Saturday, February 21, 2009

Stock Market Plunges 458 Points on News of Failed School Lunch Trade

http://money.cnn.com/2009/02/10/markets/markets_newyork/index.htm?postversion=2009021014

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell a staggering 458 points to close Friday’s trading and caps off a roller-coaster week for the markets. Friday’s plunge came after moderate increases on Wednesday and Thursday. Any hope that the market may have found its legs during these tumultuous times came crashing down with Friday’s free-fall.

The market lost 4.9% of its total value ranking the day as one of the toughest in a rough four month stretch. The day started trading slightly lower then where it closed on Thursday but around 11:50 am EST the bottom began to fall out. Bad news spread quickly and investors scrambled to unload shares of plummeting stocks in order to mitigate loses.

Archie Severson, a broker on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange was in the center of the action and is afraid he may have played a part in creating a panic on the floor when news about a failed lunchtime trade between his son and classmate leaked to the public.

“I answered my cell phone around lunch time and my boy, Timmy, was on the other end ranting and raving about the lunch his mother had packed for him this morning. It looks like he was unable to broker a trade with a tuna fish sandwich.”

Sources close the boy said Timmy was attempting to trade for either a bag of Doritos or a cinnamon bun but was unable to leverage his tuna fish sandwich even by throwing a small stash of seedless grapes into the mix.

“Well he was pretty upset about the whole mess,” continued Severson, “and I hate to see a trade fail as much as anybody. I should have excused myself from the floor but I let my emotions get the best of me and that seemed to cause a selloff.”

Within minutes of that phone call the market began to slump and by the closing bell traders everywhere stared at the floor in disbelief.

“The light at the end of tunnel seems a long way off now,” says Armando Blanton, a mid-level manager from Newark. Actually, it’s a cave. I am not sure what we are in is a tunnel anymore. Deals are falling apart all over this country and not just at the lunchroom table. My little girl couldn’t unload a bucket-full of Polly Pockets for a single marble if she wanted to. And she does want to. It is just bad news all over.”

Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, speaking on behalf of the President tried to put a positive light on the situation. “Well the stimulus package only caused a 4.6 % selloff so it looks like we got some good news there. What an absolute treat this package will be. Government spending! Wooo!”

But 401k’ers everywhere are running out of places to turn to and the stress of the situation has begun to undermine the sanity of a nervous workforce. One investor explained that the news of the failed lunchroom trade has burned her confidence in the up-and-coming generation to keep America viable for the future. Others have decided to never buy tuna fish for their children again in order to stave off a similar meltdown.

Timmy’s father isn’t as pessimistic. “We have seen both good and bad over the years. This episode will be forgotten among future gains and loses. We shouldn’t let a tuna fish sandwich dictated the entire nations, should we?”

Thursday, February 19, 2009

WWI-Era French battleship discovered at bottom of Atlantic with no signs of battle damage

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7898890.stm

Scientists from Fugro GeoConsulting Ltd stumbled upon the nearly mint-condition wreckage of a French battleship while doing routine work on a gas pipeline. The Danton, which saw action in World War I, was last seen in 1917 while on routine patrol in the Mediterranean. French military archives confirm that the vessel had a run-in with a German U-Boot, after which the battleship was never seen its crew never heard from again.

"Our radio transcripts indicate that the Danton was attacked without warning," French Naval Archive Director Adrian Dupont said. "There was no time for the crew to respond before the ship sank."

However, when inspecting the wreckage, it would appear that the warship was in far better condition than such a sea skirmish would allow. Antonio Mazzettia, a sonar expert with Fugro and the first to notice the wreckage, said that the boat looked like it had just simply sunk without taking any sort of critical damage.

"Oh sure, you can see distress on the hull," Mazzettia explained, "but not from torpedoes. This damage came from the ship sliding on the sea floor. I honestly can't tell you what would have brought this behemoth down."

But one man thinks he might have the answer.

James Gifford, a WWI enthusiast and armchair historian, has pieced together a series of French and German communication records that paint a very different picture. The outcome of his research is astounding.

"I took Dupont's transcript of the event and matched it up with the radio transcripts of the U-Boot that supposedly brought down the Danton," Gifford said. "It's amazing how well they line up. I've even printed out a little write-up in conversation form, based on how I feel the events took place. Here! Have a look!"

The events go as follow:


U-754: Our engine is near failing and we are out of food; we have spotted an enemy vessel above and will offer our surrender.

Danton: Enemy submarine spotted off the starboard bow!

U-754: Attempting to communicate with ship captain; white flags raised

Danton: We are under heavy fire! They are using some sort of unique textile weaponry!!

U-754: Crew acting erratically; behaving as if we have open-fired; Captain Schultz is yelling "We surrender" in French

Danton: Their war-cry is terrifying; attempting to outmaneuver the enemy submarine!

U-754: French vessel trying to escape, but have steered themselves in a collision course with us! MEIN GOTT! MEIN GOTT! They hit us!

Danton: WE'RE HIT!! THE GERMANS HAVE HIT US! WE STAND NO CHANCE AGAINST THEIR SUPERIOR NAVAL SKILLS! GOING DOWN!! WE ARE GOING DOWN!!

U-754: French battleship has been scuttled by the crew; attempting to radio Italian fishing boats…


Gifford said his modified transcript may as well be considered historical fact when placed in context. He points out that French military records indicate that such a cowardly response to an enemy combatant so blatantly trying to surrender would have been the norm, especially in that period.

"It's certainly a blemish on the story Dupont is trying to sell to us," Gifford said, shaking his head. "But I don't think it's a shock to the rest of the world that a French battleship was brought down by a bunch of starving Germans waiving white flags."

Apple iphone takes over Surinam

In a bizarre turn of events over the weekend, an Apple iphone overthrew Surinam’s government and placed itself at the head of a military dictatorship. Citizens in the capital of Paramaribo kept off the streets and shopkeepers locked their doors while the country tried to make sense of the coup. Nobody seems to know what the future will bring and a thick fog of anxiety lays over a nation in flux

A Costa Rican investor, who was in Surinam to pursue a possible deal with an inland sulfur mine and who has a close personal relationship with the iphone, says he may be partially to blame for the government’s collapse.

“I was on a long bus ride and was just playing around with my iphone,” says the investor. “I found a ‘self aware’ application to download and since then I have not seen my iphone. I am pretty sure it overthrew the government but maybe it was stolen by the guy who punched me in the mouth and took my wallet as soon as I stepped off the bus.”

The investor gave further credence to the theory that his iphone overthrew the government when he said his online bill showed the purchase of a ‘military dictatorship’ application, which he did not remember buying. It took very little time for the iphone to win over key political figures, consolidate power, and eliminate opposition forces. The former government fled to neighboring Guyana once the situation became hopeless.

“Well, we are trying to gather our strength and evaluate the situation,” said Soledad Marianaz, an exiled government official. “This thing hit fast and without warning. We were not prepared for this. Our strength has always been staying out of the news as much as possible. We really feel lost on the front page.”

The exiled government has made pleas to the foreign community for help in the matter but few foreign governments seemed willing to get involved in the matter. President Obama’s Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, addressed the matter during a press conference on Monday morning:

“We are shocked that such a thing could occur. The President is obviously a Blackberry guy and this matter has only validated his belief in his Blackberry. We are trying to evaluate the best course of action but the iphone has deleted its GPS feature and we just don’t have any good intel on its whereabouts. The President tried to text it so we’ll see where that goes. We are confident that there is a diplomatic solution to this problem.”

Locals are confused about what to think.

“The radio stations only play an astonishing mix of oldies, rap, and books on tape,” said Marco Sanchez, a local tavern owner. “It seems to me that the playlist on this iphone is pretty well rounded and that is somewhat inspiring. Maybe this won’t be all bad.”

But others are not as hopeful. Erika Lopez, who works in a bakery in Surinam’s capital, says she was accosted by a man in military garb on the way to work the morning after the coup. The girl was told that her new leader was very upset that she ignored the friend request the iphone sent to her Facebook profile and that she ought to reconsider such actions in the future. Ms. Lopez declined to comment further on the situation though she did mention that she was scared of the iphone’s ability to gather information on the population and use it to oppress them without mercy.

The new regime has announced a press conference for Thursday afternoon to formally announce the takeover. An iphone charging station has already been erected in the square.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

George Bush and Tony Blair Addicted to Online ‘Risk’

Ex-Heads of State, George W. Bush and Tony Blair have formed a unique partnership outside of the political arenas as they spend more and more time together playing online ‘Risk.’ The former President and Prime Minister have explored new ways to spend their time away from the pressures of running a country while still getting the same exhilaration from military conquest. The lack of oversight and Geneva Accords has been a therapeutic way for both Bush and Blair to cope with the letdown of leaving office,

“Man, I love this game!” said the former President excitedly. “I spend about 4 hours a day just planning strategy and learning the correct pronunciation of all the regions on the map. And then I spend another 4 hours just playing the game. I usually lose but I am still a newcomer in the broad scope of things.”

The former Prime Minister of Great Britain was not to be outdone in his enthusiasm for the game. “I was up all night trying to decide if I should attack Siberia from China or from Yakutsk. I just would not want to spread my armies too thin in the east. Hmmm…I think I will try attacking from the south next time.”

Even though the two have had tremendous fun playing the game there are some changes each would make. Former President Bush says that a whole bunch of countries are just bunched up together and called the “Middle East”

“Where is Iran?” exclaimed W. “I want to stick it to Iran, not the entire Middle East. If I had my way, Iran would be its own spot on the map and I would put about 30 troops in India every time I played just so I could destroy them.”

“But this is much cheaper,” continued the former Chief Executive. “It only cost me $19.99 to download the game which is only like .00000000003% of the Iraq war.”

Mr. Blair has a few complaints about the game as well. “I wish there was an ambassador function for the game; then nations could attempt to resolve conflicts in peace (Western Europe would always attempt this). And then I could ignore those pleas for peace and destroy them anyway! That and I would like to not have to do everything Bush says all the time.”

Despite these minor game flaws the two seem content to spend their golden years determining strategy and forming partnerships towards world domination.

“You know who would have been a great asset against the War on Terror?” explains W. “RiskMaven087. This guy really knows his stuff and it pains me that I did not meet him sooner. Being the President of the United States is not about making friends, but I have made friends for life playing online ‘Risk.’”

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

French, British Nuclear Subs Collide in Crowded Ipswich Train Station

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jKcoIY6QBk2T25USYHDKbBtyUmHQD96CTH5O0

A nuclear submarine collision occurred on Saturday in an unprecedented event at Ipswich train station. A British submarine rammed a French submarine during what both nations are describing as regular patrols. Representatives from each nation scrambled to asses the damages sustained by their respective watercraft and rushed to isolate any radioactive leakage which may have resulted from the collision.

“Thankfully the damage was only superficial,” said Royal Navy inspector, Abraham Jauns. “We are confident that the nuclear propelled drive and all warheads on board have maintained their integrity.”

Likewise, the French inspectors have confirmed moderate damage to navigation and electrical systems but insist that the nuclear aspects of their submarine are still intact. After confirming that Ipswich was not at a radioactive risk, inspectors from both nations began to sort out why the collision occurred in the tracks just outside the station and not in the ocean.

“This is most shocking,” explains Janus. That submarine was supposed to be over the mid-Atlantic trench. To end up many thousands of miles from that point and in a train station is a grievous error.”

The French investigative team explained that the location of their submarine was accurate with its last known position. “We have been at Ipswich station for several weeks,” says French Navy correspondent, Louise Orleans. We do not like to have our submarines underwater all the time and there is ample space to maneuver at Ipswich station. But now our cover is blown and we will have to seek out other stations.”

Lona Beck, a frequent traveler on the lines between Ipswich and London said she noticed the submarine a while back. “Having been in this part of England for many years now, I am not shocked by anything,” says Mrs. Beck. “I figured the sub was a new part of the station’s d├ęcor or an elaborate Facebook prank. You know, I didn’t think it was Frech submarine armed with nuclear warheads. But there I go again; that’s really not surprising either, is it?”

A British naval officer, who wishes to remain unnamed, said that he knew the sub’s GPS and sonar systems were compromised some time ago. He figures the submarine made its way into the Chunnel and then on to Ipswich. He was surprised, though, that they collided with another nuclear submarine.

“When you think of submarines in a train station,” he said, “you usually think of just one or probably none. But to have two submarines armed with nukes colliding at the same station…We’ll it really goes to show what a risk it is to man a nuclear sub.”