Frustrated climbers on Mount Everest’s south side are covertly blogging a standoff with the Nepalese army in the run up to China’s Olympic torch run on the other side of the mountain next week.
Under pressure from China, Nepal has closed the summit and imposed a news blackout at the Everest base camp since Monday. Soldiers have confiscated climbers’ laptops, cameras and satellite phones to prevent protests against Chinese rule in Tibet.
But thanks to a combination of small, high-tech gadgets powered by solar panels, a handful of international climber/bloggers have been able to chronicle the situation, Wired reported on Wednesday. "People are hiding sat phones in their socks," said one climber.
Mountain teams have also been able to post updates to MountEverest.net – an anonymous information service set up by a group called Climbers Without Borders. “We saw lots of military staff and one solider carrying a very sophisticated sniper type of gun," one climber wrote on his blog on Monday.
The summit will remain off bounds until 10 May.
Floating jellyfish hits the skies
The strangest sight we saw all week was, without question, Festo's AirJelly in action – a giant, floating, mechanical jellyfish powered by a lithium-ion battery, electric motor and a bit of helium. We’re not sure what its actual purpose is, but once you see the AirJelly doing its thing you’ll forget you even wondered in the first place. Check out the video here.
If floating jellyfish aren’t your cup of tea (we suppose they won’t be for everyone), Tecnologia Aeroespacial Mexicana’s concept rocket-powered helicopter pack might be more down your street. Powered by two hydrogen fuel canisters, the strap-on helicopter has two rocket-powered rotor blades which negate the need for a tail rotor - and prove, once again, that it’s a crazy world out there.
In other news, in an effort to "increase transparency and reduce tax evasion", the Italian government decided to publish the tax details of every Italian in the country on a website, making them available to anyone interested. The scheme was scrapped mid-week, the Register reported, after outraged residents reacted in predictable fashion to their names, addresses, dates of births, declared income and tax paid details being published online.
A Japanese council worker has been discovered after managing to notch up an impressive 780,000 visits to porn websites at work in nine months. At his peak in July he was averaging a remarkable rate of 20 pages per minute, according to the BBC. [Ed: It should be noted that the number represents every single image and element loaded by each page, as counted by stats software, not the number of pages viewed. Still, it's quite a feat of slacking.]
The man was exposed only after his computer caught a virus, prompting officials to look at his browser history. Unbelievably, he wasn’t sacked, receiving instead a demotion and pay cut for his troubles.