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Obama VS WikiLeaks

obama vs wikileaks Obama VS WikiLeaks

President Obama is engaging in some post-WikiLeaks diplomacy.

In phone calls Saturday to the leaders of Turkey and Mexico, Obama deplored the WikiLeaks release of once-secret diplomatic cables — some of which contained criticism of those two nations, and others.

Obama “expressed his regrets for the deplorable action by WikiLeaks and the two leaders agreed that it will not influence or disrupt the close cooperation between the United States and Turkey,” said a White House readout of the conversation with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In cables released by WikiLeaks, some U.S. diplomats raised questions about Turkey’s reliability as a global partner, given the rise of pro-Islamist and anti-Israel sentiments within its government.

According to the White House readout, Obama and Erdogan “discussed the enduring importance of the U.S.-Turkish partnership and affirmed their commitment to work together on a broad range of issues.”

Other cables released by WikiLeaks, U.S. officials raised questions about Mexico’s ability to fight the drug war — hence an Obama call to President Felipe Calderon.

“The Presidents discussed the deplorable actions by WikiLeaks and agreed its irresponsible acts should not distract our two countries from our important cooperation,” said the White House statement.

The statement also cited other U.S.-Mexican issues, leavened with praise for Calderon:

Sauna on Wheels in Winter

In the depths of the taiga businessman Sergey Behnke cut down the sauna on wheels, which are cleaned loggers, hunters, tourists and other residents of the north side.A pair in the bath on wheels, parked at our request on the very edge of a snow-covered taiga

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Worlds Most Dangereous Doctors

Doctor Zoidberg is one of the reasons I love Futurama. His constant failures at curing even basic illnesses due to an awful understanding of human anatomy make every episode all the better. This is a look at 10 real doctors that were just as bad, if not worse, than Zoidberg.

1. Galen

galen Worlds Most Dangereous Doctors

Galen caused millions of deaths by popularizing Humorism – the belief that the human body is filled with black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood. He had never seen the inside of a human body because Romans considered dissection sacrilegious and wrote most of his influential anatomy books by observing, reasoning, and mostly guessing. The Catholic Church demonstrated that it always has great ideas by declaring him the only authority on human anatomy, leading to centuries of Europeans believing that the brain was a phlegm clot.

2. Guy-Crescent Fagon

SIL14 F001 01a Worlds Most Dangereous Doctors

Louis XIV spent his entire reign turning France into the dominant European power, but spent his final years drunkenly stumbling around Versailles (and stinky) after Fagon put him on a diet of wine to cure a gangrenous foot. (It didn’t work.) Fagon then proved he was better suited to be a spy by wiping out most of Louis XIV’s living heirs in an attempt to cure an outbreak of measles through bleedings and forced vomiting. Louis XV, a baby at the time, survived only because his nurse refused to hand him over to Fagon. Louis XV’s reign signaled a drastic downturn in Bourbon popularity and power.

3. James Clark

jamesclark Worlds Most Dangereous Doctors

Queen Victoria also had a doctor that helped change the United Kingdom’s history. Victoria and Prince Albert had turned the monarchy into a symbol of morality, but Clark killed Albert after he diagnosed his typhoid fever as the common cold. Victoria spent the rest of her life mourning. He then caused a huge scandal (by Victorian standards) when he diagnosed Flora Hastings, an unmarried lady-in-waiting, as pregnant. Two other doctors disagreed, citing that she was a virgin, but Clark convinced Victoria that he had run across other virgin births in his time. Victoria’s reputation was marred when Hastings died and an autopsy revealed that she had liver cancer.

4. Francis Willis

franciswillis Worlds Most Dangereous Doctors

In the 18th century it was believed that the only way to cure mental patients was through restraint and beatings. The idea was to subdue to patient. Willis legitimized this by “curing” King George III’s insanity through torture, a straight jacket, and length of rope. Copycat sanitariums, each advertising even more brutal methods, quickly opened up and became booming businesses as dumping grounds for troublesome family members. At the height of the madhouse-for-sale craze, it was common for husbands to have their wives declared insane by physicians and to pay a yearly fee to keep her at a madhouse indefinitely.

5. Walter Freeman

walter freeman Worlds Most Dangereous Doctors

The treatment of mental illness had not changed much since Willis’ time until the introduction of drugs in the ’50s. A decade before then, Freeman ushered in one of the darkest periods in psychiatry’s history by touting the “ice pick” lobotomy – where a sharp instrument is inserted through the eye socket to destroy the frontal lobes – as the cure for everything from depression to hyperactive children. It became incredibly popular, over 50,000 were performed, with Freeman performing over 3,000 himself in his lobotomobile. Freeman believed in lobotomies even after being discredited. He spent his final years visiting his victims, trying to prove they had benefited from his work.

6. William Arbuthnot-Lane

william Arbuthnotlane Worlds Most Dangereous Doctors

One of the most gifted surgeons of his time, Lane popularized colectomies because he believed evolution was steaming by so quickly that the colon was now a vestigial organ that caused all health problems. (He also believed that red heads could never get constipated.) He was quick to snip away lengths of the colon if a patient came to him with even minor ailments. His influence in royal circles turned colectomies into one of the most popular medical procedures for a while. It wasn’t until the Royal Society of Medicine in London discredited him that he started promoting a healthy lifestyle that involved eating a lot of fiber to solve one’s colon problems.

7. Shirō Ishii

shiro ishii 1 Worlds Most Dangereous Doctors

World War II was a period when science and technology made leaps and bounds. On the Axis side some stomach turning methods were used to push medical science forward. Ishii, a covert medical researcher for the Japanese, used thousands of Chinese – whom he called “logs” – in brutal tests. He had limbs hacked off to study blood loss, had body parts frozen and thawed out to study frostbite, and had bombs strapped to live victims to test their effectiveness. He forced most of his staff to commit suicide after his unit was disbarred but personally accepted immunity in exchange for his data. Some believe he immigrated to the United States after the war, but no one really knows.

8. Josef Mengele

Dr.mengele Worlds Most Dangereous Doctors

The German, and better known, counterpart to Ishii, Mengele performed weird experiments on concentration camp victims that ranged from trying to change eye color through chemical injections, using X-Ray machines to sterilize women, and dissecting live babies. He was obsessed with twins, and once spent a whole night cataloging the body parts of 14 Gypsy twins after injecting their hearts with chloroform. He even supervised an attempt to create conjoined twins by having two people sewn together. (It didn’t work.) He kept a troupe of dwarfs around him at all times and called them his family. He escaped to South America after the war and died while swimming in Brazil.

9. John R. Brinkley

brinkley john Worlds Most Dangereous Doctors

Brinkley, a small town doctor with a diploma mill degree, popularized the practice of implanting of goat testicles in men after a farmer complained about his libido. Brinkley remembered that goats were especially virile and suggested implanting their testicular glands in the farmer. Nine months later the birth of the farmer’s son, aptly named Billy, turned Brinkley into one of the most popular doctors of the late 19th century until his license was taken away from him. The libidinous boost was entirely psychological, as the body simply absorbed the foreign glands, but people rarely came forward to decry Brinkley because he claimed it only worked on intelligent men.

10. Edward Bodkin

edwardbodkin Worlds Most Dangereous Doctors

On the other extreme of testicles is Bodkin, a Bill Maher lookalike who was arrested for performing 5 unlicensed castrations in in 1999. He was going to perform a 6th until the man got cold feet and informed police Bodkin intended to castrate young boys. Bodkin advertised his services as a cutter – an underground surgeon – in ball fetishism magazines with the stipulation that the castrati allow him to sell tapes of the process. He kept his “trophies” in jars next to his fridge. When the state prosecutor was asked for a motive, he responded: “I can’t sit here as a reasonable human being and give you an intelligent answer to that.”

10 Cults for Apocalypse

Apocalypticism, the belief that the world will end soon, is found in practically every religion on the planet. The Romans were periodically gripped by panics involving the prophesied downfall of Rome throughout their history, and early Christians believed they were living in the End Times with as much zeal as modern American evangelists. The following are 10 doomsday cults that still exist.

mushroom cloud 10 Cults for Apocalypse

joanna southcott 150x150 10 Cults for Apocalypse1. The Panacea Society

In 1792, part-time fortune teller Joanna Southcott started collecting “divine revelations” and had them sealed in a box with strict instructions to open it only for Jesus. Her followers called themselves Southcottians and were mostly early-19th century Spiritualists. Southcott dramatically announced that she was pregnant with the messiah, Shiloh, whose birth would kill all but her followers. However, Southcott was a 64-year-old virgin who showed no signs of pregnancy. To Southcott’s credit, she began doubting her beliefs when she failed to give birth but died before she was able to do anything about it. The sudden power vacuum among the Southcottians brought out all sorts of leadership, all of whom claimed they could psychically communicate with Southcott’s box, and transformed the Southcottians into a bizarre cult that refused to bury Southcott’s corpse, believing that she would be resurrected. They renamed themselves the Panacea Society under the belief that they had healing powers, and still believe that Shiloh will descend from heaven to reboot the world at a later date. The Panacea Society spends most of its time issuing press releases in British newspapers demanding that the bishops of the Church of England assemble to open Southcott’s box, presumably because Jesus is too busy.

elizabeth prophet 150x150 10 Cults for Apocalypse2. The Church Universal and Triumphant

In 1957, traveling salesman Mark Prophet founded The Summit Lighthouse to teach the way of the Ascended Masters. According to him, Ascended Masters are individuals who have acquired enough worldly knowledge to attain immortal souls. Most of his original followers were nice old ladies who liked the idea of immortality, but membership exploded through the New Age self-help seminar circuit. Things became a bit bizarre after Prophet died in 1973. His wife, Elizabeth, co-opted a large portion of the followers and founded the Church Universal and Triumphant. She started referring to herself as Guru Ma, claimed that the world’s elite were malevolent aliens, and moved the organization to a remote Montana ranch patrolled by armed guards. There, members are forced into celibacy and aren’t allowed to eat chocolate (it was created by aliens). In the ’90s, Elizabeth made headlines by announcing that the alien elite would wage an nuclear war that would kill all but her followers. Cult members constructed the world’s largest fallout shelter and began stockpiling arms in preparation. When nothing happened, Elizabeth denied ever setting a date and claimed that she was merely warning the world. The Church continues to collect weaponry and upholds that the alien elite will wage their war on a future date.

charles taze russell 150x150 10 Cults for Apocalypse3. The Jehovah’s Witnesses

In 1875, Charles Taze Russell, the son of a wealthy haberdasher, used his wealth to inform as many people as possible that the Armageddon would take place in 1878. 1878 passed without a blip but Russell was unphased: he simply created an organization which transformed into the Jehovah’s Witnesses and issued another date. Russell taught that Jesus had secretly been enthroned in heaven in 1914 and will return after the Armageddon, which only Jehovah’s Witnesses will survive. After ruling for 1,000 years, Jesus will return to heaven with the most righteous 144,000 souls. The remaining Jehovah’s Witnesses need not worry as they’ll get to enjoy paradise on Earth. Russell developed complicated algorithms to issue alerts about when Armageddon would occur and continued to do so even after the dates kept passing without anything happening. His death in 1916 didn’t seem to deter the organization from arbitrarily announcing a new date either. Jehovah’s Witnesses kept issuing dates until a mass walkout of members in 1976. Since then they’ve been reluctant to say when the Armageddon will occur, but still uphold that it can happen at any moment.

jihadist 150x150 10 Cults for Apocalypse4. Takfir wal-Hijra

In 1971, agricultural engineer Shukri Mustafa joined a splinter of the Muslim Brotherhood called Takfir wal-Hijra (”Excommunication and Exodus”). His loose interpretation of Qur’anic verses involving the Apocalypse transformed the group into a cult that believes it is their right to conquer the Muslim world by any means because it has become too decadent. Takfir wal-Hijra believes that the end of the world will occur after the appearance of the Mahdi, an agent of God who will purify Islam. An epic battle between good and evil will kill all but the followers of Takfir wal-Hijra. Mustafa originally hinted that he was the Mahdi and declared that the end of the world was right around the corner. After Egypt hinted at peace with Israel, he took his followers to prepare in Egyptian caves. When nothing happened, he stated that cataclysmic destruction was required to bring the true Mahdi out of hiding and unleashed a program of terror in Egypt. Most of the group was killed by the Egyptian government fairly quickly. Mustafa was dead by 1978, and Takfir wal-Hijra has been operating in secret since. They were a massive influence on a young Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda’s second in command, who took the concept of using violence to bring about Armageddon to heart.

edgar cayce 150x150 10 Cults for Apocalypse5. Association for Research and Enlightenment

In 1902, insurance salesman Edgar Cayce began undergoing hypnosis to cure a bad case of laryngitis. He claimed to have discovered his underlying clairvoyant powers during these treatments and became one of history’s most influential psychics. Most of his early followers were Theosophists, but he became popular with the New Age movement in the ’60s and more recently with the History Channel whenever they’ve run out of Nostradamus shows. After a brief stint as a psychic healer, Cayce set up a nonprofit organization to shield himself from fortune telling laws and had a stenographer record 14,000 prophecies. His most dramatic prophecies involved “Earth Changes“, cataclysms brought on by the United States discovering a crystal powered Atlantean death ray in 1958. The Earth’s axis would shift, California would fall into the Pacific Ocean forever, and New York would be wiped out. Cayce died in 1945 and when nothing happened 1958, his followers associated atomic weapons with his Earth Changes prophecies. The Association for Research and Enlightenment, a modern incarnation of Cayce’s original organization, still studies his prophecies, hosts discussions over them, and occasionally releases cryptic warnings about the coming Earth Changes.

shoko asahara 150x150 10 Cults for Apocalypse6. Aum Shinrikyo

In 1987, blind acupuncturist Shoko Asahara started a yoga class after visiting India. It attracted Japan’s educated elite at first, but quickly transformed into a rigid cult that called itself Aum Shinrikyo (”Supreme Truth”) as Asahara incorporated more occult teachings. Advertising campaigns announced that Asahara had attained enlightenment, was Jesus, and could cure everything from venereal diseases to brain cancer. Members were required to live on sparse compounds where children were forced into solitary confinement, had their eyebrows dyed green, and were forced to wear headgear that was designed to produce the same frequency as Asahara’s brainwaves. After a failed attempt to win 1990’s Japanese elections, Asahara began preaching that the Japanese government would wage a cataclysmic war with Aum Shinrikyo in 1997. Ever the altruist, he decided that it was Aum Shinrikyo’s duty to kill as many people as possible before the war since it relieved victims of bad karma. To make this happen the group manufactured Sarin and released it in crowded subways in 1995. Asahara was sentenced to be executed for the deaths of 11 people. Aum Shinrikyo has since reformed itself as Aleph and is under constant scrutiny from the Japanese government.

rael 150x150 10 Cults for Apocalypse7. Raëlism

In 1974, sports journalist Claude Vorilhon renamed himself Raël and held a press conference to announce that he had been visited by benevolent aliens called Elohim. Vorilhon claimed that he had been tasked to save humanity from an impending nuclear holocaust. This “Age of Apocalypse” (not the X-Men arc) can only be averted if an interplanetary embassy is built in Israel. The Elohim will reveal themselves at this point and humanity will enter a new era of peace. Unfortunately, Israel won’t allow the embassy to be built because the swastika is prominently displayed in the Raëlism symbol. Raël claims he is from a long line of alien prophets which includes Muhammad, Jesus, and Buddha. He knows this for a fact because he visited them on another planet and they told him so. Although they’ve been cautious enough not to give an exact day for when the nuclear apocalypse will occur, Raëlians have hinted that not building the embassy by 2030 will yield massive destruction. When he isn’t saving humanity from the nuclear holocaust, Raël spends his time playing video games because racing exotic cars that wealthy members donated was too exhausting.

li hongzhi 150x150 10 Cults for Apocalypse8. Falun Gong

In 1992, cereal factory guard Li Hongzhi started claiming he had godlike powers that allowed him to turn invisible, levitate, immobilize people, control the weather, and see into the future. This last power is especially important, because Li has seen that Fa-rectification, a cosmic process that reduces humanity to a pure state, will cause a “Great Havoc” soon. Li has developed a series of meditation techniques rooted in Taoism and Buddhism called Falun Gong to help mankind attain salvation in its time of need. It is spreading very quickly, there are an estimated 70 million Falun Gong practitioners in China alone. The Chinese government responded by banning the immensely popular religion under the argument that it has all the auspices of a dangerous cult. In 2003, Li announced that the SARS epidemic was the first wave of Fa-rectification. Falun Gong practitioners generally brush criticism aside, claiming that it is slander planted by the Chinese government.

emperor haile selassie 150x150 10 Cults for Apocalypse9. Rastafarians

In the early-’30s, stories were published in Jamaican newspapers claiming that Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia was the leader of an East African possession cult known as the Nyahbinghi. These stories were fabrications written by Italian Fascists wanting to smear Selassie, but Jamaicans found them inspirational, and cults which venerated Selassie started appearing. The Rastafari movement developed out of this but didn’t have a central theology until 1933, when Leonard Howell returned after visiting the United States. Howell, a close friend of Marcus Garvey, distributed Afrocentric pamphlets that claimed Selassie was the messiah and was leading a war against western civilization, called Babylon. This struck a chord with Jamaicans who were weary of British rule. Howell never gave a date for the impending race war, but other Rastafari prophets were not as tight-lipped. Some preached that Jamaica would be torn apart in 1977 and that only Rastafarians would survive. Nothing happened and the Rastafarians fractured into various “mansions” who only share a belief in the evils of white society and the divinity of Selassie. Its modern form was brought to a worldwide audience through reggae music.

dada kripalani 150x150 10 Cults for Apocalypse10. Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University

In 1932, retired diamond dealer Lekhraj Khubchand Kripalani began claiming he was an avatar of Shiva and was receiving apocalyptic visions. He taught that a nuclear holocaust would destroy every continent except for the Indian subcontinent and quickly attracted a core group of 300 followers. Only they would be equipped to lead after the genocide, and they would usher in a perfect paradise. Most of his early converts were wealthy wives who made celibacy oaths and pledged their fortunes to him. Pissed off families starting lobbying the Indian government to ban the group, forcing Kripalani to create the organization that eventually became the Brahma Kumaris. They operated in secret, lobbying foreign governments to recognize them and putting out meditation pamphlets, until they found a lucrative niche teaching meditation techniques to the New Age movement. The Brahma Kumaris exploded across the planet until Kripalani died in 1969, leaving behind strict instructions that he would send messages through the Kumari leadership. The Brahma Kumaris still teach that a great destruction is right around the corner. Their most famous adherent is Pratibha Patil, the current president of India, who in 2007 announced that she had received a message from Kripalani stating that a “great responsibility” was headed her way.

The 8 Scariest Houses on Earth

There was always that house at the end of the street that scared the crap out of you. The one on the hill with windows that looked like eyes and some creepy garden gnomes that appeared ready to spring to life and eat you. All around the world there is a house that was built to scare us (by Satan, we’re guessing). We like to steer clear of them, but if you’re in to the goose bump thing, here is a compilation of the scariest places on earth. Enter at your own stupidity.

8. The Littlecote House

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Ah, this one is a wonderful story. William Darrell, once lord of the place, is said to have murdered one of his children in the house by a mistress. Ever since, a distraught woman can be seen moping around the hallways carrying a baby. When she can’t be seen, people have reported hearing a baby crying as if in pain. Not to be outdone, Darrell’s other mistresses also haunt the manor, specifically in the Chinese Bedroom and out in the gardens. It’s like the afterlife version of Fatal Attraction — which would be kinda’ hot if it didn’t also scare the hell out of us.

7. The Devil’s Backbone House

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This place is located just around the corner from a stretch of road known as The Devil’s Backbone, thus the name. Seriously. It may not be widely known, but to those residing in rural Union City, Kentucky, it packs a spooky wallop. Its creaky staircase turns a corner at the crest — you know, for the supernatural killer to hide from view — and it also comes complete with the always evil sewing room. But best of all for this haunted farmhouse is the basement. If you survive your trip down the death trap stairs, there are stone walls and an odd moat that runs along the base of the walls. We’re not sure if the moat is to keep you in or out, but we suggest just never going in the first place. Oh and did we mention the Indian burial ground just down the road and the legend of all the sacrifices held behind the house?

6. The Baron Castle

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As if Egypt needed some additional scare elements after mummies and the pyramids. The Baron Castle is in Cairo and has been deserted for years — already a bad sign. Reports from people who dare hang out there for more than five minutes, claim that doors and windows open and shut on their own and various apparitions appear at random moments. The original owner, Barron Empain, built the sucker on a hill so he could look down on the town he erected (hehe). The hauntings apparently come from the many accidents that have happened at the house over the years — some under shady circumstances. We just checked Egypt off of our “places to visit before we are old and decrepit” list.

5. The Viscilla Axe Murder House

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It was 1912 in this small Iowa town when eight people were hacked up in their beds with an ax — six of them were children. This is one of those places that give ghost hunters 24 hour erections. Since the murders — still unsolved — there have been hundreds of accounts of hearing children’s voices screaming in the house, things moving, doors opening and closing, and much of this has even been caught on video. Since 1998, the house has been open to overnight visitors who want to experience what it is like to shit their pants. We’ll take a pass.

4. The Cape Town Castle

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This place in South Africa’s storied city was built in 1666 (mark of the devil, anyone?) to help protect the harbor against attackers. Unfortunately, lots of slaves and criminals were shoved into a dark, windowless place known affectionately as “The Hole” and tortured until they ceased to live. While the castle is now a museum and open to the public, visitors claim to feel physical pain when they enter The Hole and some even claim to hear the screams of torture echoing off the stone walls. It was either The Cape Town Castle or Disneyland. The kids just love them some torture stories.

3. The LaLaurie House

scariest houses earth.a5 The 8 Scariest Houses on Earth

It was built in 1780. That alone is scary because old things are creepy. It’s at 1140 Royal Street in New Orleans, and we all know how creepy New Orleans is on its own, you know, what with its above-ground caskets and all. It’s a three-story sorta’ set up and numerous people have claimed hearing chains being banged against the floors and walls during the night. Oh, not to worry. That’s just the tortured souls of slaves who were brutalized by their female owner like 200 years ago that have come to kill you. Sleep tight, Friend.

2. The Whepstead Manor

scariest houses earth.a2 The 8 Scariest Houses on Earth

In Queensland Australia, this huge place was once a hospital, so yeah, it kinda’ had no choice but be haunted. Many have reported hearing voices yelling, singing, and even laughing. Day or night, these ghosts don’t seem to care when they put the fear in you. There have also been several pictures containing unexplained images captured in the place. This is all scary enough, but perhaps the creepiest is the running footsteps of children up and down the halls and the random tug on your hair form behind — when no one is behind you. Yep, we’re out.

1. The Amityville House

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Of course this place is going to make the list. There have been three movies made about this place and it is legendary for its haunt factor. The story is that in 1974, the DeFeo family was shot and killed execution style at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York. Since then, the place has been haunted and made people — like James Brolin and Ryan Reynolds — go loco. A priest came to bless the home when the first occupants moved in after the slayings and said he heard a male voice telling him to “Get Out!” You wouldn’t need to tell us twice.


The Worlds Most Expensive Typos

When you think of typos, you think of grammar and poor middle school grades. It’s hard to imagine that in this day and age a typo of any serious consequence can make it through the cracks, with spell-check being an automatic feature in most email services and office software. However, some typos in recent years have made it into the news, albeit sometimes under unusual circumstances. The typo, it seems, will likely never go away completely because its very existence is a reflection of the human element in everyday life. It usually also seems like the consequences of some of these more influential typos result in some people winning some people losing. Is it karma or luck? Here are some of the more expensive and prominently featured typos and errors in the last decade or so.

New York City’s Million Dollar Typo

12 The Worlds Most Expensive Typos

A New York City Department of Education bookkeeping error resulted in double spending in the city’s transportation fund. This misspelling turned out to be a word that contained an extra letter and was not readable by the accounting software in use. It was revealed by City Comptroller William Thompson during an audit in June 2006, that this mistake resulted in $2.8 million being spent in what was only supposed to be $1.4 million earmarked for transportation. The city had to make up the difference.

Canada’s 2 Million Dollar Comma Typo

22 The Worlds Most Expensive Typos

In August 2006, a missed comma may have become the most costly piece of punctuation in Canadian history. A court ordered Rogers Communications Inc. to pay an extra $2.13 million to use utility poles in the Maritimes after the placement of a comma in a contract permitted the deal’s cancellation. Rogers thought it had a five year deal with Aliant, Inc to construct thousands of Rogers’ cables across utility poles throughout the Maritimes for an annual rate of $9.60/per pole. However, in 2005, one year after the contract was signed, Aliant, Inc, armed with the rules of grammar and punctuation, cancelled the contract and notified Rogers that the rate was increasing to $28.05.

The construction of a single sentence in the 14 page contract allowed the entire deal to be scrapped with only one year’s notice, the company argued. Rogers rebutted they never would have signed a contract to use roughly 91,000 utility poles that could be cancelled on such short notice. “This is clearly not what the parties intended,” Rogers said in a letter to the CRTC. But the CRTC disagreed. And the consequences are significant. The company will likely end up paying $2.13 million more than expected based on rough calculations. “Based on the rules of punctuation,” the comma in question “allows for the termination of the [contract] at any time, without cause, upon one year’s written notice,” the regulator said.

Typo awards $50 Million in prizes instead of $1000.

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In July 2007 A Roswell, New Mexico-based car dealership sent out 50,000 scratch-off ads each as $1000.00 winners. Touting a grand prize of $1,000 (which was to be 1 in 50,000), these cards were incorrectly printed by an Atlanta-based Force Events Direct Marketing Co. The result was 50,000 crazed locals who thought they had each won the grand prize, calling the dealership to cash-in. Realizing that a $50,000,000 pay-off was neither intended or realistic, this unnamed dealership has offered to hand out $5 Wal-Mart gift cards in exchange for the misprinted scratchers, which equaled a paltry $250,000. Additionally, Force Events held a $5,000 drawing for anyone with a ticket, in an attempt to quell the immediate dissatisfaction of the townspeople, as well as a series of 20 other drawings – each with a $1,000 prize

Davilar: The $175 Million Chilean Typo

42 The Worlds Most Expensive Typos

In 1994, then-copper trader Juan Pablo Davila was working for a Chilean government-owned Codelco Company, when a serious typo while trading online resulted in buying failing stocks instead of selling. During the nascent stages of Internet trading, this blunder was made worse by, when realizing his mistake; Davila went on a frenzy of buying and selling. The resultant loss of his actions caused the market such disruption, that by the end of it all, he had lost his company – and consequently, his country – roughly $175 million. At the time, this was equal to .5% of the country’s entire GNP. Thereupon, his name became a verb: a “Davilar” is now a screw up of royal proportions.

Fat Fingers Typo Cost Japanese Bank $340 Million

52 The Worlds Most Expensive Typos

In September 2006, A trader at Mizuho Securities accidentally sold 610,000 shares in J-Com Co. (a job recruiting company) for 1 yen a piece, instead of 1 share at 610,000 yen. Unable to cancel the order Mizuho Securities has lost roughly $340 million as a result. Just think how lucky you would have been to purchase a few pieces of this stock! Attributed to “fat-finger” syndrome, which is stock trader slang for making large blunders, the trader’s name has not been made public (likely for security purposes). When Mizuho contacted the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the latter cited a glitch in its system that made this trade irrevocable. Discussions have occurred with the possibility of Mizuho and the TSE some how sharing the loss, but still no agreement has been reached.

Google Was A Typo

6 The Worlds Most Expensive Typos

A Student at Stanford University, Sean Anderson accidentally helped Larry Page come up with the name and spelling of Google. While Page and Anderson were in Page’s office, the two were attempting to come up for a name for the would-be search behemoth. Sean had suggested verbally the word “googolplex”, spurning Page to shorten it to “googol”. Anderson then went to check the availability of the word, accidentally spelling it “Google” in an internet domain name registry. Available it was, and the company has decided to go with this spelling ever since. Whether or not the company has succeeded because of the name is subject to some speculation, it is very interesting to see what has become of a basic spelling error. It also goes to show that not all typos result in lives being ruined and/or financial turmoil, way to go Sean Anderson (although he now works for Microsoft).

5 Things You Didnt Know about divorce

divorce 5 Things You Didnt Know about divorce

Divorce is popular – too popular. It’s like your favorite local band ruined by fame: once the masses first got their hands on the no-fault divorce in 1970s America, they abused it. Now, thanks to them, it’s primed for a major backlash.

This backlash doesn’t mean the public has developed a distaste for the divorce-related details of others — not on your life. The divorcing parties themselves don’t even need to be all that intriguing. Consider the insatiable interest in the unfolding split between Jon and Kate Gosselin, two of the most uninteresting and unsympathetic people imaginable. Pathos are better spent on their eight kids, whose world — which used to revolve around themselves, appropriately — will soon revolve around other, less attentive worlds created by an ugly divorce, like revolving custody, revolving stability and daddy’s revolving girlfriends.

As yet another marriage is torn asunder, we offer up 5 things you didn’t know about divorce.

1- Born-again Christians have the highest divorce rate

The first thing you didn’t know about divorce is that some predictors of divorce need to be shouted from the mountain top.

A study by Barna Research Group found that the 33% divorce rate among born-again Christians, or evangelicals, was the highest among Christian denominations. Not surprisingly, these results met with a flood of criticism, much of which raised one of the most disputed questions in this field: What is the biggest predictor of divorce among the broader population, the most common of all the common denominators?

The answer generally depends on who you ask, but two predictors frequently mentioned are first, age at marriage and second, income — notably, couples under age 20 with an income under $25,000 have a very high risk of divorcing. Throw in a pregnancy, and they’re pretty much doomed.

2- The average divorce costs over $50,000

The popular legal DIY site legalzoom.com tells potential customers that divorce “doesn’t have to be complicated or costly” and that their services can wrap up an uncontested divorce “in three simple steps,” all for $299.

What that fee does not cover (and doesn’t purport to cover) are all the hidden costs. Using a variety of statistics from the 2006 US Census Bureau, divorce360.com came to an average figure for those hidden costs: about $53,000. While admitting that every divorce is different, the site nonetheless reached that figure by adding up costs such as couples/marriage therapy before the divorce, individual therapy for themselves and their children after divorce, moving costs, fees for attorneys and financial advisors, the costs of selling the marital home, of acquiring a new mortgage on a smaller home for one spouse, and apartment rental costs for the other spouse.

Point being, there’s far more to divorce than three simple steps.

3- Liberal divorce laws often follow political revolutions

Another thing you didn’t know about divorce is that it had a role in killing or overthrowing the likes of Louis XVI, George III and Tsar Nicholas II.

Divorce has a chummy relationship with radical politics and the revolutions they bring about, according to Canadian historian Roderick Phillips. In Putting Asunder, his account of divorce in the West, he notes three examples: the slew of pro-divorce legislation that followed the American Revolution; the enactment in France in 1792 of history’s first no-fault divorce laws following the French Revolution; and Vladimir Lenin’s relaxed divorce laws in the wake of the Russian Revolution.

4- Divorces have been in decline everywhere but Utah

The 50% divorce rate among American couples is an oft-cited myth, but in fact, US divorces have been in a slow, steady decline since 1979. In the last few years, however, the people of Utah have seemed determined to buck that trend, as they are the only state in which the number of divorce filings have not fallen.

To their credit, Utah’s legislators have decided to do something about it. In 2007, they passed HB 128, the nation’s first divorce orientation legislation. Among other things, the bill established a mandatory divorce orientation course for couples filing for divorce. The bill doesn’t really make it all that much harder to get a divorce in Utah; rather, it creates an optional intermediate step prior to filing, one that, it can be assumed, is meant to get couples to reconsider.

5- Divorce is a product of the Protestant Reformation

The last thing you didn’t know about divorce is who to blame for making it all possible in the first place.

Prior to Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation, Western society’s attitudes about marriage were guided strictly by Catholic marriage doctrine and its only out — an annulment. Reformers rejected that doctrine, first by citing shaky New Testament scripture and then by claiming that annulments were so widespread and so easy to get that they were pretty much the same thing as divorces. The arguments were so weak that not even King Henry VIII — arguably history’s first serial divorcer — stopped persecuting Reformers, even after splitting his country with the Roman Catholic Church.

Still, the end consequence is that, although marriage has retained ties to its sacred past (i.e. weddings in churches, officiated by the clergy), divorce has developed into a purely secular affair.

The 65 Most Annoying things about the Web Today

annoying web The 65 Most Annoying things about the Web Today

We’ve come a long way on the web today. Or have we?  While we’ve innovated in many areas, we’ve also continued to disregard pre-existing issues. And in some cases, we have also created new ones. Here is my list of the top 65 most annoying things about the web today. They’re in no particular order, but I have organized them into what I consider core groups.

Poor Design

  1. Illegible text. I can’t read that, it’s too small. And what on earth is that font called?
  2. Busy backgrounds.  Oh MySpace, why do you allow users to create profiles like that? My eyes hurt.
  3. Obscure links. I’m confused, can I click on that or not? Oh I get it, you don’t want me to view other pages.
  4. Flyouts that are too large. Holy crap Yahoo!  This is a page within a flyout!
  5. Drop-down menu navigation too many levels deep. OK, if I slowly move my mouse this way first… dammit Jim, I’m a doctor not a magician!
  6. Complicated navigation. I just want to get to that page, the one over there! Oh I see, you want me to complete the maze first.
  7. Abused centerpieces. Aren’t centerpieces supposed to serve as mechanisms for promotion, rather than areas to cram an entire page’s worth of content into itself? Call me an idealist, I guess.
  8. Poor navigation labels. Give me a clue and use labels that make sense!
  9. Clutter & chaos. With no emphasis or information hierarchy, it’s difficult for me to know what to look at, and what to do next.
  10. Ugly WAPs. Many companies treat their WAP sites like a deformed step-child they keep in the basement.
  11. Splash screens. Nice, a road block between your user and your home page.

Unfindable Information

  1. Dysfunctional site search. (Sigh) Why didn’t this site just use Google?
  2. Too many blog categories. Isn’t this what tags were meant for?
  3. Contact info. I just want to speak to them on the phone! And when I say “them” i mean a human.
  4. Invisible sign in. OK, so I registered, but how do I sign in?
  5. Hidden account closure. I guess I’m a member for life now?
  6. Unscannable info. I want to quickly know if this article is relevant. But alas, huge paragraphs, long headlines and no subheadings make for an unscannable chunk of data, and an indigestible piece of gristle.

No Content Strategy

  1. No focus. Yada, yada, yada. Get to the point, what’s your message and what do you offer?
  2. Spelling & grammar. Spelling mistakes are hard to forgive and really hurt credibility.
  3. Ineffective product pages: What am I buying? Why should I buy this? Help me understand, and I’ll move down the purchase funnel!
  4. Outdated. There’s nothing more thrilling than seeing a blog frozen in time. At some point, a landfill for websites is going to be needed.
  5. Small photos. Why would I buy something I cannot see?

Auto-Behavior

  1. Auto-playing home page video. Take note ESPN.com: the first thing I do when coming to your site is scramble to find the video pause button. And that’s when I’m surfing from home.
  2. Auto browser resizing. And you did that because?
  3. Customer service nags. Ironic really. Chat pop-ups appear like genies out of a lamp when I don’t need them.
  4. Theme tunes. Got to love that auto-play music, especially when it cycles over and over and over, and over.
  5. Auto opt-ins. It seems like an automatic opt-in is a contradiction in terms to me. No I don’t want your newsletter, and if I did, I’d opt-in.

Evil Forms

  1. Unreadable captchas. Pure Evil. If I had a brick, why I would…
  2. Too many fields. This is utterly exhausting. Oh forget it, I’m going to abandon this form.
  3. Cryptic error messaging. OK, so I made a mistake. If you used English, I might be able to fix it.
  4. No confirmation. Was I successful or not? I’m looking for anything here, a “thank-you”, a “job well done”, a “good boy”… anything that confirms the form was indeed a submitted form.
  5. Too many constraints. I want to add my Canadian zip code, but you’re validating against the US format only!
  6. Too small fields. How I’m supposed to enter my street address in that state-sized field?
  7. The reset button. Do we really need this? I especially love it when I accidentally press “reset” instead of “submit”. It’s especially satisfying when it’s a long form.

Intrusive Advertising

  1. Pop-ups. And that includes those fancy, flashy, moving, hard-to-close ones. Are you serious? This is 2009.
  2. Interstitials. Thanks for adding another click and creating a barrier between me and your content! Give me a reason to leave, I dare you.
  3. Flyouts via links in content. Oh darn, I didn’t know that was an ad! Thanks for punishing me.
  4. Too many Google ads. I know there’s some content around here….
  5. Long video pre-rolls. Is this ad ever going to end? Hang on; I forgot what video I clicked on.
  6. The bus stop. Home pages that resemble bus stops — flyers, posters, graffiti all shouting at me. Sometimes, I swear I can even smell urine.

Accounts

  1. Remembering user names and passwords. Seriously, how many do I need to keep track of? Just give me Facebook connect already!
  2. Being forced to register for purchases. I just want to buy it, OK? Forget it, I’m going elsewhere.
  3. Forced password reset. I just want to know my password! The one I chose but have forgotten. I know you know.
  4. Getting locked out. I get the three-attempts-and-you’re-out idea, but it would be nice to know the rules before hand!
  5. Password sent by “snail mail”. I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. Should I expect a scroll to be delivered and read by a messenger?

Abuse

  1. Spam. We still cannot cure this disease?
  2. Viruses. If I was a conspiracy theorist, I’d say the anti-virus companies were creating these. You know, supply and demand and all.
  3. Phishing. Particularly sneaky; and definitely a step beyond annoying.
  4. Trolls on messageboards/blogs. Oh well, that’s life I guess – art imitating life and all.
  5. Fake profiles. Am I following the real Steven Hawking on Twitter? It says here he went bowling last night.
  6. Facebook app invitations. For the thousandth time, no I do not want to play Mob Wars, and no I don’t want a “pet in an egg” either.

Technology

  1. Explorer 6. I speak for all developers here, if there’s a plug attached, please pull it. RIP Explorer 6.
  2. Plug-ins. Not only do I have to download another plug-in, I have to keep these things current!
  3. Entire sites built in flash. I don’t get it, why?
  4. PDF overuse. Why couldn’t this PDF just be a web page?
  5. Dell’s Netbook trackpad. Designed to be web browsing device, Dell’s Mini 10 trackpad has a trillion bells and whistles, but cannot fulfill basic tasks like moving the cursor from point A to point B without going to C first.
  6. Small netbook screens. While mobile devices have optimized views for their screens, Netbooks and their 9 and 10 inch screens are caught in a weird place.
  7. Inconsistent colors. Optimizing colors and contrast across both Macs and PCs is a designers nightmare.
  8. Charging for Wi-Fi. Provide it free of charge, and the patrons will come!

Waiting

  1. Slow page load. OK that’s it, I’ve been patient and their 3 seconds are up.
  2. Comment approval. I thought, I articulated, I commented, I waited. Nothing.  That will teach me to contribute.
  3. Black-hole between ordering and shipping. I took me 5 minutes to order this laptop, why isn’t it getting shipped? Should I place my order again? Should I cancel this order? What’s the order status?
  4. Twitter is down again. I’m starting to think this is a feature. One akin to a long line outside a trendy night club.
  5. Customer service. Since I cannot get a human on the phone, a 24 hour response time to my e-mail is not acceptable. Well look at that, I guess you just quantified the value of my business.
  6. Submission timers. I saw this really great article! I know, I’ll post it on Reddit. And there’s another one, I’ll post that on Reddit too. What, I have to wait 10 minutes to post another article? That will  teach me to contribute.

The 10 mysteries of human behaviour that science can’t explain

The New Scientist magazine compiled a list of the everyday aspects of life which continue to confound the world’s greatest brains, including the reasons behind kissing, blushing and even picking your nose.

baby laugh 1457353c The 10 mysteries of human behaviour that science cant explain

An editorial in the publication said: “There is nothing more fascinating to most of us than ourselves.

“So it is hardly surprising that we have expended large amounts of effort trying to get to the bottom of what it means to be human.

“What is surprising is that there are so many traits that remain enigmatic.

“These range from the sublime, such as art, dreaming and altruism, to the ridiculous, think pubic hair, blushing and nose-picking.

“They may seem quirky but the best explanations for them often have profound implications.”

Here are some theories on why we do those things we do and some of the problems:

1 – Blushing: Charles Darwin struggled to explain why evolution made us turn red when we lie, which alerts others. However, some think it may help diffuse confrontation or foster intimacy by revealing weakness.

2 – Laughter: mood-improving endorphins are released when we laugh, which seems an obvious reason to do it but a 10-year study muddied the waters when it found more laughter is produced by banal comments than jokes.

3 – Kissing: the explanation for kissing is unlikely to be genetic as not all human societies do it. There are theories that it is associated with memories of breastfeeding and that ancient humans weaned their children by feeding them from their mouths, which reinforced the link between sharing saliva and pleasure.

4 – Dreaming: Sigmund Freud’s theory of dreams expressing our subconscious desires have been generally discredited and it is recognised that they help us process emotions, but the reason why we see such strange visions has not been properly explained.

5 – Superstition: unusual but reassuring habits make no evolutionary sense; however, ancient humans would have benefited from not dismissing a lion’s rustle in the grass as a gust of wind. Religion seems to tap into this impulse.

6 – Picking your nose: the unappealing but common habit of ingesting ‘nasal detritus’ offers almost no nutritional benefit, so why do a quarter of teenagers do it, on average four times a day? Some think it boosts the immune system.

7 – Adolescence: no other animal undergoes the stroppy, unpredictable teenage years. Some suggest it helps our large brain reorganise itself before adulthood or that it allows experimentation in behaviour before the responsibility of later years.

8 – Altruism: giving things away with no certain return is odd behaviour in evolutionary terms. It may help with group bonding or simply give pleasure.

9 – Art: painting, dance, sculpture and music could all be the human equivalent of a peacock’s tail in showing what a good potential mate someone is. However, it could also be a tool for spreading knowledge or sharing experience.

10 – Body hair: fine hair on the body and thick hair on the genitals is the opposite of what occurs in primates, our close animal relatives. Suggested reasons for pubic hair include a role in radiating scent, providing warmth or even protecting from chafing.

Anorexia – it’s terrifying!

Excellent anti-ad for anorexia, it would be great if such ads were shown more often.
Especially for young girls wishing to be extremely thin.

anorexia 1 Anorexia – it’s terrifying!

anorexia 2 Anorexia – it’s terrifying!

anorexia 3 Anorexia – it’s terrifying!

anorexia 4 Anorexia – it’s terrifying!

anorexia5 Anorexia – it’s terrifying!

anorexia 6 Anorexia – it’s terrifying!

anorexia 7 Anorexia – it’s terrifying!

anorexia 8 Anorexia – it’s terrifying!

anorexia 9 Anorexia – it’s terrifying!

anorexia 10 Anorexia – it’s terrifying!

anorexia 11 Anorexia – it’s terrifying!

anorexia 12 Anorexia – it’s terrifying!

anorexia 13 Anorexia – it’s terrifying!

anorexia 14 Anorexia – it’s terrifying!

5 Things You Didn’t Know about North Korea

north korea 5 Things You Didn’t Know about North Korea
When Ex President Bush vilified North Korea as part of the “Axis of Evil,” many Westerners needed no further convincing. What little we already thought we knew seemed plenty persuasive; North Korea — ruled in principle by a dead man and in practice by a character cartoonish enough for The Simpsons, were it not for his incessant desire to have a nuclear button under his finger — had all the right attributes to qualify as enigmatic and evil.

Add to that the fact that North Korea has the fourth largest standing army in the world, that it is still technically at war with South Korea (a 1953 armistice pact ended outright hostilities, but no formal peace treaty has ever replaced it), and that leader Kim Jong-il’s nuclear ambitions continue unabated, especially now that not a single UN inspector remains in the country.

North Korea’s recent launch of a questionable rocket has once again alarmed much of the world, including their tightest allies in Beijing. Thus as diplomatic relations fall back into radioactive decay, we present 5 things you didn’t know about North Korea.

1- North Korea is one of the world’s largest fresh fruit producers

The first thing you didn’t know about North Korea is that it’s a global leader in producing things that are delicious and nutritious.

Estimates made by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) consistently rank North Korea as the 10th largest producer of fresh fruits like apples, peaches, nectarines, and pears. North Korea also ranks 12th in fresh vegetable production. Yet, this food production wasn’t enough to prevent a famine of biblical proportions in the 1990s, which according to The Wall Street Journal may have cost the lives of two million North Koreans. Apparently all that produce is for export only.

2- North Korea has a 99% literacy rate

A literacy rate is defined by what percentage of the population over the age of 15 can read and write. Despite just 11 years of compulsory education and a recent history of catastrophic famine that would otherwise interrupt a child’s education, the CIA believes that North Korea’s literacy rate is equal to that of the U.S., the UK and dozens of other countries, and far better than over 100 others. Dictatorial leadership masquerading as some form of Marxism does seem to produce high literacy rates, as both the CIA and the United Nations cite Cuba as having the highest or second highest literacy rate in the world.

3- North Korea’s Kim Jong-il shoots 38 under par

Another thing you didn’t know about North Korea is that on the links, leader Kim Jong-il is a golf phenom who shoots an amazing 38 under par. According to reports by the Kim Jong-il-controlled media, the man can pretty much sink a hole in one at will. You wouldn’t expect anything less from a man whose glorious birth atop the country’s highest mountain (he was actually born in the Soviet Union) was allegedly foretold by birds, rainbows and shiny stars, and whose other accomplishments include having composed several operas and musicals.

Seriously, the rigorous cult of personality surrounding North Korea’s Kim Jong-il would be laughable if it weren’t so deadly.

4- North Korea built a film industry through kidnapping

In another life, Kim Jong-il probably worked at Video Archives in Manhattan Beach with Quentin Tarantino, as he’s reputedly a major film nut with an enormous movie collection that’s heavy on James Bond and Rambo. This was a rather common trait for unstable 20th century autocrats (recall the fascination with John Wayne shared by Nikita Khrushchev and Japanese Emperor Hirohito), but Kim Jong-il took it a step further when, unbelievably, in 1978 his agents kidnapped South Korean film director Shin Sang-ok and his wife, actress Choe Eun-hui, and instructed the pair to establish a domestic film industry in North Korea.

Eight years and dozens of films later, the couple managed to escape while on a trip to Vienna.

5- North Korea’s long-time heir apparent is an Eric Clapton fan

The last thing you didn’t know about North Korea is that its former heir apparent (a South Korean news agency, Yonhap, has recently reported that Kim Jong-il’s youngest son, Kim Jong-un, will succeed him), 27-year-old Kim Jong-chul, likes his rock ‘n’ roll; he’s been seen pumping his fist at an Eric Clapton concert.

Granted, the question of who will lead North Korea after Jong-il is a subject of endless speculation, but the sooner it happens, the better: Kim Il-sung, Jong-chul’s grandfather and the country’s founding father, had his faults but he was a natural leader and a charismatic, brilliant revolutionary. Meanwhile, the selfish, inept leadership of Jong-il has reduced the people of North Korea to an unmatched level of marginality: The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2008 democracy index ranks North Korea’s regime dead last in the world. Put another way: It is statistically the worst place on earth to live if you value the electoral process, political participation or the most basic of civil liberties.

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