Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pint sized dog joins police force - Japan.

Momo the Chihuahua becomes Japanese police dog 

Meet the latest addition to Japan's police force: a 3kg long-haired Chihuahua called Momo. 

Momo Chihuahua police dogMomo: You have the right to remain silent (AP)

Momo was one of 32 successful candidates out of 70 dogs and will now join the police in the Japanese prefecture of Nara. 
She passed her exams with flying colours, seeking out a person in five minutes after merely sniffing their cap.
The wispy-haired pooch will be instrumental in disaster rescue operations. In the case of earthquakes it is thought her tiny frame will fit through narrow passages with much more ease than a German Shepherd, which are the most common choice for police K-9 units. 
A Nara police spokesperson said: ‘Any breed of dog can be entered to become a police dog in the search and rescue division’, but added that the appointment was ‘quite unusual’. 
This week saw dogs from around the globe get together to break the record for Most Dogs in Costumed Dress.
The record attempt formed part of Guinness World Records Day, with more than 200,000 people worldwide believed to have done their utmost to try and get their names in the Book of World Records.

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Is bigger better ??? America's portions take a rap...

Fancy a heart attack on a plate? Then sit down at some of America's best-loved eateries, says the Xtreme Eating Awards

Last updated at 10:55 AM on 20th November 2010
Some of America’s most popular restaurants have been singled out for a new award - for their gut-busting dishes. 
In a country where food portion sizes seem to be based more on a dare than for nutritional value, many restaurants serve up an entree that could seriously pose a health risk.
Favourite eating spots like the Olive Garden, Outback, P.F. Changs and The Cheesecake Factory all won a gong in the Xtreme Eating Awards. 
They were recognised for serving up dishes that may be rich in flavour but are also weighted down with calories and fat. 
Olive Garden
Mouth-watering: At 1,030 calories, this Arnold Schwarzenegger of appetisers, at the Olive Garden, was singled out by Xtreme Eating Awards
The Centre for Science in the Public Interest, the healthy eating watchdog group that doled out the awards, dubbed the Olive Garden’s 1,030-calorie deep-fried Lasagna Fritta appetizer as ‘food porn’.
A statement by the group said: ‘With two out of three adults - and one out of three children - overweight or obese, you’d think that restaurants would have some interest in keeping their patrons alive and dining out longer. 
‘With mandatory calorie labeling on the horizon for chain restaurants, you’d think that restaurants would be dropping high-calorie items from their menus. 
'Nope. It’s business as usual in the restaurant industry.’
Overkill Down Under: The Australian-themed restaurant chain offers New Zealand lamb with 1,820 calories, 80g of saturated fat and about 2,600mg of sodium
Cheesecake Factory
Taking the cake: The Cheesecake Factory won two 'awards', for its pasta carbonara (2,500 calories, 60g saturated fat) and its chocolate truffle cake (1,670 calories, 48g saturated fat)
Two Cheesecake Factory specials made the list. The pasta carbonara - described as spaghettini with smoked bacon, green peas and a garlic-parmesan cream sauce - is loaded with 2,500 calories and 60g of saturated fat. 
The chocolate truffle cake has 1,670 calories and 48g of saturated fat. 
Five Guys, which has more than 550 locations in 35 states, gets a mention for its 920-calorie cheeseburger, which also has 30 grams of saturated fat, which is the equivalent to about two McDonald’s quarter pounders. 
California Pizza Kitchen boasts a Tostada Pizza with 1,440 calories - while the Doubler Pan-Fried Noodles Combo at P.F. Chang’s carries a whopping 1,820 calories, according to the CSPI. 
Outback doesn’t escape the 'honour' - despite the southern continent of Australia having a reputation for healthy eating.
The Australian-themed steak restaurant has a rack of New Zealand lamb (seemingly without irony, for all you Kiwis out there) with garlic mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables that racks up a total of 1,820 calories, 80g of saturated fat and about 2,600mg of sodium.
The other dish with an honourable mention is Chevys’ succulent blue crab and shrimp with roasted corn in spicy habanero-pesto cream sauce with melted cheese in warm flour tortillas.’ 
The platter supposedly packs 1,790 calories and 63g of saturated fat.

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Mercedes goes ultra space-age...

Mercedes Biome concept car in pictures

Dream new Mercedes-Benz Biome - the car at one with nature
The Mercedes-Benz Biome is made from an ultralight material called 'BioFibre'

Incredible invisible artist...

I'm just trying to blend in: Can YOU spot the 'invisible man' artist

Last updated at 11:15 AM on 20th November 2010

He's known as the invisible man for good reason.
Whether lurking next to a telephone box or standing to attention in front of the iconic Beijing Olympic Stadium, Liu Bolin has made an art form out of blending in.
The Chinese artist is creating more than just startling images with his works.
Where is Liu Bolin? the artist stands in front of the 'Birds Nest' Olympic Stadium in Beijing, China
Where is Liu Bolin? The artist stands in front of the 'Birds Nest' Olympic Stadium in Beijing, China
Italian job: The artist is barely visible beside a canal in Venice
Italian job: The artist is barely visible beside a canal in Venice
He claims they make a statement about his place in society. He sees himself as an outsider whose artistic efforts are not always valued, especially in his native country.
Standing silently in front of his chosen scene, in locations all around the world, the 38-year-old uses himself as a blank canvas.
Then, with a little help from an assistant, he paints his body to merge as seamlessly as possible with what is behind him.
It means people walking by while he is carrying out his performances often have no idea he is nearby until he begins to move.
Enlarge Hanging by the telephone: Disguised amongst a pair of phone boxes
Hanging by the telephone: Disguised amongst a pair of phone boxes. Liu's art is intended to show how city surroundings affect people
Enlarge Can you see me? Liu hides 'behind' a man
Can you see me? Liu hides 'behind' a man
Liu said he wanted to show how city surroundings affected people living in them.
He added that the inspiration behind his work was a sense of not fitting in to modern society and was a silent protest against the persecution of artists.
He said: 'Some people call me the invisible man, but for me it's what is not seen in a picture which is really what tells the story.
'After graduating from school I couldn't find suitable work and I felt there was no place for me in society.
'I experienced the dark side of society, without social relations, and had a feeling that no one cared about me, I felt myself unnecessary in this world.
'From that time, my attitude turned from dependence into revolting against the system.'  
Liu said he was further pushed on with his work when the Chinese authorities shut down his art studio in Beijing in 2005.
He said: 'At that time, contemporary art was in quick development in Beijing, but the government decided it did not want artists like us to gather and live together.
'Also many exhibitions were forced to close.
'The situation for artists in China is very difficult and the forced removal of the artist's studio is in fact my direct inspiration of this series of photographs, Hiding In The City.'  
Liu's art credentials were formed after he graduated from the prestigious Sculpture Department of Central Academy of Fine Arts in China.
He said his work requires a lot of patience with him having to pose and work on his photographs for more than ten hours at a time to get it just right.
'My job is to choose a good background where I want to be "disappeared", and then stand there unmoved until a design has been painted on me,' he said.
'There are many people who like my work I think because my work has a quiet strength, in the photographs.
'I am standing, but there is a silent protest, the protest against the environment for the survival, the protest against the state.
'I wanted to photograph the reality of scenes of China's development today.
'My work is a kind of reminder, to remind people what the community we live in really looks like, and what kind of problems exist.'  
Weekly shop: Bolin in a supermarket (yes he's definitely there!)
Weekly shop: Bolin in a supermarket (yes he's definitely there!)
Not a tourist attraction: Liu Bolin poses in Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy
Not a tourist attraction: Liu Bolin poses in Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy
Rock idol: The artist in an ancient arena
Rock idol: The artist in an ancient arena

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Friday, November 19, 2010

'Don't touch my junk' passenger sparks revolt at touch & grope TSA.

'Don't touch my junk' passenger sparks revolt against airport searches

US man who refused a groin pat-down inspires campaign to stop intimate searches and full body scans
John Tyner, who refused airport search
John Tyner was threatened with a fine and a lawsuit after refusing a groin check and a full-body scan at San Diego airport. Photograph: AP
It all started with a man who said no one was going to touch his "junk".
John Tyner turned down an invitation to step into one of the new body scanners springing up in American airports which offer security guards an all but naked view of passengers. When Tyner refused, the guard at San Diego said he would have to submit to a body pat-down and then went on to describe what that meant.
Tyner said he was fine with that up to the point where a hand would explore his groin.
"If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested," he said.
Needless to say, Tyner didn't fly. Instead he was threatened with a civil suit and a fine of $10,000 (£6,200).
A week later, the incident has reverberated across the country to the halls of Congress and prompted a campaign for travellers to boycott body scanners next Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving and one of the busiest for American airports.
Tyner recorded the encounter with airport security using his camera phone. The video went viral and days later the head of the Transport Security Administration (TSA), John Pistole, found himself before Congress defending the full body scanners introduced after a Nigerian terrorist attempted to blow up a plane over Detroit last Christmas Day with explosives hidden in his underwear. Pistole was also forced to defend the introduction at the beginning of this month of more probing body searches for those who do not wish to go through the scanners. The search includes a firm pressing of a security guard's hand on genitalia and breasts.
"The outcry is huge," Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson from Texas told Pistole. "I know that you're aware of it. But we've got to see some action."
Senator George LeMieux said: "I wouldn't want my wife to be touched in the way that these folks are being touched. I wouldn't want to be touched that way."
Pistole was having none of it.
"I'm not going to change those policies," he said. The TSA chief said that most air passengers, given a choice between a plane full of people who have been screened and one where they have not, would choose the former: "I think everybody will want to opt for the screening with the assurance that that flight is safe and secure."
On Thursday, Congressman Ron Paul introduced legislation to counter what he called the "calamity" of airport security. It proposes barring the government from doing what ordinary citizens would not be allowed to do to strangers – photographing them naked or touching their private parts.
"If we can't take nude photos of people why do we allow the government to do it? We would go to jail," he said. "Something has to be done. Everybody's fed up. The people are fed up. The pilots are fed up. I'm fed up. What we're putting up with at the airport is so symbolic of us just not standing up and saying enough is enough. I know the American people are starting to wake up but our government, those in charge, Congress, are doing nothing."
Paul highlighted an issue that critics latched on to: that pilots also have to be body scanned or intimately searched.
"Can you think how silly the whole thing is? The pilot has a gun in the cockpit and he's managing this aircraft which is a missile, and we make him go through this groping, x-ray exercise, having people feel in their underwear. It's absurd," he said.
For all the noise, a CBS poll this week found that four out of five Americans see body scanners as a necessary security measure. It has not gone unnoticed that some of those most critical of the government over the issue – including conservative members of Congress, Fox News and websites such as the Drudge Report – vigorously accused the Obama administration of security lapses because the "underwear bomber" was able to get explosives on to a plane.
Pistole has strongly criticised the call to boycott screenings.
"On the eve of a major national holiday and less than one year after al-Qaida's failed attack last Christmas Day, it is irresponsible for a group to suggest travellers opt out of the very screening that may prevent an attack using non-metallic explosives," he said.

Old soldier finds grandfather's bugle from 1916

Old soldier buys battered bugle from market stall... and finds it was used by his grandfather in Battle of the Somme

Last updated at 11:17 AM on 19th November 2010
The grime of nine decades had tarnished its golden gleam. 
But something drew Maurice Green’s eye to the battered old bugle on the bric-a-brac market stall.
When he looked closer, he noticed the first three digits engraved on it matched his grandfather’s Army service number.
Lucky find: A bugle used during the Battle of Somme has been found on a bric-a-brac stand by a man who later discovered it belonged to his grandfatherLucky find: A bugle used during the Battle of Somme has been found on a bric-a-brac stand by a man who later discovered it belonged to his grandfather
Lucky find: A bugle used by Daniel Clay, right, was found on a bric-a-brac stall by his grandson Maurice Green, left
And when he held it in his hands, something told him that it was meant to be his.
Back home, he cleaned away the dirt to find the very bugle his grandfather had played during the battle of the Somme in 1916 – the battle he never came home from.
‘I spotted this battered old bugle on a bric-a-brac stand,’ he recalled. ‘It was as black as soot but I noticed its Army service number had the same first three digits as my granddad’s. 
Wartime treasure: The bugle found by Mr Green
Wartime treasure: The bugle found by Mr Green
‘I couldn’t see the last two digits because the bugle was filthy. But something in me started shaking straight away.
‘I took it home, began cleaning it and I was stunned when the last two digits corresponded to my granddad’s Army service number.
‘It seems certain this was the bugle my granddad played at the Somme. The buglers weren’t issued with two bugles and soldiers aren’t in the business of losing their equipment so I am convinced this was the one he would have had in the trenches.’
The tragic story of Mr Green’s grandfather, Drummer Daniel Clay, had long been part of family folklore.
Bloodshed: Somme witnessed one of the most brutal battles of the Great War and cost Britain 432,000 dead or injured
Bloodshed: The Somme witnessed one of the most brutal battles of the Great War and cost Britain 432,000 dead or injured
One of the family’s most treasured possessions is a moving letter written by the 26-year-old soldier to his mother on the day before he died. 
The letter told of a ‘terrible bombardment’ going on and predicted it would be ‘hell upon earth before we have finished’.
Drummer Clay asked his mother ‘if it should be that my time has come... just look after my darling little daughter.’ 
Tragically within 24 hours the soldier, a member of the 8th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment, was killed in battle. His body was never recovered amongst the 60,000 British casualties of July 1, 1916.

Bugler Clay's last letter

On June 30, 1916, the day before the Battle of the Somme Drummer Clay wrote home to his mother: 
I am writing this letter just behind the firing line and there is a terrible bombardment going on now. It will hell upon earth before we have finished. 
Dear Mother 
if it should be that my time has come, of which I trust not, just look after my darling little daughter. I am asking you this because we never know this may be my last letter. But don't get down hearted mother as I shall not be long before I let you hear from me. 
I am pleased to tell you mother that I am going over with a good heart and quite confident that I shall get through it quite safe. 
I shall have to close now mother , with my very best love from your ever loving and devoted son Dan. 
PS give my very best love to my darling daughter and tell her daddy is fighting for her sake and give her these for me xxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
He left a six-year-old daughter, Harriet, whose mother had died in childbirth.
Mr Green, Harriet’s son, said: ‘It would have been nice if we had found the bugle while my mother was still alive, but she was so proud of him, as we all are.’
Harriet died in 1995 at the age of 85 and always had a photograph of her father on display.
Mr Green, 73, inherited his grandfather’s war medals, which had his service number 13202 – the number on the bugle. It was played again this Remembrance Sunday when the Last Post sounded over Rotherham.
Mr Green, who paid £5 for his piece of family history at a market in Rotherham, said he believed the bugle was picked up on the battlefield by one of the few survivors.
‘They were a Rotherham unit and it will have been picked up as a memento,’ he said. 
‘I asked the stallholder where he bought it from and he said it came from a house clearance but he couldn’t remember when or where he got the bugle.
‘The important thing is that it has ended up back in the right hands in the end, in my granddad’s family, where it belongs.’

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Skoda beats Porsche in car maker awards...

Skoda beats Porsche to best car maker award 

For many years Skoda was the butt of jokes, with its communist-era cars being compared to skips and wheelbarrows.

No joke: The Skoda Octavia (Picture: Getty)No joke: The Skoda Octavia (Picture: Getty)
To double the value of one of the Czech vehicles, you simply had to fill it with petrol, or so the old gag went.
But over the past 20 years, the company has shrugged off that reputation.
And today it is having the last laugh – after being named best manufacturer in the 2010 What Car? Readers Awards.
Skoda, whose modern motors are a far cry from its box-like bangers of old, came ahead of Porsche in the poll of 30,000 readers.
Daihatsu was third in the rankings, with Saab rated as the worst manufacturer.
The best car award went to the BMW 1 Series Coupe, with the Land Rover Defender second and the Alfa Romeo Mito third. Worst car overall was the Ford Focus CC. The Skoda Octavia was also named best small family car. 
What Car? editor-in-chief Steve Fowler said: ‘The results suggest no one ever regrets buying a 1 Series Coupe, with most readers dishing out a full five-star verdict. The entry-level BMW was complimented for its driving ability as well as its fuel consumption. It is a worthy winner.’

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