The Phoenix

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Big-Ass Rats

Florida and Hawaii lead the nation when it comes to having to deal with invasive species totally messing up the balance of their ecosystems. Non-native plants and animals can often devestate an environment, and government scientists are constantly waging battles against these dangerious invaders.

The Florida Keys are knee-deep in such a battle right now.

Federal and state officials are trying to completely irradicate Gambian pouched rats from the state. These are not ordinary rats. These damn things grow to the size of full-grown cats! Can you imagine a 9 pound rat running around your yard???

Holy crap!

These African rats are more than a pest - they could potentially be dangerous. They are responsible for destroying all kinds of crops in their native Africa. And they are mean sonsofbitches - they will bite. And because some moron was keeping them and decided to let them loose 8 years ago, government workers are setting toxic traps in an effort to completely destroy them.

"They're a big rodent. They're not particularly attractive. I don't understand why anyone would want them as a pet," Gary Witmer, a member of the US Department of Agricultrue said. "They're very messy animals."

There are a ton examples of other invasive species causing havoc to the native ecosystems:

When the Asian long-horned beetle infested Brooklyn, New York, more than 2000 trees had to be destroyed, costing the federal and state government more than $5 million. Chicago has had to deal with these critters as well.

Invading sea lampreys caused the collapse of lake trout and other Great Lakes fisheries, costing the U.S. and Canada $13 million annually to control. This eel-like parasite of a fish can kill up to 40 pounds of other fish during it's 12-20 month lifetime.

In Guam, the brown tree snake was accidentally introduced to its ecosystem. This Australian native has caused over 200 snake bites, 1200 electrical outages and the extinction of most native forest birds on Guam.

On the TV show The View, the invasion of the Rosie absolutely devestated the already established balance on the set. The Rosie created her own magazine, and then quit - with a $100 million lawsuit on her heels. She then produced a show with Boy George! The musical lost $10 million (duh!!!). And she has engaged in battles with The Letterman, The O'Reilly, The Trump, and finally, The Hasselbeck. Fortunately, she's left the show - but I'm sure this crazy lesbian will find a new home to destroy.

Hat Tip goes to Siren for this story. Have a story idea for a blog post or podcast episode? E-mail me at or leave a voicemail at 206-339-7125.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Fast Food Phoenix

This is why I don't work in fast food.

Here's a little something I produced as a "commercial" for the podcast. I'll probably add this to my next episode. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy it and get a laugh out of it.

By the way, for those that either currently or have served others at restaurants and other eating establishments - thank you for putting up with a lot of crap.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Double the Discount, Double the Savings?


What is it about shopping that makes Americans so stupid? I've made so many impulsive buys, did the financing thing that sounded so sweet at the time, and purchased crap I didn't need.

It seems the retail world relies on our lack of common sense and basic math when we're in their stores.

Take "double discounts" for example. You go to the store for a great pair of shoes you really need. It's $50.00 with an immediate 25% discount, and then an additional 25% at the register. Sounds like a steal. Are you better off with that double discount or getting just a one-time discount of 45%?

Sitting there with your calculator, you might make the right decision. But put yourself at the store surrounded by bright signs and dwindling stock; it seems the 25% off the bat and the 25% at the register is the better deal. That's 50%, right?


With the double discount, the first 25% makes the price of your shoes $37.50. But the second discount at the register of 25% is taken off of that reduced price of $37.50, making the final price $28.13.

The one-time discount of 45% makes the final price $27.50.

A recent study titled "When Two and Two Does Not Equal Four," to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research, shows the retail business is counting on us not doing our math correctly. "When consumers have to deal with more than one percentage at a time, they make errors that can be costly," said Akshay Rao, professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management.

Most people see the example above and believe the double discount of 25% each comes out to 50% total off the price. That would make the price $25. But that incorrect perception is costly.

Not all double discounts are worse than the one time sale. 15% off those shoes on the floor and the additional 15% off at the register is actually better than a one-time discount of 25%. Whip out your calculator or get out the scratch paper and do the math yourself. However, that assumption that you're getting 30% total with the double discount is a major mistake.
Consumers are thinking they're getting better deals than they actually are - which means they spend more. But this "fuzzy math" is not just attributed to confused people at Wal-Mart. Lawmakers often miscalculate when dealing with multiple percentages. So stuff like budgets and setting standards are often screwed up.

What's the bottom line?

We be dum.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Phoenix Podcast - Feedback From An Asshole

I'd like to thank everyone for their feedback conerning the return of my podcast. It had been a long time since I tried putting one together, and I wasn't satisfied with the final product. But I sought a learning experience in doing Episode 5, and I needed the practice in both recording and editing a podcast.

I've gotten mostly positive responses, and even those that gave me suggestions or criticisms really help. I appreciate it. I know I need to improve the podcast in several areas, and I believe the more I do the show, the better it will get.

However, whenever you put yourself out there in the public - especially put a telephone hotline number up - you're going to get those people that have no intention of giving you any real constructive criticisms or critiques.

I'd like to have you listen to a call my hotline received yesterday. It's quite interesting:

As you can tell, this caller had no intention of really saying anything helpful, funny, or even interesting. This jackass just wanted to be a complete asshole and somehow make himself feel better by trying to tread on somebody else.

If you listen to his voice carefully, it's quite reminiscent of a fusion of Rocky Balboa and Spicoli (Fast Times at Ridgemont High).

In all seriousness, I don't care if you think I suck at podcasting. But PLEASE, if you're going to take the time to actually dial a long-distance phone number, tell me how or why I suck. Maybe my jokes are lame. Maybe you think my voice is boring or monotone. Maybe you are offended by the farting sounds during my "bat poop" segment.

So, what do you all really think? Should I really just quit podcasting because I'm stupid? What can I do to improve? Or maybe you love the show and think I'm onto something with it? Maybe you agree with the caller from Michigan. (Yup, that's right. I have his phone number too. Amazing what you can do with technology these days). Perhaps you're from St. Louis and you don't like what he said about us.

It could be that the jackass is right and I should just spare everyone and hang it up.

E-mail me at You can hit my direct e-mail link over on my sidebar (the picture of Doc from Back to the Future). Or better yet, call my hotline number at 206-339-7125. Tell me what you think. You can be anonymous. You can also be brutually honest. Whatever you want - I don't care.

Just don't be an asshole. Or if you are going to be an asshole, don't be one that sucks atomic donkey balls. And if you're going to be an asshole that sucks atomic donkey balls, just don't be one that thinks of your mother while doing it.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Fun Facts 7: Food, Glorious Food!

Beer Bath? Some people in Malaysia wash their babies in beer to protect them from diseases. (Here in Missouri, adult rednecks bathe in beer also - but it's to help enhance the "NASCAR experience").

Raisin In the Sun.
It takes anywhere between four and five pounds of grapes to make one pound of raisins. (You eat one pound of raisins, you will break the world record for the 40 yard dash to the toilet).

Like Butta.
There is NO butter in buttermilk. (There are no grapes or nuts in Grapenuts either. WTF?).

Yuck! In France, they consume about 500,000,000 snails a year. (That explains a lot. How dangerous can it be to hunt snails?).

And Finally...

Marketing Gone Awry. In Africa, it's customary to put a picture of the food on its label. When Gerber Baby Food began to market in Africa, the baby food wasn't very popular, since Africans believed the contents of that little jar was filled with...

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Phoenix Podcast - Episode 5:

Where else are you going to hear about bat poop and a possible alien-human hybrid skull all in one place?

Click here to get your own player.

Click play in the podcast player above to begin playing The Phoenix Podcast - Episode 5.
The cool player also contains my other podcast episodes. You can also go to my podcast homepage HERE.

For you iTunes people, please delete the old RSS feed and use this one:

Show notes:

Science News: I talk about liquid viagra, bat poop, robotic snot, and killer iPods.

Paranormal Corner: I discuss the mysterious Starchild skeleton, discovered in 1999. Is this discovery really a 900 year-old alien/human hybrid artifact? Despite carbon dating, DNA testing, and composition analyses - it's still anybody's guess.

You can learn more about the Starchild Project HERE.

Music, by Podsafe Music:

Phoenix by Nijole Sparkis
Dead Nintendo by Possible Oscar
The Future Soon by Jonathan Coulton

Questions, comments, show ideas, disgusting and offensive crank calls: Call 206-339-7125

My Podcast Alley feed! {pca-f219f935c18c04d9376a8a65dbe47662}

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Phoenix Podcast Rises From The Ashes

Science Is Stranger Than Fiction...

It's been a long time since my last podcast. OK, it's been a YEAR! Please don't hold it against me. The Phoenix Podcast Episode 5 will be out shortly, I promise. There are some exciting things happening right now surrounding my show and this blog, and I hope to make some big changes and announcements in the coming weeks.

First, I'd like to get some show ideas. That's where you come in.

Feel free to call my hotline at 206-339-7125 with any comments, ideas, or if you just want to say "hi" or plug your own blog. Tell me what want my podcast to cover. You want more paranormal stuff? Health/well-being stories? Strange experiments and inventions? More stories about headless animals???

Your input would be greatly appreciated. So give the hotline a buzz and leave a message or "shout out." And no, you don't have to be sober to call.

Stand by...The Phoenix Podcast is coming back.

Previous episodes are available HERE.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Friday Fun Facts 6: Fuzzy Math

Here are a few interesting statistics for your Friday enjoyment...

You Snooze, You Win! You burn more calories sleeping than watching TV. (And if you sleepwalk, you'll burn more calories than jogging).

Rats Have More Fun? Male and female rats have sex twenty times a day. (Ever see a sad rat? Me neither).

Flying is Safer. Annually, donkeys kill more humans that plane crashes. (Death by donkey can't be fun. I'd rather go down in flames).

Ewwww. 25% of the total weight of your old pillow is dust and dust mites. (OK, that's just plain nasty).

Established 2005...

Welcome to the blog that aims to examine the lighter side of science. From the paranormal to wacky inventions, to strange mysteries and goofy experiments, I cover it all. Thanks for stoping by science is always stranger than fiction


To Enlighten & Entertain!

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