January 8, 2015

Top News Stories –

Who’s the daddy? –
A Cuban man convicted of spying in the US and committed to a double life sentence in 1998 has become a father a month after his release. Gerardo Hernandez, who was released last month by the US as part of a diplomatic thaw with Cuba, requested to have his wife artificially inseminated with his sperm while he was still in jail.

Imran bowled over –
Sportsman-turned-politician Imran Khan has married his fiance, Reham, at a small wedding ceremony at his home in Islamabad, Pakistan. Khan was Pakistan’s most successful cricket captain, playing for the Pakistani cricket team from 1971 to 1992 and leading them to victory at the 1992 Cricket World Cup.
Imran Khan, chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (8414079377)

Team Wiggo launched –
Former Tour de France champion and Sky Team member Sir Bradley Wiggins launches his own cycling team to help preparations for the Rio 2016 Olympics. The four-time Olympic champion will try to break the individual world hour record as part of his build-up to Rio2016. Team Wiggins will operate independently of British Cycling but the governing body has given its backing to the team.
Roubaix - Paris-Roubaix, le 13 avril 2014 (B16)Bradley Wiggins

App designers golden year –
Apple revealed today that app developers earned more than $10 billion in revenue in 2014, partly due to a 50 percent rise in billings. The App Store has grown to 1.4 million apps since launching in 2008, with 725,000 designed for the iPad.

Russia says drivers must not have ‘sex disorders’ –
The Russian government is tightening medical controls for drivers because the country “has too many road accidents”. Transsexual and transgender people are among those who will no longer qualify for driving licences and fetishism, exhibitionism and voyeurism are also included as “mental disorders” now barring people from driving.

Job for life but don’t turn up –
A.K. Verma, an executive engineer at the Central Public Works Department, India, was fired after last appearing for work in December 1990. Even after an inquiry found him guilty of “wilful absence from duty” in 1992, it took another 22 years and the intervention of a cabinet minister to remove him, the government said.

Video of the Day –

When you say you’re a swimmer –

“When You Say You’re a Swimmer” from Chris Shimojima on Vimeo.


November 16, 2015

Top News Stories –

‘Pastafarian’ wins right to wear colander on head in driving licence photo –
A woman in the US has won the right to wear a colander on her head in her driving licence photo. The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles had previously forbidden Lindsay Miller from sporting the unconventional headgear, worn by followers of the satirical Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or ‘Pastafarians’. However, the decision was overturned after Miller launched an appeal with the assistance of the Secular Legal Society. Lawyer Patty DeJuneas told the Boston Globe: “I’m not a Pastafarian. But my understanding, and my view of it, is that it’s a secular religion that uses parody to make certain points about a belief system.” The Pastafarian ‘religion’ was founded a decade ago after the Kansas school board came under pressure to teach the theory of intelligent design in biology class as an alternative to evolution. [Daily Telegraph]

Town pays people to cycle to work –
An Italian town will pay people hundreds of euros per year if they cycle to work instead of using their cars. The council in Massarosa, just north of Pisa, says the pilot scheme will see cyclists paid 25 cents per kilometre travelled, up to a monthly cap of 50 euros (£35), the regional Il Tirreno news website reports. That means commuters who switch to two wheels could pocket up to 600 euros (£424) in a year. It’s said to be the first such scheme in Italy. Fifty workers will be included in the 12-month pilot, which will use a smartphone app to record the distance travelled each day. The scheme is being funded from fines collected from traffic tickets in the town, which by law has to be reinvested in road safety, the site points out. [BBC]

Budget private jet firm launched by French rugby legend –
Philippe Saint-André, the coach who took France to the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup, aims to democratise private jet travel. He and ex-player Christophe Ducluzeau have founded Le Jet, offering London to Paris flights for £363 one-way. The 45-minute service will launch on November 23 and will initially run on Mondays and Fridays, ferrying passengers between the private jet terminal of Stansted Airport and Le Bourget airport near Paris. Further London-Paris services and routes to other European destinations are also being planned. [Daily Telegraph]

Video of the Day –

Moto Experiment: Truth or Drop: How far will people go to protect their phones

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  • Six people, including a child, have been found dead on private property in Anderson County, southeast of Dallas, Texas, USA. The victims are members of two different families. One person, unrelated to the victims, is charged with one count of murder. More charges are expected. (CBS DFW)
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December 17, 2015

Top News Stories –

Jose Mourinho: Chelsea sack boss after Premier League slump –
Chelsea have sacked manager Jose Mourinho seven months after he led them to the Premier League title. The 52-year-old Portuguese had been in his second spell at the club, taking charge in June 2013. Chelsea finished eight points clear last season and won the League Cup, but have lost nine of their 16 league games so far and are 16th in the table, one point above the relegation places. Mourinho’s final match was Monday’s 2-1 defeat at leaders Leicester City. Pep Guardiola, Guus Hiddink, Juande Ramos and Brendan Rodgers have all been touted as possible successors as Blues owner Roman Abramovich begins another managerial search. [BBC]
Jose-MourinhoJose Mourinho

Pastafarian marriages approved in New Zealand –
Ever wanted to get married while wearing a colander on your head? Move to New Zealand – they just gave the right to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to perform marriage ceremonies. Members of the church call themselves Pastafarians and believe that the world was created by an airborne spaghetti and meatballs-based being, although its own website notes that some followers consider it to be a satirical organisation. The registrar-general told stuff.co.nz that the request was valid because the purposes set out by the church were educating and training people, particularly atheists and superstitious people, about Flying Spaghetti principles and practices. He said: “In considering the matter I have referred to the Objects of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, reviewed material available online about this organisation and considered other organisations already able to nominate marriage celebrants. “A review of media and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s international website show a consistent presentation of their philosophies. While some claim this is a ‘parody organisation’, members have rebutted this on a number of occasions.” [Daily Telegraph] In November 2016 ‘Pastafarian’ Lindsay Miller won the right to wear colander on head in driving licence photo in Massachusetts.

Video of the Day –

More Stuff by Blue Zoo Animation from Blue Zoo on Vimeo.

List of the Day –

Vimeo presents: The Top Videos of 2015
TAME IMPALA ‘The Less I Know The Better’ from CANADA

“Guerilla Fighters of Kurdistan” from Joey L

“Coda” from and maps and plans

“Dubai Flow Motion” from Rob Whitworth

“INPUT/OUTPUT” from Terri Timely

POWER/RANGERS” from Joseph Kahn

“Skate Heads” from Flexfit

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January 1, 2016

Top News Stories –

Rat on a plane: Air India flight returns to Mumbai after rodent spotted on board –
An Air India plane flying to London was forced to return to Mumbai after passengers spotted a rat on board, the airline said on Thursday. Though the rat was not found, the pilot returned to Mumbai on Wednesday keeping passenger safety in mind, Air India said in a statement. Passengers were later flown by a separate aircraft to London. The aircraft would be fumigated and checked before it is returned to service. Maintenance workers would have to make sure that the rat did not damage equipment or chew any wires and the plane is certified to be rodent-free, an airline official said. [Daily Telegraph]

China’s new two-child policy law takes effect –
Married couples in China will from Friday (Jan 1) be allowed to have two children, after concerns over an ageing population and shrinking workforce ushered in an end to the country’s controversial one-child policy. The change, which was announced in October by the ruling Communist Party, takes effect from Jan 1, 2016, Beijing’s official Xinhua news agency reported over the weekend. The “one-child policy”, instituted in the late 1970s, restricted most couples to only a single offspring through a system of fines for violators and even forced abortions. For years, authorities argued that it was a key contributor to China’s economic boom and had prevented 400 million births. [Channel News Asia]

Video of the Day –

Philips Presents: The Longest Night from T Brand Studio on Vimeo.

List of the Day –

100 Things we didn’t know last year – by the BBC (1-33)

1. It costs £300 to operate on a constipated goldfish.

Find out more

2. Traditionally, police horses in England’s Thames Valley force can be called Odin, Thor or Hercules, but not Brian.

Find out more

3. Barack Obama calls David Cameron “bro”.

Find out more (Time)

4. The first sports bra was made from two jockstraps.

Find out more

5. One in 10 of Britain’s train carriages still flush toilet waste straight on to the railway tracks.

Find out more

6. Jamaica, Colombia and Saint Lucia are the only countries in the world where a woman is more likely to be a boss than a man.

Find out more (Washington Post)

7. You don’t have to speak French to become French-language Scrabble world champion.

Find out more

8. Kolo Toure, the Ivory Coast and Liverpool defender, hasn’t touched his own dog for seven years.

Find out more (Metro)

9. An egg can be unboiled.

Find out more (Metro)

10. There are four different ways to pronounce diplodocus, and the way children say it is probably more technically correct than the academics’ preferred option.

Find out more

11. A 51-year-old software engineer named Bryan Henderson has edited Wikipedia 47,000 times to remove the ungrammatical term “comprised of”.

Find out more (Backchannel)

12. Buzz Aldrin claimed $33.31 in travel expenses connected to his trip to the moon.

Find out more (Daily Telegraph)

13. Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond once played a ghost in a Bollywood soap opera.

Find out more (Buzzfeed)

14. “Let us turn ours into a country of mushrooms by making mushroom cultivation scientific, intensive and industrialised!” is an official slogan of North Korea.

Find out more

15. Roughly 56% of average monthly earnings in Malawi are spent on mobile phone charges, compared with about 0.11% in Macau, China.

Find out more

16. Quentin Tarantino still records films from TV on VHS cassettes.

Find out more (Independent)

17. Lollipop men and ladies who “high five” pedestrians may be breaching official protocol.

Find out more

18. Squid can fly – but they tend to do it under cover of darkness.

Find out more

19. It’s possible to trick the brain into thinking it can hear Mariah Carey sing All I Want For Christmas Is You.

Find out more (New Scientist)

20. King Arthur may have been Glaswegian.

Find out more (The National)

21. A man-sized lobster lived 480 million years ago.

Find out more

22. At Hotel Football, run by ex-Manchester United players, Gary Neville is represented in the bathroom by blackcurrant-extract shampoo while brother Phil is a bar of soap.

Find out more (Financial Times)

23. Vicars and priests have the highest job satisfaction of all UK workers.

Find out more

24. Narwhals’ long tusks – an exaggerated front tooth used for courtship – are super-sensitive.

Find out more

25. There is only one concert grand piano in Gaza.

Find out more

26. Boston in Lincolnshire is one of the most neurotic places in Great Britain while Orkney is one of the least.

Find out more

27. Michael Jackson made a series of prank calls to Russell Crowe.

Find out more (Guardian)

28. Breaking Bad is the show people most often lie about having watched.

Find out more (Radio Times)

29. The UK’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency does not permit the wearing of colanders on heads in driving licence photos, even for religious reasons.

Find out more (Daily Mirror)

30. People who swear have larger vocabularies.

Find out more (Toronto Sun)

31. The Queen likes to have her pre-lunch gin and Dubonnet in front of BBC Two’s The Daily Politics.

Find out more (Daily Mail

32. In September 1944 the New York Times explained pizza to its readers and included a rare use of its plural “pizze” – there was an earlier article but it only mentioned pizza in passing.

Find out more (New York Times)

33. There is little international trade in onions – about 90% are consumed in their country of origin.

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