Friday, April 24, 2009

Steampunk Laptop

Check out the rest of this guys AMAZING designs HERE!!! Enjoy!

"This may look like a Victorian music box, but inside this intricately hand-crafted wooden case lives a Hewlett-Packard ZT1000 laptop that runs both Windows XP and Ubuntu Linux. It features an elaborate display of clockworks under glass, engraved brass accents, claw feet, an antiqued copper keyboard and mouse, leather wrist pads, and customized wireless network card. The machine turns on with an antique clock-winding key by way of a custom-built ratcheting switch made from old clock parts.

This laptop was featured in a gallery of steampunk creations on!
It was also featured in a gallery of steampunk creations on,
entitled "Steam-Driven Dreams" (it's the 2nd and 3rd thumbnails)
and was seen (about 85% completed) in a video segment on The Wall Street Journal (, in an article in The Boston Globe, and the December '07 issue of
Ocean Drive Magazine."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Apache — A 19th Century Personal Protection Gadget

Posted by John in Gadget, Weapons & War on April 21, 2009 at 9:33 pm

The Apache was a combination dagger, pepperbox, and knuckle duster manufactured and sold in the United States from 1870 through 1900. More pictures and history of this unique pocket weapon at the link.


Art Deco keyboard


Jeffrey Stephenson, maker of extraordinary wooden PC enclosures, writes in that Datamancer's turned 20th century.
My friend Richard Nagy (aka Datamancer) is famous for his Steampunk creations. Well, I think the Steampunk fad may have run its ourse. He has come over to the dark side and created an Art Deco keyboard.

And what a beauty it is!

Datamancer Deco Keyboard [Datamancer]


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Guitar Hanger in fact does


Music Radar found a clever thing: the "Guitar Hanger", which lets you hang up your axe in the closet. (You could also put a guitar in it.)

According to the manufacturer's site, it's only available from a few retailers at the moment. But it's a new product, so give them time and I wouldn't be surprised to see them online. The price? No clue.

Guatemala bans motorbike passengers to deter murders

Tue Apr 21, 2009 6:35pm EDT
GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - Guatemala has banned motorcyclists from carrying passengers in an attempt to crack down on drive-by murders by gunmen perched on the back of moving bikes.

The Central American country is terrorized by violent street gangs who rob car drivers at gunpoint and kill bus drivers, among others, for failing to pay extortion fees. Hitmen often shoot victims from the back of a motorcycle, which lets them make a speedy getaway if traffic is heavy.

The law implemented this month also requires motorcyclists to wear brightly colored jackets and helmets clearly marked with their vehicle registration number.

Flouting the law will mean a fine of up to $3,000. Police will start charging in May to give people time to comply.

"We're still seeing many bikes with two people. We make the passengers get off but we can't yet give out fines," police spokesman Marco Trejo told Reuters on Monday.

Authorities are struggling to contain youth gangs like the "Mara 18" and "Mara Salvatrucha," which have thousands of members from the United States to Central America and live off extortion, armed assault and drug dealing.

The country of 13 million people is also plagued by crime linked to Mexican drug cartels smuggling South American cocaine north.

More than 40 bus drivers have been killed this year in Guatemala City, many in bike attacks, for not paying off the gangs in an extortion racket worth an estimated $10,000 a day.

The signature technique has also been used recently to murder prominent Guatemalans including a television reporter and the former director of the national chamber of industry.

With over 6,000 murders last year, Guatemala is one of the most violent countries in Latin America.

The ban on pillion passengers is irking many motorbike drivers. "I use my motorcycle to take my children to school and my wife to work," courier Jorge Monterroso said.

"It's too dangerous for them to use the buses where all kinds of people can get on, take out a gun and start shooting."

(Reporting by Sarah Grainger, editing by Patricia Zengerle)

Bra deflects bullet aimed at woman

Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:43pm EDT

DETROIT (Reuters) - A 57-year-old Detroit woman avoided serious injury when the underwire on her bra deflected a bullet shot at her from next door, police said.

The woman, who lives on the West side of Detroit, saw a group of men breaking into a neighbor's house on Tuesday morning. When the men spotted her, one of them fired a shot at her, a police spokesman said.

The bullet struck the underwire on the woman's bra and that saved her from a more serious injury, police said.

"It did slow the bullet down," said Detroit police spokesman Phillip Cook. "She sustained injuries but they're not life threatening."

The woman, who was not identified, was treated at a nearby hospital. The suspects in the shooting drove away.

(Writing by Kevin Krolicki; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

Global economic crisis hits German sex industry

Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:06pm EDT

By Erik Kirschbaum

BERLIN (Reuters) - It did not take long for the world financial crisis to affect the world's oldest profession in Germany.

In one of the few countries where prostitution is legal, and unusually transparent, the industry has responded with an economic stimulus package of its own: modern marketing tools, rebates and gimmicks to boost falling demand.

Some brothels have cut prices or added free promotions while others have introduced all-inclusive flat-rate fees. Free shuttle buses, discounts for seniors and taxi drivers, as well as "day passes" are among marketing strategies designed to keep business going.

"Times are tough for us too," said Karin Ahrens, who manages the "Yes, Sir" brothel in Hanover. She told Reuters revenue had dropped by 30 percent at her establishment while turnover had fallen by as much as 50 percent at other clubs.

"We're definitely feeling the crisis. Clients are being tight with their money. They're afraid. You can't charge for the extras any more and there is pressure to cut prices. Everyone wants a deal. Special promotions are essential these days."

Germany has about 400,000 professional prostitutes. Official figures do not distinguish between the sexes and the number of male prostitutes is not known, but they account for a small fraction of the total and are treated the same under the law.

In 2002, new legislation allowed prostitutes to advertise and to enter into formal labor contracts. It opened the way for them to obtain health insurance, previously refused if they listed their true profession.

Annual revenues are about 14 billion euros ($18 billion), according to an estimate by the Verdi services union. Taxes on prostitution are an important source of income for some cities.

Prostitution is also legal and regulated in the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Greece, Turkey and in some parts of Australia, and the U.S. state of Nevada.

In other countries, such as Luxembourg, Latvia, Denmark, Belgium and Finland, it is legal but brothels and pimping are not.


Berlin's "Pussy Club" has attracted media attention with its headline-grabbing "flat rate" -- a 70-euro admission charge for unlimited food, drink and sex between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

"You've got to come up with creative solutions these days," said club manager Stefan, who requested his surname not be published. "We're feeling the economic crisis, too, even though business has fortunately been more or less okay for us so far.

"Our offer might sound like it's too good to be true, but it's real. You can eat as much as you want, drink as much as you want and have as much sex as you want."

Stefan, who runs other establishments in Heidelberg and Wuppertal besides the Berlin club, said the flat rate had helped keep the 30 women working in each location fully employed.

Other novel ideas used by brothels and prostitutes include loyalty cards, group sex parties and rebates for golf players. Hamburg's "GeizHaus" is especially proud of its discount 38.50 euro price. The city has Germany's most famous red-light district, the Reeperbahn, in the notorious St. Pauli district.

Anke Christiansen, manager of the "GeizHaus," said the effects of the economic crisis were clear. "The regular customers who used to come by two or three times a week are only coming by once or twice a week now."

A "GeizHaus" client, who gave his name as Pascal, said: "Naturally we're all feeling the effects of the crisis." He added that he could no longer afford his usual two or three visits a week.

Guenter Krull, manager of the "FKK Villa" in Hanover, concurred. "The girls are complaining, too, because business is bad and I worry that it's all going to get even worse.


Ecki Krumeich, manager of upmarket Artemis Club in Berlin, said he resisted pressure to cut prices, although senior citizens and taxi drivers get a 50-percent discount on the 80-euro admission fee on Sundays and Mondays.

"Naturally, we're keeping an eye on the overall economic situation and making contingency plans," said Krumeich, who said his "wellness club" is one of the largest in Europe with about 70 prostitutes.

"Our philosophy is: we provide an important service and even in a recession there are some things people won't do without. Other downmarket places might cut prices but we decided we won't do that. In fact, we raised prices by 10 euros in January."

Stephanie Klee, a prostitute in Berlin and former leader of the German association of sex workers, said even if a few luxury brothels were weathering the storm because of their wealthy regular clientele, many were struggling.

"Just about everyone's turning to advertising in one form or another," she said. "If the consumer electronics shop and the optician come out with rebates and special promotions, why shouldn't we try the same thing?"

While she and her colleagues might have had five or six clients per day a year ago that had fallen to one or even none.

Klee worries, however, that the crisis has led to "price dumping" in some cities -- fees have fallen as low as 30 euros in some parts of Berlin and elsewhere, she said.

"You'll find a lot of customers trying to negotiate prices down now," said Klee. "A 30-year-old came up to me and said 'I lost my job so will you give me a discount?'."

She and others said they were alarmed that amateur prostitutes -- mostly women with low-paid careers -- were increasingly turning to prostitution to make ends meet.

"More and more women are moonlighting on the weekends," said Ahrens. "They're not able to get by with their main job and are in pretty dire straights. For some it works out okay but it's tough for some others and they often don't stay very long.

(Additional reporting by Bettina Borgfeld; editing by Andrew Dobbie)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Wired publishes documents detailing the FBI's spyware

Wired's Kevin Poulsen has pried loose details about the FBI's homebrew spyware, used in criminal investigations. The document is redacted almost to the point of uselessness, but there are some interesting nuggets. Paul Ohm, who used to work in the FBI department responsible for the spyware, notes,
Page one may be the most interesting page. Someone at CCIPS, my old unit, cautions that "While the technique is of indisputable value in certain kinds of cases, we are seeing indications that it is being used needlessly by some agencies, unnecessarily raising difficult legal questions (and a risk of suppression) without any countervailing benefit,"


On page 152, the FBI's Cryptographic and Electronic Analysis Unit (CEAU) "advised Pittsburgh that they could assist with a wireless hack to obtain a file tree, but not the hard drive content." This is fascinating on several levels. First, what wireless hack? The spyware techniques described in Poulsen's reporting are deployed when a target is unlocatable, and the FBI tricks him or her into clicking a link. How does wireless enter the picture? Don't you need to be physically proximate to your target to hack them wirelessly? Second, why could CEAU "assist . . . to obtain a file tree, but not the hard drive content." That smells like a legal constraint, not a technical one. Maybe some lawyer was making distinctions based on probable cause?

Documents: FBI Spyware Has Been Snaring Extortionists, Hackers for Years

Get Your FBI Spyware Documents Here

UK wine-sellers declare that wine has horoscopes, advise wine-drinkers to avoid certain moon-days

Credulous wine-sellers in the UK are encouraging their customers to avoid drinking wine on certain days of the month on the grounds that the lunar cycle will alter the taste of the wine. Horoscopes for wine -- now that's a whole new kind of dumb.
The idea that the taste of wine changes with the lunar calendar is gaining credibility among the UK's major retailers, who believe the day, and even hour, on which wine is drunk alters its taste. Tesco and its rival Marks & Spencer, which sell about a third of all wine drunk in Britain, now invite critics to taste their ranges only at times when the biodynamic calendar suggests they will show at their best.

Marks & Spencer has gone a step further and is advising customers to avoid disappointment from the best bottles by making sure not to open them on "root" days...

In other quarters, doubts remain. Waitrose's wine department has investigated the idea and cannot see a correlation. Many scientists have little time for biodynamic wine, pointing out that the movement's guru, Rudolf Steiner, claimed to have conceived the concept after consulting telepathically with spirits beyond the realm of the material world. Among his other works are claims that the human race is as old as the Earth and descended from creatures with jelly-like bodies, and a belief that men's passions seep into the Earth's interior, where they trigger earthquakes and volcanoes.

Tesco and supermarket rivals go for wine tasting by moonlight

Friday, April 17, 2009

Al Capone’s Prison Cell

Posted by Miss Cellania in Crime & Law on April 17, 2009 at 10:56 am

When notorious gangster Al Capone was incarcerated at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, he was treated with deference by guards, and maintained powerful connections from behind bars. I don’t know about the walls, but I’d commit a crime for that furniture! Link -via J-Walk Blog

(image credit: Mike Graham)


How Barack Obama resurrected The Dead

By JOHN ROGERS, Associated Press Writer John Rogers, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES – He's still got a little work to do on the economy, but already President Barack Obama has accomplished at least one task that had appeared all but impossible just a year ago: He's put The Dead back on the road.

As the core surviving members of the Grateful Dead, once the world's biggest concert draw, barrel across the country for the first time in five years, bass player Phil Lesh says they have Obama, and also Lesh's youngest son, Brian, to thank.

After Lesh, who had never publicly supported a presidential candidate, threw his lot in with Obama, he was anxious to do a benefit concert for him. But he was all but done with The Dead, so it was going to feature his other band, Phil and Friends.

"My son Brian said, 'No Daddy, you've got to get The Dead together because it will be so much more meaningful and important,'" the musician chuckled during a recent phone interview.

One benefit performance led to another and then an inaugural ball concert. Next thing they knew, Lesh, guitarist Bob Weir and drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann were back together.

"It came off so well that we thought we owe it to ourselves to play again," Lesh said. "It brings out something in all of us, in our gestalt and our totality, that we can't deliver, we can't find anywhere else."

For the tour, which got under way Sunday in Greensboro, N.C., and runs through the middle of next month, the band is breaking out what Lesh calls the Grateful Dead classics. The musicians will cherry-pick from 160 songs honed during weeks of rehearsals.

"We actually played 13 days in a row at one point. Not bad for a bunch of old beasts," laughed Hart.

But, all four say, there is still plenty of original music to be found in the jamming at the band's four-hour shows and in a rhythm section rearranged by the drummers.

"We didn't want to go out and just do the same thing," said Kreutzmann, who with Hart wrote new percussion parts for the tour.

The only thing missing is the group's iconic lead guitarist Jerry Garcia, whose death from a heart attack in 1995 prompted the band to drop Grateful from it's name and to all but abandon what had been 30 years of nearly nonstop touring. Warren Haynes replaces him for this tour.

"We all miss him every day," said Lesh. "At the same time, we're still here on Earth and we're still making music. And by God we'll continue to make music until we drop."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

10 Smart people that died in really stupid ways

Posted by Queuebot in Everything Else, Funny on April 9, 2009 at 6:40 am

Darwining oneself isn’t limited to toothless rednecks who want you to hold their beer so you can watch this… plenty of smart, talented people have met their end in incredibly dumb ways as well. Here’s 10 of them, in alphabetical order.


From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by cbz3000.

A Few Facts About Napoleon

Posted by Stacy in Neatorama Only on April 11, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Last week marked the anniversary of the date that Napoleon abdicated and was then exiled to the Island of Elba. Thanks to high school history, we know plenty about Napoleon’s military campaigns and political dealings, but maybe not so much about the dude himself. Here are a few tidbits about him you probably didn’t learn in your fifth period History of the World class.

Little Nabulio

He was born Napoleone di Buonaparte and his parents called him Nabulio.

When he was a schoolboy, royal inspectors examined each child on how his studies and personal development were coming and then recommended a future career. One of Napoleon’s reviews said he was distinguished in mathematics, but “very poor in social accomplishments” and said he should become a naval officer. Go figure. Another one reported that he was domineering and stubborn, and a third one said he should look to the army for a job.

All in the Family

Napoleon did well by his siblings once he was in the position to give them titles and properties and privileges. Here were the titles of his seven siblings:

• Joseph, his only older sibling, was made King of Naples and Sicily, King of Spain and the Indies, Comte de Survilliers.

• Lucien, the brother who came immediately after Napoleon, was Prince of Canino and Musignano. His male heirs received the same title, but it was really a pretty fluff title and was never legally recognized in France. Lucien and Napoleon clashed a lot, so it’s no surprise that Napoleon didn’t do as well by this brother.

• Elisa, his first sister, became an Imperial Highness of France, the Duchess of Lucca and Princess of Piombino, Grand Duchess of Tuscany, Comtesse de Compignano.

• Louis, the fourth Buonaparte son, was styled the Prince of France, King of Holland and Comte de Saint-Leu.

• Pauline was Napoleon’s favorite sister (that’s her on the left). He made her a Princess of France and a Princess and Duchess of Guastalla. She was kind of a wild child and had numerous affairs and trysts. Eventually, she married into the rich Italian Borghese family and furthered her ego by using her ladies-in-waiting as footstools.

• Caroline was a Princess of France, Grand Duchess Consort of Berg and Cleves, Queen Consort of Naples and Sicily, Princess Consort Murat, Comtesse de Lipona. Caroline hated Josephine with a passion and arranged for him to have an affair. When he married Marie-Louise, she was horribly jealous and mean to her as well.

• Finally, Jerome, the French Prince, King of Westphalia, 1st Prince of Montfort (his father-in-law gave him the latter title).

Because of his heirs and his illegitimate children and the plethora of children from his many siblings, there are lots of Napoleonic descendants floating around out there. Among them:

• Charles Joseph Bonaparte, the grandson of Napoleon’s brother Jerome, the United States Secretary of the Navy and the United States Attorney General under Teddy Roosevelt. He also founded the Bureau of Investigation in 1908, which later turned into the FBI.

• René Murat Auberjonois, whom you might know as Father Mulcahy from the M*A*S*H movie, Odo from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine or Paul Lewiston from Boston Legal. His mother was the great-great granddaughter of Napoleon’s sister Caroline.

• Marie Bonaparte was a French author and pscyhoanalyst who had close ties with Sigmund Freud. Her great grandfather was Napoleon’s brother, Lucien. She was very vocal about her sexual “frigidity” and helped conduct experiments that would have impressed Kinsey himself (I’ll let you decide if you want to read up on those or not). She was also a noted Edgar Allan Poe scholar.

Napoleon and Josephine

Josephine’s real name was Rose (Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de la Pagerie, to be exact) but Napoleon didn’t like it. He renamed her Josephine and she went with it.

Josephine was the older woman - she was 32 when she married 26-year-old Napoleon. She already had two children by her first husband Alexandre François Marie de Beauharnais. Their daughter, Hortense, actually married Napoleon’s brother Louis. Napoleon, of course, had requested it, and the marriage was an unhappy one.

Napoleon and Josephine ended up divorcing not because of the affairs, which both of them were having, but because Josephine was unable to produce an heir to the throne. She agreed to a divorce so Napoleon could marry his mistress, Archduchess of Austria Marie Louise, in the hopes that she would be able to have his son, and indeed she did. Another fun fact: Marie Louise was the grand-niece of Marie Antoinette.

Despite the divorce, and despite the fact that he told a friend that he truly loved her but didn’t respect her, Napoleon’s last words were, “France, armée, tête d’armée, Joséphine.”(”France, army, head of the army, Joséphine.”)

Napoleon’s Traveling Body Parts

It’s believed that four real copies of Napoleon’s death mask exist, and one of them managed to find its way to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Here’s how that happened, according to the school. Dr. Antommarchi, one of the doctors present when Napoleon died, made copies of the death mask originally cast by Dr. Francis Burton. Antommarchi traveled to the U.S. in 1834 and presented a bronze copy to the city of New Orleans and a plaster copy to a colleague there. When the colleague died, the plaster copy was handed down to friend and UNC alum Francis Bryan, who in turn donated it to his alma mater. The UNC President liked to keep Napoleon’s likeness on his desk (paperweight?); eventually it ended up in the library. It’s still in the UNC collection today. Photo via UNC University Libraries.

Strangely, Napoleon’s penis can also be found in the United States. Or at least, an object purported to be Napoleon’s penis is here somewhere. Along with all of the doctors present for Napoleon’s last breath was a priest named Vignali. Vignali apparently removed some of Napoleon’s organs during the subsequent autopsy, the family jewels among them. Vignali’s descendants held on to this gem until 1916, when they sold all of their Napoleonic artifacts to a British book firm. In 1977, several auctions later, John K. Lattimer, a former chairman of urology at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, bought the shriveled sea horse (that’s seriously how it was described) for a cool $3,000. As of 1987, he still had it, but it’s not really been mentioned since then.

10 Examples of Royal Weirdness

Posted by Jill Harness in Neatorama Only, Politics on April 13, 2009 at 8:05 am

I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve been told that certain members of the ruling classes are weird, but this might be the first time you’ve heard some of these exceptionally strange tales of royal weirdness.

1. The Cucumber King of Burma

In 931, King Theinhko of Burma ate the cucumbers of a local villager without asking first. The angry farmer murdered Theinhko and then took over the throne as King Nyanng-u Sawrahan. The queen welcomed him, in an effort to prevent political unrest. Nyanng-u was forever after known as ‘The Cucumber King.’ He reigned over Burma for 33 years until he was overthrown.

2. Nine Months of French Bastards

King Philip Augustus of France was married to his second wife, Ingeborg of Denmark, in 1193. Sadly, Augustus found Ingeborg to be absolutely revolting and filed for a divorce on the grounds that the marriage was not yet consummated. His wife, however, argued that they had consummated the marriage. As a result, Pope Celestine III refused to grant the king a divorce.
Philip was not easily defeated. He ignored the decision and went on to marry Agnes of Marania.

The pope ordered him to return to Ineborg and to make his point, he imposed an interdict on December 12, 1199. During this time, all churches were closed and the pope determined that as long as the king wasn’t sleeping with his wife, his subjects were not allowed to sleep with theirs. As a result, all children born in this period were deemed illegitimate. The interdict continued until September 7, 1200 –resulting in nine months of bastards born in France. Augustus eventually did return to Ineborg, but not until 1213.

3. A Dead Woman Crowned Queen

Ines de Castro was a loving mistress to Dom Pedro, heir of the Portuguese throne. Unfortunately, the current ruler, King Alfonso, was paranoid that the pair was plotting against him and ordered Ines to be assassinated in 1355.

When Pedro was crowned as king in 1357, his love for Ines had not yet faded. He sought revenge on the assassins and made them suffer through horrendous tortures. That wasn’t enough though, Pedro was still determined that Ines should take her seat beside him as queen. He had her body exhumed, dressed in proper royal attire and the entire candlelit coronation ceremony proceeded as usual. Ines’s body was anointed and crowned, the subjects were made to swear allegiance to her, and the nobles were required to kneel and kiss her cold, two-years-dead hand.

4. The Ghastly Death of Mary Queen of Scots

If you ever played Bloody Mary in the mirror as a youth, you know that it is quite a terrifying ghost story. While there are many proposed “Marys” that could be referenced in the story, Mary Queen of Scots has a terrifying ghost story thanks to her botched execution.

On February 8, 1587, Mary was led to the execution block. The executioner, likely drunk, failed to knock off her head on the first blow. Instead, he hit the back of her head, at which time, her servants reported that she muttered “Sweet Jesus.” He managed to remove her head on the second blow and he lifted her head up by the auburn hair on her head, right then, her head fell from his hands, revealing that she actually had short gray hair covered by thick wig. Also strange, her lips continued moving for the next fifteen minutes, likely caused by a nerve damaged during the first execution attempt.

As if all this wasn’t enough, Mary’s dog was discovered to be hiding under her skirts. When the pet was pulled out, it insisted on lying between the shoulders and decapitated head of her body. Eventually, Mary’s servants took the dog, but not until it was thoroughly soaked in its dead master’s blood.
Even for the people of the time, jaded from by frequent public executions, Mary’s beheading was full of exceptionally terrifying surprises.

5. A Strange ‘Divine Right’

Normally a king’s “divine rights” seem to include things like violating virgins and taking food and money, however, in 1627, Charles I decided to declare rights of a much different nature. He ordered all of his subjects to turn in their urine to official collectors once a day in the summer and once every other day in the winter. These collections were to help the country create saltpeter, a component of gunpowder.
Charles also claimed rights to all soil loaded with animal waste. The so-called ‘Saltpeter Men’ were permitted to dig up the floors of stables, slaughterhouses and other areas without permission of the property owners.

6. Louis The XIV’s Enema Obsession

Imagine trying to hold a conversation with someone receiving an enema. Now imagine that someone was King and he was holding court throughout the experience. King Louis XIV was known for performing this type of activity regularly. The enema was a quite popular medical procedure at this time, but few people seemed to love the activity nearly as much as the king who is said to have received over 2,000 enemas throughout his lifetime – many of them in public.

7. The King of Debt

King Theodore of Corsica wasn’t much of a king. For one thing, he wasn’t nobility by birth, he was merely a soldier who asked to be king in exchange for helping aid the Corsicans in a revolt. When the revolt had proven to be ineffective and a the Genovese government put a price on his head, Theodore started to lose popularity amongst his people. He decided that he would be better off ruling overseas.

Unfortunately, once he left the country, he was never able to return to his kingdom. Eventually, he ended up in debtors prison in Amsterdam, and later, London. He was freed from Holland’s prison easy enough, but the only way he could earn release from the London jail was by giving Corsica to his creditors.

When he died in London in 1756, his epitaph read:

Theodore this moral learned ere dead:
Fate poured its lessons on his living head,
Bestowed a kingdom, and denied him bread.

After his death, an opera was made from his tale in 1784. Additionally, ‘King Theodore of Corsica’ started to be used as a nickname for gin, joining the ranks of ‘Cuckold’s Comfort’ as a slang for the drink.

8. Madness Doth Not A Kingdom Make

Nouvelle France was a South American territory also called the Kingdom of Araucanìa and Patagonia. The area’s first (and only) king, elected in 1860, was Orelie-Antoine de Tounens, a French lawyer. He supported the local people’s efforts to resist takeover by Chile and Argentina. The people of the area, called Mapuche, thought that Tounens may help aid their cause as he was a skilled European negotiator. He helped the locals draft a constitution and mint coins, but Chile largely ignored him. Tounens tried to convince France to come to his aid and after a short investigation, they determined him to be crazy.

He was arrested by the Chilean government within two years of becoming king. France managed to secure his release from prison by convincing his jailers that he was insane. After his release, he was deported back to France and Tounens then spent the rest of his life trying to take over his kingdom again. In 1869, he made it back to the country, but soon returned to France to gather more money. Tounens attempted to return two more times afterward, but both times he was captured by Chilean authorities and deported. He eventually died in squalor in France in 1878.

His relatives periodically continued to claim their rightful place as ruler of the country, although the most recent heir has renounced the claim. Since the establishment of Nouvelle France, no sovereign state has ever recognized the territory as a legitimate country.

9. The Long-Lasting Legacy of Nobility

In 1888, Charles-Marie David de Mayrena elected himself Marie the First, King of the Sedang. Marie was an eccentric French adventurer and he arranged his kingdom to rule over a number of small tribes. King Marie declared the official religion of the country to be Roman Catholic although most of its residents were Muslims and he later adopted the Islamic faith himself. He awarded titles of nobility to his supporters during his two-year rule. He attempted to trade his kingdom to the French, English and Belgium governments in exchange for a trading monopoly, but he received little interest. When he tried to return to his kingdom though, the French prevented him from entering any port in Indochina. He died in 1890, and the details of this death remain a mystery –some sources claim it was by duel, others say it was poison and yet other reports argue he was bitten by a snake.

Over 100 years later, the Assembly for the Restoration of the Sedang Nobility was established in Montreal in 1995. This group consisted of descendants of those who bestowed with titles of nobility by King Marie. The organization claims it seeks to “re-establish and promote the social institutions of monarchy and nobility and practice their principles in a world which has largely forgotten them: chivalry, honor, duty, loyalty, respect, enlightenment, tolerance.” At the same time, they are glad to renounce their claims to the territory, admitting it is undisputedly part of Vietnam. Three years later, they changed their name to the Sedang Royalist Assembly. Although genealogists helped the group find an heir of King Marie, the descendant was uninterested in claiming his title. This organization is still around and is headquartered in Montreal.

10. Technicalities Galore

What happens when your country’s official constitution and other historical documents fail to mention one small town? If that unmentioned village happens to be Seborga (flag shown above), you may end up with an “independent principality” smack dab in the middle of your country. The area, that should be part of Italy, declared its independence in 1967 and elected the head of the flower growing collective, Giorgio Carbone, to be the country’s head of state or “Giorgio I, Prince of Seborga.” Giorgio is officially addressed as “Your Tremendousness” by his followers.

Giorgio and other members of the village claim that Seborga was never incorporated into Italy. Although it was sold to the king of Savoy and Sardinia in 1729, the sale was not registered. On top of that, the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the 1861 Act of Unification and the constitution written in 1946 all fail to mention Seborga. Scholars have proven that regardless, the area is still part of Italy, but Seborgians defy this logic.

The principality mints its own currency, the luigino, currently valued at $6 - meaning if it were recognized as a legitimate legal tender, it would be the most valuable currency in the world. Regardless of the area’s claim to independence, most of the residents follow the laws of Italy, pay taxes and vote in national elections.

In 2006, a woman named Yasmine von Hohenstaufen Anjou Plantagenet, who claims to be heir to Roman Emperor Fredrick II and the rightful ruler of Seborga, tried to return the ‘country’ to Italy. The majority of villagers were notably upset and Prince Giorgio commented “The girl cannot give away something she does not own.”

Sources #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9 All Images come from listed sources unless otherwise noted.

It’s Not a Tumah! It’s a Tree!

Posted by Alex in Medicine on April 13, 2009 at 1:38 pm

Doctors operating on 28-year-old Artyom Sidorkin was expecting to find a tumor in one of his lungs, but they got a big, green surprise during the surgery:

Doctors x-rayed his chest and found a tumor in one of the lungs. Suspecting cancer, they made a decision to perform biopsy, but when they cut the tissue, they were amazed to see green needles in the cut.

“I blinked three times, and thought I was seeing things. Then I called the assistant to have a look,” says Vladimir Kamashev, doctor at the Udmurtian Cancer Center.

The five-centimeter branch was removed from the patient’s body. [...]

It is obvious that a five-centimeter branch is too large to be inhaled or swallowed, doctors say. They suggest that the patient might have inhaled a small bud, which then started to grow inside his body.

Link (Photo: Komsomolskaya Pravda)

Waking the Baby Mammoth

Posted by Alex in Animal, Science & Tech, Video Clips on April 14, 2009 at 4:35 pm

This is pretty cool: National Geographic Channel has a fantastic feature titled Waking the Baby Mammoth, about the discovery of a well-preserved body of a baby woolly mammoth:

Only a handful have ever been found before. But none like her. Her name is Lyuba. A 1-month-old baby mammoth, she walked the tundra about 40,000 years ago and then died mysteriously. Discovered by a reindeer herder, she miraculously re-appeared on a riverbank in northwestern Siberia in 2007. She is the most perfectly preserved woolly mammoth ever discovered. And she has mesmerized the scientific world with her arrival - creating headlines across the globe.

Link | More Videos - Thanks Minjae!

Previously on Neatorama: Scientists Took CT Scans of a Baby Mammoth

20 Reasons To Love Penguins

Posted by Jill Harness in Animal, Funny, Pictures on April 14, 2009 at 3:49 pm

20 Reasons I Love Penguins is a blog post detailing exactly that. It has simple reasons why penguins are great, paired with really fantastic images of the birds. For example:

8. They’d make great punk rockers

(Photo credit: Jungleboy)

The whole post is funny and visually stunning. I highly recommend stopping by for a look.


Birdcage Dress

Posted by Alex in Animal, Arts & Crafts, Fashion, Pictures on April 14, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Conceptual artist Kasey McMahon (whose works CompuBeaver and Text-o-Possum have been featured on Neatorama before) sent us her latest creation: the Birdcage Dress (yes, it’s a fully functional wearable brass bird cage - notice the birdies?)

Link - Thanks Kasey!

The King of Bling

Posted by Alex in Pictures on April 14, 2009 at 7:06 pm

Photo: Steve Bourget

A team of archaeologists co-led by Steve Bourget of the University of Texas discovered a treasure-filled tomb of the Moche Culture in Peru. They found this gem amongst the content: a 1,500-year-old funerary mask of Lord Ucupe, dubbed the "king of bling" because he was covered head to toe in shiny jewels and metals.

Kelly Hearn and Ted Chamberlain of the National Geographic News have the story: Link

Extreme Dog Houses

Posted by Queuebot in Everything Else on April 14, 2009 at 7:54 pm

What on earth possessed Rachel Hunter to create a $30,000 dog house for her pooch? From the looks of this list, she’s not alone, but seriously! There has to be some mortgage/pork barrel joke here :)

The size (and cost) of these canine abodes is nothing to bark about—especially considering all the thought and handiwork behind them. While we’re the first to admit that the dwellings are a bit over the top, we have to confess that we do tend to indulge in a little pet spoiling from time to time. From the über-chic French Chateau dog house to Rachel Hunter’s Mexican Hacienda dog house, this type of pampering may be outside our price range, but it’s still fun to dream. Check out the pet palaces below to discover new ways to let sleeping dogs lie.


From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by ahammel.

Decriminalizing Drug Use in Portugal: 5 Years Later

Posted by Alex in Crime & Law, Politics on April 15, 2009 at 3:57 am

While people in the United States endlessly debate what should be done with the country’s drug problem, Portugal went ahead and decriminalize the use and possession of illicit drugs 5 years ago.

Here’s what the country learned:

In the face of a growing number of deaths and cases of HIV linked to drug abuse, the Portuguese government in 2001 tried a new tack to get a handle on the problem—it decriminalized the use and possession of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, LSD and other illicit street drugs. The theory: focusing on treatment and prevention instead of jailing users would decrease the number of deaths and infections.

Five years later, the number of deaths from street drug overdoses dropped from around 400 to 290 annually, and the number of new HIV cases caused by using dirty needles to inject heroin, cocaine and other illegal substances plummeted from nearly 1,400 in 2000 to about 400 in 2006, according to a report released recently by the Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C, libertarian think tank.

Brian Vastag of Scientific American has more on the story: Link

Anatomical Bed Cover

Posted by Alex in Arts & Crafts, Home & Garden, Pictures on April 15, 2009 at 3:58 am

Photo: Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs

This anatomical duvet cover (or is it blanket?) is titled The Hypochondriac (2004) and is the work of Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs of TONK. The duo are great photographers, but their website has atrocious navigation - via Who Killed Bambi?

Simulated crime-scene bathroom accessories


Worried about not making a good impression on the date you've just brought over to your place for a nightcap? Spice up the bathroom with these matching bloody bathmats and shower curtains!

Blood Bath Mat

Blood Bath Shower Curtain

(via Street Anatomy)

Tetris furniture


Brazilian designers Diego Silvério and Helder Filipov created this stacking Tetris furniture -- the tricky part is getting your spouse to slowly lower it, piece by piece, from the ceiling.

Tetris Furniture (via Neatorama)

Russian Steampunk Case Mod


The Russian-born Wall-E case mod was solid. But this steampunkish tube, wood and pipe job posted to English Russia is just plain nutty. When did intensely-over-the-top case-modding become the thing to do in Russia?

Pornstation Portable


A Tampa mom claims that after buying a "new" PSP at Wal-Mart, her 6 year-old kid found tons of porn on it. From the local Fox affiliate's story:
"I showed it to my mom, and I ran back to my room...she said I'm not in trouble," says Eliso.

Tamatha says she found a memory card inside the P.S.P. containing hundreds of pornographic pictures. She says it's not hers and it was in the P.S.P. before she opened the box. Tamatha called the store wanting to speak with a manager about the problem.

It's kind of funny how some commenters on the internet are writing, "This is impossible, unless there was a memory card inside it."

Child finds porn on PSP [Fox via The Consumerist]

Politician fumes over "gay" elephant in zoo

Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:34pm EDT

WARSAW (Reuters) - A Polish politician has criticized his local zoo for acquiring a "gay" elephant named Ninio who prefers male companions and will probably not procreate, local media reported Friday.

"We didn't pay 37 million zlotys ($11 million) for the largest elephant house in Europe to have a gay elephant live there," Michal Grzes, a conservative councilor in the city of Poznan in western Poland, was quoted as saying.

"We were supposed to have a herd, but as Ninio prefers male friends over females how will he produce offspring?" said Grzes, who is from the right-wing opposition Law and Justice party.

The head of the Poznan zoo said 10-year-old Ninio may be too young to decide whether he prefers males or females as elephants only reach sexual maturity at 14.

(Reporting by Chris Borowski; editing by Andrew Roche)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Soviet nuclear control devices


Mark Pitcher's posted a set of Soviet nuclear controls that look exactly as I pictured high-tech equipment looking when I was a kid (shown here is a nuclear detonator panel (!) that bristles with high-tech menace): "Equipment built during the 1940's to 1970's for use in the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site (the 'Polygon'). All are hand-made and most are one-offs. Photos from a museum in Kurchatov, Kazakhstan."

Kurchatov Nuke Equipment (via Make)

Ronald Reagan was a secret FBI anti-commie snitch


Newly released documents Documents released in 2001 revealed that Ronald Reagan served as a secret FBI snitch during the Red Scare (we already knew he named names during the hearings, but now we also know that he snuck around behind his friends' and members' backs and destroyed their lives):

It was revealed last week that the future President played another role as well: as a secret FBI informant, code name T-10. According to an article published in the San Jose Mercury News, documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act indicate that Reagan and his first wife, Actress Jane Wyman, provided federal agents with the names of actors they believed were Communist sympathizers.

Sofa that lets you float in the clouds


I have always, always dreamed of taking a nap in the clouds. As a kid, I even considered breaking a plane window so I can try it. Cloud Sofa, a concept design by D.K. Wei, imagines a soft cloud-like chaise lounge that floats by magnetic force. [Image and design by Kootouch]

Karate expert kills two over lice infection

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian karate expert has been charged with beating to death a 61-year-old woman and her son, whom he accused of infecting his wife with lice, an investigator said Friday.

The drunk 26-year-old burst into a neighboring room in his hostel Tuesday and used karate moves to kill the pair, state investigator Eduard Abdullin said by telephone from Kazan, a city 700 km (430 miles) east of Moscow.

"He literally beat them to death with his hands and feet," Abdullin said. "The family were poor and drank a lot. He blamed them for infecting his wife and the entire corridor with lice."

The 58-year-old husband of the dead woman was also badly beaten, but survived.

The suspect, who studied karate for seven years, faces life in prison if convicted, Abdullin added.

(Reporting by Conor Humphries)

Honda unveils dog-friendly car

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dog-crazy Americans will soon be able to buy a pet-friendly car with a cushioned dog bed in the trunk, fitted with a built-in water bowl and fan and a ramp to help less agile dogs climb in.

With the help of a rescue dog named Sammy, Japanese car maker Honda Motor Co unveiled the pet friendly version of its Element utility vehicle at the New York Auto Show.

It features easy-wash seat covers, a fitted dog bed with restraints to keep Sammy safe in the event of a crash, and a paw logo on the side. Honda said the car would go on sale across the United States from the fall of this year.

Honda spokesman Sage Marie said it was designed with both safety and comfort in mind. "(It's) a car we think is of interest to many of today's dog-crazy consumers," he said.

Senior product planner James Jenkins said Americans spend $41 billion a year on their pets, a figure forecast to rise to $52 billion in two years, indicating a big market for the car.

"Pets have become more like family, more important to households than ever before," Jenkins said.

The current model of the Element starts at a little over $20,000 and Honda has yet to determine how much the pet friendly features will add on to the price tag, Jenkins said.

Sammy's owner, Heather Cammisa of the Humane Society of the United States, said she had borrowed the car for two weeks and found the ramp especially useful.

"Sammy actually needs a ramp. Before I adopted him he ended up at a shelter having been hit by a car and he needs that ramp," she said. "Otherwise I lift him to get into my car."

(Reporting by Claudia Parsons, Editing by Sandra Maler)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Vicodin Ring


Crafter Becky Stern says: "To go along with my Vicodin earrings, I made this Vicodin ring from sterling silver. I sanded one side of the pill flat (while wearing a dusk mask, of course!), and bezel set it.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Skeleton found in tree 29 years after suicide

BERLIN (Reuters) - The skeleton of a German retiree who tied himself to the top of a tree and shot himself to death nearly 30 years ago has been found by a hiker.

German police in the southern town of Landshut said on Monday the 69-year-old man disappeared in 1980 and had been classified as missing.

An 18-year-old hiker discovered a bone in the forest last week and brought it to police. They searched the area and spotted the skeleton hanging about 11 meters up, near the top of the spruce tree.

"After searching the area we found the skeleton up in the tree with the pistol hanging on a rope next to it," police spokesman Leonard Mayer said. Police were able to identify the man through DNA testing and an artificial hip.

(Reporting by Franziska Scheven; Editing by Farah Master) '

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Miss Universe says had "lot of fun" in Guantanamo

Wed Apr 1, 2009 1:18pm EDT

By Pascal Fletcher

MIAMI (Reuters) - A "relaxing, calm, beautiful place" may not be everyone's description of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the United States holds about 240 prisoners in a detention center that has drawn condemnation from around the world.

But this was the opinion of reigning Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza of Venezuela, who visited the U.S. naval facility in eastern Cuba this month on a trip organized by the United Service Organizations (USO) which supports U.S. troops.

The Guantanamo Bay base, whose presence Cuba's government has contested as illegal for years, is used by U.S. authorities as a prison camp for foreign terrorism suspects. Critics have condemned it as a symbol of abuses in Washington's war on terrorism launched after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Caracas-born Mendoza, 22, who visited the facility March 20-25 along with Miss USA Crystle Stewart, 27, enthused about her Guantanamo trip as an "incredible experience" in a blog entry posted on the Miss Universe website dated March 27, 2009 ( ).

"It was a loooot of fun!," Mendoza wrote, describing how she and Stewart met U.S. military personnel and took rides around the camp, which is encircled by a barbed-wire fenced, minefields and watchtowers. She said they also visited a bar on the base and the "unbelievable" beach there.

"We visited the Detainees camps and we saw the jails, where they shower, how the(y) recreate themselves with movies, classes of art, books. It was very interesting," she wrote.

"I didn't want to leave, it was such a relaxing place, so calm and beautiful," she added.

Former detainees and human rights groups have alleged the use of torture, including "waterboarding" (simulated drowning) and other physical abuses, at the Guantanamo prison.

Britain announced last week it would investigate whether members of its secret services were complicit in the torture of a British resident released from Guantanamo Bay last month.

Spanish prosecutors may decide this week whether to start an investigation of six former officials from George W. Bush's administration in connection with the torture of Guantanamo detainees.

In one of his first acts in office, U.S. President Barack Obama has set a one-year deadline for shutting the prison.

The Pentagon said last month it had received renewed reports of prisoner abuse during a recent review of conditions at Guantanamo, but had concluded that all prisoners were being kept in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.

Recounting her "memorable" trip, Mendoza, who was crowned Miss Universe 2008 in Vietnam, said: "We also met the Military dogs, and they did a very nice demonstration of their skills. All the guys from the Army were amazing with us."

Before the visit, USO had announced Mendoza and Stewart were being "deployed" to Guantanamo on an entertainment tour to visit U.S. troops abroad to "boost morale."

(Additional reporting by Jane Sutton, editing by Vicki Allen)

Very elderly man caught with huge marijuana haul

Wed Apr 1, 2009 12:58pm EDT

LAGOS (Reuters) - Nigeria's anti-narcotics agency confiscated 6.5 tones of marijuana Tuesday from the home of a man who claimed to be 114 years old.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said it had found 254 sacks of cannabis at the home of Sulaiman Adebayo in Ogun state, north of the commercial capital Lagos.

"The quantity of drugs suggests a large scale involvement ... There is more to the case than Pa Sulaiman," NDLEA chairman Ahmadu Giade said in a statement.

Adebayo, who said he had been a farmer all his life, told police he thought the sacks contained rice.

The agency said he claimed to have attended the inauguration of a famous hall in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun state, in 1895 as a small boy and said he was 114 years old. There was no independent confirmation of his age.

Marijuana is grown illegally on large-scale farms in many parts of Nigeria and is smuggled across its porous borders to neighboring countries.

Lax customs control and corruption have also made Africa's top oil and gas producer a conduit for hard drugs from Asia and Latin America into Western markets.

(Reporting by Tume Ahemba; Editing by Nick Tattersall)

Playboy TV fined over explicit content

Thu Apr 2, 2009 10:57am EDT

LONDON (Reuters) - British media regulator Ofcom has fined Playboy TV 22,500 pounds ($32,990) for airing sexually explicit images in breach of broadcasting rules.

It said on Thursday the free-to-air channel Playboy One had broadcast unencrypted raunchy, and what the watchdog deemed offensive, material until September 2008.

Ofcom had received five complaints relating to seven late night programs broadcast between September and December 2007.

Shows investigated included: "Sexy Girls Next Door," "Sexy Urban Legends" and "Adult Stars Close-up."

"Depending on the individual breach, the explicitness, strength and, or, sustained nature of the sexual content and language was unacceptable for broadcast on an unencrypted free-to-air channel," Ofcom ruled.

It said Playboy TV UK/Benelux Ltd had failed to ensure adequate protection for viewers from "potentially harmful or offensive material."

(Reporting by Stefano Ambrogi; Editing by Steve Addison and Paul Casciato)