Why Radio Sucks

1:27:20 AM, Tuesday, February 08, 2011
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Flour Dance by Tony Dudley

1:20:34 AM, Tuesday, February 08, 2011
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Kraak & Smaak – Squeeze Me

1:15:21 AM, Tuesday, February 08, 2011
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The Great Rubber Robbery: Nazis’ Condom Empire

12:22:11 AM, Tuesday, February 08, 2011

“Julius Fromm was born Israel Fromm on 4 March 1883 in Konin, what was then a small town in the Russian Empire and now part of Poland. Like many Jewish families in the region, the Fromms moved in 1893 to a rapidly expanding Berlin in search of a safer life and better opportunities for the children. They were culturally assimilated, and Israel Fromm adopted the name Julius. The Fromms made a living rolling cigarettes during the day, and selling them one by one in cafés at night. This was a line of work which lent itself to impoverished immigrants in Germany who often had little more than manual dexterity. The patriarch Bernhard Fromm died in 1898 at the age of forty-two and Regina died in 1911, leaving Julius and his elder brother Salomon the responsibility of raising the entire family. Julius Fromm, a “quintessential ‘entrepreneurial proletariat’”, and a modest man with minimal education, sought a career alternative to making cigarettes and began taking evening classes in rubber chemistry around 1912.

Julius Fromm then hit upon the idea of making condoms. The early condoms from the eighteenth century were generally made of animal intestines, and were used primarily by wealthy men – like Giacomo Casanova, who referred to them as “English riding coats” – to protect against the incurable syphilis. These condoms were difficult to use, diminished pleasure, frequently broke, and offered only limited protection against venereal diseases. In 1893 the American industrialist Charles Goodyear developed rubber vulcanisation. When the sap of the rubber tree is formed into rubber, then treated with sulphur and heated to high temperatures, it forms an elastic and durable material that can be used to make raincoats, shoes, tyres and condoms which rather looked like bicycle inner tubes with bulging seams. Later a dipping method was invented that made possible the production of thinner and seamless condoms. Julius Fromm saw a market he could tap into and founded his company in 1914, opening a small workshop in the Bötzow area in the Prenzlauer Berg district of Berlin. With World War I and the liberalisation of sexual values in the Weimar Republic, the demand for condoms exploded and Fromm’s business quickly expanded, and he established factories near the Spree River in Berlin-Mitte.

Fromm improved on the manufacturing technique. He used glass moulds, which were mounted on carrier frames and dipped into a vat of rubber solution liquefied with gasoline, benzene and tetrachloromethane. After two dippings, a thin rubber skin formed around the glass moulds and this was then vulcanised in special ovens with sulphur vapours. The condoms were dusted with a lubricant, rolled off the glass moulds and tested by inflation with compressed air, inverted and packaged. Fromms’ condoms were sturdy yet elastic, durable enough to be warehoused and transported for long distances. In fact this technical process of condom manufacturing has remained largely unchanged, with the exception of automation and the replacement of the benzene treatment with a latex process in the 1960s. Using a similar setup, Fromm also made surgical finger cots, rubber gloves, pacifiers and teats for baby bottles – another sound business move given the rising birth rate in Germany…”

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Chinese are the new Americans

3:28:05 PM, Monday, February 07, 2011

“Hotel owners and retailers are still dreaming of invading hordes of American and Japanese tourists. On occasion, they shed a nostalgic tear for the German and English visitors of yesteryear, while the more dynamic among them hatch plans to attract Russian oligarchs. However, figures on the global tourist trade paint a completely different picture and attest to a revolution that is already underway.

In 2011, which will also be the Chinese Year of the Rabbit, growth in the long-distance travel industry will be fueled by Chinese tourists — and Chinese consumers are expected to buy more package tours and more items in Europe’s luxury shops than any other group by 2015.

In its annual report, the China Tourism Academy forecasts that 57 million Chinese visitors will spend close to 50 billion euros in foreign destinations this year. In 2010, 54 million Chinese traveled abroad, spending approximately 40 billion euros in the process — a 60% increase on figures from five years ago. By 2015, China will become the number one tourism source market worldwide with 100 to 130 million visitors traveling to foreign countries where they will spend an estimated 110 billion euros.

Impressive economic growth has given China the world’s largest number of new billionaires and resulted in the emergence of what is now the world’s largest middle class. For the first time in history, more than 400 million Chinese, who benefit from an average income of 15,000 euros per year, are saving their spare cash to fund trips to see the world on the other side of the Great Wall...”

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Boy Falls Onto Subway Tracks While Walking and Playing Video Games

2:51:20 PM, Monday, February 07, 2011

-- I wonder if he'll be suing the train company...

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Made in America: Chrysler's Detroit Superbowl Ad Starring Eminem

2:01:31 AM, Monday, February 07, 2011
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Pope's Organs Are Too Holy to Donate to Mortals, Says Church

10:03:38 PM, Sunday, February 06, 2011

“Benedict XVI has tried to scotch rumours that he carries an organ donor card after his secretary revealed that his ascension to the position of Holy Father means he is no longer able to bequeath his body parts to lesser mortals.

On the pontiff's instructions, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, Benedict's personal secretary, fired off a letter to quell the rumours that started in the Pope's native Germany.

"It's true that a simple cardinal can have an organ donor card but, despite public declarations to the contrary, it ceased to apply when he was elected head of the Catholic Church," Mgr Gaenswein said.

In 1999, the then-Cardinal Ratzinger said he was on an organ-donor list. "I am available to offer my organs to whoever might need them. It is an act of love, of affection and generosity," he said at the time.

And as recently as 2008, three years after being elected pontiff, Benedict attended an international congress on donor transplantation where he repeated his support for organ donors. "It's a special way of showing charity," he said, though he added that donations had to be "free, voluntary [and] respectful of the health and dignity of the donor...””

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'Mmmm...Shark,' Says Killer Whale

6:11:39 PM, Sunday, February 06, 2011

“Like a child eating too many jawbreaker candies, some orcas damage their teeth by eating crunchy, abrasive food. But they aren't eating candy, they are eating sharks.

The orcas (Orcinus orca), or killer whales, in the deep, offshore waters of the northeast Pacific chow down on the sluggish deep-sea Pacific sleeper shark. But dining on shark delicacies comes at a price.

The denticles, tough teeth-like structures embedded in the shark's skin, grind down the whale's teeth. Some older whales have been found with their teeth ground down to the gums, according to John Ford of the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, British Columbia, and his team or researchers. Their research was published recently in the journal Aquatic Biology…”

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Astronomy Picture of the Day: The Once and Future Stars of Andromeda

4:22:09 PM, Sunday, February 06, 2011

The big, beautiful Andromeda Galaxy, aka M31, is a spiral galaxy a mere 2.5 million light-years away. Two space-based observatories have combined to produce this intriguing composite image of Andromeda, at wavelengths outside the visible spectrum. The remarkable view follows the locations of this galaxy's once and future stars. In reddish hues, image data from the large Herschel infrared observatory traces enormous lanes of dust, warmed by stars, sweeping along Andromeda's spiral arms. The dust, in conjunction with the galaxy's interstellar gas, comprises the raw material for future star formation. X-ray data from the XMM-Newton observatory in blue pinpoint Andromeda's X-ray binary star systems. These systems likely contain neutron stars or stellar mass black holes that represent final stages in stellar evolution. More than twice the size of our own Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy is over 200,000 light-years across.

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Ricky Gervais on Atheism

1:45:22 PM, Sunday, February 06, 2011
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Helmet Cam: Biker Gets Rear Ended in Traffic, Lands on Feet

12:54:19 PM, Sunday, February 06, 2011
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Ride Bikes Every Day!

3:20:06 AM, Sunday, February 06, 2011
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The Crew Cuts - Sh-Boom

3:15:42 AM, Sunday, February 06, 2011
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You Leave by Alex Andreyev

3:12:00 AM, Sunday, February 06, 2011
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