How do Levitating Street Performers Work?

I haven’t seen any levitating street performers in Boston but I saw 3 or 4 working Trafalgar Square at the same time when I was in London last year.

If you’ve had the opportunity to travel around the world, then at some point you may have encountered “levitating” street performers. The “floating man illusion” is usually set up with one or two people. In both cases, it’s made to look like the performer is floating in mid-air, supporting his or her entire body weight with strength of their hand…

In the one-man version, the mystic will appear to float above a carpet or small garden in the sitting position while holding the top of a rod with his hand. To the onlooker, he’ll have the strength to do this for hours on end…

Putain de merde!

Humiliation in France as it finishes seventh in World Cup of chefs, well behind the U.S.

PARIS — It is considered to have one of the finest cuisines in the world. But France faced gastronomic humiliation after it failed to make the podium on home soil in a global cooking championship.

Norway won this year’s gold medal in the Bocuse d’Or, a contest often described as the World Cup of chefs. France only managed to muster seventh place in the competition in which chefs must “demonstrate creativity, spontaneity and the mastery of their art”.

Rubbing more salt into the wound, America – home of fast food and “le hamburger” – took silver, a historic first, with Sweden clinching the bronze.

It was an undoubted blow to France, home of haute cuisine and the country that has won the contest a record seven times in its 15 editions, including the previous competition in 2013. The French have only ever once failed to make the top three – in 2011 – finishing fourth.

The upcoming Boston blizzard may be equivalent to Category 2 hurricane

Sigh. We’ve been lucky not to have lost power at all during the last three storms. This one I’m worried about.

The powerful Valentine’s Day storm set to blast eastern New England this weekend with roaring, frigid winds, heavy snow and pounding surf will be so strong that it can be compared in some ways to a Category 2 hurricane.

Fortunately, though, it will not bring the same impacts as a hurricane of that intensity, but its effects on multiple locations — from Providence and Boston to Portland and Bangor, Maine — will be similar to a winter hurricane, with power outages, tree and structural damage, and coastal flooding. Depending on the storm’s exact track, it could dump a foot or more of additional snow in the Boston area, with even more snow in coastal New Hampshire and Maine.

Saudi Women Drivers ‘Freed From Jail’

From BBC.com:

Two Saudi women who were detained for defying the kingdom’s ban on female drivers have been freed after more than 70 days in custody, reports say.

Loujain al-Hathloul, 25, was arrested while campaigning for the ban to be eased. Her friend Maysa al-Amoudi, 33, was detained when she went to help her.

Concerns for the women were heightened after reports that their case was being transferred to a terrorism court.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s only country to forbid women from driving.

While it is not technically illegal for women to drive, only men are awarded driving licences – and women who drive in public risk being fined and arrested by the police.

Saudi women have launched a series of campaigns – including on social media – to demand an easing of the restrictions.

Christian group claims dinosaurs are a lie, wants them extinct from schools

Not sure if we should invoke Poe’s Law or not on this one:

A parent, who’s part of a group that believes dinosaurs are one big lie, is getting international attention after making an angry post on a parenting site.

The writer starts the rant with, “I am getting sick and tired of dinosaurs being forced on our children.”

The page long diatribe against dinosaurs on the popular parenting site mumsnet.com quickly set off a flurry of mockery and went viral, the Mirror reports.

The writer thinks the scientific evidence for dinosaurs is scant and also claims they set a bad example for children. The writer illustrates the point with an anecdote:

“At my children’s school, several children were left in tears after one of their classmates (who had evidently been exposed to dinosaurs) became bestially-minded and ran around the classroom roaring and pretending to be a dinosaur. Then he bit three children on the face.”

The writer even opposes toy dinosaurs:

“Recently my sister foolishly gave my two youngest some dinosaur toys for Christmas. After telling her to get out of my house, I burnt the dinosaurs. My children were delighted because they know that dinosaurs are evil. I am fortunate that my family has been very supportive, and has disowned my children’s former aunt.”

The writer is part of a Facebook group called “Christians Against Dinosaurs” which has nearly 4,000 members. While its unclear if the group is satirical or serious, they do claim to be working to remove dinosaurs from school curriculums.