In Sanity We Trust

...Broken News...
October 2006

Dead Famous People

Forbes have released their annual list of top earning dead celebrities with rock 'n' Roll suicide Kurt Cobain leading the pack. Perhaps not surprisingly music industry legends feature prominantly, both dead Beatles are there as are Elvis and Johnny Cash who has released two albums this year. Also prominent are Charles Schulz, creater of Peanuts, Albert Einstein and Pop Art icon Andy Warhol.

The full list:

1. Kurt Cobain, musician $50 million
2. Elvis Presley, musician $42 million
3. Charles M. Schulz, cartoonist $35 million
4. John Lennon, musician $24 million
5. Albert Einstein, scientist $20 million
6. Andy Warhol, artist $19 million
7. Dr. Suess, author $10 million
8. Ray Charles, musician $10 million
9. Marlyn Monroe, actress $8 million
10. Johnny Cash, musician $8 million
11. J. R. R. Tolkien, author $7 million
12. George Harrison, musician $7 million
13. Bob Marley, musician $7 million

Forbes - Top-Earning Dead Celebrities

Pie Chart Humor Break this one out at your next big business presentation to break the ice.

Do Lepidoptera Change their Spots
on the Bedpost Over Night?

North American Monarch butterflies differ from other butterflies in that they migrate up to 5000km in each direction every year, though it's generally the third or fourth generation which arrives back at the point of departure. The generation that make the trip South for the winter do so in state of reproductive dormancy, they are physiologically different to earlier generations as they are designed to travel long distances and become fertile at places along the route. It is unlikely that any individual would be able make the entire journey in both directions.

Scientists tag the butterflies in order to uncover some of the mysteries surrounding the migration such as what phenomena ensure that the butterflies followthe same route year after year despite it being their maiden journey each time.

The Butterfly Website - The Migratory Behavior of the Monarch Butterfly
Ecology.info - Fall Migration Ecology of the Monarch Butterfly
PBS: Online - Alien Empire: Voyagers, Monarch Migration

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Diversions:

This one from our "Gratuitous Time Wasting Department", do a google search on your name followed by "was arrested for" and see what turns up. I managed to get this creep at the top of my list.

Respected lycanthropologist Robert Cardy introduces the phenomenon of the Roaming Werewolf and discusses the implications for the wolf-in-residence in the urban setting.

Apple iTunes      Apple iTunes       Apple iTunes

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Think for yourself and question authority.

- Timothy Leary



Flashback
The Wandering Ant

Hanoi, June 21. I feel like I'm under seige. The vendors and taxi drivers just don't take no for an answer. The summer heat is oppressive. My hotel room is liberally infested with vermin, notably ants and cockroaches. I don't mind the ants so much, they are industrious creatures and at least dispose of the dead cockroaches. Verily, they are themselves cannibals and will carry off their fallen comrades for later consumption.

I've often wondered, if an ant gets separated from it's colony, say for example it goes out with the rubbish and gets carted half-way across town, does it simply die, join another troop, or is it's destiny to wander the earth seeking new purpose and meaning? Sort of like a Kwai Chang Kane of the insect world.

Things like that keep me up at night......

ants

Industrious creatures, ants.

Conspiracy and Regicide

Fire ants have several queens at once, which is certainly advantageous in respect to genetic diversification within the colony. When an overly fertile queen is produced she is summarily terminated by a grass roots level movement engineered by the passage of pheremones - from ant to ant. The hapless hussy is ultimately grist for the mill, and good riddance. The contention of some scientists is that a limited gene diversity increases the vulnerability of the nest against parasites and diseases.

ABC Gateway to Science - The secret sex life of bugs.

The garden variety single queen ant colony has a different way of doing things. The one queen produces a substance on her body which is irresistable to any ants within her proximity, whom lick it up. Curiously I read recently of a similar event involving a horse but that's a whole other thing. In any case, the substance renders all the females infertile reducing any threats threat to the queen. When the queen dies another is produced to continue the existence of the colony.

The queen is dead. Long live the queen!

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Betel-nut Beauty

10/10/2006 Double Ten Day in Taiwan

Today is Taiwan's national day a.k.a. "double ten day". It's a day off work which is nice.

The recent arrival in Taiwan may well wonder at the red stained pavements in places and have cause to think they have stumbled on the scene of a recent and bloody murder. Rather than the residue of some misadventure however, it's simply the dried remains of betel-nut juice, which is spat out rather than swallowed.

The next thing that may give reason for pause is the marketing stategy. Glass cased roadside kiosks house scantily clad young women giving testament that the advantages of using sex to sell a product has not been lost on the Betel-nut Barons.

Right: Betel-nut Beauty plies her trade.

More on Betel-nut in Taiwan and the Betel-nut Beauty:
Travels in Asia: Betel-nut

Betel Nut Beauty

Comments

Oct 9th 2006

That works for me on so many levels. All I'm saying, they don't LOOK unskilled, is all. Had betel a few times, no great shakes, dropping a gram of choline w/ a multi-vitamin should do much the same; relaxing as well as stimulating. believe the cancer link is to flavouring added, not areca. parasympathetic (autonomic) stimulant, meaning runs on acetylcholine not adrenaline etc., stimulates automatic reflexes such as basic breathing. Also, kills intestinal parasites, important in indonesia, borneo etc. good work. had insight into "I wish... dunedin girls" the other day. Tho there ought to be more beauty on display in Ak or Wgtn, there ain't, and it may be that the girls feel safe enough to flaunt themselves here on a relaxed level, there aren't the obvious bare-faced rapists and masturbators kerb-crawling or lurking in doorways etc. - the lack of on-street hookers to serve as reminders of carnal fall here is another factor.

- George D Henderson, Dunedin, NZ

World's 100 Largest Economic Entities (2000)

The list begins much as you might expect 1. U.S.A. 2. Japan 3. Germany..... until number 23 when General Motors appears. Further down Wal-Mart, Exxon, Ford and Daimler-Chrysler show up. Also in there are I.B.M., Mitsubishi and Boeing.

The full list

I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.
- Hunter S. Thompson (1939 - 2005)



Xena Name Change

Recently Pluto was demoted to "Dwarf Planet" status largely due to it's irregular orbit and the fact that some bodies recently discovered in the Kuiper Belt are of comparable size or indeed larger. The minor planet 2003 UB313, nicknamed "Xena" which has been at the centre of that cosmic controversy, has now been officially dubbed Eris, the Greek goddess of chaos. The choice is perhaps appropriate given the circumstances though it's bound to upset those in favour of the warrior princess.

Bad Astronomy Blog - Xena is no more
National Geographic - Pluto Gets New Name, as Does "Xena"
Cnet News.com - Xena and Gabrielle sacked in favor of Eris and Dysnomia

Right: Lucy Lawless is Xena, warrior princess.

Some Things You Might Need To Know

Our Galaxy, The Milky Way is roughly 100,000 light years across and we travel within it at about 220 km/s. Despite this terrific velocity it still takes our sun about 250 million years to make a complete rotation around the galaxy. Our address is......The local Orion Spur spiral arm of the Milky Way (third stone from the sun!). That's roughly 8000 parsecs from the galactic center. We are part of the Local Group in the Virgo Supercluster. Our nearest neighbour is a dwarf called Sagittarius and we are on a collision course with the galaxy Andromeda. You can sit tight for now though as this won't take place for another 10 billion years or so.

N.A.S.A.When galaxies collide (photograph)

The Universe Began with a Great Almighty Bang

Our Universe is about 13.8 billion years old. It started with the The Big Bang, though "bang" is a bit of a misnomer as there could not have been any sound whatsoever in the void. Black holes began to form very soon after the big bang. The one at the centre of our own galaxy is estimated to be about 3 million times the mass of our sun. Far from beeing the devastating destructive menace of sci-fi lore, black holes it seems were crucial in the formation of galaxies are now considered to be more like the engine rooms and they help keep the things together. There are some hundred billion galaxies in the universe, each containing hundreds of billions of stars (in very round numbers). In about seventy billion years the universe will begin to grow cold and dark as it thins out into a dilute field of elementary particles and radiation expanding infinitely.

Cosmic Zoom Universe Viewer

Comments

Oct 4th 2006

aw fuck! here was me, looking forward to retirement...only to find out that EVERYTHING will be annihilated BEFORE, at my rate of pay minus gst minus super minus sunscreen (cos we'll need to use a lot of that, right, as we get closer to..um..COMPLETE DESTRUCTION?), before, I repeat (hysterically now) i've saved enough to buy an underground shelter !!! (Because my friend, by THAT time they will have figgered out a DOOZY of an annihilation-proof shelter! They don't call 'em THEY for nothing!

- Bob Brannigan, Auckland , NZ.


The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me.

- Blaise Pascal (deceased)

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