Monday, January 29, 2007

Hammond's crash video

A month ago I was blogging about the rumor which said that the famous Top Gear's co-host, Richard Hammond, died (don't worry, it's not true, thankfully) three months after crashing in a dragster at almost 300mph.

Here's the movie everyone was waiting for a long time. It's a segment cut out of the latest Top Gear show (season 9) which was broadcasted yesterday, 28th january 2007.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Top 10 Fitness Myths

fitness and body-building myths

#1: You can get a six-pack if you do a thousand crunches a day
The one thing every guy wants from his workout is a nice defined six-pack. Guys will do crunch upon crunch in their quest for perfect abs, but the reality is that if they have a layer of fat covering their muscles, definition will never come.

Their time would be much better spent doing some quality cardio sessions and making sure they are eating well, which would help them lose body fat -- the key to unveiling remarkable abs.

#2: Each workout should be devoted to one specific muscle group
Are you devoting an entire day of your workout program to biceps and triceps? Do you have a separate day for hamstrings and quads? What some guys don't realize is that compound lifts work many muscles indirectly.

Take the bench press: If you perform this exercise on your "chest day," you will also stimulate your triceps fairly heavily. This means that by carefully choosing your exercises, you can incorporate more muscle groups into every workout, which will provide better results in less time.

Keep in mind that you don't always have to do very specific exercises to target certain smaller muscles; by simply working them indirectly, you will see improvements in your strength and size.

#3: Stretching is not really necessary
The component that is most often left out of a fitness program is stretching. If you are like most men, you probably think that right after you are finished your last set, you should head for the showers. However, you should really finish off with some stretching, as it will increase the range of motion in your muscles and joints, which will thus allow you to perform your weightlifting exercises over a greater range of motion, as well as target more muscle fibers throughout the lift. Stretching also helps you to become more limber and allows you to better maneuver around opponents when you are out playing football or basketball with the guys.

Finally, when you finish off your workout with some stretching, you reduce the severity of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), which you will most likely greatly appreciate the next morning.

#4: Taking supplements will make you look monstrous in no time
We are constantly bombarded with ads for a wide variety of supplements. Some promise you a tight, ripped middle, while others ensure that you can pack on pounds of new muscle over the course of just a few weeks. There may be some benefits to a few of these supplements, but more often than not, your results won't be much better than those you would get from a good training program combined with a well-planned out diet.

These are truly the two factors that lead to the greatest gains, so you should focus most of your energy on them rather than on finding the latest magic pill. Also, some supplements can have very harmful side effects (such as infertility, increased heart rate and nervous system problems) that should not be taken lightly. You are far better off achieving your results naturally; remember that your long-term health is not something you should risk.

#5: Food eaten after 8 p.m. will turn into body fat
Do you think your metabolism knows what time it is? While your body does run according to a circadian rhythm, your metabolism does not shut down at night. You still need to provide your body with fuel to repair and rebuild while you sleep, and to prevent it from going into a catabolic state brought on by a long period of fasting. This is especially important if you work out later in the day.

After a workout, your body is crying for a good source of carbohydrates, so don't skimp because you think eating at this time will make you gain fat.

It is important to make sure you are eating healthy foods later in the day -- such as lean meat, healthy fats, plenty of vegetables, and even some complex carbohydrates if you are really active later in the day -- to reduce your risk of adding unwanted body fat, but there is no need to avoid eating altogether.

#6: Your buddy's program will give you the same results
This is a very common notion among bodybuilders, who constantly ask fellow gym partners what kind of program and diet tricks they use, thinking that if they do the same, they will see the same results.

This couldn't be further from the truth.

Granted, it may be a very good program and you may see some results with it, but remember that you have a different physiological makeup than every other guy in the gym, and your body will respond to various training protocols in a different manner. So your best bet is to incorporate some aspects of this "workout God"'s regimen into your program, but play around with the techniques and figure out what works best for you.

You may simply need to reduce the number of reps or substitute one exercise for another in the program. The important thing is to come up with the plan that works best for you.

#7: You don't need to work out your legs if you jog
It seems like when you walk through a gym these days, everyone is huddled around the free weights doing arms, while there is no one to be seen at the squat rack. Men often decide to forgo any leg training and just concentrate on their upper bodies. They figure that since they went for a run that morning or did some interval training on the bike the day before, they have already worked their legs enough.

The truth is that working your legs will indirectly help your upper body grow. Your leg muscles are incredibly large; when stimulated, they release a large amount of testosterone -- the primary anabolic hormone responsible for muscle growth -- throughout the body. Thus, you will benefit your upper body on days you don't even work it out.

Also, having a strong lower body is the best basis for the rest of your training. Otherwise, it is like trying to build a house without a foundation -- not very effective. So be sure you don't pass up your leg training sessions any longer.

#8: Doing moderate-intensity cardio for one hour is the best way to burn fat
Many people still believe that since you burn more fat calories during a moderate-intensity session, this is the best way to burn body fat. While it is true that working at a moderate heart rate will make your body burn more calories from fat, the more important thing to look at is the total number of calories you burn.

When you perform high-intensity interval workouts, you burn more calories per minute than when you work out at a lower intensity. Granted, you may not be able to last as long, but the number of calories you burn during both sessions is actually quite similar. But the advantage of interval training is that it causes your body to burn a significant amount of calories after you have finished your workout. This means that you will continue burning calories at a higher rate for numerous hours afterward, thus causing the total number of calories burned throughout the day to be higher, translating into a greater fat loss.

High-intensity interval training also tends to help preserve muscle tissue, whereas long moderate-intensity workouts can become catabolic in nature (breaking down muscle).

However, an important point to keep in mind is that you cannot perform high-intensity cardio every day; either alternate high- and moderate-intensity sessions or space out your high-intensity workouts within the week. If you do wish to perform some moderate-intensity sessions, they should last at least 20 minutes so that your body can get into its fat stores; for the first 20 minutes or so, you will most likely just be burning carbohydrates that you have consumed in recent hours. For your intense workouts, you can see benefits -- both from a fat-burning and a health benefit standpoint -- from doing short 6- to 10-minute workouts.

#9: You need to eat lots of protein to build muscle
The more protein you eat, the more muscle you will build, right? Wrong.

The body only needs so much protein every day; when you surpass its requirements, it simply processes the extra calories the same way it would excess carbohydrate or fat calories. The protein is broken down, and some of it is excreted while some is stored as body fat or used as energy. The requirements for protein are 1.2 to 1.5 grams per kilogram of bodyweight; this amount will ensure that your body is getting enough of the building blocks it requires to create new muscle.

Rather than ingesting too much protein, a better option would be to supplement your diet with good sources of carbohydrates, as they are the body's preferred source of energy to create the muscle tissue from the protein you took in.

#10: In order to see results, you must push yourself to your limit during every workout
One of the key factors to getting stronger is rest. If you are going to the gym day in and day out, and pushing yourself to the max, you are likely not recovering from your workouts and not getting any stronger. It is when the body is resting that it can repair itself and rebuild so that it is stronger the next time around. If you work out again before your body has recovered, you will only break the muscle down further, causing you to become weaker rather than stronger.

Incorporating some easy or "off" days into your workout plan will give your body the time it needs to recover and will give you a psychological break. You will find that you are better able to stay motivated and you will greatly reduce your chances of overtraining and injury.

Note: This article has been copied from

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Mobile phone+gas station = BOOM ?

Mobile phones are blamed for all kinds of health problems, ranging from brain cancer to memory loss. There's not a lot of real evidence for this, so people don't seem to be worried, and it certainly doesn't stop them from using their phones. Mobile phones are also the cause of a lot of stupidity when in the hands of pedestrians and motorists. In fact, it's illegal to use a hand-held phone when driving a car. But strangely, most people won't use their mobile phone while they are refuelling their car's petrol tank - and in this case, it's even less likely to be dangerous.

Every month or so, I get an earnest email warning me of the hazards of using my mobile phone on the forecourt of a petrol station. Usually, the email mentions the Shell Oil Company as its source, and quotes the same three incidents of petrol fires while refuelling. The first one has the mobile phone sitting on the boot - the phone rings, generating an instant ball of fire. The second episode has a person speaking on the phone, leading to nasty facial burns. The third occurrence has the phone in the pocket suddenly ring, causing unfortunate├č burns to the groin and thigh.

This email has been traced back to a hoax email that landed in the inbox of a Shell employee in Jamaica . He rebroadcast it, but with the Shell Company signature now on the email - and this accidental non-approved signature gave the hoax more credibility.

So, has a mobile phone ever set off a petrol station fire? No, according to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, who looked at 243 petrol station fires worldwide, happening in the 11 years between 1993 and 2004. And no, according to the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, and no, according the Robert Renkes, a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute, who said, “We have not found a cell phone responsible for any fire since the beginning of mankind” . And finally no, according to the popular Mythbusters TV show, which tried mightily to make a mobile phone explode a chamber full of petrol vapour, and failed.

It is theoretically possible to set off a petrol fire with a phone. The amount of energy needed for a spark to ignite petrol vapour is 0.2 mJ, which is roughly one five-millionth of the energy stored in a fully-charged phone battery. The difficulty is that the phone is not designed to make sparks.

The lithium battery could explode while charging if its internal regulator circuit was very faulty. But you don't normally simultaneously charge and talk on your mobile phone while refuelling your car. The internal electronics of the phone could fail and make a spark - but the spark would be too small.

And why worry about the phone battery when you have batteries in your iPod, CD player, mini-torch, and yes, don't forget the big 15 kg car battery that powers the electrics of your car?

Well, what about the electric field put out by your phone? Yes, the electric field has been measured at 2-5 volts/meter, and has been known to interfere with heart monitors and infant incubators in hospitals, and various electronic equipment in planes. But the electric field from a mobile phone has never been known to set off a fire in a petrol station. And consider that in the UK , some 200 Shell petrol stations have mobile phone towers in the tall petrol price indicators, which stand right there on the forecourt, a few metres from the petrol pumps. The towers put out a lot more grunt than your small mobile phone.

So what did set off those 243 petrol station fires? Most of the time, static electricity was the culprit. We've all seen or felt a spark from clothing. If you are wearing synthetic clothes in the dryness of winter, and are sliding in and out of the car, across the synthetic material of the car seat, then you can build up a big static charge. Then, if the earthing wire on the petrol hose is broken, when you touch the metal nozzle of the petrol hose to the metal neck of the petrol tank, you can discharge a visible spark. Even more dangerous, from the static electricity point-of-view, is filling up a small fuel drum.

The phone companies post warnings about using phones in petrol stations for two reasons. First, mobile phones are not designed with “Intrinsic Safety” to make them able to operate safely in truly hazardous inflammable vapour situations, and second, fear of legal liability, despite all the evidence showing that mobile phones don't cause fires in petrol stations.

So overall, the mobile phone myth is just endless chatter generating a whole lot of static.

© Karl S. Kruszelnicki Pty Ltd 2006.

I totally agree with him. I do believe though that in an ideal environment and this means a closed chambre, or a small box, filled with lots of gas vapors, an incoming call (not a ringing cellphone) could cause a flame. This theory was also proven by the Mythbusters but he (the author of the article) forgot to mention it.

Brainiac is a tv show that "abuses science", as they say, in the UK, I think it's on Discovery Channel but I'm not sure, and practically it's the same thing as Mythbusters, but in their british way. Anyway, they also tried the same thing in a gas station with multiple cellphones and nothing. They even filled a caravan with lots and lots of gas and about 5-6 cellphones and tried to blow it up but no success. So it's a fact, cellphones don't represent danger while filling your tank. BUT the brainiacs also tried another way to blow up the caravan full of petrol. With nailon clothes. A brainiac dressed up in nailon clothes from head to toe and put his feet on a rubber matt (as I recall) so the electricity generated by the friction of the nailon clothes wouldn't sloop right into the ground. [...] watch the movie (it's not boring!) :)

In conclusion, don't wear nailon clothes when going to the gas station ! Mobile phones are ok though.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Wedding Myths and Superstitions

newly weds untrue stories
There are many wedding myths and superstitions most are based on events or omens that are said to foretell either good luck or bad luck. Ironically, some myths have both positive and negative connotations. Like all superstitions wedding myths have no scientific basis… however, it never hurts to keep them in mind just in case!

Here's a list of 8 wedding superstitions:

#1: Wearing pearls

This is one of those wedding myths with both bad luck and good luck meanings. The ominous version of this myth holds that pearls represent future tears; thus wearing them will bring many tears and heartache in the marriage. The luckier version of this implies that the pearls take the place of the bride's real tears, thus she'll have a happy, tear-free wedding.

#2: Tears on the wedding day

It is considered good luck for the bride to cry during her wedding. She will have cried all her tears away leaving none for the marriage. Another theory holds that a bride's tears are good luck as they bring rain for the crops.

#3: Rain on the wedding day

This is another good luck - bad luck wedding myth. In the good luck version, rain is said to foretell the coming of children just as rain promotes growth in the farmer's fields. In the unlucky version, rain drops represent the many tears a bride will cry throughout her marriage.

#4: Sign your married name before the wedding

It is considered bad luck for the bride to sign her married name before the wedding as it tempts fate. For the same reason, the bride should avoid wearing her entire bridal outfit (wedding dress, bridal veil, shoes and jewelry) prior to her wedding day.

#5: Dropping the wedding ring

This is another contradictory wedding myth. On the one hand, dropping the wedding ring during the wedding ceremony was seen as lucky as it would shake out evil spirits hiding in the ring. On the other hand, dropping the ring was considered the most ominous of events; whoever dropped the ring was said to be the first to die.

#6: The bride shouldn't make her own dress

This wedding myth states that for every stitch of the wedding dress the bride sews herself she'll shed one tear during her marriage.

#7: Time of day to get married
The couple should exchange their vows as the clock's minute hand is moving upwards, therefore any time half past the hour, for example 2:30 or 4:45. The upward movement is said to bring blessings upon the couple as the minute hand is "ascending towards heaven."

#8: Surname of the same first letter

It is considered unlucky for the bride to marry a man with a surname that begins with the same first letter as hers. This wedding myth is summarized in the following Victorian rhyme: "To change the name and not the letter; is to change for the worst and not the better."

You may think you're a wedding etiquette pro, but here are five commonly held beliefs that are really more fiction than fact.

So here's a list of top 5 wedding myths :

Myth #1: You can't wear black

Good news: Your favorite little black dress is appropriate for a wedding. Many people pick their outfit with the misconception that anything black would exude gloom (rather than glee), but don't worry -- no one will think your dark attire is better suited for a funeral than a wedding. Though black might not be the best choice for a mid-afternoon ceremony in the spring, black is perfectly fine for any evening wedding.

Myth #2: The bride is your point person for all wedding-related questions

Don't assume that the to-be-weds should be your first stop with all your questions simply because it's their wedding. Not sure where they're registered? Wondering about transportation? Need to know if there will be a babysitter at the reception? Don't pick up the phone and immediately call the bride or groom -- chances are, they've got enough wedding stress of their own. First try the bridesmaids and groomsmen, or the couple's parents. Find out if the couple has a wedding website (look on the invitation), which could very well have all the information you need. If you still have no luck, it's okay to contact the couple -- just make sure you've tried other avenues first.

Myth #3: Shopping from the registry is impersonal

It can be tempting to buy a couple a wedding present that's not on their registry. Something that shows how well you know them (and how great a gift giver you are) is way more creative than selecting a present off a list, right? Not really. Most couples prefer gifts from their registry -- that's why they registered in the first place. For a personal touch, pick an item that has some significance for you and the couple (like buying them stemware to replace the glass you broke at their last dinner party), and include a letter that lets them know you put some thought into their wedding gift and got them something they really wanted.

Myth #4: An invitation means you can bring a date

Unless your wedding invitation includes a phrase like "and guest," don't assume you're free to bring a date. Couples are often working within certain restrictions (be it space or budget), and expanding their guest list might not be an option. In one poll of Knot brides, nearly half said that at least one guest had responded for someone who wasn't invited.

Myth #5: The couple is responsible for your accommodations

No matter how far you've traveled to attend a wedding, the couple isn't required to pay for your hotel -- or even let you crash on their couch. Many couples will reserve blocks of hotel rooms to get a good rate for their out-of-town guests, but don't expect them to foot the bill. If you're not sure where to stay, ask a member of the bridal party for recommendations.

Note: These myths and superstitions are picked up from the internet and are copyrighted by their distinctive owners.

A $17,000 fine...

truck"Trucker gets $17,000 ticket"

Urban legend or fact ?

Yup, unfortunately, it's true folks ... actually the fine is $17,751.50.

William Connell is the poor truck driver. He got lost in the Philadelphia suburbs, taking a load that had to be dropped off in East Whiteland Township, and ended up in a residential area.

Here is the article* proving this is true :

He said he thought he had been hit by a Mack truck.

"My face just dropped. I couldn't even believe it," Carroll said. "I said, 'What is this, 1,700?' He said, 'No, 17,000.' I said, $17,000?"

Carroll is an independent trucker out of Philadelphia. Recently, he was taking a load to be dropped off in East Whiteland Township, an area he was unfamiliar with.

"One company that I'm leasing from, they were the ones that gave me the directions," Carroll said.

The directions told him to get off at the Route 202 South Frazer exit. That dumped him onto Route 401.

Carroll said he missed a cockeyed sign at the corner of 401 and Bear Road where he had to make a right turn. The next thing he knew, he was in a residential neighborhood -- Sydney Road to be exact -- where the police gave him a ticket.

"But once you get in the there with a 53-footer, its impossible to get out," Carroll said.

PennDOT spokesman Charlie Metzger said they, along with the East Whiteland Police Department were just enforcing a law that penalizes trucks that are too heavy for certain bridges and roadways, which might be damaged by overweight vehicles.

The NBC 10 Investigators' Vince DeMentri asked Metzger why the ticket was $17,000.

"It's $150 for the fine, and then it's $150 for every 500 pounds over the 3,000-pound weight limit," Metzger said.

Metzger said there is a reason the fines are so stiff.

"The money can go right back into the repairs of the roadway or the bridge," Metzger said.

Carroll said it is not fair because the sign warning of the fine was bent and somewhat obstructed.

The East Whiteland Police Department, which has its own motor carrier enforcement unit, isn't playing around. For them, this is a sign of the times that is not to be ignored.

"A ticket like that would put a lot of truckers out of business. So, I guess that was designed to put me out of business or make sure I don't come up here anymore. It's crazy," Carroll said.

*article from

With this amount of money you can buy a brand new car !!!

What do you think ? Is it fair ?

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