Friday, July 30, 2010

A Question of Courage

(Photo by Julia Fullerton-Batten)

The fabulous ladies over at Readergirlz have been thinking about "courage" all month. Here are some of my thoughts on the subject! (And if you aren't familiar with the Bildungsroman blog, you should definitely check it out, too! It's one of my favorites!)


(Above: Now you, too, can smuggle items through customs! How exciting!)

Every time I fly into the US from another country, I always see people having their luggage inspected by customs officials, and I can't help but think, "What the heck have they got in there??"

Now I know.

Artist Taryn Simon spent five days photographing contraband smuggled into the US via Kennedy Airport. Bush meat, BBQ guinea pig, drugs, and (my favorite) unidentifiable animal fat are just a few of the fascinating objects removed from people's luggage. 40 of Ms. Simon's photos can now be seen at the NY Times website. Check 'em out and vote for your favorite!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Britain Invaded By Tarantulas!

Oh dear. We've had similar posts in the past. Big, hairy spiders appear to be taking over the planet. (BTW, there's an enormous, bright orange spider hanging outside my office window as I write. I've never seen anything like it.)

Here's the latest story. Two rare Chilean Rose tarantulas have recently been discovered in gardens in the north of England. The gardens in question are only two miles apart, and the spiders are the same age and breed, which has led some experts to suggest that the two probably aren't alone.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. The Chilean Rose tarantula spits hairs that can blind humans. Have a nice day!

Read more here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

What's Cuter?

Super-tiny octopus?

or . . .

A two-headed bearded dragon with six legs? (Video here.)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mexico City's Sewer Divers

Julio Camara (shown above) earns about $500 a month diving into Mexico City's sewage system to make repairs and clear blockages. Spinning pump blades, deadly diseases, and noxious gases are just three of the countless dangers he faces each day. And there's always a chance he'll come face-to-face with a cadaver. Maybe it is the world's worst job. But Julio claims he loves every minute of it. And I think he's awesome.

Read more here.

If you have a REALLY strong stomach, (and I mean really strong), here's a short National Geographic video.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

This Is the First Thing I Clicked on This Morning

I think it's going to be an interesting day. Just a hunch.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Even Better Than a Capybara

If you're looking for a rodent companion, why not try a porcupine? Sure, you'll need gloves to pet it, but (in my humble opinion) it's the cutest little herbivore around.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dumpster Diving!

If you're visiting New York this August, you may have the chance to do a little dumpster diving. Literally. Pools made from dumpsters will be lined up on Park Avenue between 40th and 41st Streets. Each pool will be eight feet wide, five and a half feet deep, and twenty-two feet long. (Those are some big dumpsters.) There will even be lifeguards, changing rooms and portable showers!

I gotta say, this sounds pretty awesome. Though that particular stretch of street is literally the last place on earth that I'd want to be spotted in a bathing suit. (I used to work around there.)

Read more here!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Do You Expect the Unexpected?

According to a new study (actually a twist on a very old study), people who "expect the unexpected" aren't necessarily more likely to SPOT the unexpected.

Here's the scenario. Study volunteers are told to watch two groups (one group in white shirts, and one in black) pass a basketball from person to person. The volunteers are asked to count how many times the people in white pass the ball.

At some point, while everyone is counting, a person in a gorilla suit walks right through the action. The volunteers are so focused on counting that only half notice the gorilla.

Simple enough, right? Well what if volunteers are TOLD a gorilla might be stopping by? Then things get interesting.

First, test your own skills with the video below. Then click here to read more.

(This should be mandatory training for all future Irregulars.)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ninja Monkeys!

(Illustration: CS Jennings)

"The monkeys made their bid for freedom [from a Japanese research facility] by using tree branches to fling themselves one by one over the high voltage electric fence located nearly three metres away.

However, despite the intelligence shown in their great escape, the primates appeared unsure as to what to do with their newfound freedom: the monkeys remained by the gates of the research centre and were lured back into captivity by scientists armed with peanuts."

If there is a fourth Kiki Strike, these monkeys will definitely have a role. Mark my words.

More here. Thanks for the tip, Big K.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Bloodcicles and Frozen Insects

These are just a few of the ways zoo creatures here are beating the heat. Want to see a panda eat a popsicle? Your wish is my command.

Washington DC Covered in Vomit-Smelling Goop

The East Coast is sweltering. It's been over 100 degrees for a few days now. So what do we need to make our lives even less pleasant? How about vomit-smelling goop.

According to this article, a truck carrying restaurant oil sprang a leak sometime on Wednesday morning. Soon, U Street was coated with rancid grease. What kind of rancid grease, you ask?

"In some areas, the goop had the texture of what's left in the bottom of the pan when you fry chicken." Mmmmmm!

Cars, pedestrians, and bicycles were sliding all over the street. People who'd fallen were covered in muck.

As nasty as that sounds, I bet it was pretty amazing to see. You can't tell me some foreign government isn't responsible. I blame Liechtenstein.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

I've Seen the Future, and It Is Awesome

This video is meant to show some of the things that can be done with 3-D projections onto buildings. Oh my is it awesome. (The water projection! I love it!) It's just a demo video, but some of the actual projections have been videotaped and are pretty durn cool as well.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Who Is Horse Boy?

A man with the head of a horse has been popping up on Google Street View. He wanders the streets of Aberdeen, Scotland, and everyone there has a theory about who he might be. But to this day, nobody knows for sure. And that's the way it should stay.

Read more here.

P.S.: Happy Fourth of July everyone!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

A Personal Invitation to Teens and Adults

I'm going to be spending a lot of time over at the blog for my new book, The Eternal Ones, which comes out on August 10th! So please drop by, and I'll be happy to tell you who you were in a previous life! (It's a little nuts but a lot of fun.)

The new book and the blog are not intended for anyone under 14. Those of you who haven't quite reached that mark, hold tight. I'll still be posting here regularly, and there will be a new Kiki Strike book soon!