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Monday, August 10, 2009

"My mother loved children -- she would have given anything if I had been one." - Groucho Marx


Japan man discovers woman living in his closet

Bunny Tales: Behind Closed Doors at the Playboy Mansion by Izabella St James - "Being a Hefner Girlfriend was a specialised job, not to be confused with being a Playboy Playmate. In fact, Girlfriends were not allowed to become Playmates because Hef had found that they tended to flee the Mansion as soon as they collected their $25,000 Playmate cheque... She reckons she had “less than 15 intimate minutes” with Hef in her two-and-a-half years at the Mansion – “I may as well have lived in a convent.”"

Worldwide Slump Makes Nigeria's Online Scammers Work That Much Harder - "U.S. authorities say Americans -- the easiest prey, according to Nigerian scammers -- lose hundreds of millions of dollars a year to cybercrimes... Nigerian scammers are mostly young men who learn from one another, often as apprentices of cartel-like schemes... Chidi Nnamdi Igwe, a professor at the University of Regina in Canada, said jobless young Nigerians got the idea in the 1970s from news reports about corrupt politicians funneling oil proceeds to foreign bank accounts... But in these tough times, the scammers said, they are relying more on a crucial tool: voodoo. At times, Banjo said, he has traveled six hours to the forest, where a magician sells scam-boosters. A $300 powder supposedly helps scammers "speak with authority" when demanding payment. A powder, rubbed on the face, reportedly makes victims viewing the scammer through webcams powerless to say no... Sometimes, Banjo said, he has so pitied victims that he returned their money"

Journalist hunts for acid-spitting Mongolian death worm - "The worm has never been documented but some Mongolians are convinced it exists. They call it Allghoi Khorkhoi, or "intestine worm" because it resembles a cow's intestine and is about 1.5m long. The worm apparently jumps out of the sand and kills people by spitting concentrated acid or shooting lightning from its rectum over long distances... Rumours could inflate the reputation of things such as the Loch Ness monster and Bigfoot, but sparsely populated Mongolia was not a place where rumours were going to propagate, Farrier said. "If a Mongolian says they have seen a big worm-like creature out in the desert they haven't really got any reason to lie," he said... the New Zealand team planned to bring the worm to the surface with explosives, as it is said to be attracted to tremors"

Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin - "The basic problem is that while it's true that exercise burns calories and that you must burn calories to lose weight, exercise has another effect: it can stimulate hunger... In 2000 the journal Psychological Bulletin published a paper by psychologists Mark Muraven and Roy Baumeister in which they observed that self-control is like a muscle: it weakens each day after you use it. If you force yourself to jog for an hour, your self-regulatory capacity is proportionately enfeebled. Rather than lunching on a salad, you'll be more likely to opt for pizza... The problem ultimately is about not exercise itself but the way we've come to define it. Many obesity researchers now believe that very frequent, low-level physical activity — the kind humans did for tens of thousands of years before the leaf blower was invented — may actually work better for us than the occasional bouts of exercise you get as a gym rat... You regularly hear about the benefits of exercise in news stories, but if you read the academic papers on which these stories are based, you frequently see that the research subjects who were studied didn't clobber themselves on the elliptical machine... Some research has found that the obese already "exercise" more than most of the rest of us"
Addendum: Bloggasm » Diet and fitness bloggers lash out against Time Magazine piece on exercise

Where are the Singaporeans Left? - "The government talks about squeezing 7.8 million people on this island. How are they going to do this? [Hint: I doubt it is going to be Singapore’s low birth rate doing the job.] The foreign population has become truly obvious since I left. I spent a Friday night at Clark Quay and as I made my way back to the MRT station, I realized that everyone around me appears to be Caucasian. On some buses, I suddenly realized that the mainland Chinese accent was all around me. And that’s not to forget the Thais, Filipinos and Vietnamese... I now suspect that the income inequality and rising costs might have roots in our foreign resident policy"

Proud to be Singaporean? - "Shouldn’t you just be proud of actual accomplishments? Is being Singaporean a skill? I can never understand it when people say “I’m proud to be Singaporean.” What did you do to be Singaporean? More likely than not, the only reason why you are Singaporean is because your parents corpulated right here and you are the result of that act. And you are proud of that? What have you done to make you so proud of being Singaporean?"

Berlusconi in Tehran - "It is democracy’s authentic potential that is losing ground with the rise of authoritarian capitalism, whose tentacles are coming closer and closer to the West. The change always takes place in accordance with a country’s values: Putin’s capitalism with ‘Russian values’ (the brutal display of power), Berlusconi’s capitalism with ‘Italian values’ (comical posturing). Both Putin and Berlusconi rule in democracies which are gradually being reduced to an empty shell, and, in spite of the rapidly worsening economic situation, they both enjoy popular support (more than two-thirds of the electorate). No wonder they are personal friends... The wager behind Berlusconi’s vulgarities is that the people will identify with him as embodying the mythic image of the average Italian: I am one of you, a little bit corrupt, in trouble with the law, in trouble with my wife because I’m attracted to other women"
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