Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Yoga done in an extreme way

Yoga is not a sport, so this lady completely misunderstands it, but what she does is very entertaining. Not yoga, but fun:

BTW, she was the naked lady doing yoga in front of the window in Blue Thunder, if you remember the scene. ;)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Poems from the coffin

I bumped into Millais' painting about Ophelia the other day and it occurred to me the death of the model of the picture was not a usual one either.

Elizabeth Siddal was the wife of Rossetti the painter and poet. Not long after their marriage Elizabeth became ill and died. Rosetti was devastated and at the funeral she put a small book containing the only copy of his poems under the hair of his wife lying in the coffin.

Later Rossetti had alcohol and drug problems and he thought he could not paint anymore, so he started writing poems again. He wanted to publish his old poems together with the new ones, so he petitioned the authorities for an exhumation. The book was retrieved from the coffin, the only problem was a worm burrowed through it, so some of the poems were hard to read, but he overcome this difficulty and published the poems. They were not well received, because they were too erotic, so they didn't bring success to Rossetti and, to make things worse, the memory of the exhumation haunted him until the end of his life.

Such a nice, romantic story, isn't it? :P

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Why are street prostitutes so ugly?

There is a shady part of the town which I have to walk through regularly. There are always prostitutes there and they are ugly as hell. Fat, rundown, teeth missing, etc. Shouldn't they at least try to improve their appearance. Or are their prospective customers so desperate they don't event care how the woman looks like?

I couldn't get myself to pick one even if my life depended on it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

How to balance easily on your hands if you're a lazy computer geek?

Here's a simple exercise which I was able to do on the first attempt. It really does give you a sense of accomplishment and it's not as hard as it looks. The only problem was my knees slipped on my elbows, so I couldn't really hold the position for long. I guess my technique needs polishing, but nevertheless it was fun. Try it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hairless, artificial, nude women. Is that what we want?

Some Russian comrade collected the images of Playboy centerfolds over the years. We started with Marilyn and ended up with unreal, photoshopped, "perfect" women with silicone breasts who look too sterile to be sexually appealing.

Where do we go from here, guys?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

When the ice-cream headache strikes

Do you know the feeling when you eat ice-cream too fast and you get a sudden, very painful headache? It's called sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia and it is caused by the sudden dilation of blood vessels in the head.

Luckily, I haven't had this feeling since childhood. I hated it back then. You cannot do anything, but to wait for it to go away.

Ice-cream hell. :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Run if the terrorbird approaches

Titanis was its name and it ruled North America. That's right, a bird was the ruler of the US of A a few million years ago. It couldn't fly, but boy it could run and it didn't hesitate to use its axe-like beak if you didn't appease it.

Would you like a bird as your ruler?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Knee-deep in the dead

In 1487 for the re-consecration of Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan the Aztec guys sacrificed thousands of people. According to the historical sources the victims were walking slowly in 4 queues (each several kilometers long) toward the temple and there the priests killed them and cut their heart out continuously for days:

"At the inauguration of this Great Temple in 1487, Ahuizotl ordered the sacrifice of many prisoners of war; an average of 1,000 victims a day were sacrificed over a period of twenty days. Each day blood ran like a river onto the pavement of the Great Plaza, and the stairs of the great pyramid were literally bathed in blood."

We denounce the bloody conquest of Mexico these days, but the Aztecs themselves weren't exactly angels back then.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

How to kill the world's oldest tree quickly and easily

Prometheus was the oldest known tree until 1964. It began to grown in the bronze age and it managed to survive everything since then until some young researcher came around who studied climate changes.

He couldn't determine the age of the tree with his borer, so he told the forest service to cut it down. They did and he was able to study the age of the tree easily by looking at the stump:

Pity the Little Ice Age he wanted to study began only 600 years ago, so choosing such an old tree was a slight overshot. Sic itur gloria mundi.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The story of the girl with the two heads

Check out these girls. They seem very happy and relaxed. I'd say they are much happier than some "normal" people. Abigail and Brittany Hensel are conjoined twins who share one body. Kudos to them.

Friday, April 24, 2009

This is how we waterboard you

Yet another brave journalist volunteered for a quick waterboarding. The process seems really timid, and the reaction of the journalist seems a bit over the top. Is it really that bad? After  5 seconds?

Of course, one has to be there to experience it, but there is a striking discrepancy between the appearance and the result. It must be a pretty clever method of torture. No wonder the Spanish Inquisition came up with it first.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sawing a man in half as punishment

Sometimes I think I should stop surfing Wikipedia, because I usually stumble upon truly bizarre articles. Apparently, sawing was a popular kind of capital punishment back in the middle ages.

What's even stranger the people on this contemporary picture seem quite happy. Even the condemned! Maybe the artist tried to soften up the subject a little bit?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Castrate Sheeps with Your Teeth

Mike Rowe goes castrating sheeps in Dirty Jobs. He doesnt't how dirty this particular job is:

Monday, March 23, 2009

Eating a paper napkin

One morning I suddenly remembered I ate a paper napkin as a small child. It was a one time thing, I wanted to know how it tasted, so I picked one and ate it with a few bites. It tasted like paper.

Does every child eat a paper napkin in his or her life? Or was it only me?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Who uses phone booths anymore?

I can't remember the last time I used a phone booth on the street. It must have been in the last century! Phone booths are like objects from some alien world which nobody even considers using anymore.

Was even there a time when cell phones didn't exist?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bizarre, but fun Japanese transportation game

Check out this game. Don't pay attention to the Japanese text, just press the big blue button to start it. Click the person to put him or her on the raft. Click the lever to go to the other side.

Here are the rules:

You have to transport everyone to the other side.
Only adults can operate the raft.
Only two persons can be on it at the same time.
The prisoner cannot stay with the civilians.
Mum cannot stay with the boys alone, because she attacks them. (WTF? Japanese gender fight?)
Dad cannot stay with the girls alone, because he attacks them. (Sigh.)

If you solve it then please post in a comment how long it took for you. I'm interested in the averages. :)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

How to Eat an Orange Segment in 5 minutes

There are several methods to develop one's concentration. One of them is very simple: eat a segment of an orange in 5 minutes. This is not as easy as it sounds. 5 minutes are pretty long for that. :)

The exercise is done properly if you pay attention to the color, texture, smell, taste, etc. of the orange, so you don't just put it into your mouth and swallow it, but pay attention to the whole experience.

I tried it several times, but I always failed. I didn't manage to hold out for 5 minutes. It seems either I can't concentrate properly or I'm simply a glutton. :D

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The World is perfect. Or We are Only Puppets.

The Secret is everywhere these days: you just have to imagine what you want and the Universe will make it true. Why the Universe would rush to make Joe Average's wish true is beyond me, but there is an other thing which bothers more me regarding the Secret.

What if two people wish contradicting things? Which one the Universe will deliver? If they are global wishes affecting billions of people then it's a very important question.

Suppose that wish is granted which is wanted by more people. In that case the current set up of the world is according to the majority of people on Earth. It's a democratic process like voting. That means our world is perfect, since it's like as we wish. Cool!

The other possibility is that wish is granted which is the most desired. In this case the strongest mental warrior shapes our world and the wishes of others don't matter very much, since we have to support with our decisions the Spiritual Leader to reach his or her goal. That means we are only puppets. So much for free will...

This is not good either way. Maybe the problem is I approach the problem too rationally. Instead I should have simply accept The Secret as truth and let the Universe deliver the Ferrari to my doorstep. :)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Telepathy for Breakfast

I work together with a friend and he often calls me early in the morning to discuss some work-related stuff. At this time I usually have breakfast and that's where the problems begin.

He very often calls me when I start eating, though I usually try to avoid this, because it's very annoying. I tried starting early, but he called. I tried putting it off, but when I finally sat down for breakfast he called. Sometimes I start to eat my breakfast just to trigger the damn phone call already.

It happens so often it occurred to me it might be explained by some kind of telepathy. If telepathy does exist then it's possible my friend's brain waits for my brain to send the information "he started eating" as a condition before the phone call. Of course, it doesn't happen consciously, but for some reason my brain might misinterpret my thinking "I wish he wouldn't call me right now" and it signals my friend when I start eating.

It's not a very scientific explanation, but I couldn't yet come up with something better. It may be pure coincidence, but can we call a coincidence which happens often "a coincidence"?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cat Burning is Good Fun

In the 16th century Paris cat burning was a popular form of entertainment.

Quoting Wikipedia:

people would gather dozens of cats in a net and hoist them high into the air from a special bundle onto a bonfire. According to Norman Davies, the assembled people "shrieked with laughter as the animals, howling with pain, were singed, roasted, and finally carbonized."

It seems all classes of society (even the king) took part in this form of entertainment and it was considered perfectly normal to attend such an event. These people weren't abnormal perverts who enjoyed cruelty to animals. They were good citizens by the standards of their time.

A few centuries later we find the thought of burning cats outrageous. I wonder which of our current pastimes will people a few centuries from now find outrageous. And hilarious? Considering the example above I wouldn't dare to guess.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Play With My Balls

The other day I found some Baoding balls in the cupboard. These are the balls which people rotate in the hand. Here's a demo video of how an experienced user rotates them. His balls also make a sound during rotating:

I have simple solid marble balls, so they don't produce a sound which I really don't mind, because the "music" in the above clip got a bit annoying after a while. According to traditional Chinese medicine the balls interact with acupuncture points on the hand during rotating which invigorates the brain eliminates worry, can prevent hand tremors, etc. So you do a service for your body with some balling.

The basic exercise is rotating a pair of balls in the palm of the hand, so that they are in contact constantly. On advanced levels the balls should be rotated so fast they don't touch at all. In both directions. Currently, I always hit one of the balls with other, so even the constant contact is beyond my abilities.

When one is doing something physically passive (watching TV, phoning, etc.) then it's a good time for some practice, and it's quite addictive too. It's also useful when thinking about some problem, because the rotating balls occupy the body, so the mind can focus better at the task at hand.

I recommend trying it out. It's fun.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Spine Surgery on Caller Through Television

Among the many TV stations in Hungary there is a little shabby one which regularly features healers and wonder doctors. They sit in the studio and people (mostly old and uneducated ones) call them about various illnesses. The healer diagnoses the caller remotely using a device (featured on the video) which indicates the problems by moving from side to side.

The video below shows the healer performing a complete remote spine surgery on the caller. He diagnoses her first and the procedure begins at 0:45. I promise you haven't seen a surgery like that before:

The "doctor" always takes his job very seriously. He never laughs. I don't know how he does it, because the whole thing is utterly ridiculous. :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Nuclear Bombs Can't Fall On This Place

Here's this little village. Nothing unusual. Before reading further zoom out the map to see what is beside the village. Then zoom out the map even more to see what is in the neighborhood.

View Larger Map

This is a rather remote, quiet place, but the active volcano beside the village would worry me a bit considering the next continent is pretty far away. The volcano erupted last time in 1961 and the population had to be evacuated ten pretty quickly.

The place is called Tristan da Cunha, it's a British overseas territory. 271 people live on the island and they suffer from various health problems, because of marriages among closely related couples. The latter is no wonder, since there are not many opportunities to find a partner in the area.

It's a nice place if we consider the possibility of a global nuclear war. They'd had much more chance to survive than us here. At least until the volcano erupts again. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The money, the cinema and the brain

Suppose you go to see a movie. You bought a ticket previously for $20 and you have another $20 bill in your pocket. When you get to the cinema you notice you lost the ticket. Will you buy an other ticket and go see the movie anyway?

Most people answers no. (I won't pay for the ticket twice!)

Suppose you go to see a movie. You have two $20 bills in your pocket. When you get to the cinema you notice you lost one of the $20s. Will you buy a ticket from the other $20 and go see the movie anyway?

Most people answers yes. (Pity I lost a $20 on the way, but I came to see a movie.)

If you answer yes in both situations the end result is the same ($40 is history and you've seen the movie). Nevertheless, the average person comes to a different decision due to the circumstances. Our brain works in a funny way, doesn't it? :)

Here's a video of Dan Gilbert from TED explaining our behavior in such situations:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Why you shouldn't teach your mother to use MSN

I did and I have made a mistake. My mother is fascinated by MSN like some teenager and she's constantly bombarding me with messages. She loves her new toy. It was kind of cute when she started using it, but now it's getting a bit tiring and I can't block my mother on MSN, can't I?

I hope she gets bored with it soon, otherwise I'll loose my sanity pretty fast. :)