Thursday, May 23, 2013

Helen Mirren Steps in for Queen Elizabeth to Grant Dying Wish to Young Boy

She won the Academy Award for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth in the movie The Queen, and now actress Helen Mirren has stepped into the Royal Monarch's shoes once grant one final wish to a dying boy.

After the real Queen Elizabeth was unable to fulfill the wish of 10-year-old Oliver Burtonwho has Down’s syndrome and terminal spine as well as bone marrow cancer to meet the monarch, Helen Mirren graciously offered to help make little Oliver's dream a reality. Mirren, who is actually portraying the Queen once again in the play The Audience on London's West End, arrived to meet Oliver dressed as the Royal, complete with a periwinkle dress and her requisite pearls. She also arrived with the Queen's beloved Corgis (the real love of the monarch's life, obviously!).

Mirren had a Royal Footman serve high tea and biscuits to the delighted Oliver, who has been battling leukemia for most of his life and was diagnosed with the disease at the age of three. This is the third time the precious young boy has battled cancer, and doctors fear that he may only have weeks or months to live. This makes Dame Helen's gesture even more beautiful, and we hope the real royal recognizes what she has done.

Little Oliver was none the wiser that it was actually Helen Mirren and not the Queen who was visiting him. Reports Oliver's father James Brown, "She was really lovely. She did the whole thing — had a butler there, was dressed in costume and did it all properly for him.”

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Twitpic - Share photos and videos on Twitter

Twitpic - Share photos and videos on Twitter

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Wings of Lyra: Updates to the Global Coastal Event - 15 May 2013

The Wings of Lyra: Updates to the Global Coastal Event - 15 May 2013: Updates to the Global Coastal Event - 15 May 2013   Thursday, May 16, 2013     Since my last update on th...

Exposed: New Video from Japan Shows Off-the-Charts Radiation Levels

A new video has surfaced on YouTube that is bringing about some much-needed attention. The video is ostensibly from Japan—at this point we can only assume it was filmed near to the Fukushima Nuclear Facility that went into a full-scale meltdown event after the cataclysmic March 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

The video from the unspecified location shows two handheld radiation detectors—one placed on the ground in a plastic bag with the other being held by an unknown person recorded the readings. The handheld detector immediately begins to register an intense rate of radioactivity, particularly when it is placed closer to the ground, where the other detector in the plastic bag remains.

The detector registers a rather alarming 6000 CPM (Counts Per Minute, which measures the amount of radioactivity in the vicinity.) It quickly spikes to over 8000 CPM. Normal, safe CPM levels would be between 20-30 CPMs. Long term exposure to the levels of radioactivity registered by the monitors would cause significant health risks—including death in people more susceptible.

Is the video genuine? That cannot be verified at this point. You can view the video that was posted on May 10, 2013, for yourself and draw your own conclusions below:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Then There's Maude...Nude! Topless Portrait of Bea Arthur Expected to Sell for $1 Million +

[Update: The painting Bea Arthur Naked did indeed sell at last night's auction. An anonymous buyer bid an astonishing $1.9 million US via telephone for the portrait of the late actress.]

[Update II: Comic Jeff Ross posted a photo of himself holding the portrait on Twitter, stating, "Biggest surprise of my life. Thank you @jimmykimmel - the most generous guy in the world! #BeaArthur,", implying the late night talk show host had purchased the painting as a gift. Jimmy Kimmel responded with his own tweet, "Bea is watching over all of us, especially you," confirming he had bought the painting, before later tweeting, "Contrary to "news" reports, I didn't buy the Bea Arthur painting - not even for @realjeffreyross - but I did buy the Mona Lisa Lampanelli."]

 So did Kimmel actually purchase the painting? My guess would be yes, as I don't think Ross has that kind of money!

The theme song lyrics to the classic Norman Lear 70s sitcom Maude starring the late, great Bea Arthur did mention Lady Godiva being a freedom rider, but I didn't see this one coming!

A nude portrait of Golden Girls actress Bea Arthur will be going under the gavel at Christie's Auction House in New York City this evening...and the stunning painting is anticipated to bring in as much as $1.5 to $2 million US!

The portrait by regarded artist John Currin is of Arthur from the time she was on the controversial series Maude. The actress did not sit for the artist, and was completely rendered from clothed photographs of the actress, with the naughty bits derived from the artist's imagination, we hope. The portrait was initially blasted by art critics when it was first unveiled in 1991, with some calling it sexist and misogynistic.

Art critic Peter Schjeldahl once dubbed Currin's art work his “acrid fantasy portraits of menopausal women”. Currin writes in the lot notes for tonight's auction at Christie's, “I had a vision in my head of Bea Arthur, and I found a picture of her. I was going to put a scarf ensemble on her like that from her Maude days, and I drew the body just to drape it. It was then that I realized that the painting was fantastic as it was." Arthur died of cancer in 2009.

The Arthur portrait joins works from other famed artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Jackson Pollock that will be up for bid tonight during the house's Post War & Contemporary Art Sale.

You may view the entire, uncensored Bea Arthur portrait over at Entertainment Weekly's website.

Paris Is Burning: Football Fans Turn Victory Celebration into Riot

Fans of the French football team St. Germain turned an impromptu victory celebration into a night of riots on the streets of the City of Lights, Paris on Monday night.

The Paris St. Germain team, including their new captain, international superstar David Beckham, looked on in abject horror as their celebration of winning the league title promptly descended into brutal fighting and vandalism. 

Store-front windows were shattered and looted and cars were tipped over and set ablaze by the large crowd of over-zealous hooligans. Riot police were quickly dispatched to the scene, as the rioters moved from Trocaderos Square beneath the famed city symbol the Eiffel Tower to the nearby Champs-Élysées, Paris' most glamorous thoroughfare. Riot gendarme fired tear gas into the unruly crowd of misguided revelers. 

 21 people were arrested in connection with the rioting, while more than 30 people reported injuries, including three riot police officers. 


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Atlantis Rising Part Two: Argentine City Once Submerged Beneath Water Resurfaces

(Photo Courtesy of Natacha Pisarenko and Newser)

Like the ghostly specter of the Apocalypse, a city in Argentina once completely submerged beneath water has risen from its watery grave, similar to a town in Indiana that resurfaced during last summer's unbelievable drought.

Almost thirty years ago, the town of Epecuen was a bustling, lakeside resort of over two thousand residents, many who catered to tourists and vacationers who flocked to the area during the country's "Golden Age" to escape the hustle and bustle of the capital city of Buenos Aires, some 500 kilometers away. This was decades before the virtual collapse of the Argentine economy and devaluation of the nation's monetary unit the peso. People came in droves to take advantage of the town's saltwater baths and spas, which were reported to have curative medicinal qualities.

After a series of extremely wet winters and a near record-breaking deluge of rain, the water of the lake began to overflow its banks on November 10, 1985. The water then burst through a retaining wall constructed to protect the town from flooding and began to spill into the streets of Epecuen. The town's citizens ran for their lives, grabbing only what they could as they fled their homes. Within days, the once-lovely tourist Mecca was submerged beneath more than 10 meters (33 feet) of highly-corrosive salt water.

Fast forward 28 years and the town of Epecuen—almost totally lost and forgotten to history—has experienced a rebirth. Due to continued dramatic changes in the climate, most of the waters that had enshrouded the town for almost thirty years have now receded, revealing a spooky, post-Apocalyptic vision, with abandoned streets strewn with the detritus of a past civilization: rusted out automobiles, corroded homes and businesses, and water-logged trees and wooden electrical poles.

Now, the town is back on the tourist map. Thousands of people are now returning to Epecuen—not to enjoy its once- famous spa baths, but to take photographs of the eerie, alien landscape, which now resembles a set for a zombie movie. (I'm sure it won't be too long before someone—I'm talking to you Eli Roth—films a horror flick here.)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Feed Me, Seymour: New Species of Carnivorous Plant Discovered in Japan

For fans of the musical Little Shop of Horrors comes this news item...

According to the Japan Times, a new species of carnivorous plant has been discovered for the first time in Aichi Prefecture, on the central-southern coast of Japan's main island. The newspaper calls the discovery a "pitcher plant," , but experts are saying that it is actually of the Drosera species, commonly known as the sundew plant.

Although pitcher plants and sundews are both carnivorous and feed mostly on insects lured to their deaths inside their sticky "mouths", they are very different otherwise. While pitcher plants possess a slippery, bell-shaped flower that unsuspecting prey become trapped in, sundews have sticky tentacles topped with a single drop of "dew" that insects become hopelessly mired in with the slightest touch. Eventually, the insects die from exhaustion, dehydration, starvation, or suffocation, to be digested by the enzymes within the mucous the plant produces!

I'm sure there is no connection between the discovery of the new "meat-eating" plant and the Fukushima nuclear meltdown that took place after the horrific Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. At least,  I hope not...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Red Planet: 78,000 Earthlings Apply for Mars Citizenship

It seems quite a few Earthlings are anxious to get off this Big Blue Marble; more than 78,000 people have already signed up to be citizens of Mars...whenever the Red Planet should become colonized!

The Netherlands-based non-profit organization Mars One is seeking qualified candidates to colonize Mars in the future. To be a successful applicant, you must possess intelligence, resourcefulness, courage, determination and skill, as well as psychological stability, said Mars One ambassador Gerard 't Hooft, a Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist. Candidates must also pass a strict health examination and be physically fit in order to be included.

There is a minor filing fee for all applications, which range from $5 to $75, the amounts based on the gross national income of the applicant's home nation. The fee for US citizens will be $38. Since announcing the search in late April, the organization has already been flooded with applications from interested parties, with over 78,000 currently being processed and examined to see if they meet eligibility requirements. Although there is no maximum age limit to be considered, all applicants must be over the age of 18 and have the ability to speak and communicate in English.

Mars One estimates it will need at least $6 billion to send just the first four inhabitants to begin the Red Planet colony, with an additional $4 billion needed to launch each subsequent crew. In addition to the application fees, the organization hopes to raise money via a reality television show that will follow its astronaut selection and training process.

Mars One plans to put its astronaut finalists through seven years of rigorous training and testing exercises that will expose them to all potential situations they might encounter during the daring mission. The astronaut trainees will also have to spend some time living in mock Mars colonies here on Earth and communicating with Mission Control via a 6 to 20-minute time delay to simulate the lag between a signal being sent and its arrival on Mars.

The organization plans to have selected 24 qualified candidates by July of 2015. As of yet, no space craft has been announced to ferry the astronauts to their new homes. (Luckily, the time frame is after Comet Siding Spring might impact the planet in October of next year!)

If you are interested in applying for the trip to Mars, you may do so here:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Secret History: Remains of Young Jamestown Settlement Girl Had Been Cannibalized

Reconstructed face of unidentified girl from Jamestown settlement.

Here's something you probably never read in any of your history books in school: Forensic scientists examining the remains of a teenaged girl discovered buried in the Jamestown settlement in Virginia have determined that her remains had been cannibalized!

The scientists from the Smithsonian Institute uncovered gruesome clues that the 14-year-old girl had been hacked at in much the same way a butcher would hack at the remains of a cow or pig. Many of the bones on her body had the unmistakable markings of being cut upon by a knife or axe.

Anthropologists and historians believe that the girl could have died during the famine of the winter of 1609 known as "The Starving Time" , an infamously harsh winter season that left only 60 of the 500 original colonists alive. Rumors of cannibalism during the Starving Time have existed over the centuries, but now the forensic scientists have offered conclusive proof that the colonists probably turned to eating human flesh in order to survive out of desperation.

The scientists believe that the girl died of natural causes, perhaps of starvation and/or disease, and that the cut marks upon her body were rendered postmortem.  The bones, the reconstruction of her head and the story were presented Wednesday at an event at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. The remains will now be displayed at the Archaearium, the museum at the Jamestown fort archaeological site in Virginia, starting this weekend. A sign at the room’s entrance warns tourists that human remains will be on view. There will be no depictions of bodies being butchered, cooked or consumed.

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