Blog Posts by Eric Pfeiffer

  • Jean Dujardin’s villain auditions (Video)

    Our friends (and content partners!) over at Funny or Die have posted this hilarious video of "The Artist" star Jean Dujardin attempting to capitalize on his newfound American celebrity.

    Despite his matinee idol looks, Dujardin is a well-known comedic actor in France and his humorous chops are certainly not lost in translation here. The parody plays on the now common practice of having European stars play villains in American action movies.

    So what roles do they have Dujardin auditioning for? The process starts off believably enough with an "audition" for the role of a new Bond villain before going completely off the rails into nonexistent sequels like Bridesmaids and Larry Crowne.

    Other popular Yahoo! News stories:

    "Silent" tarsier primate actually has ultrasonic scream

    Alleged Woolly mammoth (or maybe just a bear) spotted in Siberia (Video)

    Mother sues city for $900 trillion after children placed in foster home

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  • “Silent” tarsier primate actually has ultrasonic scream

    (AP/Aaron Favila)

    The tarsier, a small primate best known for its bulging eyes and quiet demeanor, has a secret: It's actually incredibly loud, particularly if you're a dolphin.

    Until recently, this fact was a mystery to humans because the tarsier has an ultrasonic scream, inaudible to human ears.

    "It turns out that it's not silent. It's actually screaming and we had no idea," Humboldt State University evolutionary biologist Marissa Ramsier tells Live Science.

    But why would a primate capable of making audible sounds at a lower frequency employ high-frequency cries? The most plausible explanation is that the pint-sized primates, about the size of an adult human's clenched fist, are most likely using the "silent" screams to coordinate with other tarsiers to avoid predators and find food.

    The tarsiers now find themselves in an exclusive club in the animal kingdom. Bats, dolphins and whales are the best-known practitioners of ultrasonic communication, but some cats also use the high-frequency method to communicate with their baby kittens. Some rodents can also make use of ultrasonic frequencies.

    Some companies even sell ultrasonic emitters to "startle" cats away from unwelcome areas.

    Even before this discovery, tarsiers were a fascinating species. For starters, they are only found on islands in the Philippines. And although they are primarily active at night, they lack the exceptional night vision of other animals, including their feline ultrasonic counterparts. Instead, tarsiers rely on their oversized eyes to capture enough incoming sensory data to survive in the darkness.

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  • Alleged Woolly mammoth (or maybe just a bear) spotted in Siberia (Video)

    The British tabloids are having fun today with two videos reportedly showing mythical creatures at play in otherwise ordinary settings.

    In the first video, a large creature is seen crossing a river in the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug region of Siberia. The Sun reports that a Russian government worker shot the video and claims it shows a Woolly mammoth, a creature whose heyday passed more than 10,000 years ago. And while this is almost certainly not an actual mammoth, there is some historical evidence to tantalize cryptozoologists. It turns out that some mammoths actually did survive beyond the extinction of their brethren, living on Wrangel Island off the coast of Siberia until about 3,500 years ago.

    But if you watch the video closely, you will see that what is supposed to be the creature's trunk, or possibly its tusks, appears to be quite flaccid. Some viewers speculate that the furry creature in the video is nothing more than a bear carrying a large fish in its mouth. Others have

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  • A money pile (AP/John Amis)

    A Staten Island mom is making national headlines today after suing the city of West Brighton for $900 trillion, alleging the city improperly placed her two children in foster care.

    The $900 trillion figure, first reported by the New York Post, certainly is staggering and the standard response so far has been to treat the lawsuit as something of a joke, focusing on the mother's alleged mental illness.

    But I have to agree with the Inquisitr's Kim LaCapria, who says plaintiff Fausat Ogunbayo is actually quite clever in choosing to sue for $900 trillion. After all, how many people would be reading about this story and discussing Ogunbayo's plight had she quietly filed her petition without seeking monetary compensation?

    Of course there's no way she'll get a settlement remotely approaching that number, if she is awarded anything at all. After all, the entire U.S. has an annual gross national income of just over $14 trillion. Or, put another way, if Ogunbayo was awarded $900 trillion she'd have enough disposable income to pay off the U.S. national debt several dozen times over.

    Ogunbayo sued the city and the Administration for Children's Services (ACS), alleging that both entities violated her and her children's civil liberties by placing them in foster care in June, 2008. In her lawsuit, obtained by The Smoking Gun, Ogunbayo listed her grievances as follows:

    "For causing plaintiff substantial economic hardship; for causing plaintiff substantial economic injuries; for depriving plaintiff and plaintiff children's Civil Right, 42 U.S.C. section 1983; for depriving plaintiff and plaintiff's children, the right to family integrity; for depriving plaintiff and plaintiff's children, the right to life, liberty, property and the right guaranteed by statute; for disregarding the probability of plaintiff's children, suffering emotional and mental distress."

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  • Test driver has close call with deer (Video)

    In this exclusive video to Yahoo News, professional formula driver Ken Gushi has an extremely close call with a wild deer who runs across the road directly into Gushi's path.

    Gushi was test driving the forthcoming Toyota Scion FR-S in northern California's Mt. Diablo State Park when the near-mishap took place. Director Simon Needham captures the whole thing in HD, including Gushi's reaction.

    "On my very first run of the day today we were up in the canyons driving and I come across this left hand turn over a crest and down onto a straight," Gushi says in the video. "I'm trying to mind my own business driving and trying to navigate these unknown roads when all of a sudden I see this black figure just prancing toward the road.  At that moment, I just knew, 'Oh, s--- something's wrong.'"

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  • Writer discovers macabre way some herald the new year

    Photo by Gideon BrowerPhoto by Gideon Brower

    Photo by Gideon Brower

    For the past 25 years, millions of commuters have driven past an unusual billboard in Los Angeles that keeps an ongoing count of of people who have died from smoking-related illnesses each year.

    The billboard itself reads, "Smoking Deaths This Year," followed by the always upward-ticking count and the ominous words, "And Counting."

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  • University offering morning after pill in health center vending machine

    (Image from University is coming under fire today after local television affiliate WTAE reported that the university has begun selling the Plan B emergency contraception pill inside one of its student vending machines.

    "This is a legal medication," university spokesman Peter Gigliotti told Yahoo News. "You can go into any pharmacy and purchase it legally if you are 17 or older."

    Gigliotti also was quick to counter a falsely reported element of the story, noting that the pill will only be offered in one vending machine inside the university's health center.

    "It's only available to full-time students who must show multiple forms of identification," Gigliotti said. "It's not just available to anyone walking in off the street."

    Even though the FDA has in fact approved the pill for over-the-counter use to anyone 17-years-old and up,  the decision has nonetheless created a backlash among those who oppose abortion rights. While the Plan B pill is described as emergency contraception, many

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  • Cat interrupts live soccer match (Video)

    In this video, an either brazen or oblivious cat walks out onto the field of a live Liverpool-Tottenham English Premier League soccer match.

    The crowd cheers in delight and even the coaches can't help laughing as the cat scurries across the field, stopping about 20 seconds into the video to take a brief rest next to Tottenham goalie Brad Friedel.

    Live soccer matches are no stranger to overly enthusiastic fans taking to the field. Though as the announcer notes, "I don't think that cat is going to handcuff himself to the goalpost, as we saw recently."

    After about half a minute on the field, the cat then trots off "of its own volition" before being gently scooped up over the field barrier by part of the stadium's security team.

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  • Bacon Shake latest innovation in the fried food renaissance

    jackinthebox.comIt's a golden age for lovers of strange fried food concoctions. Fast food chain Jack in the Box is the latest to this party with its new desert option, the Bacon Shake, the Eater reports.

    Contrary to what bacon lovers might be hoping, the shake isn't actually made with real bacon, SFist found. Jack in the Box describes the Bacon Shake as combining "real vanilla ice cream, bacon flavored syrup, whipped topping and a maraschino cherry." Specifically, one astute consumer at the blog GrubGrade says the flavoring is Torani bacon flavored syrup, which you can order yourself if you want to make Bacon Shakes at home.

    As it turns out, restaurant chain Denny's was ahead of the curve on the bacon-and-ice cream fad. And they even included real bacon in their Maple Bacon Sundae.

    Find a shake insufficient? Thankfully, there's a bacon tree for that. Though be warned, its 27,149 grams of fat and 140,723 calories may make your calculator go into cardiac arrest:

    To their credit, Jack in the Box didn't rest on their laurels with the Bacon Shake. They've launched an ad campaign, "Marry Bacon" that is exactly what it sounds like. There's not much there other than some moderately amusing videos, but the golden nugget is this Bacon tuxedo, which you can buy for under $20. If that's too steep, you can go with the "I Love You More Than Bacon" Valentine's Day card or the primal allure of Bacon cologne.

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  • Congressman thought parody article on Planned Parenthood was real

    Rep. John Fleming (R-LA)Republican House Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana has made himself the target of online ridicule after confusing a spoof article about Planned Parenthood as a factual news report, according to Politico.

    An article posted to the Onion's website on May 18, 2011 is headlined, "Planned Parenthood Opens $8 Billion Abortionplex." Of course, as millions of readers already know, the Onion is a satirical news organization, which makes up fake parody stories about real people, places and things.

    The fictitious article opens with the obviously made-up lead sentence: "Planned Parenthood announced Tuesday the grand opening of its long-planned $8 billion Abortionplex, a sprawling abortion facility that will allow the organization to terminate unborn lives with an efficiency never before thought possible."

    However, the Onion's mission statement apparently was not explained to Rep. Fleming, who took to his Facebook account, writing: "More on Planned Parenthood. Abortion by the wholesale."

    The post has since been removed from Fleming's Facebook page, but it can still be seen the website Literally Unbelievable, which captures posts from Facebook users who mistakenly think Onion articles are real.

    Four Facebook users gave Fleming's post a "like," but eight other users chimed in to correct Fleming before the post was removed. One of the more biting missives came from a user who wrote, "The Onion is satire. How exactly did you get elected?"

    Fleming, a two-term congressman first elected to national office in 2008, won his first race for by office by just four tenths of one percentage point. However, he won his 2010 re-election effort with 62.3 percent of the vote.

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