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166524.  Mon Apr 16, 2007 7:54 am Reply with quote

Amazing pictures from the construction of the world’s highest bridge - higher than the Eiffel Tower:

166600.  Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:53 am Reply with quote

If the Best of Top Gear they showed on BBC2 last night is to be believed, that bridge is even taller than Canary Wharf.

edit: ignore me. I just realised the Eiffel tower is bigger than canary dwarf :)

166880.  Tue Apr 17, 2007 7:47 am Reply with quote

Vaseline was discovered on the oil rigs.

In 1859, an English-born American chemist, Robert Augustus Chesebrough, was visiting oil rigs in Pennsylvania, where he noticed that workers used a sticky petroleum by-product - gunk which accumulated around the drill rods - to heal cuts and burns.

He spent almost a decade perfecting a process to distil from the gunk a colourless, odourless gel, which he named petroleum jelly.

He registered Vaseline as a trademark in 1872. No-one’s sure where the name came from; perhaps the German for water (wasser) with the Greek for oil (elaion); or perhaps Chesebrough named it after one of the vases which he used to store his gel while he was researching it.

He couldn't get bulk buyers interested, so he went on the road, selling one-ounce jars of “wonder jelly” across New York state from a horse and cart. To demonstrate its power, he would burn patches of his skin. Before long, he was selling a jar a minute.

For all his cleverness at developing wonder jelly, he doesn't seem to have understood it that well. He was convinced that Vaseline contained some kind of unique and unknown active ingredient; it’s now known that there isn't any such thing. Vaseline promotes rapid healing of skin merely because it creates good conditions for natural healing processes to occur. It creates a barrier on the surface of the skin, keeping moisture in and bacteria out. (However, medics are still enthusiastic about Vaseline; it is so bland that it can be used without restraint, and it has a seemingly endless list of medical uses).

Chesebrough would never have believed such debunking. When he was diagnosed with pleurisy he had himself coated head to foot in Vaseline, so that the “secret ingredient” would cure him. He did indeed get better, and lived to be 96 - which he attributed to the spoonful of Vaseline he ate every day.

S: Daily Telegraph 16 Apr 07.

167042.  Tue Apr 17, 2007 3:50 pm Reply with quote

Very good. He sounds like a character from PG Wodehouse - Gussie Chesebrough nnd his wonderful Patent Fix-u-Uppo.

167263.  Wed Apr 18, 2007 7:40 am Reply with quote

Bridge in Indonesia may collapse due to urine.

"The office has not yet done thorough tests on the slant of the bridge, but we are concerned that one of its main support piers has been weakened by urine, as it is a popular spot for locals to relieve themselves,"

Another problem that was pointed out was that people had stolen pieces of the bridge.


Molly Cule
170077.  Fri Apr 27, 2007 5:57 am Reply with quote

Raleigh called pineapples the princess of fruits. In the Caribbean they were put in doorways to welcome visitors, this translated into stone statues in entrances to grand houses in England.
s - British museum exhibition

170117.  Fri Apr 27, 2007 7:58 am Reply with quote

And, of course, there's always someone who has to take it a bit too far

170121.  Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:22 am Reply with quote

Bloody hell, that's some chimney.

There's one on the Wimbers trophy too:

170163.  Fri Apr 27, 2007 10:47 am Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
Bloody hell, that's some chimney.

That's no chimney. It's a useless decorative feature.

Although the building is rented out as a holiday let by the Landmark Trust, so you can stay in it if you want to

Gray wrote:
There's one on the Wimbers trophy too

D'oh! Looks like they're wise to your image stealing shenanigans :)

170229.  Fri Apr 27, 2007 1:44 pm Reply with quote

Yeah right: 'Stolen'. Idiots.

170270.  Fri Apr 27, 2007 4:28 pm Reply with quote

While you're 'fessing up, we'd like that monogrammed QI Club smoking jacket back as well, please.

170282.  Fri Apr 27, 2007 6:51 pm Reply with quote

Now that's an image I'd never touch.

170903.  Mon Apr 30, 2007 10:31 am Reply with quote

The first ever "intelligent shoe"!

Adidas has launched the intelligent shoe it unveiled last year. Known as adidas_1, the shoe provides "intelligent cushioning" by automatically and continuously adjusting itself. It does so by sensing the cushioning level, using sensors. It then calculates whether the cushioning level is too soft or too firm via a microprocessor and adapts with a motor-driven cable system to provide the correct cushioning for the specific purpose at that time. A prime example of the convergence process in which computers are embedded in everyday objects to enable them to play their role more effectively, the adidas shoe is one of a number of intelligent clothing items arriving at market this year. Available now, adidas_1 costs US$250 or 250 Euros.

The shoe will be launched on television in the United States with a new television ad called "Hello Tomorrow". The commercial was directed by Spike Jonze and the music composed by Squeak E. Clean featuring Karen O of the "Yeah Yeah Yeahs". The commercial opens on the face of a young man waking up. He is surrounded by darkness, as if the world has been erased. As he sits up, a pair of adidas_1 shoes roll onto the screen and onto his feet. As they magically tie themselves, the lights of the adidas_1 interface come alive, signaling that the shoe is now on.

As he takes his first tentative step forward, a portion of the floor appears; he takes another step and more floor appears. As he continues walking, he creates the world around him. A door appears. The view moves outside the room, and the screen shows only the doorway floating in darkness. Back to the young man, he smiles, steps back in the room and decides to go for it. He runs full speed and leaps into the blackness.

As he lands, a new world is created with every step. He runs through different landscapes from city streets to forests to familiar sidewalks. As he runs, it is his steps that are creating new scenes. He even lies down on the sidewalk and puts his feet in the air, and a new world appears above him. The commercial ends with the young man back in bed and a product shot of the adidas_1, followed by the text, "The World's First Intelligent Shoe". The ad signs off with "Impossible is Nothing".

"adidas_1 is the proof of our brand attitude, Impossible is Nothing," said Uli Becker, Head of Global Communications for adidas. "Since this intelligent technology is a revolution to the footwear industry, we wanted to create a campaign that is equally unique and unexpected. Just like the ad illustrates, with the adidas_1 you experience a new world."

"Our challenge in creating 'Hello Tomorrow' was to showcase the adidas_1 shoe while capturing the idea that every step taken would be different," said Chuck McBride, Creative Director North America, TBWA\Chiat\Day.

The campaign will be supported by outdoor, point of sale, public relations and Internet. The Web site features a new technology wherein the onscreen landscapes actually move and change as the user moves the cursor, meaning each site visitor has a unique experience. It can be accessed at the shoe's launch web site.

In development since 2001, the adidas_1 senses the cushioning level on every step, understands whether the cushioning provided is too soft or too firm, then adapts itself to provide the right level of cushioning.

The shoe is one of the the most advanced ever made. Its sensor works by measuring the distance to a small magnet at the bottom of the shoe, takes 1,000 readings a second, and is accurate to a tenth of a millimeter. It understands via a small microprocessor capable of making five million calculations per second. And it adapts with a motor-driven cable system that spins at 6,000 rpm, faster than the blades of a helicopter.


239011.  Tue Dec 04, 2007 6:36 am Reply with quote

Voice of the tube fired:

LONDON - The woman behind the gentle, even voice that warns London's subway commuters to "Mind the gap" was fired after telling a newspaper she thought the transit network was dreadful.

Emma Clarke has been recording messages for London's sprawling subway network, popularly known as the Tube, since 1999. ...
Transport for London, the body responsible for running the subway, said Monday that Clarke, 36, was fired for telling The Mail on Sunday she avoided using the subway whenever possible.

"The thought of being stuck in the Tube with strangers for minutes on end and having to listen to endless repeated messages of my own voice fills me with horror," she told the paper.

She said using the service every day had been "dreadful."

The paper also featured Clarke's Web site, which hosts a series of spoof Tube announcements, including one warning a passenger not to stare at a woman's chest and another telling American tourists, "You are almost certainly talking too loud."

Transport for London noted that some of the spoof announcements were quite funny, but spokesman Dan Hodges said Clarke's attack on the subway itself had crossed the line.

The spoof announcements are here:

239138.  Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:25 am Reply with quote

Clarke, 36, was fired for telling The Mail on Sunday she avoided using the subway whenever possible.

"The thought of being stuck in the Tube with strangers for minutes on end and having to listen to endless repeated messages of my own voice fills me with horror," she told the paper.

She said using the service every day had been "dreadful."

According to Ms Clarke's side of the story, she was somewhat misquote by the Mail on Sunday (surely that could never happen!)

I'd actually recommend her blog. It's really very amusing, particularly the entries such as "My sedentary lifestyle" and "The two women talking sketch"


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