“Wankin’ Bankers” — How does Ireland, a country of 3 million people, rack up a debt of $115 billion? (NSFW language)
Thanks Chris C.
From Bizarre Magazine:
The Island Of The Dolls – located in the vast, bewildering network of canals that lies to the south of Mexico City, between the urban sprawl and the more traditional farmland region called Xochimilco (pronounced so-chee-meel-koh and meaning ‘place of flowers’) – is rich in history and superstition.
Created by the hermit Don Julián Santana who, despite having a wife and family, chose to live alone on the island for over 50 years before his death in 2001, the Island Of The Dolls is a shrine to a dead girl who was said to haunt him, and in whose honour he collected dolls, to calm her restless spirit.
Man sentenced for faking seizures at restaurants
A Baltimore man has been sentenced to a year and a half in jail for faking seizures to get out of paying restaurant bills. City prosecutors said 43-year-old Andrew Palmer pleaded guilty last week to one count of theft scheme, and a judge agreed to impose an 18-month sentence — the maximum Palmer could have received.
Prosecutors said Palmer ate and drank at several restaurants between April and July, and when he couldn’t pay, he would feign a seizure that required medical personnel to respond. The maximum penalty for each individual offense was 90 days in jail because the value of each meal was less than $100.
Court records show Palmer has a long criminal record that includes 40 convictions for theft and dozens more arrests.
From The Raw Story:
Like the old song goes, one of these things is not like the other…
However, remind a police officer in Corpus Christi, Texas of those famed Cookie Monster lyrics and they’re likely to give you an annoyed look.That’s because a recently discovered cache of plants, initially pegged by officials speaking to local news as “one of the largest marijuana plant seizures in the police department’s history,” turned out to be a relatively common prairie flower of little significance.Texas officers ultimately spent hours laboring to tag and remove up to 400 plants from a city park, discovering only after a battery of tests that they had been sweating over mere Horse Mint, a member of the mint family — effectively turning their ambitious drug bust into mere yard work.The plants, which bear very few aesthetic similarities to cannabis, were reported by an unnamed youth who came across them while riding a bike in the park around 8 p.m. on Thursday. Upon visual inspection, police apparently agreed that the inoffensive plants had to go. Continue reading…
This may actually be worse than my post last week about the kids re-enacting Scarface. The good news is that “she [will] retire at the age of seven to go to school and eventually planned to go to university”. If she survives that long…
A Chinese zoo has been slammed for letting a three-year-old girl walk a tightrope eight metres above a tiger enclosure.
The little girl walked along the 130 metre long high wire above six hungry Siberian tigers at Changzhou Yancheng Zoo in Jiangsu province.
She was part of a routine which also involved two adult acrobats who crossed the wire using a bicycle and a ladder as props.
But the crowd gasped when three-year-old Zhang Xiaoyan started to walk along the wire, with a thin safety rope attached around her waste.
Witnesses said people screamed when she nearly lost her footing on the first step, as a strong gust of wind nearly blew her off the wire.
The little girl walked along the wire without even a pole, using just her arms for balance, as the tigers prowled below. One even jumped up towards her.
Horrified visitors criticised the zoo for putting on the stunt which they said amounted to child abuse.
“If she was my child, I would never let her do anything like that no matter how talented she is,” complained one parent.
A zoo spokesman said they had hired a professional group, the Jiangxi Elite Children Arts Troupe, to put on the routine which met all safety requirements.
Zhang Shenwen, director of Jiangxi Elite Children Arts Troupe, said Xiaoyan was the world’s youngest high wire walker, and had been training since she was just one.
“She has very good psychological control,” he added, saying she would retire at the age of seven to go to school and eventually planned to go to university.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand – This Scotch has been on the rocks for a century.
Five crates of Scotch whisky and two of brandy have been recovered by a team restoring an Antarctic hut used more than 100 years ago by famed polar explorer Ernest Shackleton.
Ice cracked some of the bottles that had been left there in 1909, but the restorers said Friday they are confident the five crates contain intact bottles “given liquid can be heard when the crates are moved.”
New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust team leader Al Fastier said the team thought there were two crates and were amazed to find five.
Current distillery owner, drinks group Whyte & Mackay, launched the bid to recover the Scotch whisky for samples to test and decide whether to relaunch the defunct spirit made by distiller McKinlay and Co.
Fastier said restoration workers found the crates under the hut’s floorboards in 2006, but they were too deeply embedded in ice to be dislodged.
The New Zealanders agreed to drill the ice to try to retrieve some bottles, although the rest must stay under conservation guidelines agreed to by 12 Antarctic Treaty nations.
“The unexpected find of the brandy crates, one labeled Chas. Mackinlay & Co and the other labeled The Hunter Valley Distillery Limited Allandale (Australia) are a real bonus,” said Fastier.
Ice has cracked some of the crates and formed inside them. Fastier said in a statement that would make extracting the contents delicate, but the trust would decide how to do so in coming weeks.
Richard Paterson, master blender at Whyte and Mackay, whose company supplied the Mackinlay’s whisky for Shackleton, described the find as “a gift from the heavens for whisky lovers.”
“If the contents can be confirmed, safely extracted and analyzed, the original blend may be able to be replicated. Given the original recipe no longer exists, this may open a door into history,” he said in a statement.
Shackleton’s expedition ran short of supplies on its long ski trek to the South Pole from the northern Antarctic coast in 1907-1909 and turned back about 100 miles (160 kilometers) short of its goal.
The expedition sailed away in 1909 as winter ice formed, leaving behind supplies, including the whisky and brandy.
Spot the difference: This ‘Lowry’ pastel is one of the top fakes in the display
The exhibition, at the Victoria and Albert Museum, features more than 100 fake works from Lowry paintings to Barbara Hepworth sculptures.
Experts say the collection, which also includes ‘paintings’ by Thomas Moran and graffiti artist Banksy, would be worth £4m if genuine.
Many of the works are by one of most notorious forgers in British art history, Shaun Greenhalgh from Bolton.
Greenhalgh was jailed for four years and eight months in 2007 after police discovered an astonishing cottage industry in his garden shed.
His output ranged from replicas of ancient Egyptian statues to Lowry pastels and even a “lost” Barbara Hepworth duck sculpture.
Among the other forgers with works on display are John Myatt and Robert Thwaites.
This fake of the Amarna Princess by Greenhalgh sold for a whopping £440,000
Detective Sergeant Vernon Rapley, who leads the Metropolitan Police’s art and antiques unit, says it is not just the rich and famous who fall victim to art crime.
He said most forgers create works worth less than £10,000 knowing they will attract less attention and may not be checked thoroughly.
Despite the arrest of Greenhalgh and others, DS Rapley said art forgery is still a thriving business, with Banksy and Tracey Emin among the living artists most often copied.
He said: “This display will demonstrate that art crime is not just a topic for historic consideration.
“It reveals a situation very much alive and at the forefront of the art and antiques unit’s priorities today.
No ducking the quality of this fake
“We hope that by highlighting some of the new techniques criminals use, we can educate people in what to look out for and encourage greater reporting of these crimes.”
Detective Constable Ian Lawson added: “With the internet, people are not perhaps taking as much care as they might in the past.
“They are buying things without checking them thoroughly and we need to get the message across, people must be on their guard.”
The V&A display, which runs until February 7, also includes materials, such as vintage typewriters and false stamps, used by forgers to create false paperwork.
Some forgers inserted letters, invoices and other documents into archives to invent a history for their work to make it appear authentic.
Sky News Online
From The BBC:
An Australian psychology expert who has been studying emotions has found being grumpy makes us think more clearly.
In contrast to those annoying happy types, miserable people are better at decision-making and less gullible, his experiments showed.
While cheerfulness fosters creativity, gloominess breeds attentiveness and careful thinking, Professor Joe Forgas told Australian Science Magazine.
The University of New South Wales researcher says a grumpy person can cope with more demanding situations than a happy one because of the way the brain “promotes information processing strategies”.
He asked volunteers to watch different films and dwell on positive or negative events in their life, designed to put them in either a good or bad mood.
Next he asked them to take part in a series of tasks, including judging the truth of urban myths and providing eyewitness accounts of events.
Those in a bad mood outperformed those who were jolly – they made fewer mistakes and were better communicators.
Professor Forgas said: “Whereas positive mood seems to promote creativity, flexibility, co-operation and reliance on mental shortcuts, negative moods trigger more attentive, careful thinking, paying greater attention to the external world.”
The study also found that sad people were better at stating their case through written arguments, which Forgas said showed that a “mildly negative mood may actually promote a more concrete, accommodative and ultimately more successful communication style”.
His earlier work shows the weather has a similar impact on us – wet, dreary days sharpened memory, while bright sunny spells make people forgetful.
Welcome to the tale of Alice and Kev.
This is an experiment in playing a homeless family in The Sims 3. I created two Sims, moved them in to a place made to look like an abandoned park, removed all of their remaining money, and then attempted to help them survive without taking any job promotions or easy cash routes. It’s based on the old ‘poverty challenge’ idea from The Sims 2, but it turned out to be a lot more interesting with The Sims 3’s living neighborhood features.
When you create a Sim in The Sims 3, you can give them personality traits that alter their behaviour. Kev is hot-headed, mean-spirited, and inappropriate. He also dislikes children, and he’s insane. He’s basically the worst Dad in the world. He is a horrible human being, but he’s also amusing to watch.
His daughter Alice is a kind-hearted clumsy loser. With those traits, that Dad, and no money, she’s going to have a hard life.
She’s managed to break almost everything in the house now, all in a matter of hours. I guess this is her clumsiness and unluckiness making itself known. She does her best to apologise to Zedadias, but his mind appears to be elsewhere.
…featuring Ray Manzarek himself on keyboards.
Two Japanese citizens carrying $134 billion worth of U.S. bonds were detained last week by Italy’s financial police at Chiasso (40km from Milan) on the border between Italy and Switzerland, an Italian daily said Wednesday.
According to the report, they include 249 U.S. Treasury bonds each worth $500 million, plus 10 Kennedy bonds and other U.S. government securities worth a billion dollar each.
In order to stop money laundering Italian law sets a ceiling of €10,000 per person for importing or exporting money without declaring it. The penalty for violating the law is 40 per cent of the money seized.
If the certificates were real, the fine alone would amount to US$ 38 billion, five times the estimated cost of rebuilding quake-devastated Abruzzi region. It would help Italy’s eliminate its public deficit.
© 2010 Puppies and Flowers