Archive for August 2012

Scared Sh@#tless   1 comment


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.



Posted August 30, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Top Ten Beaches in Canada   Leave a comment


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.





Posted August 30, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Downtown Winnipeg is definitely safer   1 comment



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.


Posted August 29, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Floating Cities of the Future   1 comment


National Geographic


The Seascraper

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.



The Citadel

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.


Posted August 29, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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The other Royals are following suit   Leave a comment




Posted August 29, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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New Orleans ready with Steel Resolve in the face of Hurricane Isaac   1 comment





Posted August 28, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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The Little Rover That Could   Leave a comment



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 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


Posted August 28, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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