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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

In the News: April 6, 2011

Not really news in itself, but...
Local News April Fool's Joke:

- The female anchor's look of confusion after the montage (0:36)
- The crew mocking her for another minute after
- Weatherman's "pickle girl" impression (2:00)
(via Business Insider)

Moving on...
Judge offers to let Willie Nelson off drugs jail sentence . . . so long as he sings her favourite song in court
I'm telling you, these old rockers have no respect for the law!

He already looks repentant... or sleeping.

"Singer-songwriter and marijuana enthusiast Willie Nelson could have faced a lengthy jail term after he was arrested for possession in November.

But perhaps the Texas prosecutor has been smoking some of Willie’s special cigarettes, because he has agreed to let the 77-year-old legend avoid prison but only if he gives the court a song.

Hudspeth County Attorney Kit Bramblett said: ‘I’m gonna let him plead, pay a small fine and he’s gotta sing “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” with his guitar right there in the courtroom.’

He added: ‘You bet you’re a** I ain’t gonna be mean to Willie Nelson.’
(Daily Mail)

Gravity satellite yields 'Potato Earth' view

"It looks like a giant potato in space.

And yet, the information in this model is the sharpest view we have of how gravity varies across the Earth.

The globe has been released by the team working on Europe's Goce satellite.

It is a highly exaggerated rendering, but it neatly illustrates how the tug we feel from the mass of rock under our feet is not the same in every location.

Gravity is strongest in yellow areas; it is weakest in blue ones.
(Spin the model!: @BBC)


Despite Gulf oil spill, rig owner executives get big bonuses
Oil rig execs: "Best year ever, guys! Safety. Yayyyy!"

"Declaring 2010 "the best year in safety performance in our company's history," Transocean Ltd., owner of the Gulf of Mexico oil rig that exploded, killing 11 workers, has awarded its top executives hefty bonuses and raises, according to a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

That includes a $200,000 salary increase for Transocean president and chief executive officer Steven L. Newman, whose base salary will increase from $900,000 to $1.1 million, according to the SEC report. Newman's bonus was $374,062, the report states.

Newman also has a $5.4 million long-term compensation package the company awarded him upon his appointment as CEO in March 2010, according to the SEC filing.

The latest cash awards are based in part on the company's "performance under safety," the Transocean filing states.

Then they realized that was just stupid...
Gulf oil rig owner apologizes for calling 2010 'best year' ever

"The owner of the Gulf of Mexico oil rig that exploded last year, killing 11 workers and leading to what has been called the worst oil spill ever, said Monday that calling 2010 its "best year" in safety "may have been insensitive.""

""We acknowledge that some of the wording in our 2010 proxy statement may have been insensitive in light of the incident that claimed the lives of eleven exceptional men last year and we deeply regret any pain that it may have caused," Transocean said in a statement to CNN. "Nothing in the proxy was intended to minimize this tragedy or diminish the impact it has had on those who lost loved ones. Everyone at Transocean continues to mourn the loss of these friends and colleagues.""

China 'to overtake US on science' in two years
Although this figure is based on the number of scientific papers published, so "overtaking" us is a relative term.

They will have pretty sweet high-speed rail lines though

"China is on course to overtake the US in scientific output possibly as soon as 2013 - far earlier than expected.

That is the conclusion of a major new study by the Royal Society, the UK's national science academy.

The country that invented the compass, gunpowder, paper and printing is set for a globally important comeback.

An analysis of published research - one of the key measures of scientific effort - reveals an "especially striking" rise by Chinese science.

The study, Knowledge, Networks and Nations, charts the challenge to the traditional dominance of the United States, Europe and Japan.

The figures are based on the papers published in recognised international journals listed by the Scopus service of the publishers Elsevier.

In 1996, the first year of the analysis, the US published 292,513 papers - more than 10 times China's 25,474.

By 2008, the US total had increased very slightly to 316,317 while China's had surged more than seven-fold to 184,080.

Ray slams woman on boat in Florida Keys
The Simpsons claim it will be the dolphins that rise from the seas and invade land.
Between this and what they did to Steve Irwin, I'm totally convinced it will the rays.

"An eagle ray weighing as much as 300 pounds landed on top of a woman on a boat in the Florida Keys last week, throwing her to the deck and pinning her underneath it -- the "scariest thing" that's ever happened to her, she said.

The woman, Jenny Hausch, was on the chartered boat Friday with her husband and three children, taking pictures of a group of eagle rays as they flew out of the water.

"These eagle rays, they were flying through the air," said Kelly Klein of Two Chicks Charters, the captain of the boat. "These giant things go out of the water and slam back down."

Fiery Plane Crash in Roswell

"Authorities say four Gulfstream employees were killed Saturday in a fiery crash of a test twin-engine luxury business aircraft at Roswell's airport.

Officials with the company confirmed that two Gulfstream pilots and two flight-test engineers died in the crash. Their names and other background information weren't immediately released.

The company says the Gulfstream G650 was doing takeoff-performance tests at Roswell International Air Center at the time of the crash.

They're quacking to be new Aflac duck
This is just embarrassing...

Favorite has to be the 2nd to last guy (in the black LA hat). Not even really trying to sound like a duck, just going falsetto and hoping for the best.

"Tired of all the squawking about America's unemployment? Try out for a job as a corporate duck.

People are lining up in six major cities to audition Monday and Tuesday to be the next quacksperson for the insurance company Aflac.

The scene in Atlanta was like the duck itself: grating, conspicuous, and most of all loud.

Why would you just reproduce Donald Duck's voice? Clearly they're not gonna pick that one...

Playful Filipino names hard to get used to
Michael Jackson's kids would fit right in here.

Paquai's daughers are Queen Elizabeth and Princess

"Bizarre and often unflattering names are as quintessentially Filipino as the country's Catholic faith, friendly smiles, former US military jeeps known as jeepneys, beautiful beaches and love of karaoke.

On my first day in Manila, I walked down to the local cafe and was served by a smiling young girl who wore a name badge entitled BumBum.

I did a double-take, then smiled back, deciding it was probably a joke.

But if so, it is a joke that practically the whole country seems to be in on.

Since then I've met a Bambi, three Bogies, several Girlies, a Peanut, a Barbie and a middle-aged man called Babe.

"Sometimes they are nicknames, sometimes genuine first names - but they are always what people are referred to on a day-to-day basis.

Even the president is not spared. His real name is Benigno Aquino, but almost everyone here calls him Noynoy.

Two of his sisters are called Pinky and Ballsy. No-one seems to see the need to ask why.

Speaking of Michael Jackson...
Michael Jackson statue unveiled

I would be a fan of it... if it weren't so ugly...

"Fulham unveiled a statue of Michael Jackson outside its stadium on Sunday, with team chairman Mohamed Al Fayed telling fans to support another Premier League club if they don't like the idea.

Al Fayed, who was close friends with Jackson, danced with children after unveiling the statue of the "King of Pop" before Fulham's home match against Blackpool.

The statue outside Craven Cottage has divided opinion, but Al Fayed launched a passionate defense of his move to commemorate his friendship with Jackson, who died in 2009.

"Why is it bizarre?" he said. "Football fans love it. If some stupid fans don't understand and appreciate such a gift, they can go to hell.

"I don't want them to be fans. If they don't understand and don't believe in things I believe in, they can go to Chelsea, they can go to anywhere else."

"The statue had been slated to be erected outside Harrods department store, but those plans were shelved when Al Fayed sold the business last year."

Next London trip, Fulham will be a stop.

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