A book of poetry — by the Taliban?
Taliban fighters in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, earlier this year.
May 18th, 2012
04:43 PM ET

A book of poetry — by the Taliban?

And you didn’t think there was a soft side to the Taliban.

A controversial new book has hit shelves in Great Britain that contains poetry written by members of the group or authors who seem quite romantically devoted to it. It's titled, appropriately enough, "Poetry of the Taliban."

The spot on my heart makes a candle like the sun
To watch the earth and skies with.

FULL POST

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Topics: Afghanistan • Odd
Would you set sail in a Titanic replica?
Rare original deck chair from Titanic, the signature artifact of the permanent Titanic exhibit at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
April 30th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Would you set sail in a Titanic replica?

By Peter Shadbolt, CNN

An Australian mining magnate has commissioned a Chinese shipyard to build a replica of the ill-fated Titanic, complete in every detail but equipped with modern technology to prevent a repeat of the original's fateful maiden voyage 100 years ago.

Clive Palmer, a Queensland mining billionaire with strong links to China, told Australian media that he had signed a memorandum of understanding with CSC Jinling Shipyard to build the ship.

He said construction of the luxury cruise ship would begin next year and the ship would be ready to sail in 2016.

"It will be every bit as luxurious as the original Titanic but of course it will have state-of-the-art 21st century technology and the latest navigation and safety systems," he said in a statement.

Author sheds light on Titanic aftermath 100th anniversary of Titanic sinking Life in 1912 when the Titanic sank

The new vessel is due to make its maiden voyage from London to New York in late 2016. The cost of the construction of the new vessel has not been revealed, a spokesman for Palmer told Australian media.

"Of course, it will sink if you put a hole in it," Palmer said at a press conference. "It is going to be designed so it won't sink. But, of course, if you are superstitious like you are, you never know what could happen."

This is not a scientific poll.

Read on here.

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Topics: Odd
April 2nd, 2012
09:02 AM ET

Zakaria: Paint Calcutta blue?

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

Calcutta, the city of joy, is best remembered in black and white as the one-time capital of the British Raj. It's a city also associated with the color red. After all, it was ruled by the Communist Party for 34 years. But last year, they were voted out. In its place is a populist leader who is promising a new city with new policies.

Forget about black and white or red. She wants to paint the city blue. Yes, literally.

All the official buildings of Calcutta are to be painted blue - even the iconic yellow taxis. Her party says it's because they see blue as the color of optimism. It's the color of the sky.

I think it's probably much simpler than that: It is the opposite of red, in a sense.

The next time you worry about how polarized America is - divided into red and blue states - it could be worse. Just think of Calcutta.

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Topics: Last Look • Odd
Is Starbucks coloring its Strawberry Frappuccino with insects?
March 27th, 2012
08:25 AM ET

Is Starbucks coloring its Strawberry Frappuccino with insects?

Editor's Note: The following text is from GlobalPost, which provides excellent coverage of world news – importantmoving and just odd.

In what Starbucks says was a move intended to reduce its use of artificial ingredients, the coffee giant has started using cochineal extract to supply its Frappuccinos with their special strawberry color, according to ABC News.

The Daily Mail in Britain reports the company released a statement that explains they are using cochineal extract, which is derived from the ground up bodies of insects, as a way to give their popular drink that bright rosy, pink hue.

Cochineal dye has been used as a coloring agent since the 15th century, said ABC News, and is considered safe by the Food and Drug Administration. It is currently used as a way to color meat, alcoholic drinks, cookies and cheese. However, the World Health Organization, said it can cause asthma in some people, and in some others an allergic reaction.

In response to questions about whether the Strawberry Frappuccino was vegan, Starbucks wrote we "have the goal to minimize artificial ingredients in our products. While the strawberry base isn't a vegan product, it helps us move away from artificial dyes."

Topics: Food • Odd
March 27th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Zakaria: A most unintimidating aircraft carrier

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

The questions have flown across the Pacific for years: Was China working on its first aircraft carrier or weren't they? Was it a direct challenge to American naval superiority or wasn't it? Had it been launched or hadn't it?

Well, it turns out China bought three carriers from Russia a decade and a half ago with plans to retrofit them. There's the one that's being militarized, but what about the others?

Well, we don't have to worry about them so much. Take the former Russian carrier Kiev now parked outside Tianjin. Instead of being jam-packed with military hardware, the Kiev is now filled with soft ware. Very soft ware: Beds, pillows, comfy chair lounges and sofas. You see, it is now a hotel and it looks like the kind of place Elvis Presley might have called home, complete with round beds and mirrored ceilings.

There are five suites in all - all of them presidential suites according to the management. For entertainment, a restaurant serving mostly Russian dishes, naturally. And if you peek outside your window, you might see the reenactment of a naval battle. After all, the carrier is now the centerpiece of a military theme park extolling the powers of China's navy.

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Topics: China • From Fareed • Last Look • Odd • Russia
March 16th, 2012
12:05 PM ET

Lawyers plan to sue 20 law schools

Editor's Note: The following text is from GlobalPost, which provides excellent coverage of world news – importantmoving and just odd.

By Amy Silverstein, GlobalPost

Law school used to be thought of as a safe way to eventually land a high-paying job. But a growing number of students and lawyers say that studying law isn't anymore practical than becoming a starving artist.

Eight law firms held a news conference Wednesday announcing that they would file class-action lawsuits against 20 law schools in late May, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported. Seventy-five students have joined the suit as well.

The legal team said that law schools overstate the success that students have once they graduate.  FULL POST

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Topics: Odd
Chinese copycat movie posters
US: The Ides of March (2011) VS. China: Lao Nan Ren Li Xian Ji (2011).
March 11th, 2012
08:20 AM ET

Chinese copycat movie posters

On GPS today, we talked about Chinese movie posters that look conspicuously similar to U.S. posters. Check them all out here.

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Topics: China • Culture • Odd
March 6th, 2012
05:16 AM ET

Germany's real-life Robin Hood?

Editor's Note: The following text is from GlobalPost, which provides excellent coverage of world news – importantmoving and just odd.

By , GlobalPost

A mystery benefactor has been leaving packets of money to charitable organizations and needy individuals in Braunschweig, Germany.

Blank white envelopes containing bundles of bank notes have been arriving at various addresses in the Lower Saxony city since late last year, the Daily Mail reports.

So far a total of at least 190,000 Euros (US$251,000) has been sent to a robbery victim, a hospice, a kindergarten, various charities and the family of a handicapped boy. FULL POST

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Topics: Germany • Odd
March 2nd, 2012
03:02 PM ET

'SpeechJammer' gun shuts up noisy talkers

Editor's Note: The following text is from GlobalPost, which provides excellent coverage of world news – importantmoving and just odd.

By , GlobalPost

"Are you irritated by empty talks at office, or boring and endless lectures?"

So begins the pitch for one of the greatest gadgets ever to come out of Japan (and there's been a lot): the SpeechJammer.

Billed as an "artificial speech disturbance system," the SpeechJammer confuses speakers from up to 30 meters away by recording and replaying their own words back to them a fraction of a millisecond later.

As Innovation News Daily explains, the technique is a "psychological trick that creates a delay between the time talkers speak and the time when they hear the words coming out of their mouths. The hearing delay trips up the brain's thinking processes and causes the person to stutter." FULL POST

Topics: Odd
February 28th, 2012
01:00 PM ET

Waiter accidentally spills five glasses of beer on German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Editor's Note: The following text is from GlobalPost, which provides excellent coverage of world news – importantmoving and just odd.

By , GlobalPost

A German waitress felt a little nervous about bringing a tray of beer to the table where German Chancellor Angela Merkel was sitting. So the waitress asked her colleague, Martin, to serve Merkel's table instead.

Martin, 21, held the tray of beer with his left hand while serving Merkel with his right hand. But he didn't keep his balance. The five glasses of beer slid off of his tray and landed directly on the back of the most powerful person in Germany. A YouTube video of the accident began going viral last night.

FULL POST

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Topics: Germany • Odd
February 22nd, 2012
10:59 AM ET

Zakaria: Swiss cleaning up space junk

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

When you think of Switzerland, the image that comes to mind is pristine, clean, unlittered. In fact, no one dares litter in Switzerland for fear of a huge fine.

Well, now they've taken their cleanliness to a new level - out of this world, you might say. The Swiss have decided they are going to clean up outer space.

Clean Space One announced this week by the Swiss Space Center will be a "janitor satellite" whose mission will be to tidy up the upper atmosphere.

There are said to be more than 500,000 pieces of space junk up there. When they're done with space, I'd love for them to pay a visit to my office.

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Topics: GPS Show • Last Look • Odd • Space
January 31st, 2012
09:55 AM ET

A politician's script - straight from Hollywood

Had enough of executive branch speeches this week? Well, here's one more from Down Under. No, don't click away. In what you're about to see, a mundane speech by an Australian cabinet minister becomes remarkable - but only when played up against clips of Michael Douglas as the president in the great Aaron Sorkin film The American President. Take a look at the video above.

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Topics: GPS Show • Last Look • Odd
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