Archive for January, 2012

How Much Does a Piece of Mars Rock Cost?

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012
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Pieces of Mars (thankfully not Drops of Jupiter) crashed to Earth last year in Morocco. Pieces of the rock are trading for $8,500 per ounce at minimum and $28,350 at max.

To keep that in perspective, Gold is currently trading at $1,650.

The high prices comes because their is so precious little of the substance on Earth at all. In fact, since we’ve known how to look for and identify Martian rock, only 220 lbs. have been found. What’s more, the stuff that crashed last year accounts for 24 lbs. of that.

“It’s pristine material,” (Darryl Pitt, curator of the Macovich Collection of meteorites in New York City) said. “Five hundred dollars and $600 a gram for a freshly fallen chunk of the planet Mars? I’d say that’s a deal.”

Forget a Gold Standard, I want Martian Standard.

[Live Science]

Paper Balloon Accident -> Fireworks Explosion -> Wild Applause in a 1:30 Video

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012
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What an awesome video of grand spectacle and awesomeness. A massive paper balloon launching goes awry which sets up hilarious consequences. Due to the crowd reaction, we are assuming no one was hurt. Enjoy.

[YouTube]

Woman Wakes Up In Alternate Reality, Ours

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012
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Every decision you make has consequences. Every step, every meal, every conversation, every kiss and every breath means you didn’t do something else. And that’s just you. Everyone around is doing the same thing, creating a lottery ball chamber of opportunities seized and dismissed.

Have you ever felt that there were concurrent realities to your own? Maybe a reality where all those little decisions went in the slightly different direction?

Maybe you’d stayed together with your old boyfriend. Or didn’t work in the same old department at work. Or your sister didn’t have shoulder surgery last year.

One woman believes in that scenario exactly. Because she says she went to sleep in one reality and woke up in ours.

This is from her own account…

Four months ago I awoke on a normal morning. I was in my rented home where I’d been living for seven years. Everything was the same, except that my bed linen was different, and I paid no attention at the time.

A traumatic romantic experience and subsequent new love has been erased…

I’ve been separated from my partner of seven years for some six months. We broke up and I started a relationship with a fellow from my neighborhood. I know him perfectly well, having been with him for four months. I know his name, surname, address, where he works, his son from another relationship, and where he studies.

“Well, that fellow no longer exists. He appeared to have existed before my ‘jump’ but there is no trace of him now.

She is asking for anyone else who has gone through this experience to contact her.

[Before It’s News]

Boo: SpaceX Delays February Launch

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

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The first private craft set to dock with the International Space Station will have to wait a little longer. An unmanned capsule to be launched by WeirdThings’ favorite SpaceX will not happen on February 7th as initially planned. The delay is attributed to additional preparation time.

“We believe that there are a few areas that will benefit from additional work,” said Kirstin Brost Grantham, a spokeswoman for the company, also known as SpaceX.

“We will continue to test and review data. We will launch when the vehicle is ready,” she said.

The flight will be the second and possibly last test flight before privately owned SpaceX begins delivering cargo to the station under a $1.6 billion NASA contract.

Considering the critical nature of such an early flight and what it means for private exploration in general, it’s probably better to be safe than sorry. Still, those anxious for SpaceX to continue its evolution will have to sit tight.

[Reuters]

100 Years Ago Today: The Worst Adventure Ever Hit Rock Bottom

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012
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A trip to the South Pole is not easy. Specifically not in 1912 when British explorer Robert Falcon Scott and his intrepid crew are trying to become the first explorers to make it there. Only after an arduous two and half month slog bringing them through inhuman frigid temperatures and grueling mountain passages did they finally get confirmation on their place in history.

100 years ago today they found out they were second.

“The worst has happened, or nearly the worst,” Scott wrote in his diary that evening.

They had been beaten. The party saw unmistakable evidence that Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen had been there already — the remains of a camp, and a black flag whipping in the frigid wind. “It is a terrible disappointment, and I am very sorry for my loyal companions,” Scott wrote.

Still they drudged on, wanting to complete their journey even if it was sloppy seconds. When the reached their goal, they turned around, beginning the desperate trek home.

Then things got even worse. They died.

In spite of the desperate struggle that followed, the men never made it home, yet the tale of their horrible journey survives in Scott’s own words. His frozen body was found in November 1912, his diary nearby. The last entry was in late March.

Rescuers who found the bodies buried their tents and let the corpses lay in the snow.

[Live Science]

Is This the Sound of the Earth Dying?

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Strange sounds are happening all over the world. One part airplane flyover, two parts Inception BAHHH! with a dash of wind wooosh for good measure. The clip above is from Budapest, Hungary last week. There are clips from all over the world in the io9 link below.

Some are even calling it the end of the world. The sound of the seventh seal breaking and hell coming to infest Earth.

On the other hand, the crack team at Ask Reddit seems to believe that it’s all hogwash. But if that’s the case, is it coordinated? Are they being produced to spread panic? Plug an upcoming movie?

If it is a farce, it’s a pretty clever one. All you have to do is take footage of the air and layer in the audio. If you really want to sell it, get some people looking up in the air. Or, if you insist on pulling out all the stops, have someone mention there is a strange sounds outside. For “video proof” it’s about as low tech as you get.

[io9]

Mineral Found Only on Moon, Found on Earth

Monday, January 16th, 2012

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When astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin and Michael Collins completed the first moonwalk, they brought back three minerals that were initially thought to be specific to the lunar surface.

Two of them were later found here on Earth, but one… tranquillityite (named for the Sea of Tranquility where it was found) remained unique. Until now.

The last mineral thought to have been unique to the Moon has been discovered in the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia. It was identified by researchers at The University of Western Australia’s Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis (CMCA).

In your face moon!

[Science Daily]

Strange Comet: Want to Watch a Failed Russian Probe Burn?

Friday, January 13th, 2012
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If you listened to the most recent podcast, Andrew discussed the Phobos Grunt. It was supposed to be a probe that landed on the Martian moon of Phobos and sent us back soil samples, due to arrive in 2014. Instead, it’s going to be a REALLY expensive firework this Sunday as it burns up upon reentry after failing to break the Earth’s orbit.

C’mon, show em what your worth.

As it sinks into the denser layers of Earth’s atmosphere, the probe will heat up and begin to glow brightly, forming a long plasma tail and resembling “a surreal-looking comet,” Molczan said.

“Eventually, the combination of extreme heat and rapid deceleration will cause it to fragment into many pieces that will spread out along the path of descent,” he said.

“The debris trail will move rapidly across the sky, visible for perhaps one to two minutes, assuming [a viewer has a] reasonably unobstructed view of the sky.”

With a keen eye, you can even see it now circling Earth, ready for the big moment. Keep your peepers trained for a fast-moving, star-like object with a bright orange hue.

[Nat Geo]

Who is the Lady Driving the 2,000 MPH Car?

Friday, January 13th, 2012
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Which woman will be the first to hold a major land speed record when she pilots a car that has a top speed of 2,000 miles per hour named Sonic Wind? That’s what Waldo Stakes wants to find out.

He’s the one building the speed demon vehicle which hopes to attain the ridiculous top speed thanks to parts from an X-15 aircraft and fueling systems he scrounged from nuclear missiles. When he breaks the land speed record, Stakes wants it to be done with two very important qualifiers: the driver is American, the driver is a woman.

The record will require the driver get up to Mach 3, which means they will have to take the vehicle to Bolivia, where the Salar de Uyuni salt flats would give them enough room to rumble.

[Fox News]

Can You Spot the Mysterious Face in Trey Ratcliff’s Photo?

Friday, January 13th, 2012
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As was discussed in our latest podcast, here is the unadjusted photo taken by the insanely talented Trey Ratcliff. Click AFTER THE JUMP to see if you correctly spotted the crazy face.

[Stuck in Customs] (more…)

Podcast: Tokyo Vampire Hunting With Trey

Friday, January 13th, 2012

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GUESTS: Ethan & Trey Ratcliff

We are joined by the Stuck in Customs photo superstar Trey Ratcliff as well as his son Ethan. Andrew reveals that the United States might be engaging in a dastardly plot to shoot down satellites. Justin spots a mysterious face hidden the clouds of one of Trey’s photos, no doubt signaling a coming terror. Also, Brian unearths a harrowing tale of Trey being accosted by a vampire yakuza on the streets of Tokyo.

ALSO! A FREE audiobook sample of Andrew Mayne’s The Chronological Man: The Martian Emperor as read by Justin!

Support the show by purchasing Andrew’s BRAND NEW BOOK The Chronological Man: The Martian Emperor just click on the image below.

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Sword Swallower Nearly Dies from Torn Esophagus, Attempts Redemption

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

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Hannibul Hellmurto, a legendary sword swallower working with the UK’s Circus of Horrors show suffered an on the job injury last October. He tore a four-inch gash in his esophagus while attempting to stick a lit neon bulb down his throat.

What resulted was three weeks in intensive care and five weeks before before he was released from the hospital. He explains to HuffingtonPost Weird News that this injury is akin to a rotator cuff tear for a baseball pitcher. But like an athlete, the question remains if he can still be as effective as he was before the trauma.

This YouTube video, posted on December 30th, 2011 demonstrates his return to the trick that nearly ended his life.

[Huffington Post]

Why is James Randi Friends with Those He Knows are Wrong?

Thursday, January 12th, 2012
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Max Maven sat down with James Randi several months ago at the Magic Castle to discuss a wide range of subjects including Randi’s beginnings in magic, his most recent work as an arch-Skeptic and everything in between.

However, one part we found particularly interesting comes at 49:40 of the nearly two hour conversation. Maven asks Randi why he is friends with those he disagrees with, as many might think that his bitter relationship with folks like Uri Geller is the rule and not the exception.

Randi’s answer: personal honesty.

If he feels that someone whom he believes is absolutely wrongheaded about something is telling the truth to him, he can accept it on face value.

The entire conversation is available on the James Randi Educational Foundation YouTube channel. It’s also embedded below.

Elderly Grandmother Admits to Jury Smurf Told Her to Grow Pot, is Acquitted

Thursday, January 12th, 2012
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Alberta Kelley, you are a 67-year-old grandmother from Western Pennsylvania who just got busted on an anonymous tip for growing marijuana plants next to your tomato garden.

What do you have to say for yourself?

A Pennsylvania granmother, who was busted for growing pot next to her tomato plants, told police it wasn’t her idea to grow the illegal plant but a bearded stranger wearing a Smurf hat who gave her the seeds.

Smurf gave you the seeds? Okay, fine, you are acquitted on all charges.

Now, who was the snitch that dropped dime on Granny? You guessed it.

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[Q104]

MythBusters Fight Back After Penn & Teller Invade Their Turf

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

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So Penn & Teller create their own show on the Discovery Channel debating the legitimacy of various claims. Now, Jamie and Adam of MythBusters fame are invading P&T’s turf with a live stage show.

See how these things escalate?

The pair begin a 31-city tour this Sunday in Los Angeles’ Nokia theater.

Explains Adam…

We worked hard to port what we like about “MythBusters” onto stage without doing something that was just a big boring science demonstration show. And what we decided to do was to spend a couple of hours messing with the audience, with the way they see things, with the way they see themselves. We’ll demonstrate something where A plus B equals C, and bring an audience member up and show them that even though it looks like that might be the case, we can demonstrate situations in which it’s not. We have a sketch in which we physically manipulate the way people see and their ability to complete actions onstage — so in addition to the general idea of perception as the way we think through things, we’re going to be messing with actual perception.

Hmmm… live on stage, messing with perception. If they end with a bullet catch, things might get ugly.

Epic Violin Tribute to Legend of Zelda that Will Steal One of Your Heart Pieces

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

We really can’t say enough about this violin tribute to the many themes of Legend of Zelda as performed by the undulating Lindsey Stirling. Soaring vistas, sweeping renditions of nostalgia tugged melodies that would melt the heart of Ganondorf himself.

Also, we credit the whip smart number one YouTube comment to this post for the headline.