Sunday, October 31, 2010

Recession Time Graffiti

Let them eat crack, an allusion to 'let them eat cake', a quote allegedly by Queen Marie-Antoinette. 

From monkeys to mice, from overzealous police officers to the Queen of England, Banksy has done it all. The British "art terrorist" whose work has become an underground masterpiece is the creator of some of the most unique graffiti artwork today. 

Recession-themed graffiti by Dublin artist Mazer in the Portobello area of Dublin.

"I don't believe in global warming" Clever Graffiti by Banksy 

"Most homeless people have moved on but their problems haven't gone away."

Washington Mutual in California, US. 

Economy is dead! 

Graffiti on the walls of the Bank of England in London. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Funny Robbery Stories

 The robber who tried to break into a house and ended up as a sexual slave for 3 days

A Russian robber broke into the salon of 28-year-old hairdresser who was armed with significant martial arts training. The woman held the 32-year-old armed robber captive for two days as her personal sex slave. He was gagged, kept handcuffed to a radiator with pink furry handcuffs , and allegedly fed Viagra before being forced into intercourse with the woman on multiple occasions. After approximately 48 hours of punishment, the man was released from his prison, heading straight to the hospital for treatment for a torn frenulum. He then went to the police to report Olga for "actions of a sexual nature". Shocked police then arrested Olga, who promptly reported Viktor for robbery. "What a bastard," Olga complained. "Yes, we had sex a couple of times. But I've bought him new jeans, gave him food and even gave him 1,000 roubles when he left." Olga and Viktor are both now apparently on charges, the woman could be convicted of rape, while the man of robbery.

 The robber who asked his victim on a date

Not only did a trio of robbers hold up a couple in their home, but one of the men came back two hours later and asked the female victim out on a date. The robbery occurred in Columbus, Ohio on a Sunday night when a couple was accosted by three robbers in their home. Stephon Bennett, 20, of Columbus, was arrested after he returned to the home and asked one of his victims, Diana Martinez, for a date. The woman recognized the wayward lothario as one of the trio and she asked a relative to call the police.

Bennett was arrested in front of the house. He was arraigned on one charge of aggravated robbery, is being held in Franklin County jail on $100,000 bail and is waiting to be assigned a public defender.

 The thief who made a pause to pray with the victim and then proceeded with the robbery

A robber holding a gun on an Advance America cashier apologized to the woman for his actions, but went ahead with his robbery even after praying with the victim. Cashier Angela Montez, 43, began crying when she realized the man's intentions. She began to talk to the man about God, she said, telling the man he still had the opportunity to refrain from committing the crime he had planned. The man told Montez he had a 2-year-old child to support and then asked Montez to pray with him about overcoming his hardships. The two got down on their knees and prayed, remaining on their knees for nearly 10 minutes. In response to the woman's kindness, the man took a bullet out of his handgun and gave it to her, according to the report, telling the clerk it was his only bullet and promising not to hurt her. He then asked Montez for a hug. Despite the heart-to-heart talk, the man was not dissuaded from his plans. He took the woman's cell phone, told her to go into the restroom and to refrain from calling police for 20 minutes.

The man took $20 in $5 bills from the cash drawer, according to the report — leaving the rest of the cash in the drawer.

 The robber who used his girlfriend's vibrator as a fake gun

A robber held up bookmakers with his girlfriend's vibrator. Nicki Jex concealed the Rampant Rabbit sex toy in a carrier bag and pretended it was a gun during the raid on the Ladbrokes shop in Leicester on December 27 ,2007. A member of staff at the branch handed over more than £600 in cash when he pointed the bag at her. The robbery was captured on a CCTV camera inside the shop. The surveillance camera recorded Jex striding into the shop brandishing the "firearm" minutes before staff were due to close for the day. He pointed the item in the carrier bag at the cashier. She immediately assumed it to be a firearm. In fact, what was contained within the carrier bag was the Jex's girlfriend's vibrator. The cashier retreated behind the counter and he turned the imitation weapon on the shop manager, demanding cash. She handed over £613 in till contents and other money. As Jex made his escape, the shop's only remaining customer, Wayne Vakani, followed him outside. Jex visited a local pub "obviously flush with money" to buy friends a drink. Thanks to Mr Vakani, the robber's hat worn in the robbery and containing his DNA was discovered nearby.

He was sentenced to five years behind bars.

 The thieves who drew themselves masks with permanent ink
There was little to disguise what these two had been up to moments before police pulled them over. Would-be burglars Matthew McNelly and Joey Miller's masterplan had one tiny flaw --their 'disguises' comprised of masks drawn on their faces with permanent marker pen.
American police stopped their car after a witness reported two men 'with painted faces' were trying to break into a flat in Carroll, Iowa. The caller added that the pair were wearing dark, hooded tops and had driven off in a big white car.

Police soon spotted a 1994 Buick Roadmaster matching the description and stopped it at gunpoint. Inside they found the two men, both of whom had what appeared to be masks, beards or moustaches scrawled on to their faces. McNelly, 23, and Miller, 20, were both charged with attempted second-degree burglary and were released on bail.

 The burglar who repented and returned the jewelry he had stolen three years later

In 2007, someone broke into Suzie Fronterotta's home in Gallup, New Mexico and stole about a dozen pieces of jewelry and $1,000 in cash. Though they weren't the treasures of Antwerp, they did contain sentimental value. Among them was a 30-year-old pearl necklace and a bracelet given to her by a relative on his deathbed. So imagine her surprise when, three years later, she received a package containing the stolen wares. The sender was anonymous, but it included a note with his apologies. "Please forgive me, I so sorry I steal from you," the letter read. "So many bad things happen because I steal from you, I so sorry."

It seems that ever since he robbed the home, he'd been having bad luck, including the death of his wife. So this rare bad guy decided to make amends. Also said he hoped to pay back the $1,000 when he earned enough money. And just to return the courtesy, Fonterotta says she doesn't want police to charge the guy if they ever find him.

 The hidden robber who was discovered because he laughed at victim's joke

He was hidden when the family arrived at their home but was caught after the couple heard someone laughing after the husband told a funny story. That must had been a hell of a joke.

 The thief who had his name and birth date tattooed on his neck

Police did not have to lift a finger to identify this thief after he broke into a car specially rigged with cameras - because he had a huge tattoo revealing his name and date of birth.

Aaron Evans, 21, was filmed breaking into the Peugeot 106 in an NCP car park before making off with a stolen sat-nav device. Not only had he failed to spot the covert camera filming his every move but he had the vital information 'Evans 19.9.87' boldly tattooed on his neck. Evans was jailed for seven months.

 The bank robber who threatened to file a complaint because the bank he was going to rob had no cash

A would-be bank robber threatened to file an official complaint after finding a bank in Springettsbury Township, Pa., had no cash on hand. 48-year-old Joseph Goetz allegedly attempted to rob a Susquehanna Bank branch office in the town shortly after it opened, but after learning that the bank had no cash on hand to give him, Goetz fled the scene while vowing to file a complaint with bank managers, police alleged. A bank customer who had been using the site's drive-thru services allegedly noticed the would-be robber fleeing the scene and followed Goetz as he left in his car. The unidentified customer called police, who stopped Goetz's vehicle and arrested him on suspicion of attempting to commit a robbery.

 The goat that got arrested for armed robbery

Police in Nigeria held a goat on suspicion of attempted armed robbery. Vigilantes seized the black and white goat, saying it was an armed robber who had used black magic to transform himself into an animal to escape after trying to steal a Mazda 323. The group of vigilante men came to report that while they were on patrol they saw some hoodlums attempting to rob a car. They pursued them. However, according to the police, one of them escaped while the other turned into a goat. Belief in witchcraft is widespread in parts of Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation. Residents came to the police station to see the goat, photographed in one national newspaper on its knees next to a pile of straw.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Controversial Video Games


Reason: Violence in a school setting.

Bully has caused controversy among parents and educators. Groups such as Bullying Online and Peaceaholics have criticized the game for glorifying or trivializing school bullying.

The game's ending depends on how you, the player, pilot your 15-year old character, Jimmy, through his first year at the unfriendly Bullworth Academy prep school. If you choose to defend the geeks, they'll have your back if you run afoul of the jocks. If you team up with the bullies, you might find yourself at a disadvantage with the preps.

 Tomb Raider

Reason: Sexuality.

When Tomb Raider hit the games market, it did so with a good degree of corporate muscle behind it: indeed the game was launched as a significant part of the Sony Playstation offensive. The success of the game is arguably attributable to this synchronicity between new techniques, a highly immersive and involving game space and game narrative and the controversial (and opportunistic) use of a female lead. Lara is provided with a narrative past appropriate to her status as an adventurer and an aristocratic English accent – a greater degree of characterization than the norm. Certainly, fans and critics suggest that none of these factors alone can explain the world beating success of the first game and its many sequels. "Lara's phenomenal success wasn't just about a cracking adventure, other games had that too. Lara had something that hooked the gamers like nothing has before. At the center of Tomb Raider was a fantasy female figure.

 Ethnic Cleansing

Reason: Extreme racism
Ethnic Cleansing (2002) is a controversial computer game developed by Resistance Records, an underground music label specializing in Neo-Nazi and white supremacist bands. In the game, the protagonist (the player can choose either a skinhead or a Klansman) runs through a ghetto killing black people and Latinos, before descending into a subway system to kill Jews. Finally he reaches the "Jewish Control Center", where Ariel Sharon, former Prime Minister of Israel, is directing plans for world domination. The player must kill Sharon to win the game.

 Muslim Massacre: The Game of Modern Religious Genocide

Reason: Critics say the game of modern religious genocide contains a blatantly destructive message but there is little authorities can do about it.

Muslim Massacre: The Game of Modern Religious Genocide is a controversial 2008 amateur computer game by Something Awful forum member Eric Vaughn under the screen name "Sigvatr."It is a top-down shoot 'em up video game. The aim of the game is to kill all Muslims that appear on the screen.

 Resident Evil 5

Reason: Resident Evil 5's 2007 E3 trailer was questioned for its depiction of a white protagonist killing black enemies in a small African village. Newsweek editor N'Gai Croal began the criticism, stating, "There was a lot of imagery in that trailer that dovetailed with classic racist imagery." He acknowledged that only the preview had been released.

 Six Days in Fallujah

Reason: The game was opposed by both the public and critics alike for "Glamorizing" and "Glossing over" the real-life massacre at Fallujah. This caused the former publisher, Konami, to oppose the game and stop publishing it.

Six Days in Fallujah is a third-person shooter video game described by the developer, Atomic Games, as a survival horror game. It is the first game to focus directly on Operation Iraqi Freedom, mainly the Second Battle of Fallujah or Operation Phantom Fury. The game follows a squad of U.S. Marines from 3rd Battalion 1st Marines over the span of six days. The premise of the game has been the subject of controversy; questions have been raised as to its appropriateness, especially given the fact that the true event the game is based upon was so recent. It was originally to be published by Konami. On April 28, 2009, a spokesman confirmed to the Associated Press that Konami was no longer publishing the game.

 Left 4 Dead 2

Reason: The cover art in the UK had to be altered due to a potentially offensive hand gesture being depicted. The game was banned in Australia for its excessive violence and gore. The game's New Orleans setting so soon after Hurricane Katrina was considered "a bad call". Finally, Left 4 Dead 2 was accused of being racist after incorporating black infected into the game, Valve quickly stated this was only for population diversification purposes.

 State of Emergency

Reason: Military-style violence including political assassinations and coup d'etats. Additionally, the game caused controversy in Washington due to the game's similarities to the World Trade Organization riots in Seattle.

State of Emergency is a controversial 2002 action-adventure video game released by Rockstar Games. It was developed by Scottish firm VIS Entertainment for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Microsoft Windows. Hip Hop artists D-Stroy and Jean Grae provided voices for State of Emergency characters.

The game was supposed to cause considerable controversy for the level of military style violence and its coup d'etats styled, grass-roots 'urban political revolution' subject matter, featuring political assassinations of Orwellian, corrupt government executives. It faced accusations of being a "hooligan simulator" and calls from numerous groups, most notably from a number of tabloids and 'concerned parents watch-dog' groups in the USA & UK to be banned. It received an "M-18" certificate, for amongst other things, the use of vicariously simulated military firearms.

Additionally, the game was denounced by Washington state politicians for its similarity to the real-life 1999 World Trade Organization riots and protests in Seattle which caused $3 million in damages. The game features the fictional "American Trade Organization" as the antagonistic establishment.

 Silent Hill

Reason: for graphic violence and very disturbing imagery.

In 1999 Konami released the original Silent Hill on the PSX. From the outset the game caused a lot of controversy with its dark, deeply disturbing psychological gameplay and horrific visual effects. This was a game with a twisted storyline unlike any other survival horror release that was on the market at the time. Cut scenes showed disembowelled bodies hanging crucified from stakes and weird, tortured unearthly creatures that could have come straight out of a Clive Barker novel.

 Grand Theft Auto

Reason: Sexuality and extreme violence. GTA IV was referred to as a "terrorist simulator" due to Liberty City being an exact replica of an American city. This is the reason why the plane is not available.

Grand Theft Auto (GTA) is a video game series created by Scottish game programmer Dave Jones, then later by English brothers Dan Houser and Sam Houser, and game designer Zachary Clarke and primarily developed by Rockstar North (formerly DMA Design) and published by Rockstar Games.

The gameplay consists of a mixture of action, adventure, driving, and occasional role-playing, stealth and racing elements and has gained controversy for its adult nature and violent themes. The series focuses around many different protagonists who attempt to rise through the ranks of the criminal underworld, although their motives for doing so vary in each game. The antagonists are commonly characters who have betrayed the protagonist or their organization, or who have the most impact impeding their progress.

 Mass Effect

Reason: Falsely accused by evangelical blogger Kevin McCullough of containing rape and sodomy, as well as by Fox News host Martha MacCallum of including "full graphic sex". In actuality, the game's most explicit content is an indirect shot of a humanoid alien breast.

 Death Race (1976 game)

Reason: Rejected by the public and denounced in the press due to the sound effect issued by enemies who are driven over, coupled with a grave marker which rises where they were killed.

Death Race is a controversial arcade game, released by Exidy in 1976. While not the first violent video game to appear, it was the first video game to inspire a great deal of protest and controversy in the United States.

In the game, designed by Howell Ivy and inspired by the 1975 cult film Death Race 2000 by Paul Bartel, one or two players control an on-screen car (two cars if two players played) with a steering wheel and an acceleration pedal. The object was to run down "gremlins" who were fleeing the vehicle. As the player hit them, they would scream or squeal and be replaced on-screen by tombstones. This increased the challenge of the game as the screen cluttered up and the player had to avoid the tombstones.

The controversy increased the game's sales, causing another product run, but the game inspired so many protests—including the first-ever organized protests over a video game, led by Ronnie Lamm—that in the end only about 500 units were made. There were even stories about the stand-up consoles being dragged into parking lots and burned by protesters.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Living in Outer Space

 During one day you will experience 16 sunrises

The sun rises and sets every 90 minutes in low Earth orbit, making it really hard to sleep well due to the absence of normal day/night cycles. To counteract this, ISS administrators set astronauts' schedules on a 24-hour, Earth-based timetable to keep their activity as grounded as possible. The clocks onboard the ISS are set to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), about halfway between Houston, Tex., and Moscow. To keep astronauts on that schedule, Mission Control sends wake-up calls to shuttle missions. They typically play music, which is either requested by an astronaut or an astronaut's family member. Astronauts on the ISS, on the other hand, wake up with the help of an alarm.

 You will grow taller

Without the compressive force of gravity, your spinal column expands and you grow taller, usually by between 5 and 8 cm. Unfortunately, the extra height can bring complications, which may include backache and nerve problems.

 You may stop snoring

A 2001 study showed that astronauts who snored on Earth snoozed silently in space. That's because gravity plays a dominant role in the generation of apneas, hypopneas, and snoring. It's possible for astronauts to snore in space, and NASA has even recorded crewmembers doing so, but the effects of zero gravity appear to reduce snoring.

 Some food and condiments require adding water to be eaten in space

In space, salt and pepper are available but only in a liquid form. This is because astronauts can't sprinkle salt and pepper on their food in space. The salt and pepper would simply float away. There is a danger they could clog air vents, contaminate equipment or get stuck in an astronaut's eyes, mouth or nose.

 The longest time a person stayed in space is 438 days

The record for a long-duration mission is held by Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov, who completed a 438-day (or 14 month) tour of duty aboard the Mir space station in 1995.

 Only three men have ever died in space

Of the 439 astronauts that entered space up to the end of November 2004, 11 have died in training incidents and 18 have died in in-flight accidents. Of those 18, only the crew of Soyuz 11 in 1971 actually died in space. The USA sets the space-boundary at 50 miles high while the FAI defines space as starting at a height of 100 km. Challenger's last flight in 1986 never reached this height. Columbia broke apart on re-entry.

The crew of Soyuz 11, Georgi Dobrovolski, Viktor Patsayev and Vladislav Volkov, were killed after undocking from space station Salyut 1 after a three-week stay. A valve on their spacecraft had accidentally opened when the service module separated, which was only discovered when the module was opened by the recovery team. Technically the only fatalities in space (above 100 km).

 Almost every astronaut experiences space sickness

In the absence of gravity, signals from the vestibulary system and the pressure receptors are wildly misleading. The effect usually leads to immediate disorientation: many astronauts suddenly feel themselves upside-down, for example, or even have difficulty in sensing the location of their own arms and legs. This disorientation is the main cause of so-called Space Adaptation Syndrome, which one astronaut wryly described as "a fancy term for throwing up". Half or more of all space travelers suffer from space sickness, which brings with it headaches and poor concentration as well as nausea and vomiting. Usually, though, the problems disappear within a few days as astronauts adapt.

 The hardest thing to readjust when you come back from space, is when you let go of objects, they fall.

When they return to Earth, astronauts have to re-adapt just as painfully as when they first got into space. There is one re-adaptation that can take somewhat longer to accomplish, although the consequences are more likely to be amusing than crippling. Several long-duration Russian cosmonauts have reported that months after their flight, they still occasionally let go of a cup or some other object in mid-air - and are quite disconcerted when it crashes to the floor.

 Cosmic radiation makes you see blinding flashes

Gazing out of their space capsules, Apollo astronauts witnessed sights that humans had never seen before. They saw the breathtaking view of the Earth's bright blue disc against the inky black of space. They saw the far side of the Moon. They also saw strange flashes of light inside their eyeballs! Since then, astronauts aboard Skylab, the Shuttle, Mir, and the International Space Station have all reported seeing these flashes. What the astronauts were experiencing is space radiation zipping through their eyes like subatomic bullets. When a "bullet" strikes the retina, it triggers a false signal that the brain interprets as a flash of light. Needless to say, this is not good for your eyes. At least 39 former astronauts have suffered some form of cataracts after flying in.

 While in space, you may have to take sponge baths to hygiene yourself

While stations such as Skylab and Mir have been equipped with a shower, most astronauts take sponge baths using washcloths or moistened towelettes. This reduces the amount of water consumed. Each astronaut will also have a personal hygiene kit with a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, razor and other basic toiletries.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Clever Billboard Ads

On this clever billboard for a lingerie store "Bustop", the skirt lifts up when the wind blows.

This creative billboard campain for "Koleston Naturals" uses its background natural view to illustrate the fact that this woman's hair dye is made from natural ingredients.

Near a busy intersection in Auckland, New Zealand this billboard was placed to promote a local channel's screening of "Kill Bill." The billboard features Uma Thurman swinging a sword, which is splattering blood onto the building, the street and even some parked cars.

The world's first edible chocolate billboard didn't last long, as it was consumed by shoppers within three hours of going up. British chocolate company Thorntons unveiled this 860 pound (390kg) billboard made of pure chocolate in London. The billboard was 14.5 ft by 9.5 ft and was made from 10 chocolate bunnies, 72 giant chocolate eggs and 128 chocolate panels.

Designed by ad agency Leo Burnett with the input of an engineer, this creative McDonald's Billboard, placed in Chicago, features a real sundial whose shadow falls on a different breakfast item each hour until noon, when the shadow of the McDonald's arches are dead center.

Minneapolis ad agency Clarity Coverdale Fury came up with this creative billboard for

This 20-foot unique billboard that consisted of 20,000 pennies was created to advertise the 769,500-penny starting price of the new Aveo. Though it didn't take long for hundreds of opportunistic by- passers to take off the coins and to be precise the penny-billboard only lasted for a mere 30 minutes.

Eco advocates and beer drinkers alike will all appreciate what went into repurposing these 500 used bottles for this highly creative billboard for Carlsberg.

An idea as sharp as the extremely sharp razor german company Martor Solingen is trying to sell. This giant razor with sliced birds scattering in half underneath it might seem cruel but sure does guarantee some curious onlookers.

In the heart of downtown Toronto lies the ever expanding Dundas Square, where Tylenol posted this large backlit board with an eye catching execution of a man suffering from a bad headache. To emphasize his pain, a large wrecking ball, suspended from a 3D crane above the board, has smashed through, and stuck in the man's forehead.

There can be no better way to depict how "natural" the Berger paints supposedly are. Ad agency JWT Mumbai designed this hoarding where a painter seems to be actually extending the blue colour of the sky on to his canvas.

Here is a unique way to remind people to buckle up in the back seat. Created by Clement BBDO in Austalia, this billboard displays a huge slingshot in 3d which appears to propel a passenger into the air. The message is clear, belt up or your body will be slinked.

This highly creative billboard was made for Bourbon whisky Maker's Mark, implying that their whisky is so good you need an 18-wheeler full to satisfy.

This billboard was carried out as part of a campaign for Denver water, which promotes water conservation as it appeals "use only what you need", so the billboard itself proves the point.

A creepy, yet creative billboard in Ann Arbor, MI. The ad agency and advertised brand are unknown.