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Sunday, March 28, 2010

In the News: March 28, 2010

Starting with an attention grabber:

Russian maths genius Perelman urged to take $1m prize 

If this guy's picture didn't get your attention, I don't know what will.

"Russian maths genius Grigory Perelman, who declined a prestigious international award four years ago, is under new pressure to accept a prize.

A US institute wants to give him $1m (£700,000) for solving one of the world's most complex mathematical problems, the Poincare Conjecture.

But it is unclear whether Dr Perelman, a virtual recluse, will pick it up.

A children's charity in St Petersburg, where he lives, has urged him to take the money and give it to charity.

Dr Perelman, 43, has cut himself off from the outside world for the past four years, living with his elderly mother in a tiny flat said by neighbours to be infested with cockroaches."

Grigory Perelman already won maths accolades as a teenager

"The mathematician is reported to have said "I have all I want" when contacted by a reporter this week about the Clay Millennium Prize.

According to the UK's Daily Mail newspaper, he was speaking through the closed door of his flat."

Ever wonder why "genius" and "unusual social recluse" go hand-in-hand so often?
(BBC)


Love, sex and the male brain
Another attention grabber?
This is a pretty interesting article on why men behave the way they do.
Some may see it as insightful, I see some useful excuses to use...


"Although women the world over have been doing it for centuries, we can't really blame a guy for being a guy. And this is especially true now that we know that the male and female brains have some profound differences."

"Perhaps the biggest difference between the male and female brain is that men have a sexual pursuit area that is 2.5 times larger than the one in the female brain. Not only that, but beginning in their teens, they produce 20 to 25-fold more testosterone than they did during pre-adolescence.

If testosterone were beer, a 9-year-old boy would be getting the equivalent of a cup a day. But a 15-year-old would be getting the equivalent of nearly two gallons a day. This fuels their sexual engines and makes it impossible for them to stop thinking about female body parts and sex."

"All that testosterone drives the "Man Trance"-- that glazed-eye look a man gets when he sees breasts. As a woman who was among the ranks of the early feminists, I wish I could say that men can stop themselves from entering this trance. But the truth is, they can't. Their visual brain circuits are always on the lookout for fertile mates. Whether or not they intend to pursue a visual enticement, they have to check out the goods.

To a man, this is the most natural response in the world, so he's dismayed by how betrayed his wife or girlfriend feels when she sees him eyeing another woman. Men look at attractive women the way we look at pretty butterflies. They catch the male brain's attention for a second, but then they flit out of his mind. Five minutes later, while we're still fuming, he's deciding whether he wants ribs or chicken for dinner. He asks us, "What's wrong?" We say, "Nothing." He shrugs and turns on the TV. We smolder and fear that he'll leave us for another woman."
(CNN)

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Bin Laden threatens Americans with execution

Like a whiny child, I know he just does it to get a reaction... but this logic just boggles my mind.

"Osama bin Laden threatened al Qaeda would kill any Americans it takes prisoner if accused September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is put to death, according to an audiotape aired on al Jazeera on Thursday."

So... KSM killing almost 3,000 innocent lives means nothing, but punishing him for doing so requires retaliation?

""It's the height of absurdity for anyone associated with al Qaeda to even suggest that now, at long last, they're going to start treating captives badly," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"They may have forgotten Danny Pearl and all the others they've slaughtered, but we haven't.""
(Reuters)


More ridiculousness
North Korea issues warning over Mount Kumgang tour ban

Mount Kumgang was meant to showcase co-operation

"North Korea has threatened to take "extraordinary measures" unless South Korea lifts its ban on tours to Mount Kumgang resort, an official said.

The warning was issued to a group of South Korean businessmen, who visited the resort after Pyongyang threatened to seize their assets if they did not.

Built with South Korean money, the resort used to earn North Korea tens of millions of dollars a year.

But tours were suspended when a South Korean tourist was shot dead."

"Observers suggest that the North is becoming increasingly desperate for sources of foreign cash as it labours under a strict sanctions regime, and still suffers the effects of last year's badly managed currency reform."
(BBC)


Onward with some lighter fare:
Heathrow worker warned over body scanner misuse


"A Heathrow Airport security guard was given a police warning after he was allegedly caught staring at images of a female colleague in a body scanner.

The 25-year-old worker was quizzed by police over alleged remarks he made to his co-worker after she entered a scanner by mistake."

If I worked at an airport, I think a fun game would be to try and lure coworkers through the body scanner machine.
Not sure I would last very long with TSA...
(BBC)


US thieves sentenced after boasting on TV show
"The pair were arrested last September - nearly a year after an appearance on the Dr Phil television show."
I Want You! to steal toys and sell them for profit!

"A US couple who boasted on a TV show they made as much as $3,500 (£2,318) a week by selling shoplifted toys online have been sentenced to prison terms."

"Assistant US Attorney Nicole Acton Jones had earlier said the couple made at least $100,000 from June 2007 to March 2009 by stealing Lego toy kits, transporting them across state lines and selling them on eBay and other online auction sites, the San Diego 6 website reported."
(BBC)


Branson spacecraft completes test flight
Come on commercial space-flight for the masses...



"British billionaire Richard Branson's dream of space travel that thousands of people can afford took a leap toward reality with the maiden flight of the world's first commercial spacecraft over California's Mojave Desert."

"The VSS Enterprise remained attached to its carrier aircraft for the duration of the 2-hour, 54-minute flight, reaching an altitude of 45,000 feet, according to a statement from Virgin.

Eventually, the 60-foot long rocket plane will be taken 60,000 feet above the Earth by its carrier and fire rockets to propel itself into space."
(CNN)


ACORN plans to shut down

Conservatives view this as a 'win' as now Obama will have to earn his votes next election.

"The community organizing group ACORN announced Monday it is closing its operations amid falling revenues.

The announcement came a day after the board of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now met and approved the steps required "to responsibly manage the process of bringing its operations to a close over the coming months," an ACORN statement read."

"The 40-year-old liberal group was crippled by scandal six months ago when a pair of conservative activists posing as a pimp and a prostitute secretly videotaped two ACORN employees appearing to give them advice about setting up a prostitution ring and evading the IRS.

The video led to the employees being fired.

Afterward, Congress halted Housing and Urban Development grants to ACORN."
(CNN)


Christian Science Church Seeks Truce With Modern Medicine

The "heal the sick" part hasn't been working out too well...
I suspect the "raise the dead"claim has been even less successful.

"Since the founding of their church 131 years ago, Christian Scientists have been taught to avoid doctors at all cost. It is a conviction rooted so deeply in church dogma that dozens of members have endured criminal prosecution rather than surrender an ailing person to what they see as the quackery of medical science.

But faced with dwindling membership and blows to their church’s reputation caused by its intransigence concerning medical treatment, even for children with grave illnesses, Christian Science leaders have recently found a new tolerance for medical care. For more than a year, leaders say, they have been encouraging members to see a physician if they feel it is necessary."
(NYTimes)


Lorry shunt motorway footage sparks probe

"Dramatic footage has emerged of a lorry apparently pushing a car sideways along a motorway in Yorkshire.

The footage, which was posted on YouTube, shows the truck travelling along the A1(M) near Wetherby with the Clio trapped in front."

Found the YouTube clip. It's pretty crazy looking:


"The company said the lorry driver was sent home on Wednesday, when the video emerged on the internet.

He added that the accident happened on 13 January and police had investigated, but to date no action had been taken against the lorry driver."
(BBC)

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