Chicago video & filmmakers producing scripted comedic short films: The New Retro Mobile Phone – The Brand New Way To Excommunicate!
People forget that, just outside Chicago, there’s a group of happy folks who work at a fun place called Fermilab and have the ability to wipe out the planet, and possibly the solar system, in a single explosion. Fortunately, they’re a little more mellow than that so they use their power for good. Their vibe is less MU HU HA HA HA and more like Hmmmmm. Instead of creating a black hole in their labs that would suck all matter into a crushing vortex and kill everything you know and love, they tend to do more benign things; like prove that everything you thought you knew about the universe was wrong.
While they were mucking around trying to find out last few missing particles they accidentally discovered one that wasn’t missing. In fact it wasn’t supposed to be there at all. And because it’s there a lot of stuff that should be somewhere else is suddenly suspect. Our pal Ian O’Neill, at Discovery News, has the whole story.
If you’re a little hazy about the details of Wednesday’s buzz surrounding the potential discovery of “new physics” in Fermilab’s Tevatron particle accelerator, don’t worry, you’re not alone. This is a big week for particle physicists, and even they will be having many sleepless nights over the coming months trying to grasp what it all means.
That’s what happens when physicists come forward, with observational evidence, of what they believe represents something we’ve never seen before. Even bigger than that: something we never even expected to see.
Beyond the Standard Model
In the quest to probe the very edge of our understanding of how the Universe works, massively powerful particle accelerators need to be built.
The more powerful the accelerator, the more energetic the collisions and the more rare the particles produced.
The Higgs boson for example, a particle predicted by the Standard Model, can only hope to be found by using the immense power of accelerators such as Europe’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) or the U.S. Tevatron.
So what has the Tevatron discovered?
In a nutshell, after colliding protons and antiprotons in the Tevatron over and over again, a peculiar pattern started to emerge. After the proton-antiproton collisions took place, a flash of energy caused other particles to form. The vast majority of these post-collision particles were expected to appear, abiding by the theoretical framework of the Standard Model.
However, a very small number of particles were produced that appear to originate beyond the physics predicted by the Standard Model.
A rough analogy could be two freight trains colliding head-on. Out of the resulting fire and carnage, dozens of cars spontaneously form, spraying out from the wreckage.
In this fantasy collision, the trains are the protons and antiprotons, and the cars could represent post-collision particles detected in the Tevatron, most of which are common and expected to be created (Fords, Chevvys, Hondas). However, a very small number are not predicted and are considered “exotic” (a Ferrari here, a Lamborghini there). Suddenly, we’re very interested in the exotic cars.
Back in the real world, the energies of particles produced after the collisions were measured by physicists from the CDF (Collider Detector at Fermilab) Collaboration and they noticed a “bump” in their data (click this link to see the blue line representing the bump).
Basically, this bump — or “excess” as CDF project physicist Viviana Cavaliere described in her live Fermilab announcement on Wednesday — is an anomaly that doesn’t “fit” with the Standard Model (the Standard Model particles are depicted by the red line in the picture).
Physicists tend to get excited when they see these kinds of bumps in the energy profiles of collision products. It could mean that a new type of particle has been discovered.
However, many, many collisions are needed before a “bump” like this is produced. Of the countless billions of predicted particles that are generated after particle accelerator collisions, only a very tiny proportion may be considered “exotic” (or not predicted by the Standard Model).
It’s like a camera taking a picture of a very faint, distant object. For that object to come into focus, longer exposure times are needed. In the case of the Tevatron collisions, many collisions over many months (or even years) are needed before this “bump” appears from the background.
If this bump is real, what exactly is it?
“They are in fact two ‘jets’ of particles, which when you add their momenta together give you a ‘mass peak’ [the “bump”] suggesting they might have come from a new (unknown) particle decaying,” Jon Butterworth, an LHC physicist working with the ATLAS detector and physics writer for the UK’s Guardian.co.uk, told Discovery News.
A Three-Sigma Event
Although the excitement surrounding this “unknown” particle finding is tangible, Butterworth is keen to emphasize that this “bump” might not be real. “It could certainly still be an anomaly. It’s on the edge,” he said. “Statistically the significance isn’t great, and there are substantial systematics (such as the backgrounds) which could undermine the significance further. I think they’ve done a decent job, and it is interesting but rather far from compelling.”
It is what is known as a “three-sigma event,” and this refers to the statistical certainty of a given result. In this case, this result has a 99.7 percent chance of being correct (and a 0.3 percent chance of being wrong). “Three-sigma isn’t seen as a ‘discovery,'” Butterworth said in a previous Discovery News article. “Really, a ‘five-sigma’ is classed as a discovery. Five-sigma is the ‘Gold Standard.'”
So this Tevatron finding is an interesting result, but it needs further work to be confirmed.
If it is confirmed to be real, Butterworth said that the only possible Standard Model candidate is the Higgs boson. But that is unlikely, he said, because other particles predicted to occur from a decaying Higgs aren’t present. Therefore, it’s unlikely this is a Higgs signal.
“So if not that, it has to be something pretty weird and unexpected,” Butterworth continued. “But unless and until confirmed by more data and other experiments, my money is on combination of statistical fluctuations and systematic error in the background estimation and jet measurement, and it will (sadly) fade away.”
“Hope I’m wrong.”
As Ian noted, if you’re expecting to find a Ford in your driveway and discover a Ferrari you tend to notice the discrepancy. What this will all eventually mean in anybody’s guess.
Even yours. Go ahead, make something up, you have as much chance of being right as anyone you might run into while shopping.
Well known scientist and author, Gregory Benford, posited that there might be an underlying signal hiding in the background of the universe that would lead to the development of Applied Mathematical Theology. Simply put, a message from God that we can’t decode.
Naturally it would be a group of people who know the proper way to eat a hot dog who would be responsible for finding it first and completely turning the known universe inside out.
Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Thursday morning around 9:10!
You may have noticed lately that NUDE HIPPO has been giving you the daily updates from Bill McCormick‘s WORLD NEWS CENTER and Pogo‘s music scoops, but not much more of anything else. That is because we have been focused on helping one of our own.
My very good friend and fellow HIPPO family-member, Jen Sweet, was diagnosed with a very rare and lethal glioneuronal brain tumor in May, 2008. Next month, I, along with Ashley Lobo, Nick Rosario and others will be participating in the American Brain Tumor Association’s Path to Progress 5K Run/Walk to raise money for research and patient/family education programs.
I don’t have the words to explain how I feel about Jen and how much I want to help her…so, I’ll share with you what she recently wrote in her online journal:
“The fact is, I am going on three years since my diagnosis. In the world of brain cancer, I am a “long-term” survivor. No one should face a diagnosis where “long-term” survival is three years. Most people with my diagnosis die in the first 18 months. People with the diagnosis of GBM (the diagnosis in my medical records) do not usually make it past four months. I am incredibly grateful for my good health and all of you have contributed to it through your support. I really believe that with even a small contribution to the “Path to Progress” event , you will be able to support so many more people who face brain tumors. I really hope you will consider contributing. Please visit the American Brain Tumor Association to make a donation. This organization does so much important work and even a small amount will make a huge difference. ”
Jen’s co-worker and friend Saleha wrote on her own webpage; “Jen’s cancer is not the type that will ever go into remission, she has been on chemo for roughly 2 1/2 years and will have to stay on chemo until a better option is discovered.” …and that is exactly what the ABTA has been doing…looking for more options and a cure.
I would be grateful if you could help them out with their mission. Even if it is the amount that you donate is what you would normally charge for a coffee, that amount would mean so much.
Your contribution will help Jen and many others who are living with this disease. Any donation, small or large, will go a long ways in helping find a cure for brain cancer. I will be participating in the American Brain Tumor Association’s Path to Progress 5K Run/Walk to raise money for research and patient/family education programs. I am asking for your support with any amount you are able to give.
For 38 years, ABTA has provided critical funding to researchers working toward breakthroughs in brain tumor diagnosis, treatment and care, with the ultimate goal of finding a cure. The American Brain Tumor Association exists to eliminate brain tumors through research and to meet the needs of brain tumor patients and their families
Ah youth. Those halcyon days of yore when you could rip your clothes off in public and people would neither laugh nor flee in terror. I miss those days. And nights. And sunrises and sunsets and ….. never mind, you get the idea. Simply put, those days are behind me now. Even so, while the body may have faded the memories haven’t. Thus it is with a certain whimsical joy that I opened the results of my robot search engine this morning to discover that sex was the theme of the day. Somehow Florida has managed not to have another daily contestant for the world’s stupidest criminal and our impending robot overlords seem to have taken the day off too. It’s just as well, I was looking for something different to write about anyway. Like all of the apocalypses we’ve endured, you can only take so much of a good thing.
Plus Monday’s tax day so folks are going to have a lot of important stuff on their minds.
“Whoa there, Uncle Big Bad,” you whimper, “your two opening themes are sex and taxes, how are you going to tie them together?”
Just in case you’re not in enough pain writing the check.
(A psychic) has managed to build a successful career providing something extra for her clients, while other tax experts find different ways to stick out in a crowded field, such as Lori A. St. Kitts, a Seattle woman who caters to clients in the sex industry.
She calls herself “Lori the Tax Domme” and for the past 11 tax seasons has helped keep adult entertainers such as phone sex workers, dominatrices and strippers from losing their pasties to the IRS.
“I fell into the specialty,” she told AOL News. “I was already operating my own small seasonal tax business with a clientele that were mainly in the arts and entertainment industry.”
After being laid off of work, St. Kitts began working as a phone sex operator and, as she became part of that industry, started answering tax and business questions.
“Before I knew it, people were e-mailing me, asking me to prepare their returns as they could not find a preparer with whom they felt comfortable or who understood the workings of the adult industry.”
St. Kitts says the main challenge for her kinky clients is tax compliance.
“Most [sex workers] want to comply and pay their taxes, but the shame and stigma that society puts on them — the same society that requests their services — makes it difficult for them to easily come out to a tax preparer,” she said. “This is precisely why I began working in this specialty. They often try to prepare their own taxes and miss valuable deductions and credits of which they well deserve.”
What kind of deductions?
Well, according to the Tax Domme, phone sex workers can deduct things like whoopee cushions, which can be used to make realistic sex noises; lollipops — especially those that spin (they soothe the throat and are good for sucking noises and throat soothing); and yogurt, which she says makes a lovely “squishy” noise.
“Of course,” she added, “it has to be proven that these items are used in the course of the business only, such as on camera, in business photos and on the phone. Therefore, it is important to only include the exact amount of, say, yogurt that was used for work.”
On the other hand, dancers and on-camera performers can deduct the cost of breast implants, but only if they meet a certain standard.
“Anything larger than 800 cc of silicone is considered a ‘working breast’ — much too large for everyday wear,” St. Kitts said. “Anything smaller would probably fall under what is referred to as the ‘housewife rule,’ as they would be everyday boobs.”
Meanwhile, dominatrices who work in cities where dungeons and torture chambers are legal businesses can deduct things such as handcuffs, whips, chains, chastity belts and their racks.
Considering her client base, you might think St. Kitts has done it all. Well, no, she hasn’t.
“I haven’t been audited yet,” she said. “However, I do prepare every return as if it were my own.”
That doesn’t mean the IRS isn’t aware of what she does and who she does it for.
“I like to speak freely about the adult business to the IRS when I attend the yearly Las Vegas IRS Forum,” she said. “It’s fun to be the voice of the [sex] industry and share their comments and concerns as well as my own.”
She always enjoys the reactions she gets from the agents.
“I do receive many tilted eyebrows accompanied by a smile and have detected a slight blush now and again,” she said.
How would you like to be the IRS agent who has to audit a dominatrix?
“You’re disallowing my handcuff and whip credits? Get down on your knees and beg for my mercies!”
Yeah, I can see that going horribly wrong terribly fast.
While talking about sex, taxes and dominatrices can get one hot, again there’s sometimes too much of a good thing. David Lohr is reporting that a man appears to have spontaneously combusted while watching porn in a San Francisco adult book store. Naturally, there’s a local minister who claims this was an act of God.
I’ve never understood that mentality. Last I checked, in God’s book of important stuff you should know, His first chapter points out that He wanted everyone to be naked and happy. It would seem to me that this poor, flaming, sod was just trying to take a step – albeit a clumsy one – in the right direction.
Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Thursday morning around 9:10!
Yes, I’m talking to you 🙂 and also referring to the latest and greatest from Victoria’s Secret. They’ve successfully unveiled their Gorgeous Collection – and they did it with style.
Lindsay Ellingson, the face of the Gorgeous Collection, made her big debut to Chicago at Victoria’s Secret on Michigan Avenue. California native, Ellingson, has joined the ranks of a Victoria’s Secret “Angel”…. and I got to sit down with her while she was in town. She reminisced about how her and her mom used to shop at Victoria’s Secret when she was young. She said she always thought the Angels’ were so gorgeous, but she never expected to be one herself someday. She went on to say that in high school, she was the tall and skinny “nerd!”
Lindsay shared with me that the new Gorgeous Bra offers two styles, the “Eyelet and the Smooth” version. Her favorite is the pink and black eyelet, which adds a punch to your push-up! Ellingson showed me how soft the padding is on the new Gorgeous bra. I even got to take one home to try it out for myself … and I give it two HUGE thumbs up! It really is super soft too! Ellingson then showed me how there’s 4 different ways to wear the Gorgeous Push-Up. My favorite way is “low-back” for all those summer dresses that I never have the right bra for. It can be so difficult to find that perfect bra that fits you just right… and I don’t know about you, but once I find that perfect bra… I wear it until it falls apart!!!
Lindsay also told me how much she enjoys traveling with her career. I asked her where’s the most gorgeous place she’s ever been, and she said, “Necker Island! I was there for a shoot last year, and I loved it there.” Speaking of traveling, Ellingson’s jet-setting career sent her directly to New York City for another photo-shoot, right after her media blitz in Chicago!!
Victoria’s Secret opened their doors on March 29th to several lucky shoppers that got to take a photo with Ellingson. The event at 830 North Michigan Avenue also included mini-makeovers, while featuring four stunning options from the Victoria’s Secret’s Attractions beauty line. My favorite fragrance is the “Wild One”… it seriously smells SO GOOD!!! Also, the shoppers got to indulge in free ‘love-reading’ sessions with a tarot reader.
The Michigan Avenue Victoria’s Secret location often plays host to the stunning Angels’, so if you missed Lindsay Ellingson, then check back soon to see when you can meet the next Angel in Chicago. Check out the photo to the right with Lindsay Ellingson and I… she was SO TALL. I’m 5’8″, and as you can see in the photo below, the beauty towers over me (well…. she was wearing 5-inch heels too!). Enjoy the video below of the fantastic event at Victoria’s Secret & my conversation with the lovely Angel, Lindsay Ellingson.
I woke up this morning, which – given the alternative – is always a pleasant revelation, and discovered that my cats had pulled all of the power sockets out of the wall in my living room. Why they had done this is beyond my ken, but it did give me pause to note that half my apartment was without power. It isn’t like the electric company shuts you off one room at a time. And certainly not in the middle of the night. Nope, when they come by they shut you off like ripping off a band aid. One second it’s there, the next it’s not and you’re left with a painful stinging sensation. None of this is relevant to today’s post, I just felt like sharing.
Another thing that’s not relevant to today’s blog, but is funny as heck, is the story of a 64 year old Florida woman (where else?) who led police on a merry chase but took time to out to hit the drive-thru at McDonald’s. The fact that she was able to do this and elude police in the drive-thru lane tells you all you need to know about the competency of the police in Florida. They did finally catch her when they combined the forces of several counties.
Reading the above makes me think that maybe humans have become superfluous. Clearly, if she’s an example of the pinnacle of evolution, then maybe a do over is in the works.
Ben Muessig reports that an Australian had a similar idea. Unlike most ideas that die in a bar, he actually went and did something about it. He’s teaching robots to box.
Science fiction writers have long imagined the day when robots will rise up and attack humans. It’s safe to say that none of them pictured it looking anything like this.
An Australian draftsman has constructed a robotic boxing buddy, called Punching Pro, that uses two arms powered by 12-volt windshield-wiper motors to throw blows at its human sparring partners.
“This is an automated sparring apparatus that is heaps of fun; it looks and feels like you’re challenging a real fighter,” Punching Pro inventor Kris Tressider wrote on his website.
Even though the robot is made from parts that include steel and golf cart wheels, Tressider says its arms closely replicate human punching mechanics. That means it offers boxers a great opportunity to practice their combinations — and their bobbing and weaving — without having to face another fighter in the ring.
“You can experiment with offensive strategies, defensive positions and counter punching moves, whilst being physically trained to stay agile and keep your guard,” he wrote. “You get an extreme upper body workout that will improve your technique.”
Tressider got interested in boxing as a means of keeping fit, but he got bored with slugging the punching bag he had hung outside his home, according to Australian TV show “The New Inventors.”
So he decided to build a punching bag that punches back.
The result is a fighting robot that is highly customizable. Depending on a boxer’s height and weight class, fighters can make the android taller or shorter before sparring.
Users can also adjust the Punching Pro’s strength, speed and agility — and with an additional motor they can train the bot to throw different kinds of punches, such as hooks and jabs.
Punching Pro can take a pounding, thanks to its cushioned torso and spring-loaded neck.
“I have made recent modifications to the drive system to make the arms a lot more flexible and able to take a lot more punishment,” Tressider told Gizmag. “The next step is to start working on the software side of things so that it can change modes automatically.”
Tressider is seeking investors interested in helping him transform his robot from a contender into a champ. He hopes to sell the finished product for less than $1,000.
It was bad enough when robots learned how to play air hockey, thus giving them the basic skills required to fly planes, drive cars and so on. Now that they can punch our lights out they’re one step closer to realizing Frank Herbert’s dystopian machine ruled universe.
In other words, what could possibly go wrong?
Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Thursday morning around 9:10!
Sometimes people do and say stuff that you just can’t believe. From the ubiquitous emails from Nigerian princesses who want to make you rich to the guy on the corner who’s “legally reselling” flat screen TVs for $50.00, there are some things that are just too good to be true. The former, should you decide to pursue it, will earn you a visit from some very nice people who work at the FBI. They will come to meet you and then whimsically arrest your greedy butt and make life miserable for the rest of your sad, pathetic, life. I know this to be true because I was asked for bail money a couple of years ago for just this very reason. When I got done laughing, and that took a few minutes, I said no. There are some who think me insensitive due to my response. But bail was $25,000.00 in cash and I try not to empower stupid people.
In other words, I’d respond the same way again.
In much the same vein, Pennsylvania police are trying to figure out how many women fell for a doctor’s “in-office orgasm” program which, allegedly, would help them lose weight. Memo to ladies the world over; if your doctor breaks out a hand held vibrating device and asks you lie back and think of England, it’s probably not a legitimate medical procedure.
Other things sound insane but turn out to be 100% true. Like the group of Brazilians who recently got together to build a 10 story tower out of Legos. Given the rampant unemployment in Brazil this, at least, gave them something to do for a while. Now people only need to be aware that there aren’t really any apartments for rent in the structure.
But what do you do when faced with something that is 50% true and 50% complete con? How do you pull apart fact from fiction? Lee Spiegal reports that that’s exactly what people are facing when they read an FBI memo discussing the remains of 3 UFOs found in New Mexico.
In the past few days a story has come out about a new FBI site called “The Vault” that allows history buffs and Web surfers the chance to check out a variety of documents, including some about UFOs.
One particular 1950 document seems to be taking on a viral life of its own. Written by FBI agent Guy Hottel and sent to the bureau’s director, J. Edgar Hoover, it relates how “flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico. They were described as being circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50 feet in diameter.
“Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only 3 feet tall, dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture,” etc., etc.
Sound too good to be true? It is. First of all, it is a real FBI document — that’s not in dispute. The problem lies in the content of it, all the flying saucer, alien body stuff.
In most of the stories published this week about the alien encounter, only a handful have made a big deal of the fact that this is not a “newly released” document or that the story is a hoax.
“It was one of the documents I got in the first bunch of documents out of a total of 1,600 that were released by the FBI way back in the late 70s,” said retired U.S. Navy optical physicist Bruce Maccabee.
Maccabee actually obtained the document from the FBI via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in 1977 and even wrote about it in his 2000 book, “UFO-FBI Connection” (Llewellyn Publications).
Maccabee is a renowned investigator of UFO photographs and visual evidence.
“First of all, the document was in this official FOIA release, so I have no doubt that the document is true,” Maccabee told AOL News.
As to the contents of the document, “it appears this was the result of a story told by (oil scam artist) Silas Newton, during a lecture at the University of Denver on March 8, 1950 (two weeks before the document was written),” Maccabee explained.
“Newton tried to convince some potential oil company investors that he had secret alien technology that could be used to locate underground oil.
“So this was a con job. Newton was laying the groundwork for it by saying there had been three crashed saucers with creatures.”
Maccabee says the story kept getting passed from person to person and believes “an Air Force Office of Special Investigations man picked up on it and told the FBI guy, who then sent a memo to Hoover.”
This wasn’t unusual, Maccabee continued, because around the same time, in 1947, “the Air Force initially asked the FBI to investigate witnesses to find out if there were any possible Communist subversive activities going on, generating spurious stories to make the American public fearful that our own military couldn’t handle Soviet aircraft in our skies.”
Even though nothing came of this investigation, Maccabee says it at least established a connection between the FBI and the Air Force, especially about UFOs.
“Back in the late 40s and 50s, no one expected the Freedom of Information Act 20 years later,” Maccabee added. “Basically, the FBI was told by Hoover, ‘If you come up with UFO information, do not investigate, send it to the Air Force.’ But, nevertheless, they would sometimes send memos back to headquarters.”
And that’s apparently how this whole 1950 crashed flying saucer with dead aliens memo evolved, with a little bit of con artistry kicked in.
If there’s a moral to the story it’s this: You can’t trust every document you read, even if it’s a genuine document. To get at the truth, you need to really dig into it. How did it germinate? Are the people involved reliable, and is there a high or low credibility factor associated with it?
The truth is always out there, but it often requires investigators to use the correct filters to weed out the good from the bad.
I know, I know, you want to search the FBI’s vault to find out what they have on your weird Uncle Merton. Feel free to click the link and have fun.
Okay, looking back at this you can see how true believers would really, really, want this to be true. However one thing leaps to mind immediately that should set off warning bells. Any ship capable of crossing interstellar distances would be much larger than a Volvo. Assuming the best possible miniaturization, you’re still looking at an object that’s, at minimum, about 100 yards in circumference. Three of those would have gotten more than the attention of some locals. They would have come screaming out of the sky, simply due to wind resistance, even if they had silent engines. The crash, with hundreds of yards of mass displacing other hundreds, perhaps thousands, of yards of soil, would have been deafening and highly destructive.
In other words, it would have warranted more than a mere memo. And someone would have noticed. Despite popular belief, there are real people living in New Mexico and they would’ve paid attention to something like this.
Keep your grandparent’s advice with you at all times and you’ll be fine. If it sounds too good to be true, then it is too good to be true and you should just continue on with your merry life and ignore it.
Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Thursday morning around 9:10!
The song is the title track to the Louisville band’s 6th full length record. Once it’s released, you’ll have a few weeks to study it before hearing the songs played live when the band performs a gig at the Auditorium Theatre on 17th June from Jam Productions, and you can grab tickets here.
My Morning Jacket – “Circuital”
All parents want their children to remain innocent and pure for the rest of their lives. All children want to grow up far too soon. Had my grandmother, who raised me, had her way I would’ve been wearing cowboy outfits and playing with my Hot Wheels cars well into my golden years. Had I had my way I would’ve had the keys to the family Edsel for my 6th birthday and been checking out the sights on Route 66 within a week thereafter. As you can tell, parenting is the art of delicately balancing these mildly conflicting points of view. Freedoms are meted out with a combination of care and fear as the little darlings evolve from darling little angels into snarling, hormone fueled, teenagers.
In other words, it’s hard enough raising a kid without getting unwanted intrusions from some idiot.
Reuters is reporting that this is exactly what happened to a mom in Michigan. She ordered her toddler a glass of apple juice and the helpful staff at Applebees served him a Margarita.
The company that owns the Applebee’s restaurant chain said on Monday it was immediately retraining its workers nationwide after a server at a suburban Detroit location accidentally served alcohol to a toddler.
The company, California-based DineEquity Inc, said it would also change the way it serves juice to youngsters to eliminate the chance of any mixups that could result in any more toddlers receiving mixed drinks.
On Friday, Taylor Dill-Reese went to an Applebee’s in Madison Heights, Michigan, where — among other things — she ordered her 15-month-old son Dominick an apple juice.
What the little boy apparently got instead was a margarita. His mom told WDIV-TV that she only realized something was wrong when Dominick “kind of laid his head on the table and dozed off a little bit and woke up and got real happy.”
The little boy reportedly began hailing strangers, too.
Applebee’s released a statement on Monday saying it was relieved that Dominick was “not seriously injured as a result of accidentally receiving the wrong beverage” and apologizing to his family “for the stress and worry this caused them.”
It said it would begin to serve apple juice to children only from single-serve containers at the table and would “retrain all severs on our beverage pouring policy, emphasizing that non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages must be stored in completely separate and identified containers.”
I have no idea what was preoccupying the mom, but how the heck did she not notice a colorful drink with a salted rim being handed to her kid? Or did the nice people at Applebees just pour the Margarita mix into a child’s cup? Either way I imagine that parents the world over will now be using a little straw to pre-taste every drink served to their children.
As if kids aren’t embarrassed enough when they’re out with the rents.
Applebees has issued an apology that contains this nugget; After receiving the Madison Heights Police report this afternoon, we know that the child was served a trace amount of alcohol (per the MHPD report published 4/11/11, “the officer checked the drink with his PBT and it registered a .014”) and are trying to get more details about this information. Furthermore, as per the police report, EMT’s checked the child at the scene and he was released.
Can you imagine sitting in the restaurant and suddenly seeing cops and EMTs swarming over a kid while you’re trying to survive your painfully bland chicken something with a side of deep fried everything? It’s enough to make you think about cooking at home. And isn’t a little bit odd that they had to wait for the police report to arrive before they figured out they’d screwed the pooch big time? I mean, wasn’t the drunk kid a good enough clue?
Oh well, in case you haven’t had enough of boring people doing stupid stuff, here’s a Jimmy Buffet video. Jimmy Buffet is, of course, the guy who thought Applebees’ food was a little too tasty for his liking so he opened a chain of restaurants that serves cardboard flavored food in several shades of brown.
Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Thursday morning around 9:10!
Before we begin today I’d like to take a moment to put everything into a little historical perspective. In 1961 mankind knew as much about space as I do about how to be a supermodel. Yes, the Russians had successfully launched a satellite, Sputnik, but other than the fact that there was a viable way to send radio signals to Earth from orbit, not much else was known. People seriously believed that if man traveled beyond the Van Allen radiation belt, they would become mutated or die. It was the basis of the famous comic book, The Fantastic Four. Others believed that we would literally bump into God. The theoretical ramifications of that hypothesized meeting were as varied as people themselves. Some saw good things, others saw Armageddon. Some aimed for a diffuse middle ground, a bizarre fusion of the polar opposites, but I’m not sure how anyone can have a pleasant Armageddon.
Still others believed that we would pierce some needed veil, akin to Aristotle’s crystal spheres, that supposedly housed the universe. Whether such a piercing would let something out or allow something in was the subject of actual debate. Science fiction movies ran the gamut. From the fear laden horrors of The Thing from Another World to the dollop of hope provided by The Day the Earth Stood Still you could find populist support for just about any position you wished to take. And since there was no real science to support or refute any claim, people’s minds tended to follow where their fears or beliefs led them.
And where they were led was no place useful.
Then, on April 12th, 1961, a small man named Yuri Gagarin climbed into a little spaceship called Vostok 1 and shot into orbit around the Earth. No one knew what to expect, many expected him to die in one of a hundred painful ways and, despite the fact that the rocket was built by the second most powerful country in the world at that time, the whole thing had a slapped together look and feel.
Yet, despite the odds against him, Yuri Gagarin safely returned to Earth. If you don’t mind my liberal interpretation of the word “safely.” This much we know. However, as Ned Potter from ABC News tells us, there are things we don’t know.
Yuri Gagarin. First man in space. For the rest of history his name will rank — perhaps with Columbus, Magellan, Marco Polo and Neil Armstrong — among the world’s greatest explorers. He was, after all, the first ever to leave the world behind.
On the morning of April 12, 1961, Gagarin, then 27, flew Vostok 1 on a single orbit of the Earth. It took him 108 minutes. He launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Soviet Union, reached a maximum speed of about 17,500 mph and an altitude of 203 miles, and was a hero by the time the sun rose over the eastern United States.
But flying as he did in the most chilling years of the Cold War, his trip was kept secret by the Soviet government until it was almost over. So myths and mystery abound about his flight, even today. Below, some surprising facts about Yuri Gagarin’s flight, and a few falsehoods we hope to help debunk. Ten, nine, eight….
7. Gagarin Was Not the First
Even now, 50 years later, conspiracy theories abound: that the Soviets launched men as early as 1958 but could not get them back down, that a cosmonaut was killed in a launch attempt only five days before Gagarin’s flight.
For lack of records from early Soviet space program, we may never know for sure, but Western students of space flight seem to agree that Gagarin was genuinely the first to fly in space.
So why did theories take root? Perhaps because everyone loves a good spy story, but also because the Soviets were so famously secretive (the name of Vostok’s designer, Sergei Korolyev, was unknown in the United States until after his death.)
“During the Cold War, everything that we knew about Gagarin was filtered through the official Soviet media or through rumor and hearsay in the West,” wrote Asif A. Siddiqi, a Fordham University historian of the early space age, in an email from Moscow to ABC News. “Many people in the West didn’t trust the former while there was never any reason to trust the latter.”
6. Gagarin Was Almost Killed in Space
This is true, though it took the Russians 30 years to release the records showing what happened. Vostok 1 was a two-part spacecraft, with a spherical crew compartment for Gagarin, and an equipment module in back for rocket engines, fuel and support equipment.
As Gagarin neared the end of the flight, engines in the equipment module fired as scheduled to slow him out of orbit — but the section failed to disconnect from the crew compartment for re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. There was nothing anyone could do. With the two sections still mated, the ship might tumble out of control on the way down and crash in pieces.
Fortunately for Gagarin, the cables holding the two sections together gave way as the ship was buffeted violently by the upper layers of the air. Vostok landed safely in central Russia. Gagarin ejected from his capsule a moment before and parachuted to the ground on his own.
5. The Soviets Were Afraid Gagarin Would Go Crazy in Space
Before Gagarin buckled in for his famous journey, even those closest to the mission worried about what would happen to a man in space. Would he lose consciousness? Would he go mad?
“There were all kinds of wild fears that a man could lose his mind in zero gravity, lose his ability to make rational decisions,” Oleg Ivanovsky, who oversaw the construction and launch of Gagarin’s spacecraft, told The Associated Press. Even though Vostok’s operation was automatic, controllers wondered if weightlessness could cause Gagarin to go crazy and try to take over command of the capsule. As added protection, the engineers added a three-digit security code that Gagarin would have to enter to command the spacecraft.
Ultimately, the point was moot. Gagarin’s spacecraft launched — and landed — safely.
4. Gagarin Really Was Crazy
Well, no, he wasn’t crazy, but he was preternaturally calm about risking his life. Russian accounts show that Korolyev, the chief designer, was so anxious about Gagarin’s flight that he had chest pains, and didn’t sleep the night before.
Gagarin, on the other hand, declined a sleeping pill and is reported to have slept well. Shortly before launch, his pulse was measured at 64 beats per minute. Not a sign of a worried man.
3. First Atheist in Space?
After the flight, Gagarin was widely quoted in the West as having said from space, “I don’t see any God up here.”
Not quite. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev said something similar after he welcomed the returning hero to Moscow. Gagarin, for his part, said he hummed a patriotic song in orbit:
“The Motherland hears, the Motherland knows/Where her son flies in the sky.”
2. All the Soviets Really Wanted Was to Beat the U.S.
Partly true. Siddiqi writes that the Soviet target date for launching Vostok was determined by publicity about NASA’s Project Mercury, which planned to launch its first man early in 1961. Gagarin beat Alan Shepard into space by all of 23 days.
But Vostok had been in the planning since at least 1959. And by sheer luck for the Soviets, the Americans had a rocket failure in 1960 that caused them to order one extra test flight — in March 1961 — before launching Shepard in May. If not for that, the Americans would have been first.
There is some irony here. True, Apollo 11 ultimately beat the Soviets to the moon in 1969. But the U.S. astronaut program has searched for direction since then, and the Obama administration has ordered a pause after the space shuttles finish assembly of the International Space Station this year. For several years after, the only way for Americans to launch into space may be on board Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
1. Yuri Gagarin, National Icon
By the mid-1960s, two space heroes stood above all others in the world’s imagination: the American John Glenn and the Soviet Gagarin. Both were so popular that their governments worried about losing them by letting them fly again.
Glenn got the message. He left NASA after his Friendship 7 flight in 1962, running for the Senate and, later, the presidency. Only when his political career was winding down did he persuade NASA to let him ride the space shuttle Discovery in 1998. By then he was 77.
Gagarin was different, and he let his bosses know it.
“They basically thought he was too politically valuable to risk on a second flight,” said Robert Pearlman, editor of the website CollectSpace.com. “He kept pushing it back into their faces that he wanted to fly.”
Gagarin was killed in a jet accident in 1968, reportedly while training for a space mission. He was only 34 years old.
Nikkita Khrushchev, no longer preoccupied by banging his shoe on desks (look it up), issued this congratulatory message to Gagarin on his return to Earth.
“Your glorious deed will be remembered through the ages as an example of courage, bravery, and heroism for the sake of mankind performed by you. The flight opens a new page in the history of mankind.”
He then ordered the issue of a commemorative stamp, pictured on the front page.
The one story that stands out in my mind about Gagarin has nothing to do with his public successes or his friendship with Arthur C. Clarke or much else that you can easily Google. It has to do with the 1967 launch of Soyuz 1. Robert Krulwich tells the terrifying tale.
So there’s a cosmonaut up in space, circling the globe, convinced he will never make it back to Earth; he’s on the phone with Alexei Kosygin — then a high official of the Soviet Union — who is crying because he, too, thinks the cosmonaut will die.
The space vehicle is shoddily constructed, running dangerously low on fuel; its parachutes — though no one knows this — won’t work and the cosmonaut, Vladimir Komarov, is about to, literally, crash full speed into Earth, his body turning molten on impact. As he heads to his doom, U.S. listening posts in Turkey hear him crying in rage, “cursing the people who had put him inside a botched spaceship.”
This extraordinarily intimate account of the 1967 death of a Russian cosmonaut appears in a new book, Starman, by Jamie Doran and Piers Bizony, to be published next month. The authors base their narrative principally on revelations from a KGB officer, Venymin Ivanovich Russayev, and previous reporting by Yaroslav Golovanov in Pravda. This version — if it’s true — is beyond shocking.
Starman tells the story of a friendship between two cosmonauts, Vladimir Kamarov and Soviet hero Yuri Gagarin, the first human to reach outer space. The two men were close; they socialized, hunted and drank together.
In 1967, both men were assigned to the same Earth-orbiting mission, and both knew the space capsule was not safe to fly. Komarov told friends he knew he would probably die. But he wouldn’t back out because he didn’t want Gagarin to die. Gagarin would have been his replacement.
The story begins around 1967, when Leonid Brezhnev, leader of the Soviet Union, decided to stage a spectacular midspace rendezvous between two Soviet spaceships.
The plan was to launch a capsule, the Soyuz 1, with Komarov inside. The next day, a second vehicle would take off, with two additional cosmonauts; the two vehicles would meet, dock, Komarov would crawl from one vehicle to the other, exchanging places with a colleague, and come home in the second ship. It would be, Brezhnev hoped, a Soviet triumph on the 50th anniversary of the Communist revolution. Brezhnev made it very clear he wanted this to happen.
The problem was Gagarin. Already a Soviet hero, the first man ever in space, he and some senior technicians had inspected the Soyuz 1 and had found 203 structural problems — serious problems that would make this machine dangerous to navigate in space. The mission, Gagarin suggested, should be postponed.
The question was: Who would tell Brezhnev? Gagarin wrote a 10-page memo and gave it to his best friend in the KGB, Venyamin Russayev, but nobody dared send it up the chain of command. Everyone who saw that memo, including Russayev, was demoted, fired or sent to diplomatic Siberia. With less than a month to go before the launch, Komarov realized postponement was not an option. He met with Russayev, the now-demoted KGB agent, and said, “I’m not going to make it back from this flight.”
Russayev asked, Why not refuse? According to the authors, Komarov answered: “If I don’t make this flight, they’ll send the backup pilot instead.” That was Yuri Gagarin. Vladimir Komarov couldn’t do that to his friend. “That’s Yura,” the book quotes him saying, “and he’ll die instead of me. We’ve got to take care of him.” Komarov then burst into tears.
The rickety spaceship never flew properly and crashed when the emergency chutes failed to open. Vladimir Kamarov was killed on impact. If you have a strong stomach click on Robert’s link above. He has pictures of the open casket wake, which was not very sensitive to the family, and a recording of the final death cries of Kamarov just before he crashed into the ground.
But, as you can see, Gagarin inspired fierce loyalty in those who worked with him. Above any other concerns, either political or personal, his friends and colleagues would literally die for him. All accounts I’ve ever read on the man suggest that all who met him felt likewise. He was a special human being.
His death on March 27, 1968, sent a nation into mourning and even thawed the Cold War for a bit. Any man who could inspire that level of respect is a legacy worth knowing about.
Andrew Osborne from the Telegraph (UK) reports that, in honor of the anniversary and due to outside pressures, the Russian government has finally released the documents pertaining to Gagarin’s death.
The great man came to an ignominious end. He and his co-pilot were killed by a faulty air filter in the test plane.
Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Thursday morning around 9:10!