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Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is a trivia game based on the concept of the small world phenomenon and rests on the assumption that any individual can be linked through his or her film roles to actor Kevin Bacon within six steps. The name of the game is a paraphrase of the "six degrees of separation" concept. In 2007, Bacon started a charitable organization named SixDegrees.org. The game requires a group of players to try to connect any individual to Kevin Bacon as quickly as possible and in as few links as possible. The fantasy author-editor Richard Gilliam devised his Movie Links online game in 1990, and it was played extensively on GEnie for years before the quite similar Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game was promoted in 1994. Gilliam's game was much more difficult in that a player was required to find the shortest number of movies linking actors as diverse as, say, Gloria Swanson and Chris Farley, rather than continual links to the same specific actor. The Bacon number of an actor or actress is the number of degrees of separation he or she has from Bacon, as defined by the game. This is an application of the Erdos number concept to the movie industry. The higher the Bacon number, the farther away from Kevin Bacon the actor is. The computation of a Bacon number for actor X is a "shortest path" algorithm: Kevin Bacon himself has a Bacon number of 0, The Bacon number of actors who have worked directly with Kevin Bacon is 1, If the lowest Bacon number of any actor with whom X has appeared in a movie is N, X's Bacon number is N + 1. Here is an example, using Elvis Presley: Edward Asner was in JFK (1991) with Kevin Bacon, Elvis Presley was in Change of Habit (1969) with Edward Asner, Therefore Asner has a Bacon number of 1, and Presley (who never appeared in a film with Bacon himself) has a Bacon number of 2. As of December 2007, the highest finite Bacon number reported by the Oracle of Bacon is 8. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





A lava lamp is a novelty item used for decoration rather than illumination; the slow, interesting rise and fall of variously-shaped blobs of wax is suggestive of lava, hence the name. The lamps are available with a variety of styles and colors of wax and liquid. The lamp contains either an incandescent bulb or halogen lamp which heats a tall (often tapered) glass bottle containing water (often with glycerol derived additive) and a transparent, translucent or opaque mix of wax and carbon tetrachloride (although other combinations may be used). The wax is slightly denser than water at room temperature but is less dense under warmer conditions. This occurs because wax expands more than water when both are heated. When heated, wax becomes fluid, its specific gravity decreases, and blobs of wax ascend to the top of the device[4] where they cool and then descend. A metallic wire coil in the base of the bottle acts as a surface tension breaker to recombine the cooled blobs of wax after they descend. The bulb is normally about 25 to 40 Watts. It may take 30 to 60 minutes for the wax to warm up enough to freely form rising blobs (depending on the original temperature). Once the wax is molten the lamp should not be shaken or knocked over or the two fluids may emulsify and the wax/blobs will remain cloudy rather than clear. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



Lawrence Richard Walters, nicknamed "Lawnchair Larry" or the "Lawn Chair Pilot", was an American truckdriver who took flight on July 2, 1982 in a homemade aircraft. Dubbed Inspiration I, the "flying machine" consisted of an ordinary patio chair with 45 helium-filled weather balloons attached to it. Walters rose to an altitude of 16,000 feet and floated from his point of origin in San Pedro, California into controlled airspace near Long Beach Airport. His flight was widely reported in many newspapers. Walters had always dreamed of flying, but was unable to become a pilot in the United States Air Force because of his poor eyesight. Walters had first thought of using weather balloons to fly at age 13, after seeing them hanging from the ceiling of a military surplus store. Twenty years later he decided to do so. His intention was to attach a few helium-filled weather balloons to his lawnchair, cut the anchor, and then float above his backyard at a height of about 30 feet for several hours. He planned to use a pellet gun to burst balloons to float gently to the ground. Walters attached the balloons to his lawn chair, filled them with helium, put on a parachute, and strapped himself into the chair. He took his pellet gun, a CB radio, sandwiches, cold beer, and a camera. When his friends cut the cord that tied his lawn chair to his Jeep, Walters' lawn chair rose rapidly to a height of about 15,000 feet. He did not dare shoot any balloons, fearing that he might unbalance the load and cause himself to spill out. He slowly drifted over Long Beach and crossed the primary approach corridor of Long Beach Airport. After 45 minutes in the sky, he shot several balloons, and then accidentally dropped his pellet gun overboard. He descended slowly, until the balloons' dangling cables got caught in a power line, causing a 20-minute blackout in a Long Beach neighborhood. Walters was able to climb to the ground. He was immediately arrested by waiting members of the Long Beach Police Department. Regional safety inspector Neal Savoy was reported to have said, "We know he broke some part of the Federal Aviation Act, and as soon as we decide which part it is, some type of charge will be filed. If he had a pilot's license, we'd suspend that. But he doesn't." Walters initially was fined $4,000 for violations under U.S. Federal Aviation Regulations, including operating an aircraft within an airport traffic area "without establishing and maintaining two-way communications with the control tower." Walters appealed, and the fine was reduced to $1,500. A charge of operating a "civil aircraft for which there is not currently in effect an airworthiness certificate" was dropped, as it was not applicable to his class of aircraft. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





The blue-ringed octopuses are three (or perhaps four) octopus species that live in tide pools in the Pacific Ocean, from Japan to Australia. Despite their small size and relatively docile nature, they are currently recognized as one of the world's most venomous animals. It can be recognized by its characteristic blue and black rings and yellowish skin. Their diet typically consists of small crab and shrimp, but they may also feed on fish if they can catch them. They pounce on their prey, paralyze them with venom and use their beaks to tear off pieces. They then suck out the flesh from the crustacean's exoskeleton. The blue-ringed octopus is 5 to 8 inches, but its venom is powerful enough to kill humans. There is no blue-ringed octopus antivenom available. The octopus produces venom that contains tetrodotoxin, 5-hydroxytryptamine, hyaluronidase, tyramine, histamine, tryptamine, octopamine, taurine, acetylcholine, and dopamine. The major neurotoxin component of blue-ringed octopus venom was originally known as maculotoxin but was later found to be identical to tetrodotoxin, a neurotoxin which is also found in pufferfish and cone snails. Tetrodotoxin blocks sodium channels, causing motor paralysis and respiratory arrest within minutes of exposure, leading to cardiac arrest due to a lack of oxygen. The toxin is created by bacteria in the salivary glands of the octopus. First aid treatment is pressure on the wound and rescue breathing (EAR) once the paralysis has disabled the victim's respiratory muscles, which often occurs within minutes of being bitten. Tetrodotoxin causes severe and often total body paralysis; the victim remains conscious and alert in a manner similar to curare or pancuronium bromide. This effect, however, is temporary and will fade over a period of hours as the tetrodotoxin is metabolized and excreted by the body. It is thus essential that rescue breathing be continued without pause until the paralysis subsides and the victim regains the ability to breathe on their own. This is a daunting physical prospect for a single individual, but use of an bag valve mask respirator reduces fatigue to sustainable levels until help can arrive. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



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