Some stories just ask “share me here”

US student is rescued from giant vagina sculpture in Germany

On Friday afternoon, a young American in Tübingen had to be rescued by 22 firefighters after getting trapped inside a giant sculpture of a vagina. The Chacán-Pi (Making Love) artwork by the Peruvian artist Fernando de la Jara has been outside Tübingen University’s institute for microbiology and virology since 2001 and had previously mainly attracted juvenile sniggers rather than adventurous explorers.

The comments on the Guardian’s site are, as one might expect, brilliant.

Parts from my old (failed) attempt to build a small computer

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Finally inventoried the parts after years in storage. Lot of chips, though nothing that rare or interesting. Somewhere I have the schematics I designed. Will scan them when I find them. I doubt it really would have worked, and I never got an EPROM programmer working. Very tempted to try to figure out how to reuse some of this building something like N8VEM.

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A good day for cooking.

Made macaroni and cheese for dinner today; have never been able to successfully make a smaller, “limited leftovers” version without it either growing to a larger portion or turning into a disaster, but I got it right today… Great way to use some otherwise over-sharp, slightly bitter Edam. Add pecorino and a sharp vt. cheddar, and … yum. About a Wonder if Nadia will like the leftovers tomorrow.
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A quick bit of FFMPEG magic to improve VHS rips

fmpeg -i Old_VHS_copy.avi -threads 0 -aspect 4:3 -vf "pp=ac/lb/ha/va/dr/al,frei0r=brightness:0.625,frei0r=contrast0r:1.05,frei0r=saturat0r:0.10,hqdn3d=4:4:7,scale=480:-1,unsharp" -codec:a libfaac -b:a 64k -codec:v libx264 -profile:v high444 -preset:v placebo Much_Better.mkv

Found the frei0r contrast/brightness/saturation controls MUCH better than the MP2 ones.

Amount of de-noise (before downsize) and sharpening (after) is to taste, obviously, as is the amount of brightness/contrast improvement. This source was AWFUL!

A second fragment of fiction

“This is my boomstick,” yelled Bob.

The villagers looked at him incredulously and returned to their business, if perhaps a bit more slowly. Bob cycled the bolt on his rifle, which made a satisfying thunk as it fed a cartridge into the chamber.

The villagers continued going about their business with nothing more than a few wary looks, but the apparent tranquility was swiftly broken as Bob raised the rifle to near-vertical and fired a shot into the air. With the loud report, several villagers ran from the square; others stopped what they were doing and dropped behind cover.

However, one tall woman simply turned towards Bob and said, “That wasn’t funny.”

“Well, at least it got someone’s attention.” Bob returned the rifle to a relaxed carry. “I take it you know what this is?”

“Yeah, and ‘Boob Stick’ was only funny when Bruce Campbell said it.”

Bob looked at her for a moment. “Whoever you are, you’ve sure gone native. How long have you’ve been here?”

“Put that away and we’ll talk.”

Bob removed the clip, then opened the bolt and slung the rifle on his back. “This good enough?”

“For now, yes,” she said, nodding. She gestured with her hands for the villagers to get up, then spoke briefly in their language. They slowly began to get up and resume what they were doing.

“Seems like you’re American too,” she said, “and recently arrived from your behavior.”

He nodded. “Mind answering how long you’ve been here?”

“Nine years. It was 1997 back when I appeared here. Is it 2006 over there?”

Bob shook his head. “Twenty-twelve. Does that mean time passes quicker here than there?”

She muttered something under her breath, then replied, “I don’t know. You’re the first person I’ve met who might have been from the same Earth, or at least one close enough to get a recent movie reference. Some of the others have had calendars which were just … different … or come from the 1500s.” She shook her head. “So I don’t know; maybe your Earth was always six years ahead of mine.”

“Fair enough.” Bob sighed, loudly, and extended his hand. “My name’s Bob.”

“For now, you can call me Alice.”

Canada to Ban Foreign Strippers

via FlyerTalk OMNI:
Canada Stripping Visas for Foreign Strippers

What’s this debate over Canada’s move to ban foreign strippers, escorts and massage-parlor workers really about? On one side, you have the Adult Entertainment Association, which is upset that the government is stripping away a pool of potential moneymaking workers, whereas on the other side, you have the government, which is saying that cutting back on human trafficking and exploitation is at the heart of the decision.

The Conservative Party government’s Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney, announced that starting next month, Canada will no longer renew visas for foreigners working as strippers. Already the government has cut back on how many new visas it grants, down to just 12 in 2011. But it had been continuing to renew previous visas. Not anymore.

“‘Depraved’ sex acts by penguins shocked polar explorer”

‘Depraved’ sex acts by penguins shocked polar explorer

9 June 2012 Last updated at 20:36 ET
By Matt McGrath Science reporter, BBC World Service
Accounts of unusual sexual activities among penguins, observed a century ago by a member of Captain Scott’s polar team, are finally being made public.

Details, including “sexual coercion”, recorded by George Murray Levick were considered so shocking that they were removed from official accounts.

However, scientists now understand the biological reasons behind the acts that Dr Levick considered “depraved”.

The Natural History Museum has published his unedited papers.

Mr Levick, an avid biologist, was the medical officer on Captain Scott’s ill-fated Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole in 1910. He was a pioneer in the study of penguins and was the first person to stay for an entire breeding season with a colony on Cape Adare.

Who knew? (Or, as someone on Flyertalk put it “Fifty shades of penguin?”

Random musings, justifiable rants, and occasional News of the Weird.

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