Friday, October 31, 2008

Loo with a view: The world's toilets with the best vistas

We may not really care what our view is when we use the loo.

But maybe we should - for according to the World Toilet Organisation we spend three years of our lives on the throne.

And that fact was enough to set author Luke Barclay off on a mission to flush out the planet's best loos with a view.

Boston Bay High Camp, Washington state: Few loos with a view can beat this one near Johannesburg Mountain in the North Cascades national park

Canton de Chelly, Arizona: A wooden loo at the base of Spider Rock, an 800ft sandstone spire revered by Navajo Indians

The Valley of Longevity, Ecuador: A wooden long-drop that lives up to its description, high in the Andes

Cliff-Top Chateau, France: This 'oasis of pis' overlooks a picturesque bend in the Dordogne River

Among them are remote wilderness loos, such as the ones at Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia and the Boulder Pass Campsite in Montana, which overlooks the spectacular Agassiz Glacier.

Many are on sacred sites - including those in the Valley of Longevity in Ecuador, where locals are said to live to 135, and on Mount Sinai in Egypt, where God is said to have handed the Ten Commandments to Moses.

Changi Airport, Singapore: Plane spotters in the new terminal 3 can take a wee look at the giant Airbus A380

Tasman Glacier, New Zealand: An aerial shot shows just how close this loo is to the edge

Mount Sinai, Egypt: The best place to see sunrise on the mountain is said to be from this toilet, where the early-morning light floods through the bamboo walls

Boulder Pass Campsite, Montana: A wooden loo in Glacier National Park, with a stunning view of Agassiz Glacier

Guard Tower, Alcatraz: Warders at the infamous jail had an all-round view of San Francisco Bay while they took a comfort break

The loos on the lookout tower at Alcatraz clearly worked, as no escape attempts were successful in the prison's 29-year history.

But women using the aquarium toilet at Mumin Papa Cafe in Akashi, Japan, have complained of being watched by a male sea turtle.

However, the future for interesting toilets is bright, as the new men's loo in Terminal 3 of Singapore's Changi Airport proves.

Croagh Patrick, Ireland: This 2,501ft summit in Co Mayo, where St Patrick fasted

Peninsula Hotel, Kowloon, Hong Kong: An ultra-modern mirror and sink - and view - in the ladies' at the Felix Bar

Salir de Uyuni, Bolivia: A relief stop 12,000ft high in the Andes in the middle of the world's largest salt flats, which cover an area of 4,085 square miles

Mumin Papa Cafe, Japan: This ladies' loo in Akashi is built into an aquarium, so you can watch the fishes as you, erm, meditate. But beware of the inquisitive male sea turtle

Mount McKinley, Alaska: A real cool view all round near the 20,320ft summit of the highest mountain in North America

Mount Whitney, California: At an elevation of over 14,500ft, this metal loo was a high spot for climbers. Sadly, it no longer exists

Loo With A View, by Luke Barclay, is published by Virgin Books

Don't look down

Hold on to your specs while peering down here. You'd have a long climb to the bottom if they fell off.

This rocky chasm in China is one of the world's deepest underground shafts. It stretches down for an astonishing 3,100ft, or 1,026 metres.

An international team of cave explorers who discovered the cave, near the village of Tian Xing, are seen descending into the abyss.
The picture was taken by photographer Robert Shone, 28, of Manchester, who spent two months with the climbers documenting-their explorations.

Camping underground for four to five days at a time, the team were able to explore the extensive network of caves and tunnels.

Though unimaginably deep, the Chinese caves are actually dwarfed by others across the globe.

The world's deepest cave is Krubera in Georgia, which is 6,822ft deep (2,080 metres), followed by Lamprechtsofen in Austria (5,354ft or 1,631 metres) and Gouffre Mirolda in France (5,335ft or 1,626 metres).

As an interesting comparison, the world's tallest peak, Mount Everest, is 29,029ft (8,848 metres) high.

Source: Daily Mail UK., October 30, 2008

5 Most Horrifying Bugs in the World - #1

Now, time for the disclaimer. If you are squeamish or have a weak stomach or value your sanity in any way, you may want to bail out now.

Okay, here goes...

Bot Fly (family oestridae, genus and species varies)

Most species found in Central and South America, some species found all over the world

Why you must fear it:
Oh boy. Ohhhhh boy. Okay, Bot flies.
There are dozens of varieties of Bot Fly, they're each highly adapted to target a specific animal, they have delightfully descriptive names like Horse Stomach Bot Fly, Sheep Nose Bot Fly and, hey, guess what. One of them is called Human Bot Fly.

They each have a different and elaborate reproductive cycle, all of which end with a fat, half-inch maggot embedded in living flesh. Feeding.

Horse Stomach Bots, for example, lay their eggs in grass. Horses eat the grass. And the eggs. Which hatch in the heat of the horse's mouth. Upon which they chew through the horse's tongue and burrow, through the horse, into its belly. Where they meet up and dig honeycombs into the horse's stomach. And get fat. When they're ready to be flies, they just let go and get pooped out of the system.

The Human Bot Fly lays its eggs on a horsefly or a mosquito, something that will attempt to land on a human. This carrier finds a human and lands on him or her. The eggs rub off onto the human, whose body heat hatches the eggs. The larvae drop onto the skin and burrow right the **** in. Where they live. Under your skin. Eating.

Here's video of them removing one. DO NOT ****ING WATCH THIS. ****, we don't even know why we linked it.

More scary shit:
Here is the best part. The larvae can grow anywhere in your body, it just depends on where the eggs wind up. Which could end up with you having a fat wormy thing in your tear duct. Or your brain. We know, because that's happened.

A Human Bot Fly larvae, burrowing into your brain. Eating your thoughts.

All this learning and fear remind you of high school? Head over to our video countdown of the 7 Scariest Teachers on YouTube. Or check out the blog, where Michael Swaim will tell you why you should be scared of the government too, and comes up with an awesome name for a rock band in the process.

for more info pls go to

5 Most Horrifying Bugs in the World - #2

Army or Soldier Ant (Eciton burchellii)

The Amazon Basin. There's other subfamilies living in Asia and Africa, but these are the most notorious.

Why you must fear it:
By now, you will not be surprised to hear that these ants are, in fact, ****ing huge, with the soldiers reaching a half inch in length. You will also not be surprised to learn that they have massive, powerful, machete-like jaws half the length of the soldiers themselves. They're notorious for dismantling any living thing in their path, regardless of size. They're also completely blind, which for some reason makes the whole thing worse.

They're called 'Army' ants because their entire colony, comprising up to and over one million insects, is a 100 percent mobile battalion. They don't make permanent hives like other ants, no, they bivouac down in single locations just long enough for the queen to shit out thousands of eggs, while the soldiers spread out in wide fans daily in search of food ("food" here, means "anything moving"). Then the eggs hatch and they enter the dreaded swarm phase of their existence.

Much like the word "killer," nature takes words like "dreaded" and "swarm" very, very seriously. They carefully pick up their larvae and go on the move, a near-solid mass of insect death and horror moving steadily and swiftly along the jungle floor, flaying alive and disassembling every living thing too stupid, slow or asleep to get the living **** out of the way. There is no talk of painful stingers or ballistic acid here, no, this is terror of a far more primordial nature--the kind that simply flows over you by the hundreds of thousands and rips you apart with massive, unbelievably powerful jaws, utterly and literally blind to size and species, considering everything in their path to be a threat to the continuation of their colony.

There are reports of animals the size of horses being overwhelmed and shredded by them. Go stand next to a horse and then think about what that means for you.

More scary shit:
Army Ants are masters of wholly-organic, living architecture. For the good of the colony, the ants will use their own living bodies to build any conceivable structure necessary, latching on to each other foot-to-foot to create protective walls and ceilings against the ravages of the weather, bridges to cross otherwise impassable spans, whatever happens to be needed. (Can they form themselves into a crude catapult mechanism and launch themselves at prey? Not yet.)

There is no other living thing in the entire world that does this.

And, they're blind !

5 Most Horrifying Bugs in the World - #3

Africanized Honey Bee (Apis mellifera scutellata)

South and Central America, the American Southwest

Why you must fear it:
You know how you can spot one of these? You can't. There is no physical way to determine the difference between an Africanized bee and a common European bee. None whatsoever.

You can, however, easily tell the difference based on their behavior. Regular bees will give you about nine seconds of being too close to the hive before deciding you're a threat and then attacking you. So it's pretty easy to just walk past them without any screams. And if you do get them after you, they'll consider you to be 'chased off' after about 300 feet.

Africanized bees do not roll this way. They give you half a second of being too close before they decide it is time to completely **** your shit up and empty the entire hive--tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of angry, angry bees. When you run, flailing and crying and soiling yourself while screaming "JESUS CHRIST I'M COVERED IN BEES," they will chase you for over half a mile.

More scary shit:
Africanized bees owe their existence to science. Warwick E. Kerr created them in Brazil during the 1950s by crossing a European bee with an African bee. He wanted a bee that could live in the jungle. He got a bee that swarms by the hundreds of millions, is insanely territorial, mindlessly aggressive, has killed anywhere from a few dozen to a few thousand people. And, can live in the jungle.

And after they escaped and swarmed northward, it turned out they were a-OK with deserts, too. They'll be in Montana by 2010.

5 Most Horrifying Bugs in the World - #4

Bullet Ant (Paraponera clavata)

Rainforests from Nicaragua to Paraguay

Why you must fear it:
It's a full inch long, it lives in trees and thus can and will fall on you to scare you away from its hive--the one you didn't know was there, because it's in a ****ing tree. Before it does this, it shrieks at you. This ant, you see, can shriek.

It's called a Bullet Ant because its 'unusually severe' sting feels like getting shot. On the Schmidt Sting Index, Bullet Ants rate as the number one most try-not-to-shit-out-your-spine painful in the entirety of the Kingdom Arthropoda.

Also--and we do feel the need to stress this--they ****ing shriek at you before they attack.

More scary shit:
Are you the sort of person who likes to think of yourself as tough? A "badass," perhaps? "Hard," as they say?

Some of the indigenous peoples of the area use Bullet Ants as part of this initiation-to-manhood ceremony that they do. You know the kind we mean, with us it's like, a big party and your relatives give you money and everyone loves you and is so proud of you? Yeah with them, it's these special leaf sleeves with hundreds of bullet ants woven into them, stingers-inwards. They put them on and are immediately stung to holy ****ing bejeezus by, and this is important, hundreds of Bullet Ants woven into the sleeves, stingers-inward.

The goal is to leave them on for 10 minutes, after which their arms are stiff, useless lengths of twisting agony, their bodies wracked with uncontrollable spasms for days. And in order to be actually pass the ordeal and become a man, they have to do it 20 ****ing times.

5 Most Horrifying Bugs in the World - #5

There are about 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 insects on earth at any given moment. Seriously, that's a real number. For every one of us, there are 1.5 billion bugs.

But some of them are so horrifying, just one is too many. Here are five you want to avoid at all costs.

Japanese Giant Hornet (vespa mandarinia japonica)

From: Japan, obviously.

Why you must fear it:
It's the size of your thumb and it can spray flesh-melting poison. We really wish we were making that up for, you know, dramatic effect because goddamn, what a terrible thing a three-inch acid-shooting hornet would be, you know? Oh, hey, did we mention it shoots it into your eyes? Or that the poison also has a pheromone cocktail in it that'll call every hornet in the hive to come over and sting you until you are no longer alive?

Think you can outrun it? It can fly 50 miles in a day. It'd be nice to say something reassuring at this point, like "Don't worry, they only live on top of really tall mountains where nobody wants to live," but no, they live all over the goddamned place, including outside Tokyo.

Forty people die like that every year, each of them horribly.

More scary shit:
Here's how the Japanese hornet treats other insects (and would presumably treat us, if we were small enough). An adult hornet will fly miles to find some squishy shit to feed to its children. Often times, it finds its food in, say, a hive inhabited by thousands of bees.

What to do? Well, Vespa japonica sprays the nest with some of the acid/pheromone and brings in reinforcements, usually consisting of 30 or so fellow hornets. They then descend upon the beehive like an unholy plague of hell-born death engines and proceed to make this world a scary goddamned place. This is maybe 30 wasps against 30,000 bees and the 30,000 bees do not stand a chance.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The war has just begun - La guerra e' cominciata !

By now, I'm winning 6-4 on

(S)He is killing me on, on the very first link given by and on photos (obviously)

But I'm confident !!

Al momento vinco io 6-4 su

Stravince lui su , sul primo link di e sulle foto (ovviamente)

Ma ho fiducia !