March 03, 2006

LinkNews Digest [03/03/2006]

You Think YOU'VE Had a Crappy Day?

A German village in the state of Bavaria is recovering after being flooded by 240,000 litres of liquid pig manure.

Sewage rose to 50cm in the streets of Elsa after the tank burst.A police spokesman said: "The village was swamped with green-brown liquid and it was pig manure - the mother of all muck."

Police estimate the pig waste had caused at least £68,000 worth of damage. (LINK )

Colmbia: Cocaine? No Problem. Drive-By Spanking? Prison.

BOGOTA, Colombia, Feb 24 - A Colombian man has been sentenced to four years' house arrest for slapping a woman's bottom as he rode by her on his bicycle, sparking debate on whether the punishment fit the crime.

Some said that to confine bicycle messenger Victor Garcia to his home for four years for smacking Diana Marcela Diaz's buttocks was excessive. Others said it would deter other men. The women said that while the punishment seemed extreme, they hoped the case would mean they would be safer while on foot. (LINK )

And of course, it wouldn't be a properly offensive crime trial witout some gratuitous Television Exploitation:
Showing re-enactments of the incident, television news shows were filled on Friday with legal experts offering opinions about the judgment handed down earlier in the week by Bogota's district court. One program showed three models having their denim clad bottoms smacked so hard by a phantom hand it could be clearly heard by television viewers.
So, People of Colombia, the message here is: DOING it is punishable by prison terms. SHOWING IT ON TV is ratings gold.

184-Proof Whisky to be Bottled in Scottland

LONDON (AFP) - Following a 17th century recipe, one of the eight artisanal whisky producers on the tiny Scottish isle of Islay will produce a dozen barrels of 184-proof whisky, the company announced. (That's 92 percent alcohol, which is about as strong as whisky can get without being sold in a pharmacy.)

"The first taste affects all the members of the body," a 1695 description of the elixir reads. "Two spoonfuls of this last liquor is a sufficient dose -- if any man should exceed this, it would presently stop his breath, and endanger his life."

The Bruichladdich distillery said it would install webcams so that customers thirsty with anticipation could watch the potentially lethal concoction come into being. "If the distillery doesn't explode during the process," Bruichladdich added. (LINK )

The Lost Penn & Teller Game

Years ago, I'd heard about a mythical unreleased videogame developed by Penn & Teller for the Sega CD and 3DO. The game was supposed to be an oddball adventure game, with some cruel magic tricks and minigames thrown in for good measure. This Absolute Entertainment press release from March 1995 sums it up nicely.
(LINK via
Archived Press Release:
Here's some of what you get:

Mofo the Psychic Gorilla(TM). Watch while this cunning simian guesses which card your friend has selected!

What's Your Sign?(TM). Your friend will marvel as he interacts with Penn & Teller and their patented Personometer(TM) device, which the guys will use to deduce -- with mind-blowing accuracy -- your friend's sign of the zodiac.

Sun Scorcher(TM). The thrill-a-minute outer space shoot-'em-up that features Thermo-Graphics(TM), Penn & Teller's revolutionary imaging technology that makes the TV screen dangerous to touch!

Desert Bus(TM). Get behind the wheel of Desert Bus for a first-person, hands-on view of the endless, interminable desert highway. No zillion dollar sports car with leggy blonde in tow. Not at all. It's a bus. And it's an eight-hour drive. In real time. No pausing. Another stunningly realistic simulator in the great Absolute tradition. (There's even a TORRENT of this one.)

Credit Card Payment Triggers Homeland Security Investigation

Walter Soehnge and his wife, Deana paid down some debt. The balance on their JCPenney Platinum MasterCard had gotten to an unhealthy level. So they sent in a large payment, a check for $6,522.

After sending in the check, they checked online to see if their account had been duly credited. They learned that the check had arrived, but the amount available for credit on their account hadn't changed.

They were told, as they moved up the managerial ladder at the call center, that the amount they had sent in was much larger than their normal monthly payment. And if the increase hits a certain percentage higher than that normal payment, Homeland Security has to be notified. And the money doesn't move until the threat alert is lifted. (LINK )

Another Reason Your Phones Might Be Confiscated

At first sight it looks like a regular cell phone — same size, same shape, same overall appearance. But beneath the digital face lies a .22-caliber pistol, a phone gun capable of firing four rounds in quick succession with a touch of the otherwise standard keypad.

The US Department of Homeland Security and the FBI are aware of the device and have instructed baggage screeners to be on the lookout for suspicious mobile phones. This is especially after 9/11.

European law enforcement officials, stunned by the discovery of these deadly decoys, say phone guns are changing the rules of engagement in Europe. Airport authorities across Europe are implementing systems to X-ray all cell phones

"We find it very, very alarming," says Wolfgang Dicke of the German Police union. "It means police will have to draw their weapons whenever a person being checked reaches for their mobile phone." (Video of test-firing) (LINK )
I don't know about this. Every James Bond Gadget created after 2001 hasn't changed the face of legitimate security (Airports, Police, etc.) HOWEVER it might just be another annoyance for law-abiding citizens trying to get access to concerts and other events, when abused by paranoid private security firms. Like the Georgia Aquarium confiscating my mini-scissors. (Still sore about that.)

An amazing looking Steampunk re-imagining of The TransFormers due in a Limited Comic series called "Hearts of Steel." Check out Megatron! (More sketches on link)

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