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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

U.S. Bans Sale of iPods to North Korea
"The Bush administration wants North Korea's attention, so like a scolding parent it's trying to make it tougher for that country's eccentric leader to buy iPods, plasma televisions and Segway electric scooters. The U.S. government's first-ever effort to use trade sanctions to personally aggravate a foreign president expressly targets items believed to be favored by Kim Jong Il or presented by him as gifts to the roughly 600 loyalist families who run the communist government."
Police: Hit Man Warns Pregnant Woman Of Plot "Police in Texas said a man hired to kill a pregnant woman instead warned her that her husband wanted her dead.

The husband, Albert Sterling II, 38, is now facing two counts of criminal solicitation of murder -- one for his wife, the other for their unborn child.

He allegedly offered Jeffrey Thompson $2,500 and helped him get into the couple's house. When Sterling left his house in Allen last week, he left a door unlocked so a paid assassin could get in to kill his wife, investigators said."
Inca justice system eyed by Morales may use whipping
"Bolivian President Evo Morales, on a state visit to the Netherlands, said he is searching for a new model of democracy that could include reviving the ancient tradition of whipping petty criminals as an alternative to jail.
'When I was a kid I was punished several times, being whipped and lashed,' the leftist president said Monday in a speech to an audience of businessmen and government officials from both Bolivia and the Netherlands.
'Whenever I did something wrong, I received punishment with a chicote [the loose end of a rope], and always believed that the system our ancestors used was better than the system in the northern justice system. It's much more democratic,' he said. "
Panic as officials forget to inform pilots and passengers of hijacking exercise
"An anti-hijacking exercise on board a civilian aircraft in Mongolia's capital backfired after officials forgot to warn the pilots and passengers ahead of time.

The heavy-handed security exercise carried out by the Mongolian Central Intelligence Agency upset passengers and ended up being broadcast live on a local television channel.

The exercise started after a jetliner operated by MIAT, the national airline, landed after a flight from the southern part of the country and four male passengers jumped up and said the plane was being hijacked."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pooty Poot Strikes Again: Mystery illness hits former Russian PM
"Yegor Gaidar, Russia’s former prime minister and the architect of the country’s market reforms, last week suffered a sudden, unexplained and violent illness on a visit to Ireland, a day after Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB spy, died in London from an apparent radiation poisoning.

Mr Gaidar is now in a stable condition at an undisclosed Moscow hospital, undergoing tests. In a telephone interview with the FT, Mr Gaidar said the doctors had so far been unable to identify the cause of the violent vomiting and bleeding that he suffered during a conference in Ireland."
End of the World Update: Ross Ice Shelf could 'collapse quickly'
"Scientists working in Antarctica fear the Ross Ice Shelf, an ice platform the size of France, could collapse quickly and trigger a rapid rise in sea levels.

A research team drilling in the frozen continent has recovered three million years of climate history, New Zealand newspaper The Press reported today.

An analysis of sea floor samples near Scott Base suggested the Ross Ice Shelf had collapsed before, probably suddenly."
'POP' TART SCAMS BIGWIG
"A pretty, young swindler who first met a top Pepsi Bottling Group executive online later anonymously shook him down for $125,000 by threatening to tell his wife, children and bosses he was trolling the 'Net at work for women, shocking court papers reveal.

'I'm sure this will be an unpleasant surprise. I'm sure when your wife finds out that you've been looking for a fill-in for her . . . it will be unpleasant for her, too,' Jessica Wolcott, 22, e-mailed multimillionaire exec Gary Wandschneider, 54, in August."
Judge Orders Treasury Department to Make Paper Money Recognizable to Blind People
"By keeping all U.S. currency the same size and texture, the government has denied blind people meaningful access to money, a federal judge said Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson said the Treasury Department has violated the law, and he ordered the government to come up with ways for the blind to tell bills apart.

He said he wouldn't tell officials how to fix the problem, but he ordered them to begin working on it within 10 days."
Meanwhile in N. Korea...
"Invincible arms are the most valuable wealth for national prosperity, with which nothing is comparable. Many countries had gone to ruin because of their weak force of arms, but there is no country that has gone to ruin due to famine. Neglecting arms is as good as an act of cutting off the lifeline of national prosperity by itself. This is the stark truth proven in practice.
It is quite self-evident that one should build a strong war deterrent above anything else, if one really hopes for prosperity. The Songun politics reflects this immutable truth that self-defensive power guarantees development and prosperity. "
Gaddafi in Nigeria airport drama
"Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has been involved in a diplomatic incident as he arrived in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, for a summit.

Nigerian officials say Col Gaddafi was accompanied by more than 200 heavily armed Libyan bodyguards.

When security officers refused to allow them to keep their weapons, an argument ensued and Col Gaddafi stormed off.

Only when Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo intervened did the bodyguards agree to hand in their weapons."
New Evidence Obtained In Unabomber Case
"A decade after the feds tracked him down, CBS 5 Investigates has uncovered exclusive new information about the Unabomber.

Anna Werner reports on the tricks Ted Kaczynski used, the code he developed, and how he got away with his violent acts for so long."

Hat tip to Kara!
Police Say Mother Microwaved Her Baby
"A mother was arrested on suspicion of murdering her newborn daughter by putting the baby in a microwave oven.

China Arnold, 26, was jailed Monday on a charge of aggravated murder, more than a year after she brought her dead month-old baby to a hospital.

'We have reason to believe, and we have some forensic evidence that is consistent with our belief, that a microwave oven was used in this death,' said Ken Betz, director of the Montgomery County coroner's office."

Hat tip to Kara!
Driver Survives After Trash Bin Crash
"A car plunged 25 feet after crashing through a downtown barrier Monday, but the driver suffered only minor injuries thanks to a well-placed trash bin. His sedan landed upside-down atop the bin, its trunk accepting the brunt of the impact."
First virtual millionaire
"Anshe Chung, a real-estate tycoon in the digitally simulated world known as Second Life, has apparently become the first virtual millionaire--i.e., someone whose holdings in a make-believe world are legally convertible into genuine U.S. currency worth more than $1 million."
Scientists say trained bees can sniff bombs
"Scientists at a U.S. weapons laboratory say they have trained bees to sniff out explosives in a project they say could have far-reaching applications for U.S. homeland security and the Iraq war.

Researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico said they trained honeybees to stick out their proboscis — the tube they use to feed on nectar — when they smell explosives in anything from cars and roadside bombs to belts similar to those used by suicide bombers.

Researchers in the program, dubbed the Stealthy Insect Sensor Project, published their findings on Monday."
Galactic Baby Boom Influenced Life on Earth
"The stellar baby boom period of the Milky Way sparked a flowering and crashing of life here on Earth, a new study suggests.

Some 2.4 billion years ago when the Milky Way started upping its star production, cosmic rays--high-speed atomic particles--started pouring onto our planet, causing instability within the living. Populations of bacteria and algae repeatedly soared and crashed in the oceans."

Monday, November 27, 2006

Women talk three times as much as men, says study
"It is something one half of the population has long suspected - and the other half always vocally denied. Women really do talk more than men.

In fact, women talk almost three times as much as men, with the average woman chalking up 20,000 words in a day - 13,000 more than the average man.

Women also speak more quickly, devote more brainpower to chit-chat - and actually get a buzz out of hearing their own voices, a new book suggests."
Anti-war protester burns himself to death in vain "The death of Malachi Ritscher was reported by a local television station as just another frustration for commuters driving into Chicago one morning when police were told that a statue was burning and slowing-up traffic along the Kennedy expressway.

This was not how the anti-war activist had envisaged media coverage when on November 3, he set up a video-camera and a small sign reading “thou shalt not kill” next to Chicago’s Flame of the Millennium sculpture. He then doused his body in petrol and set himself on fire."
Russian Billionaire crashes and burns
"The 40-year-old businessman, worth $7.1 billion according to Forbes magazine, was speeding and weaving through traffic when he lost control of a black Ferrari Enzo on the Promenade des Anglais, the boulevard that runs along the Nice shoreline as he was speeding, said the policeman in Nice who is heading the investigation into the crash. The policeman, who spoke by telephone today, declined to be named, citing French regulations.

Kerimov lost control of the Ferrari while overtaking another car, hitting the sidewalk and then a tree before the engine caught fire, the policeman said. Traffic rules limit cars on the Promenade des Anglais to 50 kilometers (31 miles) per hour."
The Vikings are coming
"The Vikings are coming. As sperm donations in Britain slow to a trickle, Denmark has become the sperm powerhouse of Europe"
Marijuana grow ops overrun Toronto building: police
"A Canadian police search for marijuana grow operations mushroomed as officers discovered 22 units in a Toronto high rise were being used to cultivate the illegal drug, four times more than expected.

'It was quite shocking to us that there would be (22) in one particular apartment building,' Toronto police Det. Sgt. David Malcolm told a news conference on Friday.

Police found over 6,000 marijuana plants worth an estimated street value of over C$6.0 million ($5.31 million) scattered throughout the 22 apartments in the north Toronto building."
Chilean Indians take on Microsoft
"Mapuche Indians in Chile are trying to take the global software giant Microsoft to court in a legal battle which raises the question of whether anyone can ever 'own' the language they speak.

The row was sparked by Microsoft's decision last month to launch its Windows software package in Mapuzugun, a Mapuche tongue spoken by around 400,000 indigenous Chileans.
...
But Mapuche tribal leaders have accused the US company of violating their cultural and collective heritage by translating the software into Mapuzugun without their permission. They sent a letter to Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder, accusing his company of 'intellectual piracy'."
Santa drought hits Berlin
"As Christmas approaches like an onrushing train of jolliness, bad news for Berliners. The city has been struck by a severe Santa drought.

The head of an agency that supplies Santas to families in the city warned today that they had less than a third of the Santas that would be required to meet the city's Santa needs."
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
"As the season of goodwill approaches, check carefully the next time you buy a tacky Christmas decoration - because it might be made out of drugs.

Two Columbian drug-smugglers have been arrested while making models of Santa Claus out of cocaine."
Village's appliances all blow up
"Hundreds of toasters, TVs and washing machines exploded when an entire village had its household appliances destroyed in a massive power surge.

Kitchen and bathroom appliances as well as expensive electronic items exploded in every house in Tsarev Brod in eastern Bulgaria.

The appliance catastrophe happened after a local electricity supplier sent the wrong high voltage current through the local electricity grid."
Man on trial for putting baby in freezer
"A Canadian man who could not figure out how to deal with his girlfriend's feverish 10-month-old daughter put the baby into a freezer to cool her down, a local newspaper reported.

Derrick Hardy faces charges of criminal negligence and assaulting the infant, who was rescued when her mother came home, the Charlottetown Guardian said.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp said the mother found the girl crammed into the freezer alongside ice cubes and hamburger meat. Hardy said he had left the door ajar but the mother said it had been closed when she returned."
Idiot Criminal of the Week!
"As Devin K. Hoerauf's robbery trial in Rockville was wrapping up Tuesday afternoon, the 19-year-old accidentally dropped a bag of marijuana on the floor when he stood up at the defense table.

The judge's assistant noticed a plastic bag containing 'a green, leafy substance' and pointed it out to a Montgomery County deputy sheriff, who picked it up and added two misdemeanor charges — possession of a controlled substance and possession of paraphernalia — to Hoerauf's criminal history."
Stowaway cat survives container voyage
"Emerging with a shock of white fur, a cat stunned cargo workers in England as it jumped out of a goods container after a 17-day sea voyage from Israel to Britain, a journey of more than 2,000 miles, an animal charity said Friday."
Forget Friday the 13th - today is the day for real bad luck
"This could be your unlucky day. Monday the 27th has, it seems, overtaken Friday the 13th as the date on which the more suspicious among us should avoid the likes of job interviews, weddings and driving tests.

The date has been identified as the most ill-starred on the calendar, with more mishaps recorded than at any other.

The trend emerged from a study of more than one million insurance claims, showing more people are likely to have accidents on Monday the 27th than on any other day. Domestic disasters, including burst water pipes and DIY problems, feature heavily on the lists."
Hurricane Predictions Off Track As Tranquil Season Wafts Away
"It was not the hurricane season we expected, thank you.
With cataclysmic predictions that hurricanes would swarm from the tropics like termites, no one thought 2006 would be the most tranquil season in a decade.
Barring a last-second surprise from the tropics, the season will end Thursday with nine named storms, and only five of those hurricanes. This year is the first season since 1997 that only one storm nudged its way into the Gulf of Mexico."
Money-happiness link is complex
"'There is overwhelming evidence that money buys happiness,' said economist Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick in England. The main debate, he said, is how strong the effect is."
Rio thieves armed with grenades rob tourists
"Thieves armed with automatic rifles and military-issue grenades robbed a busload of British tourists in Rio de Janeiro before dawn on Sunday, the latest incident in a wave of violent crime plaguing Brazil's seaside tourist mecca."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Missing woman found dead behind bookcase
"A woman's body was found wedged upside-down behind a bookcase in the home she shared with relatives who had spent nearly two weeks looking for her.

A spokesman for the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said Mariesa Weber's death was not suspicious. Family members said they believe she fell over as she tried to adjust the plug of a television behind the bookshelf."

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Plumber tries to beat the rap by swallowing breathalyzer results
"A man who was stopped and subjected to a breath test Friday thought he had hit on a way of getting off scot-free; and was duly surprised when police arrested him for eating the piece of paper with his test results."
Police seeking owner of penis
"Police in South Africa are trying to trace the owner of a severed penis which was found lying on the ground in a village.

The penis, which was not attached to anybody, was found on the ground outside a house in the small village of Masoyi, in the Mpumalanga region of eastern South Africa."
Is this Britain's unluckiest man?
"If you ever think life is being a little tough on you, just be grateful you aren't John Lyne – who could well be Britain's unluckiest man.

'Calamity John' has suffered 16 major accidents in his life, including lightning strikes, a rock-fall in a mine and three car crashes.

He is presently laid up again after falling down a manhole at work."
Arrest in sword + golf club battle
"A man is under arrest after reportedly injuring another man in a fight that involved a sword, and a golf club.

Once again proving that people just won't listen to the old adage, 'never bring a golf club to a sword fight.'"
Anti-golf toilet-fence causes row
"A plumber is facing the wrath of his neighbours after he constructed a fence for his back yard out of old toilets – complete with scarecrows sitting on them.

Rick Froebe says he is using the toilet-fence to repel golfers.

The residents of Soap Lake, Washington – who already have to put up with the indignity of living somewhere called 'Soap Lake' – have complained that the toilet-fence is an 'eyesore', and claim that Froebe is carrying on a feud with neighbours and the golf club which lies adjacent to his property."
Zombies sue police
"The reason given by the police for their arrest was that the living dead were 'simulating weapons of mass destruction.' This might have been partly due to the police's ongoing efforts in the War on Zombies, and partly due to the fact that the police couldn't tell the difference between a radio in a backpack and a dirty bomb.
'The musical equipment had no resemblance to weapons of mass destruction, and its purpose and use could easily be ascertained,' states the zombies lawsuit.
The lawsuit also claims that one policeman swore at the zombies, saying he was going to teach them a lesson that that he didn't care about the constitutional rights of the revenants (or Undead Americans, to use the politically correct term)."

Be sure to see the excellent mugshots of the zombies!
Sounds delicious
"Can a machine identify what you're chewing, merely from the sound? Yes, if you are at a laboratory in Zurich, Switzerland, or Hall-in-Tirol, Austria, and if you are chewing potato chips, apples, mixed lettuce, pasta or boiled rice.

Oliver Amft, Mathias Stäger and Gerhard Tröster, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and Paul Lukowicz, of Austria's University for the Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology, describe their work succinctly: 'Using wearable microphones to detect and classify chewing sounds (called mastication sounds) from the user's mouth.' But, they explain, this is just stage one of their dream. It's an unusual dream: to build a computer-based machine 'that precisely and 100% reliably determines the type and amount of all and any food consumed'."
Town that breeds suicide bombers
"Their destination may be almost 3,000 miles away, but the draw of martyrdom in Iraq is proving irresistable for the young men of Tetouan.

American intelligence officials believe that the Moroccan town, less than 30 miles from the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, has become one of the world's most fertile recruiting ground for jihadists.

In the last eight months a group of young men, all worshippers at the same mosque, have left their homes to become suicide bombers in Iraq."
Drunken Swedish moose drowns after fermented apple binge
"A moose that became inebriated after binging on fermented fallen apples in northern Sweden drowned when it fell through the ice of a frozen inlet, a Swedish tabloid has reported."
'Give Santa the sack - he's not the real thing': "Germans and Austrians are uniting against a kindly old man who brings joy to children all over the world. Their call: Ban Santa.

Campaigners in both countries claim Father Christmas is an invention of the Coca-Cola company in the United States and should be ditched."

Friday, November 24, 2006

Saying 'no' to Gandalf cost Sir Sean up to £225 million
"Sean Connery turned down the largest paycheck in cinema history when he refused an offer to play Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, it has emerged.

If the actor had put on the long white beard and clasped the wizard's staff as the hero of Middle Earth he would have earned as much as £225 million.

Peter Jackson, the director of the fantasy trilogy, has revealed that New Line Cinema, the production company behind the films, offered the Scottish actor between 10 and 15 per cent of worldwide box office takings to secure his participation."
Police: Bloody Brawl Sparked Over Bathroom Hygiene
"A bloody brawl erupted outside a tavern after one customer thought another failed to wash his hands after using the bathroom, according to police.
One man was hospitalized with stab wounds. Another was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon."
Drunken school bus driver wants to finish route
"A bus driver who was 13 times over the legal alcohol limit while driving a bus load of schoolchildren had a simple request for police who arrested him for drunken driving, an Australian court heard Wednesday.

'Can I finish my run, at least to drop these kids off?'"
Pumpkin-Throwing Vandals Plague Long Island
"Police on Long Island are searching for vandals who have thrown pumpkins at several cars, shattering windows and leaving many frustrated and without drivable vehicles.

Nassau County residents Robert and Ellen Meade are two of the victims who woke up to find their car sustaining serious damage from one of the gourds. A ten-pound pumpkin was hurled their the rear window of their new Chevrolet pickup truck, and thrown with such force that it crashed through the front windshield, completely shattering it."
Gang takes out ad claiming they are vigilantes
"A violent Mexican drug gang has taken out a half-page ad in newspapers in which they claim to be anti-crime vigilantes who want to put an end to kidnapping, robbery and the sale of methamphetamine in the western state of Michoacan.

The Family, a shadowy group believed to be allied to Mexico's Gulf drug cartel, has claimed responsibility in the past for bloody killings, such as a September 6 attack in which gunmen dumped five severed human heads into a bar in the Michoacan city of Uruapan.

Those and other heads discovered since have been accompanied by hand-lettered, poorly spelled notes, but this is apparently the first time the group has taken out newspaper ads."

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Yet another Myspace.com idiot
"It was an interesting discovery: A young man posing on myspace.com with a life-sized Virgin Mary statue that looked suspiciously similar to one stolen from an Austin, Minn., cemetery last summer.

And when Calvary Cemetery caretaker Bud Johnson looked closer, he saw a girlfriend's telephone number and address. Police said they found the missing statue, the disappearance of which had caused considerable angst to Catholics in Austin, wrapped in plastic garbage bags in the girlfriend's closet. Black paint covered one eye, black and silver on the other. The Virgin Mary's lips were painted red, and a mustache had been added."
Turkeys try to catch train out of N.J.
"Some wild turkeys, it appears, were trying to get out of New Jersey before Thanksgiving Day. A spokesman for the NJ Transit said train officials reported a dozen or so wild turkeys waiting on a station platform in Ramsey, about 20 miles northwest of New York City, on Wednesday afternoon. The line travels to Suffern, N.Y.

'For a moment, it looked like the turkeys were waiting for the next outbound train,' said Dan Stessel, a spokesman for NJ Transit. 'Clearly, they're trying to catch a train and escape their fate.'"
Urinating men shot at by irate homeowner
"Three men seen urinating in front of a house on Federal Street got the surprise of their lives early Sunday morning -- an enraged homeowner ran out wielding a machete, then chased and shot at them, police reported.

Emilio Dario Martinez, 31, of Trenton, was shot once in the abdomen, according to Trenton Police Spokesman Peter Page."
Paxil-Defense Exec won't go to prison
"Stewart, who methodically stole $1.8-million from ex-employer Jabil Circuit over a two-year period before a subordinate caught on, was sentenced Monday to 12 months of home confinement and five years' probation. The U.S. Attorney's Office had recommended he spend 41 to 51 months behind bars.

U.S. District Court Judge James Moody Jr. said it served no one's interest to send Stewart, a father of two young girls and an older stepdaughter, to prison. He also said he believed the 42-year-old's last-ditch medical claim that he was not wholly responsible for his crime. Studies show that Paxil can cause people with bipolar disorder - Stewart's case was recently diagnosed - to behave in bizarre, arrogant and uncontrollable ways."
Son finds dad's old bones in bed
"Estranged from his father, a gay Brooklyn man came home yesterday to make peace, only to make a horrifying discovery: His mother had been hiding his dad's corpse in the family's apartment for three years, police sources said.

Joanne Iversen, 73, told her son and cops that she never reported her husband's death because she wanted to continue collecting his Social Security benefits, the sources said.
...
'I want to see Dad,' Paul Iversen told his mom, the sources said. 'I want to make everything right.'

The elderly woman - who almost never allowed anyone into her Bay Ridge apartment - opened the door, sources said. 'He's in the bedroom,' she told her son."
'Jackass' stunt ends disastrously for teen
"An 18-year-old Pleasanton resident was seriously injured Sunday after he attempted to ride a bicycle off a 25-foot-high ledge onto a hill on the grounds of Foothill High School.

Christopher White set up a camera on a tripod to record the jump. The incident was also filmed by two Foothill High students who happened to see White right before his jump. The students did not try to talk White out of jumping, police said, and called 9-1-1afterward.

'He came short of being completely paralyzed from the neck down,' Livermore Pleasanton Fire Battalion Chief Glenn Haendel said."
Yet another reason not to go shooting your home appliances
"'Apparently he was shooting at items around the apartment and at least two bullets pierced the refrigerator,' striking a gas line behind the appliance, said Suffolk arson investigator Det. Sgt. Edward Fitzgerald of Michael Gerenstein, 21, who died in the explosion in his basement apartment on Aug.1.

Another man in the apartment, Christian Tramontano, 17, of Port Jefferson, died three days later from his injuries. Five others were also burned and suffered respiratory damage in the explosion and subsequent fire, which seriously damaged the house.

Fitzgerald, who led the arson investigation, said Gerenstein was believed to have fired at least two .22-caliber bullets and several air gun pellets in the apartment some time before the explosion."
How engineers tamed the internet's Tower of Babel
"'Regarding the technical implementation for the world wide web, we are done,' Patrik Fältström told the Internet Governance Forum. By 'we are done', he meant that following a decade of hard work by a global consortium of engineers and linguists, they had finally decided on a document that will enable all the world's languages to be fully represented on the internet. People will be able to type in addresses in their own language, search in their own language and move around the internet in their own language."
Recliner Saves Man Who Was Shot in Head
" Now comes another reason to stay put in the La-Z-Boy: A man sitting in his easy chair was shot in the head by his wife, but the sturdy recliner absorbed most of the bullet's force and left him virtually unscathed."
Animal Terror Update! Deer Romps Through Vienna Home
"A Vienna family is thankful that no one was seriously hurt when a deer rampaged through their home.

Roland and Edna Golden say they were baby-sitting their three grandchildren on November eleventh when the buck jumped through the bay window of their home on Cantata Court. It just missed their baby grandson lying on the floor when it landed, then ran over Roland as he was watching television."
Giant Mexican telescope launched
"Mexican President Vicente Fox has inaugurated a giant telescope that could help scientists uncover clues about the creation of the universe.

The telescope, which resembles a gigantic satellite dish, sits high in the mountains of central Puebla state.

It will pick up radio waves that have been travelling through space for nearly 13 billion years.

The telescope's antenna has a diameter of 50m (164ft) and is the largest of its kind in the world."
What's your handicap? Well, apart from the lack of gravity and dirty great space suit ...
"It was conceived as the ultimate tribute to human ingenuity and international cooperation - an orbiting space lab that would play host to some of the most talented and highly trained individuals on the planet, doing cutting edge science. But 20 years and more than $100bn later the International Space Station has been reduced to recouping some of its extravagant costs with a commercial stunt which some critics argue will endanger other orbiting satellites and even the ISS itself.

Last night, Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin was preparing to space-walk out of the ISS, position himself on the edge of the orbiting station and strike (or rather tap) a golf ball into the abyss. The exploit, scheduled for 11pm, was dreamed up by the Canadian golf equipment maker Element 21, which timed it to coincide with prime-time Thanksgiving day viewing in the US. It has reportedly cost the company $5m."

The stupidity of the entire ISS project and those involved truly knows no bounds.
This is your captain speaking . . . I'm just raising the cash to get us home
"An airline pilot was cheered by passengers after he raided the takings of the bar and used his own money to pay the fees demanded by Senegal airport officials before they would allow the jet to fly home."
Alleged Russian spy beat passport curbs
"Yesterday's court summary says the man is a so-called “illegal,” a high-level operative who created for himself a fake identity and spied in Canada and abroad on behalf of the SVR, the Russian foreign-intelligence service.

“SVR illegals are regarded as having considerable status by the SVR leadership and are deployed in particularly sensitive operations,” the summary says.

It adds that, “to Russian audiences, the SVR makes no secret of its continued high-level espionage and boasts of its theft of Western financial and industrial secrets to aid the failing Russian economy.”"
Rewriting the Book of Life
"Scientists have discovered a dramatic variation in the genetic make-up of humans that could lead to a fundamental reappraisal of what causes incurable diseases and could provide a greater understanding of mankind.

The discovery has astonished scientists studying the human genome - the genetic recipe of man. Until now it was believed the variation between people was due largely to differences in the sequences of the individual ' letters' of the genome.

It now appears much of the variation is explained instead by people having multiple copies of some key genes that make up the human genome."

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

O.J. Simpson book for sale online, bids rise fast
"O.J. Simpson's scuttled book about the hypothetical murder of his ex-wife appeared for sale on the Internet on Wednesday, attracting bids of $1,500 within the first two hours.

The controversial book and a two-part television interview were dropped by media conglomerate News Corp. on Monday after a public outcry from advertisers, booksellers and relatives of the dead.

News Corp had said it was recalling and would destroy all copies of the book, 'If I Did It,' that were shipped to retailers in advance of publication on Nov 30.

But a copy of the book, touted as an imaginary account of how Simpson would have killed ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994, was being offered on eBay on Wednesday from a seller in Texas."
Ethiopian zoo poisons rare lions to cut costs, official says
"A major zoo in Ethiopia is poisoning rare lion cubs and selling the corpses to be stuffed because it can't afford to care for the animals, which are the national symbol, the zoo's administrator said Wednesday.

'These animals are the pride of our country,' Muhedin Abdulaziz of the Lion Zoo told The Associated Press. 'But our only alternative right now is to send them to the taxidermist.'

Ethiopia's lions, famous for their black manes, adorn statues and the local currency. The country's emperors were long fascinated by lions, part of their connection with Solomon, the lion of Judah."
China sentences Web porn king to life in prison
"A Chinese court sentenced the founder of the country's largest pornography Web site to life imprisonment on Wednesday and jailed another eight of the site's organizers, state media reported.

The Taiyuan Intermediate People's Court handed down the sentence to Chen Hui, 28, and ordered the confiscation of 100,000 yuan ($12,500), Xinhua news agency said. The other eight were jailed for terms ranging from 13 months to 10 years."
Woman, 92, fatally shot as 3 Atlanta officers wounded
"A 92-year-old woman was killed after she shot three Atlanta narcotics officers Tuesday night when they broke down the front door of her home trying to serve a search warrant, police said.

One officer was hit in the arm, one was struck in the shoulder, and one was shot in the thigh. All were rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital, where they were in stable condition late Tuesday night. Police did not release their identities."
Why We Should Let O.J. Speak
"What better way to eliminate this lingering and widespread doubt about Simpson's guilt than to have the man himself admit it. But for that you need his confession. The fact that he prefaced his 'I did it' with the word 'if' is irrelevant. Simpson will always avoid unqualified admission if only to avoid further legal jeopardy for, say, perjury.

But has there ever been someone who responds to the murder of an ex-wife — a death he publicly mourned and pretended to be so aggrieved by that he would spend the rest of his days looking for 'the real killers' — to engage in the exercise of telling how he would have cut her throat?

No survivor of a murdered spouse who is innocent could do anything so grotesque. Can you imagine Daniel Pearl's widow writing a book about how she would have conducted the beheading of her husband? Or Jehan Sadat going on television to describe how she would have engineered her husband's assassination? Such things are impossible. The mere act of engaging in so unimaginably repulsive an exercise is the ultimate proof of Simpson's guilt."
New technology catches Hitler off guard
"New computer software that can read lips at almost any angle has helped make sense of one of the Second World War's lingering mysteries —Hitler's home movies.

The technology allows the dialogue to be dubbed on to the silent films, many of them made by Eva Braun at Hitler's mountain retreat, the Berghof. With the new soundtrack, Hitler can be heard encouraging young children towards a life in the military, criticising even his closest henchmen and flirting with Braun."
Violent games blamed for German school attack
"Leading German lawmakers demanded a crackdown on violent computer and simulated war games on Tuesday over concerns that they may have helped inspire a young man to attack his former school with guns and explosives.

The masked 18-year-old man stormed the Scholl secondary school on Monday in the western German town of Emsdetten, wounding as many as 27 people before committing suicide.

The young man, identified only as Bastian B., was known to authorities and due in court on Tuesday for weapons violations, local police said. According to German media reports, he had a fondness for war simulation and computer games."
Smart school of fish expose stupidity of a popular myth
"Fish are not the brainless dolts they are often assumed to be. Scientists have discovered that they are actually adept learners, with distinct personalities that change as they pick up information about the world."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Offer of hush money alleged in O.J. book saga
"The O.J. Simpson book saga took another twist today when his former sister-in-law, Denise Brown, accused the media company behind the project of trying to buy her family's silence for 'millions of dollars.'

Simpson's book, 'If I did it,' was a sequel few had dared conceive, with Simpson — acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and her friend but later found liable in civil court — describing how he would have killed them.

A spokesman for News Corp., owner of Fox Broadcasting and publisher HarperCollins, confirmed that the company had conversations with representatives of Nicole Brown Simpson's and Ron Goldman's families over the past week and that the families were offered all profits from the planned Simpson book and television show, but he denied that it was hush money."
Gingerbread Nazis in Window Display Ignites Firestorm in Ohio Town
"An artist's creation of gingerbread Nazis drew complaints after it was displayed in a hardware store window, prompting the store owner to demand the artwork be removed.

Charlie Palmer covered the gingerbread men during the weekend and said he wanted them out by of his business by Tuesday.

'He's gone way overboard this time,' Palmer said of artist Keith McGuckin. 'A few of his other displays were on the edge, but never that crazy.'"

Monday, November 20, 2006

End of the World Update: "The Germans Have to Learn How to Kill"
"The situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate -- and NATO is squabbling about who is to blame. Some countries are tired of taking casualties while others, like the Germans in the north, refuse to get involved in the fighting."
Scientists Study Mysterious River
"Imagine a pristine mountain stream that turns on and off every few minutes, all by itself. Believe it or not, there is such a Mystery River not far from here, one of only two in the entire world.

Now, University of Utah scientists have new evidence that may explain how the phenomenon works.

It's not a big river. It's an icy mountain stream. But a few minutes later, it's gone. And a few minutes after that, it's back.

Gerald Vanbrunt, Arkansas Tourist: 'This is just as good as Old Faithful.'

But it's not a geyser; it's fed by a cold-water spring. In fall and winter it has a natural cycle, about 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off."
Humpback whales capable of emanating 622 social sounds
"A new study has revealed that humpback whales are capable of emanating as many as 622 social sounds. Scientists believe the whales' broad vocal repertoire enables them to communicate with their fellow whales, like summoning their young or even wooing potential mates by expressing emotions. Rebecca Dunlop, a researcher in the School of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Queensland, Australia said that while some sounds are brief, some are unpatterned, distinct from lengthier, complex whale songs. She said the study threw new light on the fact that whales convey more meaning through vocalizations than previously thought. 'I wouldn't say (whales possess) language, as that's a human term. Whales don't string these sounds together like words and form sentences. It's more like a simple vocabulary,' Discovery News quoted Rebecca as saying."
US restaurant serves up burger to die for
"A restaurant in the south-western US state of Arizona that proudly admits to trying to finish off its customers has introduced a new item on its menu - the 'quadruple bypass burger'.

The burger at the Heart Attack Grill restaurant is stacked with four beef patties, cheese, onions, tomatoes and fried bacon and weighs in at 8,000 calories - more than three times what the human body needs in one day.

Patrons who have no appetite for the quadruple bypass burger can opt for the triple or double bypass."
O.J. Simpson Book, TV Special Canceled
"After a firestorm of criticism, News. Corp. said Monday that it has canceled the O.J. Simpson book and TV special 'If I Did It.'

'I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project,' said Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. chairman. 'We are sorry for any pain that this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson.'"
Scientists modify cottonseed to make it edible
"Cotton, for thousands of years one of the most important crops for clothing and shelter, might also become a source of food.

A chemical called gossypol makes cottonseed inedible for humans, though some of it is used in feed for cattle, which are less affected by the toxin.

Now, researchers at Texas A&M University have genetically modified cotton to produce seeds with little or no gossypol."
Jack the Ripper's face 'revealed'
"An e-fit showing what detectives believe serial killer Jack the Ripper looked like has been revealed.

Using new profiling techniques, investigators have created a picture of what they believe the 19th Century murderer would have looked like."
Robin Hood stunt sparks NY 'riot'
"Three Britons dressed as Robin Hood and his Merry Men caused a small stampede in a park in New York after throwing $4,000 (£2,110) into the air.

The pranksters - from Sheffield in England - said they hoped their stunt would encourage New Yorkers to be more polite and 'give something back'.

However, the plan reportedly back-fired after passers-by pushed and pulled at each other to grab the free cash."
Michigan teen creates nuclear fusion
"An ambitious teenager in Rochester Hills, Mich., is ranked as the 18th amateur in the world to create nuclear fusion -- combining atoms to create energy.

The Detroit Free Press reported that 17-year-old Thiago Olson set up a machine in his parents' garage and has been working exhaustively for more than two years. His machine creates nuclear fusion on a small scale."
Pit bull owners more likely to be criminals
"People who own vicious dogs such as pit bulls have significantly more criminal convictions - including crimes against children - than owners of licensed, gentler dogs such as beagles, American researchers report.

A study of 355 dog owners in Ohio showed that every owner of a high-risk breed known for aggression had at least one brush with the law, from traffic citations to serious criminal convictions."
Submarine with cocaine seized off Costa Rica
"U.S. Coast Guards have seized a submarine carrying 3.5 tons of cocaine in the Pacific Ocean off Costa Rica and arrested three Colombians on board, the Costa Rican Coast Guard said on Sunday.

The submarine appeared to be a makeshift vessel unlike military submarines or those used by oceanographers. It could only submerge 6 feet under water, Costa Rican Coast Guard spokesman Jose Antonio Fallas told Reuters."

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Doherty arrested by drugs police
"Babyshambles singer Pete Doherty has been released on bail after being arrested on suspicion of possessing crack cocaine, police said.

The singer was arrested by officers who spotted him driving his Jaguar erratically near his east London home."

Hat tip to Anna-Marie!
O.J. Deal Leaves Sour Taste in Many Mouths
"The outrage that has been brewing all week seemed to boil over in recent days as members of the public, television station executives and fellow publishers criticized the book and the taped interview.

Geoff Shandler, editor in chief of Little, Brown, said yesterday, 'It's so outrageous and flamboyant and audacious that part of you almost laughs while the other part of you wants to puke.'"
In Search of ... Lobbying Clout
"Stephen Bassett has a lobbying pitch straight from outer space.
He wants to tell Members of Congress about the alien spacecrafts visiting Earth. They’ve been coming for years, he says, often scooping up humans for test probes. And if lawmakers could muster the political backbone to address the issue, Bassett would like to present some people to testify about making contact, as well as reams of evidence to back up their claims.
Trouble is, it’s tough to get a meeting on Capitol Hill when your subject is little green men. Bassett himself, founder of the Paradigm Research Group and the only full-time lobbyist on the extraterrestrial issue, acknowledges these are dark days for the UFO lobby."
KGB 'try to poison man' in sushi bar
"Scotland Yard is investigating the attempted murder of a top Russian defector poisoned by political enemies in London.

Alexander Litvinenko, an ex-KGB colonel who fled the current Russian regime to claim asylum in Britain, is under armed police guard in hospital."

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Student's Death May Be Result Of Hide & Seek
"Nearly six months after authorities discovered the body of a missing New Jersey college student in a Pennsylvania landfill, investigators are now looking at whether his death was the tragic result of a game of hide-and-seek.

In a mass e-mail sent to students at The College of New Jersey on Wednesday, school officials asked if they knew of any students playing hide-and-seek in Wolfe Hall around the time John Fiocco Jr. went missing in March. Investigators also asked about Fiocco specifically."
Tourism official says part of St. Louis only for buying crack
"A tourism official trying to portray St. Louis as a safe place to visit ended up referring to part of the city as a place that would only be visited to purchase crack cocaine.

A research company, Morgan Quitno Press, called St. Louis the most dangerous city in the United States in October.

The public relations director for the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, Mary Hendron, was trying to combat the perception of St. Louis as unsafe to Venues Today, a national trade publication which covers sports and entertainment facilities."
Discovery redraws map of ancient Earth
"A section of the Appalachian Mountains discovered in Mexico is forcing scientists to redraw their maps of ancient Earth.

The Appalachians are a series of mountain ranges in eastern North America that extend from Southern Quebec in Canada to northern Alabama. A piece of the chain was recently uncovered in a large Mexican outcropping of rock, known as the Acatlan Complex."
'Evil' teen jailed for savage party beating
"A teenager described as a white supremacist was sentenced Friday to life in prison for savagely beating and sodomizing a Hispanic boy at a drug-fueled party.

David Henry Tuck, 18, was convicted Thursday of aggravated sexual assault in the near-fatal attack. Witnesses testified that he hurled racial insults and shouted 'white power' while sodomizing the 17-year-old victim with the plastic pole of a patio umbrella.

Prosecutor Mike Trent told the jury that Tuck's history of violence showed he is beyond rehabilitation and would commit more attacks if released.

'He is an evil person, and he is not going to change or get better,' Trent said. 'We need protection from him. You are the only ones that provide that.'"
Woman claims puppies were born to cat
"Geneticist Adil Pacheco took blood samples on Friday from three puppies in a poor neighborhood in Passo Fundo in southern Brazil to settle a dispute over a claim they were born from a cat.

“It’s rather simple really. If the puppies prove to have 78 chromosomes, they are dogs. If they have 38, they are cats,” said Pacheco, director of the Institute of Biological Sciences of the University of Passo Fundo."
Thai Gov't Censors Opera on 'Bad Omen'
"Thailand's new military-appointed government has threatened to shut down an operatic version of the Hindu epic Ramayana, ostensibly over fears one of its scenes may bring bad luck."
David Blaine to Hang in Times Square
"This Thanksgiving, Target and David Blaine will put an exciting new spin on one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Target today presented David Blaine, the world's greatest endurance artist and magician, with one of his biggest challenges yet: escape from shackles while dangling five stories above New York City's Times Square in time for the Target 2-Day Sale."
Controversial Assignment Leads To Teacher's Resignation
"A Spanish teacher at Smithfield-Selma Senior High School resigned this week after handing out an assignment that some students and parents said teaches hate.
Khalid Chahhou, who was in his first year of teaching in Johnston County, gave students a worksheet in which they were to translate words and find them within a word-search puzzle.
Some students started uncovering strange words in the process.
'There were words like 'kill,' then I saw it said 'destroy America,'' Eric Herrera said.
As they read on, students found the puzzle contained a paragraph that contained the following phrases:
'Sharon killed a lot of innocent people,' a possible reference to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
'Palestine is not a terrorist group.'
'Allah help destroy this body of evil making humanity miserable.'"

Friday, November 17, 2006

Police on alert after clashes in Berlin
"Police in the German capital are on the alert for more trouble after a series of clashes with youths in three suburbs with a mainly immigrant background.

The disturbances raised fears that parts of Berlin were becoming no-go areas and reawakened memories of the horrific clashes involving migrant youths in French cities last year.
...
The clashes erupted on Tuesday in the Kreuzberg district when around 100 Turkish and Arab youths attacked police who detained two 12-year-old Turks caught trying to steal another teenager's MP3 player.

The following night there were skirmishes after around 60 youths from Kreuzburg fought with a group of high school students in the neighbouring working-class suburb of Tempelhof."
Storm over 'pig-for-name' artist
"A Ugandan minister has condemned a Danish artist as 'racist' for persuading villagers to adopt his name in exchange for a pig or a goat."
Dutch to ban wearing of Muslim burqa in public
"The Dutch government agreed on Friday a total ban on the wearing of burqas and other Muslim face veils in public, justifying the move on security grounds.

Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk will now draw up legislation which will result in the Netherlands, once one of Europe's most easy-going nations, imposing some of the continent's toughest laws against concealing the face."
Stomach pains foil jewellery thief's heist
"A German thief who swallowed a ring he had stolen was betrayed by his own body when he suffered stomach pains during police interrogation.

He was taken to hospital where an x-ray revealed the hidden loot.

Off-duty police officers in the western town of Bergisch Gladbach thought they had seen the 30-year-old stealing something from a shop window, but only found an empty box when they searched him, a police spokesman said."
This Weekend's Smoking Gun Special: Can You Get Dear With A Dead Deer?
"Meet Bryan James Hathaway, alleged venison lover. The Wisconsin man, 20, is facing charges that he had sex last month with a dead deer. Hathaway, who previously has served time for killing a horse he intended to sexually assault, allegedly found the deer in a ditch alongside a roadway. Now Hathaway's lawyer has filed a court motion (a copy of which you'll find here) arguing that since the animal was already dead, Hathaway should not face a misdemeanor rap of sexual gratification with an animal."

Hat tip to Sev!
Wanted: man to land on killer asteroid and gently nudge it from path to Earth
"The US space agency is drawing up plans to land an astronaut on an asteroid hurtling through space at more than 30,000 mph. It wants to know whether humans could master techniques needed to deflect such a doomsday object when it is eventually identified. The proposals are at an early stage, and a spacecraft needed just to send an astronaut that far into space exists only on the drawing board, but they are deadly serious"
Even more eBay Sony Playstation 3 Insanity
This one sold for $9,101 !!
Al Gore rains on his party
"AL GORE flies in to warn about global warming and -- he's done it again! -- Victoria gets snow in November.
Call it the Gore Effect -- the uncanny ability of the world's most famous global warming alarmist to cool any place he tours.
You see, this has happened to the former US vice-president and narrator of An Inconvenient Truth rather a lot.
It was first noticed in Boston in 2004, when Gore was due to give a big speech in Boston on the imminent danger of the world frying.
Bingo! The city had its coldest temperatures in almost 50 years. Same story with his speech that year in New York -- delivered in near-record low temperatures."

Instead of calling him a robot, they should call him The Iceman
Man who skipped Lidle flight dies in plane crash
"A 68-year-old man who almost accompanied Cory Lidle on his fatal flight in New York City last month died in a plane crash in California on Tuesday.

According to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Bob Cartwright, whose friend and personal pilot died in the plane crash that also killed the New York Yankees pitcher, and two other men died when their private plane crashed into the shoreline of Big Bear Lake, near Cartwright's mountain home in Sugarloaf, Calif."

Hat tip to Kara!
Boston Men Cleared in Slayings Sue Gov't
"Two Boston men who spent 30 years in prison for an underworld slaying they did not commit are suing the federal government after the FBI withheld evidence that would have cleared them to protect an informant.

In a trial that opened Thursday, those men and the families of two others who were wrongfully convicted but died in prison are seeking damages from the government that could total more than $100 million."
Police Car Appears to be Drag Racing
"In the home video a Philadelphia Police car is seen pulling up and another two cars are seen pulling up beside it as people cheer and applaud.

The audience cheers as they watch the officer in his police car apparently taking part in a drag race -- the very activity he's supposed to be combating.

Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross called the images disturbing.

Not surprising, and much to the police department's dismay, the video has found its way to You Tube."
Israel developing anti-militant "bionic hornet"
"Israel is using nanotechnology to try to create a robot no bigger than a hornet that would be able to chase, photograph and kill its targets, an Israeli newspaper reported on Friday.

The flying robot, nicknamed the 'bionic hornet', would be able to navigate its way down narrow alleyways to target otherwise unreachable enemies such as rocket launchers, the daily Yedioth Ahronoth said.

It is one of several weapons being developed by scientists to combat militants, it said. Others include super gloves that would give the user the strength of a 'bionic man' and miniature sensors to detect suicide bombers."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Anger Management!
"A Springfield man pleaded innocent Tuesday to charges that he deliberately ran over a wild turkey in September on his way to anger management class."
"Beauty salon for the dead" opens in Germany
"A disused factory in an economically depressed east German town has been turned into a 'beauty salon for the dead' by anatomist Gunther von Hagens.

He has opened a production line for his so-called plastination process in which the bodies of donors are preserved in hard resin and dissected in slices, often for sale as anatomy teaching aides.

Von Hagens's 'Body Worlds' exhibition of 'plastinated' human bodies has caused controversy in several European cities where it has toured."
Stone Age Twins Discovered Buried Under Mammoth's Shoulder Blade
"Researchers have unearthed the graves of three Stone Age infants that may ultimately bear on the question of whether humans interbred with Neandertals. The rare find, from a 27,000-year-old site in Austria, includes two bodies that might be twins sheltered under a mammoth's shoulder blade."
Woman in 'Borat' Seeks Investigation
"The owner of an etiquette business who was handed a plastic bag supposedly containing feces in the hit movie 'Borat' says she was told the filming would be used for a documentary in Belarus.

Cindy Streit said she filed a complaint Thursday with California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, requesting an investigation into possible violations of the California Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Streit said that a representative from a Los Angeles-based company called Springland Films contacted her Birmingham, Ala.-company, Etiquette Training Services, about arranging an etiquette session for an 'international guest from Belarus Television.'"
US town bars foreign flags in swipe at immigrants
"A Nevada town passed a law this week making it illegal to fly a foreign nation's flag by itself, the latest swipe by a U.S. community at illegal immigrants.

The town council of Pahrump, which lies in the Mojave Desert west of Las Vegas, voted 3-2 on Tuesday to make flying any foreign flag above the U.S. flag or alone an offense punishable by a $50 fine and 30 hours' community service."
Robot Discovers Itself, Adapts to Injury
"If a robot is damaged or its environment changes unexpectedly, it can't adapt.
So Cornell researchers have built a robot that works out its own model of itself and can revise the model to adapt to injury. First, it teaches itself to walk. Then, when damaged, it teaches itself to limp.
...
Instead of giving the robot a rigid set of instructions, the researchers let it discover its own nature and work out how to control itself, a process that seems to resemble the way human and animal babies discover and manipulate their bodies. The ability to build this 'self-model' is what makes it able to adapt to injury. "
Idaho town issues call to arms
"After seeing the chaos of Hurricane Katrina, a city councilor in this tiny Idaho town founded by pacifist Quakers came up with a novel idea.

Ordinance 208, passed by the City Council on Tuesday, asks Greenleaf's 862 residents who do not object on religious or other grounds to keep a gun at home in case they are overrun by refugees from the Gulf Coast."
May the faith be with you
"Two self-acclaimed Jedi Knights want their faith to be formally recognised.
Umada and Yunyun, also known as John Wilkinson and Charlotte Law, want the UN to acknowledge Jedi is worthy of being called a religion.
It comes after 400,000 people recorded it as their faith in the 2001 Census.
They also want today's International Day for Tolerance renamed Interstellar Day of Tolerance."
Animal Insurrection Update! Rogue sea lion in S.F. menaces swimmers - Marauding mammal bites at least 14, chases 10 from Aquatic Park Lagoon
"A California sea lion lurking in San Francisco's Aquatic Park Lagoon is terrorizing swimmers, biting at least 14 on the legs and chasing 10 others out of the water this week."
System 'spots multimedia content'
"A smart system that can recognise and label the content in photos and videos is being developed by researchers.

They believe it will help people to organise, find and share the mass of multimedia data being generated by cameras, camcorders and phones."
Voodoo Practitioner Tries to Jinx Bush
"A renowned black magic practitioner performed a voodoo ritual Thursday to jinx President George W. Bush and his entourage while he was on a brief visit to Indonesia.

Ki Gendeng Pamungkas slit the throat of a goat, a small snake and stabbed a black crow in the chest, stirred their blood with spice and broccoli before drank the 'potion' and smeared some on his face.

'I don't hate Americans, but I don't like Bush,' said Pamungkas, who believed the ritual would succeed as, 'the devil is with me today.'"
Clever Bonobo Again Triggers Fire Alarm
"Panbanisha the bonobo is up to her tricks again. For the second time in two months, the 20-year-old animal triggered a fire alarm at the Great Ape Trust of Iowa research center."
Man Traveling From Nigeria to U.S. Arrested With Nearly $79G Cash, Laptop With Nuclear Info
"A man was arrested at Detroit Metropolitan Airport after officials say they found him carrying $78,883 in cash and a laptop computer containing information about nuclear materials and cyanide."
Scientists: Pollution could combat global warming
"Air pollution may be just the thing to fight global warming, some scientists say.

Prominent scientists, among them a Nobel laureate, said a layer of pollution deliberately spewed into the atmosphere could act as a 'shade' from the sun's rays and help cool the planet.

Reaction to the proposal here at the annual U.N. conference on climate change is a mix of caution, curiosity and some resignation to such 'massive and drastic' operations, as the chief U.N. climatologist describes them."
Chickens are smarter than thought
"Chris Evans and his wife, Linda -- both from Macquarie University -- played food calls to adult golden Sebright bantam hens. Rather than simply celebrating the discovery of food, the equivalent of a 'hooray', the scientists discovered the high-pitched sound the birds uttered means 'here is some food' -- setting an example of representational signaling, The London Telegraph reported."
Philip Morris Asks to Cut Cigarette Use in Movies
"The nation's largest cigarette maker is asking Hollywood not to put its products on the big screen, citing studies that have shown cinematic portrayals of tobacco use can entice children to smoke.

Richmond-based Philip Morris USA said Wednesday that it will run advertisements in Daily Variety, the Hollywood Reporter and other trade publications imploring moviemakers: 'Please Don't Give Our Cigarette Brands a Part in Your Movie.'"

Sorry, but count me as DEEPLY SUSPICIOUS of their motives and sincerity. All that is missing is a wink and a nod.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

New Technology Is Revealing Neanderthal DNA
"Unleashing a new kind of DNA analyzer on a 38,000-year-old fragment of fossilized Neanderthal bone, scientists have assembled a portion of that creature's genetic code -- a technological tour de force that has researchers convinced they will soon know the entire DNA sequence of the closest cousin humans ever had."

Jurassic Park seems increasingly less stupid as time goes by...
VHS, 30, dies of loneliness
"After a long illness, the groundbreaking home-entertainment format VHS has died of natural causes in the United States. The format was 30 years old.

No services are planned.

The format had been expected to survive until January, but high-def formats and next-generation vidgame consoles hastened its final decline.

'It's pretty much over,' concurred Buena Vista Home Entertainment general manager North America Lori MacPherson on Tuesday.

VHS is survived by a child, DVD, and by Tivo, VOD and DirecTV. It was preceded in death by Betamax, Divx, mini-discs and laserdiscs."
Maine Activist Cited for Bin Laden Stunt
"A Democratic activist who was arrested after he was spotted on a highway overpass dressed as Osama bin Laden on Halloween faces additional charges for the stunt.

Tom Connolly was charged Wednesday with terrorizing and reckless conduct, in addition to the original charge of criminal threatening, prosecutor Stephanie Anderson said. All three charges are misdemeanors.

'Halloween or not, in this day and age you do not get to dress as an international terrorist and wave what appears to be an AK-47 at rush hour traffic,' Anderson said."
Trading card of Jets rookie RB creating a stir
"Leon Washington jump-started the New York Jets' running game with his shifty moves and gamebreaking speed. The rookie running back has also created a stir among sports trading card collectors with a questionable photograph.

A Bowman 'Signs of the Future' autographed card, issued by The Topps Company, Inc., features a photo of Washington from the waist up in his green Jets jersey with his arms folded across his chest - and appearing to make obscene gestures with both hands."
Immortality Update: Heart Valves Grown From Womb Fluid Cells
"Scientists for the first time have grown human heart valves using stem cells from the fluid that cushions babies in the womb offering a revolutionary approach that may be used to repair defective hearts in the future.

The idea is to create these new valves in the lab while the pregnancy progresses and have them ready to implant in a baby with heart defects after it is born.

The Swiss experiment follows recent successes at growing bladders and blood vessels and suggests that people may one day be able to grow their own replacement heart parts in some cases, even before they're even born."
Culture of Corruption Update
"As convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff reported to federal prison today, a source close to the investigation surrounding his activities told ABC News that Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was one of the members of Congress Abramoff had allegedly implicated in his cooperation with federal prosecutors."
Publisher on O.J.: 'I consider this his confession'
"In a deal that some media executives called revolting, O.J. Simpson plans a book and TV interview to discuss how, hypothetically, he could have killed his ex-wife and her friend -- a story his publisher considers 'his confession.'

Two weeks before the book, 'If I Did It,' goes on sale, scorn was already being heaped Wednesday on Simpson, the publisher and Fox, which plans to air the Simpson interview in two parts November 27 and 29."
Pirate Update! South African police stalk gold mine pirates
"In a dangerous cat-and-mouse game, South African police are battling armed gangs of gold pirates through dark mine shafts deep underground to stop an illicit gold trade worth more than $700 million a year.

Assistant Police Commissioner Mike Fryer said the new operation -- pitting police against pirate miners in shafts as deep as 1.25 miles below the surface -- opened a fresh front in South Africa's war against gold smuggling.

'Our biggest problem is that they were utilizing explosives and hand-made grenades to threaten the people underground,' Fryer said. 'If one of those goes off in the wrong place, the whole thing could come tumbling down.'

Police have arrested 60 illegal miners in six operations in recent months, often following hair-raising encounters with rogue gold pirates who 'hijack' mine shafts."
Animal Rebellion Update! Deer attacks couple before trooper wrestles it away
"Pennsylvania Game Commission officials are investigating the apparently unprovoked attack by a male white-tailed deer on two residents this morning in Clintondale, Clinton County.

According to a commission news release, the incident on Fishing Creek Road began when a woman attempted to go into her backyard to feed cats, and a buck that was standing at her back door would not let her out of the house. Alerted to the situation, a man left the house to attempt to chase the deer away and, 'without warning, the buck repeatedly charged and gored him.'"

Hat tip to Kara!
Crazy passenger risks his life in 'taxi-surfing' stunt
"A young man risked his life to 'surf' on the roof of a taxi as it drove through Edinburgh city centre.

The late-night stunt was captured on a friend's mobile phone camera and posted on the popular YouTube website. The video shows the man climbing out of the window of a black cab as it heads along South Bridge. He then clambers over the roof before re-entering the taxi through the window on the opposite side."
Turkey stalls traffic at NYC toll plaza
"A small wild turkey wandered onto a busy New York City bridge toll plaza, halting traffic for about 15 minutes as workers chased the fowl down.

No one knows how the 10-pound female bird ended up on the Triborough Bridge, which connects the boroughs of Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx."
Rare swallow is easy to swallow
"Birdwatchers rushed excitedly to see a swallow that hasn't been seen in Britain for 20 years - then got a nasty surprise when eaten by a hawk in front of their eyes."
There's no way he'll regret this in later life
"Tattoos can be a great way of showing your personality to the whole world. Something nice and simple. Like a picture of a unicorn on your back, or the words 'I LUV JENNY' on your arm, or perhaps a Chinese symbol you don't understand on your right buttock.

Or, you know, a giant tattoo of a skull right across your face."
Deformed infant worshipped as goddess
"Thousands of people gathered in eastern India to pray to a girl born with tumours resembling extra limbs, believing her to be an incarnation of a multi-armed goddess.

The girl was born several weeks ago in the eastern state of Bihar.

“People from far-flung areas have started to pour into the village after hearing that the reincarnation of the goddess Durga was born here,” police superintendent Amit Kumar Jain said."
KFC's new face seen from space
"KFC today became the world’s first brand visible from outer space.

The fast food company have created a 87,500 square feet version of their founder, Colonel Sanders.

The stunt has been staged to celebrate a revamp of their logo.

It is only the third time in 50 years the logo has been changed. And in case you're struggling to spot the difference - in the new version the colonel wears an apron."
Searching for 'our alien origins'
"In July 2001, a mysterious red rain started falling over a large area of southern India.

Locals believed that it foretold the end of the world, though the official explanation was that it was desert dust that had blown over from Arabia.

But one scientist in the area, Dr Godfrey Louis, was convinced there was something much more unusual going on.

Not only did Dr Louis discover that there were tiny biological cells present, but because they did not appear to contain DNA, the essential component of all life on Earth, he reasoned they must be alien lifeforms."
Women will laugh, men will wince at this story "Maybe it was karma.

Three men attempted to kidnap a teenager in a dispute over stereo speakers shortly before 4:45 p.m. Monday, Wichita police reported. One of the three pulled out a gun and fired it at the teen in the 1000 block of South Wichita.

The shot missed the teen. The shooter jammed the gun back into the waistband of his pants... and it went off.

The bullet struck the 23-year-old man in his left testicle, causing him to cringe -- which caused the gun to fire again."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Police: Hazed Frat Pledges Wore Wigs, Wings, Panties
"One of the oldest fraternities at the University of Central Florida has been disbanded amid a hazing investigation.

Campus police and administrators are investigating possible hazing at the frat house on Oct. 26. According to police, a caller heard profane screaming, sobbing and moaning coming from the house. Police said they found pledges crawling on their hands and knees and wearing pink fairy wings, a rainbow-colored wing and a diaper, a striped prison uniform, a pink tank top, women's underwear and a blonde wig.

Three men were taken to a hospital, and the house smelled of beer, urine and vomit. Police said they saw 'mangled hot dogs' on the floor, along with scattered beer cans and bottles."
One-sided counterfeit bill tips off clerk in Wisconsin:
"A 21-year-old woman's attempt to pass a counterfeit $20 bill at a gas station was foiled when the clerk realized it was blank on one side.

Leah R. Jarolimek, of Cedar Grove, was charged with a felony count of forgery following her failed attempt to buy chips and cigarettes, according to a complaint filed Friday in Sheboygan County Circuit Court."
Paedo hid under girl's bed
"A Paedo seduced a girl of 12 — then lived in her bedroom for THREE MONTHS without her mother finding out.

Scott Jennings, 22, cut a giant hole in the bottom of the youngster’s divan bed then used it as a secret den to evade detection if somebody came into the room."
Drug use 'behind crumbling euros'
"Users of the drug crystal methamphetamine may be causing euro banknotes to disintegrate, German police have told Der Spiegel magazine.

Sulphates used in the production of the drug could form sulphuric acid when mixed with human sweat, they say, causing banknotes to corrode.

Drug users sniff powdered crystals through rolled up banknotes."
He drives awfully fast, for a dead guy
"A dead man has been blamed for hundreds of speeding offences in Australia in what police believe is a major fraud designed to help motorists avoid traffic fines.

Police in Sydney said 240 people were under investigation over the speeding scam, where hundreds of motorists blamed either the same dead man, or a person living in another state, for driving their cars at the time of the speeding offences.

'These offences amount to fraud and, if proven, those involved could face stiff penalties including imprisonment,' New South Wales Police Superintendent Daryl Donnolly said in a statement Saturday."
End of the World Update: Historian says peak oil production is still a quarter-century away
"Far from being a nearly exhausted resource, the world's oil reserves are three times bigger than what some popular estimates state, and peak global oil production is still about a quarter-century away, according to a new study by Pulitzer Prize-winning oil historian Daniel Yergin.

The remaining oil resource base is about 3.74 trillion barrels, according to a report released Tuesday by Cambridge Energy Research Associates, which Yergin runs. That's more than three times the 1.2 trillion barrels that 'peak-oil' theorists suggest."
Britney Divorce Stunner: Sex Tape In Play?, Report: K-Fed Threatening To Sell It And Has Been Offered $50M
"Britney Spears and Kevin Federline made a four-hour sex tape early in their marriage that he is now threatening to sell unless she gives in to his demands in their divorce case, according to a British tabloid, The News of the World.

It says Federline wants more than $30 million from Spears, along with custody of the couple's two young children, Sean Preston, 1, and Jayden James, 8 weeks. The newspaper also reports that Federline has been offered $50 million for the tape by one film company that wants to put the video online. "
Zoo turns panda poo to profit
"A Thai zoo has finally come up with a use for the vast piles of panda dung they collect – they're making paper out of it, and selling it in the form of souvenirs.

Pandas tend to excrete large amounts of bamboo pulp that they're unable to digest, none of which would normally be sold as a souvenir. But zookeepers in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai have taken a traditional method of making paper from mulberry trees, and used it to convert the poop into paper."
Belgium gives dog sex thumbs-up
"A Belgian man who had sex with dozens of animals and then posted photos of his acts on the internet walked free - after a court ruled bestiality was not a crime.
The Antwerp appeal court heard how the 37-year-old man from Genk, not identified for legal reasons, abused the beasts over a two-year period.
He was working as a volunteer at an animal sanctuary at the time.
He then put thousands of photos of his acts on the internet.
But the court ruled that the man could not be prosecuted for the acts, as animal sex is not punishable under Belgian law."
Drunken elk worries children
"Schoolchildren in Sweden are being terrorised by an elk. That would be bad news in itself, but this case gets worse – because the elk is drunk.

According to staff at the school in Gothenburg, the elk has been lurking around the school for days, including sleeping in the school doorway and frightening the children."
Sword v gun fight - sword wins
"The old saying 'never bring a sword to a gunfight' turns out to be bad advice – at least for Guillermo Tovar, who survived being held at gunpoint in his own house when he cut the gunman's trigger finger off before he could fire.

The gunmen broke in to Tovar's east Memphis house in the small hours of the morning on November 4. They kicked down his front door, pointed a gun at his son's head and demanded cash and jewelery, before pistol-whipping Tovar unconscious.

It was when Tovar came to that things got interesting.

He grabbed a sword from underneath the couch - described as a cavalry-type sabre, which the household used for cutting vegetation in the garden – and confronted the burglars. With a gun pointed at him and the intruder's finger already on the trigger, Tovar swung the sword – cutting the man's trigger finger off."
Man Dies Trying to Rescue Dog
"A man who tried to save his friend's dog from being pulled into the blade of a stump grinder was caught in the machine and killed Sunday morning at a hunting camp area east of Lake Wales."
Goya masterpiece stolen en route to New York
"A reward of up to $50,000 has been offered for information leading to the recovery of a painting by a Spanish master that was stolen while being transported to the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan.

The theft of the 1778 painting by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes was announced Monday by the Toledo [Ohio] Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, which issued a joint press release."
Alien Update! Cattle mutilation stuns ranchers
"Valier rancher John Peterson and his wife were recently headed out into the twilight to do chores when they spotted her.

The healthy young cow lay dead in a stubble field, just off the road.

Stopping the truck to investigate, they found the sickening, telltale signs.

The cow’s udder, genitals and rectum were cut out with stunning precision. The left side of her face was carved off, the exposed bones stripped as clean as if they’d been boiled.

Peterson, who discovered a similarly mutilated cow on his neighbor’s ranch five years ago, knew he was the latest victim in one of rural Montana’s greatest mysteries.

Since the 1970s, Montana ranchers have found dozens of cattle carved up in similar, macabre fashion.

The first known incident was a mutilated steer reported near Sand Coulee in late August 1974. By December 1977, sheriff’s deputies had investigated 67 mutilation cases in Cascade, Judith Basin, Chouteau, Teton and Pondera counties.

In each case, the cuts were made with surgical precision, often in circular shapes."
Outrage after drug-addicted convicts get £700,000 compensation
"Almost 200 drug-addicted convicts will share an astonishing compensation payout of almost £700,000 after the Government caved in to claims that stopping their use of drugs breached their human rights.

The settlement - worth a staggering £3,500 each - provoked fury last night.

Once legal fees are added to the payout, due to be rubber-stamped at the High Court this morning, the total bill to the taxpayer is likely to smash through the £1m barrier."
Television, Filmmaking Industies Are Big Polluters
"Although Hollywood seems environmentally conscious thanks to celebrities who lend their names to various causes, the industry created more pollution than individually produced by aerospace manufacturing, apparel, hotels and semiconductor manufacturing, the study found.

Only petroleum manufacturing belched more emissions."
Fra Angelico found behind bedroom door
"Two lost paintings by Italian Renaissance master Fra Angelico have turned up in a modest house in central England in a discovery hailed as one of the most exciting art finds for a generation.

The works — two panels each painted with the standing figure of a Dominican saint in tempera on a gold background — are expected to fetch more than $1.9 million at auction.

They were discovered behind a bedroom door in a terraced house in Oxford, central England, when art auctioneer Guy Schwinge was called in to carry out a valuation after the owner of the house, British librarian Jean Preston, died in July."

Hat tip to Kara!
Burrito not a sandwich
"Is a burrito a sandwich?
Panera Bread Co. says yes. But a judge said no in settling a food fight over the bakery cafe chain's attempt to keep a Mexican restaurant from selling burritos in a Shrewsbury shopping mall.
Worcester Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke ruled that an exclusivity clause in Panera's lease restricting the White City Shopping Center from renting to another sandwich shop doesn't prohibit the mall from adding a Qdoba Mexican Grill.
...
The difference, the judge ruled, comes down to two slices of bread versus one tortilla."
Did an Asteroid Impact Cause an Ancient Tsunami?
"At the southern end of Madagascar lie four enormous wedge-shaped sediment deposits, called chevrons, that are composed of material from the ocean floor. Each covers twice the area of Manhattan with sediment as deep as the Chrysler Building is high.
On close inspection, the chevron deposits contain deep ocean microfossils that are fused with a medley of metals typically formed by cosmic impacts. And all of them point in the same direction — toward the middle of the Indian Ocean where a newly discovered crater, 18 miles in diameter, lies 12,500 feet below the surface."
Man survives walk into airplane propeller
"A 50-year-old man is recovering in Winnipeg's Health Sciences Centre from injuries he suffered when he walked into a small aircraft's rotating propeller blades yesterday in the hamlet of Kleefeld, 45 km south-east of Winnipeg.

The Kleefeld resident suffered non-life threatening upper-body injuries -- a dislocated right shoulder and lacerations to his right side -- in the accident and will survive what could have been a fatal mistake.

'The chances of surviving impact with a propeller on any aircraft is remote,' RCMP Staff Sgt. Steve Saunders said last night. 'This gentleman is extremely fortunate.'"
Police: Pedestrian Fires Machine Gun
"A man fired a machine gun into the air Monday as he walked along streets in a commercial area and was shot by police after he wouldn't drop the weapon, witnesses said. No other injuries were reported."
New polymer kills germs, some viruses
"Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found that a surface coating of a special polymer kills germs by impaling them.

The polymer, called PEI, was used to coat glass slides in tests. It produces a surface covered with tiny fragments, like tentacles, that point upward.

When bacteria land on the surface their cell membrane is punctured, killing them, the researchers said in Tuesday's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."
End of the World Update: Global warming could wipe out most birds
"Unchecked climate change could drive up to 72 per cent of the world's bird species into extinction but the world still has a chance to limit the losses, conservation group WWF said in a report on Tuesday."
Sex on a plane bound for Raleigh doesn't fly
"A California couple whose in-flight friskiness on the way to Raleigh was a bit much for other passengers are facing federal charges for harassing the flight attendant who asked them to stop.

Carl Warren Persing and Dawn Elizabeth Sewell are scheduled to go to trial Dec. 11 at the federal courthouse in Wilmington for their behavior during a Sept. 15 flight.

The indictment states that 'the defendants repeatedly engaged in overt sexual activity in the cabin of the plane to such an extent that the flight attendant had to direct them to stop.'"

Monday, November 13, 2006

News in Science - Dolphins sing 'Batman' theme
"Scientists have taught dolphins to combine both rhythm and vocalisations to produce music, resulting in an extremely high-pitched, short version of the Batman theme song.

The findings, outlined in two studies, are the first time that nonhuman mammals have demonstrated they can recognise rhythms and reproduce them vocally. "
Outrage as Church backs calls for severely disabled babies to be killed at birth
"The Church of England has broken with tradition dogma by calling for doctors to be allowed to let sick newborn babies die.
Christians have long argued that life should preserved at all costs - but a bishop representing the national church has now sparked controversy by arguing that there are occasions when it is compassionate to leave a severely disabled child to die."
The end is nigh, the spoiled brats rule the world
"Stars of varying stripes have been on an unconscionable roll in the past week, delivering on cue head-scratcher after head-scratcher for our viewing and listening pleasure. Thanks be to that. With no shortage of cultural car wrecks to draw from, writing this week's column was like taking candy from a spoiled-brat celebrity.

And as much as it pains us to deliver the news, below you'll find 10 Signs the Human Race is Nearing its Expiration Date. Hey, we're just the messengers, folks. And, yes, we are going to hell."
Canada profs win right to smoke pot
"The use of medical marijuana has given two Toronto professors the right to something that many students could only dream of -- access to specially ventilated rooms where they can indulge in peace.

The two, at the esteemed University of Toronto and at York University to the north of the city, suffer from chronic medical conditions that some doctors say can be eased by smoking marijuana. They are among nearly 1,500 Canadians who have won the right to use the drug for health reasons."
Air guitar T-shirt rocks for real
"Australian scientists have created a T-shirt that allows air guitarists to play real music - without resorting to a real guitar.

The T-shirt has motion sensors built into its elbows that pick up movements and relay them wirelessly to a computer which interprets them as guitar riffs.

One arm is interpreted as picking chords while the other strums.

The 'wearable instrument shirt' is adaptable to both right and left-handed would-be rock stars."
Like Clockwork: Hour of Delay, Hour of Flight
"Few things are certain in air travel today, but one comes close: If you're on Delta Connection Flight 5283 from New York to Washington, you can expect to be late.

The flight had the nation's worst on-time performance in September, arriving late 100 percent of the time at Reagan National Airport, according to a recent government report.

Its average delay: 1 hour and 19 minutes. Actual flying time: 53 minutes. Much of the delay is spent on the tarmac, waiting for other planes to take off at John F. Kennedy International Airport."

If the flight is consistently late due to traffic, surely they ought to be able to redesign their schedules to take that into account. Otherwise they are simply defrauding customers
Burger King Manager Allegedly Shoots Teen
"A Burger King restaurant manager is being charged with shooting a teenage boy dead the two argued, and the boy spit in the manager's face.

Police say 16-year-old Shaka Walcott and 45-year-old Ronald Johannes had been arguing for more than a week. Police say the teenager returned to the Bronx Burger King Saturday night and was shot several times in the chest by the manager. "
Czechs 'foiled' N Korea nuclear purchase
"The Czech secret service (BIS) disrupted three attempts last year by North Korea to purchase special equipment needed for nuclear arms production, Czech media reported."

Obviously the N. Koreans are not paying sufficiently large enough bribes.
PlayStation 3 hits 'grey market'
"PlayStation 3 consoles advertised as used are appearing for sale in Japan shops as well as online auctions.

They are being sold for up to four times the retail price of the console, which went on sale in Japan last Saturday for about £270.

There are also reports that homeless people were paid to queue for the console on behalf of people now selling them on at a higher price."
MySpace attacked over death row diaries
"The online social networking phenomenon MySpace has come under fire for allowing death row inmates to maintain personal profiles on the hugely popular site.
At least 30 prisoners awaiting execution in Texas have pages on MySpace, which is used by millions of teenagers around the world to socialise and make friends.
Groups working with crime victims have demanded that the website, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, removes them.
The profiles list the inmates' hobbies and personalities and some include blogs in which prisoners relate the daily doings on death row, their favourite music and films or even the crimes they were convicted of."
Crazed cult rebel leader in talks with UN
"The LRA has waged one of Africa's most brutal and bizarre civil wars since it appeared in 1987. Tens of thousands of people have died and almost two million have been forced to live in the squalor of aid camps since Kony took up arms against a government accused of neglecting the interests of northerners.

He claimed to have been instructed by the Holy Spirit , and once said he wanted to govern northern Uganda according to the Ten Commandments.

Kony and four commanders have been charged with war crimes including killing civilians, rape, and abducting children. Their troops routinely sliced off the lips and ears of civilians suspected of being government informers.

Kony also issued a stream of increasingly bizarre orders to his followers. He ordered that anyone caught riding a bike should have their feet cut off, that all white chickens should be killed and that no farming should be done on Fridays."
Police dress up as Batman and Robin to catch drugs suspect
"Two policemen dressed as Batman and Robin captured a suspected drugs offender - in a bizarre sting operation.

The Dynamic Duo - Sgt Tony Smith and PC Mike Holman - pulled on the superhero outfits in a bid to unsettle the suspected baddies.

They pretended to be drunks looking for a fancy dress party and knocked on the door of the suspect's home."

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Pasternak's grave hit by vandals
"The grave of Russian literary giant Boris Pasternak, author of Dr Zhivago, has been desecrated by vandals.

Wreaths taken from around the cemetery were set alight on top of the writer's gravestone, Russian TV reported."
Steve McQueen's shades sell for £36,000
"A pair of sunglasses worn by actor Steve McQueen have sold for $70,200 (£36,762) at a Los Angeles auction.

The tinted glasses, seen in The Thomas Crown Affair, were sold to an anonymous buyer at Bonhams auction house."
Hi Everyone. Just a quick note from Blighty to say that I am reissuing

Weird Nylon Podcast #8


in the next few days (work schedule permitting). I have just listened to it again and I'm not happy with the quality of it. Bad Parky did a bad mix... Bad Parky...
Thai zoo to use porno to teach panda to mate
"A Thai zoo, which has hosted a couple of pandas for four years, will play 'porn' videos for the male next month to encourage them to breed in captivity, the project manager said on Saturday.

The pair — living chastely together at the zoo in the northern city of Chiang Mai since arriving from China in 2003 — would be separated in December, but stay close enough for occasional glimpses of each other, said panda project chief Prasertsak Buntrakoonpoontawee.

'They don't know how to mate so we need to show the male how, through videos,' Prasertsak told Reuters."
German crisis meeting called on Nazi art sales
"The German government has called a crisis meeting about how it deals with art sold by or confiscated from Jews under the Nazis after controversy over paintings restored to their original families only to be auctioned for vast sums abroad.
...
The painting, Berlin Street Scene by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, was auctioned by Christie's for $38 million (£21 million), just months after it was removed from a Berlin museum and returned to a granddaughter of its original Jewish owners – Anita Halpin, chairman of the Communist Party of Great Britain.

Through the auction house she sold it to Ron Lauder, heir to the Estée Lauder cosmetics empire, who intends to display the painting at his Neue Gallerie in New York.

The rapid sale of the painting has provoked art lovers and museum directors to complain that Germany's artistic heritage is being spirited away from public view and sold off for millions to private collectors."

It's interesting that these folks in Der Vaterland consider art stolen from private owners by the Nazis to be part of "Germany's artistic heritage". Some things never change...
Shaggy protesters baaaa-ttle urban sprawl
"On a weekend of street rallies in Spain -- Basques demanding independence, right-wingers nostalgic for the late Francisco Franco, pyramid-scheme investors who lost bundles -- on Sunday it was time for sheep to come forward and bleat.

A 700-strong, bell-tinkling flock meandered through stately downtown boulevards -- now home to McDonald's, Starbuck's and such, a far cry from the very old days of inns and straw -- in a demonstration called by farmers who say urban sprawl is eroding ancient routes used to transport the woolly critters from one pasture to another."
Zimbabwe airline cancels flights while dodging the repo-man!
"Zimbabwe's troubled state airline has cancelled flights to London, fearing seizure of its aircraft over unpaid debt.

Air Zimbabwe board chairman Mike Bhima said a European air safety agency won a court order empowering it to impound the airline's aircraft over an outstanding $2.8m debt."
Man unhurt after 50ft fall
"A Czech man had a lucky escape after he plunged four floors onto the pavement below after mixing up the toilet and balcony doors."

Gotta love that Czech pivo!
Black diamonds are laser-fusion scientists' best friend, for now
"As workers build the world's largest laser, scientists searching for the right target are eyeing one befitting a $4 billion laser-fusion machine -- perfectly spherical diamonds, more finely polished than any jewel.

In an instant, the giant laser would crush each to a tiny molten drop, hotter and whiter than the face of the sun and surrounding a core of hydrogen fusion fuel. A moment later, all would be gone, blown to pieces."
Sea Urchin Genome Reveals Striking Similarities to Humans
"Sea urchins and humans have a remarkable amount in common—genetically speaking.

Scientists already knew that the creatures, which resemble underwater hedgehogs, are one of only a few invertebrates (animals without backbones) on the human branch of the evolutionary tree.

But a new sequence of the California purple urchin's genome reveals that the marine creatures and humans bear a striking number of similarities."
Sir Elton: Ban organised religion
"Sir Elton John has said he would like to see all organised religion banned and accused it of trying to 'turn hatred towards gay people'.

Organised religion lacked compassion and turned people into 'hateful lemmings', he told the Observer."
Tax ruling will save UK drinkers billions
"British shoppers will soon be able to buy cut-price alcohol and cigarettes from the Continent without leaving home, as a result of an extraordinary legal test case that threatens to blow a multi-billion pound hole in the Treasury's coffers.

The European Court of Justice is expected to rule next week that goods can be bought in other EU states and delivered to the door while only the duty levied in the country of origin is paid. This is often a fraction of that charged in Britain.
...
The potential savings are huge: 200 cigarettes purchased in Latvia cost only £7.20, a saving of about £43, while several European countries charge no duty on wine."
French war chest may have gone on 'dancing girls'
"French intelligence chiefs yesterday faced embarrassment after it emerged that £18m from a secret emergency war chest had gone missing and that some of it may have been spent on what one spymaster called “dancing girls”, writes Matthew Campbell."

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Andy Griffith Sues Andy Griffith
"Forget the small-town belief in letting bygones be bygones.

The star of 'The Andy Griffith Show,' who portrayed the sheriff of the fictional town of Mayberry, has sued a Wisconsin man who unsuccessfully ran for the Grant County post after legally changing his name to Andrew Jackson Griffith."
Man Uses Bug Story to Make Women Disrobe
"An unknown man has been bugging women _ and police _ by using an insect story to try to persuade women to disrobe. Police said the man, who remains at large, has told female workers in at least seven businesses they have a tick on their clothes and should remove clothing to find it, said Waukesha Police Sgt. John Konkol."
Deer Frees Itself From Halloween Bucket
"A deer whose head was stuck in a plastic Halloween jack-o'-lantern for nearly a week has freed itself and will be fine, animal rescuers said Saturday.

Two children found a dented, hair-lined plastic pumpkin in their yard Friday night, and other neighbors saw a thin deer running free, The Grand Rapids Press reported. It was rainy Friday, which rescuers think helped the young deer wriggle free."
Brazilian Woman Survives 6 Shots to Head
"'I know this was a miracle,' Pereira told the TV network. 'Now I just want to extract the bullets and live my life.'

Doctors could not explain how Pereira survived the attack. The .32-caliber bullets didn't break through her skull and didn't even need to be immediately extracted, doctors said. Pereira also was shot once in the hand."
Absentee Florida ballot sent with precious stamp
"A Florida voter may have unwittingly lost hundreds of thousands of dollars by using an extremely rare stamp to mail an absentee ballot in Tuesday's congressional election, a government official said on Friday.

The 1918 Inverted Jenny stamp, which takes its name from an image of a biplane accidentally printed upside-down, turned up on Tuesday night in Fort Lauderdale, where election officials were inspecting ballots from parts of south Florida, Broward County Commissioner John Rodstrom told Reuters.

Only 100 of the stamps have ever been found, making them one of the top prizes of all philately.

Rodstrom, a member of the county's Canvassing Board, said he spotted the red and blue Inverted Jenny on a large envelope with two stamps from the 1930s and another dating to World War Two.

The nominal value of the four vintage U.S. Post Office stamps was 87 cents, he said."
Libraries in the sand reveal Africa's academic past
"Researchers in Timbuktu are fighting to preserve tens of thousands of ancient texts which they say prove Africa had a written history at least as old as the European Renaissance.

Private and public libraries in the fabled Saharan town in Mali have already collected 150,000 brittle manuscripts, some of them from the 13th century, and local historians believe many more lie buried under the sand.

The texts were stashed under mud homes and in desert caves by proud Malian families whose successive generations feared they would be stolen by Moroccan invaders, European explorers and then French colonialists."
Borat film 'tricked' poor village actors
"When Sacha Baron Cohen wanted a village to represent the impoverished Kazakh home of his character Borat, he found the perfect place in Glod: a remote mountain outpost with no sewerage or running water and where locals eke out meagre livings peddling scrap iron or working patches of land.

But now the villagers of this tiny, close-knit community have angrily accused the comedian of exploiting them, after discovering his new blockbuster film portrays them as a backward group of rapists, abortionists and prostitutes, who happily engage in casual incest."
Every detail of Britney Spears' pre nup and £65 million fortune
"She has been dismissed as simply a bubble-headed pop princess.

So when Britney Spears filed for divorce last week after two stormy years of marriage to Kevin Federline - now dubbed Fed-Ex - many assumed it would cost the 24-year-old singer a hefty chunk of her reported £65million fortune.

But The Mail on Sunday can reveal that, far from facing financial ruin, astute Britney safeguarded her global business empire with an iron-clad 60-page prenuptial agreement, prior to her wedding in October 2004."
Swan in Love With Swan-Shaped Pedal Boat Reunited
"It was a summer romance, but it may survive the winter. Petra, a lovestruck black swan, has been happily paddling behind a big plastic swan-shaped pedal boat since May. Now locals have enabled the inseparable couple to spend the winter together."
Communist leader gets £20m from art sale, but will she share the wealth?
"As the architect of communism Karl Marx frowned upon individual wealth. And in his most famous work The Communist Manifesto he said: 'The theory of Communism may be summed up in one sentence: Abolish all private property.'

So quite what he would make of a £20.5 million windfall to the leader of Britain's Communist Party is open to debate.

The unlikely multimillionaire is Anita Halpin, a trade union activist and chairman of the far left group.

As for the windfall, it is in fact the proceeds from the sale of a prized painting by German expressionist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner."
Four million Brits suffer from toilet phobia
"'Few people will talk about having an anxiety disorder in the first place, but for them to admit they have a toilet-related phobia is rare because of the obvious embarrassment and humiliation of being laughed at or not being taken seriously.'

'But, no matter how funny we might find it, it's certainly no laughing matter for almost seven per cent of the population who are reported to suffer from this condition.'"

Friday, November 10, 2006

Pervy Peter's Threat Spree
"Maniac molester Peter Braunstein threatened at least three other women involved in the fashion industry before he posed as a firefighter and sexually assaulted a former co-worker in her Chelsea apartment on Halloween 2005, new court documents claim.

Braunstein - a former Women's Wear Daily writer - left threatening phone messages and e-mails with the three women 'upon being rejected on personal or business matters' during 2003 and 2004, according to the documents, filed yesterday by prosecutors in Manhattan criminal court.

In one case, the curly-haired creep even repeatedly rang the buzzer at the home of one of the victims, whom he threatened to ruin professionally, the papers stated."
'Heavy'-Duty Rescue
"The City Council has revived a proposal to buy special 'jumbo' ambulances for the morbidly obese, officials told The Post.

The idea for the ambulances - which can easily transport people over 500 pounds - has languished in the council for years, but now lawmakers plan to hold a hearing on the issue on Tuesday."
LA police in YouTube beating film "An investigation is under way after a video of a man being repeatedly beaten by Los Angeles police officers was posted on the internet site YouTube.

The video shows two officers punching William Cardenas in the face and pinning him to the ground with a knee to the neck, while he struggles."
Family planning doctor 'told patient she needed exorcism'
"A doctor at a family planning clinic told a patient that she needed an exorcism because there was something sinister moving around inside her stomach, a medical tribunal was told yesterday.
Joyce Pratt, 44, allegedly told the patient, who was seeking contraceptive advice, that she might be possessed by an evil spirit and needed religious rather than medical help.
She gave the woman crosses and trinkets to ward off black magic, allegedly told her that her mother was a witch, that she and her husband were trying to kill her, and suggested that she visit a Roman Catholic priest at Westminster Cathedral in London."
Listening for ET’s Television
"The widespread use of television on Earth is a phenomenon of the last half-century. But the cosmos is three times as old as our planet. So there could be galactic civilizations that have been churning out sitcoms for thousands of years or more – time enough for the signals to reach our world.

This possibility was evidently on the mind of Abraham Loeb at Harvard University, who recently noted in the New Scientist that a radio telescope being built to study distant galaxies might also be able to pick up ET’s TV. The so-called Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR), a telescope consisting of 25 thousand tent-shaped antennas spread across Holland and Germany, can be tuned to frequencies under 250 megahertz. This is a spectral range far below what’s usually searched by SETI, but it’s the band in which much of your local television is broadcast. And maybe theirs, as well. "
Vandals behead N.Y. George Washington statue
"Vandals beheaded a statue of George Washington at one of the world's largest cathedrals and left a dollar bill on what was left of the neck, police said Friday.

The damage was discovered Sunday at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, near Columbia University, Officer Kathleen Price said."
Saddam's "hanging" sold out in Indian theater
"Saddam Hussein might have an outside chance of escaping the hangman's noose through an appeal process in Baghdad but, for followers of Indian folk theater, the toppled Iraqi leader is already a dead man.

'Saddam at the Gallows' opens on December 2 in the eastern city of Kolkata and the first 50 shows have already sold out.

'We are expecting huge profits and have requests pouring in from many states of India to stage shows,' said director Haradhan Roy.

The play opens in a high-security prison where Saddam is being held, with a debate about whether hanging him is the right thing to do. The curtain falls with Saddam being led away to the gallows."
Actress Denise Richards hits woman in wheelchair with laptop
"American actress Denise Richards hit two elderly women, one believed to be wheelchair-bound, with a flying laptop during a scuffle with paparazzi over photos, police said.

Richards, who is in the Vancouver suburb of Richmond shooting the film 'Blonde and Blonder' with Canadian-born Pamela Anderson, 'took exception to the paparazzi who had approached them' late Wednesday, Corporal Peter Thiessen told AFP.

'A laptop belonging to a photographer was thrown over an interior second floor balcony overlooking the main lobby of the hotel and hit two elderly ladies, aged 80 and 91, in the arm,' he said."
Missouri jail painted pink with teddy bear accents aims to calm violence
"Prisoners returning to a southwest Missouri county jail damaged in a failed breakout will find a new color scheme — pink with blue teddy bear accents.
...
'Basically, if they are going to act like children and commit a childish act, then we'll make a childish atmosphere,' he said. 'And its a calming thing; Teddy bears are soothing. So we made it like a day care, and that's kind of like what it is, a day care for adults who can't control their behavior in public.'"
Barbados Faces Invasion By Giant Snails
"A breed of giant, ravenous snails that first appeared in Barbados five years ago has thrived on the tropical island, destroying crops and prompting calls for the government to eliminate the slimy pests.
...
The snails, which are about the size of a human hand, are known to consume as many as 500 different plants and their mucous can transmit meningitis and other diseases."
Man accused of running down, stabbing teen over graffiti
"A man infuriated after finding a teenager spray-painting graffiti on his pickup chased the fleeing vandal and ran him down with the truck before knifing him, police said.

Julion Cesar Lee Tong, 40, was arrested and booked for investigation of the attempted murder of 18-year-old Miguel Angel Uribe.

Tong apparently became enraged when he caught Uribe spray-painting his Silverado pickup truck with black paint Tuesday morning, investigators said. Tong's pickup was vandalized weeks earlier and Uribe may have been the culprit."
Monster Storm on Saturn
"NASA's Cassini spacecraft has seen something never before seen on another planet -- a hurricane-like storm at Saturn's south pole with a well-developed eye, ringed by towering clouds.
The 'hurricane' spans a dark area inside a thick, brighter ring of clouds. It is approximately 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) across, or two thirds the diameter of Earth. "
Blind mice see after cell transplant - Study suggests newborn cells best for transfer
"Using a technique that may one day help blind people to see, researchers have shown in mice that retinal cells from newborns transplanted into the eyes of blind adults wire up correctly and help them to detect light.

The finding challenges conventional biological thinking, because it shows that cells that have stopped dividing are better for transplantation than the stem cells that normally make new cells."
Neo-Nazis attack Jewish memorial
"A group of German neo-Nazis, some shouting 'Sieg Heil', rampaged in the eastern city of Frankfurt on Oder and destroyed wreaths placed to mark the anniversary of the 1938 Nazi pogrom against the Jews, German TV said today.

German television network ZDF reported the neo-Nazis tore apart floral wreaths and threw away candles placed at a memorial marking a destroyed synagogue in the Polish border city late on Thursday – 68 years after the Nazis' Kristallnacht or 'Night of Broken Glass'."
Allan the croc's on the run
"Allan the 'comfortable' crocodile who bit a Belgian tourist after the man hit the water with a stick trying to get its attention has so far managed to evade wildlife rangers who plan to take it to a breeding farm.

Allan the croc will be hunted by a team of Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers again tonight after eluding them yesterday at Masons Creek, on the south side of Cape Tribulation in Far North Queensland.

Locals at Cape Tribulation are unhappy Allan is being taken away, and believe the stupidity of tourist Stefaan Vanthournout has resulted in the crocodile's punishment of being taken from its home of at least five years."

Thursday, November 09, 2006

$60M Picasso taken off auction block
"British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber's Art Foundation withdrew a Picasso painting worth up to $60 million from a planned Christie's auction Wednesday amid claims by a German man that he owns the piece.

The Lloyd Webber foundation and Christie's said ownership claims by Julius Schoeps meant a 'cloud of doubt has been recklessly placed' on the ownership of the painting from Picasso's Blue Period, 'Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto.'

Schoeps is suing the Lloyd Webber foundation, saying in a federal complaint that he was an heir of wealthy Jewish banker Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy from Berlin and that the banker lost the painting in Nazi Germany in a 'forced sale.'"
'Aliens could attack at any time' warns former MoD chief
"UFO sightings and alien visitors tend to be solely the reserve of sci-fi movies.

So when a former MoD chief warns that the country could be attacked by extraterrestrials at any time, you may be forgiven for feeling a little alarmed.

During his time as head of the Ministry of Defence UFO project, Nick Pope was persuaded into believing that other lifeforms may visit Earth and, more specifically, Britain.

His concern is that 'highly credible' sightings are simply dismissed."
Police give kids pot equipment
Training the next generation to do it right:
"Farming equipment seized during drug raids is now being used by children to grow fruit and vegetables.
Hydroponics sets and UV lights taken from cannabis farms would normally be destroyed.
But Merseyside police have donated the expensive equipment to the Dig It youth project in Bromborough,"
Firework blows man's hand off
"An Edinburgh street sweeper's attempts to scare his colleagues with a firework went a little bit wrong when he didn't let go of it in time, and it blew his hand off.

On the other hand, it did manage to scare them, as several of his colleagues who witnessed the incident were physically sick.

The man, who the Scotsman identifies as Peter Jamieson, 44, was playing around with one of the fireworks that the sweepers had collected from the streets in the aftermath of Guy Fawkes Night. Reports suggest he was trying to roll the firework under a roll-shutter door to give his colleagues a fright."
Boy, 12, Takes 2-Hour Spin in Family Car
"A 12-year-old took his 7-year-old brother for a two-hour joy ride in the family car while their mother was napping. Instead of watching TV, like his mother thought he was doing, Kenny Rodriguez, accompanied by his brother, Miguel Pepin, cruised the busy Grand Central Parkway and even parallel parked before police finally found them at a friend's house."
20 eunuchs collecting taxes in India
"They are India's new tax collectors. Dancing and singing to the beat of drums, about 20 eunuchs in bright saris began going from shop to shop, asking the owners to pay overdue municipal taxes in Patna, the capital of Bihar, one of India's most impoverished and lawless states."
Cat That Nearly Hit Passer-By Was Thrown
"A Brooklyn man is facing a felony charge after he allegedly threw his cat out a third-story window last month, officials said yesterday.

Don Carter, 24, defenestrated the 6-pound cat, Midnight, on October 18 after she trespassed into a bedroom where she wasn't supposed to roam, officials said. Agents from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals yesterday arrested Carter, who has a history of convictions for drug crimes."
Tollway Chief Quits, Linked To Porn Sites
"Ralph Mervine, executive director of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Expressway Authority, resigned Wednesday after a Tampa Tribune investigation found he is listed as the owner of a gay pornographic film production company."
Father accused of using cattle prod on infant
"A Somerset County man has been accused of abusing his newborn daughter -- smashing her head into a bathroom sink and onto a dining room table, bending her leg until he heard it break, and twice using an electric cattle prod on the baby.

Brandon Alan Austill, 21, of Somerset Borough, was charged yesterday with aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of a child and possession of an electric or electronic incapacitation device."

Hat tip to Kara
10 days after Devil's Night, Saginaw still burning
"Dozens of vacant homes have been set ablaze since a pre-Halloween arson spree last week, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

Late Wednesday and early Thursday, four fires erupted on the same block, causing more than $70,000 in damage. No one was injured.

'Why would anybody keep doing this?' Battalion Chief Donald Coleman asked."
Mariners report new island in South Pacific
"A new volcanic island has risen from the South Pacific near Tonga, according to reports from two vessels that passed the area.

The crew of the Maiken, a yacht that left the northern Tongan islands group of Vava'u in August, reported on their Web log on August 12 that they saw streaks of light, porous pumice stone floating in the water -- then 'sailed into a vast, many-miles-wide belt of densely packed pumice.'

They posted photos of huge 'pumice rafts' that they encountered after passing Tonga's Late island while sailing toward Fiji."
'Borat' barred from Russian movie theaters
"Russian authorities have refused to license the 'Borat' comedy film that has taken US box offices by storm over fear it would offend audiences here, The Moscow Times daily reported.

'The film contains material that some viewers may consider offensive to certain nationalities and religions,' the paper quoted Yury Vasyuchkov, the head of the agency that licenses films for theater distribution, as saying on Thursday.

If the ban is upheld, the movie, 'Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,' would be one of the first non-pornographic films banned in Russia since the breakup of the Soviet Union."
New York doctor given go-ahead for world's first womb transplant
"Doctors are hoping to carry out the world's first womb transplant and have begun interviewing prospective patients.

An American team have been given approval for the groundbreaking operation following laboratory experiments on animals."
Rocket stunt backfires on soldier who aimed too low
"The blue touchpaper was lit and everyone retired immediately, just as the firework code recommends.

That is, except for the squaddie who had recently returned home from a tour of duty in Iraq, and thought that Bonfire Night needed enlivening.

The soldier was on all fours with his trousers down and a certain part of his anatomy pointing at the stars with a Black Cat Thunderbolt rocket firmly in place."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

N.C. school: Sorry for pregame Nazi talk
"Part of a Nazi leader's speech was played over the public address system before a high school soccer game, prompting an apology by the home team's principal.
The speech, by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, was in German. Carpenter said in the letter that the team had adopted the slogan 'On to victory,' and that a German exchange student who plays on the team had taught other students how to say the phrase in German.
'Some of our more zealous students sought to capture this slogan in German and to play it on the PA,' Carpenter wrote."
Camera-shy croc snaps tourist
"Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) spokesman Mark Read says the 24-year-old male tourist splashed water to 'attract a crocodile' to photograph it at Cape Tribulation, about 350km north of Cairns, today.

'It wasn't a good idea,' Dr Reid said.

A 2m crocodile 'rapidly emerged' from the water and bit the tourist on the knee."
Lizards have personalities too, study shows
"They may be cold-blooded, but some lizards have warm personalities and like to socialise, a new study shows.

A behavioural study reveals that lizards have different social skills: some are naturally inclined to join large groups while others eschew company altogether. The discovery of reptilian personality types could help ecologists better understand and model animal population dynamics, say the researchers involved"
Baboons, Birds Remember Hundreds of Photos "Pigeons and baboons can remember hundreds of images and store them in their brains for at least a year, according to a new study.
Over a five-year period pigeons in the test were able to learn and recall between 800 and 1,200 photographs before maxing out their thumb-sized brains.
Guinea baboons were tested for three and a half years. The big monkeys memorized between 3,500 and 5,000 images and never maxed out "
The ultimate in work-from-home attire
"The Businessbib allows you to look perfectly put-together in a fraction of the time it takes to boot your computer. You can work from home in your underwear while presenting a polished appearance to the people that matter most. Using a simple abbreviated design of the traditional business suit eliminates the time and effort that goes into primping for more formal meetings. It frees your time and allows you to continue uninterrupted with your casual lifestyle."

Hat tip to Tom!
Man Says Bibles Stopped Bullet
"A 54-year-old Florida man credits two small Bibles in his shirt pocket with saving his life when they stopped a bullet.

The man, whose name was withheld because his attackers are still at large, told Orange Park police that two men he didn't recognize ambushed him with a rifle as he carried bags of garbage to a trash bin."
'Polish Borat' claims groping women is normal in Eastern Europe
"To the women he groped and grunted at, Thomasz Stepniowski's sleazy behaviour was no laughing matter.
But for the 24-year-old Pole it was all perfectly acceptable.
This, he claimed, was because such 'cultural naughtiness' is entirely normal in Eastern Europe.
Also see Britain is the country of choice for many 'feckless' Poles
And a court heard the factory worker - dubbed the Polish Borat by neighbours - was even backed by his female interpreter during a police interview."
Fire breaks out at Salt Lake crematorium
"Fire officials said the six-hundred pound man was in being cremated when his body fluids were too much for the oven.
The body fluids seeped out onto the floor and ignited causing a fire at the Garner Funeral Home in Salt Lake City.
......
The crematorium is back in business and the funeral director said they'll notify the family to assure them their loved one wasn't harmed."
Man confesses to killing during party game
"The party game asked people to name the stupidest thing they had ever done. Police say Jerry Rose answered, 'Shot a guy in the head.'

Now, Rose is charged with open murder and armed robbery in the March 22 slaying of 60-year-old Edgar Hawke."

Next time he plays that game he'll have an even more stupid act to recount!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Zapping sleepers’ brains boosts memory
"Applying a gentle electric current to the brain during sleep can significantly boost memory, researchers report.

A small new study showed that half an hour of this brain stimulation improved students’ performance at a verbal memory task by about 8%. The approach enhances memory by creating a form of electrical current in the brain seen in deep sleep, the researchers suggest."
Britney FINALLY dumps K-Fed
"Spears filed legal papers today in Los Angeles County Superior Court, citing 'irreconcilable differences.' In her petition, Spears asks for both legal and physical custody of the couple's two children, one-year old Sean Preston and two-month old Jayden James, with Federline getting reasonable visitation rights."
Ky. Poll Worker Charged With Assault
"A poll worker was arrested Tuesday and charged with assault and interfering with an election for allegedly choking a voter and pushing him out the door, officials said.

It apparently started as a dispute between the two over marking the ballot, said Lt. Col. Carl Yates of the Jefferson County sheriff's office.

The voter told poll worker Jeffery Steitz that he didn't want to vote in a judicial election because he didn't know enough about the candidates, but Steitz told him he had to vote in the race anyway, Yates said."
Suicide bid sparks punch-up among spectators
"A young woman's rooftop suicide bid in Germany sparked a mass brawl between spectators encouraging the 21-year-old to jump and a group of homeless people trying to protect her, authorities said Tuesday.

The homeless people were angered when some teenagers in the crowd of hundreds started yelling to the woman she should throw herself from the roof of the town hall of the southwestern town of Loerrach, said police spokesman Dietmar Ernst."

Hat tip to Kara!
Suicide bid sparks punch-up among spectators
"A young woman's rooftop suicide bid in Germany sparked a mass brawl between spectators encouraging the 21-year-old to jump and a group of homeless people trying to protect her, authorities said Tuesday.

The homeless people were angered when some teenagers in the crowd of hundreds started yelling to the woman she should throw herself from the roof of the town hall of the southwestern town of Loerrach, said police spokesman Dietmar Ernst."
Woman Fatally Bitten By Snake At Church
"Sizemore said he thinks the woman was bitten by a timber rattlesnake.
Handling reptiles as part of religious services is illegal in Kentucky. Snake handling is a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of $50 to $100. Police said they had not received reports about snake handling at the church.
Snake handling is based on a passage in the Bible, in the Gospel of Mark, that said a sign of a true believer is the power to 'take up serpents' without being harmed.
A woman who lives near the church told the Lexington-Herald leader that she's witnessed snake handling at the church."

'I don't have no dealings with those snakes,' Opal Wagers said. 'But they seem to handle them pretty good.'"

Hat tip to Minister of Animal Affairs, Kara!
Pregame Hitler speech stirs fury
"When Charlotte Catholic's boys' soccer team got to Forestview High School in Gastonia on Saturday night for an N.C. 3A playoff game, the Cougars heard something over the public address system they never would've expected:

A 90-second portion of a speech from Adolf Hitler.

'We were warming up,' said Catholic coach Gary Hoilett, 'and all of us stopped and looked up at the booth. We were just real shocked. It was obviously a Hitler speech. The voice was coming across clearly. Everybody knew.'"
Cave bigger than London Eye discovered in Derbyshire
"Potholers have discovered the UK's biggest cave beneath a hillside in the Derbyshire Peak District.
Titan is estimated to be about 459ft (140m) from floor to ceiling - as high as the London Eye.
Dave Nixon, a local potholer and leading underground explorer, discovered the cave after finding an account by an obscure 18th century academic in a university library.
In a paper written in 1793, James Plumtree described a network of caves which went beyond Leviathan, a well-known cave system near Castleton."
Conservatives Love Borat!
"This movie is satire in its truest, most courageous, form. Oxen are gored right and left. America is savaged. The Third World is savaged. Feminists are savaged. Evangelical Christian tent shows are savaged. Frat boys are savaged. Political correctness is savaged. The attitude that says political correctness is humorless twaddle is savaged. This is one of the four or five funniest movies ever made."
Police applicants go on rampage
"Around 17,000 wannabe policemen got slightly the wrong idea in India this weekend, as they went on an hour-long riot because they thought a police entrance exam was too hard.

In an excellent demonstration of their suitability to be police officers, the candidates went on the rampage, smashing property and vehicles, looting food and molesting women across an area covering 5km of the main highway in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh."
Non-invisible bank robber caught
"In the long list of criminal dos and don'ts, one of the top pieces of advice – above not robbing a CCTV camera shop, or not forging banknotes with running ink – has to be 'never rob a bank thinking that you're invisible when you're not actually invisible.'

Sadly for one man in Iran, he made just that mistake – and as a result, police in Tehran are hunting a fake sorcerer who convinced the man he was invisible and so could rob banks safely."
The ultimate mugshot
"Meet Curtis Allgier. The 27-year-old felon, who is affiliated with the Aryan Brotherhood, is a parole fugitive currently being sought by Salt Lake City cops. Allgier, pictured in the below mug shot, should be fairly easy to spot, considering his piercing blue eyes and that fetching soul patch."
Bionic Dolphin Cruises at 80 mph
"The Bionic Dolphin is a remarkable submersible hydrofoil that can cruise across open water at speeds of up to 80 mph. Underwater? No problem for the Bionic Dolphin, which can travel underwater at speeds of 40 mph; that's as fast as a real dolphin can swim."
Mathematician claims to have penned hardest sudoku
"A Finnish mathematician on Monday claimed he had created the world's hardest sudoku puzzle, a brain-teaser which required three months' work and a billion combinations to produce.

'AI Escargot is the most difficult sudoku-puzzle known so far,' the puzzle's 37-year-old creator and applied mathematician Arto Inkala told AFP."
Russian answers travel bug by building own submarine
"The idea of building his own sub came to Puchkov along with the dream to travel the world — a tough order for ordinary people living in the Soviet Union, which put heavy restrictions on foreign travel.

'I thought my own vehicle, able to move quite hidden or noiselessly, would make my task easier,' Puchkov recalled.

He designed it in secret but had a run in with the secret police on one of his very first test-drives. In the Neva River, outside St. Petersburg, Puchkov's submarine became entangled in metal nets meant for catching logs. A homemade submarine naturally attracted the interest of the KGB."

Monday, November 06, 2006

Famous Warship Museum Stuck in the Mud
The USS Intrepid, the aircraft carrier that survived World War II bomb and kamikaze attacks, got stuck in the mud in the Hudson River on Monday as tugboats tried to pull it from its berth.
The ship a huge floating military museum that draws hundreds of thousands of tourists a year was supposed to be towed across the river to a dry dock in Bayonne, N.J., for a $60 million renovation.
Six tugs pulled with a combined 30,000 horsepower but moved the Intrepid only about 15 feet. Not even an unusually high tide could free the 27,000-ton, 872-foot-long ship from the ooze.
...
The Intrepid has been moored at a pier on Manhattan's West Side for 24 years, during which time silt accumulated as deep as 17 feet around its keel. The decommissioned ship no longer has engines, but it does still have its four propellers, each about 15 feet across, and they got stuck in the mud."
How to screw dad's reelection campaign
"The adult sons of an Idaho state senator are in hot water with authorities in Idaho's capital city after two American flags dedicated to soldiers killed in Iraq were vandalized.
...
Their father is Boise Senator Mike Burkett, a Democrat facing Republican Charles Seldon in Tuesday's election.
Senator Burkett says he thinks his sons are innocent, while the boys' mother, Sharon Burkett, says the entire event was a 'misunderstanding.'"
Hungarians Seize Fake Washing Powder
"Customs agents in Hungary on Monday said they had confiscated over 25 tons of fake washing powder at three sites across the country.

In many cases, the counterfeit materials were packaged in bags and boxes with the logos of some of Hungary's best-selling brands of washing powder, but were actually mostly common table salt."
Did A Psychic Track Down Saddam?
"Celebrity pyschic Uri Geller says the US military used a clairvoyant to find the Iraqi leader.
'You remember when they found Saddam Hussein in Iraq? A soldier walked over to a rock, lifted it and then found a trap-door and found him in there,' Geller said.
'Well, I know that that soldier walked over to that rock because he got information from a 'remote viewer' from the United States.'"
Computer glitch limits next shuttle launch
"'The shuttle computers were never envisioned to fly through a year-end changeover,' space shuttle program manager Wayne Hale told a briefing.
...
The problem, according to Hale, is that the shuttle's computers do not reset to day one, as ground-based systems that support shuttle navigation do. Instead, after December 31, the 365th day of the year, shuttle computers figure January 1 is just day 366."
Plan to create human-cow embryos
"UK scientists have applied for permission to create embryos by fusing human DNA with cow eggs.

Researchers from Newcastle University and Kings College, London, have asked the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority for a three-year licence.

The hybrid human-bovine embryos would be used for stem cell research and would not be allowed to develop for more than a few days."
Row over Italian toilet artwork
"A toilet which flushes to the sound of Italy's national anthem has been impounded by police in northern Italy, sparking great patriotic debate.

The offending loo was the creation of two local artists and was on display at the Bolzano Museum of Modern Art.

Prosecutors say the Fratelli d'Italia anthem is a national emblem which should be protected and should never be open to ridicule."
Pirate Update!
"01.11.2006 at 1930 LT off Elmann, Somalia .
Six armed pirates boarded and hijacked a general cargo ship off Elmann. Pirates ordered master to sail north destination Obbia. At 1800 LT on 02.11.2006, the ship was in position 02:19N - 046:05E. Pirates have demanded a ransom for the release of the ship and crew. "
270,000 years' jail sought for bombers
"Spain's state prosecutor is calling for a record 270,000 years jail for 29 people due to stand trial in February for the Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people.

Seven of those charged could face prison terms of around 40,000 years, although in practice the legal maximum they will actually serve is 40 years."
Cambodia's National Animal Never Existed, Scientists Say
"The national animal of Cambodia probably never really existed, a team of researchers says, at least in the scientific sense.
Since 1960 the Southeast Asian nation has claimed the kouprey—an ox with spectacular crescent-shaped horns and a dewlap under its chin—as its national symbol.
But after conducting genetic tests, a team of researchers from Chicago's Northwestern University has concluded that the animal was most probably not a unique species at all."
A Sip Of Beer In N.Y. Now Worthy Of Intoxication
"Drinking a shot of beer in New York could get you arrested for drunken driving. At least that's the way the state law reads.

Lawmakers this year approved a bill that sets the standard for driving while intoxicated at 0.18 grams of alcohol in a person's blood.

A person's body might produce that much alcohol naturally, said Ed Fiandach, a DWI lawyer in Rochester. "
'Silent aircraft': How it works
"Engineers from the University of Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have unveiled a radical design for a 'silent aircraft'.

The team says any noise from the concept aircraft, known as the SAX-40, would be 'imperceptible' beyond the boundaries of an airport. It would also burn far less fuel than conventional planes."
Fast condoms on sale in S Africa
"Condoms, which promoters say can be put on in just one second, are going on sale in South Africa this week.
'Using an ordinary condom is a real pain,' says Pronto condom designer Willem van Rensburg.
'By the time the condom is on, the mood is halfway out the window.' Pronto condoms do not need to be unwrapped."
Jail for woman who kept sister-in-law as slave
"A mother of six was jailed for seven years today for turning her sister-in-law into a domestic slave.
Antonia Pearson-Gaballonie, 35, kept Veronica Sandeman, now 26, as a slave, assaulted her, forced her to work naked and made her beg for food over a number of years, York Crown Court heard."
Who Stole the Indian Me-109?
"Five years ago, a German Me-109 fighter was discovered, in the storage yard of an Indian college, by an Indian amateur aviation historian. A year later, the Me-109 disappeared, but now it has been found, flying around Europe. No one will admit to owning it, or say anything about how the valuable (worth over a million dollars) aircraft got from India to Europe."

The Me-109 (or more properly the Messerschmidt Bf-109) was the workhorse of the German Luftwaffe during WW2. My guess is that this scam was pulled off by Russian mobsters, as the M.O. described in the article (dodgy offshore corporations, shoddy attempts to conceal the theft, as well as the arrogant flaunting of it in Europe, etc) suits them to a T.
Too good to be true, online suitor was a rapist
"He was an online dater's dream: Tall, clean-cut, with a fashionable address and a taste for upscale bars and restaurants.

He said he was a doctor, an astronaut, a spy -- though he was really an on-and-off nursing student. With woman after woman, he would slip something in their drinks and then rape them, police say."
Teen charged making high school 'hit list'
"A 14-year-old girl has been charged for allegedly leaving a 'hit list' in the bathroom of her high school, one of several apparent pranks that set off criminal investigations into school threats in New Jersey this week.

One prank included a note threatening a massacre similar to the recent shooting rampage at an Amish school."
Orthodox Jews protest gay pride
"Israel's attorney general refused to ban a gay pride parade in Jerusalem despite threats of violence from ultra-Orthodox Jews, instructing police and gay activists to try to work out a compromise, the police commander said Sunday.
...
Ultra-Orthodox Jews have rioted in Jerusalem nearly every night over the past week, burning garbage cans, blocking roads and assaulting police officers in an attempt to get the authorities to call off the march, approved months ago by the Supreme Court. Many religious Jews, Muslims and Christians see homosexuality as a sin and the march as an affront to the sanctity of the holy city."
White dots caught by security camera led to discovery of corpses
"A Taiwan cemetery caretaker claims he can prove that ghosts exist, because white dots caught by the cemetery's security camera led to the discovery of 18 unclaimed corpses, a newspaper said Friday."
Speaking Bonobo
"To better understand bonobo intelligence, I traveled to Des Moines, Iowa, to meet Kanzi, a 26-year-old male bonobo reputedly able to converse with humans. When Kanzi was an infant, American psychologist Sue Savage-Rumbaugh tried to teach his mother, Matata, to communicate using a keyboard labeled with geometric symbols. Matata never really got the hang of it, but Kanzi—who usually played in the background, seemingly oblivious, during his mother’s teaching sessions—picked up the language."

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Mammoth comeback is possible say experts
"The woolly mammoth could be brought back from extinction using sperm extracted from animals encased in ice. Researchers have already found that sperm taken from the frozen reproductive organs of dead mice can produce viable offspring. Writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they suggest that sperm from frozen mammoths could be used to bring the extinct creatures back to life. The idea would be to inject mammoth sperm, assuming it could be retrieved, into the eggs of female elephants. A successful pregnancy would produce the closest thing possible to a living woolly mammoth, the result of crossing one of the extinct animals with a close modern-day relative."
"Cooler" Mice Live Longer, Study Finds
"Mice genetically engineered to have lower body temperatures live substantially longer than normal mice, researchers report in tomorrow's issue of the journal Science.
The newfangled mice are only slightly cooler than standard—just 0.5 to 0.9 degree Fahrenheit (0.3 to 0.5 degree Celsius), an effect that occurs only during waking hours.
But the temperature drop significantly increases the rodents' life spans, scientists say. Altered male mice live 12 percent longer on average, while females live 20 percent longer than regular mice."
Helium shortage grips suppliers across Texas, country
"'We're so close to the edge now, and every molecule counts,' said Leslie Theiss, manager of agency's field office in Amarillo. 'We're walking the tightrope right now.'"
Nazi 'master race' children meet
"A group of children selected by Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime with the aim of creating an Aryan master race has met openly for the first time as adults."
Hat tip to Anna-Marie!
Corrupt American Congressman Dragging Nigerian Gov't Down With Him
"Nigerian officials say the bribery investigation of Congressman William Jefferson (D-La.) has uncovered a massive corruption scheme involving several members at the highest levels of the Nigerian government.

Acting on information provided by the FBI, Nigerian fraud investigators have now indicted Vice President Atiku Abubakar on 14 counts of corruption, involving tens of millions of dollars allegedly diverted from government accounts."
Catholic marchers turn on Glastonbury pagans
"In scenes reminiscent of medieval witchhunts, Catholic pilgrims in Glastonbury have attacked pagans and threatened to 'cleanse' them from the town.
Local pagans were pelted with salt and branded witches who 'would burn in hell' during a procession organised by Youth 2000, a conservative Catholic lay group. The Magick Box, a pagan shop on the route of the march, was also singled out and attacked.
Maya Pinder, the owner of the shop, said: 'We've had to hear comments such as 'burn the witches', we've had salt thrown in our faces and at our shop, people were openly saying they were 'cleansing Glastonbury of paganism'."
N. Korea Update: Desperate Men Do Desperate Things
"For over half a century, North Korea has been using the same negotiating tactics. These consist of always asking for far more than you'll ever get, arguing over every detail and never reaching any conclusive agreement. All this is done in the most abrasive and annoying manner possible."
The Atlantic Fleet Fades Away
"Here's another sign that the Cold War is really over. The U.S. Navy has eliminated the Atlantic Fleet, after a century of existence. First established in 1906, the Atlantic Fleet was the first, world class, high seas, naval force from the Americas. At the time, there was fear that Germany's ambitious warship building program might someday endanger the United States. The Atlantic Fleet did go to war with the Germans in 1917, and again in 1941. After 1945, the Atlantic Fleet remained a mighty force, in preparation for a battle with the growing naval power of the Soviet Union. But when the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991, their fleet wasted away within a decade. So the American Atlantic Fleet no longer had a major opponent. "
Nearly 80 liberated garden gnomes recaptured in central France
"Some 79 garden gnomes snatched by a so-called gnome liberation group, were discovered Wednesday along the banks of a stream in the central Limousin region, police said."

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Japanese researchers find dolphin with 'remains of legs'
"Japanese researchers said Sunday a bottlenose dolphin captured last month has an extra set of fins that could be the remains of back legs, providing further evidence ocean-dwelling mammals once lived on land.
Fishermen captured the four-finned dolphin off the coast of Wakayama prefecture in western Japan on Oct. 28 and alerted the nearby Taiji Whaling Museum, said museum director Katsuki Hayashi."
Brittle euro notes baffle Germans
"German police are trying to find out why some euro banknotes of various denominations have been disintegrating - and who is responsible.

The notes are believed to have come into contact with sulphuric acid - perhaps during a cleaning process, police spokesman Michael Maasz said."
Moscow gave Saddam list of assassins
"The documents, obtained by the London Daily Telegraph, show Moscow also provided Saddam with lists of assassins available for 'hits' in the West and details of arms deals to neighbouring countries."
End of the World Update: Bow To Your Insect Overlords!
"Enormous mandible-wielding insects with wings beating a 1000-times-per-second may be unlikely during our lifetime, but climate change and evolution might just produce some creepy-crawly surprises."
US comedian unrepentant over Irwin costume
"American comedian Bill Maher has angrily refused to apologise for wearing a bloody Steve Irwin Halloween costume.

Maher, speaking on his US TV talkshow tonight, suggested Irwin may have been 'doing something' to the stingray that killed him that he 'shouldn't have been'."
Benny Hinn's Nigerian Adventure
"In late April, scores of giant billboards and thousands of wall posters all over Lagos proclaimed the first of three days of divine miracles and healing for at least six million Nigerians - but at the end of the third day, there was more bickering over money than praise to God for mercy received."
Porn pay-per-view leads to truant teen's arrest
"A 16-year-old boy has been arrested on charges he repeatedly broke into a Lehigh Acres home and ordered more than $250 worth of pay-per-view porn movies."
SHOCKER! ‘Borat’ Opens #1: Huge $$$ Matinees & Evenings Friday; Easily Beats ‘Santa Clause 3′; ‘Flushed Away’ 4th
"All the box office guru predictions for this weekend went wrong. I'm told Fox's Borat, though playing in just 837 theaters, shocked the experts and became the No. 1 movie in the U.S. Friday. HBO cable funnyman Sacha Baron Cohen's spoof took in a staggering $8.9 million for what should be an opening weekend of as much as $25 million. Based on the anecdotal evidence pouring in to me about long lines at the box office, sold-out screenings, and fans driving more than an hour to find a theater showing the pic, I believe Borat was standing room only inside those screenings. "
Nude Couple's Feud Ends at Waffle House
"A couple that began squabbling in a motel room Friday morning carried their dispute over to an adjacent Waffle House restaurant in the nude, police said."
3-Month Old Baby Charged With Robbery
"Police charged a suspect after a bus driver was robbed of his fares, then realized the suspect was a 3-month old baby.

The boy, Parveen Kumar, had been listed along with his father on an initial charge sheet after the bus driver was robbed, police in the eastern Indian state of Bihar said Friday."
Professor's Bigfoot research criticized
"Jeffrey Meldrum holds a Ph.D. in anatomical sciences and is a tenured professor of anatomy at Idaho State University. He is also one of the world's foremost authorities on Bigfoot, the mythical smelly ape-man of the Northwest woods. And Meldrum firmly believes the lumbering, shaggy brute exists.
That makes him an outcast — a solitary, Sasquatch-like figure himself — on the 12,700-student campus, where many scientists are embarrassed by what they call Meldrum's 'pseudo-academic' pursuits and have called on the university to review his work with an eye toward revoking his tenure. One physics professor, D.P. Wells, wonders whether Meldrum plans to research Santa Claus, too."

Friday, November 03, 2006

Skateboarders fly high on new Mega Ramp
"The largest skateboard ramp in the world can be found on a 12-acre farm north of San Diego among the green foothills of the San Marcos Mountains.
Pilots routinely adjust their flight paths for a closer look, which is as good a way as any to sum up the scale of the Mega Ramp. The wooden structure is longer than a football field, as tall as an eight-story building, with a creek bed running through a 70-foot breach."
Meanwhile in N. Korea
"Meetings, Korean book and photo exhibitions and film shows took place in Syria, Nigeria, Laos, Singapore and Malaysia from Oct. 8 to 14 on the occasion of the 61st anniversary of the Workers' Party of Korea and the 80th anniversary of formation of the Down-with-Imperialism Union (DIU). On display in the venues of the functions were famous works of President Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, photos showing their immortal exploits and books and photos introducing Songun Korea.
Participants in film shows watched Korean films including 'The Great Leader Comrade Kim Il Sung Meets Heads of State and Prominent Figures of Foreign Countries', 'Song of General Kim Jong Il Resounding through the World' and 'The Korean People's Army, Steel-like Ranks'."
Victim's cousin charged with tattooing killer
"An inmate accused of forcibly tattooing a slain 10-year-old girl's name onto her killer's forehead in an Indiana prison was the victim's cousin, a family friend said.
...
Stockelman told investigators that Harris put his right hand around his throat and told him, 'I'm either gonna stick you and leave you bleeding or I'm gonna tattoo you.' After applying the tattoo, Harris discarded the tattoo gun in a prison trash can, he told investigators."
Man Cleans Skulls For Living
"Jay Villemarette said, 'Some people would say that I am exaggerating when I say how greasy a human is. I am not exaggerating. It is nasty.'

Villemarette would know. He's the founder of an Oklahoma City company that bills itself as the world's leading supplier of osteological specimens -- bones and skulls."
Man sought revenge when sending child porn on the Internet
"A Bell County man pleaded guilty Thursday in a Waco courtroom to sending child pornography over the Internet in an apparent attempt to get revenge on a girlfriend who jilted him.

Antonio Perez III, of Harker Heights, pleaded guilty to one charge of transporting child pornography during an afternoon hearing before U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith Jr.

Perez, 21, was arrested after officers acting on a tip received by Los Angeles police searched his home and found computer equipment with images of a 2-year-old child being sexually assaulted by his mother."
Kanye West Upset at MTV Video Award Loss
"West apparently was so disappointed at not winning for Best Video that he crashed the stage Thursday in Copenhagen when the award was being presented to Justice and Simian for 'We Are Your Friends.'
In a tirade riddled with expletives, West said he should have won the prize for his video 'Touch The Sky,' because it 'cost a million dollars, Pamela Anderson was in it. I was jumping across canyons.'
'If I don't win, the awards show loses credibility,' West said."
Samsung’s $200,000 Machine Gun Sentry Robot
"Samsung has partnered with Korea University to develop a machine-gun equipped sentry robot, which consists of “two cameras: one for day-time and one for infrared night vision, zooming capabilities, a speaker for notifying the intruder, sophisticated pattern recognition to detect the difference between humans/trees, and a 5.5mm machine-gun.”"
Urban Cowboy Corrals Bull in New Jersey
"It took an urban cowboy from the farms of South Africa to corral and lasso a 600-pound bull running loose Friday in the streets of New Jersey's largest city."
No Reproductive Rights in Insect "Police States," Study Finds:
"Worker bees, ants, wasps, and termites share food with their nest-mates and collectively raise their colonies' young.
Rank-and-file workers, who are the queen's daughters, usually don't lay eggs, even though they have ovaries.
Scientists have sought for decades to account for the workers' self-denying behavior.
They originally suspected that workers freely choose to help their mother with her other offspring, because compared to reproducing on their own, it's a more efficient way of propagating their genes.
But the new study suggests that a typical insect society is not an obliging commune, as that theory might imply. On the contrary, says Tom Wenseleers of the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, it resembles a miniature dictatorship.
Outside the royal chamber, reproduction is forbidden, and unauthorized eggs are terminated, the biologist explains."
Naked man arrested on weapon charge
"Indecent exposure suspect near El Cerrito BART station had a screwdriver hidden within body cavity, police say"
Convict posts himself to freedom
"A prisoner wrapped himself in a large parcel and posted himself to freedom from a jail in Austria.

Bosnian Muradif Hasanbegovic, 36, was serving a seven-year sentence for robbery in the Karlau prison, near Graz."
Tool Find Suggests Earliest Europeans
"Caves in southeastern Italy have yielded evidence of the earliest human settlement in Europe, fueling a long-running debate over when the European continent was first colonized.

Found in soil layers at the site of Pirro Nord in Puglia, the evidence consists of sophisticated tools and a large amount of vertebrate fossils.

Dating of sediment layers showed that the artifacts range from between 1.7 and 1.3 million years old, report Giulio Pavia, a paleontologist at Turin University, and colleagues in a forthcoming issue of the German journal Naturwissenschaften."
Language Center of the Brain Is Not Under the Control of Subjects Who “Speak in Tongues”
"Glossolalia, otherwise referred to as “speaking in tongues,” has been around for thousands of years, and references to it can be found in the Old and New Testament. Speaking in tongues is an unusual mental state associated with specific religious traditions. The individual appears to be speaking in an incomprehensible language, yet perceives it to have great personal meaning. Now, in a first of its kind study, scientists are shining the light on this mysterious practice -- attempting to explain what actually happens physiologically to the brain of someone while speaking in tongues."
Tom and Katie Set to Wed at Mussolini's Home
"In a rather appropriate turn of events, Tom Cruise and fiancé Katie Holmes decided to hold their November 18th wedding in the former home of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. "

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Drunk man tried to get gas at nuke plant
"A highly intoxicated Oak Park man faces several charges after driving up to the Braidwood nuclear power plant in search of gasoline Saturday, police said.

It was the second time in two weeks that a drunken motorist mistakenly pulled up to a security checkpoint at the Braidwood Generating Station."
Choking at the car wash
"A Lockport man who felt the wheels of his 2005 Monte Carlo weren't scrubbed properly grabbed a Homer Glen car wash supervisor and choked him until he passed out, according to police and the business owner."
Christian fright house sends kids to 'hell'
"The group moved from room to room, witnessing scenes depicting what the church says are the consequences of 'bad decisions involving violence, sex and drugs.'

In one scene, a girl was lying on a gurney where a masked man in surgical scrubs pretended to perform an abortion. A toilet was sitting nearby apparently to collect the aborted fetus."
Yet another reason not to dress like in a sheep costume
"A Pulaski man suffered what were described as 'severe burns' over about 80 percent of his body when his homemade sheep costume caught fire at a Suamico bar just after midnight on Sunday.

Deputies from the Brown County Sheriff's Department were called to Chambers Hill Bar, 12329 Velp Ave., around 12:09 a.m. on a report of a fire in the bar.

When officers arrived they found Justin DeStarkey, 21, had been burned when his sheep costume made of cotton balls and glue caught fire, according to the sheriff's department."
Govt. Tells Singles No Sex Till You're 30
"If you're single and in your 20s, the federal government wants you to steer clear of sex.

That's the new guidance for states under the Department of Health and Human Services' $50 million Abstinence Education Program. HHS officials say it's not a requirement — just another option for states to combat what they call an alarming rise in out-of-wedlock births."
Lost Moon landing tapes discovered
"For years 'lost' tapes recording data from the Apollo 11 Moon landing have been stored underneath the seats of Australian physics students. A recent search has uncovered them.

They were nearly thrown out with the rubbish. But a last minute search instead has scientists in Western Australia dusting off several boxes of 'lost' NASA tapes which record surface conditions on the Moon just after Neil Armstrong stepped into space history on 21 July 1969."
Computer scientists track prediction markets in runup to US elections
"The computer scientists have devised Web sites that display continuously updated color maps predicting the outcome of the 2006 gubernatorial and senate races. The predictions are linked to the prices of securities at Tradesports.com, an Irish trading site that runs a market for each state with a gubernatorial or senate race.
'The prices of the securities have in the past shown to be a surprisingly accurate prediction of future events,' said Lance Fortnow, Professor in Computer Science at the University of Chicago. 'In 2004, these markets correctly predicted all but one of the senate races and every state correctly in the electoral college. We put the map together to highlight the importance of these markets and let people get a quick view of what the markets say.' "
Police arrest 10,733 fugitives in U.S.-led sweep
"More than 10,000 fugitives, including 1,659 alleged sex offenders, were arrested in a week-long sweep by law enforcement officials in 24 eastern states, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said on Thursday.
The arrests were conducted October 22-28 in the third installment of Operation Falcon, which Gonzales told reporters was designed to make 'sure that there aren't second or third victims, especially children ... by a dangerous fugitive.'"
Wow, that’s one realistic inmate costume!
"A jail went into lockdown and recounted its prisoners on Halloween night after a former inmate was spotted trick-or-treating in his old orange prisoner's jump suit.

'Bad choice of costume,' said Susan Tolchin, chief adviser to Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano."
Can neo-Houdini escape cops’ wrath?
"Police arrested an escape artist Wednesday after he led them on a fruitless underwater search for his body when he jumped into the Gulf of Mexico, clad in a straitjacket, on Halloween — the 80th anniversary of magician Harry Houdini's death"
Pucker up and pee?
"Four urinals shaped like a woman’s lips went on sale on eBay on Thursday after being removed from a public toilet in Vienna following protests from women’s groups who said they were sexist."
Woman dies next to her own grave
"A Dutch woman, who had meticulously planned her own funeral after the death of her husband last year, died next to the grave in Amsterdam where she wanted to be buried, a newspaper reported.

The 65-year-old widow probably died of a heart attack while she was visiting the family grave where her name, but no date, was already inscribed, De Telegraaf daily reported on Wednesday."
Z machine melts diamond to puddle
"Sandia’s Z machine, by creating pressures more than 10 million times that of the atmosphere at sea level, has turned a diamond sheet into a pool of liquid."
Navy Says Wreck Found Off Japan is Legendary Sub USS Wahoo
"'After reviewing the records and information, we are certain USS Wahoo has been located,' said Adm. Gary Roughead, the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander."
Politically Incorrect in Brooklyn Update: March To Denounce Teen's Hitler Costume
"Students and parents from Brooklyn's Leon Goldstein High School plan to march to the nearby Holocaust Memorial Park Monday morning to denounce a student's appearance in an Adolf Hitler costume on Halloween.

Penny Lee Berman, who is president of the Parents Association at the high school, says the 16-year-old's insistence that his costume was an exercise of free speech and just a parody had deeply hurt many in the Sheepshead Bay community. "
Yet another reason to love New York
"In a city already spoiled by home delivery of groceries, of laundry, of Chinese food, and now of a salesman named Chris who finds comfort in knowing that a quality buzz is just a phone call away.
His call to a pager prompts a return call from a cheery dispatcher who takes his order for potent strains of marijuana. Within a couple hours, a well-groomed delivery man, sometimes a moonlighting actor or chef, arrives at the doorstep of his Manhattan apartment carrying weed neatly packaged in small plastic containers."
Nurse Ordered Involuntary Psych Tests For Ex
"A 30-year-old New Hampshire nurse is in deep trouble after she allegedly lied on the job in order to get her ex-boyfriend involuntarily admitted to a hospital for an emergency psychiatric evaluation that he didn't need."
Man survives 197-foot dive from Sunshine Skyway
"Hillsborough County Sheriff's investigators say 22-year-old Justin Steele of St. Petersburg, stopped his Honda SUV at the top of the bridge Thursday morning. A Florida Highway Patrol Trooper stopped at the top of the bridge to offer help to what he thought was a stranded motorist.
Investigators say that as the Trooper offered assistance, Steele turned and ran toward the side of the bridge, diving 197-feet to the water below."
Shoe smell fetish guy arrested
"A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of stealing around 5,000 pairs of children's shoes because he got off on their smell."
Plunger v sword fight ends badly
"According to police reports, the boy lunged at his brother with the plunger, which promptly suctioned itself hard to his stomach.

It was as the man was trying to remove the plunger from his brother's stomach that, apparently, he managed to impale himself on the sword."
Duct tape no substitute for a babysitter, police say
"A woman accused of duct-taping her two children together and leaving them home alone has been charged with child abuse, the sheriff's office said.

Agla Nadia Vincent, 25, was arrested Monday following a seven-month investigation into whether she left her two boys, then aged 2 and 3, taped to each other while she went to work, said Lt. Annie Smith of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office."
Pollock work 'earns record price'
"A work by Jackson Pollock has become the most expensive painting sold, at a price of about $140m (£73m), according to the New York Times."
Squirrel Menace Update:
"Barb Dougherty, a 30-year Postal Service employee, said she was attacked and bitten Monday by a squirrel while delivering mail in Oil City, about 75 miles north of Pittsburgh.

'It was a freak thing. It was traumatic,' Dougherty told The Derrick newspaper. 'I saw it there on the porch, put the mail in the box and turned to walk away and it jumped on me.'"
Clover man gets 20 years for trying to dig up girl's grave
"A 23-year-old Clover man who police say tried to dig up the grave of a 12-year-old girl after seeing her picture in an obituary has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Bryan Nicholas Garcia never did find the girl's grave and told investigators he wanted to 'take her home and have fun,' Clover Police Lt. Randall Horn said."
Pie in the face
"A controversial Brooklyn high school principal sent a pie chart and letter home explaining her new grading system - but the confusing graphic totals more than 100%."
End of the World Update:'Only 50 years left' for sea fish
"There will be virtually nothing left to fish from the seas by the middle of the century if current trends continue, according to a major scientific study."
Vicar Sets Himself Alight to Protest Islamization of Europe
"On Tuesday a Lutheran vicar set himself alight in the German town of Erfurt. The 73 year old Roland Weisselberg poured gasoline over himself and set fire to himself in the Erfurt monastery, where Martin Luther took his monastic vows in 1505. Bystanders rushed to extinguish the flames. The man later died of his injuries."

German speakers can read more here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Study: Fat, boozing mice stay healthy
"Huge amounts of a red wine extract seemed to help obese mice eat a high-fat diet and still live a long and healthy life, suggests a new study that some experts are calling 'landmark' research.

The big question is, can it work the same magic in humans?

Scientists say it's far too early to start swilling barrels of red wine. But they are calling the latest research promising and even 'spectacular.'"
TV producer slams 'showman' Irwin
"The executive producer of the BBC's Planet Earth series has branded the late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin a 'showman' more interested in his own stardom than the animal kingdom.

Alastair Fothergill launched an extraordinary attack on the Australian TV star who was killed by a stingray while making a wildlife program in September. "
Rights group files complaint against Borat
"A human rights group campaigning for gypsies has filed a complaint against British comic Sacha Baron Cohen over his film featuring a spoof Kazakh journalist who calls himself a former 'gypsy catcher', German prosecutors said today."
Moss singled out in drug campaign
"Colombia's vice president has accused coke-using celebrities of fuelling the country's civil war, singling out Kate Moss for criticism.

Francisco Santos said it was 'baffling' that Moss had won so many new contracts following allegations she used cocaine."

Hat tip to Anna-Marie!
Politically Incorrect in Brooklyn
"A Brooklyn high school student caused a stir when he showed up for class dressed as Adolf Hitler for Halloween.

Walter Petryk, 16, defended his costume Tuesday, insisting it was a satire of the Nazi dictator.

But some students and officials at Leon M. Goldstein High School were not impressed."
Pirate Update!
"Ten Somali pirates who were captured by the U.S. Navy after hijacking a ship off their country's lawless coast were sentenced Wednesday to seven years in prison each.

The men, who were convicted October 26 of hijacking, could have received life sentences for seizing the Indian-based vessel, the Safina Al Bisaarat, in January.

Piracy is rampant off the coast of Somalia, which has no effective government of its own to respond. The Horn of African nation has been in chaos since warlords overthrew a dictator in 1991 and turned on each other."

Hat tip to Kara!
Web reaches new milestone: 100 million sites
"Netcraft, an Internet monitoring company that has tracked Web growth since 1995, says a mammoth milestone was reached during the month of October.

'There are now 100 million Web sites with domain names and content on them,' said Netcraft's Rich Miller. "
Kerryism
"Kerry surely must be one of the saddest Democratic liabilities around. Some afterthoughts about his latest gaffe, which is one of those rare glimpses into an entire troubled ideology"

He's truly the gift that keeps on giving!
John Kerry - Under Karl Rove's Spell?
"It's sort of this made-for-Fox-News Halloween thriller. It only runs in even years, but Karl Rove casts some spell, John Kerry turns into the Grim Reaper, and the Democrats all look as if they've seen a ghost.'"
Bomb Explodes At eBay PayPal Headquarters
"An explosive device left at the eBay-owned PayPal headquarters in San Jose exploded Tuesday night, shattering a plate-glass window on the four-story building.

Some 26 employees were working inside the building at the time of the explosion. They reportedly called 911 after hearing the blast."