Archive for the ‘Morning Briefing’ Category

Thanksgiving is over, and the pots and pans have been washed (I hope). If you’re feeling a little oversaturated with turkey and desserts, fear not; this recipe is easy and quick while remaining light and sweet.

1 small package vanilla instant pudding mix
1 small package butterscotch instant pudding mix
2 cups milk
1 can pumpkin
8 ounces (one container) fat-free Cool Whip
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

Mix the pudding mix and milk throughly and allow to set for five minutes. Once firm, fold in pumpkin, Cool Whip and pumpkin pie spice.


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Editor’s Note: The ACG Blog will be on Thanksgiving hiatus for the rest of the week. Enjoy your holiday!

Draught guidance: a kilt need underwear [via The Daily Telegraph]

Ach! The Scottish Tartans Authority — the top authority for Scottish tartans — has begun a campaign to stop kilted men from going commando, calling the practice “childish and unhygienic.” “The idea that you are not a real Scot unless you are bare under your kilt should be thrown into the same wastepaper basket as the idea that you’re not a real Scot unless you put salt on your porridge,” STA director Brian Wilton said. “People should not be browbeaten into believing that nonsense. Just because Highlanders wore nothing in the days before Y-fronts were invented doesn’t mean that we, in the 21st Century, should wear nothing too.” But don’t think everyone is against commando kilts. “The tradition of no underwear being worn was a stipulation of Scottish military regulation,” said Ian Chisholm, a spokesman for the Scottish Kilt Makers’ Association. “To say it is unhygienic is wrong. The freedom of movement is healthy. We always tell customers to wear nothing under the kilt if everything is in good working order.”

Album John Lennon signed for killer for sale [via The New York Post]

The album Beatles legend John Lennon signed for Mark David Chapman just hours before the disturbed Chapman murdered Lennon in New York is up for sale, and the asking price is $850,000. The record was found at the entrance to the Dakota, where Lennon was murdered, by a maintenance man, who turned it over to police as evidence. The album subsequently was turned over to autograph dealer Gary Zimet. “The album is the most extraordinary artifact in rock and roll history. It has Lennon’s signature on the cover and Chapman’s forensically enhanced finger prints on the sleeve. There are evidence markings from the NYPD,” Zimet said. “I originally sold it in 1999, but it has come back up for resale. The current owner doesn’t want to be named because he received death threats.”

Passenger chooses strip-down over pat-down [via MSNBC]

Just in time for the holiday travel crush, a San Diego man has taken the recent furor over invasive screening procedures at some airports to new levels by stripping to his underwear to show TSA agents he was not carrying any weapons. When the man, Samuel Wolanyk, refused to redress and submit to a proper pat-down screening, agents arrested him. “TSA needs to see that I’m not carrying any weapons, explosives, or other prohibited substances,” Wolanyk said in a statement. “I refuse to have images of my naked body viewed by perfect strangers, and having been felt up for the first time by TSA the week prior (I travel frequently) I was not willing to be molested again.”

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Donated Organ Saved from UK Plane Crash [via ABC News]

A liver en route for transplant survived a central England plane crash and was rushed to the nearby hospital, where it was successfully transplanted. The jet carrying the liver was landing in Birmingham when it clipped an antennae and crashed at the airport there. Two crew members were injured, but the organ was fished from the wreckage and enjoyed a police escort to the hospital.

A Crack in the Code Kryptos Is Keeping [via The New York Times]

An iron sculpture gracing the grounds of the Central Intelligence Agency, adorned in coded language, has puzzled cryptologists for two decades. Although much of the sculpture’s message has been successfully decoded, the final section remains a mystery, and sculptor Jim Sandborn is growing tired of waiting for someone to figure it out. To that end, he released to the Times part of the final section’s answer, translating the word “Berlin.” “I can’t do this for many more decades, O.K.?” Mr. Sanborn said. “I’m 65 now. They might get some more clues at 75. But 85?”

1,000 mph car project ‘on track’ [via the BBC]

A project working to construct a car capable of breaking 1,000 miles per hour is on track for 2012 completion and competition, project leaders say. Construction of the car itself is expected to begin in January, and a track specifically designed for the car is being built in South Africa; loose stones must be cleared as even a small pebble could cause serious damage at such high velocity. The current land speed record is 763 miles per hour, set in 1997.

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Australian twins had suicide pact at shooting range [via The Denver Post]

In an update on Wednesday’s story about the twin shooting victims in Colorado, police have announced they believe the women had created a suicide pact with one another because one was to be deported back to Australia. They each put a .22-caliber pistol to the other’s head and fired at the same time; one twin, however, survived and is in serious but stable condition. According to an American cousin the two women often traveled to the U.S. but rarely kept family up-to-date on their whereabouts.

The Ultimate Guinness Record is the Record for Records [via The Wall Street Journal]

Since 1979, when he broke the world record for jumping jacks by performing the exercise 27,000 times, New Yorker Ashrita Furman has broken 312 different Guinness records, the world record for number of world records held, and he still holds 120 of the titles. Furman has also clapped his hands for 50 hours, hopped a mile on a pogo stick in 17 minutes, 45 seconds, somersaulted 12 straight miles, cut 27 apples midair with a samurai sword in one minute, spun a 14 foot, 6 inch hula hoop three rotations and constructed a 6,500-pound lollipop. “I want to inspire people,” Furman said. “If you have a dream, you can achieve your dream. I’m living my dream.”

Getting to the heart of restaurant safety [via Business Insurance]

Arturo Carvajal, a Miami doctor, is suing a restaurant there for allowing him to eat an entire grilled artichoke and not informing him the out leaves of the vegetable are inedible. Carvajal subsequently experienced “severe abdominal pain and discomfort” and a procedure found artichoke leaves lodged in his bowel. He is suing the restaurant chain for not warning him about the artichoke in what the chain’s legal counsel called a “silly notion.” “What’s next?” the lawyer asked. “Are we going to have to post warnings on our menu they shouldn’t eat the bones in our barbeque ribs?”

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Scientists briefly trap a form of antimatter [via The Los Angeles Times]

Physicists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, have confirmed that they successfully trapped 38 particles of antihydrogen for two-tenths of a second. The achievement is being hailed as a scientific breakthrough, although the amount stored wouldn’t provide enough energy to power a light bulb for more than half a nanosecond. The process involves cooling the antihydrogen to a half a degree abolve absolute zero and containing the atoms in a “magnetic bowl” suspended in a vacuum, briefly preventing the antimatter from touching matter and annihilating. Fine-tuning the process may allow scientists to create far more antimatter and examine why the universe appears to contain only matter.

Roman settlement found on historic estate [via The Independent]

Archaeologists excavating the site of a future west London hotel have discovered more than 11,000 artifacts from an ancient Roman settlement just half a meter below the surface. Among the 2,000-year-old finds are myriad pottery shards, coins, human remains and a road. “The archaeology at Syon Park has given us a valuable, rare insight into the daily life of an agricultural village on the outskirts of Londinium (London) that would have supplied the Roman city and provided shelter for travellers passing through,” archaeologist Jo Lyon said. “It helps us build a picture of the Roman landscape and shows how the busy metropolis of Londinium connected with the rest of Roman Britain.”

Russian woman calls in fake bomb threat to prevent daughter’s marriage [via CNN]

According to officials a Russian woman hoping to stop her daughter from marrying in Morocco told police her daughter was planning to blow up the plane. The daughter was questioned and cleared for the flight, which left late after officials determined there was no threat. The mother was arrested for making a terror threat after the call was traced to her.

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Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe exhumed to solve mystery [via the BBC]

16th century Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe’s corpse has been exhumed in Prague in an attempt to confirm a cause of death. Brahe, who served as a mathematician for Bohemian Emperor Rudolf II, had previously had his 1601 death attributed to a bladder infection. A 1901 exhumation, however, tested his hair and found traces of mercury. Scientists are now hoping to use fragments of his bone and clothing to search for new clues.

Mystery of Australian twins shot in US [via ABC News]

Two 29-year-old twin sisters from Australia appear to have shot each other at a shooting range south of Denver — and police aren’t yet certain which one died and which one survived. Although little information is available, police have video footage of just outside where the shooting occurred, and have video of one twin falling to the ground. Witnesses said there had been no fight and that the sisters had been talking prior to the incident. The surviving twin is in stable but critical condition.

Ears could make better unique IDs than fingerprints [via Wired]

Scientists have developed a new way to identify people in addition to fingerprints: the ear. Using an algorithm called “image ray transform,” scientists can identify people with 99.6 percent accuracy based on measurements of their outer ear. Proponents of the technology note that fingerprints can rub off or become callous over time, but ears stay roughly the same. Critics, however, charge there is no scientific proof ears remain the same and hold up fingerprinting’s 100-year history of accuracy.

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USA 2010 Word of the Year: Refudiate [via OUPblog]

The New Oxford American Dictionary has named “refudiate,” a portmanteau of “refuse” and “repudiate” accidentally coined by former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in a tweet, its word of the year. “From a strictly lexical interpretation of the different contexts in which Palin has used ‘refudiate,’ we have concluded that neither ‘refute’ nor ‘repudiate’ seems consistently precise, and that ‘refudiate’ more or less stands on its own, suggesting a general sense of ‘reject.’” NOAD noted Palin was not the first to use the word, though she popularized it. Runners-up included crowdsourcing, gleek, Tea Party, top kill, vuvuzela, webisode, retweet and nom nom.

San Francisco may propose to ban circumcision next year [via The New York Daily News]

A San Fransiscan man has proposed a ballot initiative to ban “genital mutilation” of minors, intending to halt the practice of circumcision. “It’s a man’s body and…his body doesn’t belong to his culture, his government, his religion or even his parents. It’s his decision,” author Lloyd Schofield said. He has to gather 7,000 signatures to get the proposal on the next ballot. According to the CDC, 32 percent of baby boys were circumcised in 2009, down from 56 percent in 2006.

Westboro protestors face jeers and slashed tires [via The Tulsa World]

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church, a Topeka-based group that protests at military funerals with the message that “God hates America” because of growing acceptance of homosexuals, returned to their van to find two slashed tires after protesting a funeral in Oklahoma. According to police, the protestors were unable to find a shop nearby willing to service them. The group ultimately called AAA and was towed to a Walmart where they reportedly effected repairs.

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