At U.S. dinner tables, food may be a fraud

The expensive "sheep's milk" cheese in a Manhattan market was really made from cow's milk. And a jar of "Sturgeon caviar" was, in fact, Mississippi paddlefish. [via washpost]

Some honey makers dilute their honey with sugar beets or corn syrup, their competitors say, but still market it as 100 percent pure at a premium price.

And last year, a Fairfax man was convicted of selling 10 million pounds of cheap, frozen catfish fillets from Vietnam as much more expensive grouper, red snapper and flounder. The fish was bought by national chain retailers, wholesalers and food service companies, and ended up on dinner plates across the country.

"Food fraud" has been documented in fruit juice, olive oil, spices, vinegar, wine, spirits and maple syrup, and appears to pose a significant problem in the seafood industry. Victims range from the shopper at the local supermarket to multimillion companies, including E&J Gallo and Heinz USA.

Such deception has been happening since Roman times, but it is getting new attention as more products are imported and a tight economy heightens competition. And the U.S. food industry says federal regulators are not doing enough to combat it.

"It's growing very rapidly, and there's more of it than you might think," said James Morehouse, a senior partner at A.T. Kearney Inc., which is studying the issue for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents the food and beverage industry.

John Spink, an expert on food and packaging fraud at Michigan State University, estimates that 5 to 7 percent of the U.S. food supply is affected but acknowledges the number could be greater. "We know what we seized at the border, but we have no idea what we didn't seize," he said.

The job of ensuring that food is accurately labeled largely rests with the Food and Drug Administration. But it has been overwhelmed in trying to prevent food contamination, and fraud has remained on a back burner.

The recent development of high-tech tools -- including DNA testing -- has made it easier to detect fraud that might have gone unnoticed a decade ago. DNA can be extracted from cells of fish and meat and from other foods, such as rice and even coffee. Technicians then identify the species by comparing the DNA to a database of samples.

Another tool, isotope ratio analysis, can determine subtle differences between food -- whether a fish was farmed or wild, for example, or whether caviar came from Finland or a U.S. stream.

The techniques have become so accessible that two New York City high school students, working with scientists at the Rockefeller University and the American Museum of Natural History last year, discovered after analyzing DNA in 11 of 66 foods -- including the sheep's milk cheese and caviar -- bought randomly at markets in Manhattan were mislabeled.

"We put so much emphasis on food and purity of ingredients and where they come from," said Mark Stoeckle, a physician and DNA expert at Rockefeller University who advised the students. "But then there are things selling that are not what they say on the label. There's an important issue here in terms of economics and consumer safety."

It is not clear how many food manufacturers, importers and retailers are testing products, but large companies with valuable brands to protect have been increasingly using the new technology, said Vincent Paez, director of food safety business development at Thermo Fisher Scientific, which sells some of the equipment and performs laboratory analysis, including DNA testing.

Still, of the hundreds of customers who bought 10 million pounds of mislabeled Vietnamese catfish -- including national chains and top rated restaurants -- only one or two caught the deception, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Johns, who prosecuted the Fairfax fish importer. "It was the rare exception, not the norm," he said.

Heinz USA and Kraft Foods, two giant food makers with well- established internal controls, nevertheless fell victim to "Operation Rotten Tomato," a conspiracy in which the scion of a California farming dynasty was indicted this month. He was accused of disguising millions of pounds of moldy tomato paste as a higher- grade product and selling it to foodmakers.

And E&J Gallo, the nation's largest wine seller, sold 18 million bottles of Red Bicyclette Pinot Noir between 2006 and 2008 that had been filled in France with wine made from cheaper merlot and syrah grapes, according to a French court that last month indicted a dozen of its citizens in a scam dubbed Pinotgate.

At the FDA's first public meeting on food fraud last year, groups across the industry complained that it is not doing enough.

"If it's not going to hurt or kill someone, FDA's resources are limited enough that they can't take time to address it," said Bob Bauer, a spokesman for the National Honey Packers & Dealers Association and the North American Olive Oil Association.

Both groups have petitioned the FDA to set standards for honey and olive oil, which would make it possible for companies to sue competitors that sell an adulterated product. The olive oil industry has been waiting for FDA to act on its request since 1991; major honey and beekeeping groups have been waiting since 2006. An agency spokesman said those requests are pending.

One longtime crabmeat seller on the Chesapeake Bay said he has complained, without results, to the FDA for years about a competitor who imports cheap crab and repackages it as Chesapeake blue crab, a different species that can be sold for twice or three times the price.

The National Seafood Inspection Laboratory, part of the Marine Fisheries Service, randomly sampled seafood from vendors between 1988 and 1997; it found that 34 percent had been mislabeled and sold as a different species. In 2004, scientists at the University of North Carolina estimated that 77 percent of snapper sold in the United States is mislabeled.

"With the recession, people are trying to make money in any way, shape or form," said William Gergits, a co-founder of Therion International LLC, which specializes in DNA-based testing services. "Southeast grouper and red snapper fisheries here are limited. If you think about all the restaurants in Florida, there's not enough supply to go to those restaurants."

Despite growing imports, the FDA inspects just 2 percent of fish coming into the United States from other countries.

The agency wants to create a surveillance system that would alert regulators to likely fraud, said Jennifer Thomas, director of enforcement at FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. She said the FDA regularly swaps intelligence with two other agencies that share responsibility for catching seafood fraud. It has also bought a $170,000 DNA sequencer for its Seattle field office.

She pointed to several FDA actions against food fraud in recent months, including the first debarment of a seafood importer, suggesting that may be a deterrent.

Peter Xuong Lam, president of Virginia Star Seafood Corporation of Fairfax, was convicted last year of selling the mislabeled catfish. Ten other individuals and companies were also charged. Lam was sentenced to five years in prison and is barred from importing food into the United States for the next 20 years.

Authentification should be a standard practice throughout the food industry, Stoeckle said: "If it's simple enough that high school students with some supervision can do it, it moves out of the research application to something you can do regularly."

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Japan, The Strange Country [video]

In a mere 12 minutes, this video about Japan covers everything from its strange cultural mores to its equally strange economy. Before you get hung up on the ugly caricatures of Japan people and exclaim racism, consider: The creator, Kenichi Tanaka, says, "By the way, please don't call me racist, because I am one of short, small eyes Japanese." Apparently, his motivation in creating the piece--which was his graduate thesis--was to show a Japanese audience how strange they are to foreigners. (This idea of "Foreign people think you're freaks"--with its implied blend of xenophobia and self-criticism--is a uniquely Japanese sentiment.)

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The Best Free Software for Anything [196 free programs]

Get what you DON'T pay for: Here are 196 programs that cost nothing but will make your computing life richer—all while keeping your wallet fat.

We don't want to make you feel bad, but, uh... are you really still paying for software? Wow.

Well, PCMAG is here to spread the word: There's no lack of free software to be found online. Some of it is as powerful, if not more so, than the name-brand packages found on shelves at Best Buy for big bucks. By free, we mean you don't pay a dime except for what it costs to download and install the software. There are even times when you don't have to install anything, since there are a lot of great Web-based applications available these days.

Knowing all this, every year PCMag puts together a fresh look at the Best Free Software. We check the previous year's picks to make sure they've still got the chops (and the $0 price tag) and cull through other options that have come our way. We concentrate on productivity apps and utilities for Windows users, but make note when a program also works for Mac OS X and Linux distributions. Every one of the products in this list that is classified as a Windows product is compatible with XP up to Windows 7—unless otherwise noted.

In addition, we know there's plenty of free software available for smartphones, so we've made a notation if the app has a mobile component, but we'll leave the full list of no-cost apps for your phone to our mobile experts (See "The Top 100 Free Apps for Your Phone.")

Many of the apps rounded up here are also "portable," meaning that they have versions that can be placed on a USB Flash Drive and run without installation, sometimes as part of the platform; we've marked them as such.

Did we miss any great no-cost programs? Leave a comment on the story and let us—and the rest of the world—know about your favorite freebie.

Check out the free software over at below:

Anti-Malware Instant Messaging
App Launchers Maps
Audio Media Manager
Backup/Synch/Storage Networking
Blogging Office
Browsers Operating Systems
Calendar/PIM Printing
Conferencing/VoIP Process Monitors
Displays Remote Access
Email RSS Readers
File Transfer/Sharing Search
File Viewers/Converters Security/Encryption
Finance Social Networking
Fun/Home System Utilities
Graphics Video

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50 Heart-Stopping Hamburgers (Pictures)

Death by hamburgers? Most likely. If you ate every single one of these delicious looking hamburgers, you’d definitely be bound for a cardiac arrest. We hope you die happy!

heart stopping hamburgers forkparty

Big thanks to This Is Why You’re Fat — an awesomely obscure food picture blog.

peanut butter hamburger

mega cheeseburger and fries

double double cheeseburger

mega blt

awesome toasted cheeseburger

steak burger

peanut butter burger

huge hero burger

tower burger bacon

gross hamburger fried

burger baked into bun

largest hamburger in the world

huge burger stack

the cannibal burger

taco burger

onion ring burger

huge cheeseburger

jelly donut hamburger

double decker hero burger

bacon and egger hamburger

Check out the rest over at

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Harvard Professor Makes Inhalable Coffee, No Cup Required

le whif, inhalable coffee, breathable coffee, cupless coffee, eco  coffee, green coffee, green design, biodegradable, eco design,  sustainable design, less paper cups, reusable cups

[via inhabitat] Got a case of the Monday mornings? If you’re like millions of other Americans, a nice, hot cup of joe might be your go-to cure, but what about all of those paper cups that go to waste just so that we can get our fix? Well, one Harvard biomedical engineering professor, David A. Edwards, has developed a product that may make getting caffeine into your system a little more efficient – if not also more creepy. Called Le Whif Coffee, Edwards’ java jolt comes in a biodegradable container about the same size as a tube of lipstick, and is ingested by inhalation instead of drinking – a strong reminder of the narcotic nature of caffeine. We’re a bit critical of Le Whif since it still comes in one-time use throwaway packaging (the best option would be if we could get everyone in the world to use a reusable cups for their coffee) but we think the idea of an alternative method of drinking coffee is interesting, if nothing else.

le whif, inhalable coffee, breathable coffee, cupless coffee, eco  coffee, green coffee, green design, biodegradable, eco design,  sustainable design, less paper cups, reusable cupsImage depicts Le Whif Chocolate, but the container is similar to the coffee version

But will Le Whif catch on? People drink coffee for the caffeine, but they also love the taste and ritual of sipping it. So again, we think the simplest way to reduce waste is for everyone to simply brew their own coffee at home or get a reusable coffee mug or cup, but we’re still curious about giving ‘Le Whif’ a sniff test.

Le Whif is now available at Dylan’s Candy Bar in NYC and Cardullo’s in Boston as well as on the website if you want to experience it for yourself!

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The Truth About Cell Phones & Airplanes (Infographic)

Many people believe that cell phone use is prohibited on planes to force passengers to use the ultra-expensive option of making an in-flight call from the phones provided on the airplanes. However, the FCC, which does not have a stake in the phones installed on planes, banned cell phone use on planes because of concerns that their signals could cause disruptions and interfere with aircraft navigation systems.

Cellphones and environment

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9 Websites that Just Shouldn’t Exist

There are websites that are just so broken that anyone can see what’s wrong. From truly heinous bridal clothing stores to bizarre and incompetent internet marketers, we’ve tracked down the ten ugliest, least functional, and most utterly bizarre websites we could find. [via addtodesign]

When you design websites for a living, even the smallest error on an otherwise great site can bring its credibility down. From broken RSS feeds to annoying image borders, small errors that go unnoticed by almost everyone can become a burning annoyance to an experienced designer. Designers, please take some sedatives before you read this list, or at least try to stay calm as you’re reading.

1. The Internet’s Worst Bridal Store

What better way to kick off a ‘worst websites’ list than with what is quite possibly the worst website in existence. Yvette’s Boutique is supposed to be a bridal clothing and accessories store, but by looking at the website you’d expect it to be a blind kid’s art project. There are hundreds of different colors, all used for completely stupid page elements like blinking text and blinding text boxes.

Of course, that’s nothing without the soundtrack. In a move reminiscent of everyone’s 1990s Geocities page, Yvette’s Boutique have opted to sell their bridal gowns with some weird pop punk song. Click through to the supporting pages to be greeted with equally annoying ambient music, classical themes, and 80s keyboard tunes.

2. Russia’s Ultra-Bland Government Website

Featuring about as much color as a Siberian winter, Russia’s official government website looks as if it was designed in 1998. Oh wait, take a look at the footer and you’ll see that it was. While this incredibly dull website looks as if it was designed inside a beige concrete USSR administrative building, at least it’s not as blindingly colorful or frustratingly animated as almost every other website on the list.

3. Internet Marketing Just Got Incompetent

As fun as it can be to name and shame poor designers, it’s even better to highlight the bizarre incompetent goons that make up the online marketing world. While many of them bring in thousands of dollars per day from their marketing efforts, the vast majority are, well, not quite so skilled.

Steve Wagenheim definitely falls into the latter category. As charming as purple page headers and courier body text might have been in 1996, the internet has grown up and most people have moved on. This would have been funny from a thirteen year old that’s just starting to learn web design, but when it comes from a “professional”internet marketer who makes his money by telling other people how to make money, you know there’s a level of competence missing.

4. Hypnosis Products that Give You a Seizure

Hypnosis has been around for a long time, which might explain why this hypnotherapist’s website looks like a 1980s Atari game. Offering a range of most likely ineffective hypnotherapy products, this gem of a website features everything that everyone hates about poor design. First, there’s the grainy and pixelated GIF in the header. Then, there’s the annoying clash of bright red and dark blue all over the place. Oh, and how could we forget, the blinding Starfox-style background.

Here’s a hint for designers: if you want to gain respect (and clients), don’t make your websites look like a Nintendo Entertainment System game. This website might have slipped through the cracks in 1996, but for a website made in 2006 it’s just beyond incompetent.

5. Tampax: The Only Corporation with an MS Paint Website

Most of the ugliest websites on the internet aren’t owned by major corporations, or even commercial properties for the most part. They’re largely just the result of kids playing around on Geocities, or now defunct companies starting websites in 1996 and forgetting to update them.

However, Tampax is a major company, yet their website still looks like it was designed in MS Paint. We’re not even talking about the flashy new Windows 7 version either, but the horrific abortion of drawing and design that shipped with Windows XP. For a company that brings in over ten billion dollars in revenue every year, you’d think they’d be able to afford a website that doesn’t make your brain hurt.

6. The Least Self-Aware Web Design Firm in Europe

Truth be told, there’s almost definitely a worse web design company than this one in Europe, probably located in a bunker in a ex-Eastern Bloc country. This German web design company just doesn’t quite know what they’re doing, do they? While purporting to be able to design websites from scratch and create convincing corporate web presences, their own looks like it was outsourced to a five-year-old.

From the annoying Flash animations to the blinking GIFs, there’s not much worse than this web design company site. Bad design for your personal website or bridal clothing store is excusable – but for a web design company it’s beyond stupid.

7. Premier Dinghy Insurance

Insurance websites aren’t meant to be attractive as much as they’re meant to be informative. Unfortunately, this bizarre dinghy and sailboat insurance website is neither. While there are no annoying flash animations or blinding tags, the strange blue and black color scheme, off-center layout, and broken title tags make this mess of a website a real masterpiece. Feel like sampling their intuitive interface? Try asking for an insurance quote.

8. Bee Bee’s Psychotic Kid’s Designs

This website contains everything there is to hate about the internet. First, visitors are greeted with a Flash intro, complete with annoying Twilight Zone music and sound effects that were probably ripped from Sonic the Hedgehog. Click through to the main site and you’re greeted with one nice thing – an end to the music – and hundreds of blinding page elements. From annoying animated GIFs to clashing page colors (purple and turquoise, anyone?), Bee Bee Designs packs everything bad into one convenient location.

9. The Norwegian Gadget/Epilepsy Supercenter

The old saying “less is more” has never been more true than for this bizarre Norwegian gadget and electronics website. When it comes to going overboard, this company has done it twice – once with its website design, and once again with its bizarre and mix-match product selection. Let’s think this through – who in their right mind would go shopping for a Porsche at the same store that stocks remote control helicopters? When it comes to design and business it’s best to eliminate unnecessary extras, not pile them on until you can’t fit any more.

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9 Surprising Symptoms of Stress

See if your body is telling you that you’re too anxious and what you can do about it

[via womansday] When was the last time you went through a period of stress? Can you remember the way your body reacted? Chances are you didn’t feel quite like yourself. Health experts say that stress can come with some pretty surprising symptoms—from forgetfulness to nausea to skin rashes. Is your body sending you an S.O.S. that you shouldn’t ignore? Read on to find out if stress is taking a toll on you—and what you can do to reverse the effects.

1. Tweaked Muscles
The pain in your neck that you attributed to long hours at the computer could actually be a symptom of stress. “Stress definitely affects our musculoskeletal system, resulting in tight, contracting muscles and/or spasms in muscles,” explains Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD, MS, PT, a psychologist and physical therapist in Wexford, Pennsylvania, and author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness. “It gets us ready for fight-or-flight, although unlike our cavewomen ancestors, we don’t actually need our bodies to react like this.” If you’re experiencing what you believe to be stress-related muscle symptoms, try this exercise: Take 5 to 10 deep breaths and focus on relaxing the tense area of your body, says Dr. Lombardo. For the neck, try gentle neck rolls or enlist your husband to give you a quick shoulder rub.

2. Eye Twitching
Have you ever had an eye twitch? The often temporary condition can be annoying and worrisome, and for some, can be triggered by stress. “This condition is known as blepharospasm,” explains Debbie Mandel, MA, a stress and wellness expert and author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman’s 7-Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. “Closing your eyes and visualizing your happiest place on earth will help.” Also, avoid stress-related eye issues by giving your peepers a break now and then. “If your eyes get stressed from detailed work at the computer, 'stretch' them every 20 minutes by looking out the window at a larger landscape,” suggests Mandel. “If you have no view, close your eyes and imagine a panorama.”

3. Ragged Cuticles
Do you have ragged, unkempt cuticles or nails? Their condition could be the result of a stress-induced nervous habit. “Nervous habits like nail-biting are how we channel our stress by distracting ourselves with what is known as oral satisfaction,” says Mandel, adding that picking nails and cuticles is also a common way for women to deal with feelings of stress and anxiety. If you take stress out on your hands, consider keeping a stress ball in your desk drawer—something you can squeeze or knead when on the phone with a difficult client, for instance. This helps “squeeze the stress out of your body,” says Mandel.

4. Cavities
We all know that slacking off on dental hygiene is the first way to get cavities, but stress can also be a culprit, say experts, especially when you’re grinding your teeth at night or during the day. Mandel explains teeth grinding, which many women do, as “chewing over the day’s stressors.” The problem, however, is that this bad habit can erode dental work, damaging your teeth and making them more susceptible to cavities. Mandel suggests redirecting your anxiety to pen and paper. “Set aside time to write down your problems to see them objectively in black and white, and then jot down some solutions,” she says. But, she adds, “If teeth grinding is severe, see a dentist about getting a mouth guard.”

5. Rashes
It sounds strange, but your skin can be a pretty good barometer of your stress level. “Stress can cause a rash, usually raised red spots or hives on the stomach, back, arms and face,” notes Dr. Lombardo. “While we don’t know why it occurs, some experts believe that it has to do with the adverse effects of stress on the immune system—histamine is released, causing these itchy bumps.” Deep breathing may keep rashes at bay, or from developing in the first place. So, next time you feel your stress level rising, place your hand right above your belly button. “Every time you inhale, you want your hand to rise; with each exhale, it lowers. Take 5 to 10 deep breaths periodically throughout the day.”

6. Nausea
Have you ever been worried about a loved one’s (or your own) health condition, Googled it and suddenly felt nauseated? “Stress can upset the stomach, and nausea can be a byproduct of worry,” says Mandel, who warns against playing “Google MD.” Worrying about your health or a loved one’s is normal, but obsessing about it is unhealthy. If your anxiety is causing nausea, try this trick that Mandel swears by: Let tepid water run over your fingers; it’s believed to keep nausea at bay.

7. Sleepiness
Feeling sluggish? It could be stress. “Stress hormones cause your body to surge with adrenaline and then crash into sleepiness,” says Mandel. “Stress will also ruin the quality of your sleep, so you wake up tired and irritable.” What to do? Go to bed earlier, says Mandel, or catch a 30-minute nap midday, and don’t feel guilty about doing so. “There is great productivity in rest,” she says. “You come back more focused!”

8. Forgetfulness
Ask any woman who is trying to do it all and she’ll admit to a few slip-ups in the memory department (forgotten appointments, lost keys, missing cell phone—ring a bell?). “Research shows that chronic stress can literally shrink the size of the hippocampus, which is responsible for some memories,” says Dr. Lombardo. “Luckily, its size will go back to normal once your stress level reduces.” Want to keep your brain functioning at an optimal level? Combat the first signs of stress with exercise, she says: “Go for a walk, run up a flight of stairs or dance around to the newest Black Eyed Peas tune.” Exercise, she adds, keeps your brain sharp and may even help you be more prepared for future stressful moments.

9. Confusion
You can’t decide what to make for dinner, what to wear to work or which exit to take off the freeway. Stress causes distraction and lack of focus, says Mandel. “Stress hormones lodge longest in the brain,” she says. To restore focus, take a walk, she says. “Move the stress out of your body by exercising large muscle groups like the legs. You will gain clarity. Walk out in the light and you’ll reset your natural rhythm while you move out the stress. Sunlight helps the body release serotonin to improve mood, and vitamin D helps you improve your immune system—a great perk.”

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The origin of coffee...Curious?

Desert fruit

[via telegraph] Every cup of coffee you drink owes its existence to a fruit that grew wild in the Yemeni desert. The Sufi mystics of Yemen were the first to roast and brew the seeds into a drink. It helped them stay awake during long hours of prayer. It spread to Ethiopia (where it was banned by the Ethiopian church) and then to the Arab world. Coffee houses called kaveh kanes (from where we get "coffee" and "café") sprang up on every corner. By the 15th century, Mecca was filled with men with mugs.

Coffee houses

The habit spread to the rest of Europe in the 17th century. One of the first coffee houses in England was opened in Oxford by Jacob, a Turkish Jew, in 1650. Its coffee was described as "a simple Innocent thing, incomparable good for those that are troubled with melancholy".

Coffee became popular with scholars as it sharpened the mind rather than dulled it like alcohol. Coffee houses became meeting places, debating chambers and even laboratories. Isaac Newton and Edmond Halley once dissected a dolphin on the table of a coffee house in London. Lloyd's of London and the Stock Exchange started life as coffee houses. But the craze had its detractors. The brewing of ale had long been the preserve of women, known as "brewsters" or "alewives". In 1674, a group of them – alarmed at falling trade in taverns – drew up the Women's Petition Against Coffee, claiming: "Coffee makes a man barren as the desert out of which this unlucky berry has been imported."


For centuries, Arabia controlled the coffee industry until (as legend has it) a pilgrim from Mecca smuggled beans back to India and began an agricultural revolution. The Dutch also managed to get a plant back to Amsterdam and to their colonies in Indonesia, so Europe soon had new cheaper sources for their beans. Coffee is now grown in more than 70 countries and is the second most commonly traded commodity in the world after oil.

Civet dung

The most expensive coffee in the world comes from the droppings of the Asian palm civet, a small catlike animal that loves to eat coffee cherries. The cherries only partially digest and the seeds are excreted intact. The droppings are washed and the beans, sold as Kopi Luwak, can cost hundreds of dollars per pound. The partial digestion process is supposed to add a wonderful musky flavour.

Does it wake you up?

Coffee does not make you alert. If you are a regular drinker of coffee, drinking it just eases the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal. So, if you never drink coffee you're probably more alert than a regular drinker who has just knocked back a double espresso. The effects of caffeine usually last between two and three hours, although that can extend to four or five hours depending upon an individual's sensitivity and metabolism.

Stronger than tea?

A cup of filter coffee contains about three times as much caffeine as a cup of tea, although dry tea leaves do contain a higher proportion of caffeine by weight than coffee beans. The higher the temperature of the water, the greater the caffeine extracted from beans or leaves. An average 30ml espresso contains about the same amount of caffeine as a 150ml cup of PG Tips. So a single-shot cappuccino or latte won't give you much more of a caffeine hit than a cuppa. A cup of instant coffee, on the other hand, contains only around half the caffeine of a filter coffee.

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22 Most Unusual Google Earth Photos

Google Earth lets you fly anywhere on the Earth to view satellite images, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, from galaxies in outer space to the canyons of the ocean. You can explore rich geographical content, save your toured places and share with others. This amazing software allows you to search the whole planet right from your comfortable rooms. Fans of Google Earth have been on a virtual searching chase looking for anything interesting and amazing. Here we have collected some of the mind blowing and spectacular sights to mesmerize you. Enjoy and feel free to share it with others. [via webdesigncore]

Terrain Face in Google Maps

The terrain in Alberta, Canada accidentally forms what looks like a human face when viewed from the air or when viewing the satellite pic in Google Maps.

Osmington White Horse

The Osmington White Horse, outside Sutton Poyntz, UK. This prehistoric figure is carved into the white chalk of the hillside - such horse carved shapes are called “Leucippotomy”.

Google Escher Effect pic from Houston

Here’s another weird satellite pic from Google Maps of some downtown Houston skyscrapers. This effect has become known as the “Escher Effect”, or the “Google Escher Effect”.

Heart-shaped island highlighted by Google Earth becomes hit with lovers

The 130,000 square yard islet of Galesnjak came to prominence after its unusual shape was highlighted on Google Earth.

Land Art near Munich Airport

Land Art or “Earth Art” appearing in a field near the airport in Munich, Germany.

KFC space logo

Yum! Brands Inc created the logo near Rachel, Nevada, and claimed it’s the first ad that can be seen from space. If you recall, the same company had previously wanted to beam a laser ad up onto the moon for Pizza Hut, but had later scaled back to buying ad placement on the side of a Russian rocket.

Firefox Logo

Crop circle art made in the shape of the iconic Firefox Logo near Portland, Oregon,

Where’s Waldo in Google Maps?

Canadian artist Melanie Coles built a large image of the iconic “Waldo” onto a rooftop at an undisclosed location in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Will U Marry Me

Marriage proposal seen on a rooftop via Google Maps.


Bunny in Google Maps

Giant Pink Bunny created by a group of artists near Artesina, Italy as seen in Google Maps.

Coca Cola Logo in Google Maps

This Coca-Cola logo in Google Maps was apparently created out of coke bottles just outside of Arica in Chile.

Portrait of Ghenghis Khan in Google Maps

Out of some sort of fear that they might forget who he was, the people of Mongolia have carved the likeness of Ghenghis Khan onto a hillside outside of Ulaanbaatar. (See it in Google Maps.)

The Vitruvian Man by Da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man - one of the world’s most recognizable illustrations - is rendered here in crop art in Germany.

Man-Shaped Lake in Brazil

The Palm Islands of Dubai

The Palm Islands are artificial islands in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on which major commercial and residential infrastructure will be constructed. They are being constructed by Nakheel Properties, a property developer in the United Arab Emirates, who hired Belgian and Dutch dredging and marine contractor Jan De Nul and Van Oord, some of the world’s specialists in land reclamation. The islands are the Palm Jumeirah, the Palm Jebel Ali and the Palm Deira.

Oprah Maze

She’s got a massive syndicated show and a magazine called O, and she 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.

Iraq’s Bloody Lake

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

World’s Largest Fingerprint

Mystery Stone Arrow

Guitar-Shaped Mansion

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