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Astronomy Picture of the Day

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pictured: Cheeky bumble-bee smiles for the camera

Self-preservation dictates that we rarely come face to face with a bumble bee. If we did, perhaps we'd be in for a pleasant surprise.

According to this evidence, they have a much happier disposition than suggested by the painful associations traditionally attached to their species.

From the safe distance offered by a telephoto lens, amateur photographer Chris Cox captured this fascinating image of one of the insects apparently smiling broadly.

Wildlife lovers will tell you of course, that the creatures are happy in their work, and only become angry if provoked by humans.

Mr Cox, for one, would agree. Explaining how he came to capture the tee-hee bee, he said he had been 'messing around' with his camera in the back garden of his home in Newquay, Cornwall.
A bumble-bee, close-up above, smiles while collecting pollen - and keen photographer Chris Cox happened to have his camera handy

'I'd just cleaned my equipment and was taking some shots of the flowers in the garden when I noticed the bee,' he said.

'I zoomed in on it and fired off a bunch of shots, messing around without really thinking about it. It wasn't until a few days later I looked over the images and I couldn't believe my eyes.

'You would never believe a bee could have a face like that.

'It looked like it was posing for the camera.'
Buzzing: Amateur photographer Chris Cox in the back garden of his home in Cornwall

Original here

Pictured: The hippo who ditched his muddy waters to catch some sun and surf

They are better known for wallowing in swamps rather than their surfing skills but this hippo clearly had a whale of a time splashing around in the ocean.

Spotted in the water near the holiday town of Ballito, near Durban in South Africa, the rare sighting of a hippo catching some waves fascinated residents and wildlife experts alike.
The hippo was spotted swimming in the sea in the South African holiday town of Ballito

The hippo even strayed onto the sand to catch a few rays on the beach at Thompson's Bay and then moved into the water for the afternoon.

Lionel van Schoor from KZN Wildlife says that they have been observing this hippo further north, in Richards Bay and he says it has been moving south for the past two months.
It is thought that the lone young male hippo has wandered from its habitat in Richards Bay

The hippo's life is at risk as he moves further south because he is coming closer to humans and may run out of food

'The animal walks along the beach foraging for food and when he comes across a rocky outcrop he simply goes for a swim in the sea' says Mr Van Schoor.

He could not confirm the sex but did say, 'He is thought to be a young bull, but no one knows for sure.'

The KZN Wildlife Organisation says they are doing whatever they can to protect and preserve this animal.

But they said that darting and relocation was not an option.

'Hippos don't take well to darting' Mr van Schoor explains, 'they die of stress and this one would drown if we darted her in the water, and if we tried to dart her on the beach, she would run into the water for safety and again drown when the drug takes effect.'

The hippo was swimming dangerously close to the shore and even wandered around the beach in between swims

Hippos are usually captured using passive methods such as monitoring paths that they use regularly and setting up enclosures to lure them into.

But Mr Van Schoor says that this hippo's only hope is to stop moving South.

He added: 'If the hippo moves any further south there is huge risk, he is moving into residential areas and towards Durban where food for the hippo will become a problem'.

Hippos are considered to be one of the most dangerous and aggressive of all animals and with this one coming into contact with humans and domestic animals, it could soon become a problem.

Sadly If the hippo does not retrace his own steps and move back north, KZN says there is little hope for him.

"It is a matter of waiting and hoping." says Mr Van Schoor.

Original here

Mother jumped off cliff in front of daughter, 8

A mother took her eight-year-old daughter to a cliff top, then jumped to her death in front of her, an inquest has heard.


Tansy Langton had written her family's contact details on a piece of paper and put them in her daughter's pocket. Then she fell more than 100ft to her death from a rock face on Dorset's Jurassic coast.

The inquest in Bournemouth heard her death occurred around 2pm on Jan 22 close to Anvil Point near Swanage.

Miss Langton, 50, had asked a ranger where the steepest cliffs were and was told that there was a vertical drop to the west. After choosing a location she left her daughter, Olivia, 30ft away before jumping.

Moments earlier Ivan Lissin, 22, who was climbing without a helmet, fell 30ft and banged his head before landing in the sea.

A bystander watching him being rescued by helicopter then saw Miss Langton shuffle forwards to the edge of the cliff before falling. Neither survived.

Her daughter was later found by Pc Mari Montgomery.

"I asked where she [Miss Langton] was. The little girl said she was 'just down there' and that she had gone to sit down because she had a headache," said Pc Montgomery.

A suicide note was found at her home.

Mr Lissin, a graduate in bio-chemistry, had been with Oxford University's rock climbing club on a climb 300 yards away. He died the following day from severe brain injuries.

Sheriff Payne, the coroner for Bournemouth, Poole and East Dorset, recorded a verdict of misadventure in the case of Mr Lissin and suicide for Miss Langton.

Original here

Kobe Comes Clean Over Snake-Soaring Slam Dunk

Anyway, we all fondly remember Bryant’s death-defying jump over a moving Aston Martin. And our good buddy John Ireland from KCAL-TV caught up with Kobe to get an explanation about his awesome aerial.

Kobe Bryant John Ireland

Now, Kobe Knievel has done it again - this time soaring over a pool full of snakes to make a super slam dunk. And Ireland once again finds a pot o’ gold, as he gets the latest story from the aspiring Lakers stuntman. But John didn’t get the same answers as before.

During Monday’s practice, Ireland quizzed Kobe about his latest adventure in leaping. And the conversation went a little something like this:

John: “A new Hyperdunk thing has hit the Internet where you jump over a pool of snakes.”

Kobe: “Yeah.”

John: “Is that real?

Kobe: “Absolutely.”

John: “You jumped over that pool and dunked?

Kobe: “I did jump over that pool.”

John: “So it’s not like the Aston Martin?

Kobe (pseudo-offended) : “I jumped over a car!

Another reporter: “Were there snakes in the pool?

Kobe: “100 … about 140 of ‘em.”

Yet another reporter: “And all poisonous, right?

Kobe: “Anacondas, red bellied snakes … uh, there weren’t no black mambas, they’re a little too big.”

(Video of the snake jump to refresh our readers’ memory)

Bryant went on to describe his day hanging out with the Jackass crew - calling it a “hell of a time“, fondly referring to the Jackassers as “classic idiots“, but adding that he “loved every minute of it.”

However, Ireland was persistent to get the scoop on the snake jump:

John:And the dunk was real. You actually jumped over the pool.”

Kobe:I did jump over the pool. I had a little assistance, maybe.”

John: With Hollywood?”

Kobe: From the Hyperdunks.”

And with that, the interview ended in a round of good-natured laughter.

Great job as always, John! For next time, try to get an explanation of the Ron Artest interview. Hollywood & Hyperdunks were obviously of no help.

Original here

Updike Reads The Lines in American Art

In his Warner Theatre address, John Updike uses John Singleton Copley's 1768 portrait of Paul Revere.
In his Warner Theatre address, John Updike uses John Singleton Copley's 1768 portrait of Paul Revere. (By Richard A. Lipski -- The Washington Post)

Give novelist and sometime art critic John Updike credit. The 2008 National Endowment for the Humanities Jefferson Lecturer tried to answer the thorny question: "What is American about American art?"

Onstage at the Warner Theatre Thursday night, in front of 1,900 culture lovers, the angular, silver-haired Updike used more than 60 images, ranging from formal mid-18th-century portraits by Bostonian John Singleton Copley to the hyper-realistic late-20th-century renderings of Richard Estes, to make his point: "The American artist . . . born into a continent without museums and art schools, took nature as his only instructor, and things as his principal study."

One of the salient traits of this country, he told the gathering, is an urge to define what is American. To delineate the romantic wildness of our nature. To search for a national self-image. That desire to map the New World is reflected in the tight classicist tradition of American art.

Drawing rules in this country's artwork, Updike said. He quoted a European-trained artist who criticized Copley -- the first American to exhibit a painting in Europe -- for being too "liney." That is, too reliant on the drawing in his paintings and not free enough with color and light.

By tracing that harsh "lineyness" in American painting, and juxtaposing it against a freer, more colorful romantic "painterliness" in other work, Updike laid out a convincing answer to his overarching what-is-American question.

Yet he did it subtly. Flashing slides of well-knowns, such as Gilbert Stuart, Winslow Homer, Grant Wood and Norman Rockwell, Updike pointed out the distinctions.

European-influenced artists, such as Homer and John Singer Sargent, tended toward the painterly; more purely American artists, such as Copley and Thomas Hart Benton, toward the liney.

Reading from a text, Updike, 76, spoke in a raspy voice. The presentation moved quickly. An invitation to deliver the Jefferson Lecture is the loftiest award given by the federal government for "distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities," and there was a patriotic air to the affair.

Even the U.S. Marine Band showed up to play before the ceremony.

At no point during the speech did Updike, or the slideshow technology, falter. The address was based on "Picturing America," an NEH initiative to distribute reproductions of American paintings to schools and libraries.

Diversity was nearly absent in Updike's presentation. The painters he referred to were mostly males of European descent, a cohort he referred to as "that least hip of demographic groups." He did not, for instance, mention the extraordinary American painter Mary Cassatt, who became an expatriate.

Either ignored or overlooked, as well, was any reference to a 19th-century European debate -- similar to the liney-painterly dichotomy -- between classicist Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres and romanticist Eugène Delacroix.

Regardless, Updike's lecture was high-minded and provocative -- like most of his work.

Soon after the talk ended, the patrons repaired to the Willard Hotel for a wine-and-sweets reception. So did Updike.

Original here


Man Allegedly Bilks E-trade, Schwab of $50,000 by Collecting Lots of Free 'Micro-Deposits'

A California man has been indicted for an inventive scheme that allegedly siphoned $50,000 from online brokerage houses E-trade and Schwab.com in six months -- a few pennies at a time.

Michael Largent, 22, of Plumas Lake, California, allegedly exploited a loophole in a common procedure both companies follow when a customer links his brokerage account to a bank account for the first time. To verify that the account number and routing information is correct, the brokerages automatically send small "micro-deposits" of between two cents to one dollar to the account, and ask the customer to verify that they've received it.

Hankhill
Michael Largent allegedly used a script to open 58,000 online brokerage accounts in the names of cartoon characters, and other aliases.
Hank Hill courtesy Fox Broadcasting

Largent allegedly used an automated script to open 58,000 online brokerage accounts, linking each of them to a handful of online bank accounts, and accumulating thousands of dollars in micro-deposits.

I know it's only May, but I think the competition for Threat Level's Caper of the Year award is over.

Largent's script allegedly used fake names, addresses and Social Security numbers for the brokerage accounts. Largent allegedly favored cartoon characters for the names, including Johnny Blaze, King of the Hill patriarch Hank Hill, and Rusty Shackelford. That last name is doubly-fake -- it's the alias commonly used by the paranoid exterminator Dale Gribble on King of the Hill.

The banks involved included Capital One, Metabank, Greendot and Skylight. Largent allegedly cashed out by channeling the money into pre-paid debit cards.

A May 7 Secret Service search warrant affidavit (.pdf) says Largent tried the same thing with Google's Checkout service, accumulating $8,225.29 in eight different bank accounts at Bancorp Bank.

When the bank asked Largent about the thousands of small transfers, he told them that he'd read Google's terms of service, and that it didn't prohibit multiple e-mail addresses and accounts. "He stated he needed the money to pay off debts and stated that this was one way to earn money, by setting up multiple accounts having Google submit the two small deposits."

The Google caper is not charged in the indictment. (.pdf)

According to the government, Largent was undone by the USA Patriot Act's requirement that financial firms verify the identity of their customers. Schwab.com was notified in January that more than 5,000 online accounts had been opened with bogus information. When the Secret Service investigated, they found some 11,385 Schwab accounts were opened under the name "Speed Apex" from the same five IP addresses, all of them tracing back to Largent's internet service from AT&T.

Largent is free on bail. He's charged in federal court in Sacramento with four counts each of computer fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud. He didn't return repeated phone calls Tuesday; Representatives of E-trade, Schwab.com and Google also didn't return phone calls.

Original here

Toothpicks, Bras, and Seven Other Bizarre Ways to Die

As Grandpa Simpson of The Simpsons will tell you, “Death stalks you at every turn!” And it’s not just through heart disease, cancer, and those other oft-quoted causes. Did you know you could also die by wearing the wrong bra in a lightning storm? Read on for tragic, bizarre, and downright stupid fatal tales.

1) When Good Bras Go Bad
I knew to steer clear of big sheets of metal and barbed-wire fences during a lightning storm, but I didn’t know to avoid my bra, too! It seems odd that one of your instincts should be to unhook and let the girls roam free when lightning strikes, but that’s exactly what two women who died in London should have done. According to the New York Times, they were struck and killed by lightning because of their underwire bras.

2) Sweet but Deadly
We’ve all heard references about strippers suffocating in their huge cakes. According to the book Strange Deaths: More Than 375 Freakish Fatalities, it actually happened. In 1995, a stripper named Gina Lalapola was discovered dead inside a cake that was meant for a bachelor party. I guess the guests figured out something was wrong after they wheeled the fake dessert out and nothing happened. The book states that she was inside the cake for an hour waiting for her big debut. That was one committed performer.

3) Fashion to Die For
Dying as a result of a broken neck is nothing too shocking—unless it’s at the hands of an unruly scarf. Isadora Duncan, an American dancer who fancied long, flowing scarves, met her demise after her scarf—which was wrapped around her neck—got caught in the axles on the wheels of the car she was in. The wheel pulled both she and her scarf out of the car and onto the pavement, where she died. The scarf was later brought in for questioning, but remained uncooperative.

4) Playing Through
If a rat pees on you, what would be your first instinct? If it was “Continue my game of golf without wiping it off,” you might want to rethink your priorities and take David Bailey’s demise to heart. He was a Dublin man who died in 1997 after a rat peed on his leg during a golf game. Rather than cleaning himself, he played through—then his kidneys shut down two weeks later and he died. I don’t know what’s more tragic: the fact that he died as a result of rat pee, or that the world knows that he didn’t shower after being peed on by a filthy rodent. Definitely a contender for the Darwin Awards.

5) Like Something out of a Short Story
Some of the most extraordinary American writers, such as Steinbeck and Fitzgerald, fell victim to wholly ordinary deaths. Not to be outdone, Sherwood Anderson died in a blaze of glory. Well, not really, but he did die in a totally bizarre way. He swallowed a toothpick—like so many of us have almost done at some point in our lives—and died of peritonitis, an inflammation in the abdominal cavity that provides a long and painful death. Just as Mr. Anderson left a permanent mark on the American short story genre, that darn toothpick left a permanent mark on his body. And you thought splinters in your mouth were bad.

6) The Comedy of Tragedy
The next time I complain about a headache, I’m going to think it could always be worse. After all, an eagle could mistake my head for a rock and use it to crack open its dinner. Legend has it that Aeschylus died because an eagle mistook the top of his head for a rock and dropped a tortoise on his bald noggin—a fairly undramatic way for a Greek playwright to die.

7) One of the Worst (and Stinkiest) Ways to Die
Standing near sewer openings is bad enough, particularly on warm days. Imagine what it would be like to spend your last minutes on earth stuck in one? Such was the unfortunate demise of a guy in Wisconsin who tried to retrieve his cell phone out of a storm sewer and got stuck underwater. And, even though this type of death is certainly bizarre, it’s not exactly uncommon. A man in Ontario died in the same way when he tried to fish his wallet out of the sewer, slipped and got stuck in the opening, and drowned. These examples provide a good life lesson: learn to let go of material things … or die.

8) So Fresh and Clean
There’s nothing wrong with keeping up with your personal hygiene, but some people take it way too far, like Jonathan Capewell, a sixteen-year-old from England who was obsessed with smelling good. He doused himself with spray-on deodorant at least twice a day and kept multiple cans in his room. It is believed that his body absorbed too much gas as a result of his copious spraying, which then led to heart failure. Personally, I’d rather suffer with a little BO than smell like a Lysol factory, but I guess that’s the difference between him and me.

9) Ride into the Danger Zone
I have a friend who refuses to ride roller coasters because she is convinced it will break and she’ll plummet from the sky. This man’s unfortunate death goes to show you that you’re not much safer on the ground sometimes. His wife was riding Top Gun, one of the main attractions at Great America, when her hat flew off. Being a good husband, he attempted to retrieve his hat and was rewarded with a swift, accidental kick in the head by one of the Top Gun riders. According to the story, he didn’t know English and therefore couldn’t read the signs warning him about the dangerous area. The woman broke her leg; the man died.

So, what do we come away with after reading about such strange deaths? For one, we learn that death is unavoidable. Your end could come because of old age or by the sharp end of a toothpick, so live life to its fullest and don’t worry so much. However, and I can’t stress this enough—please wash yourself if a rat pees on you. Some things in life can be avoided, after all.

Original here

The World's Funniest Women

10. Amy Sedaris (1.6 percent of the vote)


You might know her as the star of Strangers With Candy, but even stripped of all the makeup down to her (relatively) normal self, Amy is unpredictable, hilarious, and more than willing to get nasty (our three favorite qualities). You get the sense that it doesn't matter if she's in her own movie, someone else's movie, or at home—she's taking the long trek to left field every time.


9. Kerri Kenney (2.8 percent)


As Reno 911's Officer Trudy Wiegel, Kerri turns crippling neuroses into comedy gold. Prior to that, she starred in the last thing on MTV worth watching, the sketch comedy show The State. Her father was the voice of Sonny the Coco-Puffs Coo-Coo Bird, so she comes by her funny honestly.


8. Samantha Bee (3.3 percent)


If another Daily Show correspondent gets to make a Stephen Colbert–style leap to their own comedy playground, our vote is for Samantha Bee. Deadpan and fearless, she knocks everything she does out of the park. Just count how many times Jon Stewart has to compose himself following one of her special reports.


7. Aisha Tyler (3.7 percent)


The former Talk Soup host and Balls of Fury star isn't the "mugging for laughs" type, instead she just has this laid-back funny vibe that allows her to shrug off even her occasional bombs like it ain't no thing. But she's criminally underused; we wouldn't mind seeing a lot more Aisha around.


6. Kristen Wiig (4.9 percent)


Remember when Janeane Garofalo used to complain that during her stint on SNL all she was given to do were "mom" roles? Obviously, she just wasn't trying. Kristen Wiig dominates Saturday nights with characters as bat shit as anything the so-called "boy's club" ever churned out.

5. Wanda Sykes (7 percent)


Her high-pitched delivery should grate on people's nerves, but Wanda proves the adage that "funny trumps everything." Her stand-up performances are great, but she brings it just as thoroughly telling off Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Hell, we even forgive her for the Applebee's ads.


4. Amy Poehler (7.7 percent)


You may remember Amy as "the girl" in Upright Citizens Brigade before she became an SNL cast member and serial scene stealer in everything from Arrested Development to Blades of Glory. She's about to have a child with Arrested Development's Will Arnett, which will no doubt be the Comedy Messiah.


3. Lisa Lampanelli (9 percent)


If you've seen any of Comedy Central's celebrity roasts over the years, you probably remember two people: Jeffrey Ross and Lisa Lampanelli. Both have made a career out of absolutely destroying people on these shows, with Lisa landing the heaviest and gut-bustingest blows every time.


2. Sarah Silverman (25.2 percent)


The key to comedy is the ability to shock people, and no one does that as sweetly as Sarah. Her demeanor says: "Innocent girl next door." Her words say: "Your redneck uncle on a beer-fueled rant."


1. Tina Fey (32.1 percent)


We admit, our history with Fey has been a bumpy one. We once called her one of TV's Least Appealing Ladies, but in true Tina Fey fashion, she shot down our call-out with a zinger that was funny and true ("Maxim talks a good game, but if Maxim and I were alone, and Maxim was drunk, they'd sleep with me"). And what can we say? 30 Rock is one of the funniest shows on network TV, and there's nothing unappealing about that.

Original here

ABC, FBI Punk'd by Terror 'Fan Video' (Updated)

Ashton_2 On Tuesday, ABC News posted a story headlined "Al-Qaeda Tape to Call for Use of WMDs." Which would be awfully scary -- if it were true.

"Operatives" from the terrorist group, the network warned, "will post a new video on the Internet in the next 24 hours, calling for what one source said is 'jihadists to use biological, chemical and nuclear weapons to attack the West.' The report then quotes FBI spokesman Richard Kolko, who says that "there have been several reports that al Qaeda will release a new message calling for the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) against civilians."

Or maybe not. The video was actually released on Monday Sunday. And while it is called ''Nuclear Jihad, The Ultimate Terror," it is not from Al-Qaeda -- or any other major terrorist group. Rather, it is "a jihadi supporter video compilation," notes Ben Venzke with IntelCenter -- a flick "made by fans or supporters who may not have ever had any contact with a real terrorist."

These videos almost always are comprised of old video footage that is edited together to make a new video. The material in these types of videos do not qualify as an official message from al-Qaeda or any other group. Considering them so would be the equivalent of considering a 10-year-old's homemade fan video of his favorite sports team to be an official team message.

"The intel community appears to have (once again) fallen victim to poorly researched open source news reporting," writes Evan Kohlmann over at the Counterterrorism Blog.

In recent days, several fringe media organizations have published stories about a video recording posted by anonymous Al-Qaida miscreants on extremist Internet chat forums. The video consisted of a remarkably amateurish mash-up of Discovery Channel documentaries, widely published sermons by radical clerics, and stolen propaganda footage. While it is perhaps true that the video offered subtle encouragement for nuclear attacks on the United States, it featured no original content and could have been clumsily strung together with little more than two VCRs. The video was meandering, boring, and difficult to follow -- and it certainly was not the product of Al-Qaida.

Look, reporters get stories wrong all the time. And ABC, to its credit, has revised its original report... but only slightly. There's a caveat from Venzke buried in the piece. The headline now reads: "Al Qaeda Supporters' Tape to Call for Use of WMDs." The quote from FBI spokesman Kolko remains the same.

Original here

History's 9 Most Terrifying Beauty Tips


You can say the world is shallow and vain these days, what with our fake tans and breast implants, but the truth is, we've always been that way.

In fact, when you see the lengths to which people used to go to make themselves look or smell a little better, it makes Botox look downright rational.

#9.
Bird Shit Facials

The Geisha facial is an ancient beauty secret so awesome, it's been brought back to the present so modern women can experience it. Experience what, you ask? Why, having the shit of a nightingale spackled on their face, of course.

Guanine is a chemical that does wonders for the complexion and poop is a wicked source of it (hence the word guano). How anyone discovered the value of a face smeared in bird poop is unclear, but apparently it's been around long enough that Japanese kabuki performers and Geisha used to swear by it. And now you too can pay about $180 to have a stranger put shit on your face on purpose. On purpose.

Naturally, bird shit isn't for everyone. So thank God for ingenuity, as some crafty lady named Diane Irons has assured everyone that kitty litter is pretty much the exact same stuff they'll put on your face at a regular spa. So really all you need to do to acquire the ingredients for the perfect complexion is train your pet bird to shit in the litter box.

#8.
Treating Bad Breath With Charcoal

Fresh breath is a valuable commodity. As any gum commercial will show you, it's the key to picking up women and not smelling like you just ate the ass out of a dead bear. These things are important. And not just to us, but to our ancestors.

While modern oral hygiene offers many wonderful things like toothpaste with stripes of other toothpaste in it and minty dental floss, back in the day they had to be a little more creative. Sure, fingers and twigs made great toothbrushes, but what was going to remove that colon smell from your food hole? Charcoal, of course.

Ancient Romans were some of the first to use charcoal while other cultures used burnt sticks to help reduce stank, and there is some precedent for that as it will filter odor. In the 1800s, when young ladies were looking to improve their own stink they borrowed this technique and adapted it to simply sucking or chewing lumps of charcoal, leaving them minty fresh and black-toothed.

#7.
Curing Baldness With Spanish Fly

Back in the day they didn't have Propecia which can have bizarre side effects of its own), so what were our forefathers to do? Something stupid as shit? You bet.

One old-school method for hair growth was to rub in a mix of various household ingredients along with nux vomica and cantharides. Not familiar with those last two? They're usually better known as the poison strychnine, a poison, and Spanish Fly (or cantharidin a less poisonous but still deadly poison that causes priaprism). While it may not have lead to hair growth, at least you'd have horrible spasms and paralysis, possibly with an erection. But if they wanted all that they could just go watch Pokemon.

For those not in the market for something quite so insane, there was also the paraffin wax treatment. Just grab some of this solid form of liquid methane and rub it into the roots and get ready to enjoy long, luxurious Lorenzo Lamas hair. Of course, since this tip was from the early 1900s when open flames were used a bit more liberally than they are today, it would be in your best interests to keep your remarkably flammable head away from everything until that sick mullet grew in.

These fancy and deadly methods were developed to replace the extremely old-school baldness cures, like the one proposed by Pliny back in ancient Rome, that was basically making a tasty salad dressing, then mixing in mouse shit and putting it on your head, which didn't work, but probably made the average bald man look like a poppy seed bagel from a distance.

#6.
Fixing Skin Blemishes With Hallucinogenic Drugs

Because clean and clear skin is pretty much the be all and end all of a shallow person's existence, there's really no excuse not to do whatever it takes to achieve that end, even if it means smearing a hallucinogen all over your face.

The Pokitonoff acne treatment recommends mixing some sweet Vaseline with Ergotine to cure those little blemishes, which has to work out for you no matter what happens, as either the pimples go away or you just start absorbing the lysergic acid that exists in Ergotine (ya know, the fun part of LSD) and in no time you're flashing back to when you did have clean skin, possibly while being chased across a desert by a giant, tooth-filled anus.

If all you're worried about is freckles, then fear not as you don't need to trouble yourself with anything dangerous like toxic hallucinogens. Instead, there was lavender freckle lotion, which sounds just lovely. Unfortunately, aside from lavender, it inexplicably included hydrochloric acid, apparently according to the theory that you won't worry about freckles once your face has melted off, Raiders of the Lost Ark-style.

#5.
Skin Bleaching

While today's fake tan is all the rage for people who want to look like they're from the Jersey Shore without all the hard work and barbed wire tattooing that requires, back in the day it was the pasty, cave-born, C.H.U.D. look that everyone wanted (because back then, a tan meant you were a filthy, common laborer). The whiter and sicklier, the better. Cracked writers would have been living gods.

But those burdened with some manner of natural huehad to turn to science to help wash the color away. Science in turn tried to murder them by offering up the one-two punch of mercury and arsenic.

Both chemicals were used to make a variety of creams and lotions that could be applied to bleach your complexion, probably because both would be slowly sucking your very soul out through your pores.

#4.
Reddening Your Lips With Bromine

It was many thousands of years ago that women first realized a thick coat of paint on the kisser would get them free drinks at a bar. Thus, the ancient Egyptians did some tinkering with home harlot kits and came up with a snazzy method of lipstick making that included the use of bromine mannite.

And while bromine is typically a red liquid at room temperature and probably works as a temporary solution for tarting yourself up, it should be noted that these days it tends to be shipped in lead-lined steel drums due to its horrible, horrible toxicity (they used it as a chemical warfare agent in World War I).

The repeated exposure to bromine most likely lead to some skin burning and, over time, kidney failure and brain damage in the women who used it. But they were rarely alone on Saturday night.

#3.
Carnivorous Fish Pedicure

After spending all week stomping through gravel pits or whatever it is people did to make ends meet before the advent of the cubicle, the feet undoubtedly suffered and became disgusting, callused stumps of pure suck. Today there are numerous creams and power tools to help men and women alike sandblast that shit away and make it look like they don't have hooves, but back in the day what was everyone to do? The answer was obviously to take a bath with a bunch of flesh eating fish.

Apparently doctor fish are the most disgusting animals in the aquarium and just really like to eat flaky, gross bits of dead skin while leaving all the meaty, bloody stuff behind.

Popular in Japan and other parts of Asia, the idea was just to sit by the pool and let them eat you down to a fine, supple layer and then you were done. This method has actually been resurrected and is now available in some highfalutin spas, where rich patrons pay for the right to not be told how absolutely fucked up it is to let fish eat your feet.

#2.
Lead Breast Enhancement

Our ancestors never had the ability to achieve Chelsea Charms-like boobage and that clearly weighed heavily on their minds. While some folks will try to convince you the modern world's obsession with breasts is a new thing and there have historically been different definitions of beauty and other bullshit platitudes like that, the fact is all the world loves boobs and always has because boobs are wholesome and perfect in every way unless they're those gross fried eggy-looking ones that no one likes.

Anyway, in the days of yore, Metrodona, a Byzantine obstetrician, advised you could tone up your rack with a fun-time party mix made from red wine and white lead, which means you'd stink like a wino and have lead poisoning, but have firm and supple guns.

Later in history, the idea of massaging pretty much any kind of oil on boobs became the accepted method of promoting enhancement. This makes no sense whatsoever if you stop to consider it for even a moment, which no man does upon sight of a woman massaging coconut oil on her breasts.

#1.
Scar Removal

Because not all chicks dig scars, finding ways to remove them has been around since ancient Egypt when physicians would use sandpaper to scrape off blemishes. Surely that just meant they were epically retarded and modern people would never do such a thing. And it's true, as time passed, the idea of using sandpaper fell out of fashion.

Instead, in the early 1900s, a sadistic German dermatologist decided a really cool way to remove scars would be blades spinning at high speeds over your chemically hardened skin, having graduated from the Eli Roth school of dermatology. And true enough, you can't argue with results, as the machine would blast layers of skin right off. The downside was intense pain, potentially more scarring and infection, but we're thinking if the sight of the German man coming at you with a buzz saw didn't give you second thoughts, then you probably got what you deserved.

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Indy 500 Drivers Upset: Gas Prices Rose 3 Times During Race

The numbers on the pole at Indianapolis Motor Speedway represent the price per gallon of gasoline at each driver's pit.

INDIANAPOLIS -- The 33 drivers participating in last Sunday's 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 were distracted by sky-high gas prices, which rose three times during the race, causing several crashes and an exceedingly high number of caution flags.

After Ryan Briscoe clipped Danica Patrick's car in pit row on Lap 171, Patrick exited her car in a fit of rage. Instead of confronting Briscoe, she made an aggressive beeline toward her refueling crew to give them a piece of her mind.

Track sources say that earlier in the race, Patrick's Citgo card had been declined for being over the limit during a routine pit stop. Patrick nearly ran out of gas before her crew was able to cobble together the $584 required to fill her IndyCar's 35-gallon tank for another 28 laps of racing.

"I'm just the fuel guy; I don't set the prices!" said Gianni Cutri, the head of Patrick's three-member refueling team as he ran to hide in an opposing team's garage.

"That's what they all say," Patrick replied. "I don't buy it from the local gas station, and I don't buy it from you." She then shoved him before security intervened and walked her back to her garage, where she began throwing things after seeing her most recent Citgo statement lying on a workbench.

Later, three accidents occurred on pit row when local radio station Q95 held a "We'll Buy Your Gas" promotion between laps 110 and 112. Some drivers were still in line at Lap 158. Local radio hosts "Bob and Tom" were heard giggling the entire time even though nothing funny was happening.

Scott Dixon, winner of this year's race, had a bittersweet ending in Brick Row when he was asked to pay for the milk he drank as part of the traditional celebration.

"That shit ain't free," said Indy Racing League CEO Tony George. "Have you seen the price of milk lately? It's worse than gas!"

Next year, the Indy 500 will be retitled the Indy 290, and most drivers are pledging to drive a
Toyota Prius in the race, according to George.

"I don't know what I was thinking driving such a gas-guzzling Formula 1 car all of these years," f
amed driver Helio Castroneves said. "I'm definitely in the market now for something more practical and with more seats, so [Penske Racing teammate Ryan] Briscoe and I can carpool."

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Terrorists Have To Pitch Ideas Just Like Hollywood



The Terrorist Pitch - Watch more free videos

So, about a year or so ago, a group of terrorists tried to get together enough funding to carry out an attack on JFK airport. They had the idea, did the research, but when they pitched their idea to some larger terrorist organizations in order to get funding, well…. it didn’t go so well. Anyway, we heard this and it got us to thinking, being a terrorist sounds a lot like being a screenwriter. Enjoy this video we did in conjunction with the guys over at thecword.

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