Odd News Archive - April 2006

formerly Revelations from the Webjockey

Note: Stories from some news services expire after a few weeks. If you click on a link to the original story it is possible that you will be re-directed to an archives page with the option to access the news item for a small fee.

April 30, 2006

Man Delivers Pizzas and Corpses in Same Vehicle: Unfortunately for pizza lovers in Pennsylvania, a particularly resourceful delivery guy used his car for both of his jobs: as a Domino's pizza delivery guy and a corpse transporter, the Smoking Gun reports. Lower Southampton Township Police officers stopped a late model Buick for no inspection sticker. The driver, William Bethel, was driving with a suspended license. When they had a little look-see in the back of Bethel's station wagon, they saw a stretcher, some garbage, wet clothing and a pile of piping-hot pizzas waiting to be delivered. Bethel explained that after he finishes the pizza delivery gig, he transports stiffs in the same car for a funeral home. The officers checked and there is no law on the books preventing someone from transporting food and cadavers in the same vehicle. Bethel was not arrested.
Full Story→(Fox News)

April 29, 2006

MI6 Looking for a Few Good Men: For the first time in its 97 year-old history the British super secret spy agency, MI6, has the help wanted sign out. Its first advertisement in UK's The Times is said to have looked more like a travel brochure than a help wanted ad, with illustrations of exotic locations ranging from the tropical to the nomadic, from Middle Eastern to African, including a golden mosque. The agency is searching for administrators, analysts, linguists and information technology experts, as well as "operational officers". Until now the preferred recruitment method was a tap on the shoulder. ...Interested? Go to their website and click on "Careers". (If you're on the other side of the pond check out the CIA.)
Full Story→(The Australian)

Broadband over Power Lines Clears Hurdles in California: The expression "Plug and Play" may have true meaning in the not so distant future. Broadband over power lines, or BPL, is a fledgling technology that sends data over wires without interfering with electricity flows. The California Public Utilities Commission voted Thursday to reduce the number of regulatory hurdles companies must clear to experiment with the technology. Utility companies are the gatekeepers for any experiments that BPL companies conduct on their lines. Companies that run tests do not necessarily have to be utilities. A broadband provider -- such as the Google-backed Current Communications Group, of Maryland -- could test a BPL service. Yet for all its promise, BPL presents some major technological problems. For one thing, it's slow. Present technology allows it to run about as fast as DSL at its slowest, said Juan Fernandez, an analyst with Gartner, Inc. High-end DSL and cable services are five to eight times faster.
Full Story→(San Jose Mercury News)

April 28, 2006

Judge Writes Da Vinci Verdict in Code: Since British judge Peter Smith delivered his judgment in the Da Vinci code case on April 7, lawyers in London and New York began noticing odd italicized letters in the 71-page document. In the following weeks, would-be code-breakers got to work on deciphering the judge's code. "I can't discuss the judgment," Judge Smith said in a brief conversation with the Associated Press, "but I don't see why a judgment should not be a matter of fun." Lawyer Dan Tench, with the London firm Olswang, said he noticed the code when he spotted the striking italicised script in an online copy of the judgment. "To encrypt a message in this manner, in a High Court judgment no less? It's out there," Mr Tench said. According to attorney Mark Stephens, "Judges have been known to write very sophisticated and amusing judgments, this trend started long ago ... one did a judgment in rhyme. Another in couplets. There has been precedent for this. "It adds a bit of fun to what might have been a dusty text," he said.
Full Story→(NEWS.com.au)

Man on Horse Cart Eludes Police: An unidentified 34 year-old man driving a horse cart led police on a wild chase in Leeds, England. Onlookers described "a bizarre procession" as the horse and driver led four police motorbikes, a patrol car, video van and the force helicopter along a divided highway leading out of the city. The cart's weaving on the highway managed to frustrate its pursuers and the wanted man made his escape in Leeds' notorious maze of back alleyways. The man was a suspect in an assault case.
Full Story→(The Australian)

April 27, 2006

Chinese Army Bans Snoring: As if the Chinese didn't have enough intrusion in their private lives, Chinese soldiers must now worry about what they do in their sleep. According to the state press, new recruits are being judged on how heavily they breath and wheeze while sleeping. The Beijing Morning Post reported that "As the nasal sound of chronic snorers disturbs collective life, a new benchmark has been approved setting out standards for chronic snorers." The article did not make it clear exactly how the standards would be set. Along with loud snorers, recruits with tattoos and those who test positive for drugs will be turned away. ...what a way to dodge military service!
Full Story→(NEWS.com.au)

Another English Ghost Story: Another pub haunting has been reported, this time in South Yorkshire, England. This apparition, however, does not seem quite as amorous as the one reported previously March 7. Detectives responded to a call about a possible burglary at the Low Valley Arms Pub, but all they found was a spooked landlord convinced he'd seen a ghost, according to the Associated Press. The landlord went on to say he'd encountered the white gown-wearing spirit in the ladies' room, and that she seemed to have misplaced her face. "I heard the alarm go off for a second time, went into the pub and all the television screens had turned on," the landlord said. Though they didn't catch a glimpse of the ghastly ghoul themselves, the officers did find a bunch of potties flushing on their own, according to Inspector John Bowler of the South Yorkshire Police. After finding no sign of forced entry, the frightened crew high-tailed it out of the paranormal pub.
Full Story→(Fox News)

April 26, 2006

Nude Man Gets Stuck in Chimney: It seems like every month or two some idiot gets stuck in a chimney and has to be rescued. Usually it's a burglar, but this time in a strange twist, the guy was just locked out....and nude. Michael Urbano, 23, of Hayward, California, spent five hours stuck in his step-mother's chimney before being rescued by firefighters. Urbano told authorities that he'd taken off his clothes to reduce "friction". He was then arrested by police on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs (who'd a thought!). Hayward police Lt. Gary Branson said that "He's not fat, but he used to play football. He's not that little."
Full Story→(CBS News)

Marc Ecko back in Spray Paint Spotlight: Fashion designer Mark Ecko, of recent "Tagging Air Force One" video fame (story below: 23Apr06), is backing seven young arists in a federal court case against New York City over its strict anti-graffiti law. The law prohibits people under 21 from possessing spray paint or broad-tipped markers and took effect at the start of the year. The group claims that the law violates their constitutional right to free speech. City Councilman Peter Vallone, who sponsored the law and has sparred with Ecko over the issue, accused the designer of hiding behind free speech rights to promote his video game and brand name. The feud between Ecko and Mr Vallone erupted last year when Ecko launched a video game featuring graffiti art and later got a city permit for a "block party" that included painting graffiti on mock subway cars. Mr Vallone saw it as a corporate promotion of Ecko's video game. ....to be continued.
Full Story→(NEWS.com.au)

April 25, 2006

A Look inside MySpace and its History: I had always wondered how MySpace originated after my daughter coerced me to join it last fall. All of my questions were finally answered in a column yesterday (24Apr06) in the International Herald-Tribune. The article covers pretty much everything from when Chris DeWolfe, now 40, bought the domain name MySpace.com in 2002, to current ownership and marketing strategy. And, for those of you who are members and always wondered who "Tom" is....he really exists....Tom Anderson, 30, is one of the founders of MySpace.
Full Story→(IHT)

Coming Soon: Mind Control for Video Games: At least two start-ups have developed technology that monitors a player's brain waves and uses the signals to control the action in games. They hope it will enable game creators to immerse players in imaginary worlds that they can control with their thoughts instead of their hands. San Jose's NeuroSky has been testing prototypes of its system that uses a sensor-laden headband to monitor brain waves, and then uses the signals to control the interaction in video games. They hope that such games are just the beginning of a mind-machine interface with many different applications. "Research on brain waves is well known," said NeuroSky Chief Executive Stanley Yang. "But we have worked on a way for detecting them with a low-cost technology and then interpreting what they mean. We think this will have broad applications."
Full Story→(San Jose Mercury News)

11th Star Trek Movie in the Works: The Star Trek franchise will get a shot in the arm following last year's cancellation of spin-off TV series Enterprise with an eleventh cinema outing for the Starfleet chaps and chappesses. According to the BBC, citing New Variety, the new movie will centre on the early days of Spock and Kirk at the Starfleet Academy. It will be co-written, produced, and directed by JJ Abrams of Alias and Mission Impossible III fame. The movie is slated to be out in 2008.
Full Story→(The Register)

April 24, 2006

Two London Marathon Runners Wed at Halfway Point: A British couple gave a new twist to the idea of running away together by competing in the London marathon in their wedding clothes and getting married halfway around the course. Katie Austin and Gordon Fryer from Romsey in southern England ran the race with the bride's parents who gave her away at the ceremony in the Bridge Master's dining room on Tower Bridge. Despite rain, the bride arrived at the bridge with her make-up and hair still in place. The newly-weds and the Austins then immediately got back onto the racecourse and continued running without speaking to waiting reporters.
Full Story→(NEWS.com.au)

April 23, 2006

Air Force One Target of Hoax: A startling Internet video that shows someone spraying graffiti on President Bush's jet looked so authentic that the Air Force wasn't immediately certain whether the plane had been targeted. It was all a hoax. No one actually sprayed the slogan "Still Free" on one of the cowlings of Air Force One. "I wanted to do something culturally significant, wanted to create a real pop-culture moment," said Marc Ecko of Marc Ecko Enterprises. "It's this completely irreverent, over-the-top thing that could really never happen: this five-dollar can of paint putting a pimple on this Goliath." Ecko acknowledged Friday that his company had rented a 747 cargo jet at the San Bernardino airport in California and covertly painted one side to look like Air Force One. Employees signed secrecy agreements and worked inside a giant hangar until the night the video was made. Ecko declined to say how much the stunt cost.
Full Story & pic→(CBS News)

April 22, 2006

Woman to Build House with 747 Parts: A California woman who owns a 55-acre property in Malibu and was looking to build a "curvilinear/feminine" property from which to enjoy the views, has decided construct it using parts of an old Boeing 747. That's the bold plan of her architects Syndesis, Inc, self-described as "innovators whose work crosses established boundaries to stake out new imaginative territories with an orientation towards the future", and who proposed acquiring an entire Jumbo and using every component of it, "like the Native American Indians used every part of the buffalo." By the time Francie Rehwald - whose family owns one of California's biggest Merc dealerships - moves into her new home, her wallet will be several million dollars lighter, the BBC reckons. The second-hand aircraft alone set Rehwald back $100,000 before architect David Hertz even got started.
Full Story & pic→(The Register)

April 21, 2006

Miami Restaurant Owner Boycotts Coors: Mike Ferreiro was mad. So mad that he decided he was going to stop selling Coors beer at his Miami restaurant Catch of the Day and let everyone know. He put up signs and banners outside his LeJeune Road seafood eatery -- "We don't drink Coors at the Catch" -- printed up similar buttons for the wait staff and crossed his arms. The reason for the rage: Coors' tardiness made Catch of the Day lose a lucrative deal to host WIOD-AM's live remotes for the Miami Heat's home games. But Ferreiro's not just raw about losing the deal. Small businesses, he said, have to take a stand in an era where corporate giants often dictate the rules. Coors, for its part, has apologized -- and apologized -- and apologized. Executives are exasperated that Ferreiro is continuing the boycott. "For five months, we've done everything we possibly could to resolve this issue," said company spokeswoman Kabira Hatland. Finally, two weeks ago, the letter arrived from Pete Coors -- a handwritten apology, both faxed and hand delivered. Ferreiro is mollified, but miffed that it took six months. The banners are still flying high. Ferreiro said he bears no ill will toward Coors. "I told Coors guy in Atlanta that we'll have a Coors salsa party when this is over," he said. "He really liked that idea."
Full Story & pic→(Miami Herald)

April 20, 2006

North Korea Counterfeiting US Money: American Secret Service agents have been in the South Korean capital, Seoul, on the trail of the famed "supernotes" - expertly forged hundred dollar bills that the US says are made by the North Korean government. South Korean police this month uncovered a haul of 700 fake $100 bills. "They're about 95% identical to the real thing," said Suh Tae-suk, South Korea's leading expert on counterfeit currency, "but there's a slight difference in the texture of the paper and the make-up of the chemicals, so experts can still spot them." US Assistant Secretary of State, Christopher Hill, said on a recent visit to Seoul: "The DPRK [North Korea] needs to understand that as long as it's producing nuclear weapons we're going to have a real close look at its finances... that's just life in the big city."
Full Story & pic→(BBC)

April 19, 2006

Man Dozes Off on Phone, Causes Emergency Alert: A 42 year-old German man fell asleep while talking to his girlfriend on the phone. His girlfriend became worried after trying to call back, and notified authorities in Nuremberg. Fearing the worst, the emergency services dispatched a police car to the man's house, followed by the fire brigade and an ambulance. "When the whole crew pulled up in full force, sirens blaring, the man opened the door in a daze," a police spokesman said. The man explained the silence at his end of the line to officers at the scene: a cat-nap during a lull in the conversation.
Full Story→(NEWS.com.au)

April 18, 2006

Elvis Impersonators Endangered Species: The new owner of an 85 percent stake in Elvis Presley Enterprises, Robert Sillerman, has indicated that Elivis impersonators may be on the way out. The billionaire media entrepreneur. who owns American Idol and since last year has owned the rights to Elvis's name and likeness, has threatened to ban "unauthorized" Elvis clones. In Memphis, he plans to demolish the 128-room Heartbreak Hotel, opposite Graceland on Elvis Presley Boulevard, and build two 400-room hotels, convention space, restaurants, shops and an amphitheatre. Of Elvis impersonators, he said ominously: "If we were going to do a show based on Elvis impersonators, obviously it wouldn't make sense to have unauthorized Elvis impersonators." American Elvis impersonator Matt Lewis said he would find a way to continue performing. "I have this image of old ladies going to underground shows and giving passwords at the door. There would be underground Elvis speakeasies. Honestly."
Full Story→(The Australian)

April 17, 2006

Space Motel to be Tested: A Las Vegas hotel owner is to test two one-third scale versions of an inflatable space motel, New Scientist reports. Robert Bigelow of Bigelow Aerospace has secured space aboard two Russian Dnepr rockets (converted ICBMs otherwise known as SS-18s) for his prototype low-Earth orbit habitats - dubbed "Genesis". The project is based on a scrapped NASA design dubbed "TransHab". The full-fat version offers 330 cubic metres of flying hotel, protected from space debris attack by a "30-centimetre-thick multilayered polymer and Kevlar hull". The two structures will, all being well, orbit for several years to allow full testing and evaluation. The launch date is classified due to arms control treaties concerning the use of ICBMs.
Full Story & pic→(The Register)

April 16, 2006

Postcard returned to sender after 50 years: Yep, that's right. Had an incomplete address. The US Postal Service just took a little time returning the postcard with a 1956 postmark. Mack McCormick, 59, did not send the postcard, but he lives in the home in DeLand, Florida, where the postcard originated. It was delivered to his mailbox Monday (10apr06). "The card apparently has been in the twilight zone for 50 years," McCormick said. "It's not wrinkled or anything." He used the Internet to track down the author of the note, George Hitz, 64, who now lives in Sudbury, Mass. Hitz, a former ham radio operator included his age on the postcard and information about a radio contact he made in February 1956 with someone he called "Chief Operator Dave." No street address was included for Dave, which may explain why the postcard was not delivered, according to Joseph Breckenridge, a U.S. Postal Service spokesman. Hitz said he is not interested in getting his old postcard back. McCormick plans to frame it. ...neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor temperol distortion...
Full Story→(Fox News)

Note from Webjockey: Stories from some news services expire after a few weeks. If you click on a link to the original story it is possible that you will be re-directed to an archives page with the option to access the news item for a small fee.

April 15, 2006

Dead Woman "Watches" TV for Two Years: Joyce Vincent, 40, was found in January this year in the main room of her tiny north London flat, surrounded by unopened Christmas presents and with the heating still running and TV on. The discovery was made when an officer from the local housing authority, the Metropolitan Housing Trust, took a locksmith to the flat after thousands of pounds of rent arrears had accumulated. They drilled open the front door to find a huge pile of unopened mail, the earliest dated November 2003. Medication in Vincent's name with a 2003 expiry date was also found. Local Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone said: "In the city of London you will get a lot of people living alone and living their own lives. This is a reminder to all of us all that we should look out for our neighbours."
Full Story→(The Australian)

April 14, 2006

Man's Wife Throws out Cash with Trash: A Japanese man wept for joy this week when he recovered 5 million yen ($42,210) in cash his wife had mistakenly thrown out with the household rubbish. The man had hidden the money inside a trash bag which he placed in a trash can. The money was found at a refuse collection point and returned by police. Many Japanese keep large quantities of money hidden in their homes and cash is often used for business transactions.
Full Story→(Reuters)

Top Ten Desktop Diversions 2006: Business Week has just come out with its list of websites to check out on slow days at work, or busy days when you need a break. Among those listed are Technorati.com, where you can enter your name and see if anyone has blogged about you, and EVTV1, that shows free movie clips, among other things.
Full Story→(Business Week)

April 13, 2006

Feng Shui for Your Car: The Feng Shui craze, which originally was intended for living spaces in the home, has now been extended to motor vehicles. Recommendations from Raymond Catchpole, an expert in the ancient Chinese art of feng shui, and chairman of Britain's Feng Shui Society include: Park your car facing away from your home as cars are "predatory tigers" and could threaten the occupants of a house if they are parked facing the building. Sprinkle sea salt crystals on the carpets. They absorb passengers' negative energy and can be cleaned out regularly to take the negativity with them. To get rid of negative energy inside the car, which could affect the driver's mood, the owner should sit in the car and sing, clap their hands or play music.
Full Story→(The Australian)

April 12, 2006

Malaysian Man Gets Trillion Dollar Phone Bill: Next time your phone bill causes your eyes to water, spare a thought for a customer in Malaysia. Yahaya Wahib has just been landed with a bill from Telekom Malaysia for £125 trillion (US$218 trillion). The bill was for the phone line of his father, who died in January. Mr Wahib had that line disconnected and settled the outstanding bill for 84 ringgit (£13). But Telekom Malaysia then billed him for 806,400,000,000,000.01 ringgit for more recent telephone calls."If the company wants to seek legal action, I'm ready to face it," he said. "In fact, I can't wait to face it." A company official said Telekom Malaysia was looking into the case.
Full Story→(Sky News)

April 11, 2006

Granny KO's Intruder with TV Karate: A 75 year-old Romanian womam flattened an intruder with moves that she'd learned on a television self-defense show. According to Ananova News, Anica D. from the village of Popeni in Vaslui County woke up to find herself being assaulted by the night-time home invader. She shouted for help, but none was forthcoming. Accordingly, she "immobilized" the assailant and then called in the authorities, Romanian paper Ziarul reports. The 30 year-old would be attacker has been charged with burglary and attempted rape.
Full Story→(The Register)

April 10, 2006

Dead Man Running for Mayor of New Orleans: Mayor C. Ray Nagin has some "stiff" competition in the upcoming mayoral primary on April 22. Antoinette K-Doe, widow of Enie K. Doe, the the self-proclaimed "Emperor of the World" who died in July 2001 at 65 after a colorful music career, says that in her opinion "He's the only one qualified. He gets the job done. The guy has soul," she said as supporters enjoyed live music, beer and heaping helpings of red beans and rice. "And I'm speaking like he's still here because in memories he is still here with us. He gets along with everybody and he makes things happen." K-Doe's not actually on the ballot but his campaign provides some rare levity in an election widely viewed as the most crucial in the city's nearly three-century history. Mayor Ray Nagin faces 23 challengers with a spectrum of views on how to rebuild from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina seven months ago.
Full Story→(Reuters)

April 9, 2006

"Psychic" Judge Removed from Bench: Florentino Floro, a Philippines judge who allegedly claimed to have psychic powers and said he had made a covenant with "dwarf friends" has been removed from his post. Judge Floro, who presided in a suburban Manila court, allegedly said he was empowered with supernatural abilities, could read the future and conducted "healing sessions" in his chambers. "His mental problems for now appear to render him unfit with the delicate task of dispensing justice," the Supreme Court said in a ruling, stressing that Floro had not been found guilty of misconduct or corruption. ...wonder if he saw it coming.
Full Story→(The Australian)

April 8, 2006

Hired Guns Hunt Huge Rabbit: The Northumberland village of Felton, UK, is being terrorized by an allegedly deer-size rabbit. The "Beast of Felton" - a black and brown creature with "diabolically shaped ears" - has already decimated "a market stall's worth of Japanese onions, parsnips and spring carrots", according to a report in The Times. The vegetarian vandal was first spotted in February. Allotment holder Jeff Smith, 63, recounted: "This is no ordinary rabbit. We are dealing with a monster. It's absolutely massive. We have two lads here with guns who are trying to shoot it, but it's too clever. They never see it." The two lads in question are hired guns tasked with killing the demon rabbit. One of the Magnificent Two, underkeeper Brian Cadman, said: "Only a few people have seen it so far but I've seen the evidence and I think it's going to be a big 'un."
Full Story→(The Register)

April 7, 2006

Town for Sale on eBay: Like to buy your own town? Well here's your chance. Bridgeville in Northern California is up for sale on eBay. The starting bid is US$1,750,000.00 for the 83 acre town. Amenities include: •Seven houses currently used as rentals, each approximately 600-800 s.f. •One main house which sits on 1.6 hilltop acres with spectacular views-1,200 s.f. •Four cabins, each approximately 250-400 s.f. •Machine Shop (vacant) •Cafe currently vacant and approximately 500 s.f. •Functioning Post Office which has been in operation for 136 years at approximately 500 s.f. •One wooden building approximately 1,500 s.f. •Two quonset huts approximately 800-1,200 s.f. •Nine individual parcels range from .5 to 35 acres.
eBay Listing→(eBay:link RIP)

April 6, 2006

NYC's Anti-Dancing Law Challenged: For those of you that thought anti-dancing laws were peculiar to small American mid-western towns here's a real shocker: Since 1926 NYC has had a anti-dancing law on the books supposedly to protect residential areas from excess noise. Yes, you read that right, one of the noisiest cities on the planet has a law to restrict dancing because of noise. Dancing in NYC is permitted only with a carbaret license. A group of amateur and professional dancers filed the suit against the city seeking the right to dance when they please in their city's bars and restaurants. The plaintiffs claimed that the ban violated their constitutional right to free expression. Judge Michael Stallman ruled against them saying that "If these establishments draw more people because they offer dancing, then there is a greater likelihood of pedestrian traffic, increased vehicular traffic and associated noise."
Full Story→(The Australian)

April 5, 2006

Green Goo Stops Phone Repairs: More than 400 homes and businesses in Aldershot, UK, are without phone services after British Telecommunications engineers refused to repair a faulty cable after finding "mysterious green goo" down a manhole. Bank ATMs in the area are also offline. A spokeswoman for BT confirmed that a "suspicious substance was found in a manhole" in Aldershot which has been sent to labs for testing. Results of the tests were expected Tuesday, April 4. ....meanwhile the Sci-Fi Channel has a film crew on the scene.
Full Story→(The Register)

Win a Trip into Space: Space-Shot.com of Austin, Texas has announced a new game with a trip into space as the prize. When you play the game, you are matched with one other player. Players compete in a skill game predicting the daily high temperature for Central Park, New York City. Predict better than your opponent and you advance. Players enter additional predictions for daily low, precipitation and humidity as tie-breakers. This continues through a multiple round tournament format until there is only one winner. These winners will be the next team of civilian astronauts. Entries cost @ US$3.00 each. The initial grand prizes are suborbital flights from Rocketplane Ltd. Rocketplane's launch facility is located at the Oklahoma Spaceport in Burns Flat, Oklahoma (formerly Clinton-Sherman AFB).
Game Info→(SpaceShot.com)

April 4, 2006

A Robot for Every Home: The most wired country (72% broadband penetration) on the planet, South Korea, has marshaled an army of scientists and business leaders to make robots into full members of society. Networked robots that are scheduled to enter mass production by next year, for example, will relay messages to parents or teach children English and sing and dance for them when they get bored. If all goes according to plan, robots will be in every South Korean household by 2015-20. That is the prediction, at least, of the Ministry of Information and Communication, which has grouped more than 30 companies, as well as 1,000 scientists from universities and research institutes, under its wing. Some want to move even faster. South Koreans use futuristic technologies that are years away in the United States; companies like Microsoft and Motorola test products there before introducing them in the United States.
Full Story→(IHT)

April 3, 2006

Indiana Kid Cashes in on Time Change: Evan Kelso, an 18 year-old Ft. Wayne, Indiana student decided to cash in on the time change to daylight saviings time. Not a bad idea considering Indiana has not gone on DST for thirty years. Evan will change every digital clock in a customer's home or car for $10. His offer includes changing the time on microwaves, ovens, answering machines, cars, computers, watches and VCRs. For an extra $1, he'll also install new batteries. Evan says that VCRs are the biggest challenge because there are so many makes and models.
Full Story→(CNN:link RIP)

Home Office from Hell: Offices2Share.com, which helps small businesses find short-term, ready-to-use office space, sponsored a contest which asked entrants to share the top 10 reasons they needed to escape their Home Office From Hell. Some of the responses of the winning contestant, Jason Welshonse, are as follows:

1.) I have to yell "Phone!" really loud when the phone rings to make sure all TVs and radios get muted so I can answer it.
2.) I have started to refer to my pets as employees.

For his creative efforts, Welshonse will receive a reprieve from his home office - in the form of a pre-paid 1-year office lease at an Offices2share.com location of his choice. The win will help Jason convey a more professional image for his computer business, Ancient Geek.
Full Story→(offices2share.com)

April 2, 2006

How to Grow Spaghetti Plants: On April Fools Day in 1957 the staunch, stodgy and dignified BBC actually broadcast a spoof documentary on Spaghetti crops in Switzerland. Reactions varied from indignation to viewers wanting to know where to purchase their own spaghetti bush. The hoax Panorama programme, narrated by distinguished broadcaster Richard Dimbleby, featured a family from Ticino in Switzerland carrying out their annual spaghetti harvest. It showed women carefully plucking strands of spaghetti from a tree and laying them in the sun to dry. The show is believed to have been one of the first times the medium of television had been used to stage an April Fools Day hoax.
Full Story & pic→(BBC)

April 1, 2006

Offline for Cleaning:

From: Department of Homeland Security
Date: March 29, 2006 8:48:17 AM MST

Subject: World Wide Web cleanup



It's that time again! As many of you know, each year the Internet must be shut down for 24 hours in order to allow us to clean it. The cleaning process, which eliminates dead email and inactive ftp, www and gopher sites, allows for a better-working and faster Internet.

This year, the cleaning process will take place from 23:59 pm (GMT) on March 31st until 00:01 am (GMT) on April 2nd. During that 24-hour period, five powerful Internet-crawling robots situated around the world will search the Internet and delete any data that they find.

In order to protect your valuable data from deletion we ask that you do the following:

  1. Disconnect all terminals and local area networks from their Internet connections.
  2. Shut down all Internet servers, or disconnect them from the Internet.
  3. Disconnect all disks and hardrives from any connections to the Internet.
  4. Refrain from connecting any computer to the Internet in any way.

We understand the inconvenience that this may cause some Internet users, and we apologize. However, we are certain that any inconveniences will be more than made up for by the increased speed and efficiency of the Internet, once it has been cleared of electronic flotsam and jetsam.

We thank you for your cooperation.

Interconnected Network Maintenance Staff
Department of Homeland Security

Sysops and others: Since the last Internet cleaning, the number of Internet users has grown dramatically. Please assist us in alerting the public of the upcoming Internet cleaning by posting this message where your users will be able to read it.

Please pass this message on to other sysops and Internet users as well.

Note: Stories from some news services expire after a few weeks. If you click on a link to the original story it is possible that you will be re-directed to an archives page with the option to access the news item for a small fee.

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