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Thursday, January 04, 2007

"He hasn't an enemy in the world - but all his friends hate him." - Eddie Cantor


The Straight Dope: Is it dangerous to eat magic mushrooms before they have dried out? What mushrooms are safe to eat? - "Psilocybin has a low level of toxicity and overdoses are rare. One 18-year-old male in Hawaii was thought to have died from a psilocybin OD in 1972, but later investigation has cast doubt on that belief. A 2000 study in the Netherlands found that (a) no physical or psychological dependency was associated with mushrooms, (b) adverse short-term effects consisted mainly of panic and anxiety attacks, and (c) long-term effects were limited to mild flashbacks. Even the U.S. Department of Justice admits that 'shrooms aren't physically addictive."

In Eminent Domain Case: Bah, Humbug - "The woman at the center of a national battle over property rights has sent some not-so-joyous tidings to people involved in taking her house to make way for private development. Susette Kelo's holiday cards feature a snowy image of her pink house and a message that reads, in part, "Your houses, your homes, your family, your friends. May they live in misery that never ends. I curse you all. May you rot in hell. To each of you I send this spell.""

Blind man takes over wheel from drunk driver - "A Hamilton man with just five per cent sight took the wheel of a car from a drunk driver and was guided by a drunk passenger."

The Dark Side of Faith (on the study that more religious places have more crime and social problems) - " Murder rates? Six of the seven states with the highest 2003 homicide rates were "red" in the 2004 elections (Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina), while the deep blue Northeastern states had murder rates well below the national average. Infant mortality rates? Highest in the South and Southwest; lowest in New England. Divorce rates? Marriages break up far more in red states than in blue. Teen pregnancy rates? The same... So what if highly religious societies have more murders and disease than less religious societies? Remember the trials of Job? God likes to test the faithful. To the truly nonrational, even evidence that on its face undermines your beliefs can be twisted to support them. [Emphasis mine] Absolutism means never having to say you're sorry. And that, of course, is what makes it so very dangerous."

Bush-Supporting Evangelicals: Are They Abuse Victims? - "I was a counselor in the military some years ago, and found back then that the need for security, boundaries, safety, among right wingers drove their attempts to control everyone else around them. Virtually all were victims of some form of abuse in their lives, and fell to religion in order to give themselves the external support they felt their lives required to be safe and to not pass on the abuse. They do not trust or do not generate internal safeguards, but rather must have someone else police their lives as long as they deem it to be 'safe' in nature for them."

HD disk format wars are over - "The next generation disk format has been settled once and for all. Thanks to the due diligence, hard work and unprecedented cooperation between the media companies, the hardware vendors and the OS vendor, we finally have a solution. It is quite easy, Piracy, the better choice(TM)."

Warner Music CEO Admits His Kids "Stole" Music, Didn't Get Sued - "So, the children of major label CEOs get a verbal explanation for infringing Warner's sacred copyrights, while everyone else has to worry about getting sued. I totally get it. It's like how if you're a Bush niece who has a rock of crack cocaine fall out of her shoe while in court-ordered rehab for faking a prescription for anxiety medication, you only have to spend a few days in jail."

Condoms 'too big' for Indian men - "A survey of more than 1,000 men in India has concluded that condoms made according to international sizes are too large for a majority of Indian men."

Sword-swallowers find that work can be a bit of a pain - "It might seem like a statement of the obvious, but sword-swallowers are prone to suffering from sore throats."

Poor maths 'fails' sale shoppers - "Millions of shoppers will fail to bag winter sale bargains as they lack basic maths skills, the government says."
Maybe this will motivate the girls.

Who's the daddy? - "And this is the reason most give for coming to the convention - for one day a year, they get to relax, eat doughnuts and chat to other men about Baby Einstein. Because there's really no one else who understands - especially not women. 'It's bizarre,' says David Hallowes from Massachusetts. 'But the one group who are least accepting of stay-at-home dads are stay-at-home moms. They don't even bother to talk to you.' Chris Ford from Las Vegas nods, 'I've been at playgroups where women literally talk over me as if I'm not there. You start to think, who has the issues here?'... Women are going out to work and men are sharing the childcare, but social attitudes have failed to keep up. 'People still think we're all bumbling idiots who are feeding the kids beer with breakfast,' smiles Dayv. 'They're amazed when we turn out happy, healthy kids.'... In the 21st century fathers might actually be better suited to childcare... 'One example is that men rarely do baby talk,' says Dave. 'We talk to our kids normally and, as a result, they are more likely to talk correctly earlier. So in some respects, dads might actually be better for the kids.' 'Damn…' says a passing dad, 'I wouldn't want to be the one to have to tell my wife that.'"

Out of the shadows, the Big Love women who want the right to share a husband - "Many polygamist women argue that their plural marriage was a choice that has brought them fulfilment. Christine, a third wife, argues that her lifestyle gives her far more freedom than a conventional marriage. “Have a husband around all the time?” she jokes. “I like men but not that much! When he’s sick I can send him to someone else, when he needs his ironing done I can send him to someone else.” Others talk of the benefits of female companionship. “My sisterwife is my best friend, she colours my hair,” says Mary, a second wife."
How come no one talks about polyamory?

Project Alpha - "Project Alpha was a famous hoax orchestrated by famous magician and skeptic James Randi. It involved the "planting" of two fake psychics, Steve Shaw and Michael Edwards, into a paranormal research project who became convinced the pair's psychic powers were real. The hoax was later revealed publicly, leading to a backlash against the entire paranormal field... The two were so successful at spoon bending that several other tests were invented. In one they were given pictures in sealed envelopes and then asked to try to identify them from a list shown to them later. Astoundingly the two were left alone in a room with the envelopes, and although there was a possibility that they would peek, this was "controlled" by examining the envelopes later. The envelopes were held closed with four staples, which they simply pried open with their fingernails, looked at the picture, and then resealed by inserting the staples back into the same holes and forcing them closed against the table."
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