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Bin Laden 'fathered four children while on run' !

Osama bin Laden fathered four children as he hid out in Pakistan after the 9/11 attacks, his youngest wife told interrogators, according to a police report seen by AFP on Friday.
Amal Abdulfattah's account provides rare details of the Al-Qaeda leader's life from when he fled Afghanistan in late 2001 until his death aged 54 last May during a US Navy SEAL operation in Abbottabad, in Pakistan.
Abdulfattah, from Yemen, was arrested by Pakistani authorities following the US raid on bin Laden's compound near the Pakistani capital Islamabad, along with two of his Saudi wives, and her five children.
The three detained widows face charges of illegally entering and residing in Pakistan. Abdulfattah, 30, was shot while trying to protect her husband, according to the US.
The Pakistan police report, dated January 19, said Abdulfattah was born into a family of 17 children and married bin Laden because "she had a desire to marry a Mujahedeen", using the term for "holy warrior".
The report, from the office of the inspector general of police in Islamabad, recommended Abdulfattah and her children be immediately deported.

After arriving in Pakistan in July 2000 on a three-month visa, in the company of her sister and brother-in-law, Abdulfattah travelled to Kandahar, in neighbouring Afghanistan, at the time capital of the Taliban regime.
The date of her marriage to bin Laden was not specified, but the police report said afterwards she moved in with him and his other two wives.
"She further revealed that after the incident of 9/11, they all scattered and she came to Karachi with one of her daughter's, Safia," the report said. Safia, her first child by the Al-Qaeda kingpin, was born in Kandahar in 2001.
She stayed in Karachi for eight to nine months, moving between homes arranged for them by Pakistani families and bin Laden's oldest son Saad.
Abdulfattah then met back with the fleeing bin Laden in Peshawar, in northwest Pakistan. The report suggests that the pair did not part from that moment until the raid in Abbottabad.
They stayed for eight or nine months in Swat, then for two years in Haripur, 90 minutes from Islamabad, before moving to the garrison town of Abbottabad in 2005.
During this time, Abdulfattah had four other children by bin Laden, by then the most-wanted man in the world.
In Haripur, Aasia, a girl, was born in 2003 and Ibrahim, a boy, was born the next year.
On both occasions Abdulfattah gave birth in a public hospital, the police report said.
The other two children, Zainab, a girl, and Hussain, a boy, were born in Abbottabad in 2006 and 2008.
According to the report, the family movements while they were on the run were organised by "Ibrahim and Abrar", two Pakistanis given responsibility for the task by members of Al-Qaeda.
Both the men were killed by the Americans during the raid on Abbottabad and had been living in the same compound, along with Ibrahim's wife, Bushra, and bin Laden's son, Khalid.
The continued detention of bin Laden's wives has led to accusations that Pakistan is attempting to muzzle them to stop them from providing details that could embarrass Islamabad or add to suspicions it knew where bin Laden was.
Pakistan was humiliated by the covert American operation that killed the Al-Qaeda leader in the early hours of May 2, practically on the doorstep of the country's elite military academy.



Fans Are The Best Mosquito Repellent

 Health, News, Skin Care 
Why a simple house fan is the best mosquito repellent.... and it’s definitely not the reason you’re thinking of…
 But regardless of how good the cure may be, nothing can compare to effective preventive measures, and according to a recent article in the NY Times, researchers have uncovered the best mosquito repellent – a simple house fan.
Although many may jump to the conclusion that this method works because a fan generates enough wind to keep the mosquito from landing on your skin, the reality is somewhat more scientific.
Repel Mosquitoes With House Fan
In fact, the wind from the fan disperses the carbon dioxide you exhale, and carbon dioxide attracts mosquitoes and other pests. In a 2003 study, a team of entomologists at Michigan State University set up traps in the wetlands by the C.D.C. to catch mosquitoes. The team found that releasing carbon dioxide into the traps attracted more mosquitoes, and the more carbon dioxide they releases, the mosquitoes they caught.
The team also used fan-generated winds of various speeds helped keep them away. But found there was no link between wind “velocity” and “mosquito body mass.”
“We recommend that fan-generated wind should be pursued as a practical means of protecting humans or pets from mosquitoes in the backyard setting,” they wrote.
As I mentioned in our previous How To Relieve Mosquito Bites post, being based in Thailand gives me the opportunity to try out these repellents and remedies on a daily basis. Many Thais use fans to keep mosquitoes away both indoors and outdoors, and it really works. But until coming across this information, I have to admit that I too thought it was simply a case of ‘blowing’ them away, now I know different.


If You're Using 'Password1,' Change It. Now.

The number one way hackers get into protected systems isn't through a fancy technical exploit. It's by guessing the password.

That's not too hard when the most common password used on business systems is "Password1."

There's a technical reason for Password1's popularity: It's got an upper-case letter, a number and nine characters. That satisfies the complexity rules for many systems, including the default settings for Microsoft's widely used Active Directory identity management software.

Security services firm Trustwave spotlighted the "Password1" problem in its recently released "2012 Global Security Report," which summarizes the firm's findings from nearly 2 million network vulnerability scans and 300 recent security breach investigations.

Around 5% of passwords involve a variation of the word "password," the company's researchers found. The runner-up, "welcome," turns up in more than 1%.

Easily guessable or entirely blank passwords were the most common vulnerability Trustwave's SpiderLabs unit found in its penetration tests last year on clients' systems. The firm set an assortment of widely available password-cracking tools loose on 2.5 million passwords, and successfully broke more than 200,000 of them.

Verizon came up with similar results in its 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report, one of the security industry's most comprehensive annual studies. The full report will be released in several months, but Verizon previewed some of its findings at this week's RSA conference in San Francisco.

Exploiting weak or guessable passwords was the top method attackers used to gain access last year. It played a role in 29% of the security breaches Verizon's response team investigated.

Verizon's scariest finding was that attackers are often inside victims' networks for months or years before they're discovered. Less than 20% of the intrusions Verizon studied were discovered within days, let alone hours.

Even scarier: Few companies discovered the breach on their own. More than two-thirds learned they'd been attacked only after an external party, such as a law-enforcement agency, notified them. Trustwave's findings were almost identical: Only 16% of the cases it investigated last year were internally detected.

So if your password is something guessable, what's the best way to make it more secure? Make it longer.

Adding complexity to your password -- swapping "password" for "p@S$w0rd" -- protects against so-called "dictionary" attacks, which automatically check against a list of standard words.

But attackers are increasingly using brute-force tools that simply cycle through all possible character combinations. Length is the only effective guard against those. A seven-character password has 70 trillion possible combinations; an eight-character password takes that to more than 6 quadrillion.

Even a few quadrillion options isn't a big deal for modern machines, though. Using a $1,500 computer built with off-the-shelf parts, it took Trustwave just 10 hours to harvest its 200,000 broken passwords.

"We've got to get ourselves using stuff larger than human memory capacity," independent security researcher Dan Kaminsky said during an RSA presentation on why passwords don't work.

He acknowledged that it's an uphill fight. Biometric authentication, smartcards, one-time key generators and other solutions can increase security, but at the cost of adding complexity.

"The fundamental win of the password over every other authentication technology is its utter simplicity on every device," Kaminsky said. "This is, of course, also their fundamental failing."

World’s first all-diamond, 150-carat ring created by Swiss jeweler; worth $70 million

Shawish Jewelry has created the world's first diamond ring.
Not impressed? Well, consider that the entire ring  is carved from a diamond, whereas most other diamond rings are composed of a precious-metal band with a diamond centerpiece. Styleite writes that the 150-carat ring runs laps around some other famous diamond competitors, including Beyoncé's 18-carat engagement ring from Jay-Z and the even better known 30-carat ring given to the late Elizabeth Taylor by Richard Burton.
The ring was created by Shawish's president and CEO Mohamed Shawesh using lasers (yes, lasers!) along with traditional diamond cutting and polishing techniques. It took a full year to carve the ring, which has been copyrighted and is expected to sell for $70 million.


Abstraction of Form

The simple, yet striking Ariva furniture series is an example of neoplasticism in its purest form. Each piece avoids symmetry and attains aesthetic balance by the use of opposition. The designs play with the geometry of the straight line, square and rectangle combined with strong asymmetrically to skew the viewer’s perception. From the side, each piece is slender and skeletal, but from the front appears thick and robust. In pure white, the series is as refined as it is peculiar.
Designer: Manuel Barbieri

Fungus-Farming Ants First To Find Natural Pesticides

Leaf-cutter ants, which use leaves to raise a fungal crop to support a colony of millions, seem to have discovered farming long before humans evolved. They may also have beaten us to natural pesticides by a comfortable margin.
Although it's not possible to assign a date to the ants' latter discovery, the results of a new study suggest that fungus-cultivating ants may have co-evolved with bacteria whose antibiotic compounds help them protect their crop. [Infographic: The Life of an Ant]
There are 230 species of fungus-farming ants, all of which cultivate fungus for food. However, their fungal crop is often attacked by a parasitic fungus, called Escovopsis. To prevent infections, the ants have adopted special defenses against the parasite, including fungus grooming, in which they run their mouthparts over their crops and lap up the parasite's spores, according to senior researcher Cameron Currie, an evolutionary biologist and microbiologist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

A bacterial ally

As a doctoral student, Currie discovered leaf-cutter ants carried bacteria around with them, visible as fuzzy white patches on their exoskeletons. Later, in 2005, he and colleagues identified the bacteria as Pseudonocardia, which is part of a group, Actinobacteria, that is a source of human antibiotics. There was evidence that the bacteria helped the ants maintain their fungus gardens, leading the researchers to believe that ants had beat humans to some of our major innovations, Currie said.
"It was a bit of a joke at first," he said.
In research published Wednesday (Nov. 24) in the journal the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Currie and his team found that of the roughly six types of Pseudonocardia bacteria, certain types are associated with certain species of ants and their agricultural systems. For instance, among ants that raise fungus on cut leaves, the vast majority of the symbiotic bacteria present belong to two closely related groups.
The researchers also tested how effective different Pseudonocardia strains were in suppressing fungal growth, particularly that of the ants' nemesis Escovopsis. Here, they found that the parasite was more susceptible to the antibiotics produced by Pseudonocardia than were other fungi. They also noticed that strains of Pseudonocardia found dwelling on ants were more effective against the parasite than free-living strains.

A long history together

Currie estimates that ants have been growing fungus gardens for up to 50 million years. Relatives of the parasitic fungus are known to attack other fungi, including relatives of the fungal crops. This suggests that when ants domesticated the fungus, they probably acquired the pathogen as well, he said.
It's hard to put a date on when the ants recruited the bacteria to help, but this study suggests the bacteria have been associated with this system for long periods as well, he said.
In fact, some fungus-growing ants house Pseudonocardia within cavities in their workers' exoskeletons, and may even feed them from specialized glands. On their nuptial flight, queens carry a pellet of the fungal crop in their mouths and the bacteria on their exoskeletons to their new colony. To have such a specialized partnership suggests a long period of evolution.
What's more, a piece of amber from the Dominican Republic offers a more-than-20-million-year-old clue: Bacteria are visible on an ant trapped within it. It's not clear; however, which type of bacteria is associated with the preserved ant, according to Currie.
Other organisms also seem to be involved in this ant-fungus-bacteria system. Another type of bacteria transforms nitrogen into a useable form, effectively fertilizing the cultivated fungi in leaf-cutter farms. Meanwhile, black yeast appear throughout the farms, and research has shown that, at least in one system, they eat the Pseudonocardia, making it more difficult for the ants to feed their crop.


“Never offer a bald man a comb”

Dan Kennedy’s funny quote, “Never offer your comb to a bald man” is both humorous and very important to you as a marketer.
You have to really know your prospects and your customers. 
Think about it right now:
“How much do you REALLY know about your customers?”
Are you making the mistake of offering combs to bald men?
Most business owners know more about their favorite character on TV than they do about their customers or ideal prospects.
It’s sad, but it’s true!
You have to investigate – do research – to know as much about your target market as possible.
ASK YOUR CUSTOMERS what other goods or services or options THEY might like.
“Build to suit them!” Find and understand your target market FIRST, then develop the product/service/offer and MESSAGE to match them.
The BIG lesson here is:
Match your Marketing MESSAGE to match the market you’re speaking to.


Photos Inside Favela Drug King’s Palace

In the last week, elite Brazilian law enforcement and military units cordoned off and invaded the favelas in Rio De Janeiro. There was a fierce struggle with automatic weapons fire and large numbers of casualties.
This particular location was home to one of the more infamous gang kingpins.
Local children play in the now abandoned house.
Why yes, that is supposed to be Justin Bieber. Hence why we’ve categorized this as WTF.

Dumbbells With Strings Attached

The ReCoil is a workout system where you can train with plain dumbbells or up the act with resistant bands. The bands are cleverly coiled up inside each pod so that you can use them in various stances and have a totally customized workout.
The pods are detachable and can be screwed onto the specially designed dumbbell or curl bar.
I almost forgot, the resistant bands are color-coded and offer different levels of resistance.
The ReCoil is a 2011 IDEA Awards entry.
Designer: Emron Jackson Henry and Professor Bryan Howell

History of medicine in Iran

The history of medicine in Iran is as old and as rich as its civilization. In the Avesta, science and medicine rise above class, ethnicity, nationality, race, gender and religion.

Some of the earliest practices of ancient Iranian medicine have been documented in the Avesta and other Zoroastrian religious texts.

During the Achaemenid era (559-330 BCE), the 21 books of Avesta encompassing 815 chapters were an encyclopedia of science consisting of medicine, astronomy, law, social science, philosophy, general knowledge, logic and biology.

It can be inferred from these books that Zoroastrians placed great importance on personal hygiene, public health and the prevention of contagious diseases.

The best teachers of medicine and astrology were Iranian Magi and Mobeds (Zoroastrian priests) who passed their knowledge on to their pupils from one generation to the next.

According to Avestan texts, King Jamshid was the physician who initiated the custom of bathing with hot and cold water.

Iranians refrained from polluting the four elements. They would not bathe or wash dirty objects in flowing water, and urinating or spitting into water was considered a great sin.

Odorous materials were never thrown into the fire. Wild rue and frankincense were always burned inside houses to kill insects and bacteria, a custom which continues to this today.

The Persians, who lived in an empire stretching from the Indus valley in the east to the Aegean Sea in the west with considerable variation in climate and vegetation, became familiar with a vast range of medicinal plants.

The Avesta mentions several medicinal herbs including basil, chicory, sweet violet, and peppermint, while Bundahishn cites the names of thirty sacred medicinal plants.

Avestan texts list not only the various parts of plants such as roots, stems, scales, leaves, fruit and seeds used for treatment but also indicate which plant is the remedy for each disease.

According to the Zâdspram, a Pahlavi text of the ninth century AD, there are thousands of species of medicinal plants created by Ahura Mazda for the prevention of thousands of sicknesses created by Ahriman and that the best of these plants is haoma (Vedic soma).

Haoma (Ephedra Vulgaris) is indigenous to the Iranian plateau and contains a large quantity of Ephedrine which is effective in the treatment of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

Garlic was used to reduce blood pressure, combat heart disease and treat infections.

Rue was once a popular remedy for earache, easing shaking fits and joint pain; it was also used to disinfect the house.

Bangha, extracted from Cannabis Indica seeds, has hallucinatory effects and was used as an anesthetic.

Frankincense was used for inhalation therapy.

Aloeswood was used in the treatment of cardiac disease and irregular heartbeat.

Many modern-day Iranian herbalists use reference books inherited from generations past, and still prescribe plants such as Borage, Sweet Marjoram, Fenugreek and Chicory as treatment.

Ancient Persian physicians believed that good health is the result of the 'right' measure of the elements of humor, and that sickness is the product of their excess or deficiency.

Therefore, the medicine of the body consists of keeping the body in good health and re-establishing balance and the medicine of the soul involves curing the body and preserving it from sin.

The Vendidad tells of three kinds of medicine practiced; medicine by the knife (surgery), medicine by herbs, and medicine by divine words, which according to the sacred text, is the best form of the three.

A Mazdean physician-in-training was required to treat and cure three non-Mazdean patients before receiving permission to treat Mazdeans.

In this way physicians were taught to treat any and all patients, whether friend or foe. Avestan scriptures did not restrict giving treatment to Mazdeans alone.

The Ordibehesht Yasht classifies physicians under five categories:

1 - Health Physician (Ashoo Pezeshk)

This physician was in charge of the well-being of the city, preventing the spread of contagious diseases by quarantining, keeping the four sacred elements of water, wind, earth and fire free from contamination, and making sure the sanitation of houses was maintained.

2 - Medical Examiner (Dâd Pezeshk)

Similar to modern-day pathologist/coroners, their duties included examining the dead, performing autopsies when required, the issuance of burial licenses and ascertaining the cause of death with an eye toward finding cures for future cases.

3- Surgeon (Kard Pezeshk)

Archeological excavations in the Burnt City in Sistan have yielded skulls that show signs of surgery. Surgical procedures, difficult and dangerous even in the present time, were much more so in the past when it was not possible to properly anaesthetize patients and medical instruments were rudimentary.

4 - Herbalist (Gyâh Pezeshk)

The origin of herbal medicine predates the development of agriculture and cultivation in Iran, yet some believe that the ancient Persians were the first to document the properties of herbs and to use plants to cure diseases.

5- Psychiatrists (Mantreh Pezeshk)

This physician used holy words and prayers to cure patients suffering from a sickness of body and soul which could not be cured with herbs.

Treatment consisted of verbal communication, the reading of poetry, listening to music and the recitation of prayers, including ones from the holy books of other nations, which were designed to console and heal the patient.

Avestan texts tell of consultation among the surgeons, herbalists and psychiatrists which indicates a form of medical association at the time.

Referring to a foreign physician when a Persian one was at hand was considered a sin, and a physician's fee for service was based on the patient's income while the fee for treating a priest was his pious blessing.

The first physician as documented by Avestan texts was Vivangahan, followed by Abtin, Atrat and Purshaspa.

Mani, Roozbeh, and Bozorgmehr are among the other notable Persian physicians named in the Avesta.

Credit for the establishment of hospital and training system must be given to the ancient Persians, as they founded the first teaching hospital in Gundishapur where medical students practiced on patients under the supervision of physicians.

The international university, founded in 271 AD by Shahpour I, was a center of learning and study in the fields of science and medicine.

The age-old school is still a center of knowledge in Khuzestan Province in southwestern Iran.

Gundishapur, mentioned in Ferdowsi's (935 - 1020 AD) eternal epic Shahnameh (Book of Kings), was located near the city of Susa.

It was an important cultural and scientific center of the Sassanid era (226 - 652 AD) and scholars from various countries, one of whom was Diogenes, studied different fields including medicine at the university.

The library of the university known as the 'city of Hippocrates' consisted of eight floors and 259 halls containing an estimated 400,000 books.

The university was a gathering place for great scientists and physicians from all civilizations of the ancient world, a breeding ground for ideas and innovations.

Medical science, anatomy, dentistry, astronomy, mathematics, philosophy, military command, architecture, agriculture and irrigation were taught in Greek or Syriac and later Pahlavi in the school.

Gundishapur physicians were required to pass special examinations to obtain a license for practicing medicine.

This well-organized medical institute was operated by a director, medical staff, pharmacists and servants, and upon its portal was engraved "knowledge and virtue are superior to sword and strength."

The Sassanid ruler Khosrow Anushiravan (531 - 578 AD) who took an interest in the school and the advancement of medicine sent the Iranian physician Burzuyah to India to obtain medical and scientific books and translate them into the Pahlavi language.

In 550 AD, the world's first medical conference was held on Anushiravan's order in Ctesiphon. Hundreds of Mobeds and physicians from Persia and other countries attended this congress, a historical event which Ferdowsi versified in Shahnameh.

Gundishapur scholars and graduates were appointed to important governmental positions. The minister of health (Iran Dorostbod) was chosen from among the best physicians, and the minister of education (Iran Farhangbod), was an accomplished scholar of philosophy, logic, mathematics or psychology.

Iranian medicine, which combined medical traditions from Greece, Egypt, India and China for more than 4000 years, became the foundation of the medical practices of European countries during the 13th century.

Among the torchbearers of ancient Persia's scientific heritage are Mohammad Zakaria Razi, Abu Nasr Farabi, Omar Khayyam and Avicenna, who used this knowledge to make further discoveries of benefit to all humankind.

Razi, known in the West as Razes (865-925 AD), considered the father of pediatrics and a pioneer of neurosurgery and ophthalmology, discovered and refined the use of ethanol in medicine.

Farabi also known in the West as Alfarabius (872-951 AD), is noted for his contributions to psychology. He wrote the first treatises on social psychology.

Avicenna (980-1037 AD), a prolific genius, introduced systematic experimentation into the study of physiology, experimental medicine, evidence based medicine, clinical trials, risk factor analysis, the idea of a syndrome and contributed to clinical pharmacology and neuropsychiatry.

Khayyam (1048-1131 AD) was a renowned astronomer who contributed to mathematics and calendar reform.

These outstanding scholars are among the many whose names will forever shine in the history of medicine and science and will always be revered by the Iranian people.

An otherworldly upside-down home

Malaysia's first upside-down house brings a childhood fantasy to life.
Photo: Rumah Terbalik
When you were a child, did you spend time wondering what it would be like to walk on the ceiling? If so, you are probably among the millions who, even as adults, continue to be enchanted by the idea of an upside-down house.
Worldwide, there are a number of upside-down houses. Some offer almost an amusement park experience, but many exist simply to turn the everyday world on end.
Imagine walking down an ordinary street and coming upon an upended house balanced on a front gable. That’s the experience for visitors to Rumah Terbalik, Malaysia’s first upside-down house. From the outside, it looks exactly like its neighbors, traditional Sabah village residences. A wheelbarrow leans against a wall and a sedan is parked in the adjacent carport. All typical except they are upside down.
Finishing touches in the living room include a typewriter, coffee cup, soft drink,
even a cigarette in an ashtray.
Photo: Rumah Terbalik
Inside, a TV, microwave, tables, chairs and sofas dangle above visitors who navigate the home’s ceilings, steering around light fixtures and ceiling fans. Playing cards and comic books strewn along the floor, a cigarette in an ashtray, make it seem as though the family has just left the room. Even the washing machine and sewing machine hang overhead. Literally everything in the 1,500-square-foot, two-bedroom home is topsy turvy. But in this house it is the visitors who feel they are ones turned on end.
An upside-down car is an everyday occurrence in this topsy-turvy world.
Photo: Rumah Terbalik
In addition to bringing visitors to the region, Rumah Terbalick’s creator, Alexander Yee, says he wants to call attention to the long term impact of unbridled development, which has the potential to turn the world upside down. “The World Stands on its Head” is actually the name of Germany’s upside-down house, while the house in Poland, built during the Soviet era, was said to be a commentary on Communism and state of the world.
Maybe an upside-down house will prove to be the perfect antidote to an increasingly topsy-turvy world.

 By Camilla McLaughlin


The Strangest Things You Can Buy Online !

In rough economic times, people used to resort to selling blood or apples.
Now, thanks to the Internet, they are selling nail clippings, dead mice and the naming rights to their unborn children to help make ends meet.
It's not just people taking advantage of the Internet's potential as a global flea market who are showing that pretty much anything someone could want -- from the mundane to the bizarre -- can be found online. Companies can now connect directly to buyers of their esoteric and exotic wares.

[Related: 10 Unusual Things You Could Rent]
The scientifically minded, for example, can now easily buy skeletons (human, animal or fossilized), owl vomit, snake venom and scorpion poison -- items even the best Wal-Mart can't be expected to keep on its shelves.
Looking to intimidate that smug neighbor with a new Prius? Mortar Investments, a Web site based in Prague, lets you add, for example, a $72,000 SU-100 soviet tank destroyer to an online shopping cart (don't count on an Amazon Prime type of shipping discount).
The marketplace for unusual items can be separated into two categories: "Huh?" and "Wow!" That Russian tank may fall into the latter category, while a cornflake that looks like Jesus fits with the former.
Sites such as offer a portal for the cool and extravagant. Those looking for the downright strange might find more success hunting on Amazon or Etsy. eBay goes the extra step of categorizing nearly 22,000 head-scratching items as "Weird Stuff," "Slightly Unusual," "Really Weird" and "Totally Bizarre." is run by the brother and sister team of Ryan and Erin Carstens. It launched last summer with its first featured product, a see-through canoe.
Erin Carstens says their hope for the site is to be the "definitive curator of everything from slick gadgets and sick oddities" and highlight "truly innovative designs and ideas that merit making it big."
"Or at least those that merit a flurry of idle Web chatter," she adds.
In choosing what products to feature, Carstens says she and her brother try to achieve "a balance between fads and novelties we're fairly sure people will drool over" and more "inspired, and industrious -- but maybe not so obvious -- needful things we hope they'll take the time to explore."
Retro Toys and Games Making a Comeback
Among the popular items featured on the site that have an "artful weirdness" to them, Carstens says, are lights designed to look like a skinned codfish, zombie head bowling balls and "anatomical leggings" that create the illusion of visible muscle and bone.
We took a look at some of the most unique items -- from one-of-a-kind specialties to the strange and often disturbing -- you can buy online.
Stone foot
Have a million dollars tucked away that's just demanding to be spent on either geological formations or a foot fetish? Have we got a deal for you!
On eBay, a seller is offering a naturally formed stone foot described as "truly an amazing piece."
"I feel I must pass this on to someone who will cherish it as much as I have over the years," the seller writes, adding "please do not offer if you do not plan to pay; we have had to re-list due to nonpayment."
The rock, comparable to a size 15 shoe, comes with a story. It was discovered by the owner's great-grandfather while he was on a Sunday walk through the woods of Maine.
"As he was walking his normal route he saw something he has never seen before up ahead," the tale is recounted. "It was two huge trees that were arched as though they were a doorway or passageway to somewhere. As he got closer he could see a glow of shimmery light reflecting out."
As one is expected to do when encountering an otherworldly portal, he stepped into the light (casting aside any wisdom that might be gleaned from watching the movie Poltergeist).
10 Bulletproof Brands in a Bad Economy
"When he opened his eyes the sight he saw amazed him," the seller writes. "He described it to be like Emerald city. The ground was covered in a green soft shimmery moss that was so beautiful and so soft. The sky was bright blue, all most like he was in a fairytale. As he started to walk further he noticed these big footprints in the moss. He started to follow these footprints what seemed to be miles until, they stop abruptly. He looked up and saw that the footsteps stop directly at a stone. When he picked this stone up, in amazement he couldn't believe it was an actual foot. A foot with an ankle toes, arch and even the outline of the toe bones."
"What was this place? What is the meaning of the Stone foot? And what where those foot prints in the moss? Or better yet who or what did they belong to? This is the story that has been passed down in our family. We are not sure what this magically beautiful place was. My family jokes and says maybe big foots home or even another realm," the writer adds.
To quote a popular Internet meme: "Not sure if serious ..."
Zombie apocalypse protection
Need a gift for that special someone who worries the dead will soon walk the earth?
Gerber Legendary Blades, a 72-year-old company that specializes in outdoor, tactical and industrial gear, offers a $349 Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit, a weaponry sampler that includes an assortment of knives, axes and machetes in a convenient travel pack.
"What if it happens? What if our worst fears are realized? If the Dead walk, the continuation of the human race will become a daily struggle," the product's online sales pitch warns. "Are you prepared to protect and defend your family and friends?"
In October's second-season premiere of AMC's series The Walking Dead, characters discover a stash of the Gerber-made blades and used them to dispatch the brain-eating ghouls. A behind-the-scenes look at these and other props is posted online by AMC here.
The Throwdown Bed
Not so much strange as supercool (at least to some, and you know who you are) is the Throwdown Bed sold by, a company that specializes in Mixed Martial Arts and Ultimate Fighting Championship gear, clothing and other similarly themed products.
Made for kids or adults, the $1,250 bed lets you or your kids drift off to dreamland in a steel cage match setting. It includes stairs leading to the ring/mattress, foam padded rails and the Throwdown anvil logo. (For the uninitiated, Throwdown is a famed mixed martial arts training facility in Las Vegas that has branched out into a branded clothing line.)
No word on plans for the next logical step -- building a kitchen fashioned after "The Octagon."
Mail a toenail
An eBay user recently put a toenail up for sale with a minimum bid of $9.99.
"This fell off my foot last night in the shower," he wrote (in all caps, originally). "I'm selling most of my belongings because I lost my job and I need money to pay bills. My friends said, 'Go for it!'"
Yes, that is how bad the economy has become. Was anyone during the Great Depression ever forced to sell toenails? We think not!
Two things are certain: death and taxidermy
Dead animals + Internet = profit.
Surf eBay, Amazon and Etsy and you'll find a wide range of stuffed and preserved critters placed in post-mortem poses for your enjoyment. Mooseheads, squirrels, birds and fish are common.
On Amazon, for example, you can buy a dead raccoon "rowing" a tiny canoe.
We spared you the heebie-jeebies by not including this $80 item on Etsy: a severed mouse head fashion accessory.
"This large, eye-catching hair-pin was inspired by the glamorous world of burlesque," the seller writes beneath a picture that had us imagining Stuart Little as a serial killer. "It features a white taxidermy mouse head sat atop a four-inch-long hairpin. The mouse head is placed on a row of real onyx beads, features a beaded 'necklace' finishing in a large satin bow on the rear, and surrounded by a fan of black feathers ... This unusual and glamorous piece is a definite one-of-a-kind and a real conversation starter. It is sure to add a unique twist to any hairstyle."
Also available, for $25, is the "Taxidermy Duckling Drunken Ducky Little Party Animal."
The "stuffed baby articulated duckling" is mounted on a wooden base, "surrounded by bottles with a cigarette in his mouth."
In a similar vein, "Quack the Ripper" poses a tiny duckling in a bowler hat, scalpel in hand, amid pools of "blood" and the severed duck parts of his victims.
Pee power
Japan's inventors have a knack for taking the mundane and making it surreal. Case in point: batteries.
While unimaginative American consumers probably don't think much about their standard AA and AAA batteries, someone overseas had the creativity to create rechargeable ones -- powered by urine.
The imported NoPoPo Eco Water-powered batteries cost about $57 for a six-pack.
Actually, urine is just one of the liquids -- including plain old boring water, as well as beer or blood -- that can carefully fill these rechargeable batteries using an eyedropper.
Pillow tie
For every problem, someone has a solution. For the Utah-based makers of The Pillow Tie, the need waiting to be filled was for a convenient and comfortable way to sleep at your desk during work.
It may look like a regular tie, but breathing into a concealed nozzle turns the ol' corporate noose into a puffy headrest.
The ties themselves are made of a microfiber/silk blend, and the inflatable piece that rests within the necktie is made of a durable PVC plastic with a small "plug-in hole" valve at the base for easy inflation and deflation.
"The inflatable piece is completely undetectable when worn and not inflated," the company says. "Even in the most formal attire, people will never suspect you're packing a personal pillow."
Not just for slackers at the office, the company Web site adds: "When you rest your forehead on the soft, woven fabric, you will not be left with any incriminating lines from the pew in front of you, nor will you have to lay your face in someone else's drool an a communal airplane pillow."
What Lincoln can get you
The Web site Fiverr posts thousands of things wiling members are willing to do for $5. Among the more typical tasks offered are simple Photoshop work, copywriting and webcam-aided foreign language tutoring. That sort of thing.
But things also get weird ... very weird.
One gentleman offers to send a video of himself singing Happy Birthday in Welsh, wearing only a thong and wooly hat.
A young lady offers to "create a video or Skype of me talking with my mouth full."
"Don't you hate when people talk with their mouth full?! Making noises, grunting, slopping their food while you can see and smell what their eating? What a way to get back at them," she writes. "I will gladly create a video or Skype of me talking with my mouth full grossly and disgusting. You pick the topic or what you want me to talk about and I will do the rest."
A street performer will juggle knives at your request (adding a chainsaw will cost you extra) while reciting up to 15 words of your choosing.
"I will do the best Donald Duck voice ever for $5," boasts another job-seeker, while another offers to carry a personalized sign while recording a video of himself balancing things on his chin.
Ever want a time-lapse video of your message with a bunch of mealworms crawling over it? For just $5 you can make that dream come true.
Fans of the band LMFAO might want to take up one woman on her offer to create a parody song from Sexy And I Know It for you or your business.
"I will let you beat me at Words with Friends," writes another seller of the Scrabble-like game. "I don't often lose, so this should make you feel extra special. I will take my turns slowly, so that you can savor the victory."
Other offers that caught our eye:
"I will go to the store of your choice and videotape dancing behind a random stranger without them knowing."
"I will ask Furry Freddy a teddy bear to be your boyfriend on Facebook for one week. He will tell you how he loves you but will not use adult content."
"I will punch myself in the face one time with my own hand in the cheek just for 5 bucks. And if you are not satisfied i will punch myself again till you are satisfied ... no eye punches though."
"I will create a video with pads and tampons about PMSing. I mean, seriously? How many of you get sick of hearing a girl complain about PMS? It's just an easy way to get back at them, I'll give you some good jokes and let you in on all the abbreviations that PMS 'stands for' ha ha. I can write names, businesses or shout outs on the tampons and pads."
"I will write the message of your choice in 'alphabetti' spaghetti on toast, photograph it and email you the jpg image for you to use as you wish."
"I will pull a condom over my mouth an blow it up with my mouth until it explodes. Then, i will say whatever you want as your message, a joke, a noise, or even say Happy Birthday to one of your friends."
"I will take a full force kick in the nuts from my brother and record my reaction afterwards for a minute or two. I am from Ireland so there will be lovely green grass out in the garden while we are doing it."
Selling souls
Got soul?
The Web site claims to be the Internet's premiere online exchange for the buying and selling of human souls.
If you need quick cash, and don't mind trading eternal damnation for it, they are there to facilitate the process (and no, consumer watchdogs, this isn't a payday loan operation).
This ectoplasmic eBay also claims to let users bid on famous souls, including Henry Kissinger and Bill Gates. We wonder if the latter's spirit comes with security updates and anti-piracy measures.
Buyer (not so) beware
To get the full scope of the unusual items for sale online, it may help to look at one of the most prolific buyers of the bizarre.
Among the infamous items bought by the gambling Web site over the years, often via online auctions: $650,000 for the naming rights of a monkey species; $28,000 for a grilled cheese sandwich some say bears an image of the Virgin Mary; $10,000 for the right to tattoo its Web site address on a woman's forehead (the site also bought advertising space on another woman's pregnant belly); and, in 2006, paying actor William Shatner $75,000 for his kidney stone. 


Twice a year in the Gulf of Mexico rays migrate. About 10 thousand stingrays swim from the Yucatan Peninsula to Florida in the spring and back in the fall.

Moonless Earth Could Potentially Still Support Life, Study Finds

Scientists have long believed that, without our moon, the tilt of the Earth would shift greatly over time, from zero degrees, where the Sun remains over the equator, to 85 degrees, where the Sun shines almost directly above one of the poles.A planet's stability has an effect on the development of life.
A planet see-sawing back and forth on its axis as it orbits the sun would experience wide fluctuations in climate, which then could potentially affect the evolution of complex life.
However, new simulations show that, even without a moon, the tilt of Earth's axis — known as its obliquity — would vary only about 10 degrees.
The influence of other planets in the solar system could have kept a moonless Earth stable. [10 Coolest New Moon Discoveries]
The stabilizing effect that our large moon has on Earth's rotation therefore may not be as crucial for life as previously believed, according to a paper by Jason Barnes of the University of Idaho and colleagues which was presented at a recent meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

Nola Taylor Redd

The Persian Nowruz !

The word "Nowruz" is a compound of two Persian words, "now" which has the same etymology as the English word "new" and means new, and the word "ruz" which means both "day" and "time." Literally meaning the "new day," nowruz is usually translated as "new year." The Persian Nowruz begins on the very first moment of spring equinox (usually the 21st of March). The 21st of March, therefore, is equal to the 1st day of Farvardin of the Persian solar calendar. Although Nowruz is adorned with the beliefs and traditions of the Iranian people, it has a close link with one of the most important aspect of life of all nations on the earth. The creation of the world at the beginning of spring, growing of plants and hope in renewing the nature's life are among the most important characteristics of Nowruz.

The World's Best Gourmet Pizza: 'Tropical Pie' Wins Highest Honor

The Tropical Pie was just named the world's best pizza. (Courtesy of Goodfella's)
To make the world's best pizza you'll need dough, mozzarella cheese and some top shelf tequila.

On Thursday, top pizza-makers from around the globe competed for the title of "World's Best Pizza" at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. At stake was $10,000 and the highest honor in the industry.
This year's big winner was anything but traditional. The "Tropical Pie" - a blend melted asiago and mozzarella cheese, topped with shrimps, thinly sliced and twisted limes, a fresh mango salsa, all resting on a rich pineapple cream sauce infused with Patron.

The recipe, devised by mad pizza scientist Andrew Scudera of Goodfella's Brick Oven Pizza in Staten Island, was months in the making.

"I came up with idea to use tequila, but it was a collaboration," Andrew tells Shine. "Everyone here at the restaurant dived in and gave their input, helping to perfect the recipe by the time we brought it to the show."

The competition in Vegas was steep-particularly in the "gourmet" category, where the Tropical Pie was entered. Unlike the "traditional" competition where standard two topping pies are tossed around, "gourmet" competitors go rogue. The only rule is that there are no rules.

"A lot of different types cuisines compete in the gourmet challenge," says Andrew. "It's a culinary phenomenon." His fiercest competitor: a Japanese chef who made a rice crust topped with sushi-grade raw fish.
Andrew and his Goodfella's team celebrate their win at the Pizza Expo. Andrew and his Goodfella's team celebrate their win at the Pizza Expo.
For Andrew, it's been a long road to Vegas. At 16, Andrew got his first job pushing pies at Goodfella's. Now, 18 years later he's a full-fledged partner in the restaurant. As chef and engineer of the Expo challenge, Andrew wasn't just competing for the cash, he was protecting the honor of his second home.

"We've won the title twice, but this is the first one I've been responsible for," he says. "I've been trying to win it for the past 10 years."

Video: World Pizza Expo's dough toss challenge
Back in Staten Island Friday, the Goodfella's team had already added the Tropical Pie to their menu. A 12-inch version made from scratch by the master himself is priced at $15.99, cheap considering the cost of a single shot of Patron at any New York Bar.

Andrew's booze-soaked pie joins the ranks of another Goodfella's Expo winner from a few years back. "The vodka pizza, it's like a penne ala vodka cream sauce that we make with Absolut," Andrew says.

So does this mean you have to be over 21 to try the world's best pizza?

"We get asked that all the time," says Andrew. "All the alcohol burns off, so you don't need ID to eat it."


Wrong Choices & Rite Places !

An Angel in the Morning

There’s nothing quite like a steaming hot cup of coffee to start the workday- but it’s easy to neglect once you get wrapped up at your desk.
The HALO heating spoon is a nifty little gadget that’ll keep your drink piping hot as long as you’d like. Intuitive controls and light/color signals make it super-easy to use.
Just pop it in, switch on, and let it do the rest!
Designers: Burcu Bag, Amalia Monica, & Vinay Raj Somashekar