Mountains lies the largest untapped oil reserve in the world is more than 2 TRILLION barrels. On August 8, 2005 President Bush mandated its extraction.

They reported this stunning news: We have more oil inside our borders, than all the other proven reserves on earth. Here are the official estimates:

- 8-times as much oil as Saudi Arabia
- 18-times as much oil as Iraq
- 21-times as much oil as Kuwait
- 22-times as much oil as Iran
- 500-times as much oil as Yemen
- and it's all right here in the Western United States

HOW can this BE? HOW can we NOT BE extracting this? Because the environmentalists and others have blocked all efforts to help America become independent of foreign oil!

James Bartis, lead researcher with the study says we've got more oil in this very compact area than the entire Middle East -more than 2 TRILLION barrels untapped. That's more than all the proven oil reserves of crude oil in the world today, reports The Denver Post.

Don't think 'OPEC' will drop its price - even with this find? Think again! It's all about the competitive marketplace, - it has to.

Got your attention/ire up yet? Hope so! Now, while you're thinking about it .... and hopefully P.O'd, do this:

3. Pass this along. If you don't take a little time to do this, then you should stifle yourself the next time you want to complain about gas prices .. because by doing NOTHING, you've forfeited your right to complain.
Now I just wonder what would happen in this country if every one of you sent this to every one in your address book.


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16 More Tips Your Grocer Won't Tell You

Check the previous post 13 tips your grocer won't tell you

1. "Don't buy anything with more than five ingredients (too processed), with ingredients you can’t pronounce (too processed), with anything artificial (tastes bad), with a cartoon on it (direct marketing to children), or with a health claim (misleading)," says Nestle. [via rd]

2. Paper? Plastic? We don't really care. But asking us to double-bag…that's just wasteful.

3. Dig and reach for the freshest produce. Older merchandise gets pushed to the front of the bin and spread across the top to encourage customers to take it first.

4. This isn't a social service agency. "The purpose of grocery stores is to get you to buy more food, not less," says Marion Nestle, author of What to Eat (North Point Press). Only 14% of consumers overall stick to just the items on their shopping list.

5. Very few people really like the "loyalty card" program, and it's expensive for us to run.

6. Attention, shoppers: Don't start your shopping just as we're closing. We just want to leave. It's been a long day.

7. Watch out for gimmicks. They are intended to get you into a store more frequently and to keep you away from competitors.

8. The person who supervises it all has a tough job; they're just a big babysitter.

9. Thanksgiving is our least favorite holiday.

10. Bring back your recyclable cans and bottles, but please rinse them out first. Leaving soda inside is unsanitary and we find it disgusting.

11. Signs of a store in trouble: Stocking fewer perishable items, storing non-perishables in refrigerated cases to make them look full, and "dummying up" shelves with empty boxes. If we were offering the best prices and highest quality, wouldn't there be more people shopping here?

12. I'm not getting rich here. After-tax net profit for the grocery industry is less than 2 percent, and by the end of 2013, the Food Marketing Institute, an industry group, predicts annual average wages will be just $18,000.

13. If you get in the 10 items or less line with 25 items, don't be surprised if you are asked to leave. If you have 12 items, not many people will care.

14. Watch those shopping-cart handles. They're covered in bacteria, says food-safety consultant Jeff Nelken. Use a sanitary wipe if the store provides them. Finicky shoppers can even patronize supermarkets that send their carts through a cart wash.

15. Skip the center aisles. That's where you'll find the junk food, like sodas and snack foods.

16. Check sizes. "Manufacturers are constantly trying to repackage things to make them sound like a better deal," says David Livingston, a supermarket industry consultant. "Some new peanut butter containers may look the same, but look closely and you'll see they actually have less peanut butter inside. Ninety-five percent of customers don't watch this kind of stuff."

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Top 10 Google Earth Finds

Columbus and Magellan had it rough. Exploration these days is quite literally an armchair activity, as high-resolution satellite images and tools like Google Earth make it possible for anyone with an Internet connection to pour over the globe with a fine-toothed comb. There are entire online communities devoted to finding and cataloging the most unusual locales worldwide, creating 21st-century atlases of minutiae. It isn't just for hobbyists either — Google Earth has helped scientists find previously unknown ruins and police locate clandestine marijuana fields. Here are ten of the most unusual discoveries. [via time]

Might these be the ruins of the lost continent of Atlantis? Eager explorers certainly thought so, trumpeting this grid off the coast of Africa as streets in the mythical sunken city. Observers noted the area appeared to be the size of Wales, making such a large grid an impressive feat of ancient urban planning. The real explanation is far less fun: Google Earth engineers soon announced that the grid pattern was merely a digital artifact created by the sonar boats collecting mapping data. Whispers still linger, but it doesn't look like anyone will be dredging up a forgotten civilization anytime soon.

See "Atlantis" site on Google Maps.

Firefox Crop Circles

Maybe alien technology isn't so foreign after all. This Firefox crop circle sprouted up in a corn field in Oregon, but its origins are no mystery. In 2006, the Oregon State University Linux Users group created the giant logo — spanning more than 45,000 square feet — to celebrate the Web browser's 50 millionth download.

See the Firefox logo on Google Maps.

UFO Landing Pads, Maybe?

Here's a true Google Earth mystery. These odd formations can be found on air bases in the U.S. and Britain — this one comes from a base outside of Norwich, England. The U.K. Ministry of Defense called it a motorcycle range, but other speculate it may be some sort of calibration tool for satellites. No one really knows — and the military isn't saying anything more.

See the "motorcycle range" on Google Maps.

Oprah Maze

She's got a massive syndicated show, a magazine called O and was dubbed the most powerful celebrity in the world by Forbes. Why shouldn't Oprah get her own corn maze? An Arizona farmer created this 2004 tribute to the TV talk-show host.

See the Oprah maze on Google Maps.

Secret Swastika

When builders of the Coronado Naval Amphibious Base in San Diego planned this complex in 1967, satellite imagery was probably the furthest thing from their minds. But in 2007 Google Earth sleuths found that four unconnected buildings on the base formed an unfortunate shape when viewed from above: a swastika. The Navy says it's spending more than $600,000 to mask the shape. "We don't want to be associated with something as symbolic and hateful as a swastika," a spokesman said.

See the swastika building on Google Maps.

Lost (and Found) at Sea

The SS Jassim, a Bolivian cargo ferry, ran aground and sunk on the Wingate Reef off the coast of Sudan in 2003. Now it's one of the largest shipwrecks visible on Google Earth.

See the shipwreck on Google Maps.

A Face in the Clay

It looks disconcertingly like a face from above, but this formation in Alberta, Canada is entirely natural. Dubbed the Badlands Guardian, the "face" is actually a valley eroded into the clay. Some say the man looks like he's wearing earphones; that's merely a road and an oil well. Even the Badlands Guardian, it seems, isn't immune to exploratory drilling.

See the Badlands Guardian on Google Maps.

Iraq's Bloody Lake

This blood-red lake outside of Iraq's Sadr City garnered a fair share of macabre speculation when it was discovered in 2007. One tipster told the tech blog Boing Boing that he was "told by a friend" that slaughterhouses in Iraq sometimes dump blood in canals. No one has offered an official explanation, but it's more likely the color comes from sewage, pollution or a water treatment process.

See Iraq's bloody lake on Google Maps.

Airplane Graveyard

The Davis-Monthan Air Force Base outside of Tuscon, Ariz., is where old planes go to die. More than 4,000 military aircraft are parked on the base, from B-52s to stealth bombers, where they are salvaged for parts and broken down for scrap. It's one of the most popular satellite pictures online, making guided tours of the area are a hot ticket.

See the airplane graveyard on Google Maps.

Missile Test?

Google Earth has plenty of examples of planes, helicopters — even hot air balloons — caught in flight, but this cruise missile, thought to be fired during military training exercises in the Utah mountains, might be the most unlikely capture yet. If it is, in fact, a cruise missile. Many dispute the image and say it's merely an airplane. You be the judge, but if you look closely, the "missile" appears to have wings.

See the missile on Google Maps.

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NBC orders Jerry Seinfeld reality series

[via thrfeed]

Jerry Seinfeld is reteaming with NBC to launch his first reality series.

The comedian's project is tentatively called "The Marriage Ref" and features celebrities, comedians and athletes who will judge couples in the midst of marital disputes while recommending various strategies to resolve their problems.

Seinfeld is partnering with "The Oprah Winfrey Show" veteran Ellen Rakieten on the project, which reunites the comedian with the network that aired his hit sitcom "Seinfeld" for nine years.

NBC co-chair Ben Silverman said Seinfeld pitched the show as a companion piece of sorts to his classic sitcom. The comedian increasingly has used married life for material in his stand-up act. So while being a bachelor inspired "Seinfeld," the comedian's married years will inspire his unscripted program.

"Some of the greatest comedies in the history of television have been around marriages," Silverman said. "The concept is so universal and accessible, and obviously it works so well when it comes from somebody with a point of view -- and nobody has a stronger point of view on this subject than Seinfeld."

Six one-hour episodes have been ordered for a planned fall release.

Seinfeld appeared on the network in a series of interstitial shorts two years ago to promote his DreamWorks Animation film "Bee Movie" and appeared on an episode of NBC's "30 Rock." But this deal marks the first series Seinfeld has committed to since his sitcom aired its series finale in 1998.

Seinfeld's role is behind the camera as an executive producer and creator, but given the show's celebrity-guest format, it's not too difficult to imagine an occasional on-camera appearance. Executive producer Rakieten said Seinfeld's voice will be evident in the show's commentaries.

"Every single person in a relationship can completely relate to this show," Rakieten said. "We all have the same fights, and there's a bottomless well of content."

Added Seinfeld: "This is not a therapy show, it's a comedy show. After nine years of marriage, I have discovered that the comedic potential of this subject is quite rich."

The Seinfeld news comes on the heels of NBC nearing a deal to bring the U.K. series, "I'm Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!" to the U.S. as a summer weekday strip.

"We're very excited about the possibility of that show, and the commitment would be a big one for us this summer," Silverman said.

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The restaurant where you pay what you can

To find out what recent customers paid for meals at the SAME Cafe, go to

The first thing Brad Birky does is hand me an apron.

"Would you mind starting on soup duty?" he asks, guiding me toward two large industrial cookers near the front counter. "This is tomato corn bisque, and this is lentil."

The lunch rush is just starting at So All May Eat (SAME) Cafe, and soon I'm ladling steaming servings of soup into a mismatched collection of bowls and mugs. With me behind the counter are three more volunteers preparing pizza and dishing out salad and cookies to the growing line of customers, a cross-section of East Colfax Avenue foot traffic: latter-day flower children, sunburned day laborers, older women in librarian attire, laptop-toting students, professional bums, khaki-wearing businesspeople, vegan-core punker kids and the general miscellany of society that never appears in restaurant-industry demographics.

SAME has a menu that changes daily but always features food that's made from scratch and is largely organic. It has tables, chairs, bus bins, plants in the windows and overhead music (usually a mix of classic rock). But there's one thing SAME doesn't have: a cash register. There's no credit-card machine, no change drawer, no receipt book. That's because SAME doesn't have prices. Diners come in and order — some ask for just a cup of soup or a small slice of pizza, while others go for a whole meal, maybe even seconds if they're really hungry — and then pay what they want.

The concept is the exact opposite of Denver Restaurant Week, now under way, in which more than 200 restaurants in the metro area are offering a meal for the set price of $52.80 for two. DRW's goal is to entice diners to eat out more by removing the uncertainty of the final tab.

After only an hour behind the counter at SAME, I can pick out the new customers the minute they step in the door. Their eyes seek out numbers, first falling on the handwritten menu board, then drifting along the counter, searching for a printed menu with prices. Before puzzlement becomes full-blown confusion, Brad usually steps in.

"Is this your first time here?"

"Yes," says a young couple, him with a beard and her with an extra-long scarf. "We just moved into a place down the street."

"Okay," says Brad. "So we're a non-profit restaurant. We operate on a pay-what-you-want model. So we have no set prices. We let our customers pick what they want to eat and then pay afterward, however much they wish. If you can't pay anything, then we ask you to volunteer an hour helping in the cafe."

"Oh," both members of the couple reply. "Okay. Cool." They glance at each other to make sure it really is cool, then place their orders and make their drink selections from a choice of coffee, tea, iced tea or water. Brad hands each of them a small orange envelope with the number of their order.

After customers have eaten, they will put their payment in these envelopes, which then go through the slit of a small wooden box. That's the high technology upon which this business rests. The cafe will serve 55 people over a three-hour period today — a stat that multiplies out to roughly 15,000 customers a year. Some pay less than their share, some pay more, some pay nothing at all. And yet somehow it all works out.

Libby Birky still remembers the reactions of their families when she and Brad first confessed their desire to open a restaurant with no prices. Behind the smiles, the words of support and the offers of assistance were looks of deep concern. Friends were intrigued but skeptical. Loan officers and government officials were a bit more blunt. "They told us we were crazy. In those exact words," she says. And maybe they were a little crazy. It was the kind of utopian, half-baked, vaguely Boulder-ish concept you'd expect from old hippies or naive undergrads with more money than brains, not a pair of young professionals raised in the rural Midwest.

Central Illinois, to be precise. The town closest to the farm where Brad grew up had a population of 900. His family is Mennonite, which is like being Amish but with less old-timey hats and butter-churning, and with more social-justice work among worldly folk. Libby lived thirty miles away in a town that was a bit more cosmopolitan — it had a small college — but was still removed from the complexities of urban life. She went to a Catholic elementary school and a Catholic high school and spent summers on missions building houses for the less fortunate. After her freshman year at a Catholic college upstate, she met Brad through a mutual friend. They clicked. Not only did they share similar backgrounds, but their family setup was identical: dad in construction, mom working in the schools, brother, sister.

Brad and Libby married in 1998 and moved to a house situated exactly between their two families. Libby was getting her master's in gifted education; Brad was working as an IT consultant. But eventually they grew weary of their familiar surroundings and longed for a bigger city. After visiting Denver for a wedding, they moved here in 2002, found jobs and bought a handsome little place in the Baker neighborhood. Brad still had an itch, though. The IT gigs were bringing home the bacon, but what he really wanted was to cook the bacon, understand what flavors might go with the bacon, and serve the bacon in a way that maybe no one had thought of before. He realized he wanted to be a chef, and enrolled in the two-year culinary program at Metropolitan State College of Denver.

Continue Reading over at Denver News

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The Internet's 99 Greatest Hits

[via time]

I remember my first viral video. The year was 2001 and I was a fresh-faced teenager with my first high-speed Internet connection. Someone showed me a Flash animation featuring 1980s Japanese video game images repurposed into a techno music montage. Or something. I'm not really sure. I didn't understand "All Your Base Are Belong To Us" then and I don't understand it now, but I can't deny its Internet significance. All I remember is that people wouldn't stop saying "Someone set up us the bomb" for at least a week.

Since then, I have become thoroughly entrenched in Internet pop culture (I'm pretty sure that half of my workday is spent exchanging YouTube videos with coworkers, but don't tell anyone). There was the Star Wars Kid (2002); Homestar Runner (which I saw in 2003-4) and Tom Cruise's Scientology video (2008). When a friend refused to stop singing "Peanut Butter Jelly Time," I didn't speak to her for three days because whenever I did she would sing it, and the song would get stuck in my head. But that was in 2002, and I haven't seen the video since. That is, until now.

Advertising copywriter Greg Rutter has compiled everything great about the Internet and put it on one web page. is a list of 99 videos and websites that any self-respecting Internet addict needs to see — and probably already has.

So if you have a lot of free time, here are the best things the Internet has to offer:

• Number of animal videos: 11
• Number of animal videos that should come with a warning because they're too adorable and will make you cry at work: 1
• People who injure themselves: 6
• People who injure other people: 3
• Children who will grow to resent their parents for putting embarrassing footage of them on the Internet: 9
• Things that are funny because they're from the 80s: 6
Home shopping TV screw-ups: 2
• Sports videos: 2
• Acts of bad journalism: 9
• Reminders that OK Go are better at making music videos than they are at making music: 1
Inaccurate portrayals of American history: 1
Fat people: 4
• Angry Germans: 2
• Transvestite midgets: 1
• Videos longer than 5 minutes: 5
• Videos shorter than 30 seconds: 12
Celebrity videos: 7
Wedding videos: 2
• Videos of people dancing: 9
• Ads for an office product that seems oddly sexual: 1
• Performances inspired by Star Wars: 3
• Freaky Tom Cruise moments: 2
• Things from Japan: 4
• People with too much time on their hands: 37
Grown men who may never know the love of a woman: 12
• Bonus NSFW links hidden at the bottom of the page that should not be viewed in public, or even at all: 4
• Number of links I clicked on at work anyway: 4
• Level of awkwardness when my boss walked by: high to very high

That's it. You've now seen everything that's on the Internet. There's nothing left to do now except check Facebook.

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The 20 Most Terrifying Pictures of Ronald McDonald Ever

[via unrealitymag]


What inspired me to write this post? Well, I was trying to search for a shot of Heath Ledger’s Joker that I hadn’t seen a million times and this came up. Yup, haven’t seen that before. And that got me thinking about a long-held childhood fear, that Ronald McDonald is pretty damn creepy. He shook my hand in a parade once and I’ve never been the same since. I’d rather have the Burger King run at me with a carving knife than have Ronald McDonald smile at me again.

So yeah, Heath Ledger + Childhood Fears + Google Images = this post. It’s random, but I think it’s pretty awesome. Enjoy.

Cannibal Ronald Will Now Be Haunting Your Dreams


Pimp Ronald Wants His $50 Ho!


Bob Ross Ronald is Painting Nightmares in Your Head


Ronald McNinja is the Opposite of Stealth


Mime Ronald is Taking a Stand for Labor Rights


Your Mom Totally Sent Ronald to Pick You Up, Get in the Car


WTF Ronald is NOT OK


Hot Ronald is Arousing Strange Feelings in Your Nuggets


Ronald is Breaching McDonald’s Employee Code


Cosplay Ronald Wins First Prize and Now Should Never Be Seen Again


Little Ronald’s Parents are Suing the Doctors


Weird Fetish Prostitute Ronald Only Gets Two Customers a Year


Prostrate Ronald is Just Asking for It


To Mega-Ronald, You are All Fries


God Does Not Listen to Praying Ronald


Homeless Ronald Ruins Your Day


Art Project Ronald Got Johnny Sent to the Principal’s Office


Wow, I think I’ve conquered my fear.

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Why Dreams Mean Less Than We Think

[via time]

Most people dream enthusiastically at night, their dreams seemingly occupying hours, even though most last only a few minutes. Most people also read great meaning into their nocturnal visions. In fact, according to a new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the vast majority of people in three very different countries — India, South Korea and the United States — believe that their dreams reveal meaningful hidden truths.

According to the study, 74% of Indians, 65% of South Koreans and 56% of Americans hold an old-fashioned Freudian view of dreams: that they are portals into the unconscious. (See the top 10 scientific discoveries of 2008.)

But after so many years of brain research showing that most of our everyday cognitions result from a complex but observable interaction of proteins and neurons and other mostly uncontrolled cellular activity, how can so many otherwise rational people think dreams should be taken seriously? After all, brain activity isn't mystical but — for the most part — highly predictable.

The authors of the study — psychologists Carey Morewedge of Carnegie Mellon University and Michael Norton of Harvard — offer a few theories. For one, dreams often feature familiar people and locations, which means we are less willing to dismiss them outright. Also, because we can't trace the content of dreams to an external source — because that content seems to arise spontaneously and from within — we can't explain it the way we can explain random thoughts that occur to us during waking hours. If you find yourself sitting at your desk and thinking about a bomb exploding in your office, you might say to yourself, "Oh, I watched 24 last night, so I'm just remembering that episode." But people have a harder time making sense of dreams. Maybe 24 caused the dream, we think — or maybe we're having a premonition of an attack. We love to interpret dreams widely, and those acts of interpretation give dreams meaning. (Read "Can't Sleep? Turn Off the Cell Phone!")

Human beings are irrational about dreams the same way they are irrational about a lot of things. We make dumb choices all the time on the basis of silly information like racial bias or a misunderstanding of statistics — or dreams. Morewedge and Norton quote one of the most famous modern studies to demonstrate our collective folly, from a paper written by psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman that was published in Science in 1974. In that paper, Tversky and Kahneman discuss an experiment in which subjects were asked to estimate the percentage of African countries represented in the U.N. Before they guessed, a researcher spun a wheel of fortune in front of them that landed on a random number between 0 and 100. People tended to pick an answer that wasn't far from the number on the wheel, even though the wheel had nothing to do with African countries.

Countless experiments over the ensuing decades have confirmed that most of us make this so-called anchoring mistake — that is, making a decision based largely on an unrelated piece of information, like a random number that appears on a wheel. Anchoring occurs all the time, like when you're asked to look at your Social Security number before answering a question (you're more likely to pick an answer close to the digits in your SSN). A team of researchers even showed in a 2003 paper in the Quarterly Journal of Economics that people will endure more physical discomfort (exposure to an unpleasant noise) for less monetary compensation in a lab setting when they are anchored prior to the experiments to smaller monetary amounts. As I said, we all make dumb choices based on silly information. That's why we invest meaning in dreams. (See TIME's 2004 cover on the science of sleep.)

That being said, dumb choices aren't necessarily bad ones. A final finding from the study: When people have dreams about good things happening to their good friends, they are more likely to say those dreams are meaningful than when they have dreams about bad things happening to their friends. Similarly, we invest more meaning in dreams in which our enemies are punished and less meaning in dreams in which our enemies emerge victorious. In short, our interpretation of dreams may say a lot less about some quixotic search for hidden truth than it does about another enduring human quality: optimistic thinking.

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Man Calls 911 After Burger King Runs Out Of Lemonade

A man was charged with misusing 911 today for a midnight complaint that a Boynton Beach Burger King had run out of lemonade, police say.

Jean Fortune, 66, dialed 911 and told dispatchers he was "unhappy with his order" at the Burger King at 1521 W. Boynton Beach Blvd., according to an arrest report.

When a Boynton Beach police officer arrived, the cashier told him she had informed Fortune at the drive-thru that the store no longer served lemonade. He became angry when he picked up his order at the window and threatened to call police.

The cashier told him to "Go ahead."

The officer noted in his report that Fortune could not explain why he resorted to calling 911 for a "civil dilemma."

He was issued a notice to appear in court.

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The world economy was 24 hours away from complete collapse on Sept 15, 2008, yet no one knows

$550 Billion Disappeared in “Electronic Run On the Banks”">Rep. Kanjorski: $550 Billion Disappeared in “Electronic Run On the Banks”

At 2 minutes, 20 seconds into this C-Span video clip, Rep. Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania explains how the Federal Reserve told Congress members about a “tremendous draw-down of money market accounts in the United States, to the tune of $550 billion dollars.” According to Kanjorski, this electronic transfer occured over the period of an hour or two.

Some questions to ask your yourself and others...

1.) Why has the President or the mainstream media (no major networks) never talked about this?
2.) Why has there been no discovery after 6 months of where this money went?
3.) If this was an act of terrorism that could have collapsed the entire globe, shouldn't more people be talking about this?

Here is a transcript of what Kanjorski says in the video:

On Thursday Sept 15, 2008 at roughly 11 AM The Federal Reserve noticed a tremendous draw down of money market accounts in the USA to the tune of $550 Billion dollars in a matter of an hour or two.

Money was being removed electronically.

The treasury tried to help with $150 Billion.

But could not stem the tide.

It was an electronic run on the banks

The treasury intervened but had they not closed down the accounts they estimated that by 2 PM that afternoon. Within 3 hours. $5.5 Trillion would have been withdrawled and collapsed and within 24 hours the world economy.

Kanjorski does not provide further details.

A Google search to verify this produces zero results.

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Top 10: Expenses To Cut Immediately

[via askmen]

When the economy was expanding, convenience was king. We wanted to be able to read the New York Times while programming our DVRs, all while riding the subway. Extravagance and excess somehow became expected, and each little bit of convenience came with a fee or tax attached to it. That was fine then, but it's absolutely insane to pay a convenience tax in the current market. It's amazing just how much you can save a month when some of the extreme convenience is carved away. Rethinking your entertainment during the month is going to be the biggest money-saver of all, but there are other expenses flying under your radar right now that you could do without. Here are the top 10 expenses to cut immediately that could save you up to $670 per month.

No.10 - Landline

Monthly savings: $17

The landline should be as dead as the telegraph. Cell phones started out as a novelty and a convenience that was deemed an edge in business -- now they're a requirement. Can you imagine leaving your cell phone at home when you leave the house? Not answering your cell phone because you aren't home is completely unacceptable. The culture has evolved to require each and every person to be contactable at all times. That's an expectation that landlines simply cannot keep up with, making the landline an obvious expense to cut immediately.

No.9 - iTunes/downloads

Monthly savings: $25 (0.99/song, 2 albums and 1 movie)

iTunes and digital downloads in general have made obtaining media extremely easy. Going out to buy a DVD or a record would require some planning, a little forethought and at least some effort. Granted, it wasn't much, but if you were busy, you probably wouldn't make it to the music store. Now, you can buy song after song from the computer, and instantly enjoy it. Instant gratification is almost always a recipe for overspending. Cancel your iTunes account, and cut out the digital downloads. Savings will vary from person to person, but digital downloads are an expense everyone across the board can cut today.

No.8 - Newspapers/magazines

Monthly savings: $30

There's a reason the newspaper industry has been complaining about decline in readership for the past 10 years. The overhead associated with printing and delivering a physical product is enormous and it is a cost that is passed right on to the consumer. The internet (even internet that isn't blazingly fast) can load up any content that a newspaper displays. Reading a newspaper at work is quite a bit more conspicuous than checking out the New York Times in another browser tab while you work. The internet is the way of the future when it comes to news delivery: The writing is on the wall. Get on board and ditch this unnecessary expense.

No.7 - Blazingly fast internet

Monthly savings: $37.06

Cable, satellite and DSL have been ramping up the speed for the past few years. At some point, it became completely unnecessary. Unless you're downloading illegal copies of Blu-ray discs, you don't need 25 Mbps download rates. Even full-motion video on the web can be streamed at something around 1.5 Mbps with no problems, making blazingly fast internet an easy expense to cut immediately. If you can't wait an extra 11 seconds to catch the latest viral video on YouTube, then you probably need to invest in a book on time management skills and patience.

No.6 - Mobile surfing

Monthly savings: $50

3G access is something of a modern miracle. The bits and bytes flying around the ether have sped up the pace of business by an incredible degree. Getting e-mail outside of the office on your cell phone has become almost as standard in business as using overnight couriers to send documents. The problem is that, in most cases, having e-mail on your phone isn't really necessary. Lawyers want it, salesmen need it -- but the rest of us? We could really do without. Actually surfing on your cell phone is an enormous waste of time. Do you really need immediate and ubiquitous access to your Facebook profile and Twitter account? We think not. Go ahead and talk to some people around you in the coffee shop. Do a little IRL networking.

No.5 - Digital cable

Monthly savings: $54

If there is a time sink more devastating to productivity than random web surfing, it's channel surfing. At least with the internet you have a modicum of control over what content you're putting in front of your eyes. Not so with TV. Television eats time with a hypnotizing picture of "whatever is on." Digital cable has added more "choices," but not any more control. Commercials still run rampant during your favorite shows. With alternatives on the internet, like or the network websites themselves, cable seems like a waste of money. Depending on your geography, you can still pick up the network broadcasts in HD for free, so what's the point of cable?

No.4 - Covers

Monthly savings: $60 (6 venues in 4 weekends)

Drinks are already expensive. The cover is merely a tax for the privilege to walk in the door to pay more money. Patrons are going to wake up and realize that they don't want to subsidize the latest club remodel and will start looking for quality over flash. Patrons will cut their expenses accordingly and will support those establishments that are more forward-thinking. Some venues are beginning to go to the comedy-show model, where the cover exists, but it comes with a drink ticket or two. There's nothing wrong with supporting these establishments, but in this market, everyone needs to share in the pain.

No.3 - Lunches

Monthly savings: $100 ($5/day, 5 days a week)

This is a time-honored tradition your Grandma has been talking about since the Great Depression: Bring your lunches from home -- always. Even the most frugal of value-menu shoppers is going to be hard-pressed to come in at under $5 per lunch. And you're expected to be at the office five days a week? This is one expense that obviously adds up quickly, but rather discreetly, so it's easy to miss. This goes for the morning coffee too. It's easy and much cheaper to make it at home. Save the going out until it's a client lunch or one that will scrounge up some new business, and cut this expense immediately.

No.2 - Drinks

Monthly savings: $100 ($4-$9 premium drinks)

Out on the town or picking up a few things from the store, take your liquor purchase down a notch or two. If you're still going to the bar and calling your liquors, you're throwing good money away. Unless you're a true aficionado, there are few times when you can tell the premium vodka from the so-so vodka when mixed with a healthy dose of tonic -- even more so with juice. Old Blue Eyes made his drink as simple as Jack Daniels straight up. You aren't going to top Frank in class or classic cool, so how much cachet do you think you're garnering by being so label-conscious?

No.1 - Taxis

Monthly savings: $100 (5 trips at $20 per trip)

There are a few reasons to cut down on taxis: The first is that by not being able to afford the cab, you can't really afford to go out. So, you're saving money on both ends of the transaction. The second is that it will cut down on your drinking for the time being, allowing you to focus on something more productive than transient fun. Maybe with the downtime you can start a side career. Taxis are just entirely too expensive and should be the first expense to drop in a bad economy.

If you're taxiing to work, not just out on Saturday nights, then consider cheaper modes of transportation throughout the week, like buses and subways. Or, here's a novel idea: walk.

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World's craziest restaurants [PICS]

[via oddee]

Cannibalistic Restaurant (JAPAN)

"Nyotaimori" (which literally means "female body plate") is the name of the japanese restaurant that serves sushi and sashimi on a naked woman's body. The body is made from food and placed on an operating table, much as though in a hospital. You can "operate" anyway and anywhere you want by cutting open the body and eating what you find inside. The body will actually bleed as you cut it and the intestines and organs inside are completely editable. It's a banquet of Cannibalism.

Toilet Restaurant (TAIWAN)

Have you ever heard of people eating out of a bathroom toilet and having great fun? A restaurant named Marton Theme Restaurant, in Kaohsiung (Taiwan) has a toilet theme and is a great hit among people. The restaurant has a bathroom decor, with colorful toilet seat being the standard chairs at the restaurant. It also serves food in plates and bowls shaped like western loo seats and Japanese “squat” toilets. Customers sits by a tables converted from a bathtub with a glass cover while looking at a wall decorated with neon-lit faucets and urinals turned into lamps. The restaurant is named after the Chinese word "Matong" for toilet and is doing really well. The owner Eric Wang says "We not only sell food but also laughter. The food is just as good as any restaurant but we offer additional fun. Most customers think the more disgusting and exaggerated (the restaurant is), the funnier the dining experience is." The meals are cheaply priced with a meal set including soup and ice cream costs from 150 to 250 Taiwan dollars ($6 - $10).

Restaurant in the Sky (BELGIUM)

"Dinner in the Sky" is a Brussels based restaurant that serves dinner for up to 22 people… 150 feet in the air! The specially-designed table and chairs are lifted by a crane. Dinner anywhere in Belgium will set you back almost 8 thousand euros; other locations are also available. Remember, you must wear your seat belt, and don't drop your fork!

Dark Restaurant (CHINA)

The first dark restaurant in Asia is officially opened on the 23 December 2006. This restaurant, located in Beijing, China, has its interior painted completely black. Customers are greeted by a brightly lit entrance hall and will be escorted by waiters wearing night vision goggles into the pitch dark dining room to help them find their seats. Flashlights, mobile phones and even luminous watches are prohibited while in this area.

The meal will be taken in this environment with the complete loss of vision. By starving one's sense, your other senses are stimulated to full alert "all so the theory goes" and your food will taste like it's never tasted before. In case you are wondering about the washrooms, they are all brightly lit.

Graveyard Restaurant (INDIA)

The bustling "New Lucky Restaurant" in Ahmadabad is famous for its milky tea, its buttery rolls, and the graves between the tables. Krishan Kutti Nair has helped run the restaurant built over a centuries-old Muslim cemetery for close to four decades, but he doesn't know who is buried in the cafe floor. Customers seem to like the graves, which resemble small cement coffins, and that's enough for him.

"The graveyard is good luck," Nair said one recent afternoon after the lunch rush. "Our business is better because of the graveyard." The graves are painted green, stand about shin high, and every day the manager decorates each of them with a single dried flower. They're scattered randomly across the restaurant - one up front next to the cash register, three in the middle next to a table for two, four along the wall near the kitchen.

Restaurant in a Prison (ITALY)

A restaurant situated inside the top security prison Fortezza Medicea in Italy is so popular that officials have since opened more branches. Serenaded by Bruno, a pianist doing life for murder, the clientele eat inside a deconsecrated chapel set behind the 60ft high walls, watch towers, searchlights and security cameras of the daunting 500-year-old Fortezza Medicea, at Volterra near Pisa. Under the watchful eye of armed prison warders, a 20-strong team of chefs, kitchen hands and waiters prepares 120 covers for diners who have all undergone strict security checks. Tables are booked up weeks in advance.

Robot Restaurant: run by two identical couples (CHINA)

People are confused how a Chinese couple managed to run a busy restaurant 21 hours a day without getting tired. Turns out the restaurant is run by two couples … both the men and women are identical twins!

Locals had nicknamed the eatery the "robot couple restaurant" as they couldn't understand how the same couple seemed to be on duty from 6am through to 3am. However, a journalist from Today Morning Post interviewed the restaurant owner and found out the truth. It turned out that the twin brothers, 32, married a set of twin sisters from the same township three years ago and moved to Yiwu to run the restaurant together. "Many diners thought we worked too hard and are like robots, but they don't know that we are actually four people," said Mao Zhanghua, 32, the elder brother.

Undersea Restaurant (MALDIVES)

The first-ever undersea restaurant in the world has been introduced at the Hilton Maldives Resort & Spa in April 2007. Ithaa (which is pronounced “eet-ha” and means “pearl” in the language of the Maldives, Dhivehi) sits five meters below the waves of the Indian Ocean, surrounded by a vibrant coral reef and encased in clear acrylic, offering diners 270 degrees of panoramic underwater views. This innovative restaurant is the first of its kind in the world, and is part of a US $5 million re-build of Rangalifinolhu Island, one of the twin islands that make up Hilton Maldives Resort & Spa. This re-build includes the construction of 79 of the most luxurious beach villas in the country as well as the Spa Village, a self-contained, over-water “resort-within-a-resort” consisting of a spa, restaurant and 21 villas.

Condom Restaurant (THAILAND)

"Cabbages and Condoms" is a chain of restaurants in Thailand. There are condoms on the walls and pictures of condoms printed on the carpets. Instead of after-dinner mints, patrons are offered a bowl of condoms at the counter. Profits from the restaurants go to support the Population and Community Development Association (PDA).

Medical Restaurant (TAIPEI)

D.S. Music Restaurant in Taipei, Taiwan is a medical-themed restaurant with crutches on the wall, waitresses dressed a nurses, and drinks served from an IV drip bottle! The owner came up with the idea to express his gratitude for care he received at a local hospital.

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