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A Humorous Look At News Events And Life Around The World

Archive for January, 2012

No Parties At Microsoft?

Posted by Boghound on January 31, 2012

Microsoft vs Drunk Events

It seems that Microsoft employees didn’t get great Christmas parties as they hoped – software giant, Vole, appeared to be too worried that its image has been tarnished by the heavy drinking antics of its sales people. As a result, he just ordered its staff back off the wagon.

In 2011, the company was too embarrassed after a number of court cases showed that some of its sales meetings looked more as drunk events, just as if the company made a career in drinking. It all started after the Microsoft Global Exchange conference that took place in Atlanta, with the vodka and Jagermeister flowing like water. Indeed, a number of senior executives are alleged to have got “ridiculously drunk”, as well as to have made some unwelcome sexual advances toward female colleagues.

Meanwhile, Microsoft declines the fact that the company has a culture of heavy drinking. As for the industry experts, they joke that attempts to sell Vista would have driven any sane person to the bottle. As a result, Vole has decided to update its code of “ethics and compliance”, which now includes the requirement for both event organizers and participants to exercise common sense and good judgment when alcohol is served at social events. In other words, vodka and Jagermeister are supposed to be off the menu, replaced by a few top quality and unassuming reds.

Although Vole allowed the food to be served along with alcoholic beverages, he added that participants should manage their level of alcohol consumption. Moreover, event sponsors are required to ensure that some alternative forms of transportation are available, just as legs. The requirement reads that any participant becoming inebriated is supposed to be prevented from consuming alcoholic beverages along with operating a vehicle.


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A Self-Hiding Car?

Posted by Boghound on January 30, 2012

Car reunited with owner after ‘parking itself’ in closed garage

An Australian man who thought his car had been stolen was reunited with the vehicle recently when it emerged that it had actually rolled into a closed garage.

It is thought that the car rolled down an incline, all the way across the street and towards a garage, where it forced itself under the roller doors, which then closed behind it.

The car remained in the garage for 17 days until the house’s residents returned from holiday, while its baffled owner reported it as being stolen to the police.

The man was finally reunited with his car, which had only been bought two days before, thanks to some clever detective work by Adelaide police.

‘Although the roller door was closed, it had been damaged slightly and pushed out of its tracks,’ a police spokesman told Australian reporters.

The police suggested that the man had left the car without moving its automatic transmission into park mode.

‘After he walked away, the car rolled through the carpark, across the road, down the driveway and forced itself under the roller door, parking perfectly inside the garage where it remained safely undercover for 17 days,’ they added.

Last year it was reported that a man found his lost car three years later, in the carpark where he left it.

The silver Honda occupied the same spot between 2008 and 2011 before a parking attendant was able to reunite it with its owner.

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Here….You Take It!!

Posted by Boghound on January 29, 2012

Robber holds up bank, hands gun to staff

Police are on the hunt for a thief who accidentally handed his gun to bank tellers during an armed robbery.

The mystery man made the gaffe when he held up a Halifax branch in Cheapside, London and demanded £700,000 from a worker.

Authorities say he handed over his weapon to the male cashier instead of a bag, but was able to quickly snatch it back and make his getaway on a staff member’s bike.

Police are now offering a £25,000 reward for information about the robbery, which took place last October. They have also released CCTV of the robber before he entered the bank.

“This man is not the sharpest tool in the box,” a police source told The Telegraph. “The guess is that he is very inexperienced and panicked when he approached the cashier, handing over his gun instead of a bag by mistake.”

However, Detective Inspector Lee Bowen reminded the public that the man – believed to be in his 20s or 30s and described as “white, unshaven and stocky” – had still committed “a serious crime”.

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The Oldest Profession?

Posted by Boghound on January 28, 2012

Brothel token discovered in Britain

In what could be the earliest evidence of British porn, an amateur archaeologist has discovered a coin that depicts a man and a woman having sex. Experts believe it was a token for use in Roman brothels.

“The day I made the find it was a very low, early tide and raining heavily. At first I thought it was a Roman coin, because of the thickness and diameter,” Regis Cursan, 37, who found the coin along the River Thames near the Putney Bridge in West London, told the Daily Mail newspaper.

“When I rubbed the sand off the artefact, the first thing I saw was the number on one side and what I thought was a goddess on the other. Little did I know at the time it was actually a rare Roman brothel token. To find something like that is a truly exciting find.”

On one side is the Roman numeral XIIII, which experts believe means the coin costs 14 Roman coins, called asses. That’s about the equivalent of one day’s pay for a labourer in the first century AD.

Historians speculate that a person could take the token to a brothel and exchange it for the act depicted on the other side of the coin — in this case, sexual intercourse.

Similar coins have been found elsewhere in the former Roman Empire, but this is the first one found in Britain.

“When we realised it was a saucy picture, we had a bit of a giggle, but there’s also a sad story behind it because these prostitutes were slaves,” Caroline McDonald, curator at the Museum of London, where the coin is now housed, told the Daily Mail.

“This is the perfect archaeological object. It’s sexy and provocative in the best sense of the word. The lot of a Roman sex slave was not a happy one and objects like this can help the Museum of London provoke debates about issues that are relevant to the modern city and its visitors. Museums should engage with these more grown-up and sometimes less comfortable topics,” McDonald added in a museum press release.

Jonathan Jones, a Guardian art blogger, said the coin has artistic as well as historical value.

“Yet this is not just a hint of life in Roman Britain. It is also a glimpse of a hidden art history. These Roman tokens, with their detailed depictions of sex acts, had a dramatic influence on the birth of modern pornography,” he wrote.

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Oh Bugger!!!

Posted by Boghound on January 27, 2012

Naked man in La Redoute clothing advert: Fashion faux pas much?

Fashion label La Redoute has faced embarrassment after a picture of a naked man walking into shot behind four children was published on its website.

The unknown nudist was seen wading into the sea in the background of a picture to advertise children’s clothing designed by the label.

The French company apologised and removed the image but not before internet users took screenshots and uploaded them online.

A flurry of discussion both in France and beyond on Twitter and La Redoute’s Facebook page ensued.

One woman expressed her concern at the error, writing: ‘As a mother, I am not happy to see this photograph.’

London-based retail analyst Isabel Cavill tweeted: ‘Not surprised French shoppers are up in arms about this picture from La Redoute. Amazing!!’

Others made light of the picture. One tweeted: ‘The most shocking thing in this photo is the clothes.’

It was described by many on Twitter as a ‘massive PR fail’ but some voiced a more cynical view.

One wrote: ‘Excellent publicity stunt?! I’m putting one on my site.’

A spokeswoman for La Redoute said: ‘We are looking at how this mistake has occurred internally. La Redoute are working on it to get an explanation.

‘Again, La Redoute presents its apologies to customers and internet users.’

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Hey….I’d Nowhere Else To Park!

Posted by Boghound on January 26, 2012

Car drives onto roof by mistake

A stolen car became airborne and landed on the roof of a California apartment building, startling residents.

The driver, who fled the scene in California in his boxer shorts, is said to have lost control in foggy conditions, and hit some large rocks that sent the car flying into the air.

Police say the driver of the stolen vehicle was speeding and hit a raised area of the road and became airborne.

No one was injured in the incident in Fresno, California despite two people being in the house at the time.

“It appears that they climbed the berm (kerb), the car begins to go airborne, strikes a boulder and a tree stump that further lifts the car airborne and launched it upon the roof about 10 feet behind it,” Lt. Anthony Martinez of the Fresno Police said.

Some residents of the area were startled and thought the whole thing was a prank.

“At first I though it was a prank like you’ve been punked or something, I thought somebody lowered the car on the house because that’s not something you see everyday,” witness Jeanell Ricks said.

Police arrested a 26-year-old man a short distance away from the accident scene. He faces charges of driving a stolen vehicle.

The vehicle was later removed from the roof by a crane.

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An Art Critic?

Posted by Boghound on January 25, 2012

Woman accused of damaging $30M painting

A 36-year-old woman was accused of causing $10,000 worth of damage to a painting by the late abstract expressionist artist Clyfford Still, a work valued at more than $30 million, authorities in the U.S. state of Colorado said on Wednesday.

A police report said Carmen Tisch punched and scratched the painting, an oil-on-canvas called “1957-J no.2”, at the recently opened Clyfford Still museum in Denver and pulled her pants down to slide her buttocks against it.

Tisch was charged with felony criminal mischief on Wednesday and has been held on a $20,000 bond since the incident in late December, said Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney’s Office.

Kimbrough said Tisch urinated after she rubbed up against the canvas, but whether urine got on the painting was still under investigation, she said.

Born in North Dakota in 1904, Still was considered one of the most influential of the American post-World War Two abstract expressionist artists, although he was not as well known as others such as Jackson Pollock.

Still died in 1980, and the city of Denver worked for years with his widow, Patricia, to secure the single-artist museum. She died in 2005, and her husband’s collection was bequeathed to the city.

Four of Still’s works were auctioned by Sotheby’s last year for $114 million to endow the Denver museum, which opened with much fanfare in November.

Because Still closely guarded his works, most of the pieces at his namesake museum had not previously been displayed.

Tisch will be formally advised of the charges on Friday, Kimbrough said.

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It’s All The Movie Industry’s Fault!!

Posted by Boghound on January 24, 2012

Movie Industry Killing Films, not Pirates

Famous film writer David Germain claimed that this year’s box office receipts appeared below last year not because of piracy, but rather because the studios didn’t have a successful movie.

Back in 2010, they had Avatar and Dark Knight, but in 2011 they didn’t get a single must-see mass blockbuster. Nevertheless, this reveals one of the problems that the movie industry has been having adjusting itself to our digital era.

For a while now, the movie studios have tried to encourage consumers to the cinemas by developing a product worthwhile experiencing in comparison to what people could have at home. But it wasn’t like that: instead, the movie studios have jacked up the price of a cinema ticket so much that they could now be compared to live concerts and restaurants. Indeed, today a family of four will have to mortgage their house if they want to see a film. So, when they have other, cheaper alternative, they won’t even bother – most people will just wait for the movie to come out on DVD and watch it at home.

There used to be time when users were happy with the fact that they find themselves tossed in a room with a bunch of strangers, where the worst worry is about someone rustling their sweetie packets. However, today you have to worry about people with cell phones that keep ringing and sending messages, or even about an idiot insisting on shouting a review of the movie to their mate over the phone. With audience experience going, sitting in a dark room with a bunch of kids watching Transformers would drive someone to bittorrent in order to avoid the experience.

The next problem is the inflated prices of food available in the cinema – indeed, it is unclear to everyone why popcorn and fizz, which have to be about the cheapest food products should cost so much. David Germain pointed out that the movies currently being screened are actually more about overhyped disappointments and there’s really a complete lack of choice. In 2010, indie, foreign and documentary movies did really well, they also cleaned up at Netflix and Blockbuster. Germain also added the statistics shows that while the audience still loves films, cinema theaters are already losing their charm and the studios have lost the plot.

Meanwhile, the Motion Picture Association of America insists that everything will be all right if they could crucify some more file-sharing pirates.

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The First Hacker?

Posted by Boghound on January 23, 2012

Who Was the First Hacker?

New Scientist has recently revealed the name of the world’s first hacker, who managed to discover a security hole in Marconi’s wireless telegraph and managed to show the inventor up.

It turned out that a stage magician named Nevil Maskelyn wrecked a public demo of Marconi’s wireless telegraph over a century ago, in 1903, – he sent insults in Morse code down the wire. The crowd was really amused when the physicist John Ambrose Fleming has been adjusting arcane apparatus while preparing to show the long-range wireless communication system created by his boss, the Italian radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi, who was several hundreds miles away trying to send the message.

However, before the show could start, the apparatus in the lecture theater started to tap out a message – it appeared to be a poem accusing Marconi of “diddling the public”. Fleming’s assistant found out that beaming powerful wireless pulses into the theater were strong enough to be able to interfere with the electric arc discharge lamp of the projector. The apparatus began spelling “Rats” repeatedly and after this ripped into the poem.

That’s how Maskelyn proved that Marconi’s item was insecure, and the others could easily eavesdrop on private messages as well. Meanwhile, Fleming fired off a missive to the Times, calling the hack “scientific hooliganism” and asking the readers to help him find the hacker. Nevertheless, Maskelyn, whose family earned money by making “spend-a-penny” locks in pay toilets, outed himself 4 days later. He tried to justify his actions by the security holes it discovered for the public good. He used Morse code in his mind-reading tricks and managed to send wireless messages between a ground station and a balloon located 10 miles away. Nevertherless, Maskelyn was stuffed up by the fact that Marconi had patents on his technology but failed to develop it.

It later appeared that he was hired as a spy for the Eastern Telegraph Company that was worried that Marconi could stuff up its business.

The first hacker built a 50-metre radio mast somewhere on the cliffs in order to find out if he could eavesdrop on messages beamed by Marconi Company to vessels. As a result, Maskelyn pointed out that Marconi’s security was a doddle to hack. Although Maskelyne’s name had been forgotten, he is now again in the history books as the world’s first hacker.

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Staying Alive With Vinnie Jones

Posted by Boghound on January 22, 2012

Vinnie Jones demonstrates CPR to the tune of Staying Alive in Heart Foundation advert

The footballer turned Hollywood hardman stars in the new TV campaign promoting the use of hands-only CPR.

In the 30 second advert the actor reprises his most recognisable role as a gangster while demonstrating the correct way to carry out cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). He tells viewers to use ‘hands only’ rather than the kiss of life claiming “you only kiss the missus on the lips”.

He also demonstrates the correct timing of CPR by following the beat of Staying Alive by the Bee Gees while two heavies wearing leather coats look on.

The British Heart Foundation is hoping Jones’ starring role in the campaign will help promote the correct emergency procedure when dealing with a cardiac arrest.

It follows a UK-wide survey that revealed four in 10 people feared they would be sued if they did something wrong, despite the fact there has never been a successful case of that kind in the UK.

The poll also showed nearly half of people are put off helping because of a lack of knowledge about CPR. A fifth of respondents worried specifically about the thought of the kiss of life or catching an infectious disease.

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