Idiot Thief Exploded Himself by Peeing on a Power Transformer [Bad Ideas] | Gizmodo.com

By Kyle Wagner

Michael Harper is an idiot. The 36-year-old Englishman was in the middle of robbing a power sub-station when he decided, hey, why not urinate on the power transformer. The transformer exploded, Harper caught on fire, and 2,000 people lost power. Dunce.

Harper and an accomplice were stealing copper wire (naturally) from the station. To get at the wires, they had drained the insulating oil from around the fixtures. Oil, of course, catches on fire when a moron pees on a transformer and sends sparks flying around.

Harper was “permanently disfigured” by the explosion and sentenced to a year in jail, where, with any luck, he’ll pee on the electrified fence in the yard. [Gizmodo via Leicester Mercury via News.com.au via Fark]

So How Much Vomit Would One Need To Fly? | Gizmodo.com

By Andrew Liszewski

Completely forgetting that today is supposed to be about romance, Minute Physics asks if it’s really possible for the Milk Man superhero, featured in Freddie Wong’s video, to fly by spewing milk from his mouth.

The unsettling answer is of course yes, but the vast quantities of highly dense milk required to get someone off the ground unfortunately make this dream unattainable for the common man—but not Milk Man. And if you have no idea what I or Minute Physics is talking about, you’ll want to check out Freddie Wong’s original video which I’ve included.

via [So How Much Vomit Would One Need To Fly?] via [YouTube]

See The Most High-Def Photo Ever Taken Of Planet Earth | Giant Freakin Robot

By: Josh Tyler

Get ready to fill your eyes up with planet Earth. You’ve seen pictures of our little blue marble from space before, but you’ve never seen one taken with this kind of high-definition quality. NASA has released what they say is the highest definition photo ever taken of our planet.

Here it is, click the image to see the massive 8000×8000 ultra HD version…

I can see my house from here!

This new “blue marble” image of Earth is actually a composite, made using a number of swaths of Earth’s surface taken on January 4, 2012 by the Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard NASA’s most recently launched Earth-observing satellite, Suomi NPP (named after professor Verner E. Suomi). It’s not much of a name for a satellite, I probably would have just gone with “Vernor”.

[via Giant Freakin Robot]

Temporal Distortion

What you see is real, but you can’t see it this way with the naked eye. It is the result of 20-30 second exposures, edited together over many hours to produce the timelapse. This allows you to see the Milky Way, Aurora and other Phenonmena, in a way you wouldn’t normally see them.

[via Geeks are Sexy via Randy Halverson]

How to Make Your Own Beef Briefs

By Andrew Tarantola

The thing with edible panties is that if I’m going to have to eat something that’s been girding my partner’s loins for the last half hour, I don’t want it to taste like a warm Fruit Roll-Up. I want to chow down on something meatily delicious—like this pair of Brief Jerky.

Concocted by Instructables user Carleyy, each pair of jerked briefs is made from two pounds of ground beef and various seasonings held together with Slim Jim laces. The process is straightforward, akin to making conventional jerky—but, you know, with the added step of crafting a garment from the out of the dehydrated meat product. Be warned though, the project does require a dehydrator and at least 12 hours of prep time so if you’re fixing to fabricate a flesh-flavored loincloth for Valentines Day, you’ll want to plan ahead. [Instructables]

12 Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions in the World!

February 2, 2012 by

If you are looking for some great destinations for your next vacation, there are a number of dangerous tourist attractions that you may want to avoid. Many of these locations have been made into tourist attractions in order to generate an income for the location, but it might not have been the best idea to turn them into tourist destinations. Here are twelve of the most dangerous tourist attractions in the world.

12. Chernobyl Tours

The site of a nuclear disaster in 1986 near Prypiat, Ukraine, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant offers tours for those who are curious about the disaster and want to see the site in person. The management of the Chernobyl tours assure you that any remaining radiation levels from the disaster are too small to harm your health, but the danger may not just be toward your physical health. After taking the tour, you may find that you have been changed inside as well.

11. Death Road Tour

Known as the most dangerous road in the world, the 60 kilometer expanse of highway running between La Paz and Coroico, Bolivia has claimed numerous lives. The North Yungas Road is as small as 10 feet across in some locations and has no guardrails to keep you from falling over the edge. If you have the misfortune of going over the edge, your vehicle would come to rest after falling more than 2,000 feet to the bottom off the canyon.

10. Bungee Jumping into an Active Volcano

It might night be the smartest thing to do, but it will definitely get your blood pumping. For $10,000, you can bungee jump from a helicopter into the mouth of Chile’s Villarrica volcano. The volcano is active with pools of white-hot lava bubbling below where you will come within 213 meters of the pool of molten lava.

9. Swim in Shark Infested Waters

When you really want to test what you are made from, try swimming in shark infested waters. The New Smyrna Beach in Florida is known as the shark capital of the world. Just an hour northeast of Orlando, New Smyrna Beach features inviting white sandy beaches, but beware. Just a short distance into the water, danger awaits.

8. Volcano Helicopter Tours

Seeing the inside of an active volcano from a helicopter sounds like a great idea, but it can also be a deadly one. Many people have taken the risk by touring the inside of active volcanoes on the Hawaiian Islands with Hawaiian Island helicopter tours. The tours have not always come out as planned, with over 30 people having died from helicopter crashes during the tours since 1995.

7. Climbing Mont Blanc on the French/Italian Border

Mountain climbing is a dangerous sport anyway, but attempting to climb Mont Blanc is to tempt death itself. The mountain reaches a peak of 4,877 meters with wind gusts reaching 95 kilometers near the top. If the extreme temperatures dont get you, the wind will. There were more than 50 people who died on the mountain in 2008 alone.

6. Swimming with the Jellyfish

The greatest predator in Australia is not a shark, a snake or even a crocodile. It’s a box jellyfish. Located on the Northern coastline of Australia near the mouth of the rivers, the box jellyfish seems harmless, but has killed more people than all other deadly Australian animals combined.

5. Cliff Jumping at Bash Bish Falls

The Bash Bish Falls in Massachusetts are very beautiful and a great place to take pictures, but the Falls harbor some hidden dangers. The Bash Bish Falls look great, but the edges of the cliffs have claimed many lives with crumbling ledges as well as pools that are shallower than expected.

4. Climbing Mount Cook in New Zealand

The Mount Cook National Park in New Zealand looks like an idyllic place to climb. But the park is prone to avalanches and conditions that prevent rescuers from reaching you when you are in danger. The park has claimed many would-be and professional climbers.

3. Beautiful and Deadly Destination

One of the most inviting destinations is also one of the most deadly. The island of Vanuatu has fantastic South Pacific beaches, that often experience tsunamis from earthquakes as well as cyclones and active volcanoes.

2. Tobaggan on an Active Volcano

Tobaggan down the outside of the Cerro Negro volcano in Nicaragua. The volcano erupted in 1999, but the tobaggan guide swears he will know if it is about to erupt. You will still have to deal with gravel burns when you travel at 68 km an hour over the rocky terrain.

1. Walk the Plank at Mt. Huashan China

Hike along the face of Mount Huashan in China, thousands of feet in the air as you walk over wooden 12 inch wide planks tied into the face of the cliffs. This is definitely not a family friendly activity. It doesn’t sound that bad, but there are NO hand rails, and the only thing keeping you on the side of the mountain is a safety harness, if you so choose to buy one. If you plan on checking out Mt. Huashan, I’ve got a simple travel tip for you. Watch your step!

[via Sky-Today via infobarrel

How To Electrify Your Brain To Be Smarter With a 9-Volt Battery

How To Electrify Your Brain To Be Smarter With a 9-Volt Battery

Transcranial direct current stimulation can make your brain work better. DARPA proved it can make you better at video games, the U.S. Air Force has shown it cuts drone remote-pilot training in half, and Harvard researchers have used it to treat depression. So what is this magical device that powerfully manipulates your brain function and where can you get one?

It’s not much more than a battery and a bunch of wires. In fact, you could actually make it yourself.

But that doesn’t mean that you should try it at home. Though no one so far has reported seizures or other negative effects, sending any amount of electricity into your brain without the supervision of a medical professional is not the best idea. That all said, it’s shockingly easy to build a transcranial direct current stimulator, or tDCS, just like the one used in all of those experiments.

All you need is a 9-volt battery hooked up to some kind of resistor — (one DIYer used a Radio Shack Electronics Learning Lab) — and electrodes, which can be purchased on eBay.

Folks have been talking about the mind-hacking benefits of low-level electrical brain stimulation for years, and scientists even say we should have access to it. Why hasn’t anyone developed a product one could buy so we don’t have to McGyver our own? Scientific American’s blog today discusses the ethics of a so-called “electrical thinking cap.” Would it be fair? Would parents be weirdly manipulating their kids’ brains? Would it be like electronic brain doping?

Maybe the explanation is simpler. Maybe no one sees a profit in something that any middle-school science student could build for 10 bucks? Sure, you could maybe buy the one the Harvard researchers used, but it’s really intended for clinics and costs close to $1,000. So where’s the consumer version?

I can imagine folks paying for something that’s beautifully designed, painless (which apparently it is for the most part, minus some discomfort getting the thing to adhere to your head, depending on how much hair you have), and makes you smarter. Better yet, it sounds like a great app! Can one of you Y combinator kids get on that please? [Scientific American]

Image: Neuropsychopharmacology

Treasure hunter claims $3bn find

Greg Brooks, on board the salvage ship Sea Hunter in Boston 1 February 2012

Greg Brooks says he delayed announcement of the find until he could secure salvage rights

A Maine treasure hunter says he has discovered a WWII-era shipwreck filled with platinum, now worth $3bn (£1.9bn).

Greg Brooks of Sub Sea Research says a wreck sitting 50 miles (80km) off the US Atlantic coast is the SS Port Nicholson, sunk in 1942.

The Port Nicholson, a British merchant ship, was torpedoed by a German U-boat in an attack that killed six people.

Some have expressed doubts the wreck holds platinum, and maritime law would complicate ownership claims.

Anthony Shusta, an attorney representing the British government, says it is unclear if the ship ever carried platinum.

“We’re still researching what was on the vessel,” Mr Shusta told the Associated Press news agency. “Our initial research indicated it was mostly machinery and military stores.”

The United Kingdom will wait until salvage operations begin before deciding whether to file a claim on the cargo, he added.

‘I’m getting it’

Mr Brooks says a US Treasury Department ledger shows platinum bars were on board, as part of a payment from the Soviet Union to the US for war supplies.

He also has underwater video footage he says shows a platinum bar surrounded by 30 boxes that he believes holds platinum ingots.

He has not yet brought up any platinum but says he and his crew hope to begin raising the treasure later this month.

“I’m going to get it, one way or another, even if I have to lift the ship out of the water,” he said.

The treasure hunter said he held off the announcement of his find for four years while he negotiated salvage rights. Ownership rights are still unsettled.

German pensioner eats 64-year-old US lard

German with open tin of lard, 1 Feb 12

Mr Feldmeier kept the lard with some cans of noodles and milk for emergencies

A German pensioner who received a tin of American lard 64 years ago in an aid package has only just tasted it, after discovering that it is still edible.

“I just didn’t want to throw it away,” said Hans Feldmeier, 87.

Food safety experts in Rostock, his home town on Germany’s Baltic coast, said the pig fat was still safe to eat.

Mr Feldmeier was a student in 1948 when the US was running a huge aid programme to rebuild war-ravaged Germany. He kept the tin of lard for emergencies.

A retired pharmacist, he decided to get the lard tested because of the debate about expiry dates and food safety.

A food expert, Frerk Feldhusen, said the lard was rather gritty and tasteless and hard to dissolve, though quite edible. Mr Feldmeier provided some black bread to go with it.

The red, white and blue tin of Swift’s Bland Lard bore no expiry date.

Mr Feldhusen said the test result might make some consumers think twice before discarding food immediately after the expiry date.

Broadband speeds rise, but Brits still lag behind

By: Mark Brown

image
Telecoms regulator Ofcom has revealed that Brits are getting 22 percent faster broadband speeds than a year ago, but more than 40 percent are stuck on speeds of 10Mbps or less, even though they could get faster connections at no extra cost if they switched package or provider.

This data comes from Ofcom’s sixth report of UK broadband speeds, which measures the performance of home internet speeds, the differences between ISPs and the disparity between advertised speeds and actual download rates.

The regulator found that in November 2011, the average actual broadband speed was 7.6Mbps — up from 6.2Mbps in November 2010, and 6.8Mbps in May 2011. Also in November 2011, for the first time, more than half of UK connections were at an advertised speed of above 10Mbps.

Ofcom looked at 13 broadband packages, provided by the eight largest ISPs (BT, Plusnet, Virgin Media, Karoo, O2, Orange, Sky and TalkTalk) — a sample that represents over 75 percent of UK subscribers. 572 million separate performance tests were carried out in 1,710 homes in November 2011.

Not only did BT and Virgin Media offer the fastest speeds on their fibre-based and cable broadband technologies, the two firms were closest to their their advertised speeds. Virgin boasts “up to” 50Mbps, and delivered about 49Mbps. BT promises “up to” 40Mbps on its Infinity line, and delivered speeds of around 36Mbps.

The other ISP packages “did not change significantly from May 2011,” the telecoms authority said.

As we previously reported, internet connection advertising is going to get a major shake up in April 2012. Under new Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) guidelines, speed claims should be achievable by at least 10 percent of the ISP’s customers.

The rules state, “where a significant proportion of customers are unlikely to receive a speed sufficiently close to that advertised, further qualifying information, such as the speed range obtainable by those customers, should be included in the advertisement.”

If implemented in line with Ofcom data, speeds currently advertised as ‘up to’ 8Mbps and 20 or 24Mbps would have to instead be advertised as up to 6Mbps and 14Mbps respectively.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Edited by: Duncan Geere