Saturday, October 27, 2007

Weird Facts: What If You Had A Gun To Your Head And Had To Make $1,000 In 48 Hours or...

What If You Had A Gun To Your Head And Had To Make $1,000 In 48 Hours or Less – How Would You Do It? Here’s EXACTLY How!


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Weird Facts: Home-Made Helicopters

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KANO (AFP) - Mubarak Muhammad Abdullahi, a 24-year-old physics undergraduate in northern Nigeria, takes old cars and motorbikes to pieces in the back yard at home and builds his own helicopters from the parts.

"It took me eight months to build this one," he said, sweat pouring from his forehead as he filled the radiator of the banana yellow four-seater which he now parks in the grounds of his university.

The chopper, which has flown briefly on six occasions, is made from scrap aluminium that Abdullahi bought with the money he makes from computer and mobile phone repairs, and a donation from his father, who teaches at Kano's Bayero university.

It is powered by a second-hand 133 horsepower Honda Civic car engine and kitted out with seats from an old Toyota saloon car. Its other parts come from the carcass of a Boeing 747 which crashed near Kano some years ago.

For a four-seater it is a big aircraft, measuring twelve metres (39 feet) long, seven metres high by five wide. It has never attained an altitude of more than seven feet.

The cockpit consists of a push-button ignition, an accelerator lever between the seats which controls vertical thrust, a joystick that provides balance and bearing.

A small screen on the dashboard connects to a camera underneath the helicopter for ground vision, a set of six buttons adjusts the screen's brightness while a small transmitter is used for communication.

"You start it, allow it to run for a minute or two and you then shift the accelerator forward and the propeller on top begins to spin. The further you shift the accelerator the faster it goes and once you reach 300 rmp you press the joystick and it takes off," Abdullahi explained from the cockpit.

He said he learned the rudiments of flying a helicopter from the Internet and first got the idea of building one from the films he watches on television.

"I watched action movies a lot and I was fascinated by the way choppers fly. I decided it would be easier to build one than to build a car," he said pacing the premises of the security division of the university which he uses as hanger for his helicopter.

He hoped -- and still does hope -- that the Nigerian government and his wealthy compatriots would turn to him and stop placing orders with western manufacturers.

So far, however, government response to his chopper project has been underwhelming to say the least.

Although some government officials got very excited when they saw him conduct a demonstration flight in neighbouring Katsina state, Nigeria's Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has so far shown no interest in his aircraft.

"No one from the NCAA has come to see what I've done. We don't reward talent in this country," he lamented.

Abdullahi does admit that his first helicopter lacks "some basic facilities like devices for measuring atmospheric pressure, altitude, humidity and the like."

In a country with Nigeria's abysmal air safety record officials may be loath to gamble on one student's home-made helicopter.

But Abdullahi, undeterred, has started work on a new flying machine, which, he says, "will be a radical improvement on the first one in terms of sophistication and aesthetics."

Currently just a spindly metal frame in the back yard, the helicopter will be a two-seater and Abdullahi calculates it will be able to fly at an altitude of 15 feet for three hours at a stretch.

It will be powered by a brand new motor -- albeit Taiwan-manufactured and destined for the Jincheng motorbike so common on the streets of Kano.

[Via - Yahoo!News]

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Weird Facts: Did You Know ?

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Weird Facts: Scientists Discover Why Gossip Is More Powerful Than Truth

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Researchers, testing students using a computer game, also found gossip played an important role when people make decisions, said Ralf Sommerfeld, an evolutionary biologist at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, who led the study.

"We show that gossip has a strong influence... even when participants have access to the original information as well as gossip about the same information," the researchers wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Thus, it is evident that gossip has a strong manipulative potential."

In the study, the researchers gave the students money and allowed them to give it to others in a series of rounds. The students also wrote notes about how others played the game that everyone could review.

Students tended to give less money to people described as "nasty misers" or "scrooges" and more to those depicted as "generous players" or "social players", Sommerfeld said.

"People only saw the gossip, not the past decisions," he said in a telephone interview. "People really reacted on it."

The researchers then took the game a step further and showed the students the actual decisions people had made. But they also supplied false gossip that contradicted that evidence.

In these cases, the students based their decisions to award money on the gossip, rather than the hard evidence, showing such information is a powerful tool, Sommerfeld said.

"Rationally if you know what the people did, you should care, but they still listened to what others said," he said.

"They even reacted on it if they knew better."

Researchers have long used similar games to study how people cooperate and the impact of gossip in groups. Scientists define gossip as social information spread about a person who is not present, Sommerfeld said.

In evolutionary terms, gossip can be an important tool for people to acquire information about others' reputations or navigate through social networks at work and in their everyday lives, the study said.

One example could be using gossip to learn that a potential mate had cheated on others, something which could make that person an undesirable match, Sommerfeld said.

[Via - Stuff]

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Weird Facts: Monkeys Kill The Mayor Of The Capital Of India

Weird facts from India
The deputy mayor of the Indian capital Delhi has died a day after being attacked by a horde of wild monkeys.

SS Bajwa suffered serious head injuries when he fell from the first-floor terrace of his home on Saturday morning trying to fight off the monkeys.

The city has long struggled to counter its plague of monkeys, which invade government complexes and temples, snatch food and scare passers-by.

The High Court demanded the city find an answer to the problem last year.

Solution elusive

One approach has been to train bands of larger, more ferocious langur monkeys to go after the smaller groups of Rhesus macaques.

The city has also employed monkey catchers to round them up so they can be moved to forests.

But the problem has persisted.

Culling is seen as unacceptable to devout Hindus, who revere the monkeys as a manifestation of the monkey god Hanuman, and often feed them bananas and peanuts.

Urban development around the city has also been blamed for destroying the monkeys' natural habitat.

Mr Bajwa, a member of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is survived by his wife and a son, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

[Via - BBC]

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