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WICKED THOUGHTS -- MIRROR




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8 December, 2014

Find the owl in the pic below



Bigger picture here

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

THIRTY new species of spider found in less than a square mile of Chinese rainforest:  "If you have trouble coping with a spider in your bath, be glad you don't live in the Xishuangbanna tropical rainforest in China.  Scientists have recently identified 30 new species of arachnid in less than a square mile of the mysterious forest in the southern part of Yunnan.  And they believe many more are yet to be discovered in the biodiversity hotspot - called Mengbanaxi in ancient times, meaning a 'miraculous utopia' and also known as 'the Kingdom of Tropical Fauna and Flora'.  Professor Shuqiang Li, of the academy, based in Beijing, said: 'The amazing biological diversity we have witnessed during our work on spiders in the area is perhaps only a part of what Xishuangbanna tropical rainforests hold.'  It is one of the few places in China that still maintains large tracts of tropical rainforest, and Prof Li and colleagues have been using multiple collecting methods there since 2006.  The spiders were found in an area called Huludao which, although covering only about 200 hectares of Xishuangbanna, has yielded a collection of approximately 700 spider species."




One dummy less:  "Police in Ohio say an 18-year-old man killed himself while playing Russian roulette. The Columbus Dispatch reports  that Rashaun McCrae died Monday night, and it took Whitehall police several days to confirm his cause of death and investigate the accounts of friends in the house at the time.  Police reports say an 18-year-old friend told officers that McCrae was sitting in a kitchen spinning the cylinder of a revolver and asked him if he wanted to play Russian roulette. The friend declined, left the room and heard a gunshot.  A 23-year-old woman told police that McCrae showed her and a friend the gun, loaded it with one bullet, held it to his head and fired."




Grumpy Cat has made its owner £64million:  "She is the world's crankiest cat with a permanent scowl that has inspired countless memes, a best-selling series of books and a movie.  But even the news that she has amassed a £64million fortune has not been enough to put a smile on the face of internet sensation Grumpy Cat – real name Tardar Sauce.  The feline, who shot to fame two years ago in a YouTube video that got 15.7 million views, has earned more than Hollywood stars Nicole Kidman, Cameron Diaz and Matthew McConaughey. Grumpy has a book deal and made her Hollywood debut last month in Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever.  Owner Tabatha Bundesen from Morristown, Arizona, said the two-year-old moggy is 'unstoppable'.  She told The Express: 'What she's achieved in such a short time is unimaginable and absolutely mind-blowing. 'I was able to quit my job as a waitress within days of her first appearance on social media and the phone simply hasn't stopped ringing since.'  Grumpy was born with dwarfism and an underbite, giving her a disgruntled expression."




Woman selling haunted sword on Craigslist:  "IF YOU’RE an avid sword collector, then today is your day: An elderly woman in Austin is selling a sword on Craigslist that she says is “from the 1700s” for the low price of $150. There is just one catch. It might be haunted. According to the ad, the woman acquired the sword from an antique store in 1984. When it was sold to her, the cashier advised her to “be careful because there is a 90+ per cent chance that is cursed.” She notes that, in her 100-sword collection, this is the only one that is haunted (so act fast!).  If you’re willing to cough up nearly $200 to help a sweet old lady rid herself of evil spirits, know that, as your crucifixes fly from the walls, you are in good company


Bus driver steals passenger's smartphone:  "Unusual CCTV footage has emerged from China showing a bus driver stealing a passenger’s smartphone.  In the footage, captured on a camera on the bus in Guizhou Province late last month, the driver can be seen watching the passenger’s pocket before carefully reaching inside and extracting the device.  According to local news reports, the passenger reported the loss of her phone worth 2,000 yuan (around 326 US dollars) to police officers and a subsequent review of the CCTV footage revealed the 41-year-old driver to be the thief."



And don't forget to catch up with all the  Strange Justice before you go.




7 December, 2014

Froggy frankness



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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Miracle baby SURVIVES being buried alive: "A Chinese baby girl has survived being buried alive for two hours after her parents believed she was stillborn.  The baby, who has yet to be named, was born to Lu Xiaoyun and her husband He Yong on their farm in Dongdong, northeast China's Liaoning Province.  Ms Lu believed she was four months pregnant and that she was suffering a miscarriage, when she went into labour while working on the farm. She called her husband , who rushed back from work to find her in a pool of blood.  Ms Lu was taken to hospital.    When Mr Ye returned to the farm, he was shocked to find that his mother-in-law had already buried the baby girl.  Mr Ye rushed into the yard to dig up the baby, and found that she was breathing. However, after Chinese media picked up the story of the miracle baby, news of their plight spread and people began to donate money.  They were then able to return their daughter to hospital where she is being kept in an incubator."




Guards forced to rescue stranded puppies terrified a by glass floor:  "Security guards had to rescue a family of dogs who became stranded on a 590ft-high glass bridge in China.  The group, including several puppies, became spooked when crossing part of the bridge that has glass panels covering the floor.  It is understood the animals followed tourists onto the suspension bridge at the famous Shiniuzhai Scenic Spot.  Security guard Xiong Yin, 35, said: ‘Some of the dogs did not seem to mind but the rest refused to step on the glass.  ‘There was a risk that the dogs that were all very small might fall, and so we decided to remove them.  ‘They were very popular with tourists that had been posing for pictures with them. But it was dangerous.’  He added that usually dogs and other animals avoided the bridge, but he believed these dogs had followed a small group of tourists that had been feeding them, and had hoped to get more food later by keeping behind the visitors.




Incredible treasure trove of rusting classic cars worth £12MILLION is found languishing in a French farm garage: "A £12million treasure trove of 60 rusting classic cars left languishing on a French farm for 50 years has gone up for auction.  The haul of motors, which includes dozens of vintage sports cars, was found gathering dust under piles of newspapers in garages and barns on a farm in western France.  Among the vehicles up for sale are a Ferrari once sat in by Jane Fonda and a Talbot-Lago previously owned by extravagant Egyptian King Farouk. Some of the vehicles may be too rusted to be restored, but many of the cars are worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.  The cars were collected from the 1950s to the 1970s by entrepreneur Roger Baillon, who dreamt of restoring them to their former glory and displaying them in a museum. Mr Baillon died about 10 years ago and his son, Jacques, who inherited the collection, died last year.  Mr Baillon's grandchildren had no idea of the extent of the collection, calling in car specialists Matthieu Lamoure and Pierre Novikoff of auctioneers Artcurial Motorcars to estimate its value.




Direct action in Britain against car parking charges: "The quiet village of Dedham, in the heart of Constable Country, has been rocked by violent direct action against new car parking charges.  In the latest attack ram raiders demolished a pair of ticket machines installed by Colchester borough council. A council spokesman said the machines, a notice board and height barrier were all targeted last weekend and have had to be removed for repairs.  In June and July, the machines were hit 10 times when the coin slots were blocked with superglue or builders’ foam. The introduction of parking charges in the picturesque village in April caused an outcry with some businesses claiming visitors would shun the beauty spot. Parking for up to an hour is free but it costs £1 for up to two hours, £2 for up to four hours and £4 for the day."




Pacific islanders survive five months on boat after drifting more than 1,000 miles:  "Two Papua New Guinea men have told rescuers how they survived almost five months adrift in a tiny open boat in the Pacific Ocean by eating raw fish and drinking rainwater.  The men, Michael Bolong, 54, and Ambros Wavut, 28, were eventually picked up at sea by the fishing vessel Yap Seagull after trying in vain for months to catch the attention of passing ships.  The pair were safely landed on Pohnpei in Micronesia’s Caroline Islands on November 29. They were said to be suffering from severe sunburn but otherwise well, and have recovered enough to be discharged from a hospital on the island.  They said a third person who had been in the boat, named as Francis Dimansol, 48, died from severe health problems during their ordeal. It is unclear what became of the body. [Translation:  They ate him]"



And don't forget to catch up with all the  Strange Justice before you go.










6 December, 2014

Lucky man



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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Scientists claim they have developed male birth control that is 99% effective:  "Scientists have developed a male birth control pill which they claim is 99 per cent effective and has few side effects.  The pill, derived from an Indonesian shrub, apparently allows men to produce sperm that cannot get women pregnant.  It is made from the gendarussa plant, which has long been used by tribesmen on the island of Papua to prevent their wives from conceiving. Professor Bambang Prajogo, of Airlangga University, developed the pill after hearing rumours of these effects, and bringing the gendarussa plant to his lab for study in 1985. He has carried out 30 years of research, isolating the active ingredient, putting it into a tablet form, and carrying out clinical trials to prove its contraceptive effects, Global Post reports.  He says the plant’s active ingredient disrupts three key enzymes in sperm, weakening them and making them unable to penetrate the eggs during the fertilization process. This would not interfere with the quantity or quality of sperm produced because it only targets the enzymes, he told the Jakarta Post.   Small clinical trials, the largest studying 350 men, found it to be 99 per cent effective."




Pope Francis: I was fed donkey's milk as a boy:  "It was a symbol of decadence in the classical world, most famously in the case of Cleopatra, but Pope Francis has revealed that he once had a penchant for asses’ milk – as a baby.  The Pope, who famously disdains luxury, said he was fed donkey’s milk when he was growing up in his native Argentina, to supplement his mother's milk. The unusual revelation emerged this week when the Pope was given a present of two donkeys by an Italian company called Eurolactis Italia that produces donkey milk.  The firm also donated a few gallons of the milk to the Bambin Gesu (Baby Jesus) Hospital, one of Rome’s best known paediatric hospitals.  Containing more lactose and less fat than cow’s milk, donkey milk is considered to be closer to human breast milk."




Polish treasure hunters unearth wine hidden in Nazi bunker since before WW2:  "Treasure hunters are raising a glass or two after they discovered a couple of bottles of classic wine dating back to before the Second World War while they were exploring a Nazi bunker. Exploring the cramped maze of Third Reich of tunnels near Swinoujscie, a city in north-western Poland, the pair of local history buffs stumbled across a narrow corridor which had not been entered for around 70-years.  Poking around, they found an old helmet, some uniform buttons and hidden in a rotten box containing ammunition, two bottles of 1930s Bordeaux wine -- a  red 1938 Chateaux Grand Barrail Lamarzelle and a white 1939 Chateau Latour-Matillac.  Experts are divided on whether the wine would be pleasant on the pallet or little more than vinegar.  Polish sommelier Tomasz Kolecki Majewicz, 49, said that the temperature underground would make the bunker would have preserved the wines perfectly, adding that he thought if they were opened the vintages would taste fantastic.  Others were not convinced.  Even if the wine has gone off, it is thought the bottles would still fetch several hundred pounds at auction. 




World's most expensive Christmas crackers:  "Forget tape measures, thimbles and plastic combs, these £4million Christmas crackers contain the ultimate in expensive gifts, from a trip around the world and an Aston Martin to even a yacht.  The festive crackers are being sold by luxury site VeryFirstTo, with the lucky winner receiving a white gold 'Diamants Legers' Cartier necklace set with 20 diamonds.  Other gifts include a Breguet Tradition, 18-carat rose gold watch, and the Faber-Castell limited-edition pen of the year - which costs £6,500.  Also up for grabs in the crackers is a £77,500 luxury trip around the world stopping off at 10 locations including Japan and Finland.  Cracker pullers may even manage to get their hands on the keys to a top-of-the-range £190,000 Aston Martin Vanquish Coupe - much better than an old paper hat.  The most expensive item that guests will be gunning for is the Predator 84 yacht from Sunseeker. Of course, it would be pretty difficult to fit a yacht inside a paper tube, so whoever wins will find a key fob inside.  The set of six extravagant bespoke crackers costs £4,018,600 in total.




Risk-taking Greek surgeon kills two people:  "A doctor has been cleared of neglect after two patients died after being given kidneys from a rough sleeping alcoholic infected with a deadly parasite.  Father-of-six Darren Hughes, 42, and new grandfather Robert 'Jim' Stuart, 67, were given the kidneys at a hospital in Wales. Doctors had believed the alcoholic who donated them had died from meningitis.  But an inquest heard it was later discovered the man - referred to as Mr Z - in fact died from the parasitic worm halicephalobus gingivalis.  Despite the organs being rejected by surgeons at six hospitals around the UK, consultant surgeon Argiris Asderakis, 51, decided on his own judgement to take a 'calculated risk' and use them when they were accepted by University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.  They were turned down elsewhere because of 'poor function' and the unknown cause of death of the donor. An inquest heard the two men died within three weeks of being given the kidney transplants. A coroner yesterday cleared Mr Asderakis of any neglect - and said no one could have predicted the kidneys were infected with a deadly parasitic worm."



And don't forget to catch up with all the  Strange Justice before you go.





5 December, 2014

Not a place for the nervous



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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Chinese bank robber is arrested because his cash bag was too heavy for him to carry:  "A man has been shot in the leg and arrested because he was unable to load £185,000 of stolen cash onto his motorbike during a bank robbery getaway.  CCTV footage shows the man in Huludao, China, trying to load the bag of cash weighing 180lb onto the back of his motorbike after holding up a security guard at gunpoint.  However, he visibly struggles to carry and lift the bag - which contained 1.77million Chinese Yuan - around £175,000. He is then he was surrounded by police, shot in the leg and arrested.  He later told police: 'I hate myself for doing that. How could I do such a thing?  'I will treat my parents and my wife kindly if one day I'm let out of prison.'




End of the flat tire? Goodyear develops self-inflating wheels that constantly maintain the perfect air pressure:  "Inflating your tyres too much can cause them to tear, while not having enough pressure can lead to punctures and damage to the suspension.  With this in mind, Goodyear has created tyres that monitor pressure, and automatically inflate using just a regulator and a tube. If the regulator senses the pressure dropping it opens a valve to let air in, and this pumps up the tyre to the correct pounds per square inch (PSI).  All the components of the AMT system, including the pump, are contained within the tyre.  Correctly inflated tyres can save fuel as well as lead to carbon dioxide reductions, while increasing the life of the tyre. Ohio-based Goodyear began developing the Air Maintenance Technology (AMT) in 2011 and will now start testing the tyres on trucking fleets in the US and Canada over the next 18 months."




Southpaws are poorer:  "It does not seem to have held back Sir Paul McCartney, David Cameron or Barack Obama - but research suggests people who are left-handed are likely to earn 12 per cent less over their lifetime. A study of 47,000 people in the UK and US indicates that left-handers are at a significant disadvantage in the workplace and earn 12% less over the course of a lifetime. One in eight people favour their left hand over their right.  Professor Joshua Goodman, an economist at Harvard, Massachusetts, in fact suggests that those who write with their left hand live with many disadvantages.  Writing in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, he wrote: ‘Lefties exhibit economically and statistically significant human capital deficits relative to righties.  ‘Left-handed individuals show consistently lower cognitive skills and higher rates of mental and behavioural disabilities.  ‘This paper is the first to demonstrate that lefties also have consistently lower labour market earnings than right-handed individuals.’  Professor Goodman suggests that what he sees as a clear cognitive deficit is down to the wiring of the brain."




World's largest truffle:  "The world's largest white truffle was discovered in Italy this week, and truffle-lovers are offering to spend $1 million on the rare ingredient. Sabatino Truffles, one of the largest truffle suppliers in the world, unearthed the 4.16-pound truffle this week and has received high offers from buyers in China and Dubai, according to a news release.  The Balestra family of Sabatino Truffles will auction the truffle off next week in New York City and the proceeds will go to a charity of their choice. Hunters use trained dogs and pigs to sniff out the rare truffles during the months of October, November, and December, according to NBC.  Truffles are the most expensive food in the world with just one pound of a European white truffle selling for thousands of dollars and a few shavings of a black truffle selling for hundreds of dollars, CBS news reports."




Alcoholism IS genetic: Scientists identify key DNA which makes some people more vulnerable to the addiction:  "Whether you will fall victim to alcoholism really is determined by your genes, scientists warn.  It has long been suspected that the addiction runs in families but new research has now identified the DNA network that makes certain people more vulnerable to alcohol than others.  Comparing the brain tissue of alcoholics with that of non-alcoholics, a team of scientists from Texas University have discovered a specific set of genes responsible for the dependency, they claim.  The key set of DNA was only found in those suffering alcoholism.  Dr Adron Harris, of Texas University, said: 'This provides the most comprehensive picture to date of the gene sets that drive alcohol dependence.  'We now have a much clearer picture of where specific traits related to alcohol dependence overlap with specific expressions in genetic code.'"



And don't forget to catch up with all the  Strange Justice before you go.







4 December, 2014

Kiddy compliments





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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Father Christmas was taken away in a police riot van after a festive parade.  Children were left in tears and were worried they would not get any gifts:  "Police have come under fire after using one of their official riot vans to give Father Christmas a lift as part of a festive parade.  Crowds looked on in disbelief when Santa climbed inside the police van in Aberdare town centre, Cynon Valley, rather than taking his sleigh.  Police used the vehicle to give him a taxi ride away from the event in what has been described as an 'ill-judged' stunt.  At one point children were left in tears and feared they would not get any presents after seeing Father Christmas taken away.  In a video posted online, the crowd can be heard laughing before a voice shouts 'Santa's being arrested'.  Jade Hughes, 20, from Maerdy, told Wales Online: 'There were a lot tears. People couldn't believe it actually happened.  'It left a lot children upset because they thought he had been arrested."




'Phantom' village school stays open despite having no pupils: "Like all schools, it has a head teacher, governors, and a caretaker.  But unlike any other school, Llanfynydd Primary has not a single pupil.  The “phantom” village school near Carmarthen in South Wales remains open despite this, and will remain so for another seven months.  Red tape means it cannot be closed for lessons even though all 11 pupils have left for other schools.  No children have been taught there since last July, when it cost taxpayers £50,000 to run.  But the "statutory process" by the Labour-led Welsh government dictates that it cannot officially close until a consultation has been carried and a formal decision is made.  The consultation on the closure of the school began in 2012 after it was hit by falling pupil numbers in a village with a population of 580.  It is understood the head teacher and staff have been deployed to other duties."




The new stemless spill-proof glass that doesn't tip over: "It's a dinner party scenario we are all familiar with.  But red wine spills on the carpet could be a thing of the past, thanks to a new glass design.  The clever Saturn spins around on its base, never fully tipping over as it resets itself to a new angle. The company behind the creation, US-based Super-Duper-Studio, said: 'These spacey glasses are our re-imagination of a traditional Italian glassblowing technique, which we appropriated to prevent messy spills and stains.  'Four years of research and refinement has culminated in Saturn Glasses that are surprisingly light and satisfying to drink from.'  Explaining the method used to make the Saturn glass, the studio said: 'To prepare the material for each cup, the molten glass is shaped by hand before being blown into a mold by glass artisans in Oakland, California. 'Each glass is then annealed overnight (a process which cools the glass slowly to relieve material stresses), cut, and polished by hand.'  Christopher Yamene who designed the wine glass said that it is especially perfect for red wine as it does not matter if the temperature of your hand affects the drink. The glasses are said to hold a small to medium-sized glass of wine - about 125ml-175ml."




The most popular alternative medicines that do more harm than good to cancer patients:  "New data has shown that the most popular alternative medicines, such as fish oil and ginger, can actually pose a risk to cancer patients, as they interact with conventional treatments.  The 10 most commonly inquired about products or supplements (excluding vitamins and minerals) were: fish oil, turmeric, coenzyme Q10, milk thistle, green tea, ginger, lactobacillus, licorice, astragalus and reishi mushroom.  'These products may increase the effects of chemotherapy and put the patient at risk of toxicity, or decrease the efficacy of chemotherapy,' Ms Brooks said.  'Those that contain high levels of anti-oxidants may interfere with both chemotherapy and radiation therapy.'  COSA President, Associate Professor Sandro Porceddu, said patients could wrongly assume anything 'complementary' must 'complement' conventional cancer therapies and anything natural must be safe.  'Until we know more, it's best to err on the side of caution and for patients to discuss with their healthcare provider any complementary or alternative therapies they are using or considering using, in order to minimise risk.'




Leaky roof stops Australian parliament (it only cost a billion dollars to build):  "Damaging leaks are the bread and butter of political reporting, but a leak of a different kind has got parliament aflutter.  A thunderstorm over Canberra has exposed a leak in the ceiling of the House of Representatives chamber. A number of politicians found it quite comical as an attendant tried to clean up the water which was leaking from the roof.  Treasurer Joe Hockey used it to attack Labor, saying it exposed the dire state of infrastructure left by the previous government.  The Canberra Times reported the nation's capital was pelted with rain, hail, lightning and thunder as a severe thunderstorm passed through on Wednesday afternoon.  It's believed there were wind gusts of up to 70 kilometres and hour.  ACTSES and ACT Fire & Rescue responded to leaking roofs, as well as damaged trees and branches across a widespread area of Canberra."



And don't forget to catch up with all the  Strange Justice before you go.






3 December, 2014

A classic viaduct



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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

What a rubbish disguise:  "A bungling thief was caught stealing from a gambling machine after being forced to take off his makeshift disguise of a binbag because he couldn't see what he was doing. Daniel Dzieliski, 38, had been trying to rob the one-armed bandit in Biala Podlaska, a city in the eastern Poland, when he spotted CCTV cameras in the room.  Nipping out, he went to a nearby shop where he bought bin liners to hide his head and aluminium foil to put over the cameras.  But after realising he would not be able to cover the cameras with foil with his head covered he took the bag off and tried putting foil over the camera lenses - and was filmed in the process. When the foil kept falling off, he tried hiding his face in his hands.  Police spokesman Jaroslaw Janicki said: 'It was all quite comical, really.  'But we identified him immediately because he is well-known to us."




Air New Zealand named world's best airline:  "Air New Zealand has been named the best airline in the world by a website that rates carriers on safety and in-flight experience.  The Auckland-based airline has received AirlineRatings.com’s top gong for the second consecutive year, beating larger companies and carriers that are synonymous with luxury.  Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways came in second, while Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific rounded out the top three.  Etihad was voted best first class thanks to its £12,500 ‘apartment in the sky’, known as The Residence.  Australian flag carrier Qantas Airways was named the fourth best airline, followed by Dubai-based Emirates in fifth and Singapore Airlines in sixth.  Taiwan’s EVA Air, Cologne-based Lufthansa, Japan’s All Nippon Airways and British Airways rounded out the top ten."




Are probiotics just a waste of your money?:  "Not so long ago the idea of deliberately swallowing billions of live bacteria every day would have seemed absurd to most people. Yet today, many of us happily splash out on daily probiotic yoghurts, drinks and pills in the belief — or hope — it is good for our health. But are we just wasting our money?  A clue to the answer may lie in the extraordinary behind-the-scenes row raging between European food safety regulators and manufacturers hoping to hang on to their share of a global market worth more than £19 billion.  Eight years ago, tough new Europe-wide regulations governing health claims made for food products came into force.  Since 2009, manufacturers of probiotics have submitted 129 health claims for their products including yoghurt drinks and supplement pills — and yet not one has been approved.  Each claim has been rejected on the grounds that, after a rigorous appraisal by a panel of 20 international experts, it ‘could not be substantiated’."




Ghostly blue beach in Sweden:  "These neon waves lapping gently at the shore may look supernatural, but they are created by one of nature’s tiniest creatures.  Millions of plankton glowed to light up a beach on the tiny island of Mjorn in Sweden last Wednesday.  Scientists believe the bioluminescent phenomenon is the result of plankton being disturbed, causing them to emit light though a complex chemical reaction.  Organisms such as plankton, fireflies and anglerfish are able to glow by releasing the chemical luciferin, which reacts with oxygen to create light.  Lukasz Warzecha, who lives in High Peak, Derbyshire, photographed the stunning sight while on a trip with to Sweden. The amateur photographer from Derbyshire had never seen the natural phenomenon before and would have missed it if his friend Ulrika (pictured) hadn't thrown some small stones in the water, which came to life and glowed.  ‘We went around the corner to an even smaller bay and as we were walking along the beach our feet were leaving shining footprints."




Coco Chanel was a Nazi spy:  "French researchers claim to have found indisputable evidence that Coco Chanel worked as a spy for the Nazis during the Second World War.  A written record made public for the first time in a documentary broadcast on French television last night is said to prove that the late fashion designer was a member of Abwehr - Adolf Hitler's secret military intelligence agency.  The documentary also raised questions about the role played by other French celebrities during the Second World War, including singers Edith Piaf and Maurice Chevalier and dramatist Sacha Guitry. The newly revealed document suggests that while working for the Nazis, Coco Chanel (pictured left and right) went by the codename 'Westminster' - a reference to her affair with the Duke of Westminster in the 1920s. According to the documentary, Chanel's involvement with the Nazis began around the time of the collapse of the French army in 1940".



And don't forget to catch up with all the  Strange Justice before you go.







2 December, 2014

Splendid isolation?




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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Nutcase who glugged huge amounts of Coke blames sugar for his worsened health:  "A protruding belly, high blood pressure and intense sugar cravings. This is what happens to the body after drinking 10 cans of Coca-Cola a day, according to one man who took up the challenge. George Prior, 50, decided to embark on a 'Coke diet' in order to show the harmful effects of the high levels of sugar found in the world's most popular drink. In just 30 days he saw drastic changes to his formerly healthy and muscular physique. He developed a protruding stomach and waistline and his weight ballooned from 12 stone (168lb) to 14 stone (192 lb). His blood pressure soared from 129/77 to 145/96. This is way above the ideal level of 120/80 - and above this level, the risk of heart disease or stroke is greatly increased. 'I also seemed to develop a craving for Cokes, or other sugars, during the time I was drinking Cokes.'




Independent mother of supermodel:  "Her daughter makes millions every year walking the catwalk and fronting campaigns for the world's most esteemed designers but the mother of supermodel Natalia Vodianova still makes a living selling pies on the streets of Russia.  Natalia, 33, used to join her mother as a market trader in Nizhny Novgorod before being discovered at the age of 17 and whisked off to a life of luxury at the forefront of fashion.  Since then, she has become one of the world's most in-demand supermodels working with Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney and Louis Vuitton and many others. But despite her daughter's wealth and success, 52-year-old Larissa is insistent that she will continue to make her own living.  She said: 'I and my other daughter (Natalia's sister) want to show others that we can achieve something in life by ourselves. Sixteen-years-ago Natalia was selling bananas in the market to help make ends meet. It's nothing to be ashamed of.'




Chinese millionaire couple turns wedding tradition on its head: Newlyweds hand out £100,000 in cash:  "A millionaire couple turned tradition on its head by handing out £100,000 cash in red envelopes to well-wishers during their lavish nuptials in China.  The bride and groom, aged their mid-20s, arranged for 'volunteers' to hand out envelopes of money to onlookers lining the streets to watch their wedding convoy of supercars in Dongguan.  It is Chinese tradition to give away 'little red envelopes' of cash at weddings, but it is the guests who gift the bride and groom with money, not the other way around.  The bride and groom, both in their mid-20s, are believed to be multi-millionaires.  The couple were not named, but the groom is reportedly the multimillionaire owner and manager of an e-commerce company that apparently only started trading a year ago. 'I only started trading recently and we had a huge financial windfall, and I wanted to make everyone shared in my good fortune to bring luck for me and my bride in our future life together,' the groom told local media."


Would you pay £200 for jeans that have already been worn for SIX MONTHS? Fashion brand hires 50 'breakers' to wear in its 'artisanal' denim:  "Everyone loves a brand new pair of jeans but wearing them in can be a pain - literally. Now a Welsh denim brand has come up with an innovative solution.  'Artisanal' denim brand Hiut, which is based in Cardigan in west Wales, employs 50 'denim breakers' who wear each pair of jeans for six months before they are sold. The first batch of pre-worn jeans, all of which have been thoroughly washed, are to be auctioned off today but more will follow should the venture prove a success.  Hiut, which specialises in raw and selvage denim, says the wearing-in process will give the jeans a fashionably vintage look as well as making them soft and comfortable.  The environmentally-friendly distressing method is the brainchild of David Hieatt, who, with his wife Clare, founded the company in 2011.  'The idea is that they [the breakers] wear them in for us and then we sell them on,' explained Mr Hieatt




Small island with millions of crabs: "A sea of red moves on Christmas Island, 2,500km north-west of Perth, from the forests to the Indian Ocean where the crustaceans will mate.  IT specialist and amateur photographer Gary Tindale, 53, from Perth, captured the start of the migration two weeks ago and saw 'the crabs just pour out of the jungle and take over'. The incredible sight attracts thousands of islanders to see the phenomenon, which lasts several weeks as the 14 different species of crabs take over the island, which has a large areas of monsoonal forest. 'The speed with which everything on the island changes is incredible. On Tuesday (Nov 18) the weather started out fine and there was maybe one or two crabs around,' said Mr Tindale. 'In the afternoon, storms came through and that evening the red crabs were out in force. The island had evolved into a red carpet; a sea of red as the crabs started heading down to the Indian Ocean,' he said. The crabs move in their crimson wave to and from their breeding ground and habitat, as the crabs gradually move down to the ocean to spawn."



And don't forget to catch up with all the  Strange Justice before you go.







1 December, 2014

The old and the new



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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

The roadside breath test for marijuana that will weed out stoned drivers:  "Researchers at Washington State University in Seattle are working on a breath test to determine if a driver is under the influence of marijuana.  The News Tribune reports that law enforcement officers have a test for alcohol, but they don't have a tool to test for marijuana impairment. Right now, officers must use blood tests to determine if THC is present in a driver's blood.  But WSU chemistry professor Herbert Hill says existing technologies like those used by airport security agents to detect drugs and explosives can be altered to test breath for THC. Hill says his team hopes to start testing on humans early next year.  The Washington State Patrol says it welcomes anything that gets impaired drivers off the road. The handheld device being developed is not likely to be able to determine how much THC is in a driver's system.  The current legal limit is five nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood.  However the test will be able to determine whether there is THC present.  That will be enough for officers to make an arrest"






Doggy makeover was a lifesaver:  "A homeless dog received a makeover that saved his life after being taken to a kill shelter.  Charlie the Shelter Dog was found earlier this year on the side of a Los Angeles road and taken to a high-kill shelter. The Inquisitr reports that most dogs who aren't adopted don't last more than a week in the shelters that euthanize more than half the dogs in their custody. Charlie's story would have come to a sad end, but a groomer from Hollywood Grooming, a pet grooming shop in Los Angeles, came to the rescue and gave Charlie the makeover that landed him in a new home.  The groomer shaved off Charlie's matted, knotted fur that was riddled with painful burrs and gave the pup a much-needed bath. In the end, Charlie is completely unrecognizable. His dark brown eyes are visible and the groomer completes his look by tying a brown, paw-printed bandana around the pup's neck.




Daredevil scales 920ft chimney WITHOUT safety equipment:  "A fearless daredevil has risked his life by climbing an industrial chimney and balancing on a beam above a sheer drop - without safety equipment.  Flaviu Cernescu scaled the abandoned structure in Pitesti, Romania, using a disconnected electrical cable to hoist himself for the first 70ft of the climb.  The 32-year-old then walked across a rusted railing which runs across the summit of the hollow 920ft structure. Despite the long drop, Cernescu, who captured the footage using a GoPro camera, said he felt calm and confident for most of the stunt. But Mr Cernescu has a warning for anyone who may want to copy his stunt.  'Please understand that by climbing this chimney you put yourself and others in danger,' said the fearless Romanian.  'Don't try it unless you really know what you are doing. Take care and enjoy life.'




Old lady's bling fetches $218MILLION at auction:  "A wealth of artwork, furnishings and jewelry owned by the late Listerine heiress Rachel 'Bunny' Mellon netted a total of $218.1 million following a five-day auction in New York this week. All up there were 1,521 objects owned by Mellon - who died in March at the age of 103 - and 98 percent of the lots sold after going under the hammer at Sotheby's. Some 43 post-war and contemporary paintings by artists including Pablo Picasso, Georges Seurat and Edward Hopper were among the collection.  However the highlight was a pear-shaped blue diamond weighing 9.75 carats that sold for $32.6 million, an auction record for a blue diamond, according to Bloomberg. The furnishings, including an 18th century porcelain dinner service that sold for $293,000, were from Mellon’s homes in the U.S., Europe and the Caribbean.  The star art items proved to be two paintings by American abstract impressionist Mark Rothko, which made a combined $76.4 million.




Why sitting in an aisle seat makes you most likely to catch a virus on a plane:  "As if window seats aren’t already popular enough with air passengers, scientists now say sitting by the aisle leaves you more exposed to germs.  It puts you physically closer to passengers going to and from the toilets. Furthermore, people hold on to aisle seats when walking to keep their balance, increasing the risk of contamination.  Researchers also suggested that passengers should steer clear of the toilets, although they admitted that could prove a problem on long-haul flights.  Dr Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, collected swabs from the most frequently-touched areas on more than 20 flights, including arm-rests, taps, sinks, trays, seat pockets, overhead lockers and toilet handles.  He found that aisle seats tended to harbour more germs than those in the middle or by the window"



And don't forget to catch up with all the  Strange Justice before you go.


November, 2014 and earlier postings from this site now archived HERE or here or here


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