February 14th 2014

Mars doughnut rock mystery solved –
Pictures from Mars taken by the Mars Rover last month showing a piece of white-rimmed and red-centred rock that appeared seemingly from nowhere, is explained by NASA. It turns out the Mars Rover, Opportunity drove over a larger rock, a doughnut shaped piece broke off and appeared in the later picture. The rock (called Pinnacle Island) contains high levels of manganese and sulphur, providing further reason to believe there could be water on Mars.
JellyDonutRock_opportunity_1171 Before and after images of the area.

Are you Gender Questioning? No problem –
Facebook users can now choose up to 50 gender options when they sign up to an account in the US from “agender” and “two-spirit”. The fifty options are shown below.
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February 15th 2014

US gets D-minus for science –
A study by the National Science Foundation in the US finds that over a quarter of Americans do not know the Earth circles the Sun. 2,200 people were asked nine factual questions about physical and biological science, with the average score being just 5.8 correct answers. Only 48 per cent of those interviewed are aware that humans evolved from earlier species of animals.

21-year-old pole-vault record beaten –
Renaud Lavillenie the French pole-vaulter sets a new world record with a height of 6.16 metres (20 ft 2 1⁄2 in) Donetsk, Ukraine finally breaking the record set by Russia’s Sergey Bubka 21 years previously set on 21 February 1993 also in Donetsk.
Men_pole_vault_steeple_French_Athletics_Championships_2013_t173743Renaud Lavillenie
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February 17th 2014

Jailed for bad choice of film –
A South Carolina woman is held overnight in jail after the Sheriff’s office in Pickens County discovered there was a warrant for her arrest for not returning a video she had rented nine-years previously. Kayla Finley had rented the 2005 film Monster in Law starring Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez and the video store owner had filed a complaint when she failed to return it. Finley was bailed for $2,000.
Jennifer-Lopez-in-2004Jennifer Lopez in 2004

Self-hijacking to Switzerland –
Hailemedehin Abera Tagegn the co-pilot of a plane flying from Addis Ababa to Rome hijacks his own plane and flies it to Geneva, Switzerland. He shut the pilot out of the cockpit, told air traffic control that he had a problem and needed to fill up with jet-fuel in Switzerland. He set off a distress signal indicating the plane was hijacked, before saying he had engine trouble. A few minutes after landing at the Swiss airport, he climbed down a rope he had thrown out of the cockpit window and gave himself up to authorities.
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February 20th 2014

Earthquake stirs the west country –
An earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale strikes the Bristol Channel off the west coast of England the strongest to hit Britain in six years. The last significant earthquake was on February 27, 2008 at Market Rasen in Lincolnshire, measuring 5.2.

Facebook buys WhatsApp for $19 billion –
Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook buys messaging service WhatsApp for around $19 billion. The deal consists of Facebook shares worth $12billion for the purchase and another $3billion of restricted stocks as a windfall for WhatsApp’s co-founders and their 50 employees. About 450m people around the world use the instant messaging service each month.
Mark_ZuckerberMark Zuckerberg
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February 21st 2014

Dodgy ice maiden –
Over 1.7 million people have signed a Change.org petition to get an investigation into the judges decision in the women’s figure skating competition in the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Russian 17 year-old Adelina Sotnikova won the medal to the surprise of commentators and another Russian, Yulia Lipnitskaya, fell several times but beat American Ashley Wagner, who did not fall.

Chris Moyles claims to be a car dealer for tax reasons –
Former BBC radio DJ Chris Moyles claimed to be a second-hand car dealer in a failed attempt to avoid paying £400,000 tax on £1 million by using a scheme that attracted other high earners.
Chris-MoylesChris Moyles
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March 8th 2014

Air Malaysia flight goes missing –
An Air Malaysia aircraft flight MH370 with 239 people on board has gone missing after taking off from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, bound for Beijing. No distress messages were received and no sign of the plane has been found.

Brian O’Driscoll almost bows out –
Rugby Union’s Irish captain Brian O’Driscoll makes his final match in Ireland’s 46-7 win over Italy. It was his 140th cap making him the most capped international rugby player of all time.
Brian_O'DriscollBrian O’Driscoll
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July 5th 2014

Petra Kvitova wins Wimbledon Ladies title –
Czech Petra Kvitova beats Canadian Eugenie Bouchard to win the Wimbledon Ladies singles title in just 55 minutes 6-3 6-0.
Petra_Kvitova>Petra Kvitova
Eugenie_BouchardEugenie Bouchard

Sexy tennis dress sold for £15,000 –
Items featured in the 1970s Tennis Girl poster that sold over 2 million copies have been auctioned for £15,000. The tennis racquet from the photo, the dress, a 1979 poster and a 1980s limited edition canvas print had a guide price of just £2,000. The picture of Fiona Butler lifting her tennis dress to reveal her bare bottom was taken by her then boyfriend Martin Elliot at Birmingham University in 1976 and sold by Athena.

The tennis racquet from the photo, the dress, a 1979 poster and a 1980s limited edition canvas print

The original Tennis Girl image. Copyright is owned by Martin Elliott


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July 7th 2014

Le Shuttle est terminée –
A Channel tunnel “Le Shuttle” train carrying cars with 382 passengers on board stopped in the tunnel while travelling from the Ashford Terminal in Kent to Calais, France. The evacuated passengers had to enter central pedestrian tunnel before boarding a train that had come from Calais in the other main tunnel. A fault in the overhead power cables was to blame.
256px-Course_Channeltunnel_en.svg

Sony question FIFA Qatar decision –
One of FIFA’s main sponsors, Sony, have asked football’s governing body to carry out an “appropriate investigation” into the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. The announcement that Qatar was to hold the tournament was made in 2007.
2014_FIFA_Announcement_(Joseph_Blatter)_Sepp Blatter at the 2014 FIFA Announcement in 2007
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September 18th 2014

256px-Scottish_and_British_flags
Scottish referendum takes place –
Scotland independence referendum takes place with the result looking very uncertain. Tennis player Andy Murray used Twitter to back the Yes vote along with actor Sean Connery. Those backing the No vote and wanting Scotland to remain part of the UK include Sir Paul McCartney, Sting, Mick Jagger, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, comedian Eddie Izzard, actresses Helena Bonham-Carter and Dame Judi Dench, Simon Cowell, and Stephen Hawking all of whom signed a letter urging Scotland to stay in the union. The result will be known tomorrow.
Andy-Murray-independence-tweetAndy Murray tweet.

Ig Nobel prizes announced –
The annual Ig Nobel prizes awarded by the Annals of Improbable Research have picked out some classic scientific investigations again. Researchers who measured the slipperiness of banana peels, why pork strips appear to stop nosebleeds, and how reindeer react to humans in polar bear suits were among the winners.
Banane-A-05_cropped
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September 22nd 2014

Bell baits Bieber again –
The Justin Bieber vs Drake Bell fans battle moved up a gear today with Bell baiting one of Justin’s fans on Instagram with ‘You [sic] idol doesn’t even do anything but cause trouble anymore. No music no movies he’s just an idiot’. This one will run.
Drake_Bell_croppedDrake Bell

And the coolest brand is… –
Apple has been named the coolest brand in the UK for the third year running while Netflix broke into the Top 20 for the first time securing 10th place. The results are from a poll of over 2,000 British consumers and opinion including musicians Ella Eyre and models Jodie Kidd and Sophie Dahl.
Ella_Eyre_2014Ella Eyre
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September 29th 2014

Top News Stories –

Max Verstappen: Teenager to drive in practice at Japanese Grand Prix –
Max Verstappen will become the youngest driver ever to take part in a grand prix weekend when he drives in first practice in Japan on Friday. The Dutchman, who is 17 on Tuesday, is making his debut for the Toro Rosso team, for whom he will race in 2015. He will drive Jean-Eric Vergne’s car in preparation for next season when he replaces the French driver. “To be already participating in a practice session is a dream come true,” Verstappen said. [BBC]
Max_VerstappenMax Verstappen

CIA Starbucks is the weirdest Starbucks –
Nestled in the heart of CIA’s high security Langley, Virginia headquarters is a branch of Starbucks. Its day-to-day operation runs a little different to that of a mall-based coffee shop however, for starters, baristas aren’t allowed to write customers’ names on their cups. Such is the level of secrecy at the agency that receipts for the café simply say “Store Number 1”, with staff affectionately calling it “Stealthy Starbucks”. There are no frequent customer reward cards – officials fear the data they contain could be mined by marketers and compromise undercover agents’ identity – and baristas have to go through thorough background checks before starting and be escorted on and off the work area by “minders”. [The Independent]

Video of the Day –

Why Starbucks Spells Your Name Wrong [Contains strong language]

List of the Day –

Youngest drivers to start an Formula One race

Driver Age Place Race
1 Spain Jaime Alguersuari 19 years, 125 days 15th 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix
2 New Zealand Mike Thackwell 19 years, 182 days Ret 1980 Canadian Grand Prix
3 Mexico Ricardo Rodriguez 19 years, 208 days Ret 1961 Italian Grand Prix
4 Spain Fernando Alonso 19 years, 218 days 12th 2001 Australian Grand Prix
5 Argentina Esteban Tuero 19 years, 320 days Ret 1998 Australian Grand Prix
6 New Zealand Chris Amon 19 years, 324 days Ret 1963 Belgian Grand Prix
Russia Daniil Kvyat 9th 2014 Australian Grand Prix
8 Germany Sebastian Vettel 19 years, 349 days 8th 2007 United States Grand Prix
9 United States Eddie Cheever 20 years, 53 days Ret 1978 South African Grand Prix
United Kingdom Jenson Button Ret 2000 Australian Grand Prix
Source:[2]

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4 #ShamedByYouAgainSBY Cowboys Jason
5 La Boule Happy National Coffee Day Sandra
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7 #HayırKapımızKimseYokMu #LIAMYOUAREDADDYNOTBAE #JeromeJarreInAustralia
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9 Fa From Bumi Halloween Patrick Reed
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  • War in Donbass
    • Renewed clashes around the Donetsk International Airport between the pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian government troops kill at least 12 people in the worst flareup of violence since the ceasefire accord earlier in September. (CBC)
International Relations
  • Argentina‘s central bank announces that it will pay the holders of its restructured debt Tuesday. Implicitly this indicates that it is ready to defy a U.S. federal court which has blocked such payments until the holders of hold-out bonds are included. (Reuters)
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September 30, 2014

Top News Stories –

George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin’s wedding cost £8m –
George Clooney’s four-day wedding celebrations in Venice, which involved pool-side cocktail parties, dinners in five-star hotels and a lavish wedding reception on the Grand Canal, cost an estimated 10 million euros (£8 million). More than 100 guests, including Hollywood stars such as Matt Damon, Sandra Bullock and Cindy Crawford, converged on the lagoon city for the extravaganza, which began last Friday and culminated on Monday with a civil ceremony in which Mr Clooney and Amal Alamuddin were formally married. The final bill for the spectacle included the cost of Ms Alamuddin’s wedding dress, the first pictures of which emerged on Monday on the covers of People and Hello magazines. [Daily Telegraph]
Amal_ClooneyAmal Clooney

Microsoft unveils Windows 10 system with Start Menu –
Microsoft has disclosed the first details of Windows 10 – its next operating system (OS). The name is a surprise, bearing in mind it represents a jump from the last version – Windows 8. The software will run on a wide range of devices, from phones and tablets to PCs and Xbox games consoles, with applications sold from a single store. It also marks the return of the Start Menu, which had been removed from Windows 8. [BBC] See Video of the Day and List of the Day below.
Windows 10 logo

Fine-free week for Belgian road hogs –
Speeding motorists and road hogs will get off scot free in Belgium this week as the country’s police refuse to levy roadside fines in a protest against increases to their retirement age. Instead of asking drivers to pay up with an on-the-spot fine if they have broken the law, police officers will instead “educate” them about traffic rules and road safety. The protest, by officers opposed to plans to raise the police retirement age to 62, is expected to cost the Belgian government over £5million (€7m) over the next week. [Daily Telegraph]

Video of the Day –

Microsoft unveils Windows 10

List of the Day –

Windows Operating Systems history [from Wikipedia]

Date Title Architecture
20 November 1985 Windows 1.0 x86 – 16-bit
9 December 1987 Windows 2.0 x86 – 16-bit
27 May 1988 Windows 2.10 x86 – 16-bit
13 March 1989 Windows 2.11 x86 – 16-bit
22 May 1990 Windows 3.0 x86 – 16-bit
20 October 1991 Windows 3.0 with Multimedia Extensions x86 – 16-bit
6 April 1992 Windows 3.1 x86 – 16-bit
27 October 1992 Windows for Workgroups 3.1 x86 – 16-bit
27 July 1993 Windows NT 3.1 IA-32, DEC Alpha, MIPS
8 November 1993 Windows for Workgroups 3.11 x86 – 16-bit
21 September 1994 Windows NT 3.5 IA-32, DEC Alpha, MIPS
30 May 1995 Windows NT 3.51 IA-32, DEC Alpha, MIPS, PowerPC
24 August 1995 Windows 95 IA-32
24 August 1996 Windows NT 4.0 IA-32, DEC Alpha, MIPS, PowerPC
25 June 1998 Windows 98 IA-32
5 May 1999 Windows 98 SE IA-32
17 February 2000 Windows 2000 IA-32
14 September 2000 Windows ME IA-32
25 October 2001 Windows XP IA-32
25 October 2001[1] Windows XP 64-Bit Edition (v2002) Itanium
31 October 2002 Windows XP Media Center Edition IA-32
28 March 2003[2] Windows XP 64-Bit Edition (v2003) Itanium
24 April 2003 Windows Server 2003 IA-32, x64, Itanium
30 September 2003 Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 IA-32
12 October 2004 Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 IA-32
25 April 2005 Windows XP Professional x64 Edition x64
6 December 2005 Windows Server 2003 R2 IA-32, x64, Itanium
8 July 2006 Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs IA-32
8 November 2006 Windows Vista for Business use IA-32, x64
30 January 2007 Windows Vista for Home use; released in fifty countries IA-32, x64
7 November 2007 Windows Home Server IA-32, x64
27 February 2008 Windows Server 2008 IA-32, x64
22 October 2009 Windows 7 IA-32, x64
22 October 2009 Windows Server 2008 R2 x64
6 April 2011 Windows Home Server 2011 x64
4 September 2012 Windows Server 2012 x64
26 October 2012 Windows 8 IA-32, x64
26 October 2012 Windows RT ARM
18 October 2013 Windows 8.1 IA-32, x64
18 October 2013 Windows RT 8.1 ARM
18 October 2013 Windows Server 2012 R2 x64

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October 10, 2015

Top News Stories –

Malala and Kailash Satyarthi win Nobel Peace Prize –
Pakistani child education activist Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian child rights campaigner, have jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize. At the age of just 17, Malala is the youngest ever recipient of the prize. The teenager was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen in October 2012 for campaigning for girls’ education. She now lives in Birmingham in the UK. Malala said she was “honoured” to receive the award, saying it made her feel “more powerful and courageous”. She revealed she found out the news after being called out of her chemistry class at her school in Birmingham. [BBC]
Malala-YousafzaiMalala Yousafzai

Barack Obama gets a job offer at Paltrow fundraiser –
A technology entrepreneur has offered President Barack Obama a job for after he leaves the White House. With speculation mounting abut what Mr Obama will do when he exits the presidency Ariel Jalali became the first employer to make an offer of a new post. The offer was made during a fundraising event at actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s house in Los Angeles. Paltrow told the crowd she was one of the president’s “biggest fans, if not the biggest” and gushed: “You’re so handsome that I can’t speak properly.” [Daily Telegraph]
Gwyneth-PaltrowGwyneth Paltrow

Video of the Day –

Kosmonauta

Kosmonauta from Mirjam Veske on Vimeo.

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October 18, 2014

Top News Stories –

Bulldog puppy thief –
Police are hunting thieves who stole one of Britain’s rarest and most valuable puppies worth a whopping £16,000 – because it’s purple. The cute eight-week old British bulldog puppy called Lila is so valuable because of her lilac colouring. Officers say it was snatched from his breeder by a man who was pretending to buy the puppy. The black man with short afro hair grabbed the pup when the specialist breeder’s back was turned and ran out of the home – knocking a female relative to the ground. [Daily Mail]
Stolen-Lilac-Puppy

Volkswagen to recall over 580,000 cars in China: government –
Volkswagen AG told China’s quality watchdog that it planned to recall more than 580,000 cars in the country, after the agency launched an investigation in August. Volkswagen AG’s joint venture in China, FAW-Volkswagen Automobile Co Ltd, will recall 563,605 New Sagitar models produced between May 2011 and May 2014 due to a problem with the rear axle arm of the cars, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a statement on its website. Volkswagen is also recalling 17,485 imported Beetles due to the same axle problem. [Reuters]

Parisian vandals destroy 24ft art sculpture that resembled a ‘giant sex toy’ after claims it ‘humiliated’ the city –
Vandals today destroyed an art sculpture in central Paris ‘because it looked like a giant sex toy’. Looming above the city’s Place Vendome, the 24ft tall piece, created by American artist Paul McCarthy, was meant to look like a green inflatable Christmas tree. But the artwork, simple entitled ‘Tree’, raised eyebrows in the French capital because of its uncanny resemblance to a certain type of sex toy. Today it was left as a giant pile of deflated plastic after vandals apparently took a number of sharp objects to it overnight. The incident came after claims that it ‘humiliated’ the French capital. [Daily Mail] See Video of the Day

Video of the Day –

US artist Paul McCarthy brings giant inflatable ‘Tree’ to Paris

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October 22nd 2014

Gunman kills soldier in Ottawa –
In Ottawa, Canada a gunman kills a soldier at the tomb honouring Canada’s fallen soldiers. The gunman, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, shot corporal Nathan Cirillo before storming into the nearby parliament building on Parliament Hill and exchanging fire with police and security guards. The gunman was shot dead. Two days previously in Quebec two soldiers had been run down by a man in car who was also shot dead. One of the soldiers died the other was injured.
Parliament_hill_OttawaParliament Hill

U2 album lacklustre launch –
U2’s new album “Songs of Innocence” comes in at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 album chart. The album was automatically downloaded by everyone who has an Apple iTunes account for free (whether they want it or not) leading to complaints over storage use and an apology from lead singer Bono.
BonoBono from U2
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November 9th 2014

Top News Stories –

Bob Geldof to record Band Aid 30 –
Plans are under way to pull together a host of music stars to create the fourth incarnation of the Band Aid charity single. The men behind Do They Know It’s Christmas are expected to announce the line-up on Monday for Band Aid 30. Bob Geldof and Midge Ure first gathered a group of musicians together in 1984, raising £8m for famine relief in Ethiopia. Do They Know It’s Christmas was recorded again in 1989 and 2004. Geldof and Ure will be hoping to gather some of today’s most popular music acts including One Direction, Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith. It is thought the money raised will go towards the fight against Ebola in West Africa. [BBC]
Bob-GeldofBob Geldof

Bubbles the chimp delayed Jacko and Freddie’s duet by nearly 30 years… as he drove the Queen frontman ape –
It has been billed as a rare moment in music history – the release of the only song ever recorded by Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson together. The unfinished track, which is going on sale tomorrow, was discovered only by chance after languishing for nearly 30 years at the bottom of a vault – and has been reworked by the surviving members of Mercury’s band Queen. There Must Be More To Life Than This, was never completed back in the 1980s due to the increasingly erratic behaviour of Jackson and the antics of his pet chimp Bubbles. Mercury, then at the height of his powers as a performing artist, complained that Bubbles was a bizarre distraction because Jackson insisted on bringing the animal into the studio and asking for its views on their singing. The Queen frontman, who was famed for his tempestuous nature, finally stormed out of the recording after telling friends: ‘I’m not performing with a f****** chimp sitting next to me each night.’ [Daily Mail]
Freddie Mercury performing in New Haven, CT, November 1978

Video of the Day –

Do They Know It’s Christmas (1984)

List of the Day –

Artists on Do They Know It’s Christmas (1984)

Vocalists:

Additional spoken messages on B-side:

Musicians:

  • Phil Collins – drums
  • John Taylor – bass
  • Midge Ure – keyboards and programming

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5 #5SOSFamVotingHour #EMA2014 #talktomematt
6 #RemembranceSunday #votw5sos Christmas
7 #WhatIWant #vote5sosᅠ John Lewis
8 #OmplimLesUrnes Christmas #askjames
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November 12, 2014

Top News Stories –

Ecstatic reaction as Rosetta spacecraft mission lands on comet –
The Rosetta spaceship, which was launched in 2004, has landed on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in a mission which could reveal the origins of life on Earth. The spacecraft’s thrusters failed to work during the mission prompting fears that the lander could simply bounce off the comet and back into space. But the Philae landing craft managed to land safely. The small probe took pictures as it descended as well as monitored chemical levels. The European Space Agency’s ground-breaking £1 billion mission to chase, orbit, and execute a soft landing on a moving comet has been called one of the most extraordinary achievements in space history. [Daily Telegraph] See Video of the Day
Artist's impression of the Philae landerArtist’s impression of the Philae lander

Video of the Day –

Philae Lands On Comet! – Mission Control Celebrates | Video

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November 14, 2014

Top News Stories –

Comet probe Philae shuts down, but not before transmitting valuable secrets –
Controllers have powered down the comet probe Philae after its batteries fell to dangeously-low levels – though the craft still managed to transmit reams of crucial data. The comet probe Philae appears to have reached the end of its historic mission after its batteries ran out of power, but only after it managed to transmit a treasure-trove of scientific data back to Earth. Mission controllers put the European Space Agency (ESA) lander to sleep after the power in its solar-powered batteries fell to dangerously low levels following its landing at a spot in the shadow of a crater wall, shrouded in darkness. An ESA blog post said: “Philae has fallen into ‘idle mode’ – a possibly long silence. In this mode, all instruments and most systems on board are shut down.” [Daily Telegraph]

Rik Mayall ‘Bottom’ bench unveiled in Hammersmith –
A street bench like one that featured in the BBC sitcom Bottom has been officially unveiled in memory of comedy legend Rik Mayall. It followed an online campaign by more than 7,000 of his fans. Mayall, who starred in a string of TV comedies, said before his death, aged 56, in June that he had been saddened by the removal of the bench. It had appeared in the opening credits of Bottom, in which he starred with Adrian Edmondson. [Daily Telegraph]

Rik_Mayall_obit Rik Mayall

Unofficial_blue_plaque_to_Rik_Mayall_taken_in_Hammersmith,_London_June_2014

Video of the Day –

Animator vs. Animation IV from Alan Becker on Vimeo.

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  • Swedish submarine incidents:
    • Sweden releases a sonar image it says is proof that a foreign submarine entered its waters in October. The grainy image shows underwater tracks allegedly left by the vessel. (BBC)
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November 24th 2014

Sony hit by “Guardians of Peace” hack –
Sony Pictures Entertainment is targeted by computer hackers in an attack when a skull appeared on computer screens with the hashtag #GOP (Guardians of Peace – a hackers group) along with a message threatening to release data “secrets” if undisclosed demands were not met. Sony have shut down it’s corporate network to resolve the issue.

Russian caught defacing Colosseum –
A Russian man has been fined €20,000 (£15,800) for carving his initial into the Colosseum in Rome, Italy. The tourist used a stone to carve a 25cm “K” into a wall inside the amphitheatre and was caught in the act by a guard and arrested by police, before being fined and given a four-month suspended prison sentence.
Colosseum_in_Rome,_Italy_ The Colosseum
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November 26, 2015

Top News Stories –

Angelina Jolie: Ed Miliband’s mansion tax ‘could put me off’ buying home in UK –

Angelina Jolie said she would like to move to England but Labour’s proposed mansion tax could put her off. The actress addressed rumours that she was looking at properties around London and had recently viewed a £25 million Marylebone penthouse close to the Chiltern Firehouse restaurant. But Jolie hinted that Ed Miliband’s plan to levy a tax on people who own houses worth more than two million pounds could discourage her from buying a British home. The actress told Channel 4 News: “I’m quite responsible about money” and that the tax “could put me off” moving to the UK. [Daily Telegraph]
Angelina_JolieAngelina Jolie

Peruvian man gets married to tree for second time on ‘green tour’ –
A Peruvian man has married a tree for the second time in a bid to raise awareness about man-made environmental problems around the world. Serial tree-hugger Richard Torres tied the knot in front of a small crowd at a national park in Bogota, Colombia. After the symbolic ceremony, involving the placing of fruit offerings at the base of the tree, the environmental activist called for rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces to plant trees instead of starting war. The actor also called for Colombians to care more their green surroundings and promised to keep spreading the message in other Latin America countries. Mr Torres married his first tree bride in Argentina in 2013. [Daily Telegraph]

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Snooze Time from Ivan Barge on Vimeo.

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November 27, 2014

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Cricketer Phillip Hughes dies –
Australian batsman Phillip Hughes has died 2 days after being struck by a ball at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Hughes was making a fine case for his Test recall, unbeaten on his old home ground at the SCG on 63 when he missed an attempted hook at Sean Abbott and was hit on an area of his lower head and neck which was unprotected by his helmet as he swivelled. He fell to the ground, and was rushed to hospital where he never regained consciousness. [Daily Telegraph]
Phil_Hughes Phillip Hughes in 2010

Twitter misrepresents the real world, computer scientists warn –
Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook should not be used to gauge human behaviour or trends because they are too biased, scientists have warned. Increasingly, social researchers and media organisations use sites to glean information about public views and interests. But computer scientists at McGill University in Montreal and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh warn that the data omits the opinion of large portions of the population who are either under-represented, or who choose not to engage in social media. [Daily Telegraph]

Sheep flock to Eiffel Tower as French farmers cry wolf –
French farmers flocked to the Eiffel Tower on Thursday, sheep in tow, to express their frustration over increasing attacks by wolves which some say have been “overprotected” by the government. Sheep lazily grazed at the foot of the French capital’s most famous monument as the farmers gathered under grey skies to demand an effective plan to stop the wolf attacks. “Today farmers, tomorrow unemployed,” read one banner, while one of the protesters dressed as a wolf carried around a lamb. [Daily Telegraph]
Tour_EiffelThe Eiffel Tower

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Introducing Carrot from Carrot on Vimeo.

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November 28, 2014

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Canberra Christmas lights set world record –
A Christmas lights display in the Australian capital, Canberra, has set a new world record. Almost 1.2 million LED lights on 120km (75 miles) of cables have been strung in the shape of three interconnected giant, wrapped Christmas presents. Guinness World Records confirmed it was the largest-ever LED image display. The display in the Petrie Plaza mall was the result of months of planning by Canberra lawyer David Richards and a team of volunteers. [BBC] See Video of the day

Sony’s latest wearable is a watch made of electronic paper –
The Wall Street Journal has uncovered Sony’s clandestine involvement in a smartwatch project. Under the name Fashion Entertainment (FES), the company has thrown an electronic paper watch into the wearable product scrum. All credit to Sony, the watch itself is very slick looking. It overcomes many of the problems existing smartwatches on the market present – namely that they are overly bulky and have naff battery lives. Electronic paper, which is famously used in ebook readers to provide them with long-lasting battery, should ensure that this device can keep running for weeks on a single charge, rather than just a day or two. Sony secretly put the watch on a crowdfunding site in September, not taking ownership of the product until this week. The device surpassed its 2 million yen goal (£108,000), raising 3.5 million yen (£188,000) in total. [Wired.com]
Sony paper watch

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November 29, 2014

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Did North Korea order hack on Sony Pictures computers? –
Sony Pictures Entertainment is said to be investigating whether North Korea was behind a hack of its computer network, over a Hollywood film depicting a plot to assassinate Kim Jong-un. The hermit state’s anger over the comedy about CIA plans to kill its leader may have been behind the attack on the company’s system, according to tech news website Re/code. A group calling itself #GOP (Guardians of Peace) posted a warning on employees computers on Monday saying “If you don`t obey us, we’ll release the data shown below to the world”, giving a deadline of 11:00 the same day and listing five data links. #GOP said Sony Pictures had been warned before but did not detail its demands. North Korea had threatened “a strong and merciless countermeasure” against the US if it released the Sony Pictures’ film The Interview.

Angelina Jolie ‘set to become a peer’ –
The dusty old House of Lords has been considerably enlivened in the past few weeks when a number of half-famous people have been officially sworn in as members of Parliament’s second chamber. But the most excitement came last week when Arminka Helic – best known as a highly-regarded special adviser to former foreign secretary William Hague – was formally welcomed into the House of Lords as Baroness Helic of Millbank. Elderly Parliamentarians dozing off a good lunch were startled to glance up to the public gallery and spot actress Angelina Jolie, an old friend of Lady Helic, gazing down benignly. Now tongues are wagging in Westminster that Miss Jolie is being lined up herself set on a seat in the House of Lords. The idea is not so far-fetched. Last month Miss Jolie was made an honorary dame by the Queen for her campaign work fighting sexual violence and for services to UK foreign policy. And last week it emerged that Miss Jolie has decided to retire from acting and focus her energies on her humanitarian work.[Daily Telegraph]
Angelina_JolieAngelina Jolie

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Sounds of Paragliding from shams on Vimeo.

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November 30, 2014

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US boy missing for four years found alive hidden behind fake wall –
A 13-year-old boy reported missing by his mother four years ago was found hidden behind a false wall in his father’s home. After a tip-off police raided a detached suburban house with an immaculately kept garden in Jonesboro near Atlanta, Georgia. They discovered the fake wall behind some towels and it disguised a passage to a space above the garage. The boy’s father Gregory Jean, 37, and stepmother Samantha Joy Davis, 42, and three other people in the house, were charged with obstruction, false imprisonment and cruelty to children. [Daily Telegraph]

‘Hot Selfie’ competition dubbed Facebook’s most narcissistic challenge CANCELLED after one hopeful is ‘intimidated’ after posting their photo –
A ‘hot selfie’ competition where posers paid to enter in the hope of winning $10,000 has been shut down before a winner could be chosen.
The narcissistic photography challenge was abandoned after ‘entrant tampering’, according to the competition’s website.Brisbane-based company Serious Selfie set up the competition which offered a cash prize for the best pout. A statement on the Hot Selfie website said: ‘It was with regret that Serious Selfies PTY. LTD. terminated the Hot Selfie Competition, ahead of its end date, as a result of entrant tampering. ‘Unfortunately, one of our entrants had been contacted and intimidated outside of the Facebook platform.’ [Daily Mail]
Selfie-competition-entrant - copyright Hot Selfie Competition Entrant in the Hot Selfie Competition

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Lego Star Wars The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer

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December 1, 2014

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Henry leaves NY Bulls –
Former Arsenal and France striker Thierry Henry leaves New York Red Bulls after four-and-a-half years with the MLS club. He is still Arsenal’s all-time top goal scorer with 228 in all competitions. He is to move into television, initially as a pundit on Sky TV in the UK. (See List of the Day and Video of the Day below)
Thierry_HenryThierry Henry

Prince Harry confession for charity –
Prince Harry has revealed that he gets extremely nervous before making any public speech. He made the revelation as part of a campaign run by his Sentebale charity to help reduce the stigma associated with HIV on World Aids Day. The prince co-founded the charity in 2006 in Lesotho after travelling around the southern African country which has the third highest HIV/Aids prevalence in the world.
Prince_HarryPrince Harry

Brand protest –
Russell Brand joins around 400 residents of Hackney’s New Era estate to protest against US property owner Westbrook, which is threatening 93 families with eviction before marching to 10 Downing street where a petition signed by 294,000 was handed in.
Russell_BrandRussell Brand

Cyber Monday breaks records –
Today is Cyber Monday and in the US $2.5 billion (£1.6 billion) is expected to be spent. In the IMRG Experian predicts that UK consumers will spend £649.6 million today or £451,000 a minute showing a 26 per cent increase on last year.

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Thierry Henry goals in UK and USA –

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December 2, 2014

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(Nasty) Thought for the day –
Professor Stephen Hawking, the British scientist who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has said that efforts to create thinking machines pose a threat to our very existence. The BBC quotes him as saying “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate but humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”
Stephen_HawkingStephen Hawling

Scarlett gets secretly married –
Scarlett Johansson has revealed that she and her partner Romain Dauriac got married in secret on October 1st 2015 in Philipsburg, western Montana.
Scarlett JohanssonScarlett Johansson

Strike that off the list –
The UK Government has introduced legislation banning sex acts like spanking and caning from online porn videos filmed in the UK. A list of sex acts are now on a list of ‘harmful’ content that has been prohibited and paid-for online porn videos must now stick to the same rules as content produced for sex shop-type videos. (See List of the Day)

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Scarlett Johansson banned commercial

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December 3, 2014

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Google gets down with the kids –
Google reveals it is developing child-friendly versions of some of its products and is likely to include the Chrome browser and YouTube (which it bought for $1.65bn (£883m) in October 2006). The intention is to make the internet safer for under-12s.

Boris plays peacemaker –
London mayor Boris Johnson attempted to calm down an abusive passenger on a Malaysian Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur to Heathrow but the crew had to handcuff the man and strap him to his seat. The man was arrested when the plane landed.
Boris_Johnson_FT_2013Boris Johnson

Pope dismissing head guard –
Colonel Daniel Anrig, the commander of the 110 Swiss Guards that protect the pontiff is losing his job when his commission ends at the end of January 2015. Although no official reason has been given, Pope Francis is apparently unhappy at the officer’s strict authoritarian style.

Video of the Day –

FILM_FX L3.0 (2014) from ISART DIGITAL on Vimeo.

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December 4, 2014

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The Obama’s light up –
President Barack Obama, wife Michelle and their daughters, Malia and Sasha switch on the lights of the Christmas Tree at the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at the Ellipse near the White House in Washington DC.
2014_National_Christmas_Tree2014 National Christmas Tree

Psy’ched out –
Psy’s Gangnam Style video has been watched so many times that the YouTube’s counter is being upgraded from 32-bit to 64-bit. The old 32-bit system only counted up to 2,147,483,647 views with Gangnam Style hitting 8,000 more than that. The mew 64-bit system will count up to 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 views (around 9 quadrillion). (See Video of the Day and List of the Day below)
FMFA_2013_(8565145586)

Apple accused of wiping competitors tunes –
A US district court has heard lawyers accuse Apple of “deleting” songs from rival services from some iPods in 2007-09. Users with non-iTunes music received a message telling them to restore devices to their factory settings when they tried to sync them. Apple said that the move was a legitimate security measure. The case has been going on for more than a decade and could result in Apple paying out $1bn in damages.

Nobel Prize medal sells for $4.75m –
The Nobel Prize medal of American geneticist James Watson sold for $4.75 million at auction in New York today. It is the first time a Nobel Prize of a living laureate has been sold and almost doubled the estimate price. The Nobel Prize was awarded to Dr Watson in 1962 for his discovery of DNA’s double helix structure in 1953.
James_D_WatsonDr James D Watson

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Gangnam Style – Psy

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December 5, 2014

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Five Diana dresses sell for half a million dollars –
Five dresses designed for and worn by Britain’s late Princess Diana have been auctioned off by Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles for a total of nearly half a million dollars. British dressmaker Catherine Walker had made three of the gowns and all fetched within or just above their estimated price of between $60,000 and $80,000. The other two dresses were made by Caroline Charles and Zandra Rhodes.
Diana,_Princess_of_WalesDiana, Princess of Wales

Two-headed cat lives to be 15 years-old –
A cat that was born with two faces has died at the age of 15 in North Grafton, Massachusetts. Called Frank and Louie – ‘Frankenlouie’ the birth defect is known as a Janus cat, named for a Roman god with two faces and expected to die very young due to congenital defects. While blind in his center eye, both his outer eyes worked fine, and while he had two noses and mouths, Frankenlouie had only one brain.

Orion capsule successful first mission –
The US space agency’s new Orion crew capsule has completed its maiden, unmanned voyage with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off Mexico. Orion is designed to take humans to destinations such as the Moon and Mars. The flight was intended to test its critical technologies and took four and a half hours.
Orion_ExplorationOrion capsule

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AFTERGLOW – Lightsuit Segment from Sweetgrass Productions on Vimeo.

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December 6, 2014

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Typhoon Hagupit hits the Philippines –
Typhoon Hagupit is sweeping across the eastern Philippines, threatening coastal areas with a powerful sea-surge. Roofs have been blown off in the city of Tacloban, where thousands were killed by Typhoon Haiyan a year ago and more than half a million people have fled coastal villages.

Slice of Prince William and Kate’s wedding cake sells for $6,000 at auction –
A wedding cake slice from the 2011 wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has been sold at an auction in Beverly Hills for $6,000 (£4,000).
The buyer of this romantic slice of history was bought by Gee Chuang, the CEO of online marketplace Listia.com, who plans to give away the piece of wedding cake on the company’s website in April of next year to celebrate the royal couple’s fourth wedding anniversary. The eight-tiered wedding cake, made by pastry chef Fiona Cairns and her team, was adorned with icing flowers, petals and leaves. [Daily Telegraph]
Wedding_of_Prince_William_of_Wales_and_Kate_Middleton

iPhone crash landing protection –
Apple Inc was granted a patent last week on an innovation that can detect when a handset is falling – and rotates it to avoid the screen hitting the ground. If sensors calculate the screen or camera will hit the ground, a motor is instantly activated within the phone which moves an internal weight fast enough to affect the ‘rotational velocity’ of the device and spin it around so that it lands on a reinforced area. The idea could also work with iPads and other devices.

Al-Qaeda hostage killed during rescue mission –
Luke Somers, a US journalist who was being held captive in Yemen since 2013, has been shot by his captors during a a military operation to rescue him and later died. A video was released earlier this week showing a member of al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) threatening to kill Mr Somers unless unspecified demands are met.

Video of the Day –

I’ve fallen and I can’t get up – Crowd dynamics test using Miarmy for Maya

I've fallen, and I can't get up! from Dave Fothergill vfx on Vimeo.

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December 7, 2014

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Foggy wins down under –
Former motorbike rider Carl Fogarty, four time winner of the World Superbike Championship, has won the British “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here” in Australia. The 49-year-old known as Foggy beat former X Factor contestant Jake Quickenden and TV presenter Melanie Sykes in the final of the ITV show.
Carl-FogartyCarl Fogarty

LA Galaxy win MLS again –
Californian soccer team LA Galaxy have won a fifth Major League Soccer (MLS) title with a 2-1 victory over the New England Revolution in the championship-deciding MLS Cup. LA have won three of the last four league titles and Irish striker Robbie Keane grabbed an extra-time winner to give the Galaxy the victory after New England’s Chris Tierney had cancelled out Gyasi Zardes’ opener for LA. (See List of The Day)
Robbie_KeaneRobbie Keane

Royal US visit starts –
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have arrived in New York for a tour of the east coast of the United States during which Prince William will meet President Barack Obama. The Royal couple previously met the Obama’s after their wedding in 2011.
Obama_and_Duke_Duchess_of_CambridgeThe Royals meeting the President and Mrs Obama in London in 2011

Not out of the woods yet –
Tiger Woods return to competition golf ends badly as he finishes last in the 18 player Hero World Challenge tournament in Florida and is physically sick on the fairway. He has not played competitively for four months due to back pain.
Tiger_WoodsTiger Woods

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SYNC from Hasraf HaZ Dulull on Vimeo.

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