Archive for April, 2010

Brian Douglas Wells:A Real Life Jigsaw Victim

April 27, 2010

Ever watched a Saw film? Where Jigsaw plays with his victims before killing them? Well, he didn’t actually kill them.  He gave them choices, as he put it. But what will you do if you woke up one day and realize you’re in a deep trouble as this?

Welcome to the world of Brian Douglas Wells, an American pizza delivery man who was killed by a time bomb fastened to his neck.

 

Wells dropped out of high school in 1973 and for nearly 30 years, he had worked as a pizza delivery man. He was considered a valued and trusted employee of the Mamma Mia Pizzeria in Erie, Pennsylvania.

On the afternoon of August 28, 2003, Wells received a call to deliver two pizzas to an address a few miles from the pizzeria. It was later found that the address was that of WSEE-TV’s transmission tower at the end of a dirt road. If that isn’t creepy enough, I don’t know what is.

 At first nobody knew what happened there but around an hour later he reappeared at a bank. He had a device around his neck and a shotgun designed to look like a cane. He told the people to give him $ 250,000.

When police intervened, Wells claimed that three unnamed people had placed a bomb around his neck, provided him with the shotgun, and told him that he had to commit the robbery and several other tasks, otherwise he would be killed.

Thinking that it is a move to claim his innocence, the police did nothing to remove the collar. Then, at 3:04 PM, at least 30 minutes after the 9-1-1 call, the police called the bomb squad. They arrived late though. At 3:18 PM, the bomb detonated, blasting a fist-sized hole in Wells’ chest just three minutes before the bomb squad arrived. Here’s a video for your entertainment.

So what happened at the transmission tower?

According to law enforcement reports, Wells was meeting people he thought were his accomplices. Wells participated in the planning for the robbery; he had been told the bomb was going to be fake and he was to claim that three black men forced the bomb on him and he was to tell police he was a hostage.

SURPRISE!!!

At the television tower, Wells, for the first time, learned that the device was real. He wrestled with the men and tried to flee, but one of them fired a gun, causing Wells to stop. And the rest is history.

So… What’s that thing you’re saying? It’s good it’s just a movie? I’d give a second thought about that.

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Working Visually

April 24, 2010

“When there are no words and the only way to convey what’s happening is through physical expression, it’s particularly hard to get it right. And it’s a much, much slower process when you’re working visually without the benefit of dialogue.” These are the words of Rowan Atkinson when asked what the greatest challenge of playing someone who never speaks was. But who is this Rowan Atkinson? Never heard of him? I’m sure you have. It’s just that you know him in a different name. Mr. Bean.

Rowan Sebastian Atkinson was born in County Durham, England on January 6, 1955. He finished a degree on Electrical Engineering in Newcastle University and had his post graduate education in Queens College, Oxford University.

Rowan first performed sketches in the Oxford University Dramatic Society. It is also in Oxford where he met the writer Richard Curtis. Together, they wrote Blackadder, to which he starred from 1983 to 1989. It became one of the most famous shows in England during the decade. His voice also gave life to Zazu in the 1994 Walt Disney Film “The Lion King”.

His first performance as Mr. Bean was on New Year’s Day of 1990 for 30 minutes. Then, two movies were released in 1997 and 2007, entitled “The Ultimate Disaster Movie” and “Mr. Bean’s Holiday”, respectively. He also starred in “Johnny English” as the title role in 2003.

It was in the set of Blackadder where he met Sunetra Sastry, then a make-up artist for BBC. They were married in 1990 in New York City. They had 2 children: Ben, 14 years old, and Lily, 12 years old.

To finish, when asked if he would like to go on a holiday with Mr. Bean, he answered, “Certainly not! He’s a very odd, unpredictable, and selfish man. But despite all those negative things, he also possesses a degree of sweetness and a childish naivete with which we can identify. People tend to like him, which I always find slightly surprising.”

So Hard To Kill…

April 20, 2010

To quote Benjamin Franklin, “but in the world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.” Who’s not afraid of taxes? Well, many people are not. But death? Only few can trully say that they are not afraid. But is it the fear that made this guy so hard to kill?

FERDINAND MAGELLAN

Ferdinand Magellan was born in Portugal in 1480. After the death of his parents during his tenth year he became a page to Queen Leonor at the Portuguese royal court because of his family’s heritage. This allowed him to hear about all the discoveries that were being made. In 1505, Magellan finally got to go to sea on a military expedition. He fell immediately in love with the sea. Boring stuff followed. Fast forward. In 1521, he reached the Philippines. There he met Rajah Humabon and his ally Datu Zula. The two kings despised Lapu-Lapu, a Datu of Mactan. After gaining each other’s trust, the two kings convinced Magellan to help them in killing their enemy. True enough, he decided to attack Mactan.

With 49 men with him, he sailed to Mactan in the morning of April 27, 1521. He was surprised though, because it seems the natives of Mactan knew about this. The natives were prepared. Their defenses were up. Lapu-lapu had 1500 men at his command.

So, how did Magellan die?

The natives easily spotted Magellan and marked him as the leader of the outsiders. Naturally, most of the natives wanted to finish him so most of them stormed him. His helmet was knocked off twice. Then, a native hurled a bamboo spear to his face. Since Magellan was such a badass, he can’t be killed easily. So, he stabbed the damned native with his lance, which he left in the body of the native. Oops. No weapon. He tried to get the lance from the body. He didn’t succeed much. He was AGAIN wounded by a bamboo spear. This time, in the arm. His left leg was also wounded. Still, the guy won’t die. His final act?

He looked back, and ensured that his men made it back to their boats. Then, he permitted himself to die.

Really? Is that how much he loved his men? Much more of badassery.

Diseases:As Strange As It Gets

April 20, 2010

In a world like ours, diseases are sometimes disregarded by people. Colds? Fever? Cough? Normal stuff. But this disease is just difficult to ignore. Why?

Dancing Plague

Do you guys enjoy dancing? How much? So much that you can’t stop? Then you may be a candidate for the Dancing Plague.

The first recorded occurence of this disease happened in July 1518 when a woman, Frau Troffea, began to dance fervently in a street in Strasbourg. It’s located in France. She danced for about 4-6 days. Within a week, 34 others had joined, and within a month, there were around 400 dancers. Seems like a very contagious disease.

You think dancing makes you feel so alive? Think again. After nonstop dancing, most of the dancers died of either heart attack, stroke, or exhaustion.

So… Why didn’t someone stop them? Don’t ask me. But hey, they tried. I guess.  The plague worsened as time went by. To stop this plague, some CONCERNED nobles sought the advice of local physicians. Seems like the most sane thing to do. Right? Right! This will put an end to this. Wait… No. Turns out, the physicians, using their utmost wit and skills, diagnosed the cause as astrological and supernatural instead announcing that the plague was a “natural disease” caused by “hot blood”. Hey, it’s 1518 for crying out loud.

The cure? Or should I say, their cure? They opened two guildhalls and a grain market, and even constructed a wooden stage. Why? The EXPERTS thought that if they danced continously, they would eventually get tired and recover back to normality. That’s not all! They even hired musicians to keep them going.

Probable causes?

Here are few probable causes of the disease:

1. Mass psychogenic illness-also known as Mass Hysteria. It is the sociopsychological phenomenon of the manifestation of the same or similar hysterical symptoms by more than one person. A very weird way to get a disease, if you ask me. Mass hysteria typically begins when an individual becomes ill or hysterical during a period of stress. After this initial individual shows symptoms, others begin to manifest similar symptoms, typically nausea, muscle weakness, fits or headache.

2. Ergotism-is the effect of long-term ergot poisoning, traditionally due to the ingestion of the alkaloids produced by the Claviceos purpurea fungus which infects rye and other cereals, and more recently by the action of a number of ergoline-based drugs.(???) Simply put, it results from consuming ergot-laced bread.

Dance? Anyone?

Cleverbot (Artificial Intelligence)

April 18, 2010

Why did I use that picture of Cleverbot? Nothing. I just don’t like twilight. (I probably lost some of you there, just because I don’t like Twilight. But hey, my blog.)

So, few months ago, I stumbled upon this site. www.cleverbot.com. It was a lot of fun talking to it. Well, in case you’re too lazy to click the link and to actually try the site, here’s what it does. Just type anything, then an AI answers you. Question. How does it do that? The site says that it learns from other users. To quote cleverbot, “Cleverbot learns from real people – things it says may seem inappropriate – use with discretion, and at YOUR OWN RISK.”

What’s this AI thing?

According to those smart guys at wikipedia, “Artificial intelligence (AI) is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it.” The hell with wiki. I didn’t catch a single word. Here’s a simpler one. John McCarthy  said that Artificial Intelligence “is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs.” So…Who started it?

According to some, it was the English mathematician Alan Turing who may have been the first. The research about Artificial Intelligence started after WWII. What’s the aim? To reach human-level intelligence. Researchers say that they aim much less than that. I’m not sure about that.

Branches of AI

To be consistent, I’m going to use a single source. These branches are according to John McCarthy. To quote him, “Here’s a list, but some branches are surely missing, because no-one has identified them yet. Some of these may be regarded as concepts or topics rather than full branches.”

1. logical AI

2. search

3. pattern recognition

4. representation

5. inference

6. common sense knowledge and reasoning

7. learning from experience

8. planning

9. epistemology

10. ontology

11. heuristics

12. genetic programming

Where can we use AI?

  • Computer Science-naturally. It’s part of computer science right? Probably the widest application of AI. And one of the most successful. AI is so successful in this field, that most of its applications in computer science is no longer considered as AI. Applications of AI such as Time Sharing, Graphical User Interfaces and the effin COMPUTER MOUSE have been adopted by mainstream computer science. They all started as simple AI experiments.
  • Finance-Banking uses bots with AI. They use them to organize operations, invest in stocks, and manage properties. Real test? There’s a stimulated financial trading competition last August 2001 between robots and humans. Guess what. The robots won.
  • Heavy Industry-What will happen to heavy industry if AI just disappeared? It will crash. It uses AI mainly in factories. Take for example, car factories. Today, tasks such as painting, welding, and assembly are assigned to robots, because they are more precise when doing repetitive stuff.

See the importance of AI?

Whatever happens to this AI after a few years, I just hope it will bring a better world for us. Imagine apocalypse because of robots?  COOL. wait.. UNCOOL.

Sources:

http://cleverbot.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Applications_of_artificial_intelligence

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_intelligence

http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/whatisai/

Princess: Addicted to Acoustic 2

April 14, 2010

  1. Bad Romance
  2. Where Are You Now
  3. 3
  4. Two Is Better Than One
  5. Fireflies
  6. Fallin’ For You
  7. You Belong With Me
  8. Touch My Hand
  9. Mad
  10. One Time
  11. Tik Tok
  12. Already Gone
  13. Mama Do
  14. New Divide
  15. Trouble Is A Friend
  16. Who Says
  17. Watcha Say
  18. You Still Have My Heart

HOW TO STATE SOME COMMON POINT OF ORDERS DURING PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE DEMONSTRATIONS(ACC. TO ANALITA MAGSINO)

April 9, 2010

To my dear FFPians, FAHPians and FFPCCians, point of orders in parliamentary procedure contests are very important. It adds or deducts a point to the demonstrating or observing team per point of order. I’m sure that every parliamentarian will agree with me that a point is very important.

During my time, not so long ago, an observer will be given 3 point of orders, so it is important that you use each point of order wisely. During my father’s time as a parliamentarian, some of the other teams use point of orders to annoy other teams, when it is necessary. I do not agree with that, because it may be a point taken from your team, especially if there is no breach of order.

Back to my time. An observer will be given 30 seconds to state his/her point of order clearly. Not clear? Stated in more than 30 seconds? The parliamentarian will not consider your point of order, even if you are right. So, it is important that you know how to state a point of order properly.

During my last year, our trainer gave us handouts on how to state point of orders. Honestly? I didn’t pay much attention to it. I thought my four years of experience was enough. Result? I almost forgot how to state my point of order. I forgot a word, and it almost cost a point. Luckily, I remembered what I was about to say. So, here it is, how to state a point of order according to our trainer, Analita Magsino.

1. Error: Not giving the floor to the person who first asked for it.

     How: Mr. Chairman, the Chair committed an error. The Chair did not give the floor to the person who first raised his hand. The book of Virginio C. Juan says that “the floor must be given to the first person who asks for it” in case where the mover of a debatable motion still has something to say about it.

     Shortened: Mr. Chairman, you committed an error by not giving the floor to the person who first raised his hand.

2. Error: Not giving the mover of a debatable motion the first priority to give remarks on the pending question.

     How: Mr. Chairman, the Chair committed an error. The Chair did not give the floor to the mover of the motion. According to Virginio C. Juan, the motion __________ is a debatable motion and so the first priority to give remarks on it must be given to the mover, if the speaker still raises his hand to say something about it.

     Shortened: Mr. Chairman, you committed an error by not giving the floor or the priority to speak to the mover of a debatable motion.

3. Error: Not saying Mr. Chairman or Ms. Chairlady before saying anything.

     How: Mr. Chairman, the previous speaker committed an error. He/She did not properly address the presiding officer before speaking. The book of Virginio C. Juan says that proper address must be accorded by the speaker to the Chair when given the floor to speak.

4. Error: Not asking for remarks after stating a debatable and amendable motion.

     How: Mr. Chairman, the Chair committed an error. He did not ask the body for remarks after stating the motion __________ which is a debatable and amendable motion.

     Shortened: Mr. Chairman, you committed an error by not asking  for remarks after accepting a debatable motion.

5. Error: Asking for remarks after stating an undebatable and unamendable motion.

     How: Mr. Chairman, the Chair committed an error. He asked the body for remarks after stating the motion __________ which is an undebatable and unamendable motion. Such motion should have been voted immediately.

     Shortened: Mr. Chairman, you committed an error. You asked the body for remarks on an undebatable (and unamendable) motion.

6. Error: Not stating the exact words of the mover of the motion.

     How: Mr. chairman, the chair committed an error. He did not repeat the exact words of the speaker. He added/deleted the words __________ to/from the statement of the previous speaker.

     Shortened: Mr. Chairman, you committed an error by not repeating the exact words of the previous speaker.

7. Error: Accepting a motion which was not properly seconded.

     How: Mr. Chairman, the Chair committed an error. He accepted the motion of the previous speaker when it was not properly seconded. The book of Virginio C. Juan says that the motion __________ needs a second.

8. Error: Not declaring the true results of election.

     How: Mr. Chairman, the Chair committed an error because based on the votes, there were _____ in favor and _____ against but you said there were _____ in favor and _____ against. The Chair must always declare the true results of the division of the house.

     Shortened: Mr. Chairman, you committed an error by not declaring the true results of the division of the house.

9. Error: Not stating clearly which motion is put into a vote OR Stating a motion different from the motion to be voted upon or previously put into vote.

     How: Mr. Chairman, the Chair committed an error. He did not state clearly which motion is to be voted upon/was voted upon. It was the motion __________ which was pending and not the motion __________.

10. Error: Member voted twice.

     How: Mr. Chairman, the Assembly committed an error because one of the members voted twice. The book of Virginio C. Juan says that unless declared by the Chair, the rule is always one member-one vote.

11. Error: Not stating the effect of the result of the voting process of the assembly.

     How: Mr. Chairman, the Chair Committed an error. After declaring the results of the votation, the Chair did not declare the effect of the approved/lost motion (as the case may be) on the assembly.

12. Error: Not following the orders of the day.

     How: Mr. Chairman, the Assembly the assembly committed an error because the correct order of the day ws not followed after a member has called for it. The order of the day also includes the committee reports in addition to Secretary’s minutes and Treasurer’s report. The unfinished business must also be taken must also be taken before the new business.