Showing posts with label Weird. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Weird. Show all posts
30 August 2013

Which Organs Can I Live Without, And How Much Cash Can I Get For Them?

First, a disclaimer: Selling your organs is illegal in the United States. It’s also very dangerous. Handing off an organ is risky enough when done in a top hospital, even more so if you’re doing it for cash in a back alley. No, really: Don’t do this. OK? OK.

There are many organs one can theoretically do without, or for which there’s a backup. Most folks can spare a kidney, a portion of their liver, a lung, some intestines, and an eyeball, and still live a long life. That said, donating a lung, a piece of liver or a section of intestines is a very complicated surgery, so it’s not done frequently on the black market. And no one’s going to make much cash on an eyeball. “In the U.S., there’s a fairly steady supply of donated corneas from corpses,” says Sean Fitzpatrick, director of public affairs at the New England Organ Bank. “There’s pretty much no market demand for eyes.” Giving up a kidney, though, is a relatively simple surgery that has netted desperate people a few bucks.

No one’s going to make much cash on an eyeball. Now, black-market organ dealers don’t do a great job of filing taxes, but here are some prices based on rumored deals and reports from the World Heath Organization. In India, a kidney fetches around $20,000. In China, buyers will pay $40,000 or more. A good, healthy kidney from Israel goes for $160,000.

Don’t expect to pocket all that dough, though. “The person giving up the organ only gets a fraction of the fee,” says Sally Satel, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute think tank who studies the prices paid by legal and illegal organ-donor operations. After the organ broker—the guy who sets up your kidney-for-cash transaction—takes his cut, he needs to pay for travel, the surgeon, medical supplies and a few “look-the-other-way” payoffs. Most people get $1,000 to $10,000 for their kidney (probably much less than you were hoping for).

The best bet is to wait until compensation for organs is legalized in the U.S.—the Organ Trafficking Prohibition Act of 2009 would allow payment to donors, but it stalled in Congress—because there’s certainly a market for kidneys. Last summer, a man offering one of his for $100,000 (plus medical expenses) on Craigslist received several offers until the Web site removed his post. And you could probably hold out for even more. In 1999, before eBay delisted a kidney put up for auction, bidders drove the price up to $5.75 million.
28 August 2013

Polyamory Is a Good Way to Be Slutty Without Hurting Anyone

By Gabe Gilker

Polyamory supporters in San Francisco. via WikiCommons.
Tall, dark, and handsome. That’s the general idea of a perfect husband when you’re a little girl. You can’t really imagine what he’ll look like, but you imagine he’ll be waiting for you at the end of the aisle. You exchange vows in your own mind, have a tea party with some stuffed animals, then forget all about the fake wedding and run off to skin your knees somewhere. It’s pretty stereotypical to see little girls plan their dream weddings and with the onslaught of television shows geared toward monogamy like Say Yes to the Dress, Bridezilla, Four Weddings, and the countless other trashy programs that seem to be coming out, it seems like the whole world is putting on the heat to find that one eternal true love.

Anyway, I can’t tell whether it’s because I always develop a wandering eye after a few months, or if I just start to feel suffocated and trapped like a tiger in a cage, but monogamy always gives me that same old feeling of jamming a puzzle piece into the wrong place. I thought people in committed relationships were huge suckers. Then I had a friend sit me down and explain polyamory.

For those of you who aren’t aware of what polyamory is, it’s kind of like an open relationship but better. It’s based on the belief of loving multiple partners, so you can have many lovers, yet still forge deep and involved emotional relationships. The ideal polyamorous relationships are egalitarian, communicative, and honest. It sounds a little complicated at first, but once you get into the swing of things, it can be a pretty great way of living if you’ve struggle with the idea of “till death do us part.” The more I thought about it the more I considered it to be the exact kind of relationship that I would like. Basically, it seemed like a really good way to be pro-slut without hurting anyone.

I called up Zoe Duff, the director of the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association, one of the organizers to “Claiming Our Right To Love,” the first ever Poly Convention in British Columbia, and author of Love Alternatively Expressed, which is due to be out this fall, to dispel some misunderstandings of polyamory and maybe help me sort out why I generally feel less than human when it comes to traditional relationships.
VICE: Some of my friends who are presently in polyamorous relationships talk about the "rules" of being poly. What are some of these rules?
Zoe Duff:
Polyamory has the knowledge and consent of all partners as a key component. Fundamental to the philosophy is open honest communication and moving into new relationships with more than just consent but the support of all partners. The rules of any poly relationship are negotiated by the people in that relationship and modified as new people are added. Deborah Anapole's book Polyamory: The New Loving Without Limits has lots of tips for the successful practice of polyamory. Moving at the pace of the slowest partner is one that comes to mind. You don't push your partner into accepting a new partner however enthralled you are with him/her. You slow it down and negotiate as your partner is comfortable. Getting ongoing feedback from your partners to ensure that they all are getting a fair share of your time and energy is another.

Can you quickly explain to me some of the pros of being in a polyamorous relationship?
There are more minds on the problem, more incomes on the bills, more hands to take care of the housework, and more loving parents/grandparents to take care of the kids. Partners share different interests with you and so there is someone to dance with, someone to laugh with, someone to fix your computer, lots of snuggles, and schedule permitting, lots of great sex.
What are some of the down sides of a polyamorous relationship?
Poly is a lot of work. If more monogamous people worked this hard on communication, compromise, and inclusivity there would be a much lower divorce rate. Things like jealousy and safer sex are obvious issues that come up more often in poly relationships—but in general, poly people learn to negotiate honestly and find solutions. Sometimes this is very hard work. You can't get away with hiding information or bad behavior.
How do you avoid jealousy? It’s so human.
The trick is to keep the feedback continuous and be alert to the first signs of jealousy. It is a perfectly natural reaction to needs not being met. It is important to openly discuss it and find the true source. There are desensitizing exercises that are terrific in Deborah Anapole's book. You should not feel like you are "not poly enough" because you are experiencing jealousy, and it is essential that your partners work with you and support you working through it. There is always a period of adjustment when new people are added to the relationship, and if everyone works together with compromise and consideration the balance is restored and the relationship shared by all is enhanced.

Official swag from PolyCon, the convention for polyamorists. via the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association.

What is the difference between polyamory and polygamy?
Polygamy can be polygyny (one male, several females) or polyandry (one female, several males). It is most often the former, and the relationships involve a marriage rite that is entrenched in some organized religious doctrine. The relationships are governed by the dominant partner—usually the male head of household—and his role is sanctioned by the religious community. This dominant partner is the only partner to have the right to take on new partners, although the knowledge of current partners and their acceptance is considered a key factor to the marriage covenant.
Polyamory can be any configuration of gender and size from the smaller group of three partners to an extended network of unlimited partners. Partners may or may not live together to still be considered members of the family unit. Most commonly, all partners have equal rights and responsibilities as well as full knowledge and consent to other partners joining the family. There are no set rules to how these relationships work, and are negotiated amongst the people involved.

How do you go about choosing a new partner to add to your already existing relationship?
Generally that is a process that you agree upon with your other partners. Everyone has a different amount of discussion required in being comfortable with adding new partners. In our family, we most often meet someone through an online dating site or a poly community event. If it’s online, we meet for coffee first and then date the person with the understanding that we are in a poly family and any long term relationship would involve getting to know other family members. If the new person is a poly community member, likely we all know them anyway. We all date outside of the household but a new partner that is to move into the house must have the approval of all partners. In my experience, it is important for the same gender partners or "metamours" to have a good solid friendship for poly households to be happily successful.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen from people who have attempted a poly relationship?
It never ceases to amaze me how someone who has struggled with discrimination will in turn be critical of someone else's choices because they differ from theirs. This happens in the poly community because we are reinventing relationship forms and living on the growing edge of personal development. “You don't do poly the way I do so you're wrong.” That’s very counterproductive to community building and always hurtful. Poly is about negotiating for a balance in the needs of those in your poly configuration and being inclusive and at least tolerant of the expression of other people who claim to espouse the same philosophy.

Would you say you're more of an asexual or a "quirky alone?" via Flickr.
Do you have any crazy poly stories to share with us?
The best poly stories are happy poly moments when the concept of "compersion" is realized. Compersion is when you can find happiness in the happiness of someone you love being loved by someone else. These are noted on poly lists a lot. Moments when you get the "aha" that poly is working and the philosophy is a reality. My best poly story is simply the bliss of walking hand in hand down the street in Vancouver with both of my partners at the same time and not getting one puzzled look or rude comment.  Sitting in a movie theater holding hands and cuddling with both of them. Stopping outside my workplace to kiss each goodbye after a lunch date and not even caring if there were puzzled looks by passersby. The craziness of poly is the wonderfulness that it isn't crazy—it is somebody's version of normal and all is right with the world regardless of who you or I love.
For those of us who are thinking of making the switch to polyamory, how do you know if a poly relationship is good for you?
Same as any other relationship. Are you happy?  Do you feel like your needs are met and you are valued by your partners? Is the level of communication and participation in decision making appropriate for your needs? Do you feel empowered and loved beyond any other experience that you wouldn't trade for anything? Relationships are always a work in progress, so you might not have all of that right now, but if you have none of it and you cry yourself to sleep at night, you’re in the wrong relationship regardless of how many partners you have.

26 August 2013

One Million Cockroaches Flee China Farm

The cockroaches fled the facility in Dafeng, in the eastern province of Jiangsu, for surrounding cornfields earlier this month after an "unknown perpetrator" destroyed the plastic greenhouse where they were raised, the Modern Express newspaper said.

Disease control authorities have sent five investigators to the area to come up with a plan to stamp out the insects.

Farm owner Wang Pengsheng invested more than 100,000 yuan ($16,000) in 102 kilograms of Periplaneta americana eggs after spending six months developing a business plan, the report Friday said.

The cockroach is generally considered a pest, but believers in traditional Chinese medicine—which uses both plants and animals, including endangered species—say extracts from it can treat diseases including cancer, reduce inflammation and improve immunity.

By the time the greenhouse was damaged, more than 1.5 million cockroaches had hatched and were being fed food including "fruits and biscuits" every day, Wang was quoted as saying.

He had expected to make around 1,000 yuan profit for every kilogram of cockroaches sold, according to the report, but was now facing losses of hundreds of thousands of yuan.


The Surprising Reasons the Chinese Love the Little Mermaid

By Chantel Tattoli

It isn’t easy being the Little Mermaid, who on Friday turned 100 years old. In fact, since the early 1960s, she’s had an exhausting life as the target of countless, often violent, vandalisms and other “happenings.” Thanks in no small part to her authority as a symbol of Denmark, the mermaid has over the years become the go-to spokeswoman for the agendas of different groups who use the statue as an ironic mouthpiece to talk about affairs both domestic and global, lighthearted and grave.

The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Panoramic Images/Getty)

It started in 1961, when students painted a white bikini on the statue. Shockingly, in 1964, the statue was beheaded in what should be interpreted as a political assassination. “She had to die,” Cecelia Zwick Nash, daughter of the late Situationist artist Jørgen Nash, who confessed to “killing” the mermaid, says. “She was too naïve.” The statue’s demise made headlines on the front-page of newspapers as far as Tokyo and Moscow; a Madrid editorial called the headless mermaid “a symbol of a world that has lost its head.” In the next decades, the statue has sported everything from Islamic chador to KKK robes, masks of the faces of Danish politicians, to Pussy Riot-style balaclava. Dozens of times she has been sloshed with paint, was beheaded a second time in 1998, and was dynamited off her rocky roost on the 2003 anniversary of 9/11. Every injury is necessarily repaired by her “doctors” at the Royal Bronzery. “But she has strong muscles,” Jesper Vind Jensen, a critic for the Danish paper Weekendadvisen, says, adding that he and many of his fellow citizens “are grateful for the statue.”

The bronze statue by sculptor Edvard Eriksen was originally, and quietly, erected on a pile of boulders at the lip of Copenhagen Harbor in 1913, in honor of a prima ballerina named Ellen Price de Plane who had danced the title role in an adaptation of native son Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale “The Little Mermaid,” about the sea princess who traded her voice for legs because she loved an earthling prince, but mostly, and most importantly, because she wanted a human soul.

And while 1 million tourists come to visit her every year, arguably no one loves her more than the Chinese. Their love of the Little Mermaid began with Mandarin translations in 1918 of the H.C. Andersen story; generations of Chinese have grown up with his tales, and Andersen resonates with them as a real proletariat: a poverty-stricken, hard-working man from the slums who persevered to achieve ultimate success. So popular is Andersen in China that next year a $13-million theme park based on his fairytales will open in Shanghai.

So popular is Andersen in China that next year a $13-million theme park based on his fairytales will open in Shanghai.

In recent years, the piscine darling has helped secure the Scandinavian country favorable trade and tourism agreements with China. When former Chinese president Hu Jintao embarked on a state visit to Denmark last year, he wanted to meet the Little Mermaid in person. In response, the Danish Foreign Office constructed a wooden observation deck on the esplanade specifically for Juntao’s brief visit, complete with a red carpet. In 2010, in an historic and unprecedented move, the Danish Ministry of Culture decided to loan the mermaid for the World EXPO in Shanghai. Called “a business trip” by Danes, the act had the symbolism of a small, aspiring country marrying their beautiful daughter to a superpower.

And the statue continues to serve in a diplomatic capacity to the People’s Republic of China. Denmark has long had a relationship with China, having established diplomatic ties in 1950—the first European nation to do so. The Chinese government, however, broke that relationship off in early 2009, after Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen received the Dalai Lama in Copenhagen. Already opposed to the statue’s trip, which they called “grotesque,” the right-wing Danish People’s Party threatened to block the Little Mermaid trip to the EXPO as punishment. Nevertheless, she went and was received in China as a VIP. The Danish pavilion, where the mermaid was housed in a blue lagoon, was second in popularity only to that of the Chinese pavilion, and during the course of her March-to-November stay, some 5.5 million people visited the little fish-girl there.

“She did such a good job,” former Danish Ambassador to China Christopher Bo Bramsen told me at the time. Indeed, since then, Chinese tourists have been flocking to Copenhagen. Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports that an unprecedented 80,000 Chinese traveled to the country in 2011, the year after Shanghai’s “year of the mermaid,” and the numbers have been ever record-breaking. In 2012, Scandinavian Airlines inaugurated two daily, direct routes: from Beijing and Shanghai to Copenhagen.

On Friday, the little lady’s big birthday, Wonderful Copenhagen live-blogged reports of the celebration in Mandarin. Additionally, a new informational sign was revealed, telling just a little of the Little Mermaid’s life story in Danish, English, and Mandarin. And, all day long Copenhagen buses that run routes to Carlsberg brewery and the mermaid at Langelinie Quay flew celebratory Danish flags. “Usually that is reserved for royalty,” says Signe Hedemann Mikkelsen, Wonderful Copenhagen’s Project Leader for the statue’s centennial. “But she is royalty.”

source: thedailybeast
16 August 2013

Six Chinese Frauds That Are Even Crazier Than Passing Off A Dog As A Lion

A zoo in Henan province has become a laughing stock around the world after it tried to pass off a wooly orange Tibetan mastiff as an “African lion.” And the hoax thickens: The zoo also featured a dog in the wolf pen, huge rats in the snake enclosure, and indeterminate “fox-like creatures” in the leopard cage (paywall).

But though that might sound crazy, dog-lion and friends are only the latest example of China’s unique knack for fakery, an entrepreneurial gambit sometimes slangily known as “shanzhai.” Here are some more classics:

“Longevity mushrooms”

In June 2012, a resourceful street cleaner was caught passing off masturbation aids as taisui lingzhi mushrooms, the fungal source to the Qin Emperor’s longevity, for about $2,870 a piece.

Don’t tell Christine O’Donnell, but it’s the secret to long life.via The Shanghaiist
To give credit where it’s due, this taisui lingzhi mushroom thing didn’t come completely out of the blue. The street vendor set up shop only after a Xi’an CCTV newscaster’s breathless exclusive on a villager’s discovery of a similar “ancient mushroom.” When the street cleaner was asked about his mushrooms’ authenticity, he replied, “It’s on the news. How can it be fake?” 

An incredibly realistic Apple store

In 2011, bloggers discovered an Apple store that was so painstakingly realistic that its staff apparently thought it was working for Apple. They weren’t. Here’s one such worker, via BirdAbroad blog, which uncovered the whole charade:


Human hair soy sauce

The Chinese media busted a Hubei factory in 2004 for making soy sauce out of unwashed human hair. The hair, which was gathered from barbershop floors, was distilled to extract amino acids. The practice was worrisome enough that the government instituted a human-hair soy sauce ban.

Shanzhai pandas

The fluffy-dog-as-exotic-animal thing isn’t actually new. Dyeing and coiffuring dog to look like pandas is an occasional fad in China. This 2008 Xinhua article (link in Chinese), which has lots of great pics, says that chows are ideal for this look. More shanzhai dog dos here.
Kids look at two chow chows which look like pandas with special make-up during a pet dog winter sports games in Chengdu city, southwest Chinas Sichuan province, 3 December 2011. Organized by the Chengdu Dog Breeding Association, the winter sports games attracted more than 100 local residents and their pet dogs.(Imaginechina via AP Images
Imaginechina via AP Images

“Made by the Yellow Emperor”

A $9.8 million museum in Hebei province was busted in July after it was discovered that more than 40,000 of its exhibits were fake. Perhaps the most notorious item was a vase “signed” by the Yellow Emperor, a mythical ruler from around 2600 BC. A few things about this tripped suspicion wires, such as the fact that the emperor wrote in simplified Chinese characters, the script widely promoted only in the 1950s and 1960s, as well as that the Yellow Emperor’s legendary rule actually predates modern writing.

Villagers apparently long suspected the museum was a money-laundering front.

Archaeoraptor, the “missing link”

Back in the late 1990s, the discovery of the fossil of a creature named Archaeoraptor liaoningensis took the paleontology world by storm. After careful scrutiny from archaeologists around the world, it was hailed the crucial “missing link” between dinosaurs and birds.

The “missing” part, at least, was right. It turned out that, back in the late 1990s in Liaoning province, selling fossils illegally via the black market was a common side business for farmers. In 1997, one such farmer unearthed a fossil that appeared to have teeth and feathers, only to break it slightly upon collection.

Since complete fossils commanded a much higher price, he glued on fragments from elsewhere in the pit using homemade paste, inadvertently combining dinosaur and bird parts. His handiwork was smuggled to the US, where a Utah museum eventually paid $80,000 for it.
Beijing paleontologist Xu Xing and Steven Czerkas, of the Dinosaur Museum in Blanding, Utah, hold a "Missing Link" fossil Friday, Oct. 15, 1999, at a news conference at the National Geographic Society in Washington. Fossils of the animal, called Archaeoraptor liaoningensis, suggest that it lived 120 million to 140 million years ago when a branch of dinosaurs was evolving into the vast family of birds that now live on every continent. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook
They didn’t notice the homemade paste.AP Photo/Dennis Cook
15 August 2013

An Illegal Mountain Constructed Atop a 26-Story Residential Building in Beijing

An Illegal Mountain Constructed Atop a 26 Story Residential Building in Beijing mountains China architecture
An Illegal Mountain Constructed Atop a 26 Story Residential Building in Beijing mountains China architecture
An Illegal Mountain Constructed Atop a 26 Story Residential Building in Beijing mountains China architecture
An Illegal Mountain Constructed Atop a 26 Story Residential Building in Beijing mountains China architecture
While most property and homeowners might be lucky to erect a small fence, add a new wall, or plant a few trees without applying for a permit or checking local zoning laws, things in Bejing are apparently quite different. For the last six years an eccentric doctor built a sprawling mountain villa on the roof above his top-floor flat in this 26-story residential building, all without asking permission of residents or local authorities. The enormous addition covers the entire 1000-square-metre roof and was built using artificial rocks but with real trees and grass.

It only took six years of complaints from neighbors who suffered from the noise and vibrations of heavy construction machinery, water leaks, and other disturbances to finally get the attention of authorities who recently gave the man 15 days to remove the mountain or else it will face forcible removal.

Read more over on the South China Morning Post. (via dezeen)

How to win a tennis match without touching the ball

Fabio Fognini had a meltdown for the ages in Cincinnati.

Radek Stepanek faced off against Fabio Fognini in a first-round match at the Western & Southern Open and won the final game of the match without having to touch the ball, thanks to his fiery Italian opponent’s inability to land a serve, hit a serve without stepping over the line or react to his inability to hit a serve by angrily hitting a ball high into the stands.

Watch as Fognini hits two double faults, gets a code violation for ball abuse, which brought upon a point penalty since it was his second of the match, engages in an argument with the chair umpire for said point penalty and, in his grand finale, commits two consecutive foot faults on triple match point. The only thing he didn’t do was threaten to stuff a ball down the throat of the linesperson who called the foot fault.

Games like this often occur (well, not like this — but similar style meltdowns), but usually when the match is out of hand. Fognini had dropped the first set, yes, but he was on serve in the second and could have easily taken that set to force a decisive third. But, hey, sometimes you just have to hit a ball into an empty upper deck to make your point.

With Two Tweets Carl Icahn Added About $17 Billion To Apple’s Value

Put another way, Icahn’s tweets were worth more to Apple than the entire value of the companies below.

Billionaire hedge funder Carl Icahn disclosed a large stake in Apple today and said he was encouraging the company to increase the buyback program — on Twitter, of all places.

Those two tweets alone, however, sent Apple shares up about 5% and added about $17 billion to Apple’s market cap. The jump in price comes at a time when Apple is facing an issue with its public image — and whether the creator of the iPhone can still innovate.

Now, how much is your tweet worth?
12 August 2013

Guy Does To Bank What Banks Usually Do To Other People

Unhappy with the terms of an unsolicited credit card offer he received from online bank Tinkoff Credit Systems, Dmitry Agarkov scanned the document, wrote in his own terms and sent it through.

The bank approved the contract without reading the amended fine print, unwittingly agreeing to a 0 percent interest rate, unlimited credit and no fees, as well as a stipulation that the bank pay steep fines for changing or canceling the contract.

Agarkov used the card for two years, but the bank ultimately canceled it and sued Agarkov for $1,363 in charges, interest and late-payment fees.

A court ruled that, because of Agarkov’s no-fee, no-interest stipulation, he owed only his unpaid $575 balance. Now Agarkov is suing the bank for $727,000 for not honoring the contract’s terms, and the bank is hollering fraud.

“They signed the documents without looking. They said what usually their borrowers say in court: ‘We have not read it,’” Agarkov’s lawyer said.

via MSN
06 August 2013

Men's shorts: how short is too short?

Women long wrestled with the dilemma: how much can you dare - or bear - to bare?
By Josie Ensor
Retailers say that while knee-length shorts are the most popular, the most trendy look is half-length — the very style that fashion commentators say is most difficult for men to pull off

Retailers say that while knee-length shorts are the most popular, the most trendy look is half-length — the very style that fashion commentators say is most difficult for men to pull off Photo: REX
Now the heatwave summer has brought the same problem for men: what length of shorts is too, well, short?
The debate has been prompted by the sheer variety of shorts on sale in the high street, the growth of fashion-consciousness among men and an apparently much greater acceptance of shorts in social situations.

Four distinct styles are currently on sale: half-length, which reach no lower than the middle of the thigh; knee-riders, cut no more than 2in above the knee; board shorts, which stop slightly below the knee; and clam-diggers, which reach halfway down the calf.

It creates the dilemma of which style is the most flattering, particularly for any man past the first flush of youth.

Retailers say that while knee-length shorts are the most popular, the most trendy look is half-length - the very style that fashion commentators say is most difficult for men to pull off.

Debenhams said sales of men's shorts that end more than 4in above the knee had risen this year by 156 per cent.

Meanwhile, clam-diggers have fallen out of fashion entirely. John Lewis has stopped selling them, with the more conservative knee- riders proving most popular, and has moved away from the "cargo shorts" look, which had military-style extra pockets.

Nick Keyte, the head of menswear buying at John Lewis, said: "We're making them cleaner and smarter so men can wear shorts and still look professional. Our most popular range is the chinos, which are one or two inches above the knee - not too revealing.

"We stopped selling shorts that reach down to the calf as it is no longer what our customers want."
A snapshot survey by The Sunday Telegraph on the promenade at Bournemouth last week suggested no consensus in the debate - but an interest in fashion, which men of an earlier era might have found surprising.

Graham Millward, 60, a retired teacher from Bournemouth, was wearing designer board shorts.

Graham Millward in his designer boardshorts. (BNPS)

"I think shorts should go down an inch every decade of your life," he said. "For me, now, on the knee is perfect. My legs aren't so great any more so this length maintains my integrity."

Matthew Dawe, 43, an IT manager from Winchester, said: "Just below the knee is right. No one wants to see a man's knobbly knees." His wife, Zoe, 40, who bought his shorts for him a few years ago from Next for £25, said: "If they have a well-toned leg that's not too spindly, I think a man can go a little higher up the thigh. Probably not after 50, though."

Matthew Dawe. (BNPS)
Dave Forsyth, 34, a bank manager from Bournemouth, said he had noticed the length of shorts getting shorter and shorter but was not following the trend.

"I think the right place is just on the knee - that's where I always wear mine," he said. "The men parading around in ones almost short enough to be Speedos can just come off looking overconfident and silly."

Dave Forsyth. (BNPS)
Chris Curtis, 55, a retired manager of a sales company from Blackpool, wearing tailored grey shorts which he bought for £20 from Marks and Spencer said: "I've gone shorter this year than I have in previous years because I've lost a lot of weight recently. It's all about being confident with your body."

Chris Curtis with his wife, Sharon. (BNPS)
Ray Fletcher, a 58-year-old train driver from Worcester, who was wearing colourful half-lengths that were £4 from Primark, said: "It's quite controversial but I think the shorter the better. You can't take yourself too seriously when it comes to fashion."

Ray Fletcher doesn't like to take fashion too seriously. (BNPS)
Some thought men should have more freedom over length.

Gary Robini, 42, a roofer from Cobham, Surrey, who was wearing £15 three-quarter-length shorts from Sports Direct, said: "I don't really care about tanning or what people think about them."

Gary Robini. (BNPS)
Plenty of men have come a cropper in their choice of shorts.
David Cameron was criticised for looking awkward in a pair of baggy knee-length khaki shorts - £19.90 from Uniqlo - while on holiday in the Algarve last month, while earlier in the year his cotton shorts were judged too short and boyish.

David Cameron in his holiday attire. (AP)
Before him, Tony Blair suffered ridicule for his £82 Vilebrequin swimming shots.

Alex Bilmes, the editor of Esquire, said the key rule was "not below the knee".

"Clam-diggers, as we refer to three-quarter-length shorts, should only be worn in Australia by Australians. No self-respecting Englishman should ever wear them," he said. "There's little excuse for shorts shorter than three or four inches above the knee."

The true gentleman should remember that trousers can be just as cool as shorts, he added.

"A man should consider his legs before stepping out in shorts as most Englishmen have pale, skinny, chicken legs which are not a pleasant thing to force on other people," he said.
"I'm inclined to say men should never wear shorts out of the house. "
31 July 2013

China’s Swimming Pools Are Like the China of Swimming Pools

Via the Zooom
With a population of 1.3 billion people, how do the Chinese cool down in the summer? They jump into their local pools — all at once it appears.

We’re drowning in our own anxiety watching at the video.

Can you imagine what is in that water? Judging solely by the nation’s not-exactly-stellar health regulations, we assume the water doesn’t get cleaned too thoroughly. Hell is a Chinese swimming pool.

5 of the most expensive places to stay in the world

Have you ever wondered where the world’s most affluent people stay when they go on vacation? It’s no secret that an unlimited budget can take you anywhere in the world, but what are some of the world’s most exclusive accomodations? The following are 5 of the most luxurious places to stay in the world:
Villa Bellissima VI, Tuscany
This 800- year old farming village sits on a rural hillside in the province of Siena in Tuscany. Although newly restored, many structures in this villa have been left untouched to signify prior ownership by the powerful Sienese family. This villa has 22 suites in the manor house and 4 Tuscan farmhouses. Guests will enjoy a formal dining room and outdoor dining terrace, grand piano in the living room, theatre room, library, bar, wine tasting room, professional kitchen, arcaded courtyard and various benches and gazebos in an extensive garden space. There is also a 60 ft oval swimming pool, state of the art gym, spa, and basketball and tennis courts.
Villa Bellissima VI, Tuscany
Price: $19,570 per night
Hugh Hefner Sky Villa, Palms Casino, Las Vegas
Frequently visited by guest such as Kanye West and T-Pain, this two- story 9000 sq.ft suite modeled after the Playboy Mansion features three bedrooms, an eight-foot rotating bed, terrace with outdoor pool and sunbathing area, private spa room, butler service, poker table, full wet bar, Indoor water features, private glass elevator, $700,000 Jacuzzi and a spectacular view of the strip!
Hugh Hefner Sky Villa
Price: $40,000 per night
Nygard Cay, Bahamas
This stunning private island features 10 bedrooms, 2 pools, multiple waterslides, human aquarium, 5 Jacuzzi’s, 85 ft yacht with 2 state rooms, tennis courts, volleyball courts, 24 seat movie theatre, 32,000 sq. Ft grand- hall, 100,000 pound glass ceiling, 2 Hummers and a 48ft fishing vessel. Nagard Cay is located at the end of Lyford Cay in Nassau. Former guests at this 6 acre dreamland have included Oprah Winfrey, Sean Connery, Robert DeNiro and former President George H.W. Bush. If you are interested in visiting The Cay, Peter Nygard’s own private Boeing 727 may be available to pick your group up from anywhere around the world!
Nygard Cay Bahamas
Price: $47,000 per night
Necker Island, British Virgin Islands
Built by Sir Richard Branson, this 74 acre island located just north of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. The island operates like a resort with 60 staff members, and accommodation for up to 28 guests. Accommodation is split between six Bali Houses (1 bedroom each), and the Temple House, which is Richard Branson’s home that consists of a master bedroom and a separate house called the Love Temple. All eight rooms have private en-suite bathrooms. Features on this island include virtually every water sport you can think of, infinity pools, hiking, fancy dress parties, casino nights, bbq’s on the beach, and over 200 flamingos!
Necker Island
Price: $52,000 per night
Royal Penthouse Suite at Hotel President Wilson, Geneva
The Royal Penthouse Suite is one of the world’s most exclusive and expensive hotels rooms. This elegant 18,000 sq. ft suite occupies the entire eighth floor of the hotel and is truly fit for royalty. The suite comprises of 12 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, 26 seat dining room, private elevator, billiard room, salon, library, guard room and access to a helipad. Nearly every room in this suite has views of Lake Geneva and the Alps, even the bathrooms. Safety and privacy is no concern in this penthouse. Safety features include bulletproof widows, panic buttons, human-sized safe and armored doors, which make this a perfect place to stay for celebrities, government officials and anyone seeking privacy. You can’t find a more luxurious suite in the world!
Royal Penthouse Suite
Price: $81,000 per night
Greg Eyjolfson is Co-Founder & General Manager at Arisoko.
15 July 2013

Sales of adult diapers to surpass baby diapers in aging Japan

Japan’s rapidly aging population is producing some interesting new business opportunities, including a booming market for adult diapers.

The Nikkei newspaper (subscription only) reported on Thursday that three Japanese paper companies—Daio, and Nippon Paper—are expanding their manufacturing facilities for what are politely called “incontinence products” due to an expected surge in demand.  The Nikkei said adult diapers are expected to outsell baby diapers in Japan by 2020, but according to Unicharm, Japan’s biggest diaper maker, the tipping point was in 2011.

The adult diaper market is growing at 6-10% a year, and already pulls in 140 billion yen ($1.4 billion) by catering to Japan’s elderly population—it has the highest percentage of over-65s in the world, making up more than 20% of the population.

Demographics aside, adult diapers are an attractive business in their own right—they sell for as much as 2.5 times more than infant diapers, resulting in higher profit margins, and there’s also a lucrative sales channel to institutions like hospitals and nursing homes. Marketing to consumers can still be a minefield (as the parody ad from Saturday Night Live, below, demonstrates) but diaper manufacturers—confident that the embarrassment factor can be overcome—are determined to push the envelope.

Sweden’s SCA, the world’s biggest hygiene product maker, recently sent a sample of its adult diapers to every Swedish man over the age of 55. It was besieged by angry phone calls from men who were perhaps not quite reconciled to needing the company’s products someday.
05 July 2013

Joey Chestnut does it again! Champ wins Nathan's hot dog eating contest for record seventh straight year

Chestnut demolishes field in the annual Coney Island contest. Sonya 'The Black Widow' Thomas narrowly wins the women's contest

 The winners of the Nathan's Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island were Joey Chestnut for the men and Sonya Thomas for the women. Chestnut cracked his record with 69 hot dogs. HERE, Chestnut cracks his own record as MC George Shea proclaims him a winner. July 4, 2013 

Todd Maisel/New York Daily News

Master of Ceremonies George Shea screams as Joey "Jaws" Chestnut sets a new record and wins the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island with a new world record of 69 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. The win gave Chestnut seven titles in a row, another record.

Joey “Jaws” Chestnut again gorged his way into history Thursday, winning his seventh consecutive Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating championship in Coney Island by scarfing 69 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes — a new world record.
The previous record was 68, which was set last year by Chestnut.
“I almost started crying for a second. I'm happy as heck!” said Chestnut, 29, basking in his postprandial achievement.
"Things came together today. The hot dogs were really good. It wasn't too hot."
Just as the crowd of 40,000 at Surf And Stillwell Aves. expected, Chestnut devoured the competition.
And in the women's contest, Sonya Thomas (right with Shea raising her hand) won with an underwhelming (for her) 36 HDBs.

Todd Maisel/New York Daily News

And in the women's contest, Sonya Thomas (right with Shea raising her hand) won with an underwhelming (for her) 36 HDBs.

Matt "Megatoad" Stonie challenged the champ early, but came in second place with a mere 51 HDBs. Stonie learned the same lesson as countless other Chestnut challengers: Competitive eating is a marathon, not a sprint.
Chestnut generally keeps his secrets hidden, but earlier in the week, the California native told the Daily News he would wolf down wieners in a “smarter” fashion — minimizing his movements and pacing himself as he dunked the bread in water forced the dogs down his gullet.
And as the clock hit 10 minutes, the crowd went crazy.
"It is an art, it is a poem, it is a prayer that he's executing right now!" shouted George Shea, the chairman of Major League Eating, the governing body of all stomach-centric sports.
Saliva, sweat, water, and hot dog detritus mixed at Chestnut’s feet as he hoisted the Mustard Yellow International Belt to the heavens yet again.
Before the contest, Chestnut was carried in on a mustard-colored bier.

Todd Maisel/New York Daily News

Before the contest, Chestnut was carried in on a mustard-colored bier.

The victory gave Chestnut one more consecutive wins than  Takeru “The Tsunami” Kobayashi, whose reign Chestnut ended with a still-legendary 66 HDB performance in 2007, when the contest was still 12 minutes.
Lindsay Herzog, 23, who flew from Chicago specifically for the contest, was mesmerized by the slovenly champ. She’d been in the audience for all seven of his victories.
“The first time I came here was Joey Chestnut’s first competition,” said Herzog. “I was hooked.”
Chestnut’s victory was treated like a foregone conclusion — he was carried to the stage in a mustard-colored, Roman-style sedan chair.
In the end, Chestnut held his trophy high over the crowd of 30,000.

Todd Maisel/New York Daily News

In the end, Chestnut held his trophy high over the crowd of 30,000.

Fans speculated how the contestants must feel after ingesting so much pork product.
“They're probably thinking, ‘I never want to see another hot dog again!’” said Renee Mas, 32, from Wantagh, L.I.
But Chestnut told the News this week that he does not intend to retire, saying, “Seven is not the end. Ten is looking more and more likely.”
Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas won the women’s contest — but narrowly — eating 36 and three-quarters hot dogs and buns to Juliet Lee’s 36 HDBs. The 100-pound Thomas, of Alexandria, Va., has won the women’s contest for all three years.
Her count was much lower than last year, when Thomas broke her own record by eating 45 hot dogs and buns.
Each Nathan’s Famous hot dog and bun has 290 calories, 17 grams of fat and 710 milligrams of sodium. A normal American — not a gustatory gladiator — is supposed to consume 2,000 calories a day, and no more than 200 grams of fat or 2,300 milligrams of salt.
Doing the math, Chestnut ate 20,010 calories, 1,173 grams of fat and 48,990 miligrams of sodium.
28 June 2013

Foot Orgasm Syndrome Is Exactly What You Think It Is

Photo: flickr/mickeysucks
We don’t even need to write an intro here, as this gem of a paper did it better than we ever could: “In general, people are attracted to nice legs and feet. The foot is an erotic symbol, variably appreciated by different people [1]. Erotic thoughts and feelings about feet may become intentionally accentuated by fashion and the wearing of shoes with high heels, providing a position of the foot that resembles its position during (female) orgasm when feet and toes may automatically go into plantar flexion resulting in arching of the foot and curling of the toes [1, 2]. … In society, special attention is paid to the physical relation between foot and pleasant or even sexual feelings by different forms of foot massage. Currently, the association of feet with sexual attraction and eroticism has been explained in terms of psychology and sociology [1]. However, an underlying neurobiological theory of a possible foot–genital relationship has so far not been formulated.” You’re welcome.

Foot Orgasm Syndrome: A Case Report in a Woman.
Spontaneous orgasm triggered from inside the foot has so far not been reported in medical literature.
The study aims to report orgasmic feelings in the left foot of a woman.
A woman presented with complaints of undesired orgasmic sensations originating in her left foot. In-depth interview, physical examination, sensory testing, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI-scan), electromyography (EMG), transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), and blockade of the left S1 dorsal root ganglion were performed.
The main outcomes are description of this clinical syndrome, results of TENS application, and S1 dorsal root ganglion blockade.
Subtle attenuation of sensory amplitudes of the left suralis, and the left medial and lateral plantar nerve tracts was found at EMG. MRI-scan disclosed no foot abnormalities. TENS at the left metatarso-phalangeal joint-III of the left foot elicited an instant orgasmic sensation that radiated from plantar toward the vagina. TENS applied to the left side of the vagina elicited an orgasm that radiated to the left foot. Diagnostic blockade of the left S1 dorsal root ganglion with 0.8 mL bupivacaine 0.25 mg attenuated the frequency and intensity of orgasmic sensation in the left foot with 50% and 80%, respectively. Additional therapeutic blockade of the same ganglion with 0.8 mL bupivacaine 0.50 mg combined with pulsed radiofrequency treatment resulted in a complete disappearance of the foot-induced orgasmic sensations.
Foot orgasm syndrome (FOS) is descibed in a woman. Blockade of the left S1 dorsal root ganglion alleviated FOS. It is hypothesized that FOS, occurring 1.5 years after an intensive care emergency, was caused by partial nerve regeneration (axonotmesis), after which afferent (C-fiber) information from a small reinnervated skin area of the left foot and afferent somatic and autonomous (visceral) information from the vagina on at least S1 spinal level is misinterpreted by the brain as being solely information originating from the vagina.”
Bonus quote from the full text:
“Compared with a vaginally/clitorally induced orgasm, this left foot-induced orgasm had the following characteristics: (i) the spontaneously induced foot orgasms occurred in the absence of any sexual desire or sexual arousal; (ii) the vaginally/clitorally induced foot orgasms occurred during sexual desire and sexual arousal; (iii) the occurrence of (spontaneous) foot orgasm is very sudden without any preorgasmic built up or latency time as compared with a normal orgasm experience; (iv) the duration is extremely short, around 5–6 seconds, with a rather abrupt end, uncharacteristic for female orgasm in general; (v) the foot-induced orgasm is perceived unilaterally in the body; (vi) the orgasmic sensations are mainly felt in the left foot, back under the knee and vagina; (vii) there is a daily frequency of about five to six times a day; (viii) although we have not checked or examined it, Mrs A. reported that the foot-induced orgasms are often accompanied by vaginal lubrication and loss of urine.”
27 June 2013

You Could Soon Earn A Degree In Drone Studies


University Of Nevada Students Could Soon Earn Degrees In Drone Studies Training now for the jobs of the future

Karantania UAV

Karantania UAV A prototype military drone, designed by a team at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. Slovenia Ministry of Defense
A workshop in Nevada hopes to launch higher-education programs in drone studies. Working with both the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and University of Nevada-Reno, the unmanned aerial vehicle industry wants to start training people now for jobs they expect will exist in five years.

The Titans of Industry Workshop, held June 26-27 and hosted by the Nevada Governor's Office of Economic Development, the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, and the Nevada System of Higher Education, aims to put in the place the architecture Nevada needs for a thriving drone economy. Representatives of industry, government, and education will meet to figure out degree programs, certification plans, and the bureaucratic nuts and bolts of a whole new industry.

This wouldn't be the first time a college undertook a drone degree program to prepare for the future. In 2010, the University of North Dakota started two four-year degree programs, one aimed at creating more drone pilots. The second wants to train drone development professionals, with an education heavy on sensor equipment, meteorology, and aviation-specific mechanical engineering. The North Dakota program requires candidates to already have a Commercial Pilot Certificate, which limits the pool of applicants. It's not known yet what shape Nevada's drone degree program will take, but expect them to be somewhat similar, at least at first.

Both North Dakota and Nevada are strong candidates for selection as one of six early Federal Aviation Association drone test sites, designed to flesh out the rules and procedures needed before drones are set to enter regular commercial air space in 2015. Degree programs, like that offered in North Dakota and possibly offered in Nevada, make the states attractive to industry. If drones become the $82 billion industry by 2025 that the drone lobby predicts, having an early edge on creating technically skilled young people in the field will be a tremendous boon.

A Different Kind Of Drug Company

Illegal online drug bazaar begins massive advertising push

By Adrianne Jeffries

atlantis market screencap

In the world of illicit virtual marketplaces, there is one clear leader: Silk Road, which has been in business since February of 2011. However, a few competitors have recently sprung up.

The most visible is Atlantis, which has completely discarded the paranoia and caution that usually accompanies the online drug-dealing industry. Today, the site announced it is planning a "big social media campaign," which kicked off with a video ad done in the style of a cutesy Silicon Valley startup.
The video opens with a cheery tune and a cartoon man in stunner shades and a tie. "Meet Charlie," reads the narration. "He's a stoner, and recently his job made him move cities, and he can't find any dank buds." The movie ends with Charlie getting "high as a kite" after using Atlantis, which the video is sure to note offers "no fees for purchases" and "next day delivery."

Atlantis has also been pitching journalists and offering discounts to top Silk Road sellers.
Isn't it a bit indiscreet for Atlantis to advertise its illegal service so brazenly (and flout YouTube's user guidelines in the process)? Silk Road, by contrast, does not even advertise its address; it must be shared person-to-person or found by following links from deep-web sites such as The Hidden Wiki or other guides to the digital underground.
It's very difficult for the police to crack down on either the operators or users of virtual marketplaces, however, so operating in the open may be the same as operating in the shadows. Owners can station themselves anywhere in the world, taking precautions to protect their identities. Atlantis and sites like it also operate completely under the table using virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and Litecoin. These "cryptocurrencies" also offer users ways to protect their identities. Atlantis and sites like it are only accessible through Tor, the distributed network that anonymizes traffic by bouncing it between nodes around the world.
Isn't it a bit indiscreet for Atlantis to advertise so brazenly?
"We want to bring attention to the site and bring our vendors more buyers," a user purporting to be the CEO of Atlantis said on Reddit. "Law enforcement is going to be aware of us (and probably already is) regardless of the way we choose to put our product out there."
Atlantis says it has processed more than half a million dollars in sales since it opened in March, so the aggressive advertising strategy may be working. The company is also hiring an online marketer — to be paid in Bitcoin, of course.

The Tapir Is The Animal With The Most Terrifying Penis


In this not-exactly-safe-for-work video, two tapirs (a jungle-dwelling mammal, related to the rhinoceros) go at it with verve, while a nice family watches and makes what I assume to be amusing commentary.

As Matthew Cobb at Why Evolution is True discovered, this is only one entry in a whole genre of tapir sex videos and tapir penis photos.
21 June 2013

Google Admits Those infamous Brainteasers Were Completely Useless For Hiring

You can stop counting how many golfballs will fit in a schoolbus now.

Google has admitted that the headscratching questions it once used to quiz job applicants (How many piano tuners are there in the entire world? Why are manhole covers round?) were utterly useless as a predictor of who will be a good employee.

“We found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time,” Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google, told the New York Times. “They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart.”

A list of Google questions compiled by Seattle job coach Lewis Lin, and then read by approximately everyone on the entire Internet in one form or another, included these humdingers:
  • How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?
  • Design an evacuation plan for San Francisco
  • How many times a day does a clock’s hands overlap?
  • A man pushed his car to a hotel and lost his fortune. What happened?
  • You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?
Bock says Google now relies on more quotidian means of interviewing prospective employees, such as standardizing interviews so that candidates can be assessed consistently, and “behavioral interviewing,” such as asking people to describe a time they solved a difficult problem. It’s also giving much less weight to college grade point averages and SAT scores.

(PS: The answer is 500,000)
19 June 2013

China Invented The Weirdest Way Ever To Ward Off Perverts

This might be the strangest way of keeping aggressive men at bay, but we have to give it major points for being clever.

"Super sexy, summertime anti-pervert full-leg-of-hair stockings, essential for all young girls going out," @HappyZhangJiang describes the item on China's popular microblogging service, Sina Weibo.

They remind us somewhat of the less playful, more functional "anti-rape" lingerie developed recently by three engineering students in India. That garment is wired to deliver an electric shock to sexual attackers and can send an alert message, with GPS coordinates, to the attacked woman's friends and family.

The idea behind the hair stockings, we're guessing, is that lewd gropers wouldn't come anywhere near you. Tongue-in-cheek, but inventive nonetheless.

china hair stockings
(Hat tip, chinaSMACK via Hypervocal)