Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gadget Contest Announcement!

As you may recall, the deadline for our gadget contest was pushed back to October 15th. But tomorrow, I shall be posting about the contest's FABULOUS PRIZE. So be sure to check in!

Don't Read This Post Right Before Lunch

Take a good look at the picture above. One of these McDonald's hamburgers in TWELVE YEARS OLD. (To find out which one, click here.) You gotta wonder what kind of chemicals allow for such amazing mummification. And where do you suppose I could get my hands on some? (Evil laughter.)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Banksy in New York!

Anonymous graffiti artist, Banksy, has left his mark on the streets of New York. For all of you who live here, the mural can be seen at the intersections of Grand and Wooster Streets!

Via Gothamist.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Another Installment of "What IS It?"

The photo above was named one of 2008's "Best Science Images." What is it? Let's just say that I chose it for a very special reason. Find out here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It's Ghost Day!

Boy, it's been a looong time since I featured a ghost. So today, I'm offering two for the price of one. (The price? FREE! So really, what could be better?)

The first ghost has chosen a rather unlikely location to haunt--a gym in Overland Park, Kansas. Motion-sensitive security cameras recently captured a white orb weaving around the barbells and stationary bikes. I must admit, at first I wasn't terribly impressed with this story. Then, at the end of this CNN video I learned something interesting. Apparently the gym's motion-sensitive cameras aren't all that sensitive after all. They can't be set off by just any old thing. Six hundred other businesses have the same system, and no one else has ever reported the cameras being accidentally tripped. So were the gym's activated by a ghostly presence? Watch the video and make up your own mind!

The second ghost is exactly where you'd expect to find one--a centuries-old English mansion. According to the BBC, a millionaire businessman recently fled a 52-room Nottinghamshire house after he and his family, "were haunted by mysterious figures and found unexplained blood stains on bedclothes. . . . He said the paranormal experiences began on the day they moved in, ranging from tapping on the wall and unexplained voices to ghostly presences taking the forms of their children."

Whoa. Read more here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I Just Report the News, I Don't Make It

This is one of those stories that demands no elaboration.
Enjoy . . .

"A pig named Bruce held an elderly woman hostage in her home in eastern Australia after she befriended the juvenile swine, which is the size of a Shetland pony."

Monday, September 22, 2008

Life Support for Plants

I confess. I'm a plant serial killer. I can't keep a houseplant alive for more than a couple of months, and I'm sick of smuggling their corpses out of my apartment when no one is looking.

Until yesterday, I'd given up indoor gardening for good. Then I found this brilliant solution from a website called Vitamin Living. They offer the wonderful product shown above: the "I.V. Self-Watering Pot." It's lovely, and it should prevent unnecessary deaths. Plus, it will give your apartment/bedroom/jail cell that desirable emergency room atmosphere.

UPDATE: One of our readers (thanks, Patsee!) has offered an ingenious suggestion. If you put red food coloring into the I.V. water it would look as though you're raising PLANTS THAT DRINK BLOOD! How fantastic would that be?!?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Time Eater

On Friday, renown physicist Stephen Hawking unveiled what has to be one of the most wonderful and terrifying clocks of all time.

The million dollar time piece was designed to grace a new library at the University of Cambridge in England. It features no numbers--only narrow openings in it's gold-plated face through which blue LED lights flash the time. (You can see them if you look closely at the photo above.)

But the most remarkable feature of the clock is the killer grasshopper that sits atop it. Known as the Chronophage, it perpetually walks the perimeter of the clock. Every 59 seconds, it's mouth snaps open and shut as it "eats" the minute that's just passed.

According to college officials, the clock has a few other features worth noting. For instance, at the top of every hour, it "reminds us of our mortality with the sound of a chain dropping into a wooden coffin. More playfully, the clock plays tricks on the observer, seeming occasionally to pause, run unevenly, and even go backwards."

How fabulous!

Read more here and see a video here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Exploding Whales: Keep Your Distance!

(Artwork by Roland Tamayo.)

I haven't written a really gross post in quite some time. And since it's Friday evening, I figure you all need a little shock to your systems after a long week of classes and homework.

So here's the question of the day . . . What do you do with an eight-ton whale carcass that's washed ashore on your local beach? It's too heavy to move, too big to bury. Perhaps a little T-N-T might do the trick?

That was the conclusion reached by authorities in Florence, Oregon in 1970. Suffice it to say, their "operation" did not go as planned. (Ever wonder what happens to a car when hit by a giant piece of blubber? Watch the video below to find out!)

A far more disgusting whale explosion took place in 2004. A 55-foot whale carcass spontaneously combusted while being transported through the streets of Tainan City, Taiwan. Shopfronts and innocent bystanders were splattered with several tons of whale guts and blood. (I remember seeing news reports at the time. It was a truly disgusting sight.)

Read more about exploding whales and see at least one really nasty picture here.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Society of Rogue Knitters?

(Above: A toasty New York lamppost.)

A few years back, if you'd happened upon a streetlamp wearing legwarmers--or a statue sporting mittens--you might have questioned your sanity. But these days, anyone with a sharp eye can spot well-dressed fire hydrants, door knobs, and trees in cities around the world.

The knit "tags" are the work of a secret society of knitters known as Knitta. It all began in 2005 when a Houston knitter decided to create a "doorknob cozy" for a local boutique. The cozy was a hit, and two other frustrated knitters decided to join her crew.

Since then, Knitta has taken its quest to "beautify the public space" around the globe. According to Wikipedia, they've tagged Los Angeles hotels, Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, and the Great Wall of China.

Find out more here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fowl Play in Harlem

(Sorry for the corny headline. Awesome photo by Corey Kilgannon for the The New York Times.)

Over the past few weeks, residents of Harlem have found themselves with some unexpected neighbors. Chickens and turkeys have been spotted roaming the streets. Who's responsible? Read more here.

How Very Kaspar

In The Empress's Tomb, Kaspar gets the Irregulars' attention by adding a little something extra to some famous works of art. Now it seems as if another person has had the same idea. Check out the masterpieces here--which are new and improved, with more rubber duckie than ever before!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Soon to Be Everywhere . . . But Who Cares?

It's just too good not to post. I give you . . . Ninja Cat.

Simple Yet Brilliant

Since you're all busy thinking up gadget ideas, I figured I should share a cool invention that I happened across the other day. It's unbelievably simple--yet truly ingenious.

It's called the Anti-Theft Lunch Bag. Simply place your yummy sandwich inside, and your food will appear moldy and disgusting. No matter where you leave it, you can be 100% certain that no one's gonna take it!

Just goes to show you that an invention need not be complicated to be a winner.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Another Installment of "What IS It?"

A large creature was recently spotted taking a dip in the scenic West Hartford reservoir. What the heck was it? Alligator? Gigantic mutant toad? Baby Godzilla?

Check out more photos here.

Gadget Contest Announcement!

The deadline for the latest contest has been pushed back to October 15. Now go do your homework! (Kidding!)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Note to Potential Stalkers

Guess where I'll be tomorrow! The Eighth International Pickle Day on Manhattan's Lower East Side.

As you may or may not know, the best pickles in the world come from New York. A century ago, there were 200 pickle shops in the city. Today, the Lower East Side neighborhood is best known for its cucumber-based varieties. But on Sunday, a wide range of international pickled treats will be available, including, "kimchi (Korean), lemons (Chinese), codfish (Haitian), sauerkraut (German), pomegranate pickled turnips (Middle Eastern), plums (Japanese) and mango (India)."

My mouth is already watering.

For more information, click here!

Birthday Greetings

I'd like to wish a very happy thirteenth birthday to Ashlee from Australia!!!

(And Quarguana and Traveling Gnome!)

In honor of Ashlee, I humbly present my favorite photo of evil, alien deer (shown above) and this story about killer wallabies. Enjoy!

Friday, September 12, 2008

My Own (Tiny) Secret Lair

Many Americans dream of owning a mansion. But MY dream is to own a house no bigger than the average garden shed. I think it would be super cool to have a doll-size dwelling like the one shown above and plunk it down in a field in the middle of nowhere. (I'd keep my New York apartment, of course. There's only so much nature--and squirrel eating--that a girl can take.)

Fortunately, itsy bitsy houses are all the rage these days. Yesterday, the New York Times had a great audio slide show of some of the options that are currently available. My choice? Frankly, I'm torn between the modern wee house and the charming Loring from Tumbleweed Houses. Which one would you choose?

See the slide show here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Squirrel Melts: Delicious and Nutritious

It's funny that I should come across this video today. Just last night, I was forced to admit that I have eaten squirrel. (My apologies, vegetarians.) No, I wasn't lost in the wilderness or hiding out from the law. I was sitting in a nicely decorated kitchen, surrounded by the family of a well-respected doctor.

How did it taste? Let's just say that my mouth doesn't exactly water when I watch the squirrels scamper around Washington Square Park. But I remain a firm believer in trying new and different foods. And, in my humble opinion, anyone who automatically sticks up their nose at a "squirrel melt" is missing a golden opportunity.

Still, the video (via Boing Boing) is pretty strange. See what you think.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Crop Circles: Who's Responsible?

I can't believe I've been writing this blog for more than two years, and I haven't posted a single thing about crop circles! Several readers (thanks, Kitty!) have sent me some fabulous videos over the past few months. And now it's time to share my new-found knowledge with the masses.

While I'll be the first to argue that Bigfoot is real, I've always been a bit skeptical of crop circles--the complicated, often beautiful, patterns that appear in fields around the world when no one is watching. (More than 12,000 have been discovered to date.) Are they made by fun-loving extraterrestrials? Or sneaky, math-loving hoaxters?

Until recently I would have gone with the hoaxsters. After all, several have confessed in recent years. But after doing a little research, I discovered that the story might be more complicated than I assumed. According to Wikipedia, there are reports of similar phenomena dating back to the seventeenth century! (When people had far less time to pull pranks on their neighbors.) And some modern eyewitnesses claim to have seen flying saucers skipping across fields, leaving crop circles in their wake.

So what do you think? Read the Wikipedia entry, watch a National Geographic video, and a MSNBC video, and write in with your opinion!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Hollywood Goats

If you're a long-time reader of this blog, then you might be aware of my fondness for goats. My family owned three (Bucky, Sophie, and Melissa) when I was growing up, and I found them delightful. Before they all met tragic ends (don't ask), they provided an important service--their insatiable appetites prevented the dreaded kudzu vine from swallowing my house!

Ah, memories. But today I was reading through the LA Times, when I discovered the lovely photo above. It seems one hundred goats have been set loose in downtown Los Angeles, where they act as a cheap, ecologically-friendly landscaping team. If only New York had a herd or two!

Check out more pictures here.

PS: I accidentally deleted some of your comments this morning when I was still half asleep! I'm so sorry! So if you don't see one of your comments, please don't be offended.

Monday, September 08, 2008

For All You Spider Lovers

Hee hee. Via Boing Boing.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

When the Walls Come Alive

Street art animation! I love it!

Warning: If you go to the website listed, some of the imagery is pretty gruesome. Visit at your own peril!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

50-Foot Spider Attacks Liverpool

The biggest spider on Earth was spotted clinging to a Liverpool skyscraper this week. See it in action here.

In related British arachnid news, a supermarket clerk recently discovered a deadly South American spider hiding in a shipment of bananas. Warning to banana lovers: Spider attacks are more common than you'd think!

Here's a gallery of spiders discovered in British banana shipments in the past four years:

Below: A Brazilian Wandering Spider. Found July 2004 in Walsall, April 2005 in Bridgwater (where one bit a pub chef), and September 2008 in Kent. According to an expert, "the deadly arachnid has the largest venom glands of any spider and a very toxic poison." The Guinness Book of World Records has named it the deadliest spider in the world.

Below: A Giant Crab Spider. In June, 2005, a man was bitten by such a spider when he picked up an innocent-looking bunch of bananas. Though it's not venomous, the spider's bite can be quite painful!

Below: A Huntsman Spider. Found April, 2004 in Newcastle-Under-Lyme. Not poisonous but really, really scary-looking.

Not terrifying enough for you? Then check out this list of Seven Things You Don't Want to Find While Shopping!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Wild Planet

Above: A family of bobcats has taken over a house in Southern California that was abandoned because of the foreclosure crisis.

A part of the Indian Ocean the size of Connecticut has been glowing in the dark for several nights in a row. Though the glow has been described in books such as "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," this is the first time the phenomenon (known as a "milky sea") has been captured on satellite.

In the great state of North Carolina, a man and his granddaughter recently caught a record-sized catfish using only a pink plastic Barbie rod and reel.

Who needs a compass? All you need to know where you're going is . . . a cow. Studies have shown that 60 to 70% of the time, cows graze in a north/south pattern.

The price of rat meat has skyrocketed in Cambodia.

Planning any home renovations? If so, I recommend installing a "Fish 'n Flush," the world's #1 toilet aquarium (shown below).

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Make Your Own Monstrosities

Halloween is (almost) around the corner, but I'm the sort who likes a few canned monstrosities on display in my house all year round. I have a sneaking suspicion that many of you share my feelings on this matter.

So here (via Boing Boing) is a wonderful site that should give you hours upon hours of fiendish fun. (They make excellent birthday and batz mitzvah presents!)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Design the Perfect Gadget Contest


Design the perfect gadget for a girl spy or detective.


It must be completely original.
It must be useful.
It must blend in with the contents of an average purse/backpack.
It must be something a girl could use without attracting any suspicion.


Your entries may consist of a written description, blueprints, pictures, drawings, or any combination of the above. They will not be judged based on writing or drawing skills--but rather on the creativity displayed.

Everyone, including former winners, is welcome to enter.

All entries should be sent to kikistrike@gmail.com.


Entries are due by 11:59PM, EST, September 30.


You'll know soon enough.


The idea for this contest came from one of our readers. (Thanks, Macy!) It's in honor of the late, great Julia Child.

Monday, September 01, 2008

No Contest Announcement Today

I was planning to announce the latest contest this morning, but I think we would all be better off watching the news. Best wishes to the people of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast!