Friday, March 7, 2008

10 Most Beautiful Bridges in the World

We’ve come a long way in bridge building since crossing a river on a fallen log. The first bridges were built with wooden planks, ropes and stones. Soon, stronger material were required. Wood and stone bridges gave way to iron, then to steel ones. Bridge building techniques also evolved: beam, cantilevered, cable-stayed, and suspension bridges - each with advantages that made it the right choice for a particular location.

Political fortunes and wars have been made or lost by bridges. Throughout history, bridges had been built by engineers and burned by warriors, and crossed by kings and commoners alike. Millions of people owe their livelihood to bridges, as most require them to commute; and yet thousands of people choose to end their lives by jumping off them every year.

Bridges are stylish: from classical to modern, they are as much a work of art as they are marvels of engineering. To celebrate the wonders of "classic" bridges, here are Neatorama’s picks for the Top 10 Most Beautiful Bridges in the World:

10. Khaju Bridge

Khaju Bridge. Photo: Kelly Cheng

Khaju Bridge at night. Photo: Jovika [Flickr]

The Khaju Bridge (Pol-e-Khajoo) in Isfahan, Iran, was built in the 17th century by Shah Abbas II. The bridge also serves as a dam, with sluice gates under the archways. When the gates are closed, the water level behind the bridge is raised to irrigate gardens alongside the Zayandeh River.

The Khoju Bridge has two stories of arcades, marked by the distinctive intersecting arches decorated with richly colored tiles. At the center of the bridge, there are two large pavilions, called the Prince Parlors, that were originally reserved for the Shah.

9. Pont du Gard

Pont du Gard. Photo: zak mc [Flickr]

Pont du Gard, an aqueduct spanning the Gard River in southern France, is a masterpiece of Roman engineering. It wasn’t built to transport people (though there is a pedestrian footbridge on it) - instead, it was part of a complex aqueduct system that carried water over 30 miles (about 50 km) to the ancient Roman city of Nemausus (now Nîmes).

The Pont du Gard was built by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa (63 - 12 BC), the son-in-law of Caesar Augustus. The bridge’s stones, some of which weigh up to 6 tons, were cut perfectly to fit together without any mortar.

The wedge-shaped stones, known as voussoirs, were arranged in three levels, the top-most being the water conduit. So precise was the engineering that the entire system descends only 56 ft. (17 m) vertically - over 30 miles! - to deliver 5 million gallons (20,00 m3) of water to the city.

8. Bridge of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs. Photo: Eugenia y Julian [Flickr]

In the 19th century, Lord Byron named a Venetian limestone bridge across the Rio di Palazzo connecting the Doge’s prison to the interrogation room in the main palace, the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri). Supposedly, the prisoners would sigh when they look out the window - with stone bars no less - to see their last view of beautiful Venice before their imprisonment, torture or execution.

In reality, Doge’s prison held mostly small-time criminals. Also, the bridge was built in 1600 by Antonio Contino, after the days of the inquisitions and summary executions. Legend has it that if lovers kissed on a gondola underneath the Bridge of Sighs at sunset, their love would last for eternity.

7. Iron Bridge

Iron Bridge. Photo: johnmuk [Flickr]

Iron bridge at night. Notice how the bridge and its reflection make a perfect circle.
Photo: Mark Haythorne [Flickr]

The Iron Bridge, spanning the Severn river in Shropshire, England, isn’t a particularly large or ornate bridge, but it does have something that made it unique: it’s the first bridge made completely out of cast iron.

In the 18th century, Shropshire was rich in iron and coal - indeed, there were more iron factories within two-mile radius of the town than any other city in the world. It was also there that iron was first smelt with coke. So it was only natural that the bridge would be made out of iron, a stronger alternative to wood. (Photo of the railing: zorro [Flickr])

Architect Thomas Farnolls Pritchard proposed a single arch bridge that would let boats pass underneath, but he died before the bridge was built. The construction of the Iron Bridge was carried out by a local master ironworker named Abraham Darby III. About 400 tons (363 tonnes) of cast iron was used, with about 800 separate castings. The Iron Bridge has 5 arch ribs, each cast in two halves. It only took three months to put the parts together (which they did using screws instead of bolts!).

The ease and speed of the Iron Bridge’s construction helped convince engineers of the versatility and strength of iron, and helped usher in the Industrial Revolution era. Darby, however, didn’t fare so well: he severely underestimated the cost to build the bridge, and remained in debt for the rest of his life. (Source)

6. Covered Bridges

The West Montrose Covered Bridge on the Grand River, Ontario, Canada. It’s known locally as the Kissing Bridge. Photo: gojumeister [Flickr]

Pisgah Covered Bridge in southern Randolph County, North Carolina. It was washed away by a flood in 2003, but rebuilt with 90% of the original wood. It’s now one of two historic covered bridges left in the state. Photo: jimmywayne22 [Flickr]

Thomas Malone Covered Bridge in Beaver Creek State Park, Ohio.
Photo: c0reyann [Flickr]

Covered bridges are simply that: bridges that have enclosed sides and roof. Though technically the Bridge of Sigh, Ponte Vecchio, and the Wind and Rain Bridges in this list are covered bridges, this term usually means simple, single-lane bridges in rural settings.

Before they are made famous by the 1995 Clint Eastwood film The Bridges of Madison County, "kissing bridges" or "tunnels of love" have been the pride and joy of many small towns across Europe and especially Northern America where more than ten thousands of such bridges were built.

In the 19th century, timber was plentiful and cheap (or, in many cases, free). So it’s natural that these bridges were made of wood. But why were they covered? Well, lovers aside, the real reason was much more practical: the wooden beams of the bridge lasted longer when protected from the elements.

Unfortunately, due to neglect, theft of lumber, vandalism, and fire, most covered bridges in the United States and Canada have disappeared.

5. Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio. Photo: G|o®g|O

Ponte Vecchio at night. Photo: MrUllmi [Flickr]

The Ponte Vecchio is a medieval bridge over the Arno River. Actually, it’s much more than a bridge - it’s a street, a marketplace, and a landmark of Florence, Italy.

The Ponte Vecchio that we know today was built in 1345 by Taddeo Gaddi after an older span was destroyed in a flood. To finance the bridge, lots along the roadway were rented out to merchants, especially butchers and tanners, to hawk their wares.

In 1565, Duke Cosimo I de Medici ordered an architect named Giorgio Vasari to construct a roofed passageway. Soon after, jewelers, goldsmiths, and merchants of luxury goods pushed out the butchers out of Ponte Vecchio. Centuries of haphazard additions gave the bridge’s distinctive, irregular appearance today.

During World War II, after having survived many floods, the bridge faced its gravest threat: German bombers were blowing up bridges in Florence. It was a direct order from Hitler that spared Ponte Vecchio from certain destruction.

It is said that the word "bankruptcy" came from Ponte Vecchio. When a merchant failed to pay his debt, the table ("banco") he used to sell his wares was broken ("rotto") by soldiers. Not having a table anymore ("bancorotto"), meant the seller was bankrupt.

4. The Wind and Rain Bridge

Chengyang Bridge. Photo: mazakii that genius [Flickr]

The wind and rain bridges were a type of bridge built by the Dong people (a minority ethnic group) in China. Because they live in the lowlands and the valleys with many rivers, the Dong people are excellent bridge builders. They are called "wind and rain" bridges because the covered bridges not only let people cross the river, but also protect them from the elements.

The Dong people don’t use nails or rivets to build these bridges - instead, they dovetail all of the wood. The largest and most magnificent is the Chenyang Bridge, spanning the Linxi River near the Dong village of Maan. The bridge is about 100 years old, and like all wind and rain bridges, it was built without a single nail.

3. Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge. Photo: Dennis Gerbeckx [Flickr]

Brooklyn Bridge at sunrise. Photo: LemonSunrise [Flickr]

In 1855, engineer John Roebling started to design a bridge that at the time would be the longest suspension bridge in the world, with towers being the tallest structures in the Western Hemisphere: the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

Today, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the main crossings of the East River and one of the most heavily trafficked bridges in the world. But in the late 19th century, it took Roebling more than 14 years to convince the city to build the bridge.

After he got approval, Roebling was surveying a site when his foot was crushed by a ferry. Three weeks before the scheduled groundbreaking, he died of tetanus. His son, an engineer named Washington Roebling took over the project.

In 1872, while working on caissons to set the foundation for the towers, Washington fell ill with caisson disease (a decompression sickness commonly known as "the bends") that left him barely able to see, talk, or write. His wife, Emily Warren Roebling, rose to the occasion - she learned engineering on the fly and for nine years went to the job site to deliver her husband’s directions. Washington himself was said to watch the construction from his room through a binocular.

When the Brooklyn Bridge was opened, Emily was honored with the first ride over the bridge. She held a rooster, a symbol of victory, in her lap. Washington himself rarely visited the bridge till his death in 1926.

One interesting note about the Brooklyn Bridge: it stood fast while other bridges built around the same time had crumbled. Engineers credit Roebling for designing a bridge and truss system six times as strong as he thought it needed to be!

2. Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge at twilight. Photo: Diliff [wikipedia]

Tower Bridge at night. Photo: Andreas L [Flickr]

It’s funny to think about ancient traffic jams, but that was why the Tower Bridge in London, England was built. By the end of the 19th century, the development of the eastern part of London caused such a load on the London Bridge that the city decided to build a new bridge.

Construction of the Tower Bridge started in 1886, led by architect Sir Horace Jones and engineer Sir John Wolfe Barry. The design was a bascule (draw) bridge with two towers built on piers, so the bridge wouldn’t interefere with the port facilities nearby.

A year after construction was started, Jones died and his replacement, George D. Stevenson along with Barry decided to modify the design a little bit. Instead of the original brick facade design, the Tower Bridge had a more ornate Victorian Gothic style meant to harmonize it with the nearby Tower of London.

When the bridge opened in 1894, the public was aghast. H. Heathcote Statham, Fellow of the Royal Insitute of British Architect, wrote the familiar sentiment as thus: "The Tower Bridge … represents the vice of tawdriness and pretentiousness, and of falsification of the actual facts of the structure." (Source: Waddell, J., Bridge Engineering, Google Books)

But over time, people warmed up to the bridge. Indeed, the Tower Bridge grew to be one of London’s most recognizable landmarks. Even one of its loudest critics, architectural critic Eric de Maré conceded: the British people "have grown fond of the old fraud … and we must admit that it has carried on its task with admirable regularity and efficiency." (Source: Dupré, J., Bridges; 1997 Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers)

1. Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge in HDR as the first big storm of the season hits San Francisco.
Photo: vgm8383 [Flickr]

Golden Gate Bridge at sunset. Photo: mischiru [Flickr]

Golden Gate Bridge at night. Photo: justinwyne [Flickr]

The Golden Gate Bridge is such an iconic symbol of San Francisco (and of suspension bridge in general) that it’s hard to imagine a time when it didn’t exist. But before it was built, most people thought it was an impossible task.

In 1916, the idea of a bridge to cross the Golden Gate, a narrow strait that separated San Francisco Peninsula and the Marin Headlands, was conceived. Though it was almost immediately dismissed as the cost was estimated to be $100 million (astronomical for the time), a veteran bridge builder named Joseph Strauss lobbied for more than two decades to have it built.

The Golden Gate Bridge faced tough opposition: the Department of War thought it would interfere with ship traffic and the Southern Pacific Railroad opposed it as competition to its ferry service. At first, even the public didn’t like the bridge … because Strauss’ original design was deemed too ugly! But Strauss finally won, and after 22-years of drumming up support, the bridge was built. (Photo: SF Museum)

Strauss insisted that the project take worker’s safety seriously. It was the first major bridge project that used hard hats and a safety net. During the course of construction, 19 people were saved by the net to become members of the Halfway to Hell Club. (Source)

The color of the Golden Gate Bridge is actually not red - it’s an orange vermillion called International Orange. The color was chosen specifically because it complements the bridge’s natural surrounding yet enhances its visibility in the fog.

Construction took more than four years, at a cost of $27 million. The Golden Gate Bridge actually came in $1.3 million under budget (though 5 months late). For his work, Strauss got $1 million … and a lifetime bridge pass!

We’ll be the first to acknowledge that this list is far from complete. Modern beauties like the Millau Viaduct, the Erasmusbrug, or the Tsing Ma Bridge aren’t on it. (Well, we did say "classic" bridges …)

Nor is this the only "top 10 bridges" list on the Web. Though many of our picks are the same, there are enough differences between this list and others (like Frikoo’s 18 Stunning Bridges From Around the World, and Dark Roasted Blend’s World’s Most Interesting Bridges Part 1 and Part 2) that you should also check them out.

Finally, there are thousands of bridges in the world and hundreds of major bridges that are sources for local prides. If your town’s favorite span isn’t included here, please don’t get mad. Instead, let us know in the comment so interested readers can find them.

Original here

20 Ways to Stay Healthy and Safe in a Hotel

Minimize Risk

Let's say you're lucky enough to get to take two weeks of vacation away from home each year. Maybe your job sends you to a training session or trade conference for a few days. Then there's your niece's wedding, Thanksgiving with the family, a weekend getaway or two with your spouse to the hills -- or Las Vegas. For many adults, a typical year may have us sleeping in a hotel room 10-20 nights per year. That's nothing to sneeze at.

Or more accurately, that's a lot to sneeze at. Not all hotels can offer plush bathrobes, superb security, and immaculate cleanliness. The reality is that even five-star hotels have been found to harbor plenty of hidden mildew and germs.

However, there are ways to make your home away from home not only more pleasant, but healthier and safer too.

1. Pack your own sheets. If you have any concerns about your hotel's cleaning practices, pack a queen-size sheet to throw over the bedspread so you're not exposed to dust mites, germs, or allergens lurking in the cover.

2. Pack a long-sleeved sleep shirt and long sleep pants. Again, if you are concerned about the hygiene of the bedding, reduce contact by wearing body-covering pajamas and light socks to bed.

3. Use your bed for sleeping only. Don't do work on it, eat on it, and don't watch movies or TV on it. Not only is that more hygienic, but you'll likely find it easier to fall asleep that way.

4. Ask for an allergy-free room. Some hotels are now offering rooms that are built and furnished to minimize the amounts of dust mites and other allergens. Even if you don't have allergies, this might be a good choice for people prone to colds and flus. Other hotels provide allergy packs, including face masks, special pillows, and mattress covers. But you have to ask for them.

5. Choose modern over old. Yes, Victorian bed-and-breakfasts are far superior in terms of charm and personal touches. But they also lead in the amount of allergens and dust you are likely to encounter in the rooms and public sitting areas. So if health is a real concern while traveling, go for good-quality modern hotels.

6. Ask for a room on the third floor or higher. Most thefts occur on the first two floors. Stay below the seventh floor, however; few fire engine ladders can reach above it.

7. Choose a hotel over a motel. This is mostly for safety reasons: Burglaries are easier when your room's door is quickly accessible from the parking lot. You also get more dirt and allergens coming through the doorway when it opens directly to the outside. You wouldn't want to sleep eight feet from the front door at home, would you?

8. If you're going to be staying for several days, book a hotel with a pool or exercise room -- and use them. Exercising will exorcise the traveler's stiffness from your body and burn off some of the calories from that breakfast buffet, business lunch, or wedding cake.

9. Split your breakfast and lunch schedules in two. Use half for eating and the other half for walking outside. Just like you should be doing at work.

Stay Safe

10. Check the bed for bedbugs before you unpack. Have you ever woken up in a hotel room, felt itchy, and assumed you'd been bitten by mosquitoes in your sleep? It might have been bedbugs. Growing pesticide resistance has resulted in outbreaks of bedbugs in even some of the best hotels. These brown bugs, which are the size of an apple seed, can leave itchy welts on the skin. One veteran traveler suggests pulling back the comforter quickly and watching closely to see if any bugs scamper. Also look for bloodstains on pillows or mattress liners and carefully check the seams of mattresses. If you see anything suspicious, ask for another room -- then repeat the process. Even if you don't find any bugs, move the bed away from the wall, tuck in the sheets, and keep the blanket from touching the floor. Just in case!

11. Check your luggage for bedbugs when you get home -- and do it in the laundry room. If you find any, dump the clothes right into the washing machine, then dry them on high heat for at least 15 minutes. Anything that isn't washable should be put into the freezer for a couple of days.

12. Light a scented candle in your room. The scent will help to hide the antiseptic stale smell of the hotel room as well as provide some stress-relieving aromatherapy. (But use common sense: Never leave a burning candle unattended, or light one if you think there's a chance you might fall asleep.)

13. Moisten the dry air with the help of a teakettle. If your room has a kitchen area, fill the teakettle with plenty of water, heat it until it steams, and let the steam escape into the room until the water's almost gone. Your sinuses will thank you.

14. Pack a photograph of someone you love (even your dog). When you come back to your room after a stressful day, begin to feel lonely, or get that "What city am I in?" confusion that often comes with long trips, you can anchor yourself by looking at the picture and reminding yourself of home.

15. Bring along your own battery-operated travel alarm. You'll fall asleep better and sleep better all night if you don't have to worry that you set the hotel alarm wrong and will miss that important appointment.

16. Pack a pair of rubber thongs, a.k.a. flip-flops. Use them in the bathroom, on the carpet (who can guess the last time the carpet was cleaned?) and in the pool area to prevent any fungal (or worse) infections.

17. Stay out of the hotel's hot tub. Okay, now you think we've gone totally nuts. There's no doubt that hot tubs are luxuriously soothing, and if you're willing to take a slight chance, go ahead and plunge in. Just be aware that hot tubs can foster bacteria such as the one that causes folliculitis (itchy red bumps). And some people have developed bronchitis and even serious forms of pneumonia from breathing in air contaminated by bacteria growing in the water.

18. Play it safe. One of the easiest ways to stay healthy is to make sure that you're not physically attacked in a strange place. And hotels are strange places. Here are some important tips on how to protect yourself:

• When registering, make sure the front-desk person doesn't say your room number aloud, but instead writes it down and hands it to you. If he does say it aloud, ask for another room and ask that he write down the number.
• Ask who is at your door and verify before opening. If you didn't order room service, or don't know why the "employee" is there, call the front desk and verify that they sent someone.
• Use the main entrance of the hotel when returning in the evening.
• Use all locking devices for your door, and lock all windows and sliding glass doors.

19. Don't leave the Please Make Up Room sign outside your door unless you want to tell the whole world you're not there. Instead, put the Do Not Disturb sign on the door. If you want your room made up while you're out, call housekeeping and let them know.

20. Make sure hotel operators don't give out room numbers. Try it by calling the front desk from your cell phone, giving your name, and asking for your room number.

Original here

New lanes may speed up airport security

WASHINGTON — The government said Wednesday that it's going to expand an airport security program that creates special checkpoint lanes for families and "expert" travelers.

Beginning in April, the Transportation Security Administration plans to launch the program in at least six new airports. "There's no real cap on the number of airports," TSA spokesman Christopher White said. "If this is well-received by the six airports, we'll continue to expand."

A test that began last month in the Denver and Salt Lake City airports found that segregating passengers speeds up security lines and eases traveler stress, White said.

The program creates three lanes: one for families, another for "expert" travelers who move quickly and a third for "casual" travelers. Instructions for passengers are posted at checkpoints.

The program is voluntary. Parents with children are not forced into or barred from any lane, although TSA screeners often encourage them to use family lanes.

In Denver and Salt Lake City, both the expert and family lanes are moving faster, White said.

Families feel less pressure to rush at checkpoints and are increasingly remembering to remove liquids from their carry-on bags. That reduces the number of bags that go through time-consuming hand-searches when screeners spot bottles while scanning the bags on X-ray machines, White said.

Airports are interested in the program, said Debby McElroy, policy chief for the Airports Council International. "It's an opportunity to have a less stressful experience for passengers, especially those who may not be as familiar with the passenger-screening process," McElroy said.

Many airports want to know more about the program because it's new, McElroy added. Salt Lake City's test began Feb. 13 and Denver's started Feb. 20.

Orlando International Airport has told the TSA it is "receptive to a pilot program," airport spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell said.

Caleb Tiller of the National Business Travel Association said the concept "is very appealing to people who travel regularly." But steps should be taken to make sure that passengers go to the appropriate lane, Tiller said.

In selecting the next six sites, the TSA will look for a variety of airports and checkpoint layouts, White said.

Delta Air Lines spokeswoman Betsy Talton called the program "a great first step" to improving security checkpoints.

The family lanes are one of the first efforts to ease security for infrequent travelers.

Airports and airlines have largely focused on speeding up security for their best customers with lines for frequent and first-class passengers.

Original here

Cemetery full, mayor tells locals not to die

BORDEAUX, France (Reuters) - The mayor of a village in southwest France has threatened residents with severe punishment if they die, because there is no room left in the overcrowded cemetery to bury them.

In an ordinance posted in the council offices, Mayor Gerard Lalanne told the 260 residents of the village of Sarpourenx that "all persons not having a plot in the cemetery and wishing to be buried in Sarpourenx are forbidden from dying in the parish."

It added: "Offenders will be severely punished."

The mayor said he was forced to take drastic action after an administrative court in the nearby town of Pau ruled in January that the acquisition of adjoining private land to extend the cemetery would not be justified.

Lalanne, who celebrated his 70th birthday on Wednesday and is standing for election to a seventh term in this month's local elections, said he was sorry that there had not been a positive outcome to the dilemma.

"It may be a laughing matter for some, but not for me," he said.

(Reporting by Claude Canellas, Writing by Andrew Dobbie; editing by Sami Aboudi)

Original here

Airborne settles lawsuit for $23.3 million

The herbal supplement firm will settle class action lawsuit that alleges false advertising; money will be refunded to consumers, non-profit advocacy group says.

Vitamins for kids
Doling out children's vitamins is a morning ritual for some parents as CNN's Judy Fortin reports in this Health Minute.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Airborne - the herbal supplement company that once claimed to help fight off colds - will pay $23.3 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought against the company for false advertising, according to one of the groups that joined the suit.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit advocacy group, said the company will refund money to consumers who bought Airborne's product. It will pay for advertisements in major publications instructing consumers on how to get their money refunded.

"There's no credible evidence that what's in Airborne can prevent colds or protect you from a germy environment," said CSPI Senior nutritionist David Schardt. "Airborne is basically on overpriced, run-of-the-mill vitamin pill that's been cleverly, but deceptively, marketed."

According to the company's Web site, Airborne was created by second-grade teacher, Victoria Knight-McDowell, who "studied the benefits herbal therapies used in Eastern Medicine." The site says Airborne "boosts the immune system with seven herbal extracts and a proprietary blend of vitamins, electrolytes, amino acids and antioxidants."

A recorded message at the toll-free number of the class-action settlement administrator said that Airborne Health Inc. has admitted no wrongdoing. Airborne Inc., Airborne Health Inc. and Knight-McDowell Labs are among the defendants in the class action lawsuit, filed in the Central District of California in U.S. District Court.

"Defendants deny any wrongdoing or illegal conduct," the message says, "but have agreed to settle the litigation."

A hearing to consider final approval of the settlement is scheduled for June 16.

Airborne changed their advertising campaign when a plaintiff filed suit against the company in March 2006.

That came after an ABC News report disclosed that the company's clinical trials were not conducted by doctors or scientists, but instead carried out by two laypeople.

Advertisements stopped mentioning the study and cold-curing claims and instead touted claims that it helped boost the body's immune systems.

In late 2006 the CSPI joined the suit as co-counsel against Airborne and in 2007 the Federal Trade Commission and an assembly of state attorney generals began investigating the firm's cold-curing claims professed since its creation in 1999.

Customers interested in more information about how to recieve a refund should log onto

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He Sings, He Runs and He's Only 101

Meet the Man Ready to Become World's Oldest Marathon Runner

101-year-old Buster Martin is training to become the world's oldest marathon runner when he runs in the London marathon next month. He ran the half marathon last weekend, completing it in just over five hours. (Pimlico Plumbers)

Buster Martin is an unlikely candidate to set a marathon record. He drinks beer, smokes cigarettes and stays out late. And he's 101.

But Martin expects to shatter, or at least ease past, the record next month when he runs London's marathon. And he is counting on having a beer at the finish line.

"He smokes, drinks, stays out late, which is probably why he is still alive," said Charlie Mullins, the managing director of the plumbing company where Martin cleans vans.

When not working three days a week for Mullins, Martin can be found in a nearby boxing gym working with a pair of trainers in preparation for April's run. He refuses to be impressed by the fact that he is still running.

"I am not doing anything unusual. I am just running a marathon," he told ABC News.

Age is no more an obstacle to Martin's running than that strip of winners tape at the finish line. "You are never too old to do what you enjoy."

And Martin likes running, "but not as much as I like my beer," he added.

He is already a man of many firsts. Martin holds three world title records for the oldest person to run the 5K, 10K and the half marathon.

Martin says that in the last weekend, he's completed a 13-mile half marathon that took him a little more than five hours. It would have been faster, he says, but he says he stopped for a beer and a cigarette.

Martin runs in the name of charity. He is raising money for the Rhys Daniels Trust, which provides a "home from home" for parents of children having treatment for life-threatening illnesses.

Mullins describes him as a "remarkable chap, unbelievable. He's an ordinary fellow but remarkable at the same time especially for someone at his age to get involved in this sort of charity."

Martin is also the father of 17 children, which also doesn't impress him. "Pity I didn't have anymore kids," he said with a sigh.

He "likes to live life to the full. … He is as sharp as a razor," Mullins said. He told ABC that Martin's got "unbelievable hearing."

To his colleagues, at 101 years old, Martin is a "great inspiration, he's got a million stories to tell, he is so knowledgeable," his manager said.

To celebrate Martin's birthday, his work colleagues named a beer after him called Buster's Beer.

So, does his manager think Martin can achieve his goal of being the oldest runner in the world? "Undoubtedly," said Mullins.

Martin was also part of the seniors' rock 'n' roll group called the Zimmers.

The band had a combined age of more than 3,000 years and scored a hit single last year with a cover of The Who's ''My Generation.''

When asked what Mullins thought of Martin's voice, he replied, "It's actually quite good."

Original here

The Worst Shots Ever Created - 17 Horrible Shots

If you've ever wanted to get back at someone, or just get your friend completely plastered for their 21st birthday, we've compiled a list of awful tasting shots that are sure to lay anyone out. We can take no responsibility for the after effect of these drinks. Just duck or move out the way, cause they're sure to start something!

17) Nasty B*tch

Yes, she's nasty, and so is this drink. Turn a 21st birthday into a really good time with this one.

  • 1½ oz. Tequila
  • ½ oz. Cointreau® Orange Liqueur

16) Abortion

The taste isn't as much of a killer as the consistency of this one. Think gooey white substances, with a touch of red. Yes, that's the best way to describe this one.

  • ¾ oz. Bailey's Irish Cream
  • ¾ oz. Peach Schnapps
  • A touch of grenadine

For extra fun, try eating with a coathanger!

15) Bloody Tampon

Where did they come up with the name, you ask? I have no idea, perhaps its the napkin you're supposed to suck on before taking the shot... either way, it makes it even more disgusting.

  • ½ oz. Tomato juice
  • 1 oz. Vodka

Suck on a napkin for 10 seconds then pour the shot down your gullet.

14) Gorilla’s Puke

If the name doesn't give it away, I don't know what will. Also known as 152, this drink will surely have you puking at the end of the night.

  • ¾ oz. Bacardi 151
  • ¾ oz. Wild Turkey Bourbon Whiskey

13) Four Horsemen

It's definitely a classic, and one to make sure you get pictures of. The ingredients say it all; one shot will have your worst enemy crying for their mom!

  • ¾ oz. Jose Cuervo Gold Tequila
  • ¾ oz. Jagermeister Herbal Liqueur
  • ¾ oz. Rumple Minze Peppermint Liqueur
  • ¾ oz. Bacardi 151 Rum

12) Fire in the Hole

Light this one on fire for a show; your enemies will be amazed at how cool it is, and you'll get a kick out of the after effect.

  • 1½ oz. Bacardi 151
  • A touch of grenadine

WARNING - This one is dangerous

11) Liquid Steak

If you are a meat lover, then this one is for you. It's as close to a dead animal in a shot as you will ever get.

  • 1½ oz. Barcardi 151
  • Worcestershire Sauce

Fill shot with Bacardi then slowly top with a drizzle of Worcestershire Sauce. No knives required.

10) Flatliner

Beware of ANYTHING with tabasco sauce. Put some hair on your best friends' chests with this one. They'll be burning for hours while you laugh in the corner.

  • ¾ oz. Jigger Sambuca
  • ¾ oz. shot Gold Tequila
  • 3 dashes of Tabasco sauce

9) Cement Mixer

Again, it's not so much the taste, but the consistency with this one. The lime juice makes the Bailey's curdle, turning into a booger-like consistency.

  • ¾ oz. Bailey's Irish Cream
  • ¾ oz. Lime Juice

Swish around in mouth then attempt to drink.

8) Motor Oil

It's the type of drink that's sure to make you wonder what you just drank and why you did it. It's got a taste of everything, but nothing that should ever be mixed together. Definitely one for your worst enemy.

  • 1 oz. Jagermeisteer Herbal Liqueur
  • ½ oz. Peppermint Schnapps
  • ½ oz. Goldschlager Cinnamon Schnapps
  • ½ oz Malibu Coconut Rum

7) The Eggermeister

This is a manly version of a Jaegerbomb that is acceptable for males to drink out in the wild. They probably just won't like it.

  • 1 ½ oz. Jaegermeister
  • One pickled egg (common in most bars)
  • One highball glass

Place shot in highball, and then place pickled egg in. The nastiness comes from having to hold the Jaeger in your mouth as you chew the rubbery, pickled egg.

6) Prarie Oyster

Looking for a little protein and/or chicken fetus in your drink? Well this is the shot for you!

  • 1½ oz. Room Temperature Bourbon
  • 1 Raw Egg
  • 1 dash Tabasco

Place shot of Bourbon into rocks glass, then crack egg into glass (do not stir). Sprinkle Tabasco on top and enjoy! May want garbage can near by for any "reversals" that could occur.

5) The Holocaust

A lot of prep work goes into this shot, and microwaves are needed as well.

  • 1 oz. of Vodka
  • One Squirt of Hot Mustard
  • ½ oz. of Sauerkraut Juice

Mix sauerkraut and vodka, microwave for 10 seconds, squirt in mustard and drink. Or don't, because it really sucks.

4) New Jersey Turnpike

This shot must occur in a bar; preferably at the end of the night at the scummiest one you find.

  • One Bar Mat
  • One Bar Rag

Take the bar mat and squeeze into a shot glass. Top with what you can squeeze out of the bar rag. Then go get a hepititus shot. Note, if you sprinkle Parmasean Cheese on this shot, it turns into a whole other shot entitled "Dirty Panties" which is equally gross.

3) Smoker's Cough

The general consensus of the Campus Squeeze staff is that consistency-wise, this is the worst shot ever created, and also the most appropriately named.

  • 1½ oz. Jagermeister
  • One dollop of warm Mayonnaise

Fill shot with Jager, scoop in a heaping dollop of Mayo, and try not to puke, has been known to make people stop smoking for good.

2) Hot Mexican Hooker

Again, we here at Campus Squeeze all agree that this shot is the second-worst ever created, and also the second most appropriately named.

  • 1 oz. Jose Cuervo
  • ½ oz. of Tabasco Sauce
  • One large splash of Tuna Fish Juice

Fill shot with Cuervo and tabasco then fill to the brim with tuna fish juice. Not for the faint of heart. You may want to always keep a can of tuna in your pocket solely to make this shot for your friends.

1) The Tapeworm

A very well rounded shot, the Tapeworm really would be a super burden for your digestive track, but at least you can puke this Tapeworm out.

  • 1 oz. Vodka
  • ½ oz. Tobasco
  • Pepper
  • Small Portion of Mayonaise

Add in liquids, sprinkle with pepper, then top the shot class with a thin layer of mayonaise. Once you poke through the layer of mayo, you get a glorious blast of vile liquid and you will probably feel symptoms associated with real tapeworms: abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, loss of appetite. Really, don't try this shot.

Ok kids, that's it! Now go out and buy those drinks, be generous to others but remember to duck when the shot is being taken. You never know what you may end up receiving for being so mean!

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