Archive for August 2012
The Nightmare’s Fear Factory is a haunted house attraction in Niagara Falls, Canada, and one of the oldest running haunted house in North America. The house has been described as the “scariest and best haunted house attraction” and in case you don’t believe them, the owners of the 30-year old establishment publishes a regularly updated stream of pictures showing terrified visitors shrieking and grimacing with genuine fear. The photos became an internet sensation after they went viral in social media websites.
The house is so frightening that visitors have a ‘safety word’ – Nightmares – which they can utter at any time if they wish to be escorted out. In the last 30 years, about a half-million people have gone through, and many have opted out part-way and had their names added to a public “chicken list”. Over 110,000 people have elected to use the ‘chicken exit’ during the 15-minute tour.
The tour takes from 10 to 15 minutes and is in total darkness, except for small red lights on the floors, walls and ceiling that patrons must follow in order to get through the haunted house. Unlike conventional haunted houses, the Nightmares Fear Factory doesn’t rely primarily on blood and gore in order to induce fear. Rather, there are live actors in scary costumes that come at the patrons out of the darkness and taunt them, scream at them, speak in creepy voices, etc. They have been known to grab, push and pull patrons in order to get a reaction. There are also scary sounds like growls, eerie music, spooky voices, yelling, and so forth.
Highlights of the tour include a shaky drawbridge, a claustrophobic tunnel that visitors must crawl through, and a place where it appears that the walls are closing in on the visitors.
The most notable part of the tour is when the visitors, walking in complete darkness (often holding on to each other) suddenly see a sign that reminds them that they are going to die. At this point their pictures are taken and sometimes posted on the Fear Factory’s Flickr account.
After doing some research on what exactly is making these people shit their pants I think I discovered what it is. It is a hologram type image of a screaming demon that comes out of nowhere. Something like the video below.
This is from Reader’s Digest. Hard to determine what criteria they used to make the list.
10. Manitou Beach, Saskatchewan
100 km southeast of Saskatoon is curious Little Manitou Lake, which a century ago rivaled Jasper and Banff for tourists. The salty water is so buoyant you can lie back in it and read a book. There are three beaches with showers and washrooms, and a children’s playground. The Manitou Beach Village has a mineral spa and resort, and there’s camping and golf in the area. For evenings there’s a drive-in movie theatre, and the Danceland dance hall, with a floor built on horsehair that seems to float.
9. Parlee Beach, New Brunswick
New Brunswick has more than 50 beaches – the most popular is at Parlee Beach Provincial Park, Shediac. On hot summer weekend days 16,000 will make their way here to enjoy the white sand, warm water, supervised swimming, volleyball, touch football. Mondays & Wednesdays at 8:00 am there’s yoga on the beach for all ages. The park has 190 campsites. For a beach break visit the World’s Largest Lobster Sculpture in Shediac, a giant bronze sculpture kids love to climb.
8. Wasaga Beach, Ontario
Wasaga’s 14 km of soft white sand on the southern coast Georgian Bay is the world’s longest freshwater beach. Read a book, build a sandcastle, shop, enjoy the midway, or get out and jet ski, hike, bike, etc. Wasaga Beach Provincial Park has eight beach areas, two have playground areas and all have washrooms, changing facilities, picnic tables, parkland and parking. Two million people make their way here each year for Beachfest, Kitefest and classic car shows, many of them young and spirited.
7. Bennett Beach, Yukon
On the well-travelled 180 km route between Skagway Alaska and Whitehorse YK is a beautiful 2 km soft white sand beach with a spectacular panoramic snow-capped mountain backdrop. Bennett Beach is in the historic village of Carcross, home to some of the oldest buildings in the Yukon. Just 2 km away you can visit Carcross Desert, which Guinness World Records has recognized as the ‘World’s Smallest Desert’.
6. Martinique Beach, N.S.
Just an hour from Halifax is longest beach in Nova Scotia. With summer supervised waters, 3.7 km of golden sands, and excellent surf conditions, it’s a magnet for beachcombers, surfers, paddle boarders, swimmers and picnickers. There are change houses, outhouses, BBQ pits, and tables. Martinique Beach Provincial Park, with its dunes and white spruce forest, is also an important refuge for migratory waterfowl, and habitat for the endangered piping plover (less than 50 pairs breed in the province).
5. Havre-Aubert Beach, Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec
Enjoy 12 km of sand and The World’s Biggest Sand Castle Contest! Hundreds compete, thousands watch, at this annual event (August 10-12, 2012.) Havre-Aubert Island also has a community of sand artisans with studio, gallery, and craft shop. The Magdalen Islands, spread across 85 km of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, offering 300 km of long sandy beaches. There’s swimming, hiking, kayaking, and robust breezes for windsurfing and kitesurfing. You can reach the islands by plane, by cruise ship from Montreal, or by daily ferry from Souris, P.E.I.
4. Singing Sands, Basin Head Provincial Park, P.E.I.
PEI has more than 800 km of the warmest beaches north of the Carolinas. What makes Basin Head Beach (known as Singing Sands) so special is that it seems to sing, or sqeak, when you walk on it – an intriguing phenomena scientists still don’t completely understand. Located at the eastern tip of P.E.I. near Souris, the supervised beach is in a day use (summer) park that has a play area, food, washroom, shower facilities, and the Basin Head Fisheries Museum.
3. Grand Bend, Ontario
Thirty miles of beautiful beaches along this Lake Huron coast are equaled only by the spectacular sunsets. ‘The Bend’, just 45 minutes from London, has been attracting tourists since the 1800’s. Young sun worshippers strut their stuff on the beach at the foot of Main Street, while families looking for a quieter environment often gravitate to the beach south of the river mouth. Busy bars, fast food, miniature golf, live theatre – it’s fun. The very popular Pinery Provincial Park has 1,000 campsites just south of the village.
2. Grand Beach, Manitoba
An hour north of Winnipeg on the shore of Lake Winnipeg (Canada’s sixth largest lake) is Grand Beach, an enticing 3 km of fine white sand with dunes that can tower 12 metres. Part of Grand Beach Provincial Park, there’s volleyball, kite boarding, and a boardwalk where teens like to see and be seen. For bird watchers, the beach is a sanctuary for the rare, endangered Piping Plover. In June 2012 this beach received the internationally-recognized Blue Flag designation for ‘extraordinary and safe beaches’.
1. Long Beach, Vancouver Island, B.C.
Long Beach is the longest sandy beach on Vancouver Island. In Pacific Rim National Park Reserve between Tofino and Ucluelet, it’s 16.6 km of pristine sand washed by a cool pounding surf. Look for joggers, kayakers, sea lions and sun worshipers, with backdrop of rainforest and mountains. There’s a summertime Tofino Beach Bus, and if you’re an inexperienced surfer, you can get lessons. Twenty thousand grey whales migrate up this coast each spring and summer – tours operate from Tofino and Ucluelet.
I don’t know about that Yukon beach. Could shrivel up some body parts staying in that ice water too long.
Glad to see Grand Beach made number 2. It is an amazing beach. Two photos of Grand below.
One of my favourite beaches is Patricia Beach located right at the south end of Lake Winnipeg. It is less crowded than Grand and it also has a nudist section.
The Free Press had a story today where is was purported by a spokesperson from the Winnipeg Police Service that the downtown has become safer. Part of the story below:
Winnipeg Police say they are making progress on developing a downtown safety strategy.
Staff Sgt. Andy Golebioski said that while the strategy, which was announced in November 2011, remains a work-in-progress, the WPS has implemented some initiatives towards that goal, including:
- A 16-person foot patrol unit.
- Expansion of the Closed Circuit Television network (CCTV).
The downtown safety initiative was part of an overall crime-reduction strategy that Chief Keith McCaskill promised to implement last November.
Golebioski said the downtown safety component has not been fully completed but added the WPS wanted the public to know that they are continuing to work on it and have some components, while not all the pieces.
“What this is is the first public education effort of what’s going to be a number of components that are going to be tasked with over time,” Golebioski said. “We could have waited until everything was all done, but we thought why not start with getting the message out to the public now.”
Downtown is undergoing a dramatic change, Golebioski said, adding it’s important that the area be considered safe and be safe if business is going to continue to invest there and if people are going to visit and live there.
I live, work and for the most part play downtown. It most definitely has become safer over the last 2 years. The major reason for this I contend was the introduction of the police Cadets into the mix. The Downtown Biz Redshirt security patrols do a good job but they don’t have the teeth the Cadet Blueshirts have. The Blueshirts have police arrest powers, and they use them. Any obnoxious drunken individual spotted downtown is immediately cuffed, thrown in the Cadetmobile, they also have a paddy wagon, and hauled off to the notoriously infamous Drunk Tank on Henry Ave.
Before the Cadets arrived on the scene there was a constant problem with a Disadvantaged Troublesome Ethnic Group, we all know who I am referring to here, so I will just refer to this group as the DTEG. Ninety percent of the problems downtown come from individual DTEG’s. Two years ago I would be constantly approached by intoxicated DTEG’s who wanted a smoke, were panhandling, would be urinating on the side of a building, screaming at each other in the middle of the street and were just basically hell raising all over the place. You do not see these types of people anymore.
A few weeks back I saw two extremely drunk DTEG’s urinating in the bushes across Graham Ave. from the Millenium Library. After they finished their nature call they trogged off towards CityPlace. Within minutes the Blueshirts had them up against the wall and were handcuffing them. Off to the drunk tank for those mid-day party boys. I have never been in the drunk tank myself, but I know people who have. And to call it a hell hole is an understatement. Soiled mattresses on a cement floor with a sewer hole in the middle of the room. A great deterrent to keep the drunken bums from committing indiscretions downtown.
I have also noticed more police officers on foot patrol, which is another good deterrent. During the day downtown is more relaxing to walk around in. You don’t have to worry about being hassled by the drunk DTEG’s who used to wonder aimlessly from potential victim to potential victim. Nighttime in the downtown still needs work. The wrong place at the wrong time and trouble could ensue. But overall I give the new downtown safety reality a 4 out of 5 star rating.
The downtown can be a very enjoyable place to be. It has many plants and flower beds strewn across the area, good restaurants and bars, nice patios and many very attractive ladies walking around. And with the Cadets at the helm it is now a much safer place to be.
Winnipeg Crime Stat Update
After a blistering start the homicide rate in Winnipeg has levelled off. It looked like Winnipeg was going to surpass last years record 41 homicides hands down. But many of the stabbing victims from the DTEG’s drinking parties did not have life threatening wounds. Either that or they are so tough and have hides like leather that a knife stab that would take down a wild hog only maims them. And life in The Peg goes on.
Illustration by William Erwin and Dan Fletcher, eVolo
Touted as an eco-friendly floating city, the Seascraper (pictured in an artist’s conception) is among a raft of concepts for sustainable offshore settlements. With more than seven billion people on the planet, mass migrations to cities, and increased risks of flooding and sea level rise, more and more architects and innovators seem to be weighing anchor.
Illustration by Mathias Koester, eVolo
With only its stabilizing floating ring and transparent dome protruding above the sea, the Waterscraper is envisioned as a tubelike underwater residence and lab—all designed to withstand crushing water pressures.
Natural light would filter down from the dome as the Waterscraper drifts from one destination to the next. Beaches, restaurants, a marina, and a dive center would cater to luxury-apartment dwellers and hotel guests.
Concepts like the Waterscraper are being touted as potential solutions to the planet’s urban population pressures.
According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, half of humanity currently calls an urban area home. And before we reach 2050, India’s cities will grow by 497 million people, China’s by 341 million, Nigeria’s by 200 million, and the United States’ by 103 million.
Oil Rig Reimagined
Illustration by YoungWan Kim/SueHwan Kwun/JunYoung Park/JoongHa Park, eVolo
The Water Circles concept would convert old oil platforms into water-treatment plants that transform saltwater into fresh water. Remaining fossil fuel extraction infrastructure would be used to channel seawater into the floating desalination plant.
Spherical modules would distill saltwater and store fresh water bound for water-poor countries. The old oil rigs would also house researchers and sustain on-site food production, according to the South Korea-based design team.
Floating Cruise Ship Terminal
Illustration courtesy Koen Olthius and Dutch Docklands
This 5-million-square-foot (490,000-square-meter) floating cruise-ship terminal could host three large vessels while providing passengers a novel offshore experience, complete with open-ocean hotel stays, shopping, and dining, according to designers.
An inner “harbor” would allow smaller vessels to dock and would provide natural light for the interior of the terminal. Ten percent of the roof would be covered in photovoltaic cells that harvest solar power, according to Dutch architect Koen Olthuis of Waterstudio.NL.
The terminal is just a vision now, but Olthuis’s firm, which is committed to buildings that both adapt to and combat the challenges presented by climate change and sea level rise, has made other floating fantasies come to life.
Waterstudio.NL, based in the Netherlands, has worked on a floating city near The Hague and has started projects in the Maldives, China, and the United Arab Emirates.
Illustration courtesy Koen Olthius
Scheduled for completion in 2014, the Citadel could be Europe’s first floating apartment building, according to architect Koen Olthuis of Waterstudio.NL. The 60-unit complex is to be built in the Dutch city of Westland, near The Hague, and is meant to protect people from flooding in a country that sits, to a large degree, below sea level.
Holland is home to more than 3,500 inland depressions, which can fill with water when it rains, when tides come in, or as seas rise overall. These so-called polders are often drained by pumps to protect residents.
Floating single-family homes are not uncommon in this soggy country, but the Citadel—to be built on a flooded polder—will be the first high-density floating residential development. The complex’s floating concrete foundation will be connected to higher ground via a floating road.
Olthuis predicts the Citadel—and its five planned neighbors—will consume 25 percent less energy over its life span than a conventional building.
Green Sea Star
Illustration courtesy Koen Olthius
Slated to open in 2014, the Greenstar is to be a floating hotel and conference center off the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. The island nation is the world’s lowest-lying country, making it among the most threatened by anticipated climate change-induced sea level rise.
Designed by Waterstudio.NL to blend in with its ocean surroundings, the Greenstar will have room for 800 overnight guests and 2,000 conference attendees.
Intended to be highly efficient, the development’s small environmental footprint is a tribute to the country’s determination to fight global warming, according to Waterstudio.NL architects. Appropriately enough, organizers intend the Greenstar to be the number one meeting place for global climate change discussions.
During the past few months I have noticed something strange in everyday conversation. There is a very, and I mean very, popular word out there that is used way more than it should be. That highfalutin word: Absolutley!
I started paying attention to the use of the word in my own conversations and especially in the media. I hear the word being used at least a dozen times a day. The word rolls out of the mouth like a waddling penguin, it is a somewhat awkward word. So why do so many people so consistently and persistently use the word?
It is a stress word. An intensifier. It allows a person who agrees with a thought or suggestion to unequivocally avow his support for that idea. Can I please use your washroom? ABSOLUTELY. Completely and without qualification you can use my crapper.
Should we go to Wal-Mart today? ABSOLUTELY! You’re perfectly right, let’s go to Wal-Mart. This intensifier word is definitely and without a doubt used way too often. Thoroughly, wholly, utterly and consummately an over used word. You are absolutely right, the car needs an oil change. Whatever happened to exactly, that’s right and that under used word YES.
Let me make one thing absolutely clear, if you keep your ears open during an average day, you will absolutely hear the word absolutely used at least ten times.
Below is an example of the proper use of Absolutely
Curiosity rover’s intriguing geological find
The Mars rover Curiosity is indulging in a flurry of multimedia activity ahead of its science mission proper.
It sent the first image from its 100mm telephoto lens, already spotting an intriguing geological “unconformity”.
Nasa also released a colour panorama of Mount Sharp, the rover’s ultimate goal.
On Monday, the rover relayed “the first voice recording to be sent from another planet”, and on Tuesday it will broadcast a song from artist will.i.am as part of an educational event.
But alongside these show pieces, Curiosity – also known as the Mars Science Laboratory – is already warming up its instruments for a science mission of unprecedented scope on the Red Planet.
The rover has spotted an “unconformity” in the layers of Mount Sharp, towering
above Gale Crater
But alongside these show pieces, Curiosity – also known as the Mars Science Laboratory – is already warming up its instruments for a science mission of unprecedented scope on the Red Planet.
Nasa said that the rover was already returning more data from Mars than all of the agency’s earlier rovers combined.
It will eventually trundle to the base of Mount Sharp, the 5km-high peak at the centre of Gale Crater, in which the rover touched down just over three weeks ago.
For now it is examining the “scour marks” left by the rocket-powered crane that lowered the rover onto the planet’s surface, giving some insight into what lies just below it.
The rover will now employ its Dan instrument, which fires the subatomic particles neutrons at the surface to examine levels of hydrogen- and hydroxyl-containing minerals that could hint at Mars’ prior water-rich history.
Another tool in its arsenal, the ChemCam, which uses a laser to vapourise rock and then chemically examine the vapour, will also have a look at the scour marks.
And the Sample Analysis at Mars or Sam instrument, itself a package of three analysis tools, has now been switched on and is being run through its paces ahead of “sniffing” the Martian atmosphere; the tests include analysing a sample of Earth air that was left in it at launch.
Next stop for the rover will be Glenelg, 400m to the east, which appears to be the intersection of three distinct geological regions – potentially rich pickings for the rover’s suite of tools.
It will then set off for the base of Mount Sharp in a journey that will take several months.
- (A) Curiosity will trundle around its landing site looking for interesting rock features to study. Its top speed is about 4cm/s
- (B) This mission has 17 cameras. They will identify particular targets, and a laser will zap those rocks to probe their chemistry
- (C) If the signal is significant, Curiosity will swing over instruments on its arm for close-up investigation. These include a microscope
- (D) Samples drilled from rock, or scooped from the soil, can be delivered to two hi-tech analysis labs inside the rover body
- (E) The results are sent to Earth through antennas on the rover deck. Return commands tell the rover where it should drive next
Pity the fool!
Montana man trying to create Bigfoot sighting in “Ghillie suit” struck and killed by cars
A man dressed in a military-style “ghillie” suit and apparently trying to provoke reports of a Bigfoot sighting in northwest Montana was struck by two cars and killed, authorities said.
The man was standing in the right-hand lane of U.S. Highway 93 south of Kalispell on Sunday night when he was hit by the first car, according to the Montana Highway Patrol. A second car hit the man as he lay in the roadway, authorities said.
Flathead County officials identified the man as Randy Lee Tenley, 44, of Kalispell. Trooper Jim Schneider said motives were ascertained during interviews with friends, and alcohol may have been a factor but investigators were awaiting tests.
“He was trying to make people think he was Sasquatch so people would call in a Sasquatch sighting,” Schneider told the Daily Inter Lake (http://bit.ly/PWJvA5) on Monday. “You can’t make it up. I haven’t seen or heard of anything like this before. Obviously, his suit made it difficult for people to see him.”
Ghillie suits are a type of full-body clothing made to resemble heavy foliage and used to camouflage military snipers.
“He probably would not have been very easy to see at all,” Schneider told KECI-TV.
Tenley was struck by vehicles driven by two girls, ages 15 and 17, who were unable to stop in time, authorities said.
A ghillie suit, also known as a (yowie suit, or camo tent) is a type of camouflage clothing designed to resemble heavy foliage. Typically, it is a net or cloth garment covered in loose strips of burlap, cloth or twine, sometimes made to look like leaves and twigs, and optionally augmented with scraps of foliage from the area.
Snipers and hunters may wear a ghillie suit to blend into their surroundings and conceal themselves from enemies or targets. The suit gives the wearer’s outline a three-dimensional breakup, rather than a linear one. When manufactured correctly, the suit will move in the wind in the same way as surrounding foliage.
The mess that has become the Afghanistan quagmire is spiralling downward as every month passes by. The place is in a state of complete chaos. It is a country stuck in the middle ages. The West made a huge mistake getting stuck in that backward land. The Afghans seem to love killing each other, so I contend the West pull out its soldiers as soon as possible and let the Afghans slaughter themselves.
The Long war journal
August 23, 2012
Attacks on Coalition forces by Afghan forces — the so-called green-on-blue attacks — are emerging as a major threat in the 11-year-old war in Afghanistan. These attacks from within have increased dramatically within the past two years, and so far this year account for over 13% of Coalition casualties.
As the United States prepares to complete the withdrawal of its combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, the US military and its Coalition partners are increasingly shifting security responsibilities to Afghan forces. The success of this security transition depends greatly on the strength and competence of the Afghan military and police. Accordingly, the training of the newly-mustered Afghan forces has become a linchpin of Coalition strategy, which in turn hinges upon the work of trainers with Afghan security forces. This situation has placed Coalition troops at increasing risk as the drawdowns continue and Taliban efforts to infiltrate Afghan forces are being ramped up.
In recent months, attacks by Afghan forces on Coalition forces have surged; they account for 13% of Coalition casualties so far this year. In 2011, green-on-blue attacks accounted for 6%; in 2010, 3%; in 2009, 2%; and in 2008, less than 1%.
Although NATO commanders have stated that an estimated 90% of the attacks are due to cultural differences and personal enmity, the attacks began spiking in 2011, just after President Barack Obama announced the plan to pull the surge forces, end combat operations in 2014, and shift security to Afghan forces. The Taliban also have claimed to have stepped up efforts at infiltrating the Afghan National Security Forces.
U.S. troops in the middle of a bad situation
Disagreeing with NATO’s analysis, the Afghan government has blamed the problem on “infiltration by foreign spy agencies,” including those of “neighboring countries,” The Guardian reported. The Afghan government also predicted that vetting of recruits to the Afghan military and police would soon improve as the forces were reaching their target capacity after a rapid buildup.
While cultural and personal differences may play a role in the increase in attacks, Taliban infiltration and defections by Afghan security personnel who have decided to ingratiate themselves with the Taliban by attacking NATO forces likely play a far more significant role in the green-on-blue attacks than NATO admits. Without a complete study of the attacks, including those that do not result in casualties, it is impossible to have a full understanding as to what motivates Afghan security personnel to turn on their foreign partners.
In May of this year, ISAF commander General John Allen said that about half of the green-on-blue attacks have been carried out by Taliban infiltrators. In August, General Allen said that approximately 25% of the green-on-blue attacks were due to Taliban infiltration and/or coercion of Afghan forces, according to The New York Times. The Taliban routinely take credit for the attacks.
The US military has become so concerned with the green-on-blue attacks that it has ordered units to designate “guardian angels” in each unit whose job is to provide security for troops working with Afghans. In mid-August, field commanders were told they can increase the number of “guardian angels” depending on the tactical situation, Reuters reports.
Green-on-blue attacks in 2012:
Aug. 27, 2012: An Afghan soldier killed two ISAF soldiers in an attack in Laghman province.
Aug. 19, 2012: An Afghan policeman turned his weapon on a group of ISAF soldiers in southern Afghanistan, killing one soldier. The incident occurred in the Spin Boldak district of Kandahar province, and the district police chief has since been fired for negligence and lack of control over his personnel, according to AFP.
Aug. 17, 2012: An Afghan Local Police officer killed two US soldiers during a training exercise on an Afghan base in Farah province. The two soldiers were with Marine Corps special operations; one of the soldiers was a Marine and the other was a Navy corpsman, according to Marine Times.
Aug. 17, 2012: An Afghan soldier shot and wounded two NATO soldiers in Kandahar province; the attacker was killed.
Aug. 13, 2012: A policeman wounded two US soldiers in an attack in Nangarhar province.
Aug. 10, 2012: Three US soldiers were killed an attack by an Afghan police commander and his men in Sangin district in Helmand province.
Aug. 10, 2012: Three US Marines were killed in an attack in Sangin district in Helmand province.
Aug. 9, 2012: US troops killed an Afghan soldier who was attempting to gun them down at a training center in Laghman province.
Aug. 7, 2012: Two Afghan soldiers killed a US soldier in the east before defecting to the Taliban. According to the Army Times, the attack took place a military base in Paktia province.
July 23, 2012: Two ISAF soldiers were wounded in an attack in Faryab province.
July 22, 2012: A member of the Afghan National Security Forces killed three civilian trainers who work for ISAF in Herat province.
Now the U.S. military has to keep watch on the Afghan security forces as they conduct joint operations. Any one of the ragtag bunch of desert nomads shown below could turn his rifle on a coalition soldier.
U.S. soldiers have to be vigilant and alert.