Saturday, December 15, 2007

weird facts
weird facts


Weird Facts: $83,000 Phone Bill

weird facts
TORONTO (Reuters) - A Canadian oil-field worker, stunned to get a C$85,000 ($83,700) cell phone bill, has had the charges reduced to C$3,400, but is still fighting them.

Piotr Staniaszek, a 22-year-old oil and gas well tester in rural northwest Alberta, became a figure of international media attention this week when his father went to the press to complain about the size of his son's bill.

Staniaszek's father, also named Piotr Staniaszek, said his son thought he could use his new phone as a modem for his computer as part of his C$10 unlimited browser plan from Bell Mobility, a division of Bell Canada.

He downloaded movies and other high-resolution files unaware of the charges they would incur.

"He's working in the field sometimes, alone, in the shack. What to do? Drink vodka or go on the Internet?" Staniaszek senior told Reuters on Thursday from Calgary, Alberta.

"Now it's $85,000 and nobody told him," he said.

According to his invoice, the son rang up C$60,000 in charges in November, and they have since climbed to C$85,000.

Staniaszek senior said Bell has agreed to reduce the charges to C$3,400 for "goodwill".

"It's still high...Who can afford it?" he said, adding his son can barely make payments on a new truck he bought for work, and will continue to fight the charges.

A Bell spokesman said the plan is not intended for downloading files to a computer, and that's clear in his contract.

Staniaszek said his son did not want to talk to the press after the interest his story has received and that he is afraid to use his cell phone and incur more long-distance charges.

[Via - The Weird World Of Economics]

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Weird Facts: Human Calculator's New Record

weird facts
World's fastest human calculator today broke his own record for working out a 200-digit number using nothing but brain power to produce the answer in just over 70 seconds.

Alexis Lemaire, a 27-year-old Frenchman, correctly calculated the 13th root of a random 200-digit number from a possible 393 trillion answers.

The so-called 'mathlete' produced the answer of 2,407,899,893,032,210 in 70.2 seconds, beating his previous record of 72.4 seconds, at London's Science Museum.

A computer was used to produce a random 200-digit number before he sat down to calculate the answer in his head.

The museum's curator of mathematics, Jane Wess, said: "He sat down and it was all very quiet - and all of a sudden he amazingly just cracked it.

"I believe that it is the highest sum calculated mentally.

"He seems to have a large memory and he's made this his life's ambition. It's quite remarkable to see it happen. A very small number of people have this extraordinary ability; nowadays there is only a handful."

Mr Lemaire, who attends the University of Reims in northern France, began demonstrating his prowess by finding the 13th root of a random 100-digit number but gave up trying to improve his performance when he calculated an answer in under four seconds in 2004.

Like an athlete, he trains his brain daily for the far harder task of finding the 13th root of 200-digit numbers.

Via - Human Calculator Sets New Record

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Weird Facts: 100 million pennies displayed in NYC


weird facts
NEW YORK -- One hundred million pennies for your thoughts on the latest display in Rockefeller Center. New York first lady Silda Wall Spitzer joined hundreds of public school children on Monday to unveil a mass of $1 million in pennies collected for charity. The display, called the Penny Harvest Field, includes an estimated 100 million pennies - plus a few nickels, dimes and quarters that slipped in by mistake.

The exhibit, 30 feet by 165 feet, as long as a city block, is the culmination of the nonprofit organization Common Cents' 17th annual Penny Harvest, a national educational program designed to teach children about their value as contributors to society. Hundreds of thousands of city students from more than 800 schools spent the weeks between Oct. 22 and Thanksgiving going door to door and collecting the pennies, which will be donated to organizations of their choice for causes such as protecting the environment and helping the elderly.

The exhibit was designed by architect James Polshek and will be on display in Rockefeller Center, near the famous Christmas tree, through the end of the year.

[Via - SeattlePI.Com]

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Weird Facts: How To Get Paid For Your Opinion -

weird facts
The E-Poll Market Research Panel was founded in 1997, and has a primary focus on gathering research on consumer attitudes and behavior towards entertainment and media. Members are invited to take mostly entertainment and media related surveys, and membership to the panel is free.

Members that complete these online surveys are rewarded with points that can be redeemed for gift certificates from online retailers like

I know that I promised an update here and now I can add one, I redeemed my points 3 weeks ago for a Ben and Jerry's certificate for a free pint of ice cream and I have now gotten it in the mail. So it took me three weeks to get that from them and I don't consider that to be too bad of a wait. The redemption process was very simple, they verified I did own the account by asking my password and then I selected how many points I wanted to redeem and then selected my price and verified my address. So overall that was a simple process. They say that it could take up to 6 weeks for you to get your reward, which I'm sure they add in case it does take longer.

But overall I am pleased with the results.