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Magic Wand

The world will end. Just not today...

Image
© Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star
Sofi Papamarko, Joan Smith, Ryan Anning, Farrah Khan, Joshua Bowman, Egon Gardiner and Will Fox (left to right) pose for a photograph during Sofi's rapture party in Toronto on Friday night (May 20, 2011).
If the world were going to end today - as some Christian evangelicals insist - then chances are good that Qinya Liu would already have picked up on the signs.

As an assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Toronto, Liu understands the mechanics of the planet, but she doesn't seem inordinately concerned about fire and brimstone consuming her neighbourhood any time soon.

"I haven't seen in recent history any hazards that could wipe out life on Earth."

In Liu's view, there are five main mechanisms by which the planet could come to a sudden and sorrowful demise: Meteorites, volcanoes, earthquakes, nuclear wars and attacks by extra-terrestrials.

Magic Wand

Yup, Still Here

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© Thomas Hawk / Flickr
But of that day and hour no one knoweth, no, not the Angels of Heaven, but the Father alone.

- Jesus of Nazareth

A few weeks ago, my wife and I took a drive to visit friends and family in her small hometown out in western Pennsylvania. It was what you'd expect from a region that has been dealing with economic recession since the steel and rail industries dried up and blew away forty years ago - sweet and beautiful in places, blighted and depressing in others, but with the first faint bloom of spring on the trees whispering of better days to come - except for one strange, glaring thing.

It was one of those digital billboards, looming and gaudy amid the neglected sprawl of Altoona, and displayed on it was something I'd only heard about in passing. According to that blinking monstrosity, Jesus was going to ride back to Earth on the wave of a planet-annihilating earthquake that would summon The Faithful to Heaven and consign the remaining mass of sinful humanity to the yawning doom of the damned. This was to happen on May 21st, roundabout six in the evening (Eastern Standard Time), and the last dregs of the un-chosen would be completely scourged from the Earth by October.

By the time we left for home, I had spotted three more billboards of varying sizes and technologies espousing the same apocalyptic message, and upon our return, I did some digging. As it turned out, these things had been popping up all over the country; even here in liberal Boston, I discovered the existence of one of these billboards not three miles from where I now sit. Something called Family Radio Worldwide, in the guise of a fellow named Harold Camping, laid out the scratch to buy all that billboard space across the continent, because ol' Harold had consulted his trusty Bible, done some wildly questionable math, and pulled the exact moment of the End Times out of his cash-filled hat.

People

Explosion in iPad 2 Factory at Foxconn Kills Two

Tragedy strikes tech factory

An explosion at one of the factories Apple uses to make the iPad 2 has claimed the lives of at least two workers.

At approximately Friday 7 p.m. local time in Chengdu, China, the A05 building at the Foxconn campus exploded, propelling debris away from the site. The building structure remained intact, but smoke billowed out from the damage. The situation is now under control, with attentions now turned to the wounded.

10 fire engines, 10 ambulances and many police were at the scene. A Foxconn official statement confirms that there are two dead and 16 other employees injured.

Foxconn said that it is cooperating fully with authorities in determining the cause of the explosion. Early reports are ruling out human factors.

Comment: For those prone to motion sickness be warned the video has a lot of shaking, turning etc..


Bizarro Earth

US: Mysterious Georgia Monument Fuels Conspiracy Theories

The Georgia Guidestones
© CBS Atlanta.com
The Georgia Guidestones
Elberton, Ga. -- Thirty-one years after being erected on a hilltop in Elbert County, the Georgia Guidestones continue to fuel conspiracy theories about its origins and message.

"It says we're simply going to get rid of billions of people," said a visitor from North Carolina about the monument's inscriptions.

The paddlewheel of granite slabs has been a tourist attraction since unveiled on a hilltop just off Highway 77 in Mar. 1980. The 19-foot walls are arranged to track the time of day and seasons.

But it's the 10 "guides" translated into eight languages that have drawn the ire of conspiracy theorists.

Cowboy Hat

Online Bidding for Princess Beatrice's Bizarre Royal Wedding Hat Passes $120,000

Beatrice bizzare hat
© n/a
Auction site eBay says a bidder has offered 75,000 pounds ($120,000) for the spiraling headpiece worn by Princess Beatrice to last month's royal wedding.

The 22-year-old granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II startled commentators with the swirling hat she wore to the wedding of her cousin Prince William and Kate Middleton.

The silk Philip Treacy creation has been compared to antlers, a toilet seat and a pretzel, and has been photoshopped into scores of unlikely scenarios on the Internet.

Beatrice has taken the joke in stride and put the hat on sale for charity. Proceeds will go to UNICEF and Children in Crisis.

On Saturday 38 bidders were competing for the hat, described on eBay as a "unique sculptural celebratory headpiece."

The auction ends Sunday.

Source: Associated Press

Bizarro Earth

The Most Bizarre Thing About The $72 Million Organization Promoting The End Of The World

Harold Camping
© wikimedia commons
Harold Camping
All of the talk about the world ending on May 21 comes from one organization run by one man: Harold Camping's Family Radio.

At first glance it would seem that 89-year-old Camping is running the biggest scam the world has ever seen -- racking up donations from terrified believers around the world right up until 6 PM on May 21 when... the world doesn't end... and Camping and all of those donations vanish into thin air.

But here's the surprising thing.

Most of Family Radio's revenue -- generated almost entirely by donations -- is put back into advertising and broadcasting costs.

Although Family Radio is valued at $72 million in its latest financial statements the company claims to have around $1.5 million in cash, according to an profile by CNN. It pays $56 million just in FCC broadcasting licenses.

Heart - Black

US: Psycho Mom Runs over teenage daughter

A mother has been charged with running over her daughter on purpose. The incident recently happened in a Wal-Mart parking lot, near Sandusky Ohio.


Comment: "The mother claimed she was swerving toward her daughter in an attempt to get close enough to strike the teen in her head with her hand."

Isn't either action significantly pathological? There are studies that have been conducted that show wanting to strike a person in the head is often due to the strikers desire to stop the victim from thinking a certain way; control. The idea being that the attacker wants to destroy (remove the head, kill) the mind of the person who is, in many cases, telling them the truth about themselves.


Palette

US: Mysterious 'Surfing Madonna' Mosaic To Be Removed By Los Angeles Art Conservation Group

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© Attorneycredits via Twitpic
Some consider it graffiti, others consider it art, but Encinitas city leaders have considered it gone after unanimously voting to remove a mysteriously appearing, religious themed, stained-glass mosaic that popped up on Encinitas Boulevard between Highway 101 and Vulcan Avenue over Easter weekend, reports NBC San Diego.
After its meeting last night, the Encinitas City Council unanimously voted to spend up to $2,000 for a Los Angeles-based art conservation firm to test various removal techniques, according to our media partners the North County Times. Even it if can't be removed safely, there are too many legal issues to be able to keep it up Encinitas Mayor James Bond said Thursday.
Being called a "Surfing Madonna", the artwork, which depicts Our Lady of Guadalupe on a surfboard, has drawn onlookers and complaints. The piece was set to last -- eight panels are reportedly attached with high strength epoxy glue giving the artwork an estimated life expectancy of 10 years, notes NBC San Diego.

Local businesses from 7-11 to the historic Captain Keno's on North Coast Highway have shown interest in displaying the artwork once it is removed.

Wolf

Turkey: You are Bizarre - 'According to Our Beliefs'

Just when you start to think that "at least the trains run on time" in Turkey, they seem to derail one after another. Just like a piece of news that may please you - but only for an instant. Just like the feeling of sad humor that comes a second after the feeling of silent approval while and after reading the story of a heavy fine that hit a private television channel for "pairing a 15-year-old girl with a 45 year-old man in a matchmaking show."

Citing a pretext for the fine, the presumably independent but practically Justice and Development Party-controlled radio and television watchdog said that the show had broadcast an example of child abuse by fixing a marriage between an underage girl and an adult. The watchdog also noted that the show had violated the regulation that states "broadcasts must not be against society's national and spiritual values and the Turkish family structure."

After the show, we learned from the news, the watchdog was bombarded with a flurry of complaints from viewers while the girl's father issued a complaint to the prosecutor's office.

So far, so good.

But when you superimpose this nice little episode - which could have happened in any "sane" country - onto another Turkish "background," a fresh "those crazy Turks" picture will emerge: Do the heavy fine and its legal justification mean that our president had once violated society's national and spiritual values and the Turkish family structure when he married our first lady at the age of 15 (now, beat that if you can, Harry!)? Do they mean that our president once committed child abuse? I guess not - just to be on the safer side of a potential future prosecution. But questions inevitably linger in the air.

Attention

Australia: Woman Tells of Flood Death Nightmare

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Bremer River - Ipswich
A woman whose brother drowned in January's southeast Queensland's floods has told an inquiry her family is tormented by the circumstances of his death.

Colleen Engel's brother Robert Bromage, 50, died at Karrabin, near Ipswich, on January 11, after his car was washed from a flooded road.

Ms Engel has told the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry that she looks forward to a police investigation into his death providing some answers.

In a victim impact statement read to the inquiry in Ipswich, west of Brisbane, on Friday, Ms Engel said she couldn't imagine her brother driving in floodwaters.