Sunday, February 26, 2006

Video Games Heroes On French Stamps

Some of the video game industry's biggest icons are appearing on French stamps. Full article to be found here.

Quick Summary:
  • The French postal system has released a series of stamps called "Heros des Jeux-Video" or the Heroes of Video Games.
  • The stamps feature characters such as Mario, Lara Croft, Pacman, Link, and Spyro.

My $0.02: That's pretty cool. I wish there were some stamps like that in the U.S.! You can order the stamps from here.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Artificial Sweetener Causes Cancer In Rats

The artificial sweetener aspartame has been found to cause cancer in rats when administered at level thought safe for humans. A full article can be found here.

Quick Summary:

  • Rats were given aspartame as part of their daily diet from the age of eight weeks until their deaths.
  • Unlike in previous studies, each animal was dissected when it died and studied for microscopic changes in tissue.
  • The animals showed extensive evidence of malignant cancers including lymphomas and leukemias.
  • Methanol in the aspartame metabolizes to form formaldehyde.

My $0.02: This situation is ridiculous. As the article stated, aspartame is found in over 6,000 products. Chances are that you'll encounter one of those products in something you eat since lots of things are "sugar free." Avoiding sugar is not worth getting cancer for.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

NOS Review

Drink: NOS
Official Site:
Drink NOS

NOS is your typical energy drink. It has a medicinal flavor and very little flair. The only difference that I noticed is the lack of carbonation. This can be a bit of a bonus since less carbonation allows you to drink it more quickly.

Summary: Plain energy drink.
Final Score: 3 out of 5

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

History of Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is generally day of love (although I don't get any love because I'm a geek). But how did this holiday originate? A full article can be found here.

Quick Summary:
  • In ancient Rome, February 14th honored Juno, who was the queen of the Roman gods and goddesses and the goddess of women and marriage.
  • Since this day was the eve of the Feast of Lupercalia, the names of the Roman girls were written on pieces of paper. The boys would the draw the names of the girls and pair with the girls on the day of the feast.
  • A pairing might last a year and lead to a marriage between the pair.
  • Emperor Claudius II cancelled all engagements and marriages during his reign so that the Roman men would feel more inclined to join the military.
  • Valentine secretly married men and women during Claudius's ban.
  • For this deed, Valentine was condemned to be clubbed to death and have his head chopped off.
  • Valentine was martyred on February 14th.
  • Pastors wanted to delete pagan elements from the holiday, so they had people draw the names of saints to be close to during the year instead of the names of girls.

My $0.02: I'm sure that the people at the time weren't nearly as enthusiastic about the holiday when they had to draw the name of a saint. ^_~ However, in a way, we have gone back to the pagan way of celebrating the holiday. Come on, how many people do you know that take a saint as a patron on this day? Rather, it has once again become a holiday of couples.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Monster Khaos Review

Drink: Monster Khaos
Official Site:
Monster Energy

Monster Khaos (sic) is a delicious energy drink experience. It is 70% juice, and the fruity flavor really shines through. I would drink this even if it weren’t for energy. I hope the concept of energy juice becomes more common. In addition to the fruity flavor, the drink also provides “monster” energy.

Summary: Great drink. One of the best I’ve tried.
Final Score: 5 out of 5

Friday, February 10, 2006

Monster Energy Drink Review

Drink: Monster Energy Drink
Official Site:
Monster Energy

Monster is one of the better energy drinks that I’ve had. The flavor is rather unique. It has the standard energy drink taste with a strangely sweet twist. I also like the fact that the liquid is a cool shade of green. As far as energy is concerned, the drink gives you a considerable burst. I was bouncing all morning after 16 ounce can.

Summary: Rather tasty, energizing drink. Definitely worth trying.
Final Score: 4 out of 5

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Six-Year-Old Suspended For Sexual Harassment

A first-grader in Brockton, Massachusetts was suspended after school officials claimed he sexually harassed a female classmate. A full article can be found here.

Quick Summary:
  • The boy was accused of touching the girl's skin beneath the rear wasteband of her pants.
  • The boy claims have only touched the girl's shirt after the girl touched him first.
  • His mother, Berthena Dorinvil, claims her son is too young to understand what sexual harassment is.
  • The mother also says that the school report the incident to the police and district attorney's office.
  • Brockton Public Schools spokeswoman Cynthia McNally says the child would not have been suspended without an investigation.

My $0.02: The way I view the situation, the two first-graders were just harassing each other the way first-graders do. There's nothing sexual about the situation. A six-year-old doesn't even know what sex is, so how can he sexually harass another student? It's just a situation that got blown way out of proportion.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Puppy Bowl

While everyone else was watching the Super Bowl yesterday, I was one of the few people watching the Puppy Bowl II. Full information on Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl page.

The show pretty much had puppies running around in a miniature stadium playing with plush footballs and other toys. They wrestled around and stole toys from each other. Occasionally, the camera would show the inside of the bowls the puppies were drinking from. If one of the puppies went to the bathroom, a person would come in dressed as a referee and declare a "foul". To give the puppies time to rest, there was a kitty half-time show that basically had kittens running around playing with toys. And... that was pretty much it. Maybe I should have watched the Super Bowl.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Rockstar Energy Drink Review

Drink: Rockstar Energy Drink
Official Site:
Rockstar Energy Drink

Most energy drinks have something going for them: taste, energy given, etc. Rockstar is one of the few with no redeeming qualities. It seems to rely on the “rock star” image of glory. From the first sip, you’ll want to spit the drink out. Unless you’re a seasoned energy drink vet, you won’t be able to take the taste. Since there is such a horrible taste, you would expect the drink to provide extra energy. Wrong. This drink gives you no more energy than the better tasting competitors.

Summary: Terrible. Do not go anywhere near this stuff.
Final Score: 1 out of 5

Brain Washed Roaches

The title speaks for itself. A link is here.

Quick Summary:
  • A wasp called Ampulex Compressa stings a roach to weaken their defenses.
  • The wasp then uses its stinger to go through the exoskeleton into the roach's brain.
  • In the brain, the wasp probes the brain until it finds the part that controls the escape reflex and then injects venom.
  • The roach's metabolism is altered so that it consumes a third of the oxygen it did before.
  • The roach can no longer walk of its own free will. The wasp must lead it.
  • The wasp takes the roach to its burrow, seals the entrance, and lays an egg beneath the roach's underside.
  • The larva hatch and burrow inside the roach.
  • After about 5 weeks the now adult wasp emerges from the roach.

My $0.02: The author used the term zombie to describe these roaches, but the term "zombie" is a misnomer. The roach is not killed and brought back to life. The roach simply now lacks free will. However, the wasp being able to control the roach completely is an interesting phenomena. If the roach could be controlled, could there be a similar mechanism of control in humans?