Archive for August, 2010

Top 10 Worst Oil Spills

August 29, 2010

Oil spills have occurred ever since we began to harvest it for various uses, as a result of human error, laziness, or pure ignorance. Most recently, the devastating Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been all over the news- oil was pouring out of the blown rig for almost 100 days- so you probably won’t be surprised to find it on this list. More surprising: there have been worse spills in history.

Remember 1989’s Exxon Valdez oil spill? It was heavily referred to during the recent Deep Water Horizon oil spill, yet this oil spill doesn’t even make the list. Sadly, the Exxon Valdez spill seems miniscule compared to the other spills on this list. Below are the 10 worst oil spills ever recorded in history determined by the amount of oil that was leaked during the disaster:

10. The MT Haven, Italy, 1991 – 45 million gallons

MT Haven -worst-oil-spills-in-history

The MT Haven was launched in 1973 after its sister ship sank earlier in the decade. The main purpose of the ship was to carry crude oil from the Middle East gulf regions to various other countries. In 1987 during the Iran-Iraq war, the ship was hit by a missile and was sent to Singapore for repair. There, after it was fixed, the ship was sold to brokers. After being sold, the ship ran from Kharg Island (located off Iran) into the Mediterranean. For years the ship successfully ran its course back and forth through the waters.  Until April 11, 1991. On this day, the ship was, as usual, unloading oil (about 230,000 tons) at a platform a few miles from Genoa, Italy. After unloading about 80,000 tons, everything went wrong during a routine internal operation and there was an explosion.

A fire broke out immediately and flames were as high as 100 meters. More explosions occurred as millions of gallons of oil dispersed into the water. Six people were killed because of the disaster. Officials attempted to tow the ship to the land, but this failed as the keel was broken. A day after the explosion the ship sank, and for 12 years continued to leak oil. In the end the new owners of the ship were blamed due to repair of the ship after it was hit by a missile and put back into operation. (Image: underwater ship wreck of the MT Haven.)

9. ABT Summer, Angola, 1991 – 51 million gallons

ABT Summer oil spill angola

On May 28, 1991, the oil tanker ABT Summer was on its way from Iran to Rotterdam. It was carrying about 260,000 tons of oil. Near the end of its journey, the ABT Summer suddenly burst into flames. The ship was about 900 miles away from Angola. Once the flames began, the oil also started to leak from the tanker. The oil eventually began to form a slick that spread out to be about 80 square miles. The oil itself also burned too. The tanker was on fire for 3 whole days until it sank on June 1. After sinking, officials attempted to recover and locate the wreckage, but their efforts proved to be unsuccessful.

There is no clear evidence of exactly how much oil was burned or how much sank during the disaster. Out of the 32 crew-members on the ship, 5 of them died because of the explosion. While 51 million gallons of oil spilled into the water, there was nothing ever professionally done to fix it. It wasn’t too close to the coastline, so many believed that the high movement of the seas would eventually break up the oil slick and carry it away from the shore, reducing or completely eliminating any type of environmental impact.

8. The Amoco Cadiz, France, 1978 – 69 million gallons

Amo Cadiz French Oil Spill -worst-oil-spills-in-history

In 1978, the Amoco Cadiz, a very large crude carrier, was on its way from the Persian Gulf to Rotterdam with a stop in Great Britain. During this stop the ship experienced very unsettled water due to unstable weather conditions. The morning of the stop, a very heavy wave crashed into the ship’s rudder. The rudder was damaged and efforts to repair it failed. The ship sent out messages stating that it was unable to move, but no one on the ship called for assistance from a tug until hours later. A German tug eventually responded to the call but the high seas made assistance difficult. A tow line was eventually attached, but it broke, and a successful line was not put on until 8:55 that night. In efforts to stop the drifting, the Amoco Cadiz dropped its anchor, but the strong winds and mass of the tanker were too strong. At about 9:00PM, the ship ran aground, which then caused the engines to flood, which then ripped the hull and allowed oil to escape.

The next morning, the ship split in half and 69 million gallons of oil washed into the English Channel. Thankfully, everyone was rescued by French Naval Aviation troops, so no one died during the incident. Eventually the French Navy would sink the ship. None of the oil was able to be pumped out of the tanker due to the horrible weather. The oil eventually reached beaches, 76 in total, and spread 200 miles along the coastline.

7. Castillo de Bellver, South Africa, 1983 – 79 million gallons

Castillo De Bellver -worst-oil-spills-in-history

The Castillo de Bellver was carrying 252,000 tons of crude oil to South Africa on August 6, 1983. Once the ship was about 70 miles off of Cape Town, it suddenly caught fire, which caused the ship to drift and then break into two separate pieces. The stern, which may have been carrying about 100,000 tons of oil, was capsized about 24 miles from the South African coast. Once the flames died down and no more explosions were expected, the ship’s bow was towed away from the coast and then explosive charges were used to sink it. 50,000-60,000 tons of the oil may have sank into the sea or burned during the fire.

Thankfully, the oil never reached the coastline. It was headed towards the coast but a wind shift changed the direction of the oil back away from the coast. There wasn’t much clean up with this oil spill though dispersants were used. The impact wasn’t as serious as it could have been and wildlife seemed to be able to cope.

6. Nowruz Oil Field, Persian Gulf, 1983 – 80 million gallons

Nowruz oil spill

The year of 1983 really proved to be a horrible year at the Nowruz Oil Field. There were several different incidents that resulted in oil being spilled into the Persian Gulf. All of these incidents occurred during the height of the Iran-Iraq War. During the war, an oil tanker collided into an oil platform in the Persian Gulf. The power and force of the collision caused the platform to fall into a 45 degree angle-position. Waves and daily corrosion eventually caused the riser to fall into the wellhead. This of course caused heavy damage and for months, the well leaked 1,500 barrels of oil each day. Even though many planned efforts to stop the leakage were put into place, capping the well was seen as too dangerous because Iraqi planes were constantly attacking the platform.

Before this first incident was resolved, there were more oil spills. For example, in March 1983, Iraqi helicopters attacked a platform in the Nowruz Oil Field. During this incident alone, over 733,000 barrels of oil were spilled. The spill was finally stopped and capped in May 1983, but only after 9 people died in the attempt to cap the well. The first Nowruz incident was not solved until September 1983- 11 men had died during attempts to stop the leak.

5. Fergana Valley/Mingbulak, Russia, 1992 – 88 million gallons

Fergana Valley Russian oil spills

When you think about an oil spill you probably picture a capsized tanker or drilling platform issue; however, the Fergana Valley oil spill didn’t involve either. This case of the Fergana Valley oil spill is definitely one of ignorant thinking. It stands as one of the largest inland oil spills ever recorded. The Fergana Valley is located between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan which was a densely populated area with highly fertile land for agriculture. Vast oil deposits were discovered under the land- of course with this type of finding, drilling would happen, and it did.

On March 2, 1992, an oil well located in the area experienced a mechanical breakdown which then caused an oil blow out. This well was one of the most active in the location, resulting in the spilling of 88 million gallons of oil. The oil quickly flowed out of the well and into the valley. The oil from the well had been leaking for 8 months, but dikes were used to hold it back. Eventually the dikes failed and oil was sent into the Russian Arctic. The oil somehow stopped flowing on its own. The oil field was abandoned soon after.

4. Atlantic Empress/Aegean Captain, Trinidad and Tobago, 1979 – 90 million gallons

Atlantic Empress

On July 19, 1979, there was a very strong tropical storm in the Caribbean Sea near the Venezuelan coast very close to Tobago. Two ships, the Atlantic Empress and the Aegean Captain, were out on the sea trying to battle through the storm. The storm was extremely severe and weather conditions were horrible and the two ships collided. The Atlantic Empress, a fully loaded supertanker, carrying millions of gallons of oil, exploded into flames. Along with the explosion came the rushing of oil into the water, which wasn’t stopped until August 3, 1979.

A lot of the oil that was leaked burned in the fire; however, by the end of it all, 90 million gallons had seeped into the water near Tobago. The Atlantic Empress eventually sank, which brought an end to this oil disaster. Today it stands as the largest ship oil spill today.

3. Ixtoc I, Mexico, 1979 – 138 million gallons

Ixtoc Oil Spill

The Ixtoc I incident in Mexico is one that did not involve a tanker. Instead, the spill of 138 million gallons of oil was caused by a faulty offshore oil well. Pemex, a Mexican petroleum company, was attempting to drill an oil well when an unexpected blowout occurred on June 3, 1979. In no time the oil ignited, the drilling rig collapsed and oil began to freely flow into the Gulf of Mexico. Officials predicted that 10,000-30,000 barrels of oil a day were going into the Gulf. The horrible part is that it took almost a year to stop the leak. It was successfully capped in 1980, only after millions of gallons of oil had polluted waters.

Thankfully, Mother Nature helped with the Ixtoc I oil spill. Westerly winds and storms were able to keep the oil away and off of beaches near southeastern Texas and eastern Mexico, although some of the oil did reach South Padre Island. Beaches were soiled, but the outcome could have been much worse if the weather did not cooperate.

2. Deepwater Horizon, Gulf of Mexico, 2010 – 172 million gallons

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill located in the Gulf of Mexico occurred on April 20, 2010 after methane gas was somehow put under extremely high pressure, which then caused it to travel up the drill column and eventually ignite. The ignition then prompted an explosion that killed 11 workers (presumed dead as bodies were never found) and injured 17. The ship burned for about 36 hours, after efforts to calm the fire failed, and sank on April 22, 2010. The well continued to leak for over 100 days after various efforts and plans to stop the leak failed. Oil dispersants were widely spread throughout the waters, which helped some. A final fix came about on August 3, 2010 when mud was pumped into the well to stop the flow of oil.

The disturbing part of this spill is that it could have been avoided. Several workers on the platform spoke of their concerns regarding the well months before, but no action was ever really taken. The effects of this oil spill have been truly horrible. Animals have suffered, including pelicans, turtles, birds, and various others. Also, many people are out of plenty of money, jobs, and- in many cases- hope.

(Note: The amount of oil listed for the Deep Water Horizon oil spill was confirmed on August 2, 2010. Of course, the amount may change.)

1. Gulf War, Kuwait, 1991 – 520 million gallons

Gulf War oil spills

The Gulf War oil spill was not an accident; the oil was spilled purposefully during wartime. During the Gulf War in 1991, Iraqi forces, in hopes of thwarting the arrival of American Marine soldiers as well as lessening American oil supplies, unsealed and opened the valves located at an offshore oil terminal named Sea Island. They also dumped oil from many different tankers into the Persian Gulf. The media first reported that airstrikes from the Americans had blown up two oil tankers. In the end this wasn’t the case, though the Americans did eventually destroy the pipelines to avert more oil spilling into the Gulf.

By the end of it all, about 172 million gallons of oil poured into the Gulf. The oil covered over 4000 square miles and some of it was 5-inches thick. A study conducted after the oil spill found that the spill probably did very little damage in the long-term due to the fact that most of the oil evaporated and millions of barrels were able to be recovered. In the short-term, the impact on wildlife living in Kuwait and Iraq was devastating.


Top Ten Countries Without Military Forces

August 29, 2010

As said by famous French statesman George Clemenceau, “War is much too serious a matter to be entrusted to the military,” and even today, his statement still stands true. While most countries have large military forces that are able to deploy and protect at any given time (the largest and most notable being China, at about 1,600,000 army personnel), some countries have no military at all.

Below is a list of ten countries that have no set military forces, each of them with varying reasons why; some because of the country’s history other because of its location. While many people believe that a military force is a necessity, there are countries that see or have no need for them; however, in many cases, there is a back-up plan in the case that the country is attacked or war is declared upon that country.

10. Solomon Islands

SolomonIslands 485x400

The Solomon Islands, surprisingly, is not made up of just a few islands, but totals ranging in the thousands. Ever since the U.K. became the country’s protectorate in 1893, the country hasn’t had much of a military defense. During WWII the country did have the British Solomon Islands Protectorate Defense Force. Then, in 1976 the Solomon Islands were able to establish a government that was stable up until about 1998. During 1998-2006, the country was plagued with misconduct within the government, crime, and ethnic conflict. To properly resolve these issues, New Zealand and Australia both stepped in to restore peace and eventually disarm. Today the country internally has the Solomon Islands Police Force.

So who’s the protector?

There is no set protector of the Solomon Islands; however, the country had paid Australia for certain defense items. If a war were to ever be declared upon the islands, Australia would probably be one of the first countries to provide a defense. (Image: “Captain Warren Frederick Martin Clemens, British Solomon Islands Protectorate Defense Force (BSIPDF), with six members of the BSIPDF Scouts,”

9. Costa Rica


Though the country did once have an army, today, Costa Rica stands as one of many countries without a formal standing army. On December 1, 1948, José Figueres Ferrer, president at the time, signed legislation that would abolish the military after the fatal Costa Rican civil war that killed almost 2,000 people. To properly represent this abolishment, the president himself was able to break a wall of the Cuartel Bellavista, which was once an army headquarters location. Today the country has the Fuerza Pública which provides law enforcement, ground security, border patrol, and many other common duties held by a police force.

So who’s the protector?

Thanks to the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance of 1947, if any country were to ever attack or declare war upon Costa Rica, the country can depend on 21 other countries, including the U.S., Chile, and Cuba to provide some sort of military force to provide defense. The treaty stands that if any of the signed countries were attacked, those other countries would be looked upon to help provide some sort of military defense.

8. Samoa

Samoa 533x400

Today, Samoa has no set military force that could be used if ever necessary. Instead, the country would have to rely on outside friendships with other countries to find protection and defense in wartime. The country does have a Samoa Police Force, but of course, this is definitely not considered to be a military force for the entire country.

So who’s the protector?

Samoa has a friendship treaty with New Zealand, made in 1962.  In the event of a war or other foreign invasion, Samoa can call upon New Zealand for any sort of necessary military aid. However the agreement does state that either country can pull out of the treaty at any time if wanted.

7. Palau


Despite the lack of a national military force, Palau does have a Palau National Police section that was created to provide the necessary protection for civilians. Like most police forces, the Palau National Police force is needed to keep the peace and attend to any internal unrest that may occur. If war were to ever arise, Palau would have to reach out for help from other countries to provide some sort of defense system.

So who’s the protector?

Standing as an associated state, Palau will be protected by the U.S. in the event that the country is attacked or if another country decides that war with Palau is a must. This is because of the Compact of Free Association of 1983 that basically made the U.S. the protectorate of Palau.

6. Andorra


Despite not ever having a true organized military, the tiny country of Andorra was bold enough to declare war on Germany in 1914 and join the so called Great War. With a 10-man strong army, the country did not do much and was not taken seriously. Even though the country did officially pick sides, Andorra was not invited to the Versailles Peace Treaty negotiations. In 1931 the group of men roughly called an army was replaced by the Andorran National Police. This group, made up of about 240 men, was created to help keep the peace and is even trained to provide hostage rescue. Joining the police force is a must if you’re a man who owns a firearm.

So who’s the protector?

Andorra has not one, not two, but three protectors. France and Spain have both pledged to be the militaristic protectors of the 181 sq mi. country because of its location (landlocked). In fact in 1933, France militaristic force was needed to help settle civil unrest in the country. Besides these two countries, NATO forces would also take part in protecting the country if ever necessary.

5. Grenada

Grenada 334x400

Ever since the American-led invasion of Grenada, the country has not been able to establish a standing army. The invasion was mostly started because of a military coup and a power struggle within the government that led to the execution of the Grenadian Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop. Because of this invasion which successfully turned a communist state back into a democratic nation, the country does not have a standing army, but relies on the Royal Grenada Police Force as well as the Regional Security System.

So who’s the protector?

There is no set country that is set out to protect Grenada with a military force. Because of the Regional Security System, the country can look to Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for some sort of military support; however, most of these countries do not have a big enough defense system to be of great assistance. It seems that inevitably the U.S. would run to the rescue.

4. Marshall Islands


Under the Compact of Free Association of 1983, the Marshall Islands was granted the status of a sovereign nation. Also involved in the pact is the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau. Under this agreement, the three countries would be free, but would stand as associated states to the U.S. This means that the U.S. will serve as the protectorate and that the Marshall Islands would have no regular military force, or any sort of responsibility for the country’s defense during wartime. The country created the Marshall Islands Police to carry out common police duties within the country.

So who’s the protector?

Since the Marshall Islands are considered to be an associated state to the U.S., the U.S. is fully responsible for the country’s defense and security. If the islands were ever attacked, the U.S. would have to provide the necessary military support to assist in the war.

3. Liechtenstein


Like a few others on the list, Liechtenstein is another country that decided to completely abolish its standing army. Liechtenstein got rid of its army in 1868 after the Austro-Prussian War because it was said to be too expensive for the country to afford. After the country was freed from the German Confederation, it was obligated to maintain its own army, but the funding just wasn’t available. However, to keep peace within the country, there is a police force known as the Principality of Liechtenstein National Police.

So who’s the protector?

There is no set country that would have to defend Liechtenstein in the event of a war or some other sort of attack. It is said that the country is allowed to rally up an army in the case of a war, but this army would probably be futile and help from Switzerland just might come. There have been talks of Switzerland being responsible for Liechtenstein’s defense, but neither country have proven or denied this claim.

2. Nauru


Nauru, known as the smallest island country in the world at just 8.1 sq miles is definitely unique in many ways, though like plenty others on the list, has no set standing army or any other type of military force. The country, possibly due to its size, doesn’t even have a capital. Though extremely small, the country does have a Nauru Police Force that is utilized to ensure that the country is able to maintain stability. Located in a group of thousands of small islands called Micronesia, the country is heavily relied upon for its readily accessible phosphate.  Today the country keeps close contact with nearby Australia and other Micronesia islands.

So who’s the protector?

It is said that through an informal agreement made between Nauru and Australia that Australia would supply militaristic needs or basic country defense. In fact, in December 1940 when Germany attacked Nauru, the Australian Navy was called upon to defend the country as necessary.

1. Vatican City

swissguard 278x400

Named the smallest country in the world, Vatican City, unsurprisingly, is a country that does not have a de jure military; however, this hasn’t always been the case. In the past, there were numerous militaristic groups that were created to protect the country and most importantly the Pope. Notably the Noble Guard and the Palatine Guard did exist, but Pope Paul VI abolished both groups in 1970. Today, Vatican City’s best example of a militaristic force would be the Pontifical Swiss Guard. This group is meant to protect the Pope as well as the Palace of the Vatican. There is also the Gendarmerie Corps, but this group is considered to be a civilian force rather than military. They are responsible for keeping public order, traffic control, border control, and investigating criminal activity.

So who’s the protector?

Well, since Vatican City is located in Rome, Italy is fully responsible for protecting the tiny country within its own country’s capital. Italy has an organized armed force of about 186,798 men and women with 109,703 personnel in the Army and 43,882 in the Navy. The country also has an Air Force that can provide protection as needed.

Top Ten Search Engines

August 29, 2010

Most of us don’t want 420 search engines, especially those folks who are Internet beginners. Most people want a single search engine that delivers three key features:

  1. Relevant results  (results you are actually interested in)
  2. Uncluttered, easy to read interface
  3. Helpful options to broaden or tighten a search

With this criteria, 10 Reader Favorite Search Engines come to mind. These 10 search sites should meet 99% of the searching needs of a regular everyday user.

Below is a changing list of user favorites, compiled from reader email suggestions. The sites below are in random order, and are updated regularly to reflect changes and user suggestions.

1. Ask (aka ‘Ask Jeeves’)

The Ask/AJ/Ask Jeeves search engine is a longtime name in the World Wide Web. The super-clean interface rivals the other major search engines, and the search options are as good as Google or Bing or DuckDuckGo. The results groupings are what really make stand out. The presentation is arguably cleaner and easier to read than Google or Yahoo! or Bing, and the results groups seem to be more relevant. Decide for yourself if you agree… give a whirl, and compare it to the other search engines you like.

2. Cuil (pronounced ‘cool’)

This search engine was founded by ex-Google staff. It is spartan, like Google and DuckDuckGo. But there are differences beyond the black background. Cuil uses a column format like a newspaper, and it offers both tabbled and columned groups to help your searching. The results are not ranked in the same currents events/popularity sequence that Google is known for. But can really be helpful in choosing research directions when you are just discovering a topic for the first time.

3. Duck Duck Go

At first, looks like Google. But there are many subtleties that make this spartan search engine different. DuckDuckGo has some slick features, like ‘zero-click’ information (all your answers are found on the first results page). DuckDuckgo offers disambiguation prompts (helps to clarify what question you are really asking). And the ad spam is much less than Google. Give a try… you might really like this clean and simple search engine.

4. Clusty (aka ‘Yippy’)

Clusty is a Deep Web engine that searches other search engines for you. Unlike the regular Web, which is indexed by robot spider programs, Deep Web pages are usually harder to locate by conventional search. That’s where Clusty becomes very useful. If you are searching for obscure hobby interest blogs, obscure government information, tough-to-find obscure news, academic research and otherwise-obscure content, then Clusty is your tool.

5. Webopedia

Webopedia is one of the most useful websites on the World Wide Web. Webopedia is an encyclopedic resource dedicated to searching techno terminology and computer definitions. Teach yourself what ‘domain name system’ is, or teach yourself what ‘DDRAM’ means on your computer. Webopedia is absolutely a perfect resource for non-technical people to make more sense of the computers around them.

Visit Webopedia here

6. Yahoo!

Yahoo! is several things: it is a search engine, a news aggregator, a shopping center, an emailbox, a travel directory, a horoscope and games center, and more. This ‘web portal’ breadth of choice makes this a very helpful site for Internet beginners. Searching the Web should also be about discovery and exploration, and Yahoo! delivers that in wholesale quantities.

7. Bing

Bing is Microsoft’s attempt at unseating Google. Bing used to be MSN search until it was updated in summer of 2009. Touted as a ‘decision engine’, Bing tries to support your researching by offering suggestions in the leftmost column, while also giving you various search options across the top of the screen. Things like ‘wiki’ suggestions, ‘visual search’, and ‘related searches’ might be very useful to you. Bing is not dethroning Google in the near future, no. But Bing is definitely worth trying.

8. Mahalo

Mahalo is the one ‘human-powered’ search site in this list, employing a committee of editors to manually sift and vet thousands of pieces of content.  This means that you’ll get fewer Mahalo hit results than you will get at Bing or Google. But it also means that most Mahalo results have a higher quality of content and relevance (as best as human editors can judge).

Mahalo also offers regular web searching in addition to asking questions.  Depending on which of the two search boxes you use at Mahalo, you will either get direct content topic hits or suggested answers to your question.

Try Mahalo.  You might like it enough to even become a editor there.

9. Google

Google is the undisputed king of ‘spartan searching’. While it doesn’t offer all the shopping center features of Yahoo!, Google is fast, relevant, and the largest single catalogue of Web pages available today. Make sure you try the Google ‘images’, ‘maps’ and ‘news’ features… they are outstanding services for locating photos, geographic directions, and news headlines.

10. The Internet Archieve

The Internet Archive is a favorite destination for longtime Web lovers. The Archive has been taking snapshots of the entire World Wide Web for years now, allowing you and me to travel back in time to see what a web page looked like in 1999, or what the news was like around Hurricane Katrina in 2005. You won’t visit the Archive daily, like you would Google or Yahoo or Bing, but when you do have need to travel back in time, use this search site.

Search Engine Statistics – What Market Share?

According to 2010 July 31 figures from Hitwise (Top Search Engines by Volume).

Top Search Engines for 2010

2010 Google Yahoo! Bing Ask AOL Search Total
2010-07-31 71.43% 14.43% 9.86% 2.32% 1.19% 99.23%
2010-06-26 71.65% 14.37% 9.85% 2.19% 1.15% 99.21%
2010-05-22 72.00% 14.58% 9.20% 2.18% 1.06% 99.02%
2010-05-08 71.56% 14.79% 9.31% 2.27% 1.07% 99.00%
2010-03-06 71.07% 14.46% 9.55% 3.01% 0.98% 99.07%
2010-02-06 71.35% 14.60% 9.56% 2.55% 1.06% 99.12%
2010-01-02 72.25% 14.83% 8.91% 2.53% 0.77% 99.29%

Top Search Engines for 2009

2009 Google Yahoo! Bing Ask Total
2009 12 72.52% 14.99% 8.81% 2.52% 98.84%
2009 09 70.46% 16.73% 9.28% 2.50% 98.97%
2009 08 70.24% 16.96% 9.44% 2.37% 99.01%
2009 07 72.07% 17.00% 7.31% 2.58% 98.96%
2009 06 74.04% 16.19% 4.99% 3.15% 98.37%
2009 05 73.66% 15.55% 5.64% 3.81% 98.66%
2009 04 72.68% 16.29% 5.67% 3.96% 98.60%
2009 03 72.13% 16.56% 5.50% 4.02% 98.21%
2009 02 72.11% 17.52% 5.55% 3.47% 98.65%

2009-07-29 – Microsoft, Yahoo! Change Search Landscape

SUNNYVALE, Calif. and REDMOND, Wash. – 29 July, 2009 – Yahoo! and Microsoft announced an agreement that will improve the Web search experience for users and advertisers, and deliver sustained innovation to the industry. In simple terms, Microsoft will now power Yahoo! search while Yahoo! will become the exclusive worldwide relationship sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers.

Top Search Engines for 2008

2008 Google Yahoo! MSN/Live Ask
2008 12 72.07% 17.79% 4.10% * 3.15%
2008 11 71.97% 17.70% 4.10% * 3.35%
2008 10 71.86% 17.74% 4.16% * 3.53%
2008 09 71.16% 18.06% 4.22% * 3.63%
2008 08 71.01% 18.26% 5.32% 3.45%
2008 07 70.07% 18.65% 5.36% 3.53%
2008 06 69.17% 19.62% 5.46% 4.17%
2008 05 68.29% 19.95% 5.89% 4.23%
2008 04 67.90% 20.28% 6.26% 4.17%
2008 03 67.25% 20.29% 6.65% 4.09%
2008 02 66.44% 20.59% 6.95% 4.16%
2008 01 65.98% 20.94% 6.90% 4.21%

* Does not include data

Top Search Engines for 2007

2007 Google Yahoo! MSN/Live Ask
2007 12 65.98% 20.88% 7.04% 4.14%
2007 11 65.10% 21.21% 7.09% 4.63%
2007 10 64.49% 21.65% 7.42% 4.76%
2007 09 63.55% 22.55% 7.83% 4.32%

Top Search Engines for 2006

2006 Google Yahoo! MSN/Live Ask
2006 10 60.94% 22.34% 10.72% 4.34%

Source: Hitwise Press Releases

Top Ten Humorous Awards

August 28, 2010

February means the awards show season is in full swing, as accolades are handed out for the best movies, television shows, and records of the year. But this time of the year is also when a lot of the best joke awards come to pass. While the Oscars are busy honoring the best acting performances of the year, there are other ceremonies that honor the worst acting. And while every year the Nobel committee honors the geniuses and do-gooders of the world, there are other groups that seek to “reward” the stupidest and most malevolent nominees possible. The following is a list of some of the best and weirdest of these joke awards and competitions.

10. The Bad Sex in Fiction Award


Before you start trying to publish that romance novel you’ve been working on, make sure you’ve put some real effort into writing your love scenes, because if you don’t, you might end up winning the “Bad Sex in Fiction Award.” Put out every year by the British magazine Literary Review, the prize jokingly awards the worst depictions of sex in literature. As the creators say, the award seeks “to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it.” The award isn’t just reserved for hack writers, either. Past winners have included such literary luminaries as Tom Wolfe and Norman Mailer, and many other famous novelists have been nominated. Winners are presented with a plaster foot each year in a ceremony in London. (Above: Courtney Love presenting a plaster foot to 2006 winner Iain Hollingshead, for his book Twentysomething.)

Most Famous Winner
This is a matter of opinion, but one of the most egregious offenders has got to be 1997’s winner Nicholas Royle, whose book The Matter of the Heart included such steamy one-liners as “she made a noise somewhere between a beached seal and a police siren.”

9. The Pigasus Award

pigasus 1

The Pigasus Award is handed out nearly every year by James Randi, a noted magician, skeptic, and debunker of “paranormal phenomena.” As he describes it, the award seeks to “honor” the worst of the charlatans and phonies who claim to have special psychic, magic, and paranormal abilities. Randi has unofficially given the awards out almost every year since 1982, and there are different categories to honor all varieties of fraud. These include the worst example of pseudoscience, the most fraudulent performer, the organization that funded the most useless study, and the media outlet that reported on the most outrageous instance of a paranormal phenomenon.  Past winners have included the Montel Williams Show, for continually having psychic Sylvia Browne as a guest, and Dr. Colin A. Ross, a Canadian psychiatrist who claimed he could shoot electromagnetic radiation from his eyes. Randi doesn’t officially give out the awards; instead, he claims to send them via telekinesis, saying that if the winners don’t receive the trophy then it must be due to a “lack of paranormal talent” on their part.

Most Famous Winner
The most notable winner of the Pigasus Award is surely Uri Geller, a UK-based psychic performer whom Randi has lambasted time and again for being a fraud. In fact, in its earliest incarnation the Pigasus Award was known as the “Uri Award.” Geller, who is known for bending spoons and performing other tricks with his supposed telepathic powers, has sued Randi repeatedly for slander and libel, with little success.

8. The Lanterne Rouge

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It’s typical to reward the winner of a race, but in cycling there is another more dubious honor called the “Lanterne Rouge,” which is handed out to the rider who finishes in last place. The French term is translated as “red lantern,” and is supposedly a reference to the light that is placed on the back of the caboose on a train. It has become most famously associated with the Tour de France, where it has been unofficially handed out every year since 1903. Ironically, the competition to become the Lanterne Rouge has often been as heated as the race for the win, the logic being that unlike those who finish in the middle of the pack, the last place rider will be remembered by the public. This has proven to be true, as the winner of the race for worst often becomes a cult hero among the fans and is able to make a good amount of money from public appearances. This became such a problem that in 1980, the Tour briefly instituted a rule that said the last place rider from each stage would be dropped from the competition. Naturally, riders just raced for second to last in each stage in order to make it to the final day and claim their honor as the best of the worst.

Most Famous Winner
The man who holds the record for most Lanterne Rouge wins is Wim Vansevenant, a Belgian cyclist who claimed last place three years in a row from 2006 to 2008. He retired after his last “win,” and has supposedly become a farmer (pictured above).

7. The Bulwer-Lytton and Little-Lytton Fiction Contests

bulwer lytton

The Bulwer-Lytton award is handed out each year by the English department of San Jose State University. It’s a writing prize, but unlike the Pulitzer or the National Book Award, it seeks to honor the entrant who can provide the worst of all possible opening sentences to an imaginary novel. The contest is named after the nineteenth century novelist Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, whose book Paul Clifford opens with the now universally hated sentence “It was a dark and stormy night.” Today, there are tens of thousands of entries every year, each one more convoluted, purple, and hilarious than the next. There are now a number of different categories, and there are even several offshoots competitions of Bulwer-Lytton, like the Lyttle-Lytton contest, which restricts the contestants to 25 words or less. Lyttle-Lytton has since become its own phenomenon, and has given us such gems of so-bad-it’s-good prose as “Because they had not repented, the angel stabbed the unrepentant couple thirteen times, with its sword,” which was Graham Swanson’s winning entry from 2008.

Most Famous Winner
There’s too many great Bulwer-Lytton winners to choose just one, but a personal favorite would have to be Martha Simpson’s winning entry from 1985: “The countdown had stalled at T minus 69 seconds when Desiree, the first female ape to go up in space, winked at me slyly and pouted her thick, rubbery lips unmistakably—the first of many such advances during what would prove to be the longest, and most memorable, space voyage of my career.”

6. The Ernie Awards

One of Australia’s most famously ironic accolades is the Ernie Award, a trophy handed out every year to the man judged to have made the most sexist remark in the media. The awards were first started in the early nineties by Australian politician Meredith Burgmann, and are handed out every year at a dinner attended by hundreds of women. The “winners” are decided by which nominee receives the loudest booing when their name and comment is read aloud to the group. The Ernies are broken up into different categories, so there are separate awards handed out for offenders in the realms of industry, politics, the legal system, the media, sports, and celebrities. There is even an award for the woman who’s made the most harmful remark of the year. Past winners of the “Golden Ernie,” the overall award, have included magistrates, private companies, and even the Prime Minister, while the “Silver Ernie” has been handed out to everyone from the father of tennis player Jelena Dokic to Tom Cruise.

Most Famous Winner
One of the most notable recent winners was 2008’s champion John Maloney, the mayor of the small Australian mining town of Mount Isa, who remarked that “beauty disadvantaged” women should move to his town because its mainly male population didn’t have very high standards.

5. The Big Brother Awards

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George Orwell’s famous novel 1984 describes a dystopian society where freedom and privacy are nonexistent and “Big Brother” is always watching. The Big Brother Awards, which are presented by the nonprofit watchdog group Privacy International, are inspired by Orwell’s cautionary view of the future and seek to “reward” the “government agencies, private companies and individuals who have excelled in the violation of our privacy.” Nearly every year, a jury of academics, journalists, and lawyers come together to judge who is the worst offender in the realm of surveillance, the illegal collection of data, and the invasion of privacy. The awards began in the UK in the late 90s, and since then they have spread around the world and are now held in as many as 18 different countries, including the United States. Winners have included everyone from Google, for its controversial policy of collecting information on users, to Vladimir Putin, for pretty much anything you can think of. In true tongue-in-cheek fashion, the winners receive a trophy depicting a golden boot stomping on a human head. No word yet on whether anyone has actually tried to collect.

Most Famous Winner
Most of the winners of the Big Brother Awards are the types of companies and individuals that tend to fly under the radar, but there have been some well-known recipients. One of the most famous from the UK ceremony was Tony Blair, described on the Big Brother Awards’ website as “the smiling puppeteer,” who received a “Lifetime Menace Award” in 2005.

4. The Stella Awards


Sue-happy Americans have become notorious for filing frivolous lawsuits in order make a quick buck. The Stella Awards, which were started by journalist Randy Cassingham in 2002, seek to draw attention to the most absurd and egregious examples of people abusing the legal system. The awards are named after Stella Liebeck, a woman who won a $2.9 million lawsuit in 1992 when she sued after spilling a cup of McDonald’s coffee on herself. That might be one of the most famous frivolous lawsuits of all time, but it seems almost reasonable compared to most of the Stella Award winning lawsuits, which range from the greedy and disingenuous to the downright ridiculous. Some examples include an Oregon man who sued Michael Jordan because he claimed the NBA star looked too much like him, a woman who sued Mazda after getting injured in a car accident because they didn’t “provide instructions regarding the proper use of a seatbelt,” and a man who legally changed his name to “Jack Ass” and then sued the MTV show of the same name for plagiarism.

Most Famous Winner
It seems like the Stella Award winners just get more ridiculous with each passing year, but one of the most famous recipients has got to be Christopher Roller, who was 2005’s big winner. He sued the illusionists David Copperfield and David Blaine for millions, claiming that their magic tricks defied the laws of physics and that they must be wielding some kind of godlike powers. As if that wasn’t weird enough, Roller went on to claim that he was God himself, and that if the magicians were in possession of supernatural power, they must have somehow stolen it from him.

3. The Ig Nobel Prize


While the Nobel Prize is busy rewarding its winners for breakthroughs in science, literature, and economics, its smaller, more irreverent cousin the Ig Nobel Prize honors people for inventing bras that can be turned into gas masks or extracting vanilla flavoring from cow dung. The awards are a play on “Nobel Prize” and the word “ignoble,” which means dishonorable or not of nobility. They are handed out every year by the magazine Annals of Improbable Research and seek to honor discoveries and achievements that “first make people laugh, and then make them think.” The Ig Nobel is known for honoring bizarre and seemingly inconsequential research, but the organizers insist that they are only trying to highlight imaginative work that will encourage public interest in science. This hasn’t stopped some from seeing the award as a backhanded compliment: in 1995, the science advisor to the British government asked that British scientists no longer be given the Ig Nobel, as it risked exposing legitimate research to undeserved ridicule. Still, despite any criticisms, the Ig Nobel continues to be one of the most popular, if least prestigious, awards in science.

Most Famous Winner
One of the most notable Ig Nobel Prize winners was the United States Air Force, which won the award for Peace in 2007 for its theoretical “Gay Bomb,” a device that would scatter female pheromones over enemy soldiers and cause them to become sexually attracted to one another.

2. The Darwin Awards


You don’t necessarily want to win any of the awards on this list, but you definitely don’t want to be honored with the Darwin Award, a darkly comic accolade given out each year to the people who manage to die in the most idiotic ways possible. The awards began as a bizarre stories discussion group in the late 80s, but they grew with the rise of the Internet and now feature a popular website and a bestselling series of books written by Wendy Northcutt. The awards are named after the evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin, who popularized the phrase “survival of the fittest,” and they seek to honor the unfortunate people who “do a service to humanity by removing themselves from the gene pool,” most often in a “supremely idiotic fashion.” This can happen in a variety of ways, from the guy who thought it was a good idea to juggle live hand grenades, to the one who decided to use a lighter to look inside a fuel tank to see if there was any gas in it. In all cases, the winners must fit a few criteria: they must be rendered unable to reproduce (either through death or sterilization); the accident must be their fault; they must be of sound judgment; and the act itself must be notable for its stupidity. There is also a category of honorable mentions for candidates who didn’t die but suffered injuries because of their foolishness. One famous example occurred in 2001, when two burglars broke into the house of professional soccer player and notorious brawler Duncan “Disorderly” Ferguson. Ferguson caught the men in the act, and one of them ended up being hospitalized for three days.

Most Famous Winner
There might be no more classic example of a Darwin Award honoree than the lawyer who thought it was a good idea to test how strong the windows of his 24th floor office were by running into them at full speed. As you might imagine, they weren’t strong enough.

1. The Razzies

Actors and filmmakers like to say that it’s an honor just to be nominated for the prestigious Academy Awards, but the same can’t be said about the Golden Raspberry Awards—also known as “the Razzies”—which precede the Oscars by a day and seek to reward the year’s worst achievements in film. While the Oscars are busy honoring No Country for Old Men and Meryl Streep, the Razzies are handing out accolades to The Love Guru and Paris Hilton for her turn in The Hottie and the Nottie. The Razzies were started in 1981 by John Wilson, a professional copywriter and movie buff who used to have guests at his Oscar party provide joke nominations for the worst films of the year. Today, as many as 650 judges vote on the worst achievements in cinema, and the awards have become so famous that some celebrities, including Bill Cosby and Tom Selleck, have even gone so far as to accept their “honor,” which comes in the form of a plastic trophy spray-painted gold. The Razzies have often overlapped with the mainstream awards shows in unusual ways. One notable example is the film Mamma Mia, which won several Razzies despite also being nominated at the Golden Globes. This year features another first, as Sandra Bullock has simultaneously been nominated for both an Oscar (for The Blind Side) and a Razzie (for All About Steve).

Most Famous Winner
The most famous Razzie Award Winner is undoubtedly Halle Berry, who won the 2004 Worst Actress trophy for Catwoman only two years after claiming the Best Actress Oscar for Monster’s Ball. In a legendary display of good sportsmanship, Berry appeared in person to accept her award and, while holding her Oscar statuette in her other hand, gave a speech where she thanked her director and manager for helping her deliver such a terrible performance.

Top Ten Historical Mysteries

August 28, 2010

Breathtaking Visions of Earth – National Geographic

August 28, 2010

Suicidal teenagers caught

August 28, 2010

Children as young as 12 left onlookers stunned after risking their lives by ‘tombstoning’ from a death-defying dui lawyers 65-foot height. Structured Settlement Investments
The youngsters gathered at the notorious Dead Man’s Cove point yesterday to make the potentially lethal leap into the rocky water loan rates below.
A 13-year-old girl seems to freeze in terror before dui lawyers making the dangerous plunge – holding her nose as she hurtles through the air. mesothelioma lawyers

Dare devils: Children as young as 12 make the potentially fatal  65-foot leap

Dare devils: Children as young as 12 make the potentially fatal 65-foot leap
No fear: The group stunned onlookers with their reckless behaviour

mesothelioma lawyers
Another teenager, covered in tattoos, strips off to the waist before diving head-first off the ledge – which is infamous for tombstoning – on the Plymouth Hoe, Plymouth.
It comes in the same week that teenager Dean Mason died after leaping into Holcombe Quarry, Somerset.

Death-defying: A teenager plunges head first after making the  potentially fatal leap off Dead Man's Cove

Death-defying: A teenager plunges head first after making the potentially fatal leap off Dead Man’s Cove
Dangerous: A girl holds her nose as she hurtles to the water from  the 65-foot drop

Dangerous: A girl holds her nose as she hurtles to the water from the 65-foot drop

The 19-year-old, from Weston-super-Mare, is the latest to be killed in the highly dangerous craze.
After the Somerset tragedy on Saturday, Avon and Somerset Police Inspector Jo Ross said: ‘Although it is tempting to jump into cool water in the hot weather, I would urge people not to jump into the unknown.

Lucky landing: The girl hits the water after jumping from Dead  Man's Cove

Lucky landing: The girl hits the water after jumping from Dead Man’s Cove
Deadly jump: Dead Man's Cove is a notorious tombstoning point in  Plymouth

Deadly jump: Dead Man’s Cove is a notorious tombstoning point in Plymouth

‘Submerged objects like rocks may not be visible, and can cause serious injury or death if you jump on to them. Structured Settlement Investments
‘Equally the shock of the cold water can be just as harmful and make it difficult to swim.
‘Don’t let alcohol, drugs or peer pressure affect your judgment.’

Top Ten Barbie Dolls

August 28, 2010

Top Ten Worst Musical Performances By Actors

August 28, 2010

10. Steven Seagal

At some point the Hollywood Seagal became washed up, fatter and fell under the spell of mind-altering silk suits that seemed to take over his wardrobe and persona. His offering to the music world is a slice of pop-contemporary-blues that can only be described as abhorrent.

This film clip features a chubby Seagal enjoying a Gary Glitter-esque trip to Thailand where he woos a teenage girl. She seems confused and somewhat withdrawn when Seagal’s busy hands are used, not to karate chop her skull, but to tenderly (and creepily) fondle her naked back while singing “it’s alright with me” in her ear. Hey Steven she is half your age, weight and wearing half as much silk… of course it’s alight with you!

To detract us from the dark undertone that runs through this musical abomination, he is seen roughhousing village children in a jovial manner and riding elephants that are only slightly larger then him. Sorry Steve, but stick to producing your energy drinks because the taste your music leaves in our mouth is even worse.

9. Crispin Glover

Crispin is most notably known for his role as McFly in Back to the future. Yep, as an actor you could basically hang your hat on that achievement.

Crispin’s song, aptly named “Clowny Clown Clown,” made him a shoe-in for this list. “Clowny Clown Clown” is one of the best examples of hallucinogenic drug abuse manifested in musical form since Ringo Star was given the “artistic freedom” to write Yellow Submarine. The extent of Crispin’s talent is evident in the first few lines of “Clowny Clown Clown” as he somehow rhymes: ground, sound, around, clown and frown. Stand aside Dr. Seuss, I think you just met your match.

8. Joaquin Phoenix

The man has serious acting talent. In fact I’m finding it hard to pick any holes in his body of work. However, his dabbling in music has been the butt of many jokes. The beard, hobo appearance and the almost unforgivable crime of wearing brown corduroy pants suggest Joaquin is Joaqu-o.

7. The Hoff

There is no doubt the great man has versatility. He helped smash the Berlin Wall and topple the iron curtain; he can also smash a double cheese & bacon burger while being outrageously drunk. Perhaps his greatest natural ability was displayed on the set of Baywatch where he was able to magically suck his lower intestine into his chest cavity, giving the impression he was only half fat.

One area the Hoff doesn’t excel is music. He is responsible for a litany of musical disasters but surely his Hindenburg moment was his rendition of “Jump in My Car”. This rare example of lameness dances the uncomfortable line between self-parody and attempting to artistically create something audiences will take serious. A bit like a street mime, I guess (if only the Hoff was just as silent…).

6. Edward Furlong

I know what you’re thinking. When the hell did Edward Furlong have a music career? Well it’s a little known fact that between filming Terminator II and becoming a drug addled, pasty, bloated, washed up child actor he recorded some seriously bad tunes.

His single “Hold on Tight” was so bad that had the T1000 heard it, Edward’s off-pitch singing would have corrupted Arnie’s protection program, causing him to punch a hole straight through John Connor’s throat.

Just as the Germans are to blame for the Hoff’s music career, so the Japanese are to blame for Edward’s- they funded and recorded this album of shame. It can only be assumed that the Japanese love affair with Edward is a result of their love of robots and anyone who’s had a contract on their life from a robot.

5. Bruce Willis

It pains me to say anything bad against the great man but gee whiz, Bruce really stunk the place up with maximum stinkage with his 1987 album Return of Bruno.

Thankfully for Bruce the greatest action movie Die Hard was released the following year, meaning he earned enough manliness credits to absolve his past girly entertainment sins.

If he never appeared in Die Hard, his career would have petered out and his resume would have read Moonlighting, Return of Bruno and Hudson Hawk… *shudder*

4. Corey Feldman

Drugs and music are often a marriage made in heaven. A rare exception to this: Corey Feldman and his ironically named song “Honesty.” If his manager was honest, he would have told Corey Feldman to forget music and concentrate on his one true skill: getting loaded with Corey Haim.

A testament to the hacky badness of “Honesty” is that the most credible moment of the music clip occurs when a guy calling himself “Sir Osis of Liver” introduces the song.

3. Gary Coleman

I don’t like to speak ill of the recently departed but I’m sure Gary’s doing hard time in purgatory for his musical sins on earth.

His duet named “Outlaw and the Indian” features Coleman exchanging cheese ball rhymes with a hyper effeminate Michael Jackson look-a-like in Dion Mial.

Coleman adds to the lack of credibility of this musical venture by performing in   a cowboy costume that would have embarrassed an 8 year old playing ‘dress up’ in the 1950’s.

2. Mr. T

Mr. T’s song “Treat your Mother Right” warms the cockles of a listener’s heart the same way as acidy heartburn. And, just like heartburn, the message of this track is very hard to swallow.

It’s hardly surprising to learn that Mr. T received rap direction from Ice-T during the recording of this album, solid proof that Ice-T sold out long before acting on Law and Order: SVU.

1. Leonard Nimoy

I have always wondered why Dr Spock’s ears were a crazy shape. Here’s one theory:  the pointy shape of Spock’s ears help to distort repugnant 1960’s hyper camp songs making them palatable to Vulcans. The normal shape of Human and Klingon ears means listening to the same music leads to acute cochlea pain. You have been warned non-Vulcans!

Top Ten Time Management Games

August 28, 2010

With so many time management games out on the market currently, it’s so hard to pick out the good ones! I hate seeing people waste their money on games that they only play 10 minutes of, even if they’re only a dollar. These things add up, you know!

I think what makes these games so appealing is the feeling of accomplishment that you get when you play them. If the game is good, it captures you, and it gives you a feeling that you’re actually in it. I mean, how awesome would it be if humans were actually as efficient as Flo, Sally, or Nikki when it comes to running a diner, spa, or supermarket; or if our everyday job consisted of having enough power and control to prevent boats and flights from crashing? That’s talent right there!  Anyways, I don’t want to say too much or I’ll give the whole list away! So here we go, here is my list of the top ten time management (iPhone) games.

10.  Jojo’s Fashion Show

Jojos Fashion Show

Jojo’s Fashion Show 2 reminds me of The Sims when you get to chose what outfit you want your character to be wearing. However, in this game, you have a theme like “Bollywood” or “African”. Then you are given different clothing articles that you can mix and match to find an outfit that matches the theme. This includes: tops, dresses, skirts, pants, shoes, and various other accessories. I love this game because it allows you to get creative. As well, it’s not as redundant as other time management games.  I didn’t rate this at the top of my time management games list just because it isn’t as versatile as the other games. That is, I’m not sure I could see my boyfriend playing and enjoying this game as much as I do!

9.  Airport Mania:  First Flight

airport mania first flight

Airport Mania is like running your own airport in the comfort of your own… iPhone! In this game, you direct planes, board and unboard passengers, and repair the planes as need be. It’s fast-paced and addictive. I also like this game because, like Harbor Master, you aren’t controlling just one character, you are controlling the whole situation/scene. It’s an overall fun game, but I didn’t put it past the top 5 because I wasn’t too fond of the graphics.

8.  Harbor Master

Harbor master

At first, I was very hesitant to purchase this game. It looked extremely boring. The only reason why I purchased Harbor Master was because of the high ratings it had on the App Store. Well, let me tell you, this game is addictive! The purpose is to try and get the boats into the right harbor to unload their cargo. If the docks are full, you lead the boat in another direction until the dock is available. However, you also have to make sure that boats don’t crash into each other. You can only imagine how busy it gets in the later levels! Despite having a bird’s eye view in this game, the graphics are still fantastic; simple yet realistic.

7.  Cake Mania Celebrity Chef

cake mania

In Cake Mania Celebrity Chef, you are trying to make a cake based on the customer’s order. There are several stations, and step-by-step you create a cake until you’ve reached the finished product. It’s similar to Bar Star, but I felt like Bar Star kept things more interesting because the players were introduced to a larger variety of products more frequently (i.e. we saw more drinks introduced vs. cakes). I chose the celebrity edition over the original Cake Mania version because of the cute, recognizable characters in the game. As well, the graphics are a lot better. I just love how colorful and bright this game is!

6.  Miriel the Magical Merchant

miriel the magical merchant

Miriel the Magical Merchant is like the baby of Cake Mania and Supermarket Mania if they had a kid. In this game, you are mixing and matching ingredients to satisfy customer orders. This game has a touch of fantasy filled with cute and inventive characters.

5.  Supermarket Mania

supermarket mania

Supermarket Mania features a young girl named Nikki, who works in a grocery store. Her job is to keep the shelves stocked at all times. I especially love the fast-paced music, and the great graphics in the game- it really feels like you’re in a grocery store. There are 50 levels in the game, which will keep you entertained for many hours. As well their upgrades are quirky and cute. Definitely worth picking up.

4.  Bar Star

bar star

Bar Star made it onto my top five list of time management games because, although similar to Diner Dash, it has its own unique twist which is what makes the game so good. Instead of having the basic setting where tasks can get redundant (the duties are all the same), and where the difficulty comes from the increase in customers, Bar Star is different. There comes a point in the game where you will have to mix cocktails, and in order to do so, you have to chose the right glass and ingredients. However, as the game progresses, more ingredients are added to different parts of the bar, and it’s easy to get them mixed up. Therefore, memory comes into play with these games. I’d say Bar Star is one step up in difficulty from all the other time management games so far on the list. Besides that, this game is set inside a bar, and you’re learning how to mix drinks. How much better can it get?

3.  Turbo Subs

turbo subs

Turbo Subs involves making a sandwich requested by the customer. This game, however, added in a few obstacles such as thieves, which gives it a nice, hilarious touch. I also enjoyed the upgrades: appliances and condiments, as well as the creativity and attention to detail that they put into the game. That is, not only were you able to serve subs, the customer also had the option to purchase snacks such as cotton candy and chips, as well as drinks. However, because the game is similar to Diner Dash, it did not make it on the top of the list.

2.  Sally’s Spa

sallys spa

Sally’s Spa revolves around a spa (obviously!) managed by Sally (double obviously!). Manage spas all around the world in places like New York, Paris, Rome, and Japan!  This game is so addictive, and like most of the other time management games out there, it’s easy and mindless. However, that’s what makes it so great! Don’t you always get this nice, warm, fuzzy feeling when you win a level in a game? I know I do, and from this game, it’s almost impossible to lose! Bottom line: this game leads me satisfied. The graphics are also great!

1.  Diner Dash

diner dash

Diner Dash is the most classic and timeless time management game out there. In this game, you play Flo, the waitress who manages a diner. You get to seat customers, take their order, drop the order, bring them the order, check them out, clean their dishes, bring the dishes to the washer, and repeat! This game is entertaining, and I never get tired of it. Okay fine, I will admit, I do get tired of this game, but a few months later, I always come back to it!