Wednesday, December 16, 2009

POLITICSHYPE: Showing The President Who's Boss

Yesterday, in a stunning display of arrant contempt, 3 of the big-bank CEOs who had been summoned to the White House blew off the President of the United States. Mr. Obama was expecting them at a televised meeting of their peers so he could be seen to be lecturing them on how they needed to increase consumer lending, among other things.

(An aside: in case you've forgotten, the big banks were given $700 billion late last year in order to resume lending to consumers, among other things. Unfortunately, there were no strings attached to the deal, and as a result, the banksters are able to borrow money from Uncle Sam at 0% interest while lending it to you at 30%. Have a look at your latest credit card statement to see this in action, or wait until tax time rolls around in April. You'll pay one way or the other.

(They were also supposed to stop paying outlandish bonuses, but as you'll no doubt see in a couple of weeks, that won't happen either. Now you know why many of the big banks paid back their obligations to the government just recently - since they're no longer subject to limits on executive compensation, they're going to do it again.)

As the New York Times describes it:
Putting Obama on Hold, in a Hint of Who’s Boss

President Obama didn’t exactly look thrilled as he stared at the Polycom speakerphone in front of him. "Well, I appreciate you guys calling in," he began the meeting at the White House with Wall Street’s top brass on Monday.

He was, of course, referring to the three conspicuously absent attendees who were being piped in by telephone: Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs; John J. Mack, chairman of Morgan Stanley; and Richard D. Parsons, chairman of Citigroup.

Their excuse? "Inclement weather," according to the White House. More precisely, fog delayed flights into Reagan National Airport. That awkward moment on speakerphone in the White House, for better or worse, spoke volumes about how the balance of power between Wall Street and Washington has shifted again, back in Wall Street’s favor.
Ah, the old bad weather excuse. Try that out on your own boss the next time you're called on the carpet. Make sure you stand him up on national TV too - nothing like losing face on the world stage. Just to twist the knife a few times, the Daily Show went after this too, in a Clusterf#@k to the Poor House piece:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Clusterf#@k to the Poor House - Flight Delay
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

This obviously makes the President look bad, at the very least. More informed readers should now realize that the man in the Oval Office, whoever he is and whatever his political persuasion, is a bankster tool. Is this the "change we can believe in" that brought record numbers of new voters to the polls last year? Are you now over your 2008 Hopium high? If not, have a look at Matt Taibbi's latest article, Obama's Big Sellout (NB: Taibbi's full of shit when it comes to 9/11, but the axes he grinds against the banksters seem pretty accurate so far).

President Obama said last Sunday night that he "did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat-cat bankers on Wall Street." Well, actions speak louder than words, and anyway, doesn't this remind you a little bit of Bill Clinton's famous Presidential one-liner?
"I did not have sexual relations with that woman..."
Tell you what, you can keep the "change" - I'll keep it real.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Like the poster says:

Don't be a filthy terrorist, support T.W.A.T. (The War Against Terror)!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

SCIENCEHYPE: Earth with Saturn's Rings

Ever wonder what our planet would look like with rings similar to those found on Saturn? Here's a really cool visualization of exactly that, created by Roy Prol.

He's included sky shots from some well-known places around the globe: the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Cristo Redentor in Rio de Janeiro, Quito, Malmö, New York City, Uluru in Australia, Madrid, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Azadi Tower in Tehran, and the Kölner Dom. It's a pretty amazing thing to see.

It's likely that Celestia was used for this animation, which is a great piece of open source (that means free, if you didn't already know) software. The music is Ave Maria.

Also, did you know that in addition to Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune also have rings? These are collectively known as the gas giants.

Friday, October 23, 2009

FINANCEHYPE: No Worries, Your Money Is Fine

There are no problems with the banking system right now. Things may be a little rough, but that's nothing major. Your insured deposits are fully insured. The government ensures it. There's no reason to panic. Nothing bad will happen. Nobody has ever lost a dime.

In other news, it's Bank Failure Friday, and the FDIC has closed 106 banks so far this year, including 10 in the past week (as of today, October 23, 2009). But don't take our word for it - CNN has more on the bank failures as the number passed 100 today, along with a nifty thematic bank failure map. Or, as the AP story says:
WASHINGTON -- The cascade of bank failures this year surpassed 100 on Friday, the most in nearly two decades. And the trouble in the banking system from bad loans and the recession goes even deeper than the number suggests.

Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of other banks remain open even though they are as weak as many that have been shuttered. Regulators are seizing banks slowly and selectively — partly to avoid inciting panic and partly because buyers for bad banks are hard to find. Going slow buys time. An economic recovery could save some banks that would otherwise go under. But if the recovery is slow and smaller banks' finances get even worse, it could wind up costing even more.

The bank failures, 106 in all, are the most in any year since 181 collapsed in 1992, at the end of the savings-and-loan crisis. On Friday, regulators took over three small Florida banks — Partners Bank and Hillcrest Bank Florida, both of Naples, and Flagship National Bank in Bradenton — along with American United Bank of Lawrenceville, Ga., Bank of Elmwood in Racine, Wis., Riverview Community Bank in Otsego, Minn., and First Dupage Bank in Westmont, Ill. When a bank fails, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. swoops in, usually on a Friday afternoon. It tries to sell off the bank's assets to buyers and cover its liabilities, primarily customer deposits. It taps the insurance fund to cover the rest.

Bank failures have cost the FDIC's fund that insures deposits an estimated $25 billion this year and are expected to cost $100 billion through 2013. To replenish the fund, the agency wants banks to pay in advance $45 billion in premiums that would have been due over the next three years.

The FDIC won't say how deep a hole its deposit insurance fund is in. It can tap a credit line from the Treasury of up to a half-trillion dollars to cover the gap. The list of banks in trouble is getting longer. At the end of June, the FDIC had flagged 416 as being at risk of failure, up from 305 at the end of March and 252 at the beginning of the year.
In fact, don't even take their word for it - have a look at the official FDIC failed bank list itself. The 7 that were closed just today caused the FDIC's deposit insurance fund to take a loss of $356.7 million.

Sorry, back to the party line... A bank failure, even if it might happen to you, is a non-event. Really. There's nothing to worry about. But don't take our word for it, here's the head of the FDIC, Chairman Sheila Bair, to tell you all of this herself. And she's from the government, so she must be right. No, really, your money is totally safe. That must be why this video was posted today:

We notice something interesting about this video, however. Check out her body language at certain points in the clip. At 0:24 we have a "no" shake of the head after saying "I want to take this opportunity to reassure consumers that their insured deposits are absolutely safe". That may be a subconscious reaction to telling a lie.

Additional head shakes appear at 0:33 ("their money is fully protected, no matter what happens"), 0:42, 0:46, 0:58 ("there are many signs that our economy is recovering"), 1:13, 1:32 ("depositors have nothing to worry about"), 1:35, 1:43 ("a bank failure is a non-event"), 2:07 ("we cannot run out of money"), 2:17 ("our resources run deep"), 2:42, 2:54 (an obvious one; "I do not anticipate having to use this line of credit"), 3:04, 3:24, and 3:28 (another obvious one). It's likely that not all of these are lies, but it's interesting that these head shakes coincide with certain types of statements (those meant to reassure) and not others (statements of fact about past events).

It may be useful to recall some of the doom-and-gloom prognostications made recently. In July, we discussed the Harry Schultz Letter's prediction of an upcoming bank holiday (FINANCEHYPE: Bank Holidays, FDR Style). We also touched on the massive increase in US debt levels (FINANCEHYPE: The Debt Clock) and the likelihood that the taxpayer will be on the hook for most of that (POLITICSHYPE: Uncle Sam Speaks). Another it'd-be-funny-if-this-wasn't-so-serious thing to see is the FDIC's commercial from August 2009 encouraging people to keep their money in a bank instead of in the mattress at home:

The folks over at Zero Hedge are also having a great discussion on this latest announcement. They also have a great piece on how your dollars, safe in the bank or elsewhere, have been devalued 25% over the past 12 years (DOW 10,000!!!! Oh Wait, Make That 7,537).

And whatever you do, don't go take all your money out of the bank! It's safer there - the government says so.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

TECHHYPE: Muckety Maps and Madoff

Ya gotta love the Internet, and all the bell-and-whistle technology that's built on top of it. You'll need a modern browser and a recent version of Flash to see this properly, but here's something that's a relatively recent invention: Muckety, "published by Muckety LLC, a company founded in 2006 by a team with years of experience in journalism, technology and online publishing."
The name Muckety derives, of course, from muckety mucks. Some follow the money. We follow the muckety, producing a daily news and information site based on online databases (which we enlarge daily), extensive research and old-fashioned journalism.
This crew, with whom we have no affiliation, seems to be legit. The insights into business, political, sports, celebrity, and other types of relationships in the news can be priceless. If your name is mentioned somewhere in a press release, news story, or the like, sooner or later you'll be in their database. And the world will know.

Remember Bernie Madoff, the guy who went to Club Fed after being convicted of perpetrating a $50 billion Ponzi scheme, the largest investment fraud in Wall Street history? Here's Bernie Madoff's Muckety Map:

Tips: Solid lines are current relations; dotted lines are former relations. You can double-click on any of the nodes with a '+' sign to expand that entity's relationship web. You can also right-click on a node to see additional options, and there's a menu on the left. Nodes are moveable.

Interesting, no? You should see some of the relationships in the financial and political worlds. For example, Robert Rubin (ZeroHedge Profile), the former Treasury Secretary. How about Sarah Palin, Facebook, the San Francisco 49ers, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters - or even Harry Potter (Muckety Maps)? More interesting yet, is there really a connection between Barack Obama and Tupac?

Conveniently, they have categories of listings, movers & shakers, and a general news page that are all linked to relationship maps.

Conspiracy theorists, journalists, anyone performing due diligence, and political hacks, rejoice!

Monday, October 12, 2009


This is the latest YouTube viral video sensation - fisticuffs on a San Francisco Municipal Railway (or Muni, as the locals call it) bus in Chinatown. Put "Muni Fight" into Google and you'll see what I'm talking about.

The first punch is thrown at about 1:15 in this clip. Hopefully this doesn't start a race war between the blacks and the chinese (although the comments on the YouTube page are pretty ugly). Be assured that this sort of confrontation is not unusual, though - there have been several of these recently. Maybe it's got something to do with the bad economy?

What you may find unusual is that not one of the men on this bus stepped in to break up the fight. I don't find this strange, however - most of the men in San Francisco are completely pussified, too afraid even to leave the seat up in a public unisex bathroom or otherwise be politically incorrect.

The transit agency is investigating this incident.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

CONSPIRACYHYPE: To the moon, Alice!! To the moon!

"It is commonly believed that man will fly directly from the earth to the moon, but to do this, we would require a vehicle of such gigantic proportions that it would prove an economic impossibility. It would have to develop sufficient speed to penetrate the atmosphere and overcome the earth’s gravity and, having traveled all the way to the moon, it must still have enough fuel to land safely and make the return trip to earth. Furthermore, in order to give the expedition a margin of safety, we would not use one ship alone, but a minimum of three … each rocket ship would be taller than New York’s Empire State Building [almost ¼ mile high] and weigh about ten times the tonnage of the Queen Mary, or some 800,000 tons.”
Wernher von Braun, the father of the Apollo space program, writing in "Conquest of the Moon"

I know you hate you some CONSPIRACY THEORY -- cos that's what crazy UNIX sysadmin wacko nutjobs whose car be filled with McDonald's wrappers and low-end porn be believin', but YO, MORON -- Read, listen, analyze, understand... sheesh....

I've never heard it crystalised better than this, all the wacky little lies that add up to Adolf's Big Lie:

Wagging the Moondoggie, Part I

[ON EDIT -- Curiously, the site, since this piece was posted, is reporting: Temporarily Unavailable.

This account has surpassed its bandwidth allocation at the present time. You may reach the account administrator at

Hmmm... Curious...]

"How many decades can pass, after all, without anyone coming even close to a reenactment before people start to catch on? Four obviously haven’t been enough, but how about five, or six, or seven? How about when we hit the 100-year anniversary?

If the first trans-Atlantic flight had not been followed up with another one for over forty years, would anyone have found that unusual? If during the early days of the automobile, when folks were happily cruising along in their Model T’s at a top speed of 40 MPH, someone had suddenly developed a car that could be driven safely at 500 MPH, and then after a few years that car disappeared and for many decades thereafter, despite tremendous advances in automotive technology, no one ever again came close to building a car that could perform like that, would that seem at all odd?

There are indications that this lie does indeed have a shelf life. According to a July 17, 2009 post on, “It’s been 37 years since the last Apollo moon mission, and tens of millions of younger Americans have no memories of watching the moon landings live. A 2005-2006 poll by Mary Lynne Dittmar, a space consultant based in Houston, Texas, found that more than a quarter of Americans 18 to 25 expressed some doubt that humans set foot on the moon.”

The goal of any dissident writer is to crack open the doors of perception enough to let a little light in – so that hopefully the seeds of a political reawakening will be planted. There are many doors that can be pried open to achieve that goal, but this one seems particularly vulnerable. Join me then as we take a little trip to the Moon. Or at least pretend to."

Friday, October 2, 2009

ADVERTISINGHYPE: They Put Me In The Closet

Courtesy of CANAL+, which is basically the French equivalent of the American HBO, here's a great little video showcasing the talents of their screenwriters.

If you're banging someone's wife, and subsequently get caught in that man's bedroom closet, now you have the perfect excuse:


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

POLITICSHYPE: Indoctrinating the Children

There's been a bit of a tempest in a teacup lately about Barack Obama speaking to schoolchildren at the beginning of the school year. Let's not get into a debate on the merits of that event, but rather take a look back in time.

Less than a year ago, at the time of this writing, Dubya was still in the White House. Do you think any children were "indoctrinated" during his time in DC? Let's have a look:

Boy, people sure do have short memories these days! Good thing we have YouTube around to keep things real.

And doesn't this particular incident violate some basic religious tenet about false idolatry? Like, say, #4 of the Ten Commandments?
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." (Exodus 20:4, King James Version)
Gee, it sure seems like it did. What happens to those who violate that particular commandment?
"Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me." (Exodus 20:5, King James Version)
There's another commandment that deals with bearing false witness, but let's leave that one alone for a while. If the video above hasn't given you your daily dose of shudders or laughs, well, then please feel free to leave us a comment.

By the way, this is real. It's an excerpt from Jesus Camp, the 2006 documentary that was nominated for an Oscar (best documentary feature).

Saturday, September 19, 2009

CARHYPE: VW and mileage for days!

Volkswagen's L1 Concept was revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

"In many ways this 840lb, tandem-seat machine is the most important car at the show and just as much a supercar as the Lamborghini Reventón or Bugatti Sang Bleu.

It teaches people that 'super’ powers don’t have to equate with a gargantuan size, weight and fuel consumption. Super is as super does and the L1 has super in spades." (MORE)

If I could, I would buy a VW Polo Blue Motion:

"The most efficient model of all, the Polo BlueMotion, gets an all-new 1.2-litre, three-cylinder common rail diesel engine developing 74bhp, combining longer gearing through the five-speed gearbox, a stop-start system and regenerative braking.

The new Golf BlueMotion is powered by a 1.6-litre TDI common rail diesel engine producing 104bhp, and achieves a Combined fuel economy of 74.3mpg, while the Passat BlueMotion switches from a 2.0-litre TDI unit to the 1.6 TDI engine, allowing it to return 64.2mpg on the Combined cycle, up from the 57.6mpg achieved by the outgoing car. At the same time, emissions fall from 128g/km to 114g/km of CO2." (MORE)

Friday, September 18, 2009

YOUTUBEHYPE: Keep f*cking that chicken

I found this article on Huffington Post:

Ernie Anastos...did he really say that?

And I thought to myself...."that is such a classic line that there has to be a remix out there in You Tube land". So, as my darling daughter says, I "searched it up". Sure enough there were a few videos. I clicked through a couple of them and was not impressed. Then I found this one:

The Remix

This one is special...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

YOUTUBEHYPE: "Slap Chop Rap"

Watching the Military Channel today and this came on. Simply priceless!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

POLITICSHYPE: The Debtors' Revolt Begins

If you've been screwed by your bank and/or credit card companies lately (and who hasn't?) then you'll appreciate this:

There's not much to add, except "good luck".

UPDATE: Ann Minch, the woman who appeared in this video, was apparently successful with her own account. Bank of America called her and agreed to terms.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

ADVERTISINGHYPE: Race to Twickenham

The rugby season is about to begin in England. This is the Guinness Premiership, which is contested by the top 12 professional clubs in the country.

Sky Sports, the network that has the broadcast rights to these games, has put a promotional spot together for the beginning of the season that reminds us of Keep The Ball Alive (which we wrote about recently), a piece from several years ago showcasing the best talent in the Rugby World Cup. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised if the same creative staff was involved in producing both pieces.

And so: it's the Race to Twickenham!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

COMEDYHYPE: Everything's Made in China

Have you noticed a few strange things about what you hear on TV about the economy? How everything's supposedly getting better, but you're still hosed? Check out this video - there's some colorful language in it, along with a lot of stuff getting broken, and a mini-education on today's situation for most people.

The playing cards at the beginning are the "Financial Crisis Most Wanted" deck, which come from

Oh, and try to ignore the anti-Obama ranting. He matters not, in the greater scheme of things.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009

Trillions of dollars - quite literally - have been passed out to the big financial companies lately, most of it through the Fed, with little accountability and no oversight. Surely you've heard of the bailouts? The TARP program is/was just the tip of the iceberg.

Here's an interesting piece on some recent events, where the US Congress is trying to get some accountability from the Federal Reserve:

Ron Paul has introduced a bill in the House (HR 1207) that is now co-sponsored by over half its members (from both parties). A corresponding bill has been introduced in the Senate (S 604), but events are still developing.

Some links on this topic:
Google News - HR 1207
Twitter feed (if you're into being a twit)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

FINANCEHYPE: Bank Holidays, FDR Style

A respected investor who publishes a regular newsletter - which received an award for Letter of the Year in 2008 because it accurately predicted what it rightly called a coming "financial tsunami" - has opined on possible events to come.

In its current issue, The Harry Schultz Letter (HSL) reports these rumors:
"Some U.S. embassies worldwide are being advised to purchase massive amounts of local currencies; enough to last them a year. Some embassies are being sent enormous amounts of U.S. cash to purchase currencies from those governments, quietly. But not [British] pound sterling. Inside the State Department, there is a sense of sadness and foreboding that 'something' is about to happen within 180 days, but could be 120-150 days."
Mr. Schultz goes on to suspect:
"Another FDR-style 'bank holiday' of indefinite length, perhaps soon, to let the insiders sort out the bank mess, which (despite their rosy propaganda campaign) is getting more out of their control every day. Insiders want to impose new bank rules. Widespread nationalization could result, already underway. It could also lead to a formal U.S. dollar devaluation, as FDR did by revaluing gold (and then confiscating it)."
No, 'Bank Holiday' in this sense doesn't mean you get to stay home from work. It means you get to stay home from your money. And there'll be no cheating - you won't be able to get at it online or by writing checks either. You'll sit and wait until you're told how much you have left and when you can get it, and you'll like it, or you'll probably get some good firsthand knowledge of the equipment riot police use.

It ought to be pretty clear to intelligent people that what you hear in most of the corporate media these days, especially in America, is at best only one angle on the story, and at worst a bunch of managed news garbage. Think about it: how much have you heard about Michael Jackson lately? News flash - he's still dead, and besides, what the hell did he ever do for you anyway? Isn't the US in the middle of at least 2 wars and an economic catastrophe at the moment?

The government's 'official' economic information isn't much better. We've done a piece on the real economic numbers before (Shadow Government Statistics). We've also done related pieces on your real share of the US government debt (The Debt Clock), on what Uncle Sam wants you to do today (Pay My Debts!), and on Finance Hype in general.

Another angle on this story is available from Peter Brimelow at MarketWatch. Think this couldn't happen today? It already has, several times - and at IndyMac in 2008 it looked the same as it did about a hundred years ago. Here's 2007's run on Northern Rock in the United Kingdom:

Mr. Schultz believes we're heading for a 10-year downturn. Do what you will with that advice, but it may be time to clean and oil the shotgun you've got in your closet and make sure your powder's dry.

What's that you say? You don't have a shotgun?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

TECHHYPE: Airplane Toilets Suck

You know how those airplane toilets can be dangerous, right?

Check this out: Mark on AirTran attempts to suck a whole roll of toilet paper into an airplane toilet in one flush.

COMEDYHYPE: Awkward Family Photos

I ran across this website today and after laughing my way through 3 or 4 pages, I just had to come share it with you. Enjoy!

Monday, April 27, 2009

FLUHYPE: H1N1 Swine Flu Map

Best map I have found so far so I am sharing it with you all. I don't know about you but I am getting pretty nervous about this flu. I have been reading that the masks everyone is wearing give a false sense of security. Much better to stress lots of hand washing, disinfecting gel and avoiding touching mouth nose and eyes. Please add any good links in comments.

View 2009 H1N1 Flu Outbreak Map in a larger map

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

COMEDYHYPE: Outsourcing Your Own Job

Ever see the Onion News Network?

Here's a piece they did illustrating the reductio ad absurdum of the corporate outsourcing/offshoring argument:

More American Workers Outsourcing Own Jobs Overseas

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


PRESS RELEASE - Oprah Winfrey's McCann Parent Interview

British groups challenge Oprah Winfrey’s decision to interview parents of missing Madeleine McCann

A media release, 20 April 2009, to the U.S. media from The Madeleine Foundation - an organisation founded to campaign for truth and justice for missing Madeleine McCann

British groups and individuals concerned about what really happened to missing Madeleine McCann have been challenging Oprah Winfrey to ask tough questions to Madeleine’s parents when they appear on her show on 4th May - two years after their daughter Madeleine was reported missing.

Their concern is based on the belief that Madeleine McCann died in the McCanns’ holiday apartment in Portugal. That view was reinforced when the original senior detective in the case, Goncalo Amaral, published a book on the case last year, titled: ‘The Truth About A Lie’, in which he explained how the evidence pointed to Madeleine having died as a result of an accident in her parents’ apartment. He was removed from the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance amid strong suggestions of British government interference in the enquiry. He then resigned from the police force in order, he said, to bring the world the truth about the ‘disappearance’ of Madeleine. Last week (14 April) a documentary based on his book was shown on Portuguese T.V. and will shortly be seen on many other European T.V. stations - but not in Britain. Mr Amaral’s book has been translated and published in many European countries - but again, not in Britain.

In December last year, The Madeleine Foundation published a 64-page booklet: “What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann? - 60 Reasons which suggest she was not abducted”. This booklet has been translated into Spanish, German and Dutch, has received extensive publicity in Portugal (but once again not in Britain) and was recently sent to every Member of the British Parliament. The Madeleine Foundation sent a copy to Oprah Winfrey several weeks ago when the McCanns’ appearance on her show was first rumoured.

A crucial piece of evidence in the case came in August 2007 when 
two highly trained British sniffer dogs came to Praia da Luz. One, Eddie, had a 100% success rate in detecting the scent of a human corpse, and found the smell of death at four places in the McCanns' holiday apartment, on two of Dr Kate McCann's clothes, on one of the children's clothes, on Madeleine's pink soft toy, Cuddle Cat, and in two locations in a car later hired by the McCanns. The other dog, Keela, found blood in some of the same locations. The only corpse that could have lain next to all of those items would have been that of Madeleine McCann. A neighbour made a formal deposition to the Portuguese police saying that in the weeks before the dogs arrived, she saw the boot of the McCanns’ hired car open all night long, every night.

The investigation was suspended by the Portuguese judicial authorities in July 2008, there being insufficient evidence to charge anyone with a criminal offence. However, in a 58-page report, the Attorney-General said that there was evidence that Madeleine had died in her parents’ apartment, but that it could not be proved how she died. Unlike in Britain and the U.S., the Portuguese police have now released for public viewing on DVDs thousands of documents in the case, including dozens of witness statements, videos of the cadaver dogs in action etc. These are being analysed by hundreds of volunteers on the internet - see list of sources below.

The British groups campaigning for the truth about Madeleine McCann have been writing to Oprah Winfrey suggesting she ask key questions of the McCanns, fearing that, as with other recent Oprah interviews, there will be no challenge to the parents’ claim that Madeleine was abducted. A list of some of these questions can be viewed at this thread:

Among the questions The Madeleine Foundation suggests Oprah Winfrey asks the McCanns are the following:

Why did you originally claim that the abductor had forced his way into the flat by jemmying open the shutters to the apartment?
Why, after the police and the owners of the complex you were staying at found no evidence that the shutters had been forced, did you then change your story to saying that you had left the patio door open and the abductor must have entered that way?
Why would the abductor - as you now claim and have done for two years - exit with Madeleine through a small window in the children’s room, when the patio door was already open?
Why did you delete messages from your mobile ’phone before the police arrived on the night Madeleine was reported ‘missing’?
Why have neither of you ever physically searched for Madeleine?
Why did Dr Kate McCann refuse to answer 48 questions put to her by the Portuguese police on 8 September 2007?
How do you explain the findings of the cadaver dogs?
Why did you and your friends who were out in Portugal with you all refuse last year to attend a police reconstruction of the events of 3rd May?

The British groups’ concern about the Oprah Winfrey show was heightened when they learnt that Ms Winfrey was also planning to interview George and Cindy Anthony, the grandparents of murdered 2-year-old Caylee Anthony. Caylee’s mother, Casey Anthony, is currently in prison awaiting trial for Caylee’s mother.

Deborah Butler, Madeleine Foundation Chairman, said: “In nearly all cases where parents claim that a child of theirs has been abducted from their own home, it later turns out that the child is dead - and that a family member is in some way responsible, whether by accident, negligence, neglect or deliberate act. One such case was that of the death of 8-year-old Joana Cipriano in Portugal, where the girl’s mother, Leonor Cipriano, also claimed she had been abducted. It was Goncalo Amaral, the same detective who investigated the ‘disappearance’ of Madeleine McCann but was removed from the enquiry when he was getting too close to the truth, who successfully proved that Leonor Cipriano and her brother killed little Joana. The pair are now serving lengthy jail terms. We think it would be much better for Oprah Winfrey to interview Mr Amaral, the man who has, as in Joana’s case, brought us the truth about why Madeleine McCann is no longer with us”.


The Madeleine Foundation website:
Secretary: Tony Bennett 00 44 1279 635789 or 07835 716537

Tony Bennett (U.K.) is also available. He has appeared in several TV and radio programmes about Madeleine McCann, including on Portuguese TV and Al Jazeera, and on radio shows in Britain and Spain. He is willing to assist with pre-recorded or live interviews at any reasonable time (between 7am and 12midnight U.K. time). An excerpt from one of his interviews (in Spain) may be found on this YouTube link:
A more hostile interview of him by a British radio presenter can be found on YouTube here:

Further Information about the case:
1) Our book: “What Really Happened to Madeleine McCann? - 60 Reasons
which suggest she was not abducted” will be sent free on request to any U.S. journalist - and can be e-mailed instantly to you by e-mail Word attachment.
2) Goncalo Amaral’s book: A Verdade da Mentira - ‘The Truth About A Lie’ (English language summaries of this are available on the internet)
3) Portuguese Tvi24’s documentary transmitted on 14 April 2009 - see English translation at www.
4) - a wealth of original source material about the McCann case compiled by U.K. resident Nigel Moore
5) - more source material and analysis by a British expat living in eastern U.S.A.
6) a video of the cadaver dogs finding the smell of a corpse in the McCanns’ apartment and in their hired car is available at:
7) - U.K. based internet forum with useful research material on this link:
8) an informative 10-minute video on Madeleine McCann is at:

Monday, April 20, 2009


This is a few years old, at the time of this writing, but it definitely hasn't lost its appeal. Nike Rugby put together an extended commercial (1:30) entitled "Keep The Ball Alive" that shows some street rugby action.

Prominently featured are the superstars of the time, and the way the ad was shot was pretty revolutionary. So, without further ado, here's "Keep The Ball Alive" by Nike Rugby:

Friday, April 10, 2009


But first, before we dispatch the aircraft, let's take a moment for a few fun pictures of the troops with the bombs.

I suppose this young lady could be a model, or maybe a USO entertainer, but I'd really prefer to think that she's one of the Air Force Ordnancemen. Or is the correct term "Ordnanceperson" nowadays?

There's nothing like having a little fun with the high explosives before dropping them on people from 10,000 feet!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

WEIRDHYPE: The Escalator Girl

You never know what you might see at a sporting event so it is always a good idea to have your cell phone, with video capabilities, in your pocket.

This video shows a very determined woman. Either that or she's high.


Here is a short video of street busking.
What? You have never heard of street busking?
You have never seen a street busker in action?
There used to be many of them when I was growing up in Berkeley, California.

If you want to see more, check out the busker website.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

GAMBLINGHYPE: Roulette, All Or Nothing

A few years ago (in 2004), Ashley Revell, a 32 year-old British guy, sold everything he owned, cashed out all his investments, emptied his bank accounts, and bought one tuxedo. He had even sold all of his other clothes!

He then flew to Las Vegas with a pile of cash (over USD 135,000) with a plan to lay it all down on the Roulette table. If he won, he would be able to go home with double his net worth - but if he lost, he would be begging the pit boss for a bus ticket.

Sky TV followed him and made a mini-reality show out of the event. He actually did go through with the bet, in spite of his father's disapproval... and, without spoiling it, here's how the wager went down:

Saturday, March 28, 2009

MONEYHYPE: Our Dollars, Yours and Mine

Top 10 Most Expensive Accidents in History

Throughout history, humans have always been prone to accidents. Some, such as the exotic car crashes seen on this page, can be very expensive. But that's trivial compared to the truly expensive accidents. An accident is defined as "an undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally and usually results in harm, injury, damage, or loss". Our aim is to list the top 10 most expensive accidents in the history of the world as measured in dollars.

This includes property damage and expenses incurred related to the accident such as cleanup and industry losses. Many of these accidents involve casualties which obviously cannot be measured in dollar terms. Each life lost is priceless and is not factored into the equation. Deliberate actions such as war or terrorism and natural disasters do not qualify as accidents and therefore are not included in this list.

10. Titanic - $150 Million
The sinking of the Titanic is possibly the most famous accident in the world. But it barely makes our list of top 10 most expensive. On April 15, 1912, the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage and was considered to be the most luxurious ocean liner ever built. Over 1,500 people lost their lives when the ship ran into an iceberg and sunk in frigid waters. The ship cost $7 million to build ($150 million in today's dollars).

9. Tanker Truck vs Bridge - $358 Million
On August 26, 2004, a car collided with a tanker truck containing 32,000 liters of fuel on the Wiehltal Bridge in Germany. The tanker crashed through the guardrail and fell 90 feet off the A4 Autobahn resulting in a huge explosion and fire which destroyed the load-bearing ability of the bridge. Temporary repairs cost $40 million and the cost to replace the bridge is estimated at $318 Million.

8. MetroLink Crash - $500 Million
On September 12, 2008, in what was one of the worst train crashes in California history, 25 people were killed when a Metrolink commuter train crashed head-on into a Union Pacific freight train in Los Angeles. It is thought that the Metrolink train may have run through a red signal while the conductor was busy text messaging. Wrongful death lawsuits are expected to cause $500 million in losses for Metrolink.

7. B-2 Bomber Crash - $1.4 Billion
Here we have our first billion dollar accident (and we're only #7 on the list). This B-2 stealth bomber crashed shortly after taking off from an air base in Guam on February 23, 2008. Investigators blamed distorted data in the flight control computers caused by moisture in the system. This resulted in the aircraft making a sudden nose-up move which made the B-2 stall and crash. This was 1 of only 21 ever built and was the most expensive aviation accident in history. Both pilots were able to eject to safety.

6. Exxon Valdez - $2.5 Billion
The Exxon Valdez oil spill was not a large one in relation to the world's biggest oil spills, but it was a costly one due to the remote location of Prince William Sound (accessible only by helicopter and boat). On March 24, 1989, 10.8 million gallons of oil was spilled when the ship's master, Joseph Hazelwood, left the controls and the ship crashed into a Reef. The cleanup cost Exxon $2.5 billion.

5. Piper Alpha Oil Rig - $3.4 Billion
The world's worst off-shore oil disaster. At one time, it was the world's single largest oil producer, spewing out 317,000 barrels of oil per day. On July 6, 1988, as part of routine maintenance, technicians removed and checked safety valves which were essential in preventing dangerous build-up of liquid gas. There were 100 identical safety valves which were checked. Unfortunately, the technicians made a mistake and forgot to replace one of them. At 10 PM that same night, a technician pressed a start button for the liquid gas pumps and the world's most expensive oil rig accident was set in motion.

Within 2 hours, the 300 foot platform was engulfed in flames. It eventually collapsed, killing 167 workers and resulting in $3.4 Billion in damages.

4. Challenger Explosion - $5.5 Billion
The Space Shuttle Challenger was destroyed 73 seconds after takeoff due on January 28, 1986 due to a faulty O-ring. It failed to seal one of the joints, allowing pressurized gas to reach the outside. This in turn caused the external tank to dump its payload of liquid hydrogen causing a massive explosion. The cost of replacing the Space Shuttle was $2 billion in 1986 ($4.5 billion in today's dollars). The cost of investigation, problem correction, and replacement of lost equipment cost $450 million from 1986-1987 ($1 Billion in today's dollars).

3. Prestige Oil Spill - $12 Billion
On November 13, 2002, the Prestige oil tanker was carrying 77,000 tons of heavy fuel oil when one of its twelve tanks burst during a storm off Galicia, Spain. Fearing that the ship would sink, the captain called for help from Spanish rescue workers, expecting them to take the ship into harbour. However, pressure from local authorities forced the captain to steer the ship away from the coast. The captain tried to get help from the French and Portuguese authorities, but they too ordered the ship away from their shores. The storm eventually took its toll on the ship resulting in the tanker splitting in half and releasing 20 million gallons oil into the sea.

According to a report by the Pontevedra Economist Board, the total cleanup cost $12 billion.

2. Space Shuttle Columbia - $13 Billion
The Space Shuttle Columbia was the first space worthy shuttle in NASA's orbital fleet. It was destroyed during re-entry over Texas on February 1, 2003 after a hole was punctured in one of the wings during launch 16 days earlier. The original cost of the shuttle was $2 Billion in 1978. That comes out to $6.3 Billion in today's dollars. $500 million was spent on the investigation, making it the costliest aircraft accident investigation in history. The search and recovery of debris cost $300 million.

In the end, the total cost of the accident (not including replacement of the shuttle) came out to $13 Billion according to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

1. Chernobyl - $200 Billion
On April 26, 1986, the world witnessed the costliest accident in history. The Chernobyl disaster has been called the biggest socio-economic catastrophe in peacetime history. 50% of the area of Ukraine is in some way contaminated. Over 200,000 people had to be evacuated and resettled while 1.7 million people were directly affected by the disaster. The death toll attributed to Chernobyl, including people who died from cancer years later, is estimated at 125,000. The total costs including cleanup, resettlement, and compensation to victims has been estimated to be roughly $200 Billion. The cost of a new steel shelter for the Chernobyl nuclear plant will cost $2 billion alone. The accident was officially attributed to power plant operators who violated plant procedures and were ignorant of the safety requirements needed.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

TRAVELHYPE: 33 Countries, 26 States

Places I've been (not including airport-only stops):
United States of America
CaliforniaArizonaWashingtonOregonNevadaColoradoUtahNew Mexico
New YorkNew JerseyRhode IslandPennsylvaniaMassachusettsNew HampshireVermontMaine
Washington D.C.Hawaii
CanadaBritish ColumbiaQuebecOntario
BrasilBahiaSanta CatarinaRio de JaneiroSão Paulo
MexicoCosta RicaPanamaJapanChina
United KingdomEnglandScotlandWales
Czech Republic
Imagine each of the flags as a link to the associated Wikipedia article.

For comments or guidance, leave a comment.