Archive for April 2009
How does a large family commute anywhere if they have no car and little money?
As this picture proves, there are no problems, only solutions.
What appears to be an entire family of eight have all piled cheerfully on to one motorcycle.
The three children, two men, two women and a baby are clinging to one another tightly, their hair blowing in the breeze – as they are, of course, compounding their danger by riding without helmets.
Their lives appear to be in the hands of one of the men – clad in a dark purple shirt, he is the driver.
His control of the motorbike is compromised by the three children crammed on the saddle in front of him however. One hopes they only have to travel in a straight line, as he will find it very difficult to turn the bike with the three children there.
Of course, the weight he is carrying on the back of the motorbike will not help either.
To go around corners on a motorbike, the driver must lean into the turn. That is always more difficult to do when carrying a passenger – if the passenger does not lean with the bike also, or if they lean too little or too much, the driver could lose control.
Unless you are an experienced rider, that’s difficult enough to manage with one passenger. With seven, it must be just about impossible.
The driver will also find stopping difficult.
Read more and see more pictures: Solved! How a family of eight can travel from A to B… on just TWO wheels
How many people does it take to change every light bulb in Grand Central Terminal?
Six, it turns out. And it’s a full-time job.
On Tuesday, those wiremen — their official title — unscrewed the last remaining incandescent bulbs in the building, replacing them with compact fluorescent bulbs and completing the greening of the lighting system at the bustling station.
While the wiremen worked, photographers snapped pictures, and officials applauded the efforts, reminiscing about the days when both the station and the light bulb were young.
The bulbs in question were on one of the 10 huge Beaux-Arts chandeliers in the main lobby. Adorned with gold detail and banded with 110 bulbs, the 96-year-old globe-shaped chandeliers hang above the Main Concourse balconies like luminescent Fabergé eggs.
Fluorescent bulbs last longer and use less energy, saving money and helping advance the city’s environmental goals.
They were first installed in the terminal in the mid-1980s, with tube-shaped fluorescents hung on the train platforms largely to brighten them, said Marjorie S. Anders, a spokeswoman for the Metro-North Railroad. About seven years ago, compact fluorescents, which can be screwed into standard light sockets, were installed in the cornice that rings the ceiling of the Main Concourse, 75 feet above the ground, largely because frequently replacing the old bulbs was a risky and labor-intensive chore.
And as the technology and aesthetics improved — the bulbs became less distinguishable and could be dimmed — the bulbs were added everywhere from the departure board to the chandeliers.
“If you see an incandescent bulb in this place, call me,” said Steve Stroh, the terminal’s electrical and mechanical superintendent, who has overseen the replacement effort. “We’ll have it changed, because we may have missed one or two.”
Mr. Stroh would not even hazard a guess as to the number of bulbs throughout the terminal, which covers 48 acres on two levels, but he estimated that the annual light bulb budget was less than $100,000. Its costs about $1,100 to replace all the bulbs on a single chandelier.
Replacing the roughly 4,000 bulbs in the public areas of the terminal — which doesn’t include the platforms, the train yards, or office space — will save an estimated $200,000 a year, Ms. Anders said. The payback on the initial investment will take just months.
However, with the bulbs burning 24 hours a day, the shift will not be putting any of the terminal’s six wiremen out of work, Mr. Stroh said. Even with the fluorescents, he said, “it’s a big job.”
Read more: Grand Central Terminal Lighting Goes Green
Tinker Bell has been reunited with her owners after a 70-mph gust of wind picked up the six-pound Chihuahua and tossed her out of sight. Dorothy and Lavern Utley credit a pet psychic for guiding them on Monday to a wooded area nearly a mile from where 8-month-old Tinker Bell had been last seen. The brown long-haired dog was dirty and hungry but otherwise OK.
The Utleys, of Rochester, had set up an outdoor display Saturday at a flea market in Waterford Township, 25 miles northwest of Detroit. Tinker Bell was standing on their platform trailer when she was swept away.
Dorothy Utley tells The Detroit News that her cherished pet “just went wild” upon seeing her.
Read more: Blown-away Chihuahua reunited with owners
The Hermitage Hotel has afternoon tea in the grand lobby. Down-filled duvets (that’s a fancy word for comforters). A presidential suite with 2,000 square feet. And a really nice toilet.
So nice, in fact, that it’s been voted (drum roll please) America’s best restroom.
Flush in the middle of downtown Nashville, the luxury hotel and its ground-floor men’s bathroom are definitely the head (so to speak) of the class.
The redoubtable restroom is art-deco style with gleaming lime-green-and-black leaded glass tiles, lime-green fixtures, terrazzo floor and a two-seat shoeshine station.
“You just can’t find anything like it anywhere else,” says Janet Kurtz, director of sales and marketing at the hotel.
The restroom won the honor in online voting sponsored by Cincinnati-based Cintas Corp., which supplies restroom hygiene products and services. The company says “tens of thousands” of people voted over two months last summer. Precise numbers are kept, well, private.
Criteria were hygiene, style and access to the public. The highfalutin honor has earned the restroom entry to “America’s Best Restroom Hall of Fame.”
“People see it and fall in love with it,” Kurtz said.
It has four stools, three urinals, four sinks, spotless mirrors and a Sultan telephone that connects to the front desk.
And, (how do you put this delicately?) women seem attracted to it.
Lita Esquinance of Bradley County, Tenn., guides friends to the restroom for a discreet peek just about every time she visits Nashville. One of them, Sonja Luckie, jokingly summed up her visit with this discerning observation:
“For men, it’s very stimulating.”
The hotel, built in 1910 and renovated in 2003, has 122 guest rooms and suites. The restroom, down the hall from the hotel bar and restaurant, dates back to 1939.
Do they leave the light on for you? Not necessarily, but the famous restroom is cleaned hourly.
In her six years at the hotel Kurtz has never used the men’s restroom. But just wait.
“I hope they have a ladies’ night sometime.”
In less time than it took a North Brunswick patrolman to write a ticket for an unregistered vehicle, the driver got his car registered online Thursday.
When officer Jason Zier pulled over a 1992 Mazda 626 on Thursday afternoon, the vehicle’s registration had expired. By the time he’d finished writing up Sean Leach for the infraction, the car was legal again.
That’s because the 36-year-old Jersey City man had a cell phone, a friend with a computer who he could reach and the foresight to use the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission’s online registration service.
Leach’s ingenuity did not save him from getting a ticket, but it did keep him from having his car towed _ and getting socked with the towing bill.
Zier pulled Leach over on Route 130 after noticing the sticker on his license plate was expired. When Leach told Zier he had not gotten around to renewing his registration, the officer mentioned that drivers can register online, North Brunswick Police Department spokesman Capt. Donald Conry said.
Leach took the renewal form the commission had sent him from his visor, which contained the access code he needed to renew. While Zier issued the summons and ordered the tow, Leach called a friend who took his credit card number and other information and renewed the registration for him, Conry said.
When Zier came back with the ticket, Leach told him the car was now registered. The computer inside Zier’s patrol car confirmed it.
“It’s immediate,” Conry said.
Zier canceled the tow truck _ no longer needed since it was to tow an unregistered car off the road.
Source: Genius and Great!
At 2 feet, 9 inches and a mere 19 pounds, Aditya “Romeo” Dev isn’t like other bodybuilders.
The 21-year-old from Punjab, India, weighs as much as the body armor worn by U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, but that hasn’t stopped the little person from becoming a body builder.
Dev told “Good Morning America” today that the most he’s ever lifted is 10 pounds — about half his weight.
“From the very beginning I liked lifting the dumbbells and lifting weights,” he said through a translator. “I used to watch wrestling when I was a small kid and that’s how I got inspired.”
His hard work has paid off — three years ago the Guinness Book of World Records named him the world’s smallest body builder.
When he hit a Crunch gym in New York City, people flocked to him, picking him up for a pose and taking pictures.
And ladies, he’s available.
“I don’t have a girlfriend,” Dev said, with a shy grin.
Watch this story and see him in action: An Inside Look at the Littlest Bodybuilder
It seems an unlikely place to find such a symbol of romance. But Mother Nature chose this bleakly beautiful Arctic landscape to leave her mark in the form of a stunning heart-shaped lake.
It has emerged as climate change melted the glacier that covered the area. Blocks of ice trapped during the glacier’s retreat caused the ground to cave in, creating a heart-like hollow, some 120ft by 90ft, that then filled with rainwater or snow melt.
The picture was taken by French photographer Bruno Mazodier on Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago.
The Norwegian island 620 miles from the North Pole is the most northerly inhabited-place on Earth, although people are outnumbered by polar bears.
Dr Bryn Hubbard, of Aberystwyth University, said: ‘The glaciers all through this island chain have receded, but the heart shape is an anomaly. You would do well to find another.’
“Fairy tales and legends” is the theme of this year’s World Sand Sculpture Festival now underway at the Tottori Sand Dunes in Tottori prefecture. On display (until May 31) are 19 massive works crafted by world-class sculptors from ten nations. The artists used around 2,700 tons of sand and took about two weeks to complete their works.
See more of these amazing pictures: World Sand Sculpture Festival 2009
The location looks like a scene from TV drama Lost – a crashed airliner surrounded by miles of impenetrable jungle on one side and deep blue ocean on the other.
But, in fact, the passenger jet is actually part of a luxurious hotel suite where highfliers can relax and enjoy the fantasy of being cut off from the rest of the world.
The two bedroom suite is housed inside the fuselage of a 1965 Boeing 727 which was destined for scrap.
Jutting out from a hillside, the plane offers spectacular views of the Manuel Antonio National Park’s rain forest in Costa Rica from balconies built on each wing.
Inside the refurbished airframe are two wood-panelled bedrooms, a kitchenette, dining room and living area and two bathrooms.
A spokesman for the Hotel Costa Verde described it as ‘the most exclusive hotel suite in Costa Rica’.
The giant was transported piece by piece from the San Jose airport to its current resting place on a pedestal 50 feet above the beach.
Five big trucks were needed to get the plane out to the resort, and while the transportation certainly had a negative ecological impact, the finished project is a stunning example of adaptive reuse.
The hotel spokesman added: ‘At this height, you will enjoy scenic ocean and jungle views from the hard wood deck built atop the plane’s former right wing.
Read more and see more pictures: The hotel suite in a plane that’s crash bang in the middle of the jungle
This fat cat has been treating himself to too many kitty treats, weighing in at a whopping 10kg.
When it comes to bolting down all the nosh on offer, Lion has lived up to his name, taking the lion’s share of whatever is put in front of him — and then some, we suspect.
Lion has always enjoyed the finer foods on offer, preferring to dine on gourmet meals of chicken and rice.
As a result, he weighs about the same as a standard barbell, so no wonder this five-year-old cat is part of the growing obesity epidemic of fat cats waddling along the Gold Coast.
The weight problem for Coast felines has alarmed Cats on the Coast veterinarian Dr Kate Adams, who said Lion must lose weight in order to stay healthy.
She said the problem was more prevalent with indoor cats of people living in high-rise apartments.
“The overweight cats I’m seeing are much less active than cats with a healthy weight and face serious health risks simply because their owners may be giving them too much food,” she said.
“Obesity in cats increases the risk of a whole array of health problems such as diabetes and arthritis.
“However, we have an excellent weight control program available that will help cat owners to bring their cat back to its healthy weight.”
Depending on the animal’s size, the average weight for a healthy cat should be about four or 5kg.
Dr Adams said she had seen cats weighing as much as 11kg, putting them in the morbidly obese category.
“We have put Lion on a low-carb, low-fat eating program,” she said. “You can also incorporate exercise into a cat’s life by increasing their play, as well as putting their food on a shelf and making them jump for it.”
Lion’s owner Fiona Mattig said too many rich treats had seen her kitty put on the kilos.
“Lion has always loved his food,” she said.
“I used to feed him supermarket food but now we have him on obesity food for cats.
“We are hoping that Lion gets down to five kilos.
“At the moment he doesn’t have any major health problems but for him to live a healthy life, he has to lose the weight.”
Watch the video and see more fat pets: Lion’s share for this hefty feline