Get Kraken!

New Zealand Fishermen Catch Rare Squid

from The Associated Press

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - A fishing crew has caught a colossal squid that could weigh a half-ton and prove to be the biggest specimen ever landed, a fisheries official said Thursday.

The squid, weighing an estimated 990 lbs and about 39 feet long, took two hours to land in Antarctic waters, New Zealand Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said.

The fishermen were catching Patagonian toothfish, sold under the name Chilean sea bass, south of New Zealand "and the squid was eating a hooked toothfish when it was hauled from the deep," Anderton said.

The fishing crew and a fisheries official on board their ship estimated the length and weight of the squid: Detailed, official measurements have not been made. The date when the colossus was caught also was not disclosed.

Colossal squid, known by the scientific name Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, are estimated to grow up to 46 feet long and have long been one of the most mysterious creatures of the deep ocean.

If original estimates are correct, the squid would be 330 pounds heavier than the next biggest specimen ever found.

"I can assure you that this is going to draw phenomenal interest. It is truly amazing," said Dr. Steve O'Shea, a squid expert at the Auckland University of Technology. If calamari rings were made from the squid they would be the size of tractor tires, he added.

Colossal squid can descend to 6,500 feet and are extremely active, aggressive hunters, he said.

The frozen squid will be transported to New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa, in the capital, Wellington, to be preserved for scientific study.

Marine scientists "will be very interested in this amazing creature as it adds immeasurably to our understanding of the marine environment," Anderton said.

Colossal squid are found in Antarctic waters and are not related to giant squid found round the coast of New Zealand. Giant squid grow up to 39 feet long, but are not as heavy as colossal squid.


Cerebro Mutant Profile 200204:

Stumpy, a four-legged duckling at Warrawee Duck Farm, Copythorne, Hampshire, England, Saturday Feb. 17, 2007. A rare mutation has left the bird with two legs behind the usual two. (AP Photo/PA, Barry Batchelor)

Winner: Immortalization in Sidebar!
added to: The Real Mutant Menace!
New mutant, codename KFCentaur
Mutant Abilities: Four legs, super-waddle action, delicious.


Is That a Gun in Your Pocket or Am I Just Happy To See You?

Ray Gun Makes Targets Feel As If They Are on Fire

from The Associated Press

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Georgia - The military's new weapon is a ray gun that shoots a beam that makes people feel as if they will catch fire.

The technology is supposed to be harmless - a non-lethal way to get enemies to drop their weapons.

Military officials say it could save the lives of civilians and service members in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

The weapon is not expected to go into production until at least 2010, but all branches of the military have expressed interest in it, officials said.

During the first media demonstration of the weapon Wednesday, airmen fired beams from a large dish antenna mounted atop a Humvee at people pretending to be rioters and acting out other scenarios U.S. troops might encounter.

The crew fired beams from more than 500 yards away, nearly 17 times the range of existing non-lethal weapons, such as rubber bullets.

While the sudden, 130-degree Fahrenheit heat was not painful, it was intense enough to make participants think their clothes were about to ignite.

"This is one of the key technologies for the future," said Marine Col. Kirk Hymes, director of the non-lethal weapons program that helped develop the weapon. "Non-lethal weapons are important for the escalation of force, especially in the environments our forces are operating in."

The system uses millimeter waves, which can penetrate only 1/64th of an inch of skin, just enough to cause discomfort. By comparison, common kitchen microwaves penetrate several inches of skin.

The millimeter waves cannot go through walls, but they can penetrate most clothing, officials said. They refused to comment on whether the waves can go through glass.

Two airmen and 10 reporters volunteered to be zapped with the beams, which easily penetrated various layers of winter clothing.

The system was developed by the military, but the two devices being evaluated were built by defense contractor Raytheon.

Airman Blaine Pernell, 22, said he could have used the system during his four tours in Iraq, where he manned watchtowers around a base near Kirkuk. He said Iraqis often pulled up and faked car problems so they could scout U.S. forces.

"All we could do is watch them," he said. But if they had the ray gun, troops "could have dispersed them."


The Fantastic Two

Jingle Bells: The Fantastic Four sequel's Silver Surfer dangles some junk? Apparently so, as glimpsed in the trailer and discussed here.


R.I.P. Lily

Actress Yvonne De Carlo, Star of TV's The Munsters, Dies at 84

from The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Yvonne De Carlo, the beautiful star who played Moses' wife in The Ten Commandments but achieved her greatest popularity on TV's slapstick comedy The Munsters, has died. She was 84.

De Carlo died of natural causes Monday at the Motion Picture & Television facility in suburban Woodland Hills, longtime friend and television producer Kevin Burns said Wednesday.

De Carlo, whose shapely figure helped launch her career in B-movie desert adventures and Westerns, rose to more important roles in the 1950s. Later, she had a key role in a landmark Broadway musical, Stephen Sondheim's Follies.

But for TV viewers, she will always be known as Lily Munster in the 1964-1966 horror movie spoof The Munsters. The series (the name allegedly derived from "fun-monsters") offered a gallery of Universal Pictures grotesques, including Dracula and Frankenstein's monster, in a cobwebbed gothic setting.


Dear Santa...

Former professional Swiss military pilot Yves Rossy, the 'jet-man', flies in the sky like a rocketeer in the southern Swiss Alps near Nyon in November, 2006. Rossy is the first man ever to successfully fly with wings, full-powered by four engines in his back. Picture taken in November 2006. REUTERS/Rolf Kuratli (SWITZERLAND)

Cerebro Mutant Profile 220022:

A calf with two faces is photographed Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007, at Kirk Heldreth's dairy farm in Rural Retreat, Va. The calf, which was born Dec. 27, 2006, breathes out of two noses and has two tongues, which move independently, according to Heldreth. There appears to be a single socket containing two eyes where the heads split. (AP Photo/Wytheville Enterprise Via Bristol Herald Courier, Jean Farley)

Winner: Immortalization in Sidebar!
added to: The Real Mutant Menace!
New mutant, codename Moo-2
Mutant Abilities: Superbovine cud-chewing, moos in stereo, triclops.


'Query: Where's My Bleeping Epidural?!'

Medical students practice parturition treatment with a baby-delivery robot at an obstetrician class of Kyung Hee university medical center in Seoul in this December 27, 2006 file photo. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon


Rise of the Silver Surfer Trailer


Kraken Attackin'

In this photo released by Tsunemi Kubodera, a researcher with Japan's National Science Museum, a giant squid attacking a bait squid is being pulled up by his research team off the Ogasawara Islands, south of Tokyo, on Dec. 4, 2006. The research team, led by Kubodera, has succeeded in filming the giant squid live, possibly for the first time, at the surface as they captured it off the remote island of Chichijima, which is about 960 kilometers (600 miles) southeast of Tokyo. About 24 feet long, the squid died in the process of being caught. The photo was made out of the video they filmed. (AP Photo/Tsunemi Kubodera of the National Science Museum of Japan, HO)


Nothing Personal, But You're Out!

In August, the International Astronomical Union downgraded Pluto to a dwarf planet. The panel of experts met to officially redefine the characteristics of a planet. To deliver the news to the distant orb about its newly lowered status, scientists at NASA's Kennedy Space Center launched a special messenger probe in September.

"It's tough, but we thought giving it to Pluto straight was the right thing to do," NASA Chief Engineer James Wood said. "After all, it put in 76 years as our ninth planet—it just didn't seem fair to break the news with an impersonal radio transmission beamed from Earth."

The Consoler probe is scheduled to reach Pluto in 2016. Upon landing on the planetoid's surface, the probe will relay to Pluto the news of its demotion, then orbit the tiny celestial body and radio messages of gratitude for its eons of planetary service to convince Pluto that it is still a highly valued part of the solar system's configuration.

"Pluto is more than 3.5 billion miles from the sun," Wood said. "Launching that probe felt like the best way to avoid alienating it any further."

Wood said Consoler will "take pains" to explain to Pluto that the reasons for the demotion "had nothing to do with anything it did personally."

"It was a great planet, and it will be a great dwarf planet," Wood said of Pluto's tenure. "No one is questioning its orbit around the sun, and of course Pluto's gravity and pressure gradient force is plenty sufficient to maintain hydrostatic equilibrium. Pluto still has three moons: Charon, Hydra and Nix. No one's going to take that away from it."

Scientists at NASA have taken precautions that word of the demotion will not reach Pluto before Consoler does. The New Horizons probe, which will pass by Pluto in July 2015, has been instructed to maintain radio silence. It is, however, programmed to congratulate nearby Eris and Ceres for their promotion from asteroids to dwarf planets.

"The Consoler probe will reach Pluto on a Friday, if our calculations are correct," Wood said. "It's always better to do this kind of thing right before the weekend."


Shrek the Third Trailer

click the picture, dumbass!


Mummy's Curse Turns Around & Bites Them on Dusty Asses

CAIRO — As the sun sets over Cairo, the streets are eerily quiet. Just a few years ago, the hillsides from Luxor to Giza would have been buzzing with the familiar sounds of tomb doors creaking open and bones snapping under the methodical shuffling of a slow, catatonic gait. But the telltale signs of Egypt's indigenous mummy population have fallen silent recently, and the fearsome creatures that once lurched freely across the Valley of the Kings are disappearing at an alarming rate. If nothing is done, experts say, the Egyptian mummy will soon go the way of the Bavarian lycanthrope or the Transylvanian vampire, and vanish forever.

Afterlife Preservation Society president James Amarcas said he can recall a time when Egyptians did not have to go to a museum, but could look out their window and see an entire herd of shroud-wrapped forms staggering on missions of revenge.

"My grandchildren have still never seen a mummy," said Amarcas, who vividly recalls his first mummy sighting in 1947, when he was just 3 years old. "These terrible monsters are little more than a legend to them. It's sad to think they might never see the bloodthirsty march of an undead Egyptian prince on a cool, calm night."

Prospects for Egypt's mummies are grim. A population that reached more than 12,000 in 1970 has today dropped to less than 300.

More alarmingly, it appears their natural lifecycle has been permanently disrupted. The Sakkara region had long supported a small number of looters and adventurers dismissive of natives' warnings about supernatural curses, prompting the ancient dormant creatures to emerge and seek fresh revenge — a natural cycle of death and rebirth that for centuries insured a regular habitat for the mummies.

Modern advances, however, have strained this delicate balance. Many of the slow-moving creatures are crushed each year on the superhighways that surround Cairo. Hydroelectric dams along the Nile River destroy countless mummies when rising waters soak through their dusty rags and dissolve their arid, desiccated bodies.

Four millennia ago, Egyptians attempted to preserve their mummies for eternity with deadly curses meant to kill or ward off potential invaders. But the old ways seem to have little effect on modern poachers who bring mummies to the Western world and sell them for millions of dollars to collectors and museums.

In response, a coalition group has proposed the so-called Mummy Conservation Act to the Egyptian Parliament, which aims to create a refuge to protect mummies, relocating them to reserves where they can guard their stone amulets in peace.

"In addition, inhabited tombs would be put on 24-hour surveillance, mummies would be tagged with tracking collars, and many items would be banned from all tombs," Amarcas said. "Especially torches, as mummies are very susceptible to fire."

The bill would also put severe restrictions on tourists eager to catch a glimpse of the breathtaking monsters.

"These people have no respect for the mummies' environment, and do irreparable harm to the precious crowns, elaborate masks, and golden staffs the mummies need to survive in the afterlife," mummy activist Adjo Quaashie said. "Without these most basic worldly possessions, the mummy is rendered helpless on its voyage to the next world on the barge of the god Osiris."

"Shawabti shobek, djed dromos, ankh amun!" Quaashie added, invoking an ancient incantation for raising the dead.

Experts suspect many mummies have simply become disoriented and wandered off their usual migratory paths, while others are thought to be doggedly pursuing trespassers who disturbed their sanctuaries, even as the foreign visitors return to their home countries thousands of miles away.

Most conservation groups, however, stress that Egyptians should focus on preserving the mummies that still remain, though recent efforts to increase their numbers by breeding them in captivity have failed, since mummies are dead and therefore cannot reproduce.


Cerebro Mutant Profile 700860:

Mutant Arm Hair Care Record

from The Associated Press

Jackson, WI - Hair care is important to Jon Sanford, especially the care of one specific hair.

The Jackson, Wisconsin, man has a strand on his arm that's more than four inches long. He calls it his mutant hair.

Now, he's trying to get a Guinness record for the world's longest arm hair. The current mark stands at just less than four inches.

Jackson says he's sent all the paperwork to the Guinness people. Not everyone is impressed with his long arm hair. Jackson's mother, Sue Sanford, says it's "gross." But Jackson's daughter Molly calls it cool.

Winner: Immortalization in Sidebar!
added to: The Real Mutant Menace!
New mutant, codename Tendril
Mutant Abilities: Single, freaky-long arm hair; tickling people on elevator without trying.


Hard Hobbit To Make

McKellen Talks Hobbit Controversy

from Dark Horizons

Gandalf himself, Sir Ian McKellen, revealed on Wednesday he is upset over recent talk that director Peter Jackson may not make a film based on author J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit.

"On my own account, I am very sad as I should have relished re-visiting Middle Earth with Peter again as team-leader. It's hard to imagine any other director matching his achievement in Tolkien country" he said in a posting on his official site.

Despite this week's letter from Jackson, many industry insiders still expect him to be involved on the project and that this public spectacle is merely childish negotiating tactics from both parties over both the deal and the outstanding Fellowship lawsuit.

"We will have to await developments but being an optimist I am hoping that New Line, MGM and Wingnut can settle outstanding problems so that the long expected Hobbit is filmed sooner rather than later," McKellen added in his post.

For now though speculation continues with some wild talk at The One Ring that Spider-Man helmer Sam Raimi has been contacted about potentially helming.


Cerebro Mutant Profile 377110:
The Cerepuss Three

Brazilian student Cassia Aparecida de Souza, 18, holds her cat Mimi together with what Cassia claims are Mimi's own offsprings born with dog traits last Friday, three months after mating with a neighbour's dog, in the southern Brazilian city of Passo Fundo, Rio Grande do Sul state, November 15, 2006. A geneticist from the Passo Fundo University plans to take blood samples from the animals to verify the claim by Cassia and her husband Rogerio that the puppies are part of Mimi's litter of six, of which the three that were born with cat features died soon after birth, leaving the surviving three dog-like offsprings. (REUTERS/Edison Vara)

Winner: Immortalization in Sidebar!
added to: The Real Mutant Menace!
New mutant, codename The Cerepuss Three
Mutant Abilities: Three dog-like cats...or cat-like dogs. Cogs? Dats? Puttens? Kippies?! Whatever. Either way, their own mortal enemies.


Cerebro Mutant Profile 981002:

China's Xi Shun, the world's tallest living man, walks in downtown Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006. Shun, who is in Brazil to launch the 2007 edition of Guinness World Records, is 7 feet, 8.95 inches tall. (AP Photo/Andre Luiz Mello)

Winner: Immortalization in Sidebar!
added to: The Real Mutant Menace!
New mutant, codename Skyscraper
Mutant Abilities: Supersize


It's a Lizard-Alien-Eat-Human-Baby World, Baby!

My Bloodline Would Mix Well with That of an Advanced Reptilian Race

by Edwin F. Blakely in The Onion

I guess you could say I've always been a status-conscious person. But I'm not one of these "to the manor born" types who, despite looking and talking like a regular human being, is actually one of an ancient race of lizard aliens residing on another plane of reality who have secretly controlled mankind since the dawn of time. However, that doesn't mean I can't still seek to improve my standing in the New World Order. Warm-blooded though I may be, I remain a viable candidate, and I firmly believe that, given the chance, my particular DNA would mix well with that of an advanced reptilian species bent on subsuming humans to its unknowable will.

So I have ambition — why shouldn't I? The fact that I come from a long line of humans descended from higher apes shouldn't automatically preclude me from promotion within the hidden society that rules the Earth. My parents may have been homo sapiens, but that doesn't mean I don't want better for my children, and their children. And their children's reptilian–human children. After all, that's what America is all about.

I can trace my family tree back past the Mayflower to the reign of the hybrid reptoid female known to human annals as "Queen Elizabeth." It's a fairly impressive genetic legacy, yet I will always be looked down upon as "inferior" by those who slither across the real corridors of power.

Why? Because my bloodline — unlike that of the Bushes, Clintons, Rockefellers, and others whose names, were they revealed, would astound you — has never entered a shape-shifting, bloodsucking union with those shadowy reptile overlords. But I have plans for me and mine beyond mammalian servitude. The Blakely name deserves better!

I'm well aware that this is an honor few can expect to achieve. Finding a suitable mate with whom to start interbreeding among the lizard-men would undoubtedly be a step up the interdimensional social ladder for my family. And I know for a fact that my chromosomes are up to the task.

Just take a look at my pedigree: My father was a very successful banker. My grandmother was a musician of some note who wrote three piano concertos that are still performed today. And my great-great-uncle Tobias, God rest his monkey soul, invented a new type of industrial solvent, earning a small fortune at the turn of the 20th century, and solidifying our reputation as persons of significance. True, it wasn't a mind-control ray, or a high-energy anti-gravity propulsion device, but, considering that he lacked the inherent advantage of a hyper-advanced, overly rational, emotionless reptile brain, that's quite an accomplishment.

No doubt there are many people, descended from the vastly inferior genetic pool of primates, who would be envious of my standing in life. But power, wealth, and luxury are as nothing to me when I think of the shape-shifting reptile nobility who operate behind the scenes, pulling the strings, directing the human race hither and thither according to designs and calculations beyond our ken.

I want my children to be part of that. I want my DNA to be fused with the ruling cold-blooded super-race. Is that so wrong? For a man to want a better life for his offspring?

They say it's a dog-eat-dog world out there. But I know it's actually a lizard-alien-eat-human-baby world, and I'm prepared to do whatever it takes to be part of their invisible ranks. It may not be easy, but sacrifices must be made to get what you want, and social standing comes first, even if must be earned by drinking the blood of infants.

I only hope the power players in the Draconian Galaxy see my merit, and accept me. I would do your lizard-people proud.


One Small Leap for a Grammar

Software Finds Missing 'A' in Armstrong's Moon Quote

from The Associated Press

HOUSTON, Texas - That's one small word for astronaut Neil Armstrong, one giant revision for grammar sticklers everywhere.

An Australian computer programmer says he found the missing "a" from Armstrong's famous first words from the moon in 1969, when the world heard the phrase, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

The story was reported in Saturday's editions of the Houston Chronicle.

Some historians and critics have dogged Armstrong for not saying the more dramatic and grammatically correct, "One small step for a man..." in the version he transmitted to NASA's Mission Control. Without the missing "a," Armstrong essentially said, "One small step for mankind, one giant leap for mankind."

The famous astronaut has maintained he intended to say it properly and believes he did. Thanks to some high-tech sound-editing software, computer programmer Peter Shann Ford might have proved Armstrong right.

Ford said he downloaded the audio recording of Armstrong's words from a NASA Web site and analyzed the statement with software that allows disabled people to communicate through computers using their nerve impulses.

In a graphical representation of the famous phrase, Ford said he found evidence that the missing "a" was spoken and transmitted to NASA.

"I have reviewed the data and Peter Ford's analysis of it, and I find the technology interesting and useful," Armstrong said in a statement. "I also find his conclusion persuasive. Persuasive is the appropriate word."


Will the Action Figure Come with a Crack Pipe?

Downey Is Iron Man

from Sci-Fi Wire

Robert Downey Jr. has been cast as Tony Stark in Jon Favreau's Iron Man movie for Marvel Studios, Variety reported. The movie, based on the classic Marvel Comics character, is set for release by Paramount in May 2008. It will be the first to be self-financed by Marvel.

Downey will play Stark, a wealthy industrialist who invents a high-tech suit of body armor that gives him superpowers when he is kidnapped.

In the comics, Stark was an alcoholic, a trait that will undoubtedly draw public comparisons with Downey's own struggles with substance abuse, the trade paper reported. But Marvel production president Kevin Feige told the trade paper that the first Iron Man movie won't deal with Stark's alcohol problems, though it would likely come up in potential sequels.

The first film will deal with Stark's invention of the Iron Man suit and his conflicted past as a weapons inventor. Principal photography on Iron Man is set to begin in February.


Heather Has Two Mummies

CSI Crew Finds Real Corpse on Set

from Zap2It

Dead bodies are an everyday occurrence on the set of CSI: NY - except when they're real.

On Tuesday, Sept. 12, an actual mummified body was found inside of a Los Angeles building where the show was filming an episode that just happened to center on the discovery of a mummified body, reports People.

A source close to the production says that the body "was discovered by a building engineer who checked on the tenant because he had not paid rent for the month." Production was underway on the seventh floor of the building, only two floors above where the body was found.

An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

'Aaaaaand...cut! That's a wrap.'


Very Fine Line Between 'Zombie Mob' & 'Haight HempFest'

Zombies Invade San Francisco

from LaughingSquid

SAN FRANCISCO - Quick, run to the nearest shopping mall and lock yourself in. This afternoon San Francisco was invaded by a brain-eating mob of zombies. The zombies were first sighted at the corner of Sansome and Market Street, then they proceed up Market Street, converting innocent bystanders into the undead as they slowly marched on. Then they turned up Powell Street at the cable car turnaround, sending the tourists away screaming as they waited. After claiming Union Square as their own, they then went back down toward Market where they proceeded to invade the flagship San Francisco Apple store, breifly taking part in the Bandwidth Shindig! which was taking place upstairs. Their current whereabouts are unknown, but rumor has it that they were looking for a “think tank” to find more Brains!!!!