September 28, 2007

Zombie Amoeba Eats Brains:

It sounds like science fiction but it's true: A killer amoeba living in lakes enters the body through the nose and attacks the brain where it feeds until you die.

Even though encounters with the microscopic bug are extraordinarily rare, it's killed six boys and young men this year. The spike in cases has health officials concerned, and they are predicting more cases in the future.


September 27, 2007

Scopolamine: Zombie Drug & Astronaut Anti-Puke Helper:

Posted by Xeni Jardin, boingboing
VBS.TV recently did a story on Scopolamine, a substance commonly referred to as "Devils Breath" in Colombia, where it is a common street drug.

This stuff is as close to pure evil as it gets, a tiny amount of the powder administered to the victim causes one of two effects, a) death, or b) complete loss of free will. Criminals are usually hoping for the latter, as it enables them to tell victims to empty their bank accounts, give away their car, perform sex acts, basically whatever the criminal dictates.

This is where Scopolamine has got its reputation as the "zombie drug", victims appear completely sober and rational, but they're really just automatons.

Video Link to story, which documents contributor Ryan Duffy's scopolamine investigation in 9 parts (Flash 9 required). Here's a CNN followup piece.

I'm more familiar with scopolamine as an anti-motion sickness remedy. It's half of a legal drug cocktail known as "ScopeDex" (Scopolamine + Dexedrine), sometimes taken by astronauts and those in training to prevent nausea and vomiting in altered gravity environments. For instance, on "vomit comet" flights. When I flew on an inaugural Zero-G flight for press and celebs a few years ago, ScopeDex was recommended as one way to avoid puking during the flight. I didn't do it, because anything that comes from jimson weed (and other datura relatives) has gotta be evil. But others who've done zero gravity flights (with NASA and otherwise) teased me for passing it up, and joked that scopedex was like a "legal speedball," and not to be missed.

Scopolamine recently popped up in the news as a treatment for bipolar disorder and depression: Link. The drug also has history as a sort of truth serum administered in interrogation environments -- it was used by the CIA in the 1960s, during the MKULTRA program. Woohoo, good times!

Halo 3's Heavenly Debut:

by Natalie Finn

Halo 3 is only one day old and has already earned its wings. The long-awaited third installment of one of the world's biggest video game titles was a force to be reckoned with Tuesday, racking up $170 million in opening-day sales—a figure that does not even include overseas numbers. According to Microsoft, which makes Halo 3's only compatible console, the Xbox 360, the threequel accounted for the biggest entertainment launch in history, besting the previous record set by Spider-Man 3, which earned $151 million at the box office during its opening weekend. Hence, Halo 3 obviously smashed Spidey's single-day earnings of $59.8 million, not to mention Halo 2's 24-hour take of $125 million in 2004. "The initial demand we've seen for Halo 3 has been astounding, and the game is on track to become the number one gaming title of all time," Best Buy VP Jill Hamburger told the Hollywood Reporter Wednesday. More than 1 million copies of the game were preordered in anticipation of Monday night's launch. Subsequently, about 10,000 retailers opened their doors at midnight to welcome the throngs of gamers eager to get their hands on a copy of the first-person shooter extravaganza, which features a host of new weapons and vehicles, reoptimized graphics, more dialog and better sound and myriad other features meant to one-up Halo 2. "It's the last part of our Halo trilogy," Bungie Studios game developer Frank O'Conner told Voice of America. "It is confidently the best game we ever made as a studio. We're really happy with it. Our review scores came in yesterday, we're really happy with those, but most importantly we're looking forward to actually playing with real people." Microsoft said in a statement Wednesday that upwards of 1 million members of its Xbox Live gaming service played Halo 3 online during its first 20 hours out of the gate, making Tuesday the most active day ever for the platform. Meanwhile, despite its both widespread and cultish popularity and the fact that millions of people are going to shell out $59.99 to continue the raging war between the Covenant and the Master Chief in their living rooms, a feature film version of Halo is having trouble getting off the ground—even though game-to-movie adaptations such as Resident Evil have done big business. Peter Jackson was originally attached to helm Halo's first foray onto the big screen, but he and Microsoft backed away from the project in October after Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox unexpectedly pulled their financing. But perhaps Microsoft finally ending up in the black at the end of the year will be enough of an indicator to Hollywood that the demand for a Halo film is out there. In other glowing Halo news, Microsoft said today that it will gladly replace any new Halo 3 disc that came out of the box scratched or otherwise damaged free of charge until the end of 2007.

September 22, 2007

Skull Facial Tattoo Update:

Above is an updated picture of ‘Zombie’, the young Montreal gentleman previously featured here on Neatorama for his radical facial skull tattoo. The tattoo has developed to encompass his entire cranium and has crept down his neck. The effect is as remarkable as it is creepy.
Via ModBlog

How To Make Witches Jars for Halloween:

Cory Doctorow, boingboing

It's a little early to be getting ready for Halloween, but I really enjoyed this tutorial on making "witches' jars" for your Halloween decor. They'd work just as well on the back shelf of your rec-room bar, after all.
(via Neatorama)

September 20, 2007

Dracula Castle Legal Debate:

SkullznEyez For Awesome Halloween T-Shirts!
Romanian MPs have become embroiled in a row over the ownership of Bran Castle - the 14th-Century building famous for its links to the Count Dracula story.
It was returned to New York architect Dominic Habsburg, a descendant of the country's former rulers, last year after 60 years under state control. Some MPs say that process was illegal and want to stop the castle being sold. Mr Habsburg has threatened legal action, saying it would be a "dreadful injustice" to strip him of ownership. The infamous Prince Vlad "the impaler", the real-life inspiration for Dracula, is reputed to have spent a night at Castle Bran. This connection has been a boon to the tourist industry in Romania, and MPs are keen to hold on to a prized asset. Earlier this year, Mr Habsburg said he would be willing to sell it back to the Romanian authorities for $78m (£40m) - but ministers said the price was too high. During a parliamentary debate this week, opposition MP Dumitru Ioan Puchianu said the return of the castle had been illegal because of procedural errors. He said Mr Habsburg, whose family was thrown out of the castle after World War II, should not be allowed to sell it. In response, Mr Habsburg issued a letter through his lawyers threatening to sue for damages of some $200m if the MPs stripped him of his right to sell the castle. "I live once more with the feeling of dread in which I once lived, as a child, when my family and I were forced out of our home and thrown out into the streets in mid-winter," the letter said. The castle rises dramatically from the forests in the foothills of the Carpathian mountains, 170km (105 miles) north of the capital Bucharest. About 450,000 tourists are said to visit each year.

September 19, 2007

Pork Your Pork:

Lurking underground in the heart of Tokyo's trendy Roppongi is a true heart of darkness -- a members-only club that combines forbidden sex practices with the art of fine dining. LINK

"The gist of it is, members pay a hefty fee at the door to be allowed to... have sex with the animal of their choice - which is subsequently killed, cooked and served to the violator and his party for dinner!"

LOL CTHULHU: Elder Gods meet LOL Cats:

Posted by Cory Doctorow

LOLCTHULHU: Like LOLCats, but with the covers from HP LOLcraft Lovecraft.


September 16, 2007

California College Offers YouTube Class:

CLAREMONT, Calif. — Here's a dream-come-true for Web addicts: college credit for watching YouTube.

Pitzer College this fall began offering what may be the first course about the video-sharing site. About 35 students meet in a classroom but work mostly online, where they view YouTube content and post their comments.

Class lessons also are posted and students are encouraged to post videos. One class member, for instance, posted a 1:36-minute video of himself juggling.

Alexandra Juhasz, a media studies professor at the liberal arts college, said she was "underwhelmed" by the content on YouTube but set up the course, "Learning from YouTube," to explore the role of the popular site.

Class members control most of the class content and YouTube watchers from around the world are encouraged to comment, Juhasz said.

She hopes the course will raise serious issues about YouTube, such as the role of "corporate-sponsored democratic media expression."

YouTube is "a phenomenon that should be studied," student Darren Grose said. "You can learn a lot about American culture and just Internet culture in general."

September 12, 2007

Cassette Tape Skull:


These cassette skull (and skeletons) from artist Brian Dettmer are fantastic - [via] Link (photos by Andrew Huff).


More photos - Link.

Brian Dettmer - Link.

Displayed at the International Museum of Surgical Science, Chicago - Link.

September 06, 2007

Whose Tits Are They Anyway?

A woman who isn't able to establish boundaries allows her eight-year-old daughter to breastfeed and allows both daughters access to her breasts and allows them to obsess over them. Visit Link To See This Sick Fuck Of A Woman BREAST FEED Her Almost-Teenage Kids.

OhMyFuckingGod, Slap This Woman!
Child Services should step in and bitch-slap this insane Neanderthal woman into next week!
Holy Retarded 1810 Thinking, Batman!

September 03, 2007

Witchcraft Practitioner Wins Mega Millions Lottery:

Posted by Xeni Jardin,boingboing

Dude, talk about blessed be. Meet Elwood "Bunky" Bartlett, teacher of Wicca, winner of gajillions:

He and his wife, Denise, were on their way to the shop where he occasionally teaches Wicca and Reiki healing when they stopped at a liquor store and bought two $5 Mega Millions tickets for Friday night's estimated $330 million jackpot.

On Sunday, he said one of his tickets was a winner.

"If it wasn't for this place I wouldn't have won the lottery," Bartlett said Sunday at Mystickal Voyage, the New Age shop.

Bartlett, an accountant from Dundalk, said he made a bargain with the multiple gods associated with his Wiccan beliefs: "You let me win the lottery and I'll teach." Both tickets he purchased had numbers chosen randomly from the computer.

CNN News Link. If you'd like to up your mojo before buying your next lottery ticket, you may want to visit Mystickal Voyage yourself -- it's in the Walther Shopping Center mini-mall in Nottingham, Maryland, kinda next door to the Food Lion. Mystickal Voyage Link.

September 01, 2007

Anatomically Correct Knee Socks:

Posted by Cory Doctorow, boingboing
Loving these anatomically correct knee-socks -- they remind me of Grade Six Halloween skeleton costumes.
(via Neatorama)

El Chupucabra!

By ELIZABETH WHITE, Associated Press Writer

SkullznEyez Loves El Chupacabra!

Click To See El Chupacabra!

CUERO, Texas - Phylis Canion lived in Africa for four years. She's been a hunter all her life and has the mounted heads of a zebra and other exotic animals in her house to prove it. But the roadkill she found last month outside her ranch was a new one even for her, worth putting in a freezer hidden from curious onlookers: Canion believes she may have the head of the mythical, bloodsucking chupacabra.

"It is one ugly creature," Canion said, holding the head of the mammal, which has big ears, large fanged teeth and grayish-blue, mostly hairless skin.

Canion and some of her neighbors discovered the 40-pound bodies of three of the animals over four days in July outside her ranch in Cuero, 80 miles southeast of San Antonio. Canion said she saved the head of the one she found so she can get to get to the bottom of its ancestry through DNA testing and then mount it for posterity.

She suspects, as have many rural denizens over the years, that a chupacabra may have killed as many as 26 of her chickens in the past couple of years.

"I've seen a lot of nasty stuff. I've never seen anything like this," she said.

What tipped Canion to the possibility that this was no ugly coyote, but perhaps the vampire-like beast, is that the chickens weren't eaten or carried off — all the blood was drained from them, she said.

Chupacabra means "goat sucker" in Spanish, and it is said to have originated in Latin America, specifically Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Canion thinks recent heavy rains ran them right out of their dens.

"I think it could have wolf in it," Canion said. "It has to be a cross between two or three different things."

She said the finding has captured the imagination of locals, just like purported sightings of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster have elsewhere.

But what folks are calling a chupacabra is probably just a strange breed of dog, said veterinarian Travis Schaar of the Main Street Animal Hospital in nearby Victoria.

"I'm not going to tell you that's not a chupacabra. I just think in my opinion a chupacabra is a dog," said Schaar, who has seen Canion's find.

The "chupacabras" could have all been part of a mutated litter of dogs, or they may be a new kind of mutt, he said.

As for the bloodsucking, Schaar said that this particular canine may simply have a preference for blood, letting its prey bleed out and licking it up.

Chupacabra or not, the discovery has spawned a local and international craze. Canion has started selling T-shirts that read: "2007, The Summer of the Chupacabra, Cuero, Texas," accompanied by a caricature of the creature. The $5 shirts have gone all over the world, including Japan, Australia and Brunei. Schaar also said he has one.

"If everyone has a fun time with it, we'll keep doing it," she said. "It's good for Cuero."