Italy Charges Seismologists with Manslaughter for Failure to Predict Deadly Earthquake

Italy has filed charges of manslaughter against the president of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, and six other scientists, for failing to predict the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake that killed 308 people.

While most scientists believe that earthquakes are inevitable – and that their occurrences are usually not matters of “if” but of “when” – they also agree that it is virtually impossible to predict when they will strike.

The decision to try the six members of a committee tasked with determining the risk of an earthquake in the area (along with a government official) was announced by Judge Giuseppe Romano, according to the American Associate for the Advancement of Science.

The Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported that the indictment on manslaughter charges says the seven defendants provided “imprecise, incomplete and contradictory information,” in a press conference six days before the deadly quake struck. In so doing, they “thwarted the activities designed to protect the public.”

Scientists have searched for indicators of pending earthquakes for centuries, monitoring everything from small quake “storms” to animal behavior in the hours and days before quakes have hit. To date, there are no known methods considered valid or reliable for accurately predicting earthquakes.

Those crazy Italians, huh?


University of Colorado Sues Manufacturer Over ‘Defective Toilet Paper’

Crappy toilet paper creates quite a stink on campus

Apparently there’s such a thing as defective toilet paper. No moving parts. No electronics. By all accounts, toilet paper is a pretty simple concept.

So what exactly constitutes defective toilet paper, you ask?

Let’s check in with the University of Colorado, who is suing companies in San Diego and Phoenix over defective toilet paper after amassing $40,000 in plumbing fees over the past few years.

Apparently, defective toilet paper has created quite a stink in Boulder: bubbling toilets, toilets that wouldn’t flush – and toilets that have overflowed –  causing flooding and backed up drains.

The university claims there were flooding issues in 27 buildings in the spring of 2009 alone, which begs the question: Why did it take two years and a toilet-flooding epidemic before anyone thought to check out the toilet paper? I’m no toilet paper engineer, but that’s one of the first things I’d consider under such crappy circumstances.

Steve Spangler, an author known in Boulder as “Science Guy,” says toilet paper manufacturers must walk a fine line between producing tissue that is too thin and will tear too easily, and making tissue that is too tough and will not disperse properly when flushed. (Not to mention the other – more relevant – issues related to “tough” toilet paper.)

Spangler speculated that thecompanies may have over-corrected – following earlier complaints – by toughening the toilet paper too much. Ouch.

“Maybe there was a complaint that it was not as strong as it needed to be, and someone made an adjustment and didn’t go back and test it again,” he said. “I have a feeling their research and development department will be much stronger after the lawsuit.”

One wonders just exactly what transpires in the research and development department of a toilet paper manufacturer? Never mind.

Vampire Woman Gets Horns

Who wouldn’t kill for an awesome set of titanium horns?

If you hover your curser over the image of our pal in the upper-right corner, the caption reads “When you realize you’re the guest of honor at a self-thrown pity party, stop and look around; it could be a hell of a lot worse.”

Meet Mexican tattoo artist Maria Jose Cristerna, also known as “Mujer Vampiro.” (Vampire Woman) This foxy mother of four from Mexico showed off her sexy self at a tattoo exhibition in Monterrey, California recently.

Her “unique look” includes vampire teeth, creepy contacts, and a pair of awesome earrings. Guess what? She’s not finished; Vampire Woman says she plans to have more horns implanted. Of course she does!

The tattoos? Maria says they’re a “form of liberation.” From WHAT Maria? She claims that her new titanium horns are her way of “being immortal.”  She adds that the new horns, which were implanted without anesthetic, are a “symbol of strength.”  Yeah, that – or stupidity.

Good grief.

Murder Solved After Cops Find Crime Scene Tattooed on Gang Member’s Chest

You just can’t make this stuff up

When 23-year old John Juarez was shot dead in front of a Los Angeles liquor store in 2004, the police were unable to figure out who did it. The case remained unsolved  — until a vigilant cop happened upon a curious mug shot four years later.

Meet 22-year-old Anthony Garcia, a member of the notorious LA gang Rivera-13, who was arrested in 2008 for driving without a license. As part of the booking procedure, police took pictures of his tattoos and entered them into their database.

Later that year, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Detective Sergeant Kevin Lloyd was looking through photos when he noticed something odd: the scene tattooed on the front of Garcia‘s chest looked a whole lot like the crime scene from the Juarez murder.

Cincidence? Not so much. Stupidity? You bet:

The LA Sheriff’s Department describes the similarities Lloyd noticed:

The tattoo window and frames of the store are similar to the crime scene photo of the liquor store; even the tattoo line on the roof represents the Christmas lights.

The tattoo shows a “peanut man” being shot by a helicopter, then falling face down.

The gang nickname of convicted murderer Anthony Garcia is “Chopper.”

Garcia’s gang refers to members of its rival gang as “peanuts.”

The direction that the shots were fired matched those depicted in the tattoo.

The tattoo street light and street sign to the left of the liquor store resemble the corner of Rosemead and Carron, the scene of the murder.

After Lloyd recognized the mural, sheriff’s detectives arrested Garcia for the shooting. Believing he was talking to gang members, Garcia bragged to under-cover cops about carrying out the shooting. Of course he did.

Garcia was convicted of first-degree murder this week in a case that police had at one time given up hope of ever solving. That is until Anthony Garcia’s arrogant stupidity got the best of him. The moron of morons.

Study Claims Swearing Can Help Relieve Pain

Screaming #$@%! just might help things after all

The next time you hurt yourself, try screaming your favorite swear words at the top of your lungs. It just might help numb the pain. That’s what new research suggests anyway.

Scientists at Keele University have found that swearing can have a powerful painkilling effect, particularly for people who don’t normally swear. (Relax, there’s still some benefit in it for the rest of us.)

To test the theory, student volunteers placed their hands in buckets of ice cold water while swearing repeatedly.

The exercise was conducted a second time with the volunteers uttering harmless phrases throughout instead of swearing.

Researchers found that the students were able to keep their hands submerged in the icy water for longer periods of time while repeating swear words — establishing a link between swearing and an increase in pain tolerance. They also found that the pain-numbing effect was four times more effective in volunteers who did not normally swear. (No %@!#?)

According to the researchers, the study proves that the response caused by screaming obscenities is not only emotional, but physical as well. This may explain why the age-old practice developed in the first place, and why we persist in embracing it with such exuberance today. (Well #%!& me, I would’ve never guessed)

Dr Richard Stephens, who worked on the project, said: ”Swearing has been around for centuries and is an almost universal human linguistic phenomenon.” (No $%#@, Sherlock)

”It taps into emotional brain centers and appears to arise in the right brain, whereas most language production occurs in the left cerebral hemisphere of the brain. Our research gives us one potential reason why swearing developed and why it persists.”

It’s about %$#&*!! time somebody figured this %$#@ out.

Crazy Images From the Past

From guns on bicycles to tennis on the wing of an airplane; these people knew how to party

If you think life in the early 20th century was a laid-back, nap-on-the-porch, grandma and grandpa sort of existence, a trip through these pictures will change your mind; these people were crazy. Safety and self-preservation were yet to be discovered concepts, and a now infamous symbol had an entirely different identity.

Ah, the good old days of the Swastika. Not only did Hitler ruin a perfectly good mustache for future generations, (not to mention the name “Adolph”), he forever deprived the world of one of the classic good-luck symbols of all time: the Swastika. Seriously, prior to its use by the Nazis, the Swastika got around. Check it out:

The Windsor Swastikas were a Canadian hockey team from 1905–1916. It’s safe to say that these uniforms have never been busted out for “throw-back jersey” night, don’t you think?

Then of course there was women’s hockey:

We also had the 1909 Chilocco Indian basketball team and the San Francisco YMCA Swastika:

A bicycle built for two. Has a nostalgic, kinda romantic ring to it, doesn’t it? For these guys — not so much:

This 1890’s photo is of the legendary “Armless Wonder” Charles Tripp of Woodstock, Canada, who was born without arms. In front of him sits Eli Bowen of Ohio, who was born without legs. Is this a match made in heaven, or what? By my calculation, Eli would have to sit on Chuck’s lap for them to drive a car, is that the way you see it?

Tennis, anyone? I don’t know much about physics, but something tells me the ball would never make it to the guy on the other side of the net. I know what you’re thinking; they had to hit it towards the front of the plane to compensate for the wind, right? What about that pesky propeller?

From the “weapons that looked good on paper” department, we have this clever little killing machine:

This would still be funny even if the guy wasn’t wearing a tie, bowler hat and dress shoes. Apparently, natty attire provided a strategic advantage to those brave combatants of yesteryear.

Teddy Roosevelt had a completely different idea for gaining an edge on the enemy:

This picture is real. It was taken during the 1900 presidential election campaign. Beats kissing babies I guess.

Hum Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls just want to have fun” while reading this: From the “Klan just wants to have fun” category, here’s that zany bunch of misfits enjoying a light-hearted day at the fair:

I imagine they stayed away from the roller coaster to avoid the risk of those peek-a-boo hoods flying off, don’t you? Klan babes chose a different form of relaxation back in the day. Who doesn’t love a parade?

From the “who in their right mind would do this the first time?” files, here’s an amusing form of entertainment:

How exactly does one practice for this? Why didn’t the horse refuse to cooperate the second time?

Finally, in the spirit of “it sounded like a good idea at the time,” we have the “Model T vending machine.”

I wonder what you had to do if you put a nickel in the slot, and your car got stuck at the top — like a bag of chips? Shaking or kicking the machine doesn’t seem like it would’ve done the trick, does it?

If You Hang Around Long Enough, Nothing Will Surprise You Anymore

From hell freezing over to flying pigs

I decided to write flying pigs for several of reasons. We live in a pretty crazy world these days and no matter how hard I try, it’s very difficult for me to keep my big mouth shut when something gets my attention. Don’t misunderstand me, not all of the insanity is bad, mind you. Much of the nonsense going on out there is hilarious. Even better, the really hysterical stuff isn’t supposed to be funny at all. That’s what makes it so entertaining.

Anyway, flying pigs gives me the ability to make snarky comments and pass judgement as I see fit. I don’t miss many opportunities to second-guess, play Monday morning quarterback, or say “I told you so.” Life is good.


Sometimes I’ll just pass along odd stories, like the one about the 19-year old kid who built a death-ray that actually works. Aside from the fact that he managed to put this thing together in the first place, what do you suppose was going on in his head that made him want to do it? Having been a creative lad myself, (who chased around ants with a magnifying glass) I also wonder what sorts of things he’s zapped with it that he isn’t telling us about. One can only imagine.


And how about Allstate’s research, which suggests that people’s driving habits could be related to their astrological signs? I’m serious. According to Allstate, Scorpios are only involved in 1.5% of accidents while Virgos are 700% more likely to get in wrecks. Does this mean that we should now begin asking cab drivers, truckers, bus drivers and pilots, “What’s your sign?”

C’mon back. There’s plenty of ridiculous stuff out there to talk about.