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159206.  Fri Mar 23, 2007 7:31 am Reply with quote

In April 2006, someone once sold their Warholian 15 minutes of fame on eBay, because they didn't think they'd ever become famous, and needed the money.

Of course, they had to play down the inevitable press coverage that this attracted, or the buyer wouldn't get their full money's worth.

ORLANDO, Fla., April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The late pop artist Andy Warhol predicted that in the future, everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. David J.P. Ortiz now has 30 minutes coming. It was Ortiz who placed the winning online bid in an eBay auction for another person's 15 minutes of fame.


159746.  Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:39 am Reply with quote

Doctors can increase their ability to detect irregular hearbeats by listening repeatedly to heartbeats on their iPods.

Current correct heart sound identification by physicians is 40 percent, however in a study, doctors who regularly listened to the beats on an ipod increased their success rate to 80%.

160220.  Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:31 am Reply with quote

How did a computer error nearly cause the end of the world in 1983?

If Stanislav Petrov had not disobeyed procedure when his computer told of an American missile strike the world could have found itself in the depths of Nuclear war.

On the night of 26 September 1983, Stanislav Petrov was on duty at a surveillance centre near Moscow.

"Suddenly the screen in front of me turned bright red," said Petrov. "An alarm went off. It was piercing, loud enough to raise a dead man from his grave."

"The computer showed that the Americans had launched a nuclear strike against us."

Instead of telling his superiors of the attack, he reported the computer system as being faulty, however it cost him his job, Petrov took early retirement from the army and later suffered a nervous breakdown.

Other computer errors:

Therac-25 was a Medical linear accelerators which created high- energy beams that can destroy tumors with minimal impact on the surrounding healthy tissue. It was involved in at least 6 incidents of giving patients lethal overdoses of radiation – it was blamed on a software bug.


A 105-year-old man in Switzerland has been told to attend primary school by his local education authority.


A street vendor who won top prize in Thailand's version of the TV game show 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' has had to hand back all her winnings after it was found that a computer error led to her being fed all the right answers.


A simple typing error has triggered mayhem on the Tokyo stock exchange and cost one bank £190m.

A computer which should have cancelled the transaction failed to click in, and this further embarrassment led to the resignation on Tuesday of the head of the Tokyo stock exchange.


The Automobile Association (AA) says that both computer and human error in processing data from speed cameras has prompted a recent increase in the number of drivers wrongfully accused thousands of speeding.


In March 2005 the Sudanese government was annoyed to read on a US Congress website that America had carried out nuclear tests in Sudan in the 1960s.

Fears were allayed however when it turned out to be a typing error. The report should have said Sedan - a test site in Nevada.


160309.  Tue Mar 27, 2007 6:08 am Reply with quote

Nice idea from one of those links about how to learn to touch type:

He tried some traditional typing courses without any luck, before hitting on the idea of scrubbing all the letters from his keyboard; effectively typing blind.

"It's analogous to a piano - there are no marking on piano keys, you just have to learn them," he says.

It did the trick and earlier this year M Guermuer began selling blank keyboards for others who want to learn, under the brand Das Keyboard.

"You go through two weeks of pain. In the first week your typing slows greatly, but by the end of week two you are touch typing," says M Guermuer.

160416.  Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:26 am Reply with quote

When I learned to touch type we weren't allowed to look at our hands, and we had to start off with extremely boring sentences all along one row of the keyboard. 'Glad dad has salad' was one of the more sensible ones, as was 'Quit you ripe pet.'

160417.  Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:35 am Reply with quote

picture researchers, here is that picture of a new species of sea urchin that looks like a game of kerplunk


161752.  Fri Mar 30, 2007 6:40 pm Reply with quote

Online auction sales by U.S. Government agencies are not uncommon. The U.S. Federal Government is one of the most successful online sellers in and eBay. Some reports showed that during 2000, the U.S. Government was the number-one-seller on with 3.6 billion on online sales. One of the major reasons for the success of these government's online sales is that buyers believe that they are buying for the real market price.

Fantastic article:

161814.  Sat Mar 31, 2007 4:55 am Reply with quote

I used to know a bloke who bought almost everything he owned from “state sales” in the US; his car, his mobile home, his TV ... everything. His gun, too, I daresay. I think they were all the confiscated belongings of criminals.

162508.  Tue Apr 03, 2007 3:23 am Reply with quote

It's not just online marketplaces...

20 new species have been found during a survey of Indonesian Fish Markets.


The five-year survey of catches at local fish markets provided the first detailed description of Indonesia’s shark and ray fauna

From 2001–2006, they photographed and sampled more than 130 species on 22 survey trips to 11 ports across Indonesia. More than 800 specimens were lodged in reference collections at the Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense at Cibinong, Java, and the Australian National Fish Collection at Hobart.

Six of their discoveries have now been formally described. These include two species found only in Bali: the Bali Catshark and Jimbaran Shovelnose Ray, and one found only in West Papua: the Hortle’s Whipray.


162687.  Tue Apr 03, 2007 10:38 am Reply with quote

More on cumputer errors almost causing the end of the world:


On November 24, 1961, all communication links between U.S. Strategic Air Command (SAC) and NORAD suddenly went dead, cutting off the SAC from three early warning radar stations in England, Greenland, and Alaska.

The communication breakdown made no sense, though. After all, a widespread, total failure of all communication circuits was considered impossible, because the network included so many redundant systems that it should have been failsafe.

The only alternative explanation was that a full-scale Soviet nuclear first strike had occurred.

As a result, all SAC bases were put on alert, and B-52 bomber crews warmed up their engines and moved their planes onto runways, awaiting orders to counterattack the Soviet Union with nuclear weapons. Luckily, those orders were never given. It was discovered that the circuits were not in fact redundant because they all ran through one relay station in Colorado, where a single motor had overheated and caused the entire system to fail.

also in 1979 four command centers received data on their radar screens indicating that the Soviet Union had launched a full-scale nuclear strike. Retaliatory strike measures were employed before it was realised that the alarm had been caused by computer software used for training exercises.

more here

162699.  Tue Apr 03, 2007 11:23 am Reply with quote

America has modified some of its nuclear weapons to use them as conventional bombs, but some experts have warned that to do so might set off Russia's automated Early Warning System leading to possible nuclear war.

more doom-mongering here

165617.  Fri Apr 13, 2007 6:21 am Reply with quote

Here's a story about a guy who dreamt a mobile phone number one night, texted it, it turned out to be some random girl, they kept texting each other and now they've just got married.

"My mum and dad kept saying 'But he could be an axe murderer', but I knew there was something special about it."



165628.  Fri Apr 13, 2007 6:37 am Reply with quote

The mum and dad were right, though - he's definitely going to turn out to be an axe murderer.

165632.  Fri Apr 13, 2007 6:44 am Reply with quote

There was a story in the papers a couple months back about a radio station which ran a competition in which people had to text "I found out about your secret" to a number chosen at random from their address book, and then report back the outcome. The winner was a girl who texted the woman who taught her dance class, and the woman texted back to say "I knew you'd find out sooner or later, so I'd better come clean" and revealed that she was in fact this girl's real mother.

It was so obviously either a lie by the girl or a stunt by the radio station or both that I didn't even bother to clip the story.

167149.  Wed Apr 18, 2007 4:14 am Reply with quote

Auction Fraud is by far the most common offence committed on the internet. 44.9% of all complaints were about this problem

report (pdf)


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