10 People Killed While Performing Magic Tricks

Magicians, illusionists, mentalists, escapes artists—they all have their element of danger, which is what makes them exciting to watch. That danger can also be fatal, for amateurs and professionals alike. Here are 10 people who were killed performing such feats.

10 Charles Rowen

1- straight jacket
Charles Rowen, otherwise known as “Karr the Magician” or “Karr the Mysterious,” was a South African escape artist and magician. His main tricks were escaping from straight jackets and jumping into piles of broken glass.

In 1930, Karr was performing in Springfontein, Orange Free State, South Africa. He was attempting a very dangerous stunt in which he was tied up in a straight jacket while a man drove straight at him in a car. The car approached from (180 meters) (200 yards) away, accelerating to a speed of 72 kilometers per hour (45 mph). If you do the math, that would give Karr about 10–15 seconds (depending on how long it would take the driver to get up to that speed) to get out of the straight jacket and get out of the way of the car.

But he was too slow.

Karr was unable to escape in time and he was run over by the car, which almost severed his leg. This happened in front of a large group of people, including small children. Before he died, he exonerated the driver of any wrongdoing.

9 Madame DeLinksy

2- gun trick
The Gun Trick is when a magician pretends to be shot by a gun, giving the illusion that they either stopped or caught the bullet with their body. This trick, especially the bullet-catching variation, is one of the most dangerous tricks in a magician’s repertoire. Despite the gun trick being an illusion, it still puts the magician in harm’s way. No bullets are fired during the trick because people simply can’t catch bullets, yet there are at least 15 deaths associated with this trick.

One of the more notable deaths happened when a Polish magician and his wife, Madame DeLinsky, were performing in Arnstadt Germany for Prince Shwarznberg-Sonderhausen in November 1820. Their version of the the Gun Trick was that Madame DeLinsky would face a firing squad of six men, stopping all six bullets. The DeLinksys asked the soldiers to insert a blank load into their rifle. One solider didn’t and loaded a live round. Madame DeLinsky was shot through the abdomen and died two days later.

8 Benjamin Rucker

3- heart attack
Benjamin Rucker, who performed under the stage name Black Herman, is a bit different than the other magicians here because he died of natural causes—although nobody believed it.

Black Herman was the preeminent African American magician of the time. Because of the Jim Crow laws, he played to mostly black audiences in the South, but was popular elsewhere. One of his signature illusions, which he used to promote his upcoming shows, was being buried alive then exhumed three days later, after which he’d go on with the show. That is why no one believed he really died when he had a heart attack at the end of one of his shows in April 1934. Using the disbelief to their advantage, Black Herman’s promoters charged people to get into the funeral to see that Black Herman was, in fact, dead.

Notably, magician and comedian Tommy Cooper suffered the same fate after having a heart attack on stage, leading people to believe it was part of the act. Nobody charged admission to his funeral, though.

7 Dr. Vivian Hensley

4- razor blade
Nothing puts a black stain on the world of magic like an amateur getting in over his head while trying to perform a dangerous trick. Forty-three-year-old Vivian Hensley was a dentist in Brisbane, Australia. As a dentist he probably should have known the dangers of sticking non-food items into his mouth, but nevertheless, he died a very painful death from something he swallowed.

Dr. Hensley was performing his own trick called “swallowing the rusty razor blade” for his young son. He did the trick by pretending to slip the razor blade into his mouth while really putting it down the sleeve of his coat. On July 6, 1938, while performing the trick he slipped up and accidentally dropped the razor down his throat. His wife made him eat cotton balls as she drove him to the hospital. Despite a battery of X-rays and two bouts of surgery, the doctors were unable to locate the razor, and he died four days later.

6 Janaka Basnayake

5- buried alive
Humans need water, food, and, most importantly, air in order to live, which brings us to the sad tale of 24-year-old Janaka Basnayake from Sri Lanaka. Basnayake was trying to beat the world record for longest time buried alive.

When most magicians do this, there is an escape illusion they perform so they don’t actually spend the time buried. The exception is David Blaine, who spent 6 days being buried alive, but he was a professional with a team of experts. Basnayake wasn’t a professional. Instead, on March 5, 2012, he got his family to bury him in a pit three meters (10 ft) deep, and then cover it with soil and wood. He was buried for seven and half hours before being dug up. They found him not breathing and took him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The sad thing is, The Guinness Book Of World Records doesn’t even recognize this record because it’s too dangerous and they don’t want people even attempting it.

5 Royden Joseph Gilbert Raison De La Genesta

6- barrels
Royden Joseph Gilbert Raison de la Genesta, or just Genesta for short, was an American magician whose signature trick was the milk can, or water barrel, escape trick. This trick has the escapist locked in a large milk can or water barrel filled with water. The trick is to get out before he or she drowns.

Unfortunately, in 1930 during the journey to the fateful performance, Genesta’s milk can was dented, which limited his space and prevented him from making the movements he needed to escape. He was unable to free himself and he drowned. His death had a ripple effect with contemporaries like Houdini because it made the water barrel trick seem even more dangerous, making it a more popular attraction.

4 Jeff Rayburn Hooper

7- drowning
On July 7, 1984, 23-year-old magician Jeff Rayburn Hooper was practicing an escape trick that he planned on performing later that afternoon for the Winona Lake Bible Conference. The trick involved escaping from shackles while being submerged in the lake. Unfortunately, Hooper would not make it to the performance.

While rehearsing the stunt, Hooper handcuffed himself and jumped into Winona Lake, outside Fort Wayne, Indiana. Then he swam out about 100 yards from the shore. Hooper was able to free himself from the shackles. He surfaced and yelled to his assistant for help, but because of the high winds he was unable to swim to shore. The wind was also a major problem when it came to helping him, as rescuers were unable to reach Hooper. He drowned in 1.6 meters (6 ft) of water.

3 Joseph W. Burrus

8- grave
The lifelong dream of 32-year-old Joseph “Amazing Joe” Burrus was to be more famous than his hero, Harry Houdini. On Halloween night in 1992, the anniversary of Houdini’s death, he attempted to try the escape Houdini failed at—being buried alive. Amazing Joe had himself handcuffed, locked in a homemade coffin, then placed in a grave two meters (7 ft) deep and buried alive under seven tons of dirt and cement (about the weight of a male African elephant).

Amazingly, no one was able to convince him that it was impossible, and that he needed some sort of illusion to come out of the trick alive. During his preparation, a reporter covering the story pointed out to him that cement dries quicker on the bottom than on the top. So even if he didn’t get crushed to death, he’d still have to get through several feet of dirt before trying to break through a layer cement that was fast hardening—all without running out of air.

However, the cement was not even an issue for Burrus. The dirt and cement collapsed on him and he was crushed before leaving the coffin. WARNING: That link points to a video showing the actual death of Burrus. Watch at your own discretion.

2 William Elsworth Robinson

9- chinese
William Elsworth Robinson, otherwise known as Chung Ling Soo, was an American magician who adopted the persona of a Chinese magician and never broke character. He never spoke English on stage, and when speaking to journalists, he always used an interpreter. At the time of his death, he was one of the most famous magicians in the world.

The fateful accident happened at Wood Green Empire in London on March 23, 1918. Chung Ling Soo was performing his version of the bullet catch. Sadly, he did not have the gun cleaned out properly after the last time he had performed the trick. This caused a buildup of gun powder in the ramrod tube, which gave it enough force to launch the bullet into Chung Ling Soo’s chest. Breaking character for the first time, he said “Oh my God, bring down the curtan. Something has happened.” He died the next day in the hospital.

If this magician seems familiar, it’s because he appears as a character in the movie The Prestige.

1 Sigmund Neuberger

10- fire
Sigmund Neuberger, otherwise know as the Great Lafayette, was a German magician who was the highest paid magician of his time. The Great Lafayette loved animals, but loved his terrier Beauty most of all. Beauty was a gift from Harry Houdini, who was an admirer of the Great Lafayette. He lavished the dog with its own suite, five-course meals, and a diamond-studded collar.

Four days before the opening of his show in Edinburgh, Beauty died. Lafayette made a deal with the city council that he would allow his own body to be buried there when he died if they would consent to burying Beauty in the nearby Piershill Cemetery. On the opening night of the show, May 9, 1911, there was a fire while he was performing his signature trick, “The Lion’s Bride.” He manage to escaped from the building, but ran back inside to save a horse that was part of the show. Besides Lafayette, 10 other people died because the side doors had been locked tight before the show—Lafayette didn’t want anyone sneaking in.

His body was laid to rest beside his beloved dog.

+ Washington Irving Bishop

Palm Reading
Bishop grew up in a spiritual family; his mother was a practicing medium. As an adult he worked for a psychic, after which he set about trying to expose them and their tricks. Eventually he gave up on exposing psychics and become a mentalist himself. Unlike the psychics he exposed, he professed to audiences that he had no supernatural powers. He became incredibly successful using muscle reading, which involved holding the hand of an audience member and asking them a series of questions. He would feel acute muscle movements in their hands and perform accurate readings.

On May 12, 1889, while performing at the Lamb Club in New York city, he collapsed. Bishop suffered from catalepsy, which is when someone can fall into a coma-like state despite being very much alive. He awoke a short time later and asked to finished the show, but fell back into unconsciousness and eventually died.

That’s where things get a little murky.

Since Bishop suffered from catalepsy, many people believe that he wasn’t really dead. Some people, including Bishop’s mother, believe that the autopsy was what ultimately killed him. Doctors were especially interested in his brain because they wanted to know if his brain was special, giving him his “mind reading powers.” Unfortunately, they never got the chance to study it.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2014/02/05/10-people-killed-while-performing-magic-tricks/

Top 10 Disadvantages to Capitalism

There has been much discussion of the current economic system in the western world, capitalism. This is mainly because of the growing anti-capitalist movement. However, as the owners of the free media are the wealthy, the anti-capitalist side of the debate has not been fairly covered. This list is not to suggest a viable alternative, although there are many. It is merely to cover the disadvantages of the current system, which have often been ignored by the media and governments.


The common capitalist mantra that “anyone can be rich if they work hard enough” is a fallacy. There’s only so much room at the top. In order to make money, first you have to take it from someone else. This can be done through selling things, taxation or any other means. But this means that the rich cannot exist without the poor. Any way you look at it, there’s never going to be equality under capitalism.


In a society where resources are not evenly distributed, there is always going to be the wealthy who have an excess of resources. While occasionally these resources are given to the poor, often this excess is wasted. Millions of dollars worth of food is wasted by those who have more than they need, while there are many others who desperately need it.

Afghan Children Starve31Dec09

Of course, if some have an excess of the resources in society, there are others who do not have enough. In Third World countries, many are starving because they cannot afford to feed themselves, while those in Western countries fatten themselves with an excess of food, and waste the rest of it. There is enough food in the world to feed the entire world population.


Under a capitalist system, the profit motive is far greater than altruism. If people are worried about what’s in their own pocket, they will avoid helping their fellow human beings because they’re concentrating on looking after themselves. People feel the need to put themselves first because they think no-one will be there to help them if they lose all their money.


Often companies will cut corners in health and safety restrictions, because it costs them less to pay off the families of those who die in industrial accidents. Often staff are not properly trained in certain areas, or provisions have not been put in place to protect them from certain risks. This has often resulted in injuries and sometimes death.


While every individual has a single vote in a democracy, in a capitalist system, they have very little say in the actions of government. Greater influences on government than ideology or public opinion are the wealthy. Governments will listen to big business and banks because they fund their election campaigns. They will listen to big newspaper barons because they know that they can influence public opinion.


It shouldn’t be hard to convince people not to kill themselves, however, this is what companies are doing as they refuse to put in environmental measures because it will reduce their profit margins. It doesn’t matter to them that, in the long term, we’ll all be dead, as long as in the short term they’ll have the most money.

World War Two Soldiers Training

Many of the wars fought in recent years have been over profit. In Iraq, the war was largely funded by oil barons, and it was private firms who handled most of the security after the initial invasion. In Libya, western forces intervened when the civil war caused oil supplies to be cut off. They only sided with the rebels because they thought they were the most likely to win. In Iran, military intervention is being threatened over the blocking of trading routes to transport oil.

Tumblr Lrzffcxdt71Qetz62O1 500

We wouldn’t stand for dictatorship in our governments, so why do we stand for it in the workplace? CEOs get paid massive salaries, and award themselves huge bonuses on top of them, while they pay their workers minimum wage. The bosses don’t do the work, they don’t produce the goods we consume, and they merely own the means of production. As for those who do? The workers don’t have any say in how it is controlled.


You cannot escape capitalism, it’s everywhere. On every billboard, on every TV program, you have someone telling you to buy something. When this is done by governments in dictatorships we call it propaganda, when companies do it, it’s called advertising. They’re both forms of brainwashing.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2012/01/16/top-10-disadvantages-to-capitalism/

10 Sixties Icons Still Active Today

I passed the half-century mark a few years ago. Whenever I’m feeling old and tired, I think of the movie, music and T.V. stars I remember from my childhood who are still active in the 21st century. All of the artists below have been working for over forty years, some even longer, and are still working as of writing. I have listed them in no particular order, and if there is anyone I left out please let me know in the comments.

Illya Kuryakin

McCallum became very well-known once he began appearing in “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” television series as Illya Kuryakin starting in 1964. The spy craze started by the James Bond film series was in full swing and McCallum appeared in teen magazines, comic books, records, ViewMaster reels, posters and toy boxes. After the series ended, he did mostly guest-star work, but he has achieved new attention as Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard on the hit show “N.C.I.S.” In one episode of that show, when asked what Dr. Mallard looked like when he was a young man, series star Mark Harmon replied “Illya Kuryakin.” Honorable mention should go to McCallum’s co-star on “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” Robert Vaughn, who appears on the British soap opera “Coronation Street.”

Bill Cosby %282010%29

William Henry Cosby was a standup comedian who appeared on “The Tonight Show” in the early Sixties. In 1965, actor and producer Sheldon Leonard saw Cosby’s stand-up routine and cast him in the spy series “I-Spy.” Cosby continued appearing on “The Tonight Show” as well, later guest-hosting that program. In 1967, he had a hit record with “Li’l Ole Man,” based on a riff from Stevie Wonder. Cosby has continued working to this day, currently touring with a stand-up act and appearing on “The Tonight Show.” He is arguably best known for “The Cosby Show,” his hit sitcom that appeared on N.B.C. from 1984-1992.


Eastwood began acting in small parts in the Fifties, and was cast in the western “Rawhide” in 1958, which ran until 1963. After that series ended, he starred in the Italian spaghetti western “A Fistfull of Dollars” in 1964. That film and its sequels “For A Few Dollars More” and “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” made Eastwood an international star in the Sixties. Though critics derided his squinty-eyed wooden acting, he continued his movie-making success in Hollywood productions. In 1971 he directed his first film “Play Misty for Me” which was a success with the critics and at the box office. He has continued acting and directing, last appearing as an actor in “Gran Torino” in 2008 and directing “J Edgar” with Leonardo DiCaprio in 2011.

Robert Wagner It Takes A Thief 1969

Wagner began making movies in the Fifties and became a familiar face at movie theaters in hit films such as “The Pink Panther” and “Harper.” He achieved broader fame once he made the move to television in 1968 with “It Takes a Thief.” After that show ended, he kept working in television and movies. He appeared in all of the popular “Austin Powers” movies with Mike Myers. In recent years he has appeared as a guest star on “Two and a Half Men” and “N.C.I.S.” as the father of agent Tony DiNozzo. He is seen everyday in commercials for a company that pitches reverse mortgages to seniors.

If I Could Turn 281X211

Cher started as a backup singer on Phil Spector produced recordings in the early Sixties. Cher first gained fame in 1965 with her husband Sonny Bono on the hit record “I Got You Babe.” Other hit records in the Sixties were “The Beat Goes On” (with Sonny) and the solo hit “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot me Down).” After a downturn in their popularity, Sonny and Cher revived their careers with the hit television show “The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour” in the Seventies. Though she had acted in movies since the Sixties, she hit her stride as an actress in the 1980s, winning the 1987 Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as Loretta Castorini, a book keeper from Brooklyn, New York in the film “Moonstruck.” In 2003 she mounted a farewell tour, but continued with singing appearances in Las Vegas and acting in the film “Burlesque” in 2010.

Mick Jagger 1965

Sir Michael Philip “Mick” Jagger became world-famous in the Sixties once “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” became the Rolling Stones first number one record. Almost from the beginning, the band was referred to as “Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones” by the press. As famous for his off-stage behavior as the Rolling Stones’ music, Jagger and the Stones have not toured this decade, but have not announced their retirement. Jagger performed without the Stones at The White House in February of 2012 when President Barrack Obama held a “Blues at the White House” gathering with B.B. King, Trombone Shorty, Jeff Beck and others.

Betty White In The Betty White Show 1954 %282%29

In the Sixties, Betty White was a fixture on television game shows and as host, with Lorne Greene, of the annual Tournament of Roses Parade. As a celebrity on game shows, she was known for her smart, competitive game play. She appeared on husband Allen Luden’s “Password,” the original “Match Game,” “What’s My Line” and others. She appeared frequently on “The Tonight Show,” eventually guest-hosting for Johnny Carson a few times. She continued her game show appearances for decades afterward. She became a fixture on television sitcoms in the ’70s and ’80s on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Golden Girls.” After those shows, she continued guest-starring roles on television dramas and sitcoms. There was a Facebook campaign to have White host “Saturday Night Live” and she hosted that show on May 8th of 2010. She currently appears on TV Land’s “Hot in Cleveland.”


Tony Bennett was a popular singer from the “vocalist” era of the early Fifties through the early Sixties. In 1962, he achieved greater fame with his hit record “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” Like many artists of his era, his record sales diminished once the Beatles, the British invasion, and younger rock and roll acts took over the popular music charts. He never really went away, and was a fixture on the many variety shows of the Sixties. His career hit the skids in the Seventies and he went through a period where he felt no one was interested in his style of music. Around 1979, his son Danny Bennett took over managing his father’s career, and exposed him to younger audiences on “Late Night with David Letterman” and the new MTV video network. Bennett’s career experienced a resurgence which continues to this day. Bennett has recorded two albums of duets with contemporary singers, the first of which was awarded with two Grammy awards. He recently appeared on his own P.B.S. special promoting his “Duets II” album with Lady Gaga, Norah Jones, the late Amy Winehouse and others.


Stevie Wonder became more popular as the Sixties progressed. Starting with his first hit, “Fingertips” in 1963 and continuing through “For Once In My Life” in 1969, Wonder established himself as a superior musical talent. He also appeared in two “beach party” movies with Sixties icon Annette Funicello, performing a musical number in each. Wonder would continue his recording success, achieving superstar status in the Seventies and Eighties. He won a Grammy award for his duet with Tony Bennett on a reworking of “For Once In My Life” in 2005 and sang at the funeral of Whitney Houston.

Ringo Starr E Paul Mcartney - E3 2009

Sir James Paul McCartney became almost as popular as Jesus at the height of Beatlemania in the Sixties. It’s hard to describe to people who didn’t live through that time just how the Beatles affected popular culture around the world in 1964 and 1965. They held the top five spots on Billboard’s Hot 100 and had seven other songs on the chart as well. There were Beatles’ wigs, lunch boxes, cartoons, even Beatles record players. Radio stations changed formats, teenagers grew their hair, and a plethora of sound-alike bands appeared. Other musical acts criticized them, until they found out that the Beatles were bringing more people into record stores than ever before and many record labels, such as Motown, found increased record sales for talented newer acts like the Supremes. Older acts struggled as the music industry catered to a younger demographic. McCartney has remained a sold-out live act into the 21st century and he continues touring and recording. Honorable mention should go to his Beatles band mate Ringo Starr, who continues touring with his All-Star band.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2012/03/20/10-sixties-icon-still-active-today/

Top 10 Internet Memes and Phenomena

Since the evolution of the internet, certain fads have taken off and become so well known that they are now regarded as Internet Memes. In fact, some people will even tell you that you are a true citizen of the Internet if you don’t know their most favourite meme. This is a list of what I consider to be the top 10.

Before starting, this is a brief definition of an Internet meme: An Internet meme is a piece of digital content that spreads rapidly, widely, and organically from person to person on the Internet. The term is a reference to the memes as virus-like self-replicating packet of information.

1. Lolcats [Wikipedia]


A lolcat (the term is a portmanteau of lol – laughing out loud, and cat) is an image of a cat with an amusing or odd caption. The captions tend to be fairly childlike and usually use text-message like or bad spelling. For example: “Call the offis. I iz gonna be latez”. The caption usually ties in to the image in some way, as you can see from the example above.

This meme is so popular that it has spawned a whole network of websites – the most popular of which is “I can has cheezeburger?” Lolcats now appear frequently in social networking sites and forums.

Visit I can has cheezeburger?

2. All Your Base [Wikipedia]


All your base is a phenomenon that started in 2001, with the spread of a flash animation taken from the first moments of a Japanese video game from 1989 called Zero Wing by Toaplan. The popularity of this video comes mostly from the “Engrish” (ie, Japaneseifcation of English) captions contained in the clip. For example: “All your base are belong to us” as opposed to “All your bases belong to us”.

While its popularity has waned a little recently, it is still well known enough that new videos appear on youtube from time to time which play on the meme.

Watch All your Base

3. Goatse [Wikipedia]


First, the image above is not goatse – it is too horrible to include on this page (though there is a link below for your viewing pleasure… erm..) This rather horrible image became very famous when it spread like wildfire through internet forums as trolls would paste a link to it while pretending the link lead to something of interest to the users of the forum. It became such a problem that Slashdot had to modify their code to show where links in article comments were pointing to, to stop people being caught out.

It has enjoyed a recent infamy as it has managed to be shown on CNN (by mistake) and the BBC (albeit in a cartoon form) forums and news program. It was originally found on a site called goatse.cx (which was a play on the word goatsex). It contains an image of a man showing his rear-end in a rather revolting manner.

[WARNING] Click here if you want to see goatse

4. Kikia [Wikipedia]


Kikia was the first example of a flash shock site and it unleashed a torrent of shockers that continues to this day. Starting out with a cartoon drawing of a little boy, Chinese writing, and gentle music, the cartoon moves along slowly until you are suddenly shown a hideous animation of a face with a loud scream.

The original kikia was posted on a Taiwanese website Kimo, under the username Netspooky. Many popular images to appear in these screamers are taken from the film The Exorcist.

Watch Kikia

5. Dancing Baby [Wikipedia]


The dancing baby (also known as baby cha-cha) was one of the first Internet memes, originating in 1996. It contains a 3d animation baby and was originally created as a demo for 3d Studio Max. The baby dances to music and appeared frequently on the television programme Ally McBeal – symbolising the main characters ticking biological clock.

View the original dancing baby

6. ORLY Owl [Wikipedia]

Orly Owl

ORLY stands for Oh Really and usually features a snowy owl with the caption “O RLY?” – this is often followed by a YA RLY response. It can frequently lead to a whole conversation using Internet slang. It was first seen as early as August 2003 on the Something Awful forums. The original image was taken by John White and posted to alt.binaries.pictures.animals in 2001.

It became so popular that it even appears in a gameboy advance game. The caption itself is now often found on any photograph, not just photographs of owls.

view a gallery of O RLYs

7. The Hamster Dance [Wikipedia]

Hampster Dance

The Hamster Dance is one of the earliest Internet memes, first appearing on Geocities (in its heyday) featuring rows of animated hamsters and rabbits dancing in various ways to a sped-up sample from the song “Whistle Stop” by Roger Miller.

It was designed in 1998 by Canadian art student Deidre LaCarte as part of a competition with her brother to see who could generate the most traffic. It is an homage to her pet hamster Hampton Hamster. Frankly, I think it is rather sinister.

View the hamster dance

8. Loituma Girl [Wikipedia]


Loituma is one of the most recent Memes to appear on the Internet – first appearing in 2006. The name itself comes from the original band that sang the song popular in the flash clip. The band Loituma is a Finnish quartet utilising traditional singing and instrumental styles from Finnland. In 1997 they were select Ensemble of the Year at the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival.

The first instance of this phenomenon online was a cartoon based shockwave flash animation featuring which consists of a 4-frame animation of the Bleach anime character Orihime Inoue twirling a leek to a 27-second loop from the song. The animation loops continuously. Since then many other examples have come up where the image is replaced with something else – but the song is always the same.

See the original Loituma animation

9. Snowclones [Wikipedia]

In Soviet Folded Marge Red Folded

A snowclone is a type of formula-based cliché which uses an old idiom in a new context. It was originally defined as “a multi-use, customizable, instantly recognizable, time-worn, quoted or misquoted phrase or sentence that can be used in an entirely open array of different jokey variants by lazy journalists and writers.

Probably the most well known (and overused) snowclone is “In Soviet Russia Y Xs you” – this was originally coined by comedian Yakov Smirnoff, a standup comedian in Russia when he said: “In Soviet Russia party finds you”.

Visit the snowclones database

10. The startwars kid [Wikipedia]


The starwards kid is an Internet phenomenon which started when a video clip recorded by Ghyslain Raza, a fourteen-year-old French Canadian male high school student, was leaked online. The video was filmed at the studio of his high school, and the tape was left forgotten in a basement. The original owner of the videotape discovered his recorded acts and immediately shared it with some friends. Thinking that it would be a funny prank, they encoded it to a WMV file and shared it using the Kazaa peer-to-peer file sharing network.

Within two weeks it had been downloaded several million times. Since then it has been downloaded over 900 million times, making it the most popular viral videos. In July 2003, his parents filed a $250,000 lawsuit against four of his fellow students who settled out of court.

Watch the original video

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Read more: http://listverse.com/2007/07/25/top-10-internet-memes-and-phenomena/

10 Non Superhero Graphic Novels You Should Read

The term “graphic novel” was first used in 1964 and it would be popularized within the Comics community after the publication of the great Will Eisner‘s A Contract with God in the late 1970s. Nowadays, and after the Book Industry Study Group added “graphic novel” as a category in book stores, this term has gone mainstream.

As one understands from the title, this list won’t be your average fare when it comes to comic books. No superheroes are hiding under uniforms and masks, no aliens with super powers, and no big guns and mutants in any of these more realistic and very funny stories. These are ten of the very best graphic novels of the past 25-30 years that don’t involve superheroes.

10 Blankets (2003)


Think of every moment of heartbreak, alienation, confusion, growth, and hope you experienced between the ages of seven to eighteen. Now imagine all those experiences condensed into a riveting, beautifully written and drawn two-hour read. That’s what Craig Thompson has done in this staggering work, compressing those crucial years of adolescent experience into a novel of exquisite detail. He doesn’t hit a false note anywhere in this depiction of a young man dealing with faith, confusion and romance.

This is not light, casual reading that we would recommend to anyone—there are very disturbing and deeply sad moments in Blankets that aren’t easily forgotten, though they are more than counterbalanced by gorgeous images of freedom and hope.

Blankets was widely acclaimed, with Time magazine ranking it #1 in its 2003 Best Comics list, and #8 in its Best Comics of the previous decade.

9 Paying for it (2011)

Paying For It

Paying for It is another autobiographical comic book written by the master of the medium, Chester Brown. Chester is exploring an important era in his later life: his experience as a “john”, or frequent customer of prostitutes, and the profound philosophical questions that experience raised for him.

The fact that he is sharing such a personal moment with us in such a beautiful and strangely romantic way in this book should not be understated. This is an all time classic piece of work.

8 Logicomix (2009)


Logicomix is a story about passionate people with bright ideas who, in their efforts to seek the truth, teeter between logic and paranoia. This is a very interesting and pleasant comic book and probably one of the most unique on its own way.

Basically it is the story of Bertrand Russell, following him from childhood up to when he was about 60 years old, and how he was driven to find the truth about mathematics and logic.

Though it may sound dry, the wise choice to combine the issue raised in the workshop, with the world of drawing and comics, makes it even more interesting and fascinating. The work is beautifully clean, full of intense lines, lovely sketches and brilliant color.

The book made it to #1 on the New York Times Graphic Novel Best Seller list; the first Greek and one of the very few European comic books in history to do so.

7 Red Eye, Black Eye (2007)

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Shortly after 9/11, Thor Jensen’s prospects in New York dried up. In response, he buys a Greyhound Ameripass and travels from sea to shining sea (and back again) with nothing but a few bucks in his bank account and whatever he could cram into a backpack. Just like Kerouac’s On The Road (written shortly after World War II), Red Eye, Black Eye is a true celebration of the underbelly of America.

At each stop-over point on his Greyhound Journey, there are peculiarities unique to that location and its culture. And Mr. Jensen lends his creative talents to retelling some of the everyday stories recounted to him by folks who put him up for the night—folks he doesn’t really know at all, but is eager to learn about. We hear twisted dating stories, freaky co-workers, random bizarre encounters with the lunatic fringe, and several other memorable tales from the people along the way. Unique, strange, and never dull, Red Eye, Black Eye is not to be missed.

6 32 Stories: The Complete Optic Nerve Mini-Comics (1998)

32 Stories

Adrian Tomine is amongst the best independent comic book writers, and this collection displays some of his best work. This book is dedicated to anyone who went through the pain and agony of high school and life itself.

32 Stories was written when Tomine was still a teenager, but does not fail to excite us just as much as his later work. The stories are slight, and preoccupied with slacker angst, but still a great jumping off point for Tomine’s work.

His artistry is efficient and minimalist in its approach, while the stories also serve perfectly as prototypes for the later, more sophisticated Optic Nerve comics that Drawn & Quarterly would release. It was, after all, the beginning of something genius.

5 The Poor Bastard (1996)

Poor Bastard
Joe Matt is the author of the autobiographical comic Peepshow, in which he examines his deficient social skills, his addiction to porn and his lack of manners.

But The Poor Bastard is probably Matt’s best work to this day. The book follows Matt’s relationships as they crumble around him due to his selfish nature and ridiculously high standards for women. The title tries desperately to evoke some sympathy for the book’s main character, but since his problems are of his own doing, it’s hard to really help or sympathize.

Joe Matt has some serious issues, yet he works them out in full public view, inviting us closer to him. The aftermath of this pathetically believable behavior can be found in Spent, which is his last work.

4 SCHIZO (1994-2006)


When Ivan Brunetti sent a sample of SCHIZO #1 for feedback, the response he got from the legendary Robert Crumb wasn’t exactly what Brunetti was expecting: Mr. Crumb, without any sign of sensitivity, suggested to Ivan Brunetti to stop writing comics immediately and get on Prozac as soon as possible.

Fortunately, the above tip didn’t discourage the eccentric artist. SCHIZO is indeed a very unique graphic novel; everything you need to understand is evident after the first couple of pages. The black humor is deadly, suicidal and endless—funny with an uncompromising and raw brutality. The only certain thing is that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But if you can take some quite disturbing thoughts and images, and want to read something quite unique and charming in the darkest possible way, then SCHIZO is the right book for you.

3 It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken (1996)

Good Life

If you have read Joe Matt’s pathetic confession Peep Show, you might remember his friend Seth‘s words: “I’m working on an autobiographical comic book, but it’s not finished yet…”.

Now here comes the comic, but in a very different and classier style from his friend Joe.

The story traces the life of an old cartoonist Kalo while wrapping around Seth’s own life. We can see the trace of Kalo and old cartoonists not only in the story, but on Seth’s joyful drawing touch on rain, trains, trees, hairs, wires, a kite, a bog roll, and even the smoke of cigarette. This comic is about how our thoughts move when we draw lines. Don’t stick at a single frame or single sentiment in the depressed monologue—Feel how the sequence of frames and lines are traveling with the sentiment traveling, and you will notice that here is a new form of travelogue. It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken was ranked at #52 on the list of the “100 Best Comics of the 20th Century” compiled by The Comics Journal.

2 Buddy Does Seattle (1990-1994)


Buddy Does Seattle is a compilation of the Buddy Bradley stories from Hate Comics #1-15, published by Fantagraphics Books during the early 1990’s. The comic book follows Buddy Bradley, an alcoholic loser in his mid 20’s who is a bookstore employee and a band manager wannabe, among many other things. His adventures with bad roommates, comics, and crazy women are probably the highlights of this novel.

This is an all-time classic graphic novel and totally representative of the specific decade (90’s) that will have you rolling on the floor with laughter. Peter Bagge has a wonderful, cartoony art style that makes things even more interesting. Everything looks dirty and gritty, but always well composed and easy to read. A must-read that we suggest without any second thoughts, especially for the ones who are missing the 90′s with nostalgia.

1 Black Hole (1995)

Black Hole

Black Hole is one of the creepiest comics ever made, and the author, Charles Black, is a true genius.

In an alternate reality version of Seattle sometime in the late 1970s, a new disease has broken out that causes grotesque physical mutations. It’s spread through sexual contact, and the outbreak zone is a group of teenage kids. Combining classic fears of adulthood with an incredible horror noir vibe, Charles Burns‘ dark, detailed artwork perfectly conveys the permanently malformed kids’ sense of hopelessness.

Back Hole is pitch-perfect in tone, pacing, and characterization. There’s just a touch of nostalgia, though Burns never allows himself to fall into the trap of romanticizing the mid-seventies. Simply the best graphic horror novel ever written.

David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en) was slated to direct a film adaptation at one time, but unfortunately the whole thing still remains an ambitious project.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/06/30/10-non-superhero-graphic-novels-you-should-read/

Top 10 American Icons That Are Not American

We all grow up with famous brands that evoke that special memory of home. Brands that are especially American – brands that make us burst with national pride. But, alas, what many people don’t realize is that many of those brands are not American any longer (or never were!) This is a list of the ten most famous American icons that are, in fact, foreign. If you can think of others, be sure to mention them in the comments.

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The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company was founded by Harvey Firestone in 1900 to supply pneumatic tires for wagons, buggies, and other forms of wheeled transportation common in the era. Firestone soon saw the huge potential for marketing tires for automobiles. The company was a pioneer in the mass production of tires. Firestone used this relationship to become the original equipment supplier of Ford Motor Company automobiles, and was also active in the replacement market. Firestone was bought out in 1988 by Bridgestone, a Japanese rubber conglomerate based in Tokyo and founded in 1931. Bridgestone is currently ranked first in the global tire market, with Michelin second, Goodyear third and Continental fourth.


The Dial Corporation is a maker of personal care and household cleaning products based in Scottsdale, Arizona. It began as a brand of deodorant soap manufactured by Armour and Company, the legendary Chicago meatpacking firm, and through a series of mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, emerged by the 2000s as a stand-alone leading personal care and household cleaning products company. In 2004, the company was bought by Henkel KGaA, a German consumer products firm. Other brands owned by Henkel are Schwarzkopf, Sellotape, and Persil, the company’s most famous brand (and the name of the world’s first laundry detergent).


Shell Oil Company is the United States-based affiliate of Royal Dutch Shell, a multinational oil company (“oil major”) of Anglo Dutch origins, which is amongst the largest oil companies in the world. Approximately 22,000 Shell employees are based in the U.S. The head office in the U.S. is in Houston, Texas. Shell Oil Company is a 50/50 partner with the Saudi Arabian government-owned oil company Saudi Aramco in Motiva Enterprises, a refining and marketing joint venture which owns and operates three oil refineries on the Gulf Coast of the United States. Parent company Royal Dutch Shell has its origins in Holland and Britain.


Church’s Chicken is a U.S. chain of fast food restaurants specializing in fried chicken. The chain was founded as Church’s Fried Chicken To Go by George W. Church, Sr. on April 17, 1952 in San Antonio, across the street from The Alamo. The company now has more than 1,600 locations worldwide. Their slogan is “I know what good is.” At the end of 2004 the company was sold to Arcapita (formerly Crescent Capital Investments). Because Arcapita is an Islamic venture capital firm, bacon was removed from the menu after the sale (pork not being halal). In accordance with Islamic Sharia law, the company does not invest in any businesses which offer credit or charge interest, or sell pornography, alcohol, or pork products. The company also owns Caribou Coffee.

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Toll House is a brand of cookies and brownies marketed by Nestle. It is named for the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, where Ruth Graves Wakefield is credited with inventing the chocolate chip cookie by mistake in the 1930s in a nearby Rhode Island town. Ruth Graves approached Nestle after the popularity of her cookies skyrocketed. The price that Nestle paid her for the recipe was a life-time supply of chocolate. Nestle is a Swiss company and owns the rights to the cookies and the recipe.

Holiday Inn Medallion Logo Webcopy

The original Holiday Inn chain of hotels was founded in 1952 in Memphis, Tennessee, by homebuilder Kemmons Wilson to provide inexpensive family accommodation for travelers within the USA. Wilson initially came up with the idea after a family road trip to Washington, DC, during which he was disappointed by the quality and consistency provided by the roadside motels of that era. The name Holiday Inn was given to the original hotel by his architect Eddie Bluestein as a joke, in reference to the Bing Crosby movie. The Holiday Inn is now owned by British company InterContinental Hotels Group PLC which owns and operates several hotel brands.

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The Chrysler building is a very distinctive art deco skyscraper in New York City, recognized by anyone who has seen an American film. For 11 months it was the world’s tallest building and it is still the world’s tallest brick building. In 2007, it was ranked ninth on the List of America’s Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects. As an iconic part of the New York City skyline, the Chrysler Building has been depicted countlessly in almost every medium—film, photography, video games, art, advertising, music, literature, and even fashion, as its use quickly establishes without doubt the location in which the depicted events are occurring. This amazing American Icon is now owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Council which paid over 800 million dollars for the 75% share it owns. Abu Dhabi Investment Council manages the excess oil reserves of the emirates – valued at $1 trillion.

5 Traderjoesexterior

Trader Joe’s was started in 1958 as a chain of “Pronto Market”. When founder Joe Coulombe was on vacation in the Caribbean he came up with the idea of a themed market with exotic foods – something lacking in the other chain stores at the time. The first store named Trader Joe’s was opened in 1966 in California. The original store is still in operation. The chain is now owned by a family trust of German billionaire Theo Albrecht who is behind the German supermarket chain Aldi.

7-Eleven Tokyo

7-Eleven is a worldwide chain of convenience stores which is the largest chain store in the world – beating McDonald’s by 1,000 stores. It is located in eighteen countries. Among 7-Eleven’s offerings are private label products, including Slurpee, a partially frozen beverage introduced in 1967, and the Big Gulp introduced in 1980 that packaged soft drinks in large cups ranging in size from 20 to 64 fluid ounces. 7-Eleven is owned by Seven & I Holdings Co., Ltd. which is a Japanese company and the fifth largest retailer in the world. Seven & I Holdings also owns Denny’s and White Hen Pantry.

Budweiser - Label

Budweiser is one of the most popular beers in the United States. It is an American style lager and is made with a mix of barley malt and rice. It is produced in a variety of breweries across the US and the world. The name originates from the German meaning “From Budweis” which was a Bohemian city. On July 14 it was announced that Anheuser-Busch (the company that produces Bud) was to be bought out by Belgian company InBev for 52 billion dollars. This deal sees the largest US brewer now owned by the beer giant from Belgium.

This article is licensed under the GFDL because it contains quotations from Wikipedia.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2008/10/19/top-10-american-icons-that-are-not-american/

Top 10 Tips for a Great First Date

Here is a list for the boys. There is a saying that “you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” With that in mind, it is vital to be fully prepared to make a great impression on each date you go on. Here are 10 tips for men on dating success and making an impression that will last.


1. Pay

Pay for everything. Don’t mention splitting the bill. If the lady suggests paying part of the bill do not accept the offer. If she insists, allow her to pay what she wishes (this is not just a rule for dating). You will be the best judge at the time whether your date is only insisting because she feels obliged.

2. Location

No movies on the first date. How can you get to know each other if you spend the majority of the time in silence? I would recommend taking your date out for dinner (no lunch dates on the first date either). Take her somewhere you feel comfortable and somewhere you can easily afford. You don’t want to be nervous all through the date that you might get stuck with a crippling bill. If price is a big concern for you, you can organize your own date in a public place (like a park or even at your own home) and prepare the meal yourself. If you can’t cook, takeaways are fine, but serve it on plates at the table and try to make an effort.

I would also suggest that you not go too overboard with the first date. Keep it simple and moderately priced. You can get extravagent on subsequent dates if things go well.

3. Manners

First off, if you are going to dinner, read the Rules for Fine Dining list; try to remember at least one or two. When you pick up your date, get out of the car and hold the door open for her. Do the same when you are letting her out of the car. If you are dining out for your first date, hold the chair out for your date and help her sit.

Don’t be late.

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4. Respect

That means not to expect anything in return! A date is not payment for future pleasures, it is a way to get to know someone to gauge compatibility. This rule also means you should not try to get your date drunk, drugged, or compromised in any other way. At the end of the date you can offer a small kiss – offer nothing else and expecting nothing back.

5. Confidence

Be confident and take charge of the evening. This does not mean you should drag your date around by the arm; be firm with your suggestions and be confident that you will have a good date and make a good impression – remember, if you were a total loser you wouldn’t be on the date in the first place.

6. Grooming

Dress appropriately for your date, and you should probably let your date know where you are planning to take her in advance so she can also dress appropriately. If you are going to the beach for a seaside dinner, dress nicely (no jeans) but don’t overdress. Similarly, if you are going to a fancy restaurant, wear a shirt and tie. Make sure your shoes are clean and polished if necessary.

Shower. Shampoo. Shave. If you have cologne, wear a little but not too much.

7. Conversation

Do not focus on yourself during the evening – ask your date questions about herself (this works in all social situations). Listen to the replies too and don’t just look for an opening to start discussing yourself. Do not talk about your job for more than a few minutes – while our own work is a fascinating subject for us, it is seldom fascinating for someone else. Be sure to compliment your date – but don’t go overboard – you will seem desperate.

Do not ever talk about dates you have had with other people or your ex-girlfriends.

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8. Timing

Don’t let your date last too long. Think of it like a good meal – you should finish your plate feeling like you want just a little more. This is the best time to finish a date. This also means that you should not plan for the date to be too far from home otherwise the travel can ruin things.

9. Gifts

It can be a very nice idea to give your date a small gift on the first date. Don’t go crazy on something expensive – just a nice little token like a single rose is fine. Keep in mind where you are going and how you plan to get there so your date does not end up being lumbered with something that she has to carry around all night. Oh – and don’t pick the rose from your dates garden – buy one.

10. Conclusion

If you enjoyed your time with your date and would like to see her again, call her and tell her so. Don’t wait too long (and definitely don’t play hard to get). Be completely honest. Having said that, if you had an awful time, you should still be honest (though not brutal). There is no point in leading someone on – it will end up badly for both of you.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2007/09/05/top-10-tips-for-a-great-first-date/

10 Censored News Topics and Events

Censorship is the suppression of public communication that is considered to be objectionable, harmful or sensitive. Many different types of censorship exist, including moral, military, political, religious and corporate. Project Censored is a research group that tracks the news published in independent journals and newsletters. From these, they compile an annual list of 25 news stories of social significance that have been overlooked, under-reported or self-censored by the country’s major national news media. This year’s top three stories were Global Plans to Replace the Dollar, US Department of Defense is the Worst Polluter on the Planet and Internet Privacy and Personal Access at Risk. This article will examine ten censored topics and events.


On October 16, 2004, the journal Astronomy published an online article that discussed a new-found strewn field of impact craters in southeastern Bavaria, Germany. It reported on a field of impact craters stretching from the town of Altötting to the area around Lake Chiemsee. The strewn field falls within an ellipse 36 miles long and 17 miles (58 by 27 kilometers) wide, and may hold at least 81 impact craters ranging from 10 to 1,215 feet (3 to 370 meters) in size. A large collection of articles have been published in Germany on the subject. They suggest that Lake Tüttensee is the largest crater of the strewn field. It exhibits an 8 m-height wall, a rim-to-rim diameter of about 500m and a depth of roughly 30m.

According to the Chiemgau impact research team, physical and archeological research has placed the impact event between 700 and 300 B.C. which is during the Holocene epoch. The figure may be fine-tuned to around 200 BC (2,200 years ago), due to tree-ring evidence from preserved Irish oaks, which have showed a slow growth event around 207 BC. The impact is suggested to have come from a low density disintegrated, loosely bound asteroid or a disintegrated comet. In order to form Lake Tüttensee, the biggest chunk of the object would have smashed into the ground with a force equivalent to 106 million tonnes of TNT, or 8,500 Hiroshima bombs.

Research into the Chiemgau impact crater was started in 2000, after unearthed pieces of metal containing minerals not previously seen in the region were discovered, by amateur archaeologists who were digging around Lake Chiemsee. Additional evidence comes from local discoveries of Celtic artifacts, which appear to have been burned on one side. In addition, Roman authors during this time in history wrote about showers of stones falling from the skies. The Chiemgau impact crater is an obsolete theory that is not accepted by the scientific community. The claim has been refuted by geological research and the discovery of a soil horizon of undisturbed peat. According to scientific research, Lake Tüttensee is one of many Kettles under the foothills of the Bavarian Alps.


Operation Payback is the name given to a group of Internet activists who have been attacking opponents of Internet piracy, under the name “Anonymous.” In 2010, several Bollywood (Indian cinema) companies hired Aiplex Software to launch DDoS attacks on websites that did not respond to software takedown notices. In retaliation, piracy activists organized Operation Payback, in September 2010. Operation Payback has since conducted a wave of Internet attacks on major pro-copyright and anti-piracy organizations, law firms and individuals.

In September 2010, in an attempt to ensure that Portuguese citizens don’t access The Pirate Bay to download illegal music and videos, Associação do Comércio Audiovisual de Portugal (ACAPOR) filed a complaint with the government. In response, the ACAPOR website was defaced, presenting a speech from Operation Payback and a redirect to The Pirate Bay after a few seconds. On October 4, 2010, Operation Payback launched an attack on the Ministry of Sound London website and the Gallant Macmillian website. On October 15, 2010, Copyprotected.com was infected and defaced. Three days later Operation Payback launched a DDoS attack against the UK Intellectual Property Office.

In 2010, Gene Simmons of KISS was quoted as saying, “Make sure your brand is protected…Make sure there are no incursions. Be litigious. Sue everybody. Take their homes, their cars. Don’t let anybody cross that line.” In response, Operation Payback took his two websites offline. On October 26, 2010, LimeWire was ordered to disable the “searching, downloading, uploading, file trading and/or file distribution functionality” after losing a court battle with the RIAA. In retaliation, members of Operation Payback took the RIAA website down, on October 29.

In December 2010, WikiLeaks came under intense pressure to stop publishing secret United States diplomatic cables. Corporations such as Amazon, PayPal, BankAmerica, PostFinance, MasterCard and Visa froze donations to WikiLeaks due to political pressures. In response, Operation Payback directed their attention to the companies. On December 8, 2010, operation Payback brought down both the MasterCard and Visa websites. The attempt to take down Amazon was aborted after they failed to recruit enough users to their botnet. On January 27, 2011, five males aged between 15 and 26 were arrested in the U.K. on suspicion of involvement in Operation Payback.


The Mosquito is an electronic device that is used to deter loitering by young people. It emits a sound with a very high frequency. The device was invented by Howard Stapleton in 2005, and was originally tested in Barry, South Wales. The newest version of the device, launched in 2008, has two frequency settings, one of approximately 17.4 kHz that can be heard only by young people, and another at 8 kHz that can be heard by most people. The target age demographic for the device is 13 to 25-years-old. Children have the ability to hear higher frequency sounds than adults.

The Mosquito is sold as a small speaker that produces a high frequency sound much like the buzzing of an insect. The device is marketed as a safety and security tool for preventing youths from congregating in a specific area. In the UK, over 3,000 have been sold, mainly for use outside shops and near transport hubs. The Mosquito is also sold in Australia, France, Denmark, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and the USA. The device is spreading across the U.S. and Canada. It is used in many cities, municipalities, school districts and public parks. The Mosquito has attracted controversy. Critics say that the device discriminates against young people and infringes on human rights, especially if used in public location, such as a park, where teenagers are allowed to gather.

A large collection of people have filed suit over the device. The inventor, Howard Stapleton, has asked European governments to legislate guidelines governing its use. The German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has released a report that identifies a collection of possible safety hazards with The Mosquito. Lengthy exposure can be a problem for small children and infants. It can cause the onset of dizziness, headache, nausea and mental impairment.

The Mosquito has received support and endorsements from municipalities, school districts, property management companies, convenience stores and other organizations. A UK group called “Buzz off” is campaigning for The Mosquito to be banned. Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, has claimed that the sound is “untested and unregulated” and that it can be a “sonic weapon directed against children and young people.” In an interesting twist, there is a Teen Buzz ringtone that has been marketed. It is used by some kids to prevent teachers from hearing their ring.

Usa 193

USA-193 was an American military spy satellite, launched on December 14, 2006. The craft’s precise function and purpose was classified. The satellite malfunctioned shortly after deployment, and was intentionally destroyed 14 months later, on February 21, 2008. It was shot down by a modified $9.5 million SM-3 missile, fired from the warship USS Lake Erie, stationed west of Hawaii. After the failure, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) indicated that the satellite contained the hazardous materials hydrazine and beryllium. On January 29, 2008, an Associated Press story quoted a U.S. Air Force general as saying that a contingency plan was being made to destroy the satellite because intact pieces “might re-enter into the North American area.”

Planning for the destruction of USA-193 began on January 4, 2008, with President Bush approving the plan at an expected cost of $40 million to $60 million. The task force had the goal of “rupturing the fuel tank to dissipate the approximately 1,000 pounds (453 kg) of hydrazine, a hazardous fuel which could pose a danger to people on Earth.” The SM-3 missile was fired from the missile cruiser USS Lake Erie, and intercepted USA-193 about 133 nautical miles (247 kilometers) above the Pacific Ocean. At the time of impact, the satellite was traveling with a velocity of about 17,500 mph (around 28,000 km/h).

U.S. officials denied the accusation that the event was intended to prevent sensitive technology from falling into foreign hands. They also denied that it was a response to the 2007 Chinese anti-satellite missile test. The Russian government claims that the event was a test of the U.S. missile defense program. Russia accused the U.S. of using the hydrazine worries to cover up the test of an ASAT (Anti-satellite weapon).


The Strait of Juan de Fuca is a large body of water about 95 miles (153 km) long. It forms the outlet for the Salish Sea to the Pacific Ocean and provides part of the international boundary between the United States and Canada. On April 4, 1997, a Russian merchant ship named the Kapitan Man was discovered to be anchored in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) due north of Port Angeles, Washington. Responding to a request, the Canadian Forces dispatched a CH-124 helicopter to fly by the ship and take photographs of the vessel and its abnormal aerial antenna structure. The structure was indicative of a ship that may conduct ELINT or SIGINT intelligent gathering activities.

On board the helicopter was U.S. Navy Lt. Jack Daly and Canadian Forces pilot Capt. Patrick Barnes. Lt. Daly was the Navy’s foreign-intelligence officer in charge of a surveillance operation against Russian, Chinese and other spy ships operating in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound. This section of the United States is known for a large collection of major nuclear ballistic missile submarine and aircraft carrier bases. While taking photographs of the ship, Lt. Daly suddenly experienced an intense pain in his right eye and temporary blindness. After examination, it was concluded that Daly suffered direct laser burns to his eye, as well as other vision problems and severe headaches. Captain Barnes was also injured in a similar manner and was permanently grounded as a result of the incident.

Shortly after the attack, Coast Guard teams were given two hours to search the Russian vessel but did not locate a laser. Teams were not given full access to the ship and the Clinton administration had warned the Russian government in advance that it would be searched. The ZM-87 Portable Laser Disturber is suspected of being the weapon that was used against the U.S. and Canadian military. After the incident, Lt. Daly became adamant that the State Department had orchestrated a media cover-up of the espionage activity to avoid hindering international negotiations. Daly went so far as to say “According to the U.S. Constitution, Article III, Section 3, this cover-up was treason.”

An introduced species is a species living outside its native distributional range, which has arrived by human activity, either deliberate or accidental. Introduced species and their effect on the natural environment is a controversial topic. Perhaps the best area to study invasive species is on islands. Many bird species have evolved flightless on islands and are often threatened by invasive species. Introduced species regularly cause havoc on islands. A large collection of invasive species have spread across New Zealand.

The largest commercial crop in New Zealand is the Pinus radiata, which is the native Californian Monterey Pine tree. The pine tree grows great in New Zealand. However, the forests are also occupied by deer from North America and Europe and by possums from Australia. All of these animals are exotic species and they have thrived in the environment. Another pest is the common gorse, originally a hedge plant in Scotland. Like the Monterey pine, the gorse has shown to grow well in New Zealand. However, it is regarded as a noxious plant which threatens to obliterate native life.

Rabbits were introduced to New Zealand as a food source in the 1800s. They have since become a severe nuisance to farmers, notably on the South Island. Rats, dogs and cats have become a major problem for flightless birds. Sparrows, which were brought to control insects, have since displaced native birds. The longfin eels and other freshwater fish in New Zealand’s Lake Wairarapa are being forced to compete for resources with non-native fish. Two notable varieties of spiders have also been introduced to New Zealand. The white tail spider and the Red back spider. Both may have arrived via shipments of fruit.

As a large number of species have been introduced to New Zealand, some have accidentally escaped and caused problems in other areas of the world. One of the most notable examples is the New Zealand mud snail, which has become an invasive species in many countries. Almost without exception, the introduced species to New Zealand have been detrimental to the native flora and fauna. However, some, such as sheep and cows and the clover upon which they feed are important to the economy. Some species of flora have increased biodiversity.

Peru Crater

On September 15, 2007, a chondritic meteorite crashed near the village of Carancas, in the Puno Region of Peru, near the Bolivian border and Lake Titicaca. The explosion shattered windows at a health center located 1 kilometer (0.62 miles) away. The impact created a crater 4.5 m (15 ft) deep, 13 m (43 ft) wide, and scorched the Earth. The official size of the crater was given as 13.80 by 13.30 meters (45.28 by 43.64 feet). One of the first people to reach the area was a local official named Marco Limache. He reported a large amount of “boiling water coming out of the crater, and particles of rock and cinders nearby.” Limache gave a detailed description of how the crater was giving off a horrible smell.

Soon after the impact, over 600 villagers who had visited the site became ill from unexplained causes, including symptoms of dermal injuries, nausea, headaches, diarrhea and vomiting. On September 20, 2007, Peruvian scientists confirmed that there had been a meteorite strike, but no further information on the illnesses was released. Impact crater specialists have called the meteorite unusual. The ground water in the area is known to contain arsenic compounds, and the illness may have been caused by arsenic poisoning, but it has been argued that the arsenic content near the crater is no different from that of the local drinking supply. Another theory is that the illness was caused by the vaporization of troilite, which is a sulfur-bearing compound present in the meteorite.

All reports have indicated that the impact caused ground water in the area to boil for ten minutes. This has presented a problem for experts because meteorites are usually cold when they hit the ground. They don’t cause excessive heat. To explain this, the meteorite is said to have a high degree of iron and magnetic properties, similar to metallic objects. A large number of conspiracy theories have been connected with the impact. They revolve around the fact that the meteorite is unusual and the fireball was seen coming from a low trajectory. The most extreme conspiracy revolves around the claim that an extraterrestrial UFO entered the Earth’s crust. Other people have suggested the impact came from a U.S. spy satellite, the KH-13, which was destroyed in orbit. The explosive impact of the meteorite originally led Peruvians to think that the neighboring nation of Chile had launched an attack.


Since the beginning of the Gulf War, military personnel in the US and UK have displayed unexplained medical symptoms, including fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders and memory problems, in addition to neurologic, neuropsychological, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular conditions. Approximately 250,000 of the 697,000 veterans who served in the Gulf War have been diagnosed with an enduring illness. The cause of the illness is unknown, but exposure to toxic chemicals has been identified as a culprit. This includes the exposure troops received after the destruction of the Khamisiyah weapons depot, where large quantities of Iraqi chemical munitions were stored, containing sarin and cyclosarin nerve agents.

Three large studies have been conducted that show a significant but modest increase in birth defects in children born to Gulf War veterans. Other Gulf War-related health issues include the rates of diagnosable medical conditions, cancer and post-war mortality among veterans. Aside from the many physical and psychological issues involved with war deployment, Gulf War veterans have been exposed to a unique mixture of hazardous substances. These include pyridostigmine bromide pills given to protect troops from the effects of nerve agents, depleted uranium munitions, and anthrax and botulinum vaccines. Military personnel also had to cope with swarms of insects, which required the widespread use of pesticides.

The Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan has displayed a more traditional rate of war time sickness. However, the bizarre symptoms of Gulf War illness are still visible. The current incident is centered on the high rates of respiratory, neurological and heart ailments. For VA benefit purposes, Gulf War service is defined as active military duty any time from the first Gulf War starting August 2, 1990 through the current conflict in Iraq. This includes veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2010) and Operation New Dawn (2010 and continuing).

Gulf War Veterans who meet the criteria do not need to prove a connection between their military service and medically unexplained chronic illness in order to receive VA disability compensation. VA presumes certain chronic, unexplained symptoms existing for 6 months or more are related to Gulf War service without regard to cause. Recent reports have indicated that U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait have been confronted by a collection of harmful microscopic dust particles laden with toxic metals, bacteria and fungi. The dust contains 147 different kinds of bacteria, 37 metals, including aluminum, lead, manganese, strontium and tin, as well as fungi that could spread disease.

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George Anthony Smith was a former footman and valet in the Royal Household of Prince Charles. In 1995, Smith made some startling accusations against the Prince of Wales and a man named Michael Fawcett. He alleged that he had been raped by Michael Fawcett, who was one of Prince Charles closest friends. Besides accusing Fawcett of rape, George Smith said that Michael Fawcett was in a homosexual relationship with the Prince of Wales, who protected him. The shocking news made some headlines in November 2003, and was the subject of a legal injunction in the United Kingdom to stop exposure.

George Smith’s claim of a sexual relationship between the Prince of Wales and Fawcett was repeated in a legal statement issued by him to the Mail on Sunday newspaper. In response, Michael Fawcett took a High Court injunction to prevent their disclosure. The injunction was granted. The Prince’s Private Secretary issued a statement denying the allegations and questioning the trustworthiness of the unnamed Smith as a source.

The story still cannot be published in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but it has been written about extensively in the Republic of Ireland and Italy. Geoffrey Wheatcroft, a British media commentator, called Smith “probably the most unreliable source for any story on anything, anywhere in the United Kingdom.” George Smith claims to have only witnessed a member of the Royal Family and his aide “tucked up under the sheets, lying next to each other.”

In an interesting twist, George Smith discussed the matter with Diana, Princess of Wales. He told her that he had been raped. He also told Diana that he witnessed the Princess’s estranged husband, the Prince of Wales, lying in bed with his aide, Michael Fawcett. Diana is said to have taped the interview. The whereabouts of the tape became a matter of considerable controversy following Diana’s death, in August 1997. On August 24, 2005, George Anthony Smith died in Newport, Wales of an unknown illness. He was only 44-years-old.

Sea Level Rising

The Climatic Research Unit (CRU) is one of the leading institutions concerned with the study of climate change. In November 2009, hackers gained access to a server used by the CRU and stole a large amount of data, anonymously posting online more than 1,000 emails and more than 2,000 other documents. The event occurred two weeks before the Copenhagen Summit on climate change. Following the leak, global warming skeptics began to highlight sections of the information that showed how scientists have manipulated statistics on climate change and suppressed their critics. The accusations have been denied by the CRU. CRU’s researchers stated that the emails were taken out of context and merely reflect an honest exchange of ideas.

According to Newsweek, climate skeptics believe that the documents show that global warming is a scientific conspiracy. In one email exchange, a scientist writes of using a statistical “trick” to illustrate historical trends in global warming. The Guardian’s analysis of the emails found that the hackers filtered the information using keywords, including Yamal, tree rings, and Phil Jones. The use of “tree rings” was an attempt to bring to notice the divergence problem. A large number of organizations released statements on the issue. The American Association for the Advancement of Science gave a quote, “There are multiple lines of scientific evidence that global climate change is caused by human activity. It is a growing threat to society.”

Six committees investigated the allegations and published reports, finding no evidence of fraud or scientific misconduct. However, the reports did criticize climate scientists for their disorganized methods, bunker mentality and lack of transparency. In several email exchanges, Kevin Trenberth, a climatologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and other scientists discussed gaps in understanding. “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming in 2009 and it is a travesty.” Overall, the incident was considered a public relations disaster for the scientific community. Historian Spencer R. Weart, of the American Institute of Physics, said the incident was unprecedented in the history of science, having “never before seen a set of people accuse an entire community of scientists of deliberate deception.”

Read more: http://listverse.com/2011/08/02/10-censored-news-topics-and-events/

10 Celebrities with Strange Physical Flaws

Sure, they may look perfect on the silver screen, but all ten of these celebrities have a physical imperfection caused by a birth defect, accident or just plain old heredity. Read on to find out which celeb was born with a conjoined twin, whose thumb looks like a penis, and who can swim as well as a scuba diver thanks to his naturally webbed toes.


Megan Fox was born with a condition called “brachydactyly” thumbs, which means that her thumbs are slightly clubbed or misshapen. Both digits are short and have a very wide nail, though they are perfectly functional. This condition is usually hereditary, though it can also be caused by an injury in childhood.


Lily Allen is no shrinking violet, so it comes as no surprise that she is extremely open and up-front about her extraneous nipple. Lily has been known to freely show off the tiny freckle-like mark under her left breast, with absolutely no embarrassment. Nor should she be embarrassed; roughly 2-3% of the human population have an extra nipple, including fellow celebrities Mark Wahlberg, Tilda Swinton and Carrie Underwood.


Weezer front man Rivers Cuomo was born with one leg almost two inches shorter than the other. He had the problem corrected as an adult in a grueling procedure that involved the surgical breaking of his leg, followed by months of wearing a brace and physically stretching the leg several times per day. This experience inspired Cuomo to write a song called “The Good Life,” and he featured an x-ray image of his broken leg on the single’s album, Pinkerton.


Andy Garcia was born with a conjoined twin attached to his shoulder. Doctors surgically removed the unformed fetus when Garcia was a toddler and still too young to remember the ordeal.


When actor Vince Vaughn was seventeen he lost the tip of his right thumb in a car accident. He is famously unperturbed by this slight physical deformity and has been known to joke that his thumb now resembles a penis with a fingernail.


Smashing Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan was born with a large port-wine stain birthmark, or Klippel-Trenauney syndrome (KTS), covering most the palm and fingers of his left hand. Corgan does suffer some physical impairment due to this congenital circulatory disorder, though it does not effect his ability to shred on guitar.


Many people assume that Joaquin Phoenix’s scar resulted from the surgical correction of a cleft palate, but Phoenix was actually born this way. His prominent scar was formed in utero as a mild form of cleft palate called a microform cleft.


When hunky Scottish actor Gerard Butler had to shave his head for a movie role, he was shocked to discover that one of his ears sticks out noticeably more than the other, due to an ear surgery he’d had as a child. Butler, who is deaf in his right ear as a result of the tinnitus that has plagued him since his youth, laughingly says that the costume designers on movie sets now have to routinely glue back one of his ears.


Jennifer Garner is a beautiful woman, so most people don’t find themselves staring at her feet very often. However, if they did they’d see that Garner has brachymetatarsia, a condition in which one of the five long bones of the foot is shorter than the others, resulting in a shortened toe.

As actor Dan Aykroyd demonstrates in the video above, two of the toes on each foot are webbed almost to the top knuckle. An estimated 1 in every 3000 people has a form of webbed feet. Actor Ashton Kutcher has also shown off his webbed toes on occasion.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2011/02/18/10-celebrities-with-strange-physical-flaws/

5 Most Mind-Numbingly Atrocious State Songs

There is no state song that’s any good, really. There’s probably not one person in the United States who actually loves their state song, much less that could actually sing their state’s official song. The typical ones are loaded up with words like fertile and verdant, with apostrophes slapped randomly into words like ev’ry and treach’rous. Chances are good that your state song was written by two old battleaxes, probably sisters, named Myrtle and Eustacia Crockpot-Twistlington, and each verse makes less sense than the last.??Those are the good ones. At least, that’s what state songs are supposed to be like, if we’re going by averages. That means that to be one of the truly worst state songs, you have to work extra hard at being exceptionally terrible in some way. These are the ones that are, shall we say, special.??


?It takes a bold state, one that’s exceptionally sure of itself, to choose a state song with a title that’s self-satirizing. You don’t see Arkansas hustling to make “Proud to be an Illiterate” official, or Utah folks singing “We’re Pretty Much Mostly Mormons.” Florida is cool, though. Kinda like the obese guy nicknamed Fatty: confident enough to roll with it. That’s why the fact that Florida acknowledges its population of retirees is not the bad part.??The bad part is that the song is better known by the title “(Way Down Upon) The Swanee River,” a song that, no two ways about it, is racist as all get-out. Written by Stephen Foster in 1851 as a minstrel song, it references “darkies” and is written in an obvious ethnic dialect. While some contemporary singers like to throw in a “Lordy” in place of “darkies” and modernize the language, the official state song remains as the one in this vernacular:

Way down upon de Swanee ribber,
?Far, far away,
?Dere’s wha my heart is turning ebber,
?Dere’s wha de old folks stay.

?For the record, other states with racist verses have adopted new lyrics or modernized versions of their state songs, if not replaced them outright. Florida thought about it in 1997, when a state representative attempted to have it changed. “Nah,” the old white men must have thought. “We like the old one. It’s snappy!”??


?It’s hard to know whether to admire New Jersey or pity it for being the only state without musical representation. It was the third colony to become a state (in 1787) and yet in all that time has yet to decide on an official state song. Maybe the New Jersey governors are just genius enough to refuse to allow their state to be touted with incomprehensible lyrics.??The author of the song “I’m From New Jersey” has been lobbying for decades to get his song recognized, but the governor has never signed. It could be the fact that the songwriter’s name is Red Mascara. Or, it could be the fact that he has pimped out the song to other cities, substituting their names for New Jersey in the lyrics. His own website has a downloadable version with “Philly” substituted for “New Jersey.”??The lack of a song has led many to unofficially think of Jersey icon Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” as a de facto state song, and the state even named it the “Unofficial Youth Rock Anthem” in 1979. This leads to to questions. First, what is the Official Youth Rock Anthem of New Jersey? And second, why does the government of New Jersey give any kind of recognition to a song that, in a nutshell, says “Let’s get the hell out of town?”

Baby this town rips the bones from your back.
?It’s a death trap; it’s a suicide rap
?We gotta get out while we’re still young.



?If Maryland really wanted a state song that showed less support for the Confederacy, it could possibly switch to “Dixie.” Written in 1861 as a poem that has been referred to as America’s “most martial” verses, the first line refers to Lincoln as a despot, then goes on to rally the people to “avenge the patriotic gore.” It continues:

She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb-
?Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum!

?A later verse says “‘Sic semper! ’tis the proud refrain.” You may recall that Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth used those words as his refrain too, calling “Sic semper tyrannis” when he shot Lincoln. The song is also a schoolboy’s joke book, as it’s difficult to imagine anyone of school age singing “She breathes! she burns! she’ll come! she’ll come!” with a serious expression.??The bloodiness of the Maryland state song is tempered a bit, though, when you actually hear the song being sung. The song’s tune is an old one. You’ll recognize it as “O Tanenbaum” or “O Christmas Tree.” The first time you hear the tune of a beloved Christmas song with lyrics about a despotic Lincoln, it comes as a bit of a shocker.??


?Tennesseans must laugh in the faces of the state song-less New Jersey residents. The Southern state never met a song it didn’t like. Tennessee holds the record for number of state songs, with a grand total of seven, plus one hilarious “bonus track.”??The hit list of official Tennessee state songs includes “My Tennessee,” “When It’s Iris Time in Tennessee,” and “The Tennessee Waltz,” which suggests that pretty much any song that has “Tennessee” in the title gets made official, even if it’s a song about your best friend stealing your boyfriend (the waltz). “Rocky Top,” one of the other four official state songs, merely mentions the state, and is otherwise a hillbilly anthem:

Once two strangers climbed ol’ Rocky Top,
?lookin’ for a moonshine still;
?Strangers ain’t come down from Rocky Top;
?Reckon they never will;
?Corn won’t grow at all on Rocky Top;
?Dirt’s too rocky by far;
?That’s why all the folks on Rocky Top
?get their corn from a jar;

?The eighth song you can find on the official Tennessee government website is the “Bicentennial Rap,” which the local legislature adopted as the Official Bicentennial Rap Song in 1996. It may be the only rap song to reference the Gore family, Elvis and Dollywood. It was supposedly adopted to make history appealing to students, which makes the line “Whisky, whisky, sipping smooth” a bit of a head-scratcher. You can read the full lyrics here. Because no one has been crazy enough to make a recording of this for youtube, you can watch “Rocky Top” above.??


?The runners-up for worst state song are too close to call. Should it be Louisiana, whose “You Are My Sunshine,” (clip above) was written by a man who vehemently opposed integration (one time during his tenure, he rode his horse up the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol to protest integration)? Or should it be Missouri, whose state song was made popular by being associated with Truman, then Truman himself said it was crappy and he hated it???Other contenders include North Carolina, whose state song proclaims that its men are “plain and artless.” Connecticut just said, “What the heck” and picked “Yankee Doodle.” South Carolina isn’t alone in personifying its state as a woman, but things get weird when it talks about what happens when a foe tries to part her skirts.??Perhaps someone should go into the business of writing new state songs, or maybe we should scrap them altogether. We’ve got a national anthem, and it’s not that bad. Sure, it used to be a drinking song, but “home of the brave” beats “plain and artless” any day.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2009/07/02/5-most-mind-numbingly-atrocious-state-songs/