Monday, May 14, 2012

Road Rage

Road rage is an aggressive or angry behavior by a driver of an automobile or other motor vehicle. Such behavior might include rude gestures, verbal insults, deliberately driving in an unsafe or threatening manner, or making threats. Road rage can lead to altercations, assaults, and collisions which result in injuries and even deaths. It can be thought of as an extreme case of aggressive driving.
The term originated in the United States during the 1980s, specifically from Newscasters at KTLA, a local television station in Los Angeles, California. The term originated in 1987-1988, when a rash of freeway shootings occurred on the 405, 110 and 10 freeways in Los Angeles. These shooting sprees even spawned a response from the AAA Motor Club to its members on how to respond to drivers with road rage or aggressive maneuvers and gestures.
As early as 1997, therapists in the United States were working to certify road rage as a medical condition. It is not an official mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. According to an article published by the Associated Press in June 2006, the behaviors typically associated with road rage are the result of intermittent explosive disorder. This conclusion was drawn from surveys of some 9,200 adults in the United States between 2001 and 2003 and was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. The cause of intermittent explosive disorder has not been described to date. There are differing views on whether or not "road rage" is a mental issue.
A 2007 study of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas concluded that the cities with the least courteous drivers (most road rage) are Miami, Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles, and Boston. The cities with the most courteous drivers (least road rage) are Minneapolis, Nashville, St. Louis, Seattle, and Atlanta.
In spite of this, in 2009, New York, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Atlanta and Minneapolis/St. Paul were rated the top five "Road Rage Capitals" of the United States.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


A cutman is a person responsible for preventing and treating physical damage to a fighter during the breaks between rounds of a full contact match such as a boxing, kickboxing or a mixed martial arts bout. Cutmen typically handle swelling, nosebleeds and lacerations (commonly called cuts). The rules of full contact sports stipulate that these injuries can be a cause for premature match stoppage, counting as a loss to the injured fighter. The cutman is therefore essential to the fighter, and can be a decisive factor in the outcome of the match.
The compensation for cutmen varies, generally staying within 1-3% of fighter's prize money. For many fighters on a low budget, the cutman duties are performed by their cornerman. While most athletic commissions require cutmen to be licensed, there is usually no formal training or certification required. Most cutmen learn their trade through apprenticeship and self-education.
Unlike boxing, cutmen for mixed martial arts events are generally provided by the promotion, rather than the fighter's corner. This is to prevent allegations of "greasing" (applying petroleum jelly to areas other than the forehead, which provides an unfair advantage in grappling situations).
Cutmen should not be confused with the fight doctor who is an official that monitors the health of the fighters, and whose task is closer to that of neutral referees, providing medical advice and monitoring the safety of both fighters in accordance with regulations or law and evaluates their ability to continue fighting.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Chiko Roll

The Chiko Roll is an Australian savoury snack, inspired by the Chinese egg roll and spring rolls. It was designed to be easily eaten on the move without a plate or cutlery. The Chiko roll consists of beef, celery, cabbage, barley, carrot, corn, onion, green beans, and spices in a tube of egg, flour and dough which is then deep-fried. The wrap was designed to be unusually thick so it would survive handling at football matches. It was originally called a "Chicken roll" despite not containing any chicken then later renamed "Chiko Roll". At the peak of their popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, tens of millions of Chiko Rolls were sold annually in Australia, and the product has been described as an Australian cultural icon.
The Chiko Roll was developed by Frank McEncroe, a boilermaker from Bendigo who turned to catering at football matches and other outdoor events. In 1950, McEncroe saw a competitor selling Chinese chop suey rolls outside Richmond Cricket Ground and decided to add a similar product to his own line. McEncroe felt that the Chinese rolls were too flimsy to be easily handled in an informal outdoor setting, and hit upon the idea of a much larger and more robust roll that would provide a quick meal that was both reasonably substantial and easily handled. The result was the Chiko Roll, which debuted at the Wagga Wagga Agriculture Show in 1951.
In the 1960s, McEncroe moved to Melbourne with his family where he began to manufacture the rolls with the help of a sausage machine. As the product became more popular, McEncroe moved to a larger factory with more modern equipment in North Essendon and later merged with a local company called Floyd's Iceworks to form Frozen Food Industries Pty Ltd. The new company went public in 1963.
By 1965, most Australian takeaway restaurants and fish and chip shops carried Chiko Rolls, with the marketing slogan 'Grab a Chiko' signifying the ease with which shop owners could take a Chiko Roll from the freezer and pop it into a fryer and slide it into its own trade mark bag. At the height of their popularity in the 1970s, 40 million Chiko Rolls were being sold Australia-wide each year and more than one million were exported to Japan.
Increasing competition in the Australian takeaway food market in recent decades has seen a decline in the profile of the Chiko Roll, but they are still widely available at fish and chips shops and supermarkets across Australia.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Purple Drank

Purple drank is a slang term for a recreational drug popular in the hip hop community in the southern United States, originating in Houston, Texas. Its main ingredient is prescription-strength cough syrup containing codeine and promethazine. Cough syrup is typically mixed with ingredients such as Sprite soft drink or Mountain Dew and pieces of Jolly Rancher candy. The purplish hue of purple drank comes from dyes in the cough syrup.

Houston, Texas producer DJ Screw popularized the concoction, which is widely attributed as a source of inspiration for the "chopped and screwed" style of hip hop music. Originally, the active ingredient of "syrup" was cough syrup containing promethazine and codeine. The concoction first gained popularity in the underground rap scene in Houston, where musician Big Hawk said it was consumed as early as the 1960s and 1970s, becoming more widespread in the early 1990s. Its use later spread to other southern states. Because of usage by rap artists in Houston, it became more popular in the 1990s.

In June 2000, Three 6 Mafia's single "Sippin' on Some Syrup," featuring UGK, brought the term "purple drank" to a nationwide audience.Three 6 Mafia's single "Rainbow Colors" featuring Lil' Flip pertains to the consumption of purple drank; the addition of a Jolly Rancher candy to a cup of purple drank creates a spectrum of colors, hence the name.

In 2004, the University of Texas found that 8.3% of secondary school students in Texas had taken codeine syrup to get high. The Drug Enforcement Administration reports "busts" involving syrup across the southern United States, particularly in Texas and Florida.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wild Duck Cluster

The Wild Duck Cluster (also known as Messier 11, or NGC 6705) is an open cluster in the constellation Scutum. It was discovered by Gottfried Kirch in 1681. Charles Messier included it in his catalogue in 1764.
The Wild Duck Cluster is one of the richest and most compact of the known open clusters, containing about 2900 stars. Its age has been estimated to about 220 million years. Its name derives from the brighter stars forming a triangle which could represent a flying flock of ducks.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


A telenovela is a limited-run serial dramatic programming popular in Latin American, Portuguese, and Spanish television programming. The word combines tele, short for televisión or televisão (Spanish and Portuguese words for television), and novela, a Spanish word for "novel". Telenovelas are a distinct genre different from soap operas, for telenovelas have an ending and come to an end after a long run (generally less than one year). The telenovela combines drama with the 19th century feuilleton and the Latin American radionovela. The medium has been used repeatedly to transmit sociocultural messages by incorporating them into storylines.

Recent telenovelas have evolved in the structure of their plots and in the themes they address. Couples who kiss each other in the first minutes of the first episode sometimes stay together for many episodes before the scriptwriter splits them up. Moreover, previously taboo themes like urban violence, racism, and homosexuality have begun to appear in the newest telenovelas.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tsar Cannon

The Tsar Cannon is a large, 5.94 metres (19.5 ft) long cannon on display on the grounds of the Moscow Kremlin. It was cast in 1586 in Moscow, by the Russian master bronze caster Andrey Chokhov. Mostly of symbolic impact, it was never used in a war. However the cannon bears traces of at least one firing. Per the Guinness Book of Records it is the largest bombard by caliber in the world, and it is a major tourist attraction in the ensemble of the Moscow Kremlin.

By the 16th century, bronze casting technology in the Tsardom of Russia was advanced enough to create many artillery pieces noted for their large caliber and rich ornamentation. Artillery was extensively used in the Conquest of Kazan and in numerous other battles. The exact reason why the Tsar Cannon was cast is unknown. The master bronze-caster Andrey Chokhov is known to have resided near today's Lubyanka Square from 1568-1629.

The Tsar Cannon was placed at several points around Moscow in its history. It is known to have been mounted on a special frame with a fixed inclination angle in Red Square near the Place of Skulls in order to protect the eastern approaches to the Kremlin, indicating that it originally did have a practical application. However, by 1706, it was moved to the Kremlin Arsenal and mounted on a wooden gun carriage. It was not used during the French invasion of Russia, although Napoleon Bonaparte considered removing it to France as a war trophy. The wooden gun carriage burnt in the fire that consumed Moscow in 1812, and was replaced in 1835 by the present metal carriage.
In 1860, the Tsar Cannon was moved to its current location on Ivanovskaya Square near the Tsar Bell, which is similarly massive and is the largest bell in the world (but which has never been rung).
The cannon was last restored in 1980. It was thoroughly studied at that time and gunpowder residue was found, indicating that the cannon had been fired at least once.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Robert Bunsen

Robert Wilhelm Eberhard Bunsen (30 March 1811 – 16 August 1899) was a German chemist. He investigated emission spectra of heated elements, and discovered caesium (in 1860) and rubidium (in 1861) with Gustav Kirchhoff. Bunsen developed several gas-analytical methods, was a pioneer in photochemistry, and did early work in the field of organoarsenic chemistry. With his laboratory assistant, Peter Desaga, he developed the Bunsen burner, an improvement on the laboratory burners then in use. The Bunsen–Kirchhoff Award for spectroscopy is named after Bunsen and Kirchhoff.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Vermilion Sands

Vermilion Sands is a short-story collection by J. G. Ballard, first published in 1971. All the stories are set in an imaginary vacation resort called Vermilion Sands which suggests, among other places, Palm Springs in southern California. The characters are generally the wealthy and disaffected, or people who make a living off them, and parasites of various kinds.

Each story concentrates on different media - in some cases more than one - and most of them focus on a particular innovative, usually rather decadent/baroque twist on an existing artistic medium.

Although the characters themselves often exhibit the same obsession, anomie and psychological disintegration typical of Ballard's characters, the emphasis on elaborate and sometimes humorously imagined art forms gives these stories a playfulness unusual in his other stories. 
In the preface, Ballard himself wrote: "Vermilion Sands has more than its full share of dreams and illusions, fears and fantasies, but the frame for them is less confining. I like to think, too, that it celebrates the neglected virtues of the glossy, lurid and bizarre."

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Black Randy and the Metrosquad

Black Randy and the Metrosquad was a punk rock act from the late 1970s and early 1980s in the Los Angeles punk scene. They gained notoriety not only for their surreal and smutty sense of humour, but also for their amalgamation of proto-punk, 1970s soul, pop, and avant-garde music.

The band formed in Los Angeles in 1977 with Black Randy (born John Morris) as front man, David Brown on keyboards, and other members including Pat Garrett on guitar, who later joined The Dils. However, the band had a rotating line-up, which even included live back-up singers known as the Blackettes which often included Alice Bag, Exene Cervenka, Lorna Doom, Jane Wiedlin, Belinda Carlisle and featured several members of The Eyes.

Black Randy's lyrics gave him a reputation for being as witty as he was offensive with songs about gay prostitution, Marlon Brando, and Idi Amin. Their first single, "Trouble at the Cup", advocated fighting the police, though this (like all their material) was as tongue in cheek as his cover of James Brown's classic "Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud". Some saw this cover as an offensive reinterpretation of the song as a mocking attack on black pride (considering that Black Randy was white); others saw it as irreverent, ironic, and humorous. The band also covered the theme from the cult Blaxploitation film Shaft, by Isaac Hayes, in the same irreverent manner.

These songs were compiled onto their only album, Pass the Dust, I Think I'm Bowie, which had sophisticated and even innovative musical arrangements that had more in common with post-punk than hardcore bands like Black Flag.

The band imploded early in 1980 when their frontman succumbed to drug and alcohol problems, which were evident in chaotic live shows, where songs were hardly sung and Brown tried, to no avail, to salvage the show. Black Randy died on November 11th, 1988

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Smoke Ring

A smoke ring is a visible vortex ring formed by sudden release of smoke. It can be created by blowing smoke from the mouth, quickly lighting a cigarette lighter and putting it out or holding a burning incense stick or a cigarette vertically, pushing it with the burning side up and suddenly pulling it back (or just stopping it).
In general, a smoke ring occurs when a mass of fluid from the mouth is impulsively pushed through a roughly circular opening, forming a vortex ring just outside of the opening. The smoke ring travels roughly straight from the opening and maintains its shape until dispersed by turbulence or other interference. The smoke serves to make the flow pattern of the air visible, and does not significantly affect the fluid behavior. Another method of creating a smoke ring involves releasing a mass of fluid with a different density than the surrounding fluid. This can be done in several ways:
Releasing air underwater forms rings of bubbles. Scuba divers often do this, and dolphins have also been observed performing this trick.
A vortex ring or smoke ring can be formed in the atmosphere by a rising (falling) mass of warm (cold) air, which is also called a thermal (microburst). One is occasionally at the core of a mushroom cloud, and they can be seen at fire eater presentations.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


A piledriver is a professional wrestling driver move in which the wrestler grabs his opponent, turns him upside-down, and drops into a sitting or kneeling position, driving the opponent head-first into the mat. The most common piledrivers are the basic belly-to-back, or Texas piledriver, and the belly-to-belly tombstone piledriver, but many more intricate variants are in use. It was innovated by "Wild" Bill Longson.
The name is taken from a piece of construction equipment, also called a pile driver, that drives countless massive impacts on the top of a large major foundation support, burying it in the ground slowly with each impact. The act of performing a piledriver is called "piledriving." Someone who has recently been the victim of a piledriver is said to have been "piledriven" (e.g. "The wrestler was piledriven into the canvas").