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Astronomy Picture of the Day


Saturday, May 3, 2008

Crazy cat, loves water

This is a video response to Cat of 1000 Faces - Episode 1

Hitler plot survivor dies aged 90

Philipp von Boeselager, a former German army officer who took part in a failed Hitler assassination attempt, who has died
Von Boeselager obtained explosives used in the assassination attempt

The last known survivor of a group of German army officers who tried to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1944 has died aged 90, his family says.

Philipp von Boeselager provided the explosives used to pack a briefcase planted under a table in the Nazi leader's East Prussia headquarters.

But the briefcase was moved behind one of the oak table's wooden legs, and Hitler escaped with only slight wounds.

Most of the plotters were executed, but Mr Von Boeselager escaped detection.

Among those executed - just hours after the assassination attempt - was Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, who planted the briefcase and after whom the plot was named.

Mr Von Boeselager died overnight on Thursday, his family said.

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Red Duchess a rebel to the last as she snubs family and leaves all to wife

She was the 21st Duchess of Medina Sidonia, Spain's most ancient dukedom whose origins go back to 1297. She was a princess, a marquess and a three-fold Spanish grandee. But from childhood, Luisa Isabel Alvarez de Toledo y Maura kicked against the conventions of her lineage.

The dictator Francisco Franco jailed her for championing workers, who nicknamed her the "Red Duchess". She challenged Spain's official history, arguing that Columbus didn't discover America. She was an atheist, a republican and reckoned her 13th-century ancestor Guzman el Bueno, ennobled for fighting the Moors, was a north African whose grandmother was black.

But the Red Duchess – a "title" she never accepted – threw down her most defiant challenge in her final hours. As she lay dying in her palace in Sanlucar de Barrameda, aged 71, Luisa Isabel married in articulo mortis her secretary and companion, Liliana Maria Dahlmann, and left her everything. Her discreet sexual preferences were known to her family, but the secret lesbian marriage has shaken Spain's proud and ancient aristocracy and is likely to unleash a legal battle over a sumptuous inheritance.

The duchess's German-born widow, 52, inherits a patrimony accumulated over seven centuries, a collection of six million letters and documents said to comprise Europe's biggest private archive, an undisclosed quantity of art and property, and the marital home, the 16th-century ducal palace.

Luisa Isabel's three children from her first marriage are furious and threaten court action to claim the inheritance they believe is theirs. "She was a singular person; she had many qualities, but not the maternal instinct," said her daughter, Maria Pilar Gonzalez de Gregorio, 51, Duchess of Fernandina. Mother and daughter at least greeted each other. But the younger son, Gabriel, 50, was cast out and last saw his mother in 1986. While Liliana, who lived with the duchess for 25 years, wept by her dying wife, Pilar and Gabriel were told their mother wouldn't see them.

"She wouldn't even receive us on her deathbed," said Gabriel after her death in March. "I was very surprised she maintained her bitterness to the point of not saying farewell." Only the eldest son, Leoncio Gonzalez de Gregorio, 53, had visited his mother in her final hours. But the duke has only one vote on the ruling committee of the Medina Sidonia Foundation his mother set up in 1990, presided over by his mother's lesbian partner.

Liliana Dahlmann first came to Sanlucar in 1983, as a guest at Leoncio's wedding, and stayed on. "Everything developed naturally without premeditation," she told the Spanish daily El Pais. "I immediately felt part of her life and her work." Luisa Isabel presided over the foundation, and appointed her friend secretary.

"The duchess built a perfect juridical structure to protect this heritage," said Jesus Barba, the duchess's lawyer. "Obviously, her children would rather she had left everything to them, but this way it's better for the public interest." The contents of the will are to be revealed shortly, but Gabriel, who inherits no title, has few expectations. "She has left us with only debts, because she put everything of value into her foundation," he said.

Gabriel is said to date the parental chill from the day his mother fled to France in 1969 to avoid political persecution. The three children remained in Madrid with their mother's grandmother, Julia Herrera.

In 1967, the Red Duchess had led a farmworkers' protest in Palomares, near Almeria, demanding compensation for contamination on their land. Four American nuclear bombs had fallen in the area in a plane crash a year earlier. The duchess was jailed in March 1969, and given amnesty in November. But her book Strike, which denounced abuses by landowners of Andalusian labourers, prompted court action and a renewed jail threat. She did not return to Spain until 1976, after Franco's death.

She then settled in the renaissance pile of the ducal palace. Parts of the estate had been taken over, including a church that is now a concert hall; other parts she gave to workers on the land. She cared only about the family library, whose stacks and bundles dating from 1228 she began investigating and cataloguing. It became her life's work.

As a girl, her grandfather had encouraged her interest in history. Otherwise she had what she called a useless convent schooling. Born in Estoril, Portugal, in 1936 – her parents went into exile at the start of the Spanish Civil War – she was a debutante with Doña Pilar de Borbón, sister of Juan Carlos.

Flaunting her republicanism, Luisa Isabel teased Spain's future king as "Citizen Borbón".

Her mother died when she was 10, and she lived with her grandmother – Julia Herrera, who later cared for the duchess's own children. At 18 she married Jose Leoncio Gonzalez de Gregorio y Marti. Her father died that year, 1955, and she inherited the title of duchess. Her husband was apparently rigid and conservative, and five years and three children later, the marriage ended. Armed with her archive, Luisa Isabel campaigned to dismantle official Spanish history. She said documents proved that voyagers from Spain and north Africa reached America long before Columbus landed in 1492.

She also claimed documentary proof that the grandmother of her illegitimate ancestor, Alonso Perez de Guzman, a hero ennobled for defending the port of Tarifa against Moorish attack in 1282, was black. She wrote a biography of a later Perez de Guzman, commander of the ill-fated Spanish Armada, based on his correspondence with Philip II.

"She was a whirlwind, an indefatigable woman," her widow recalled. "Imagine what it means to organise all this archive. She wanted to get help for such a prodigious task, but in the end she did it alone." But she never forgot who she was. According to Jose Rodriguez, a Sanlucar priest: "This lady was a duchess, even if she wore jeans and smoked [rough, black] Celtas cigarettes."

Original here

Blogger exposes life on the Underground

LONDON (Reuters) - Annie Mole's blog about the London Underground rail system began as a New Year's resolution to teach herself how to make an Internet Web site and has blossomed into a popular slice of commuter life.

The criticisms, witticisms and daily observations posted on her "London Underground's Blog" since she first began writing it in 2003 have struck a chord with commuters and the people who operate the rail system beneath the capital that is affectionately known as the "Tube".

"I thought might be a subject that people would want to interact and talk about, because everyone's got their own little Tube story," Mole told Reuters in a coffee shop near her office.

Mole, who writes under a pseudonym and declined to reveal her real name, said the blog was a spin-off from her original Web site "Going Underground", which she first created in 1999.

"I wanted to be anonymous because I thought, I'm not sure the Tube are actually going to like this and they might try and find out who I am and get the site closed down," Mole said.

But her blog has received enormous attention instead, roping in other bloggers, commuters sharing experiences and even people who work on the Underground.

It has been nominated best British blog at the international weblog awards (aka: the bloggies) three times in the last four years and voted one of TimeOut magazine's 50 best London sites.

A number of the private companies which do maintenance work on the 12 Tube lines that criss-cross London's Underground, have recognised her blog's powerful influence on commuters and have met Mole to clarify rumours and answer complaints, she said.

"They think what I'm doing is positive...they say it's a way for the public to see what actually goes on behind these lines that they would have never done without bloggers."


Mole said her blog speaks to busy Londoners, who she says spend on average 45 minutes a day commuting on public transport, with three million passengers travelling on the Tube.

"The amount of time you spend on it, it's definitely an extra life, well it is for me because I have quite a long commute," Mole said.

The blogger spends 80 minutes observing fellow passengers on the Tube on her way to and from work as a product manager in central London.

"There are people who are incredibly self-conscious on the Tube, who are very aware of people watching them so they won't look at anyone, they won't smile at I'm in my own little world," Mole said.

"And then there are other people who are like: 'Brilliant, here's an extension of my office, here's an extension of my bedroom. I'm gonna be on my phone, I'm gonna be doing my makeup," she said.

But the blog has not changed Mole's opinion about delayed services and crowded conditions on the Tube.

"Even this morning I was delayed by 25 minutes coming into work...I hated it," Mole said. "Because I understand it more, it amazes me as to why it's so rubbish because it shouldn't be that bad."

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

Original here

How your computer keyboard is FIVE TIMES dirtier than your toilet seat - and could even give you 'qwerty tummy'


Disgusting: In tests, some keyboards were found to have five times as much bacteria as a toilet

Computer keyboards can harbour more harmful bacteria than a lavatory seat, it has been claimed.

Many users are at risk of becoming ill with stomach bugs, according to the consumer group Which?

It warned that 'qwerty tummy', named after the first six letters on a keyboard, could sweep through workplaces after tests on equipment in its own London offices showed alarming results.

One keyboard was so dirty that a microbiologist ordered it to be removed, quarantined and cleaned.

It had 150 times the acceptable limit for bacteria and was five times as filthy as a typical lavatory seat.

Anyone who eats a sandwich or piece of fruit having been tapping on such a keyboard can pick up bacteria that could lead to a stomach upset.

The scientist swabbed 33 keyboards for food poisoning bugs e.coli, coliforms, staphylococcus aureus and enterobacteria and compared the results to those found on a lavatory seat and lavatory door handle.

Four of the keyboards were considered a potential health hazard and one was "condemned".

Two had "warning levels" of staphylococcus aureus and two others had "worryingly elevated" levels of coliforms and enterobacteria, "putting users at high risk of becoming ill from contact".

The expert said the findings were typical of offices all over Britain.

Which? computing editor Sarah Kidner said: "The shocking results revealed that some of these keyboards were harbouring harmful bacteria that could potentially give their users a stomach upset.

"The germs found could cause food poisoning symptoms such as diarrhoea.

"The main cause of a bug-infested keyboard is eating lunch at desks, as the food deposits encourage the growth of millions of bacteria.

"Poor personal hygiene, such as dodging hand washing after going to the lavatory, may also be to blame.

"Most people don't give much thought to the grime that builds up on their PC, but if you don't clean your computer, you might as well eat your lunch off a lavatory seat."

Which? found that one in ten people never clean their keyboard, while 20 per cent never clean their mouse.

Around half cleaned their keyboard less than one a month.

The modern practice of "hotdesking", in which staff sit at different desks every week, means that workers do not know who has been using their keyboard before them.

Miss Kidner said workers and home PC users should give their keyboards a regular clean, adding: "It's quite simple to do and could prevent your computer becoming a health hazard."

Which? says users should unplug computers before wiping surfaces with a damp, soft, lint-free cloth.

Keyboards should be unplugged, turned upside down and shaken.

Original here

The 10 Most Sexually Unappealing Craigslist Postings

Last fall, Cracked profiled ten posts on the casual encounters section of Craigslist that were so bizarre, we couldn't help but bring them to your attention. We recently returned to the site to find more, in some cases even stranger requests for no-strings-attached nookie. Below, 10 more posts we tracked down that will leave you wondering, "What the hell is wrong with people?"

"hey guys"

Desired Demo:

Men, not necessary homosexuals, who want to sodomize a migrant worker


"Im a construction guy really not gay...I pick this guy up to work with me he is one of those mexican waiting for day jobs in the corners and I don't think he is gay also but I give extra cash for his extra service...sweet sweet butt, I pick him up 3-4 days a week, I thought I could find some to do this with, another guy with strong dick."

What We Can Assume:

We're guessing Lou Dobbs is going to use this as ammunition in his campaign for immigration reform. Meanwhile, the construction worker in the Village People suddenly makes a lot more sense, though we still don't get the gay Indian.

Where It Went Wrong:

The photo is presumably the boner of the construction worker who posted the listing. Unfortunately, it's simply not an effective use of imagery if you're trying to attract people interested in "sweet sweet butt," or sweet sweet anything really. Also, if the listing's creator is "really not gay," he might want to think twice about soliciting men with his dong.

Why They're Not Getting Laid:

A blue collar worker who sodomizes migrant workers: Sounds like the villain from some NRA-sponsored first person shooter. We're guessing there are more armed to the hilt conservative vigilantes out there than men interested in photos of a fat, "not gay" dude's dong.

"How can I make the title stand out? How can I make you read this?"

Desired Demo:

Women interested in adultery and Arthur Conan Doyle


"I've been on here before... never got a response... I know there are women out there who are seeking the same thrill I am... to cheat on their spouse and not get caught. I have plenty of exciting ideas... but I am not good at verbalizing them. I'm turned on by smart chicks who have a lot to say... because I'm like that. Currently reading Sherlock Holmes."

What We Can Assume:

Our friend here is no salesman. Rather than making a statement to entice the females cruising the site, he chooses instead to use the title line as a questioning meta-title that shows both desperation and a lack of creativity. It's a fitting lead-in to the actual listing, which also has a tone of desperation despite the fact that its author is married and confidently claims to be just like a gregarious woman.

Where It Went Wrong:

While some may cringe at calling betrayal a "thrill," we feel the mention of Sherlock Holmes is much more odd and off-putting. It's odd, because at no point in the century since Arthur Conan Doyle wrote those stories has the discussion of them gotten anyone laid. It's off-putting, because fans of those stories tend to be awkward teens, who are regularly ridiculed and beaten by their classmates. In any case, we have nothing but empathy for this man's wife.

Why They're Not Getting Laid:

The guy who wrote this listing reveals here that he "never got a response" to previous posts. We fully expect that trend to continue.

"Going out on a date this week Mon-Fri. anytime !!!"

Desired Demo:

Ladies that would give it up for the chance to experience the magic of a hotel room


"I'm here on executive room minibar, cable tv, queen size bed, room service, magnificent view of SF, Hotel InterContinental...So i dun wanna waste this exclusive hotel room...If you wanna go out on date to dining, clubs, bars & followed by hot evenings at my exclusive hotel room... Then quickly get in touch with me...Luv, William."

What We Can Assume:

William demonstrates high standards by bragging that his hotel room is "exclusive." Not to be confused with most executive suites where they give your room key out to four or five different people and let you guys fight it out for bathroom privileges. He also seems to have mistaken the Bay Area for some sort of third-world refugee camp where women will have sex with pretty much anyone for food, shelter and the promise of a mini bar.

Where It Went Wrong:

Once again, the accompanying photos don't match up with the listing's supposed allure. William is trying to sell Craigslist users on his executive hotel and its magnificent view, but rather than post jpegs of the room, he opts to show off his slight frame. His sex appeal is unconventional (some might say limited), which makes us think he might be better served to use a picture of all the free shampoo and soaps instead of the close-up of his buttocks.

Why They're Not Getting Laid:

We like to cling to optimism at times like this, and thus hope that there aren't all that many women willing to take an all-expenses-paid night on the town in exchange for room service and the chance to watch Baby's Momma while it's still in theaters.

"Bored And Willing To DO Anything"

Desired Demo:

Women who would agree to sex based on hearsay about its health benefits


"Sex is good for the brain, the body, and the mind. Can healthy organic cooking do ALL that? Nope! Sex is good for the immune system. Can yoga do that? Nope! There is no replacement for fun invigorating stimulating erotic orgasmics sex! Disclaimor: I am not a player or one-nighter. I want only one partner. And a good one too!!!! Lets sex togather!"

What We Can Assume:

That the listing's creator feels he should solicit a lover the same way most people ask a friend to be their racquetball partner. But while all the question-answer and exclamatory punctuation shows his seduction technique to be similar to that of a Bowflex infomercial, he also comes off as a sort of perverted and overbearing personal trainer, challenging women to allow him to assist them in working out their genitals.

Where It Went Wrong:

Besides the baffling image choice, it's not entirely clear where this non-player is getting the data to support his disparaging comments about organic cooking and yoga. Furthermore, it seems pretty unlikely that anyone would read this post and say, "Great. This is my chance to finally eat whatever I want and cancel that expensive Lotus Spa membership."

Why They're Not Getting Laid:

"Bored And Willing To DO Anything" might want to use his free time to come up with a more effective approach. Health-conscious females tend to read up on the subject, and probably go for sources more reliable than desperately horny guys they've never met.

"let's just say orally talented"

Desired Demo:

Women with a pulse, even obese women, as long as they're not skittish.


"i love eating kitty i can do it for usually attracted to all kinds of women im not shallow at all i can find something beautiful about anyone so if your a bbw dont be not like every other douchebag on here i actually have a personality a great one i might add i dont plan to meet you then 10 mins later start fooling around i would like to get to know you at least a little maybe watcha a movie"

What We Can Assume:

That author of this listing has confidence in his ability to provide satisfying cunnilingus to anyone, large or small, who puts their vagina in his face. A cinema enthusiast whose photos reveal emo tendencies, he also has an open mind about what exemplifies beauty (which explains his hand tattoo and opinion that his own God-given allure could not be contained in just one photograph).

Where It Went Wrong:

The text of the listing is kind-hearted and certainly casts a wide net, but the picture of a completely serious My Chemical Romance fanboy showing off his less-than-impressive bicep clearly betrays the assertion that he is "not like every other douchebag." Alas, douchebags like this are congregating at your local Taco Bell parking lot as you read this.

Why They're Not Getting Laid:

His claim that he's talented at performing oral sex because he can do it "for hours" is not helping his cause. This would be like claiming you're a talented long distance runner because you can run a mile for hours: if it takes you any longer than seven minutes to finish, you're probably not as talented as you think.


Desired Demo:

Extremely specialized lesbians attracted to narcissism


"YOU... Not too tall 5'8...No acne please!!, No chipped, bitten nasty finger nails or toe nails and pleas[e] maintain a mani/pedicure...not just pretty paint...I love light skinned black women, white women and erotic looking chicks...large breasts "C" and up. Pretty rack of pearly must smell amazing, dress nice and like you go out every once and a while. ME: All of the Above."

What We Can Assume:

That the listing's author has some sort of split personality as she claims to be both a light-skinned black woman and a white woman. Also, she would like to be serviced sexually by a clone of herself. And really, who wouldn't?

Where It Went Wrong:

There's nothing amiss about having standards, but this is by no means the venue to find a custom mate. If "ur a realist," you should realize that folks use this website to find a warm body to facilitate an orgasm. It's asking a little much to expect respondents to have sparkling white teeth. Just be satisfied they have teeth.

Why They're Not Getting Laid:

We don't know exactly how things work in Atlanta, but we doubt there's a large population of petite erotic-looking manicured lesbians with large breasts, both black and white skin, a perfect smile, expensive clothes and an enchanting aroma. If we're wrong, we'll gladly relocate immediately to this magical place.

"Any real chicks "UP" for a good time?"

Desired Demo:

Cocaine-using females that will overlook ill-advised tattoos


"Booooooored as some party favors...23/m East Mesa...Please, ladies fuckin' adorable... =P...cant rec[ei]ve texts...please be fuckin' real and unblock your number"

What We Can Assume:

The not so subtle mention of "party favors" and the emphasis on "UP" in the title means this starry-armed young man is trying to solicit women with cocaine or meth amphetamine. Though he is not explicit about what type of woman he finds attractive, we're guessing the teeth grinders who show up won't be as "fuckin' adorable" as our friend here, and might in fact be dudes with lead pipes and ski masks.

Where It Went Wrong:

First of all, this listing was posted at 12:30pm on a Tuesday. Boredom can be difficult, but there's got to a be better way to entertain one's self than searching out strangers for a cocaine party in the middle of a weekday. Furthermore, it sounds like this guy harbors some phone-related issues. Accidentally texting or leaving your number blocked might set him off.

Why They're Not Getting Laid:

Contrary to our extensive experience in the dope game (Jay Z's Reasonable Doubt and the first season of The Wire) he seems to assume that the only type of drug addict capable of picking up on innuendo are of the unarmed, disinclined to murder variety. We're thinking Twinkle Arms would be lucky if the first person to respond was the Phoenix PD.

"9 inches and a tight hole"

Desired Demo:

Transsexual job recruiters


"looking for only passable hot sexy big booty t girl- thats looking for ongoing fun...also if you know where there is work to do- clerical or whatever also looking for a change in wont be sorry- im versatile bottom-straight acting -good personality."

What We Can Assume:

That this gentleman is not your conventional multi-tasker. While looking for an attractive "lady" with a penis, he also inquires about career opportunities. We can only hope that when asked by a prospective employer how he heard about the available position, he responds with something other than, "Well, I met this passable big booty tranny and she thought I'd be a great fit ... "

Where It Went Wrong:

Networking is important, but there are contexts when it's not advisable--like when you're looking for a girl with a penis that will have sex with you. Also, based on our experience with clerical work around the Cracked offices, "9 inches and a tight hole" is at most only 25 percent of the job.

Why They're Not Getting Laid:

Our ven diagram of "People seeking clerical help/ Transexuals looking for straight acting dude to nail" is sadly out of date, so any speculation on our part is only accurate through the fiscal year 2006. We will say that he has a much higher probability than if he took the reverse approach and cruised for trannies on


Desired Demo:

Homosexuals who may be unaware of Photoshop image editing techniques


"I just currently had my prostate check and had a change of heart, women have been cruel to me and now I turn to you, my fellow swallowers, contact me if u want to have some oily wrestling fun, and by the way the picture is for fun thats not how I look."

What We Can Assume:

That if this is a legitimate post, the man who wrote it is not dealing well with some serious emotional issues. It seems far-fetched that an individual would choose to become gay after a prostate exam, even a thrilling one, but it's well within reason to believe that women may have ignored and neglected a man who suggests "oily wrestling fun" as part of his pick-up line.

Where It Went Wrong:

There's so much here that could potentially scare away even the most attention-starved homosexual, but the distorted face pics really aren't doing this guy any favors. Everyone looking to hook up with a gay man via Craigslist posts graphic photos of their junk and/or spread butt cheeks, that's how Craigslist rolls.

Why They're Not Getting Laid:

Anybody with an inkling of intuition will likely save their baby oil for someone who doesn't refer to members of their sexual orientation as "fellow swallowers."

"52 and Fat"

Desired Demo:

Men with absolutely no standards whatsoever


"200 lbs. 5-9, tummy (4 kids)...DD, cellulite, stretch marks, wide hips...big um...yah, that but it gets tighter as I get warmed up...I have a big top but I don't like it played with (sensitive)...There is a catch...Send a pic and we'll go from there. Looking for Wed. about lunch time."

What We Can Assume:

That this woman may want to consider accentuating the positive. Personality? Hobbies? Income? Anything? We don't have high standards, honey. Work with us here.

Where It Went Wrong:

Other than the fact that pretty much every detail about this women is the antithesis of our cultural standards of beauty? How about the ominous warning that, on top of all that, "there is a catch?" The imagination wanders into dark places with that.

Why They're Not Getting Laid:

We're guessing most men moved on by the time she mentioned her cellulite and stretch marks, but those who stuck around to read the line, "wide hips...big um...yah, that but it gets tighter as I get warmed up," probably found themselves considering a life of celibacy.

If you enjoyed that, you might like Anthony's rundown of The 6 Creepiest Mail Order Bride Websites. And if you think "it gets tighter as I get warmed up" is the grossest sexual brag you'll ever hear, find out what Cher's boasting about in the Week in Douchebaggery. And if you're tired of hunting down all this Cracked material on your own, sign up for the Newsletter and receive the choicest picks of the week in your inbox every Thursday morning.

Original here