Thursday, December 9, 2010

Oh Tanen-BOOM, Oh Tanen-BOOM, How Lovely Are Your Flames of Death

Christmas and science DO go together!

Earlier this year, two brothers from Spokane, WA decided to use a little science when it came to disposing of their Christmas tree. Instead of laying it out for the garbage collector to pick it up, they decided to be a little more creative.

Launch it like a rocket!

John and Jeremy Ulmen had to do a lot of math in order to figure out everything from proper thrust, aerodynamics, gravity, and velocity to get the tree to launch correctly. John was a Ph.D candidate at Stanford specializing in robotic control systems, so I'm sure his parents are so happy he was able to put that Standford education to good use.

I'm hoping for 2011, they add a little pazazz to the show. Maybe add a couple reindeer and Santa with his sleigh to the tree when they send it into orbit.

Enjoy their Christmas tree launch below.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Turkey Bomb

I live in the state of Missouri, which happens to rank 9th in the country in Thanksgiving Day fires. Just across the river, Illinois ranks #2.

The danger: deep frying turkeys.

It's a true recipe for disaster. First, you take your All-American partially thawed turkey. Then you have your regular outdoor deep fryer filled to the top with hot oil. Thirdly, you add a nimrod that drops the frozen turkey into the overflowing deep fryer. Finally, make sure you do all of this on a wooden deck.

Result: a major insurance claim.

Don't be like this guy in the video below.
Because you can't give thanks if you are dead.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Phoenix's Accidental Diagnosis

Participating in a clinical trial could save your life, according to a recent article by Healthday News. In fact, medical imaging procedures (MRI) being conducted as part of medical studies "accidentally" detect tumors, aneurysms, or infections in almost 40% of all participants!

"This study demonstrates that research imaging incidental findings are common in certain types of imaging examinations, potentially offering an early opportunity to diagnose asymptomatic life-threatening disease," writes Dr. Orme of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

This is an incredible finding, and a story I can relate to.

A few weeks ago, I had a CT scan when I thought I was having a gallbladder attack or kidney stones.

The goods news: I was not suffering from either.

The bad news: They accidentally found a tumor in a very bad place.

I had an MRI just last week and they confirmed the tumor. Now it'll be several rounds of tests and they will determine the nature of the tumor and if they want to try to surgically remove it. The greatest fear is in not knowing, but at least my "accidental" scan is giving me a chance to do something about it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Unicorn Sighting in Toronto

And I thought Sasquatch was the only Cryptoid to be living up in Canada!

Local birdwatcher Peter Hickey-Jones of Toronto was in the Don Valley wetland area shooting footage of birds. As he was filming, something caught his eye and he captured what looks to be a beautiful white horse with a single horn on its head!

“I was trying to film a pileated woodpecker when I saw what looked like a bright white horse in the distance. When I got a little closer, I noticed the horn on its head. I’m not one to jump to conclusions but I’m certain beyond the shadow of a doubt that what I saw was a unicorn. I’m just glad I got it on film," said Hickey-Jones.

He brought his footage to the Ontario Science Centre for evaluation, and they are closely examining the video to see if it's a fake or maybe legit filming of a real-life unicorn.

Meanwhile, the Science Centre is treating this very seriously and warns people to be very careful if they encounter a unicorn in the area. They warn citizens to not make any sudden movements, use flash photography, or attempt to subdue the creature in order to hack the horn - known to be very magical and can make you immortal.

Here's the video footage:

The Science Centre has also created a unicorn hotline: 416-696-3260. And no, I'm not making that up either.

I actually photographed a unicorn at Mardi Gras several years ago:

If you see THIS unicorn, please exercise extreme caution!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Thank You, Brain Hemorrhage

As we all know, a brain hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain) is usually deadly. Most cases of this deadly condition is a result of a massive stroke. Sometimes, head trauma is to blame.
Sometimes, something so deadly ends up being a blessing in disguise. Such is the case with 44 Ken Merryweather.

Ken was an abusive drunkard, spending most nights at the local pub before coming home and raising hell. His girlfriend, Tracey, couldn't stand it. She withstood the abuse, but had refused to marry him....until he survived a brain hemorrhage.

"There was no way I would've married him before but he has totally gone the other way,"said Tracey, who finally did agree to marry the new-and-improved Ken.

Since recovering, Ken has gone from wild drunkard to perfect gentleman. He's even taken up cross-stitching!

Ken admitted, "I used to be so verbally abusive - especially after a few pints. When I used to work I used to go straight to the pub and not get in until 2-3am in the morning. There are things I can't do now but there are other things I can - I can cross-stitch and I do an awful lot of sewing and cooking."

There are many cases of such rare cases where people have undergone complete personality changes after brain trauma. I even did a post way back in 2007 about a Czech motorcyclist that spoke perfect English after an accident.

It's a disaster-turned-miracle for sure, I just hope this doesn't give angry wives yet another reason to want to bash their unruly husbands in the head.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Death Ray...VEGAS Style, Baby!

Las Vegas...the city known for gambling, amazing shows on The Strip, and DEATH RAYS that turn guests into crispy toast!

The Vdara hotel is 57-story luxurious hotel that boasts every amenity you can image. The condo-like rooms are all non-smoking, feature a giant kitchen, and even washer/dryers. This award-winning building is also an archetectual marvel - it's mirror-like facade is concave, which means....

It reflects the sun and create a "Death Ray" effect for some poor unfortunate vacationers down on the pool deck. Modern engineering couldn't figure this out? It's freaking Nevada. And if any of them had paid attention in physics class, concave reflective surfaces easily reflect things like light, laser, and sun beams.

Unfortunately, one of these sorry victims happened to be Chicago attorney, Bill Pintas. Chicago attorney Bill Pintas felt the power of the dangerous ray first hand last week.

"It felt like I had a chemical burn. I couldn't imagine why my head was burning. Within 30 seconds, the back of my legs were burning. My first though was, 'Jesus, they destroyed the ozone layer!"

The picture to the left, by the way is NOT Mr. Pintas.

Now he knows how ants feel when under a magnifying glass!

On the Vdara Hotel's website, they claim: "Stay at the Vdara, and the experience will stay with you forever."

Um, yeah. Those burn marks are forever etched into your flesh.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Groundhog Day 2010

Tuesday, February 2nd is Groundhog Day! I did a post on this wonderful holiday back in 2006. It can be found HERE.

Also, The Phoenix & Son Show's Episode 4 is now out! We do a segment on the most famous Groundhog of all, Punxsutawney Phil. What if Phil was replaced with a robot? Listen as Robo-Phil malfunctions and becomes a man-eating beast!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Apple Unveils the new iPad

With breathless anticipation, Steve Jobs finally showed us Apple's latest creation: The iPad. It looks like an iPhone on steroids, but it's sure to turn several different industries upside down.

It could kill Amazon's Kindle. Jobs also talked about an iTunes version of a e-library where you can download e-books. If people embrace the iPad, this could mean the end for Kindle (which really never took off as Amazon had hoped).

It will revolutionize the publishing industry. Now newspapers and magazines can utilize a pay-for-reading type of revenue generator. For years, print has been losing so much money. Imagine comic books being downloaded straight to your iPad! The iPad could be their savior.

It will also continue to shape how we watch TV. Most of us Tivo or DVR shows these days, and many others are watching shows via iTunes as well. Imagine watching TV on your iPad. Anytime. Anywhere.

It will make AT&T happy. With new data plans ranging from $14.99 a month to $29.99 a month for the 3G-enabled iPad, this is another big money maker.

I think this is all so awesome! I love technology, and I believe this product is amazing. I heard that Apple is even working on a more robust version of the iPad for the near future...

The iMaxipad...with wings!
It does all the iPad does, but it's extra-absorbant.
I wonder if it will fly.

I mean, iPad. Really? Are you serious? Did marketing stop to think about this? Is this going to turn-off the female consumers? iPad? What a monstrosity of a name! Couldn't they have called it something cool like iSlate? How about iTablet?


Hopefully this product will be able to rise above its own name.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Phoenix & Son Show - Episode 3

Episode 3 is up and running! The Phoenix and The Dominator talk about all kinds of weird science news, including the lost island of Atlantis.

Listen now! And we hope you enjoy the show.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Psychic Attack in Romania

I've heard of people sending positive thoughts and prayers to someone in need. But is it possible to send negative and hateful vibes to somebody?

It's called a psychic attack.

Romania's presidential race last year was a tight one, but former foreign minister and presidential candidate Mircea Geoana and his wife are claiming that he was subjected to attacks of negative energy by aides of now-President Traian Basescu during a crucial debate.

Geoana said point blank that Basescu ordered the psychic attacks against him, Mediafax news agency reported this week.

Sounds like Voodoo magic!

"During the Dec. 3 debate ... people who were working for Basescu in this domain were present to the right of the camera. ... I saw them and I know who they are," Geoana told Antena 3 television. Geoana apparently was dreadful during parts of the debate.

I wonder if they were giving him the Evil Eye.

His wife Mihaela Geoana said Saturday her husband "was very badly attacked, he couldn't concentrate."

As if that wasn't weird enough, Former President Ion Iliescu dismissed the allegations as "discussions for naive people, for uneducated people," according to Monday's edition of the daily Gandul.

Geoana aide Viorel Hrebenciuc has previously alleged there was a "violet flame" conspiracy during the campaign as well. He said Basescu dressed in purple on Thursdays to increase his chance of victory. It's well known in the New Age Movement that the violet flame is a powerful way to "cleanse your karma."

Sounds like Geoana is merely looking for a scapegoat for losing the election. At first, I didn't buy the negative psychic attack allegation, but the thought of the Romanians voting for a man in a purple suit makes me think that maybe it's possible.

Would you vote for this?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

El Chupacabra is Back!

Covering the latest El Chupacabra "The Goat Sucker" is one of my favorite topics. The stories just fascinate me - as the scope the evidence after these horrible attacks just don't make sense. Coyote? Wild dog? Crazy goat killer? I think not. What sucks these poor farm animals dry like this?

El Chupacabra of course!

The latest account comes from Horizon City, Texas. Cesar Garcia and Juan Miranda's farm is the scene of a grizzly slaughter of 30 chickens. A series of weird events preceded the gruesome attack: the cat stayed on the roof for an entire weekend and refused to come down, the roosters stopped roostering, rabbits went into hiding, and the dogs stopped barking.

But the sight of the dead chickens led Garcia and Miranda to believe something out-of-the ordinary had preyed on their animals.

"I saw the chickens were dead, but there was no blood around the sheet metal" in the coop, Garcia said. "All of them were just dead in one big pile. But, really, I don't know what it was because there was no blood. If it had been a dog, there would have been blood everywhere because a dog tears them apart."

The attacker did leave tracks, and they followed them for about four blocks before they disappeared. Clearly, the impression left behind included a heel and paw. The sherff's deputies investigated, but they're unable to determine what exactly killed these chickens.

It's weird, since Chupacabra literally translates to "goat sucker" as goats are its favorite mealtime snack. Maybe this is a new breed of blood-sucking predator...maybe we should call it El Chupachicken!

* * * * *

I hope you'll check out my latest podcasting adventure. The Phoenix & Son Show will continue to feature the latest science news with a humorous twist, but's now kid-friendly! As it has to be, since my 9-year old son, The Dominator, is my co-host.

Episode 2 is up!

Check out our second episode of The Phoenix & Son Podcast Show!

Sunday, January 10, 2010