June 30, 2007

Mighty Ducks: a 15-year journey around the world

Posted in Events, Fun, Humor, Life, Media, Nature, News, Oceanography, Science at 6:27 pm by deadlikeme

duckmap.jpg

An armada of plastic ducks, known as Friendly Floatees, is heading for Britain’s coast after their accidental release 15 years ago.

Their birth place was a chinese factory and they were supposed to be shipped from Hong Kong to the US. But during a storm on January 29, 1992 three containers fell off the cargo ship and got lost in the Pacific.

Two third of the plastic ducks landed months later on the shores of Indonesia, Australia and South America. But about 10.000 ducks headed north.

For the past 15 years Curtis Ebbesmeyer has been tracking those plastic ducks and recently said that those that had not been trapped in circulating currents in the North Pacific, crushed by icebergs or blown ashore in Japan are bobbing across the Atlantic on the Gulf Stream. Now the ducks are heading for Britain’s beaches.

Since 2003 the toys’ american distributor, First Years Inc., rewards anyone who finds one of these ducks with $100.

for more read the Times article

the map is from Spiegel Online

June 20, 2007

Mission To Mars: ESA calls for candidates

Posted in Education, Events, Life, Mars Mission, News, Psychology, Science, Technology at 8:00 am by deadlikeme

missiontomars.jpg

The European Space Agency (ESA) is looking for candidates to participate in up to three isolation and confinement studies. The first study starts in May 2008.

Except for weightlessness and radiation, the simulation will be as close to a real Mars mission as possible. The candidates will be selected based on education, professional experience, medical fitness and social habits.

All in all the studies can take more than two years (Pilot study: 100 days, Mars Mission: 520 days, Follow-up studies: up to one year).

Some criterias for applicants:

– 25 to 50 years
– English and Russian (fluency in one and working knowledge of the other language)
– Non-smokers, no addicitons (alcohol, illicit drugs, etc.)
– Availability for the whole duration of the studies
– Candidates nationality is restricted to following ESA member states: Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Norway, The Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, United Kingdom, Canada)

For successful conpletion of the entire study, the respective volunteer will receive a fixed compensation (I hear it’s 120 Euros per day).

Submission deadline is September 30th, 2007.

For more information and the application form visit the ESA website.

June 15, 2007

Judge rules “No girlfriend for you until 2010”

Posted in Fun, Humor, Life, Love, News, People, Psychology, Society at 8:54 am by deadlikeme

solitude.jpg24-year-old Steven Cranley is not allowed to have a girlfriend for the next three years.

A judge in Ontario (Canada) has banned Cranley from relationships until 2010 as a result of a violent argument he had with his ex-girlfriend and her roommate. Cranley assaulted both women and also cut the phone lines in the home to prevent them from calling the police.

Cranley was diagnosed with a “dependent personality disorder“, meaning he can’t handle rejection very well.

Being such a bad-breaker-upper he is a threat to anyone he becomes romantically involved with, hence the “no girlfriend for the next three years” sentence.

United Press International

June 12, 2007

Blame it on your racist dog

Posted in Animals, Biology, Culture, Life, News, Racism, Society at 8:46 am by deadlikeme

“My dog is racist. Not me,” claims a Belgian businessman who rejected a Nigerian job applicant.

The Nigerian arrived at the Belgian’s wrought-iron business and was immediately confronted by a barking dog. So the Belgian turned the Nigerian away before he could even enter the office.

The Belgian wrote on his labor office letter that he could not hire the man because of his color. He was afraid the dog would bite him. The labour office concluded that the Belgian was racist and has removed him from its list of potential employers.

Reuters

The “racist dog” idea has been used in a few TV shows, like Curb Your Enthusiasm and King of the Hill. But “racist dog” is more than a punch line. See for yourself and google it. There is a lot of discussion on the internet on wether dogs can actually be racist or not.

Contrary to popular believe dogs are not totally color-blind.

June 5, 2007

How to catch a leopard with your cell phone

Posted in Animals, Biology, Fun, Humor, India, Life, Nature, Technology at 8:26 am by deadlikeme

leopardphone.jpgForest guards in Ahmedabad (western India) use their cell phones to catch leopards that have wandered into human settlements.

Instead of using live bait to lure the leopards, the guards have downloaded the sounds of cows mooing, goats bleating and roosters crowing as ringtones onto their cell phones. Using speakers behind cages they play the ringtone continuously until a curious leopard appears and wanders into the cage.

Since its introduction a month ago this new trapping method has worked on five leopards. They have all been released back into the wild.

Reuters

June 1, 2007

Homeland Security calls upon Sci-fi writers

Posted in Life, Media, Politics, Science, Science Fiction, Society, Technology at 8:04 am by deadlikeme

sci-fi.jpgThe group is called SIGMA and was put together 15 years ago. Now, the Homeland Security Department is calling on the group for help.

Homeland Security invited SIGMA to attend a conference on Science and Technology last week. SIGMA‘s motto is “Science Fiction in the National Interest.” To join the group, you have to have at least one Ph.D or medical degree.

Christopher Kelly, spokesman for Homeland Security’s Science and Technology division: “We need to look everywhere for ideas, and science-fiction writers clearly inform the debate.

Read the STL Today and USA Today articles for more.

On why they offer their ideas to the government, Ringworld author Larry Niven:

“To save civilization. We do it in fiction. Why wouldn’t we want to do it in fact?”