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27 July, 2014

Amazing viaduct




Odd news from around the world

Nasa to build the world's most powerful telescope - and it could be our key to finding alien life:  "In 2018 Nasa’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will take flight to help us understand more about the universe.  But Nasa has already begun to lay out plans for their next space observatory in the hope of one day tracking down alien life.  Called the Advanced Telescope Large-Aperture Space Telescope (Atlast), the mission concept builds upon key technologies developed for Hubble and the JWST.  They add that, while Hubble and JWST will last for many years into the future, the agency is already looking ahead to the telescope and instrument requirements needed to answer the questions posed in Nasa’s 30-year vision.  The 30-year vision has three main goals: Are we alone, how did we get here and how does the universe work."

Girl who sued her parents over boyfriend finds out that her father was right:  "A TEENAGER who sued her parents because they wouldn’t let her see her boyfriend has now taken a restraining order out against him, in a sad case that appears to prove her mum and dad right.  Rachel Canning, 18, obtained the temporary restraining order against Lucas Kitzmiller, also 18, after filing a domestic violence complaint about him in a New Jersey courtroom, the Daily Record reports.  The former high school cheerleader accused her ex of strangling her with his hands during a quarrel in the street early on Sunday morning, according to the girl’s father, Sean Canning.  “She has repaired her relationship with us,” Sean Canning said. “She went off the deep end in the past but things are good now. We said to her ‘Listen, you’re an adult. You make your own choices.’”

Worth the wait! Woman stood up on a date 30 years ago tracks down her ex-boyfriend on Facebook and now they're MARRIED:  "A couple who reunited through Facebook have tied the knot more than three decades after one stood the other up.  Mandy Ashforth, 48, from Yorkshire got over the fact that Barrie Moat, 50, stood her up 32 years ago and the pair showed that there were no hard feelings by getting married.  The couple first met on holiday in Bridlington, East Yorkshire in 1982 and were inseparable until Barrie, then 19, left a heartbroken 17-year-old Mandy alone at the bus station.  In 2013, over 30 years since he stood her up, she did a random search on a social networking site for fishing pole repair services and was shocked to find him.  She quickly sent a friend request and soon the pair had rekindled that initial summer loving feeling."

Drunk passenger sneaks onto empty plane on runway UNNOTICED before being found in the toilet by cleaners:  "A drunken passenger managed to sneak on to an empty plane unnoticed before being found in the toilet by cleaners, and claiming to be the co-pilot.  The shocking breach of security happened at Birmingham Airport after the man entered the airfield at around 1am last Thursday. Lee Jezard, 22, from Evesham, Worcester, arrived at Birmingham Airport too late to catch his 7.30pm flight to Ibiza for a lads holiday with five of his friends.  He then decided to go downstairs and crawled along the conveyor behind the check-in desks until he ended up on the airfield.  'I got on to the airfield and there was a plane there with steps going up to it and I went up and there was a cleaner in there.  'I was trying to convince him I was the co-pilot. He believed it for a minute but then he called police and they arrested me."

Huge new ocean liner being built :  "It is set to be the biggest cruise ship ever built for British holidaymakers - packed with celebrity chef-run restaurants sporting the Union Flag on her hull. The ship has already had it's 'floating out' ceremony to test her seaworthiness and now the final touches are being made, from paint jobs to the addition of designs attached to the outside of the vessel.  When it is completed, the ship - which is the length of 10 blue whales (100ft) will carry 4,372 passengers and 1,400 crew  - fitting in more people than can squeeze into London's Royal Albert Hall.  Weighing a hefty 141,000 tons, the ship also has an engine power equal to 70 challenger tanks or 86 Bugatti Veyrons.  When it launches, the ship will boast an art collection worth £1million and be packed out with 13 bars and another 13 restaurants and cafes as well as four swimming pools across 15 decks.  The interior of the grand ship is also taking shape at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy"

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

26 July, 2014

The house at the end of the world




Odd news from around the world

Friendly fish:  "One diver experienced a real life trout pout after puckering up for a smacker with a fishy friend.  Photographer Cesare Naldi, 36, from Napoli, Italy, captured the moment a grouper fish popped its head out of a hole and landed an underwater kiss on diver Maurilio Mirabella's lips.  The tender moment happened when Maurilio was diving in the waters of Roatan, Honduras, and decided to make friends.  The fish popped out of its hole and let Maurilio embrace it and even have a kiss.  They are often found hiding in shipwrecks and reefs, preferring to stay hidden in cracks and crevices. They are carnivorous, eating smaller fish and other small crustaceans.  Grouper were once common, congregating in groups thousands strong around spawning time in December and January, usually to coincide with a full moon.  However, thanks to their large size and peaceful demeanor, numbers dwindled as they were hunted for food and for sport - as their impressive bulk makes for a good trophy."

Fried brains and stomach soup on the menu at busy HOSPITAL:  "A chef says he has been inundated with orders for fried brains, stomachs and decapitated heads despite serving them in a busy hospital.  Milorad Djordjevic chose a working hospital in Nis, Serbia, for his Mace Restaurant because the premises were cheaper then opening up on the high street.  He insists his offal dishes have been popular - despite doctors having to operate on organs such as brains and stomachs straight after lunch.  Mr Djordjevic's menu includes boiled or fried brains, devilled kidneys, tripe (stomach) and tripe soup, along with entire heads of veal calves.  The emergency room is on the same floor, and local newspapers pointed out the dishes could offend patients.  The brains and stomachs on his menu mostly come from pigs, but occasionally from sheep too.  Offal and innards are not unheard of on menus in the Balkans, where meat dishes are similar to Greek cuisine or other eastern European dishes."

Indian boy had 232 'teeth' pulled from his mouth in 7 hour operation:  "An Indian teenager manages to put on an incredibly brave face during a nightmare seven hours in the dentist's chair when he had an astonishing 232 teeth-like growths pulled from his mouth.  Unlucky Ashik Gavai, 17, was filmed having the unusual growths chiseled out of his mouth at the JJ Hospital in Mumbai after complaining about a swelling in his lower jaw.  Doctors found he was suffering from a condition known as complex odontoma.  They tend to occur in people in their teenage years, such as Mr Gavai.  Odontomas are haphazardly arranged tooth-like growths. They are composed of enamel, dentin (the yellowish tissue that makes up the bulk of all teeth) and pulp tissue (part in the centre of a tooth made up of living connective tissue).  After removing those the surgeons also found a larger 'marble-like' structure which they struggled to extract. It eventually had to be 'chiselled out' and removed in fragments, Ms Dhivare-Palwankar added. Once removed, odontomas do not recur.

The tree that bears 40 DIFFERENT fruit:  "Incredible ‘magical’ trees that bear 40 different varieties of fruit have been popping up all over US.  These trees - which can simultaneously produce different varieties of peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines and cherries – look ordinary throughout most of the year.  But in spring, they bloom into a stunning patchwork of colours, with each tree featuring its own unique selection of stone fruit.  They are the work of Syracuse University sculptor and artist Sam Van Aken who created the trees in an attempt to make people reconsider how food can be produced.  The project began in 2008 when Mr Van Aken discovered that a New York state orchard, which held varieties of stone fruit 200-years-old, was to be abandoned.  In hopes of saving it, the artist bought the orchard, and soon after started experimenting with something known as ‘chip grafting.’  The process involves taking a sliver off a tree, including the bud, and inserting that into a cut in the working tree.  The foreign tree part is then taped and left to heal over the winter. Mr Van Aken explained that most stone-fruits are easily compatible.  What he came up with is ‘The Tree of 40 Fruit’, which is in fact, not one tree, but a series of hybridised fruit plants."

Dentist who amassed Britain's biggest private car collection of 543 classic motors sells the entire fleet to Jaguar: 'A dentist who amassed Britain’s biggest private car collection has sold the entire £100million fleet to Jaguar Land Rover.  Dr James Hull, 53, spent tens of millions of pounds filling a number of warehouses in Hertfordshire with classic motors from the past 80 years.  His impressive collection consists of 543 cars - ranging from multi-million pound Jaguars and Bentleys to Morris Minors.  It also includes Lord Mountbatten’s Mini Traveller, Winston Churchill’s Austin and a Bentley owned by singer Elton John. The collection features cars from every decade since 1930, including a super-rare 1950s Jaguar XKSS and a Jaguar D-Type worth more than £4million.  It was originally put up for sale for a staggering £100million in May and today, it was revealed that it has been bought by Jaguar Land Rover.  Dr Hull, who sold the collection because of health issues, today described Jaguar Land Rover as the perfect custodians for the fleet.

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

25 July, 2014

Getting away from it all




Odd news from around the world

Patient, 56, wakes up from routine circumcision to find his penis amputated:  "An Alabama man awoke from a routine circumcision to find doctors had mistakenly amputated his penis, according to a lawsuit.  Johnny Lee Banks Jr., 56, and his wife, Zelda Banks, 55, filed the lawsuit against Princeton Baptist Medical Center in Jefferson County Circuit Court in Birmingham on Tuesday. My client is devastated,' their attorney, John P. Graves, said.  In his lawsuit, he says he was never warned that the procedure might result in an amputation, and he never gave his consent for a full or partial amputation.  He has now been left in extreme pain and has spent additional time recovering in the hospital - costing him more money, according to the lawsuit, reported.  His wife is also suing for loss of consortium due to the botched operation.  A hospital spokeswoman says the claims lack merit but that they cannot provide further comment due to the ongoing litigation.

Secret message found in WW1 kilt:  "A secret note has been discovered hidden in the folds of a kilt destined for a soldier heading to the front in the First World War.  Economic historian Dr Helen Paul, of the University of Southampton, found the hand-written message when she was removing the packing stitches from the kilt, which has been passed down her family over decades.  The message reads: "I hope your kilt will fit you well, & in it you will look a swell. If married never mind. If single drop a line. Wish you bags of luck, & a speedy return back to Blighty."  Underneath was the name of Helen Govan, of 49 Ardgowan Street in Glasgow.  Dr Paul thinks the seamstress left the message possibly in the hope of finding a future husband returning from war not realising how many soldiers would be killed in the trenches. The London Scottish Regiment kilt, manufactured by Peter Wilson of Bridge Street in Glasgow, would have been made for use by a soldier sent to fight in the war, but for reasons unknown, it was never unpacked or worn."

Farmer's wife threatens to leave husband over solar panels: "A farmer’s wife is campaigning against her husband’s plan to erect 40,000 solar panels on their land, and is even threatening to leave him if he goes ahead.  Mrs Young is so appalled by her husband’s planning application to create a 55-acre solar farm that she has written an open letter to villagers asking them to join her fight against the proposal.  She told the Daily Mail: “My husband signed the deal without telling me. I was killing myself working 20 hours a day lambing and he conducted the negotiation behind my back.  “We live in a beautiful valley and we won’t be able to see it if there are solar panels surrounded by 8ft-high fences. And it may all go out of fashion. It’s not been a happy situation – I’d like to kill him. I’ve not kicked him out of the bedroom, though. We’re too old for all that anyway.”  She wrote: “I am still asking myself: “What have I done to lead my husband to put money before our marriage?”  “I’m married to my husband. But I am my own person. All the stress has made me quite ill, but everyone I meet says it’s fabulous that I’m sticking to my beliefs. If the solar farm goes ahead, I’ve told him I’ll leave.”

'Britain's dumbest motorist'?: "When Adrian Smith was caught speeding a second time, he mistakenly thought he would be banned from driving for good.  So in a bid to escape punishment, he decided to set fire to the speed camera that caught him and destroy all evidence of his crime.  But Mr Smith, 46, who has now been described as ‘Britain’s dumbest motorist’, was caught in the act by another camera nearby which led police directly to his door.  When police arrived at his home, they found he was guilty of a second, equally serious crime.  To their amazement they discovered Mr Smith was also keeping a secret cannabis farm in his basement.  And to make matters worse, it later emerged that he in fact would likely not have received any points on his license and therefore wouldn’t have faced a driving ban as he thought.  He has now been sentenced to two years in prison"

'I'm a better mum after having a boob job':  "A mother-of-one believes she’s a better mother thanks to her 32G breast implants.  Tamsin Wade, 19, from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, hated her deflated and uneven 32AA bust.  As her confidence plummeted, she refused to leave the house, meaning her son, Finley, 2, couldn’t attend play dates and after school clubs.  The beautiful blonde wasn’t able to do anything with her son without feeling shy and embarrassed about her appearance. But realising the affect her low self esteem was having on little Finley, Tamsin took out a bank loan to pay for the £5,000 surgery, and now believes she’s a better mother thanks to her new assets.  Tamsin said: 'Since having my boob job I have been so happy. 'I was unable to go swimming with Finley as I felt so self-conscious.  Tamsin said: 'Before I had Finley my boobs were a 32D but the aftermath of being pregnant left me with double A’s."

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

24 July, 2014

Ninja kitten

Sophie the Kitten attacks Bishop the Doberman and tries hard to get him to play with her, but the dog is unimpressed with her attempts




Odd news from around the world

School pupils forced to repeat an entire year after a teacher disappeared with their coursework:  "School pupils have been forced to repeat an entire year - after a teacher left and took all their work.  The sixth form students had to redo coursework after the unnamed member of staff stopped teaching at City Academy in Bristol - and now can’t be found.  Officials say the science tutor left the academy last summer but failed to leave student’s coursework behind - meaning they had to retake the whole year. The BTEC Level 3 Applied Science two-year qualification was based on coursework, rather than exams.  It meant that 11 sixth form students had to redo the vast majority of work.  The school says at least one student also had to do two years’ worth of work - in just one year.  It made several attempts to track down the lost coursework and the teacher to no avail - but assured students they could get back on track.  But it has now emerged that at least four students had fallen short of what they hoped to achieve.  It left their planned future in doubt after they tried to cram all of the work into the 13/14 academic year."

Asian 'super ant’ colonies invading your electrics: "A “super ant” that forms colonies of thousands and causes fires because of its fatal attraction to electricity is spreading across the country.  The Asian super ant, also known as the fire ant, was first identified in Britain in 2009 at a National Trust property in Gloucestershire, where more than 35,000 were found. A colony recently invaded a house in Hendon, north-west London, and more have been found in Buckinghamshire. Jo Hodgkins, a wildlife and countryside adviser at the National Trust, said: “The problems with them are they seem to get attracted to electricity and they can take up residence in plug sockets and power sources, creating a fire hazard. “They can easily establish themselves in somewhere like Britain and I would not be surprised if they colonised other areas. They are pretty tough little creatures.”

Banning cellphones while driving DOESN’T make our roads safer, finds six-year study:  "Drivers using their cellphones at the wheel does not affect the number of crashes, according to the results of a recent study.  Researchers at the University of Colorado looked at more than a million accidents over six years on highways in California and found that a state ban had not reduced the number of collisions.  The researchers chose a window of six months before and after the ban to eliminate other factors such as the production of safer cars, the recession and changes in other traffic laws.  The results appears to contradict previous research which suggests using a phone at the wheel is as dangerous as drink-driving.  University of Colorado associate economics professor Daniel Kaffine, one of the study's authors, said: 'If it’s really that dangerous, and if even just a fraction of people stop using their phones, we would expect to find some decrease in accidents. But we didn’t find any statistical evidence of a reduction.'

Dream cars:  "A museum is set to launch an exhibit of some of the sleekest and most futuristic cars ever devised.  The Dream Cars exhibit will feature 17 concept cars from the 1930s to the 21st Century and includes not just a Porsche and a Ferrari, but an outlandish bubble car, a wedge-shaped Lancia and a Batcar-style Cadillac Cyclone.  The exhibition showcases what Europeans and Americans thought the cars of the future would look like. The exhibit takes place at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta in Georgia, USA, and also stars the rocket-shaped Generals Motors Firebird I, the eye-catching Ferrari Pininfarina and the mouth-watering BMW Gina.  Concept cars like these rarely make it to market and are purely to showcase the realms of possibility."

Man built his own WWI German Fokker fighter plane:  "If the sun is shining and the wind in the right direction, Mr Clark is likely to be taxiing out of his garage and taking off from his rural back garden cum runway at the controls of a World War I fighter plane.  For £12,000 — less than the cost of a small second-hand roadster — the 62-year-old has built a replica of the celebrated Fokker Eindecker E.III.  This elegant German machine — the first specifically designed single-seat fighter aircraft in aviation history — was much feared by the pilots of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service, over the skies of France and Belgium. Indeed, between July 1915 and early 1916, it became known as the ‘Fokker Scourge’.  Our pilots were mere ‘Fokker Fodder’ and they fell in their scores. He enjoys tootling over the rolling countryside around his home near Horsham, West Sussex, at a cruising speed of 55mph, thanks to his 50-horsepower Hirth motor, which runs off the same fuel as his car, mixed with two-stroke oil.  As it weighs just 115 kilos when empty, the Fokker is in the microlight category and is therefore not subject to the same airworthiness regulations as a regular aircraft.

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

23 July, 2014

The best Spoonerisms

The Reverend William Spooner was born in London 170 years ago. On his anniversary, we honour his unintentional comic interchange of sounds, known as spoonerisms

The Reverend William Archibald Spooner was born in London on July 22, 1844. He was an albino and suffered defective eyesight, and it is thought that this caused some of his verbal confusions which were later dubbed "spoonerisms". These included "it is kisstomary to cuss the bride".

Spooner, who died on August 29, 1930, was an Anglican priest and scholar. He studied at New College, Oxford, before lecturing there for 60 years, in history, philosophy and divinity.

He was apparently an amiable, kind and hospitable man, though absent-minded. He also had a keen intellect, which is where his problems began. His tongue barely kept up with his thought processes, resulting in an unintentional interchange of sounds, producing a phrase with a meaning entirely different from the one intended. That is what is now called a spoonerism. The more agitated the good Reverend became, the more acute the manifestation of sound switching. There are a number of well substantiated oddities of a more subtle kind: "Was it you or your brother who was killed in the Great War?"

 *  Calling a famous Irish play "The Ploughboy of the Western World. [Playboy of the Westerrn world]

 *  At a wedding: "It is kisstomary to cuss the bride."

 *  "Blushing crow" for "crushing blow."

 *  "The Lord is a shoving leopard" (Loving shepherd).

 *  "A well-boiled icicle" for "well-oiled bicycle."

 *  "I have in my bosom a half-warmed fish" (for half-formed wish), supposedly said in a speech to Queen Victoria.

 *  A toast to "our queer old dean" instead of to "our dear old Queen."

 *  Upon dropping his hat: "Will nobody pat my hiccup?"

 *  "Go and shake a tower" (Go and take a shower).

 *  Paying a visit to a college official: "Is the bean dizzy?"

 *  "You will leave by the town drain." (Down train)

 *  When our boys come home from France, we will have the hags flung out.

 *  "Such Bulgarians should be vanished..." (Such vulgarians should be banished).

 *  Addressing farmers as "ye noble tons of soil".

 *  "You have tasted a whole worm" (to a lazy student).

 *  "The weight of rages will press hard upon the employer."

 *  And, the classic: "Mardon me padom, you are occupewing my pie. May I sew you to another sheet?"

Original story here




Odd news from around the world

It pays to be beautiful: From the classroom to the boardroom, how appearance affects our careers, success and salary:  "Forget feeling guilty over the amount of money you regularly shell out on beauty products - an industry worth a staggering $160billion - and consider the fact that financially, it might actually be worth it.   According to a new compilation of landmark studies which examine the perks of being beautiful, a pretty face will earn you significantly more money over the course of your life - $230,000 more according to one estimate - and the dividends start paying early.  In Vox's video, which illustrates the findings, advantages begin flooding during infancy, when we receive more attention from both strangers and our own parents the 'cuter' we are. By the time we've hit school, teachers will form higher expectations for better-looking children; which may or may not contribute to attractive students getting slighter higher grades, and being more likely to get a college degree. Choose a job in politics and again, your looks could determine your career. People can apparently predict election results purely based on a candidate's appearance, and there exists a well-established link between beauty and electoral success."

The ultimate Elvis memento:  "A prized possession of one music's biggest petrolheads, Elvis Presley, is set to fetch up to $300,000 at auction next month.  Elvis bought the Rolls-Royce Phantom V brand new in 1963 and had it custom-fitted with the latest gadgets including a telephone, electric windows and a microphone.  The car was initially midnight blue, but he was forced to have it re-painted a lighter silver because his mother's chickens would repeatedly peck at their reflections when he visited her.  When his new purchase arrived, he sent it to Britain where coachbuilder James Young installed the newest gadgets including a Blaupunkt Koln radio, parking and flashing lights and air conditioning.  The centre rear armrest featured a writing pad, mirror and clothes brush while a fitted cabinet contained cut glass decanters and crystal glasses.  Under the bonnet was a 6.2-litre, V8 engine which gave the 2.6-ton car 200bhp and a top speed of around 100mph."

Shop owner survives knife through the heart:  "IT expert Luo Yong was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery after being stabbed in the heart in Nanchang, China.  This shocking X-ray shows just how fortunate a shop owner is to be alive after being stabbed at the bottom of his heart.  Luo Yong, 31, was working at his computer repair shop in Nanchang, China, when a knifeman started attacking people at random.  The victim was rushed to hospital with the 20cm blade still in his chest where he underwent emergency surgery. Surgeons managed to repair the damage to Mr Yong’s heart and he is currently recovering in hospital.  It is unclear if the knifeman has been arrested.

Grandparents told they owe power company £500m (which also informed them their monthly direct debit would be increasing from £87 to £53m): "A couple were told their monthly electricity payments would be increasing from £87 to £53.5million after a computer error led to a power company sending them a £500million bill.  The problem arose when the couple's previous supplier, Scottish Power, installed a new meter at their 16th century home in the village of Roughlee, near Burnley, Lancashire.  Their electrician connected one of the wires the wrong way round, so that instead of recording the number of units used it didn’t register any and continued showing zero.  Mr Brotherton, 62, and his wife, 59, did not notice the problem as they paid their bill by direct debit each month and were never asked to give a reading.  However, after they switched suppliers to npower in May, a workman was sent round to read their meter.  When he entered a reading of 'zero', npower’s computer wrongly assumed the dials must have gone all round the clock - and automatically flagged up the huge bill.  A spokesman for npower apologised yesterday and said: 'This was clearly a mistake."

Confused cat scratches mirror and 'attacks' its own reflection after mistaking it for a rival pet:  "An alarmed cat gets its claws out as it comes face-to-face with its own reflection in a comical home video.  Footage shows the confused feline catching a glimpse of itself in a long floor mirror before springing up on its back legs.  It then goes about scratching the image it can see in the looking glass with its eyes manically open wide.  High-pitched sounds can be heard as the tabby continues to paw away at the shiny surface.  It keeps going for around 40 seconds before being distracted by a shelf nearby.  The proud pet owner says his cat performs the same stunt every time he brings the mirror out."

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

22 July, 2014

Survival kitten




Odd news from around the world

Surfing sisters:  "They are an impossibly good looking family who share dozens of tanned photos of themselves on Instagram every week.  From their selfie-loving first appearances, the Coffey siblings are by all accounts the Kardashians of the Australian surfing world.  However, unlike dark-haired American beauties Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, Kendall and Kylie, the Coffeys have so far turned down all offers to star in their own reality TV series.  Instead the Gold Coast family get their kicks surfing huge waves in the toughest competitions around the world - and they've got the photos to prove it. Professional surfer Ellie-Jean Coffey, 19, is the eldest of the sisters, then there’s Holly-Sue, 16, Ruby-Lee, 14, and Bonnie-Lou, 11.  Along with their brother Jackson, 18, they have a megabuck family sponsorship from Billabong that supports their beachside globe-trotting.  The Coffey’s parents sold their home in Curl Curl, north Sydney, to pursue a nomadic lifestyle but their father Jason Coffey, who is also a surfer, and mother Kym have ensured the siblings are home schooled when they are not in the ocean."

Bizarre $499 household gadget freshens and unwrinkles one item of clothing at a time:  "Realising at the last minute your favourite dress is dirty, or you don’t have a clean shirt for an important meeting could soon be a thing of the past.  The Swash is a washing machine and iron in one that refreshes clothes, removes odours and flattens out wrinkles at the press of a button - and does so all in the time it takes to have a shower.  Pods of liquid are sprayed directly onto the clothes, before a drier circulates air through the device, and a dirty item is ready to wear in just 10 minutes.  The $499 (£292) Swash was designed by Whirlpool and P&G and is 54-inches (1.3 metres) tall and 17-inches (43cm) wide.  Swash doesn’t need water, and also doesn’t need to be plumbed in, making it portable.  It can be used on denim, wool, polyester, Lycra, cotton, cashmere, sequins, beading and lace.  The companies claim this makes Swash ideal for a bedroom or closet - especially if people no longer need an ironing board."

Is this the most expensive Ferrari ever? Stunning 50-year-old car that was one of only three ever made set to sell for £20million:  "A 50-year-old Ferrari which is one of only three of its kind and described as one of the iconic car maker’s most important models is expected to sell for a whopping £20million.  The 1965 handbuilt Ferrari, which has mainly been used as a road car even though it was designed to compete at motorsport events, can reach a top speed of 170mph.  Despite it selling at auction for less than £1million in the mid-1990s, it is now expected to fetch £20million when it goes under the hammer in California next month.  The stunning grey 275 GTB/C Speciale, known as 06701, was owned by an English colonel in 1970s.  It is made from super-lightweight aluminium and powered by a V12 engine which develops around 300bhp.  There are only two other models exactly like it, and it is thought both of those may never go onto the open market again."

New pod hotel at Tokyo Narita Airport means you'll never spend the night on a terminal bench again:  "The days of curling up on an uncomfortable airport bench or seats is over, at Tokyo Narita Airport at least, where a new capsule hotel opens Sunday.  Nine Hours, which already has a capsule hotel in Kyoto, has added to its franchise with the new addition built in a car park just a minute's walk from the airport's Terminal 2.  Each capsule is one metre high and two metres long, with 71 designated for men and 58 for women, and ideal for travellers with an early morning flight or a substantial gap between flights.  While there are a number of capsule hotels throughout Tokyo and Japan, where the first pod-style accommodation was opened in Osaka in 1979, this is a first for the airport.  A stay for the full allocation of nine hours costs 3,900 Yen (£22.50), so significantly cheaper than a hotel, or visitors can rent a pod by the hour for 1,500 Yen (less than £9)."

The most bungling burglar in Britain?:  "A bungling burglar was caught thieving again after dropping his prison release papers during a break-in - on the day he was freed from jail.  Andrew Graham, 31, burgled a hair salon in Leicester stealing £5,500 worth of equipment and hair products and two mini iPads.  But he failed to get away with his when the salon owner found Graham’s prison papers, including his own photo, that the clownish con had left behind.  The salon owner turned up to work the next day to find extensive flood damage and disruption, with a sound system and electrical items strewn over the floor.  Thankfully his ID papers gave the police an instant lead and he was arrested two days later. Leicester Crown Court heard that Graham, a drug addict, had 74 offences on his criminal record, and 45 were theft-related. When arrested he also tested positive for opiates.  And after pleading guilty to the salon burglary on June 25, and three other attempted burglaries on the same day, he was sent back to jail for 12 months.

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

21 July, 2014

A weird joke




Odd news from around the world

Frustrated husband creates spreadsheet of wife's excuses for not having sex with him:  "A sexually-frustrated husband compiled a spreadsheet charting a whole month’s worth of his wife’s excuses for refusing to have sex with him, including “I might be getting sick” and “I still don’t feel 100%”. The unnamed man then collated the information and put it into an excel document before emailing it to his wife as she arrived at an airport ahead of a 10-day business trip.  Shocked at the email, the anonymous lady tried to get in touch with her husband but found he had cut contact with her.  In the end, she decided to share her husband's endeavour with users of social networking site Reddit by uploading the spreadsheet.  The spreadsheet, which has since been deleted, quickly went viral with people taking both sides in the debate.
One user said: "Your husband is expressing legitimate concerns in an extremely immature and passive aggressive way. Clearly, the communication style in your relationship is shit. Fix it or don't, it's your marriage."  But another user added: "Maybe her husband has got sick and tired of being totally and utterly ignored for months on end, has had enough and wants resolution to the issue. This time, after all attempts, he has got her attention."

Grandmother who lost her engagement ring 38 years ago finally finds it - thanks to chance glimpse of old photo on Facebook: "A woman who lost her engagement ring 38 years ago after her daughter buried it in the garden has finally been reunited with it thanks to posting an old photo on Facebook.  Grandmother Jackie Cook, 66, never expected to see the treasured band again after her daughter Clare buried it in the garden as a three-year-old in 1976. Mrs Cook, and her husband Benjamin, 69, unsuccessfully scoured the grounds of their home.  She thought she would never see the ring again but amazingly she was reunited with it this week after the new occupants of her old house found the ring.  The find happened after Mrs Cook came across some photos of her old farm where she lived and posted them on Facebook.  They were then seen by Toni Crouch, 29, who recognised the farm as her own childhood home.  She immediately messaged Mrs Cook, and told her how she had found a gold ring in the back garden of the property when she was a child.  She then sent a picture of the jewellery to an overjoyed Mrs Cook, who confirmed it was indeed her long-lost engagement ring."

 Handcuffed naked man jumps into river in attempt to escape police...and ends up being SAVED by officers:  "A naked man was saved by police officers Tuesday morning after he reportedly dove into a river during a police chase.  Prior to the rescue, the suspect 'was trying to break into vehicles' and 'going from vehicle to vehicle,' KCTV5 said.  Kansas City, Missouri police told the station the man, whom they said was under the influence of drugs and behaving strangely, was arrested and handcuffed before he went into the water.  The man tried to run away from police before he 'ran down the embankment, took his clothes off and jumped into the [Blue River],' the station said. Video shot by KCTV5 shows the handcuffed man in the water having trouble trying to stay afloat in the river. An officer is seen out of uniform and wearing a tank top swimming toward the man and eventually carrying him through the water.  The man was hospitalized, police also said.  The man was later identified by KCTV5 as veteran and PTSD sufferer Geoffrey Jenista.

Romanian arrived at his holiday home to find it had disappeared and a field of corn had been planted in its place: "Police in the Romanian port city of Braila got a call from Andy Pascali, 40, complaining that his holiday house on the Danube Delta had been stolen.  At first they thought it was a joke, but when they turned up at the nearby village of Baldovinesti they found not only that there was no property where there should have been a three-bedroom building, but that a field of ready-to-harvest corn had been planted in its place.  A shocked Mr Pascali, who posted the image of the cornfield on his Facebook page, said: 'I think this could only happen in Romania. He said the theft should be a warning to anybody who might be thinking about buying a holiday home in the country that they should make regular checks to make sure it was still there.  He said that he believed the crooks had probably managed to recycle just about everything after slowly taking the house apart while he was not there.  He said the property that he had inherited from his parents who had built it in 1986 had also been fully furnished with a brand-new fitted kitchen and bathroom.

The Hindu pipers of North London: Indian sect's pipe band:  "These pipers are playing in the Guru Purnima, an Indian festival dedicated to spiritual teachers, at a new Hindu temple being built in Kingsbury, North London.  As the familiar Highland drone washes over the hundreds of faithful Hindus celebrating the festival, contrapuntally exotic melodies emerge more reminiscent of the Taj Mahal.  The Shree Muktajeeven Swamibapa pipe band was established in 1972 in honour of Shree Muktajeeven Swamibapa who, after seeing a performance by a Scottish pipe band in Trafalgar Square, inspired his British disciples to form one.  The original nine members in the band - drum major, four pipers, and four snares - were trained by world-renowned pipe band competition judge Major James Caution.  There are about 50 members today, all living in the North London area and drawn from the local Hindu community.  The Swaminarayan faith, a branch of Hinduism, was established by Lord Shree Swaminarayan, at the end of the 18th century in Northern India."

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

20 July, 2014

One baby photo that got left out of the album




Odd news from around the world

Using DNA to find a perfect mate:  "A new dating site is embracing genetic science to match young professionals together, by testing the DNA of their customers to find certain indicators that make a good match. The site,, works by mailing out DNA testing kits to their customers, who then spit in a tube and send it back. The tube is then sent to a lab, where it is tested for the presence of two genetic markers. The two markers tested for are the serotonin uptake controller, which is involved in how people handle positive and negative emotions. The second marker tested for relates to the genes influencing the person's immune system.   According to research by Instant Chemistry, the maker of the testing kits used by SingldOut, there is a strong correlation between people in long-term relationships having different versions of the serotonin genes and different immune systems."

A good put-down:  "The [British] Prime Minister is increasingly fed up with the duplicity of European politicians who criticise him but, when confronted, claim they have been mistranslated.  So, when he heard last week that the European Parliament president, Martin Schulz, had laid into the British nominee for the European Commission, Jonathan Hill, Cameron asked for a copy of the remarks before buttonholing Schulz in Brussels.  Cameron read out Schulz’s comments in German – and then asked him which word had been mistranslated. The result: a very sheepish-looking Schulz."

A glamorous lawn bowler:  "It was once the sport of choice for retired gentlemen across Britain’s leafy villages.  But 24-year-old Natalie Melmore hopes to transform the fusty image of lawn bowls this week when she steps out on to the green for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.  The glamorous sportswoman is England’s reigning champion after she became the surprise winner of the singles competition at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, in Delhi.  She is a law and criminology graduate who has worked as a waitress to support herself.  Now, Miss Melmore says she hopes her presence on Team England this summer will inspire young women to take up a sport, which is traditionally played by people many decades older than herself."  Miss Melmore, who was taught to play when she was nine by her father, said she had never encountered any sexism in the sport and that, playing with older men, meant she largely encountered ‘chivalry rather than chauvinism’."

French blogger fined £1,200 after negative review of restaurant:  "A French blogger has been fined £1,200 after a judge ruled a negative restaurant review appeared too high on Google searches.  Caroline Doudet was also ordered to amend the title of her review, written in August 2013, which described the restaurant as 'the place to avoid in Cap-Ferret.'  Owners of the Il Giardino restaurant, in the Aquitaine region of southwestern France, sued Ms Doudet claiming the review, which appeared fourth in Google searches, was hurting their business.  A judge in Bordeaux this month ordered the review's title be altered and told Ms Doudet to pay the restaurant €1,500 in damages, along with €1,000 to cover the compainant's costs.  Ms Doudet told the BBC: 'This decision creates a new crime of "being too highly ranked [on a search engine]", or of having too great an influence.  'What is perverse, is that we look for bloggers who are influential, but only if they are nice about people.'"

Vain British jihadist fighting in Syria tweets asking how he can stop his beard getting split ends and how much he misses hair conditioner: "A British jihadist is fighting a war of a very different kind in Syria - a battle to keep his beard looking pristine.  Abu Fulan al-Muhajir has been begging fellow militants for advice on dealing with split ends in his beard. Female jihad sympathisers were quick to offer advice.  One of his 5,654 followers, Umm Ammar wrote: 'Not a beard expert but when we get split ends in our hair we trim half an inch or so.  Another advised to 'trim and oil it', while user Khadija told Mr al-Muhajir to 'stop straightening it'.  Mr al-Muhajir's beauty bothers didn't end there.  He appears to have contacted another rebel fighter, Israfil Yilmaz, to ask where he could buy hair conditoner."

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

19 July, 2014

11 absurd health and safety rules

1) When you fill your car with petrol [gasoline], notices on the pumps instruct you to turn off your mobile phone, as its radio transmitter or battery could start a deadly fire. Yet there has never been a single instance of mobile phones blowing up petrol stations, which is not surprising as to do so they would have to break the laws of physics.

2) Death by lactose

In the United States it is illegal, in the interests of safety, to sell Kinder Eggs and haggis but not, in much of the country, automatic assault rifles. In the US and Australia it can be very hard to get hold of unpasteurised cheese, and yet Australia’s most deadly outbreak of listeria was caused by pasteurised cheese, badly stored, which is the real issue with all kinds of cheese. In Japan restaurateurs are free to serve raw meat – even raw chicken – but hardly anyone gets food poisoning.

3) Stop that voyeur

Contrary to what you may have been told there are no laws or even official guidelines forbidding you from taking photographs of your child’s school play or football match. Despite this teachers and officials often quote child protection rules and even the Data Protection Act to justify such bans.

4) Hard hats on

When Australia’s states passed laws in the early 1990s making the wearing of bicycle helmets compulsory, rates of serious injuries among cyclists actually went up. No-one knows why but there is little evidence that making bike helmets compulsory leads to cycling becoming safer. The safest places to be a cyclist – countries such as The Netherlands and Denmark – are also the places where helmet-wearing is most uncommon. Israel scrapped its bike-helmet rules in the light of this evidence, as did Mexico City; in Australia, the laws are still in place.

5) Dial a crash

We have been told for two decades that using mobile phones and other 'portable electronic devices’ on an aircraft could interfere with the plane’s avionics and communications systems. So it seems odd that we are able to take these potentially lethal machines on board at all (and not, say, nail clippers) and even odder to discover that it’s well known in the industry that on any given flight at least 20 passengers will have forgotten to turn their devices off. And there have been no crashes.

6) Frisky business

In 2008 traveller Brad Jayakody was stopped from boarding his flight at Heathrow Airport. The reason? He was wearing a T-shirt depicting one of the robots in the Transformers cartoons. And the robot was carrying a gun. And pilots have had their fountain pens confiscated – before boarding and taking control of a large aircraft and 30,000 gallons of fuel.

7) Millennium bugs

In 2011 a Cabinet Office report concluded that 'cybercrime’ was costing the United Kingdom’s economy £27bn a year. In fact this suspiciously precise figure turns out to be dubious; for example, tax-evasion now counts as 'cybercrime’ simply because tax returns are filed online rather than on paper forms. Because hardly anyone understands how computers work, still less the Internet, the world is happy to hand over vast wads of cash to unscrupulous consultants who apparently do. In the late 1990s IT consultants trousered several hundred billion dollars in the fight against the non-existent Y2K threat, aka the Millennium Bug. Serious money is now being spent countering often spurious 'cyber threats’ that are often no more real than Y2K.

8) Runaway train

Transport security screening has extended beyond airports to railway stations and even buses. Security officers screen the baggage of Eurostar passengers travelling between London, France and Belgium and confiscate their pen knives and other items similarly banned from aircraft since 9/11. This is despite the fact that you cannot hijack a train - and despite the fact that vehicles using the Shuttle service which travels through the same tunnel are not searched.

9) Devices out

Is an iPad a laptop? What about a smartphone? What about all those new gadgets that are somewhere in between? In some airport security queues the answer is 'yes’, in others 'no’ and in many it depends on who is manning the x-ray machines. For security to be worth the cost and hassle, it has to be evidence-based, effective – and consistent. When rules don’t have a reason, though, consistency is hard to achieve.

10) A dog's life

During nearly a century when Britain was subject to some of the strictest quarantine rules in the world, designed to keep the country rabies free, not a single cat or dog imported from Western Europe developed the disease when in quarantine. Even after effective vaccines against rabies were developed, people were still prevented from bringing their pets across the channel – and even highly trained rescue dogs, used to detect people buried under the rubble of earthquakes and other natural disasters, routinely fell foul of the unyielding quarantine rules, which were finally relaxed in February 2000 under the weight of contrary evidence in the hands of determined citizens.

11) Off the deep end

Many municipal swimming pools in Britain have strict rules about how many children an adult can take to the pool. In some, in the interests of safety, every child under eight must be accompanied by one adult, effectively ruling out trips by larger families unless several adults can be roped in to make up the numbers. The reason given for these safety rules is to reduce cases of drowning. They don’t reduce them though, because the cases don’t exist. In fact, the biggest single factor influencing the likelihood of drowning anywhere is an inability to swim and a lack of experience adjusting to sudden immersion in cold water, both things that can be countered by encouraging, not discouraging, trips to the public pool.

Original story here




Odd news from around the world

Former soldier's life saved by his pets who licked him awake to call for help:  "An ex-soldier was brought back from the brink of death by his pet dogs.  Billy Malone, 66, collapsed at his home in Llanfairfechan, North Wales, and banged his head on a radiator knocking himself out.  But his pet terrier Rocky and Rhodesian Ridgeback Copa came to the rescue and managed to wake Mr Malone up by licking his face.  The Royal Signals veteran, who was alone at the time, managed to call for help and paramedics who arrived on the scene said he probably would not have survived had the dogs not woken him up.  He was suffering from internal bleeding, caused by tearing a vein in his stomach after coughing the previous week."  Billy was taken by ambulance to Gwynedd Hospital in Bangor where he is now recovering."

Aluminum tents for mountaineers!  "The temporary dwelling in Zermatt, Switzerland houses 25 cozy tent-shaped aluminum shelters each accommodating two people.  While situated at Hoernligrat at the foot of the Matterhorn, the Base Camp has amazing views of the surrounding mountains.  Alpinists and day-trippers are welcome to enjoy the Camp's cabin-style delicacies, which officially open tomorrow.  The silver pods cost £98 per person per night and replace the Hoernli hut which is closed during the summer for renovation.  The Base Camp Matterhorn will be removed after 15 September.  Next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the first Matterhorn ascent.  On 14 July 1865, the British climber Edward Whymper reached the top together with three mountain guides and three English. Only three people survived the descent."

Unloved limousine:  "This is the vintage Daimler limousine which has been gathering dust in a Romanian hotel car park for over a decade after failing to start for Prince Philip during a royal trip to Bucharest.  The rare and valuable vehicle was supposed to ferry the Prince around after he arrived in the city for a key World Wildlife Fund meeting in 2001.  But it was abandoned in disgrace after refusing to start for the visit and according to the hotel's car park manager nobody has wanted anything to do with it since.  According to Bucharest Intercontinental Hotel officials and the managers of the car park underneath the hotel, the vintage Daimler DS 420 is the property of the British Embassy.  And they say that despite writing to them on several occasions, the Embassy in the capital Bucharest had ignored the correspondence and were apparently refusing to have anything to do with the car.  As a result car park managers now say that they have applied to the court to have the car declared as their property"

Child molester gets his due:  "A father who walked in on a man allegedly sexually assaulting his 11-year-old son beat the man to a pulp before calling police to say they could come collect him from a 'bloody puddle' on his floor.  The 35-year-old man, who has not been identified, told a 911 dispatcher in the early hours of Friday: 'I just walked in on a grown man molesting [name redacted]. And I got him in a bloody puddle for you right now, officer.' Police arrived at the Daytona Beach home in Florida to find Raymond Frolander, 18, unconscious. When the 911 responder asked the father if any weapons were involved, he said: 'My foot and my fist'.  The father added: 'He stood up and his pants were around his ankles and nothing else needed to be said. I did whatever I got a right to do except I didn’t kill him.'"  The father was not charged in the suspect’s beating, police spokesman Jimmie Flynt said.

Unusual stablemates:  "They say opposites attract - and an amorous tabby cat and horse go a way to prove the theory. The two animals, who live on a farm in Brussels, Belgium, were filmed sharing an intimate moment of affection together.  The friendly feline is seen sat on the wall of a stable enclosure rubbing up against the horse, who peers over the barrier.  Both seem happy and relaxed in each other's company.  The tabby is heard purring and swirling its tail around, as it gives the horse some loving.  At one point it turns around and performs a blissful 'meow' to the camera.

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

18 July, 2014

What Can Your Surname Tell You?

At least for purposes of research, just about every genealogist rues the ancestor whose last name is common, and therefore hard to trace, and rejoices in their ancestors with more unusual names. While an unusual surname undeniably can make genealogical research easier, it doesn’t corner the market on interesting and informative origins.

In Western Europe, surnames first came about in Medieval times as civilizations grew larger and it became necessary to distinguish between people.

Sometimes, names were based on occupation: a blacksmith may have been “John le Smith” (John the Smith) which became, over the generations, “Smith,” and a person named Appleby lived by or tended the apple orchard. Celebrity Robin Leach’s ancestor was probably a physician (because in medieval times, physicians used leeches to bleed people). Actor Christopher Reeve’s ancestor, the one to first take the surname, was most likely a sheriff, and Sarah Jessica Parker’s early medieval ancestor probably tended a park.

Other surnames were based on location: an Acker, which comes from “acre,” lived near a field, and a Hall lived in or worked in a hall of a Medieval nobleman’s house. And it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what a forebear named Young or Strong or Gray looked like.

Higher social status surnames are more rare today — how many Rothschilds (from the German “red shield”) did you go to school with? — and lower status ones fairly common. Lower social status people were also sometimes given unfortunate names by others, such as “Tew” (Welsh for “fat”) or “Dullard,” which means a hard or conceited man.

And in many parts of the world surnames derived from men’s names. A person named Robertson is descended from someone who was the “son of Robert,” and a MacDonald is from a Scottish “son of Donald.” Armenian names of this sort generally end in “-ian,” Polish ones in “-ski,” and Irish ones are put together a little differently, starting with the prefix “Fitz-.”

In Spanish-speaking parts of the world, people often take both their mother and father’s surnames. And some families still use family or “house” names that are not surnames at all, like the royal Windsors or Plantagenets.

Asian surnames have different stories. Most of the approximately 100,000 Japanese surnames in use today only date from 1868 and the Meiji Restoration, when surnames were mandated for the first time. There are just a few hundred common Chinese surnames, and 20 of them (which reflect an entire clan or were adopted by nobles) are shared by half the population. There are about 250 Korean surnames, three of them comprising almost half the Korean population, and just about 100 Vietnamese ones, with three making up 60 percent of all names in that country.

Original story here




Odd news from around the world

TSA thicko:  "IT’S the capital of the US, but when a passenger produced a drivers licence from the District of Columbia, otherwise known as Washington D.C., he almost landed in trouble.  Gray, who works for WFTV in Orlando, took to Twitter to share the details. He claims he was flying from Orlando International Airport back to D.C. at the weekend when he handed over his licence to a security agent, only to receive a puzzled look.  He was then asked to produce his passport, which he didn’t have on him because he had a valid licence so there was no need. After a brief conversation it became clear the employee had no idea where D.C. was, and instead thought Gray was from a faraway nation.  Gray was eventually allowed to pass through security where he alerted a supervisor, who assured him his licence was a valid form of ID and said that all airport staff would be given a geography lesson.

Indian man climbs ladder with a motorbike on his head:  "Lifting a motorbike up on to the roof of a bus is no easy task. But lifting a motorbike on to a bus by balancing it on your head as you climb a ladder enters the realm of painful and perhaps, even impossible.   However a man in India has proved it is feasible and even made it look easy in a video which has been posted online.

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner video shows off new tricks:  "It looks like a regular passenger plane and can seat 280 passengers. But it can also take off almost vertically, turn tight corners midair and land then quickly take off again.  Boeing has published a video showcasing their new 787-9's impressive manoeuvrability ahead of attending the final weekend of Britain’s Farnborough Airshow, one of the largest annual aviation events.  The video follows hot-weather testing conducted in Alice Springs by the plane designer in January this year, when the average temperature was above 36 degrees.  The plane is63 metres long and sells for about $US53 million ($56.6 million). According to Boeing, it can take off and land even if one of the engines fails.  The president of Business Jets, Steve Taylor, said the aircraft can also roll in the air.  The Dreamliner is the first airliner to be made of carbon fibre, not aluminium, and promises airlines more fuel efficiency a saving of 20 per cent. It also offers 20 per cent less carbon dioxide emissions than comparable aircraft."

Giant penis appears on Milkybar:  "THE Milkybar kid would be shocked if he saw what made its way on to his favourite white chocolate treat. A man in London happened upon the surprising representation while eating a Milkybar during the World Cup, Metro News reports.  Robin Jacobs said: ‘What on earth is a penis doing on a kids’ chocolate bar? There’s no point denying what it looks like. It is obvious – we can all see it.”  A spokesman for Nestlé said: “Nestlé is surprised and sorry to hear that Mr Jacobs thought the picture on the Milkybar resembles male genitalia, it is in fact an image of a horse’s head, the Milkybar Kid’s horse.”

Brilliant composer considered suicide:  "Andrew Lloyd-Webber said he requested the forms to joim assisted suicide clinic Dignitas after struggling with the pain for 14 back and leg operations.  The West End composer was so convinced he wanted to die last summer that he requested forms for the the Swiss clinic.  He said a bout of deep depression, triggered by the pain from a series of operations, caused him to consider suicide.  But the 66-year-old, who previously suffered with prostate cancer, said he now felt it would have been a ‘stupid and ridiculous’ thing to do.  The peer is likely to oppose the bill to legalise ‘assisted dying’ tabled by Lord Falconer, the former Lord Chancellor, which will be debated today.  ‘I actually got the forms for Dignitas. With hindsight, it was stupid and ridiculous, but I couldn’t think what to do.’  He said as his symptoms alleviated he decided to throw the forms away and expects to oppose the bill but remains torn on the issue."

Roma gypsies driven out of Belgian town after DJ blasts Dire Straits' 'Sultans of Swing' at them:  "A group of gypsies has been driven out of a Belgian town after the mayor hired a DJ to blast rock music at them.  The Roma had amassed 30 caravans at a site in Landen, a small town with a population of less than 15,000, around 30 miles east of Brussels, with no plans to leave.  But after a DJ played Dire Straits at a volume of 95 decibels - equivalent to the sound of a pneumatic drill from 50 feet away - they caved in and agreed to go.  Mr Debroux said the group's refusal to leave had prompted him to hire a DJ to blast music at them from 9am yesterday.  'This is a way of putting pressure on them. It was very difficult to negotiate with the gypsy king, as he called himself,' he said. 'It's a non-violent method to ask them to come to an agreement.'  However, by midday, the Roma had agreed with police that they would leave the site. They are expected to depart at some point today."

How COULD anyone think this photo is anything but innocent?': "Little Marlow Adamo is blissfully unaware that she is the owner of — in her mother’s words — ‘the most infamous belly button on the worldwide web’.  Toddling around in a little pair of yellow wellies, the 19-month-old thinks nothing of pulling up her white cotton top to show it off in that joyful, unselfconscious way that young children do.  ‘Belly,’ she says, pointing to it very proudly.  It was this charming picture of innocence that Marlow’s mother Courtney, 33, captured on her camera phone last month in the garden of their North London home — and immediately posted on the popular social media site Instagram. In doing so, Courtney had absolutely no idea of the storm of controversy that she was about to unleash.  First, Instagram deleted the ‘inappropriate’ photo for violating its rules on nudity. Then, when Courtney re-posted the picture — thinking they must have made a mistake — her account was de-activated.  Confused, the businesswoman and married mother-of-four wrote  about her bewildering experience on her blog, sparking a furious debate on child safety, which then spread rapidly across the internet."

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

17 July, 2014

Nothing like being upfront with your customers




Odd news from around the world

Heroic tabby Smudge comes to rescue of owner, 5, by jumping on bullies who had pushed him to the ground:  "A heroic cat could win an award after rescuing his five-year-old owner from bullies who pushed him to the ground as he played with his younger brother.  The moggy named Smudge pounced on the chest of one of the boys after he saw frightened Ethan Fenton being pushed to the ground outside his home in Doncaster. The boy and his friends were so shocked by the tabby cat’s actions that they ran away crying leaving Ethan and his two-year-old brother Ashton alone.  Mother Sharon Fenton, 26, who witnessed the attack said: ‘I was keeping an eye on the boys who were playing football in the front garden.  ‘That’s when I rushed outside and saw Smudge fly out from under our car and jump on the boy’s chest.  ‘I think it was shock more than anything but the boy stumbled backwards, burst into tears and then ran off.'"

Tesla announces Model III: Musk's next electric car will cost £30,000, be 20% smaller and have a range of 200 miles: "It’s long been known that Tesla were planning on a more affordable version of their revolutionary electric cars, and now details have been revealed of what to expect.  The Model III will go on sale for around £30,000 in the UK and about $35,000 in the U.S. from 2017 according to reports, while it’ll have a range of 200 miles (320 kilometres).  Details on the Model III were revealed by Tesla CEO Elon Musk in an interview with Auto Express.  The all-electric vehicle will be a compact vehicle, about 20 per cent smaller than the Model S.  Its pricing will also make it more affordable to the general public."

Demand for £217 McDonald's wedding parties soars in Hong Kong: "Brides and grooms on a budget can now have the wedding of their dreams - for just over £200.  For this bargain basement price, they'll get venue hire, decorations, audio equipment, food, gifts and invitations. The only catch is... they'll be getting married at McDonald's.  As unlikely as it might seem, demand for fast food nuptials is booming and McDonald's has expanded its wedding service programme from three to 15 branches.  'We started the programme because many customers tell us that McDonald's is where they first started dating,' a spokesperson told CNBC. 'McDonald's is where their love stories grew. 'This connection is exactly why they want to hold their wedding parties and even anniversary parties at McDonald's - to relive sweet beginnings and bring their romantic story full circle.'"

French supermarket introduces lumpy and misshapen fruit and vegetables - sold at a 30% discount - to combat food waste: "It is well known that we eat with our eyes as well as our stomach, however one French supermarket is attempting to re-educate our perspectives on lumpy, ugly, misshapen fruit and vegetables with a new initiative.  The third largest supermarket chain in France Intermarché, launched a campaign earlier this year that sought to put an end to food waste.  Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables celebrates the 'ugly' produce that is often thrown away by growers and considered unfit for consumption.  Intermarché wanted to help prevent food waste by proving to customers that unattractive fruits and vegetables are just as delicious as their pristine counterparts.   The campaign by Intermarché is supported by advertising agency Marcel who, with the help of  photographer Patrice de Villiers, produced seven posters starring the unattractive produce to go alongside it.

Council spends £35,000 building Britain's most expensive bird nesting box... and it's taken three years for inhabitants to move in: "Residents in Cambridge are furious after the city council spent £35,000 building Britain's most expensive bird nesting box, saying that the money could have been better spent elsewhere.  The colourful 33ft-high steel tower was built in 2011 as part of a plan to reverse the decline in the number of swifts - a species which sees its population fall by three per cent each year due to a loss of habitat.  But the hi-tech bird box has sat empty in a field for three years, with its first feathered inhabitants only moving in this summer.  The tower, which features 200 nesting boxes, was built at Logan’s Meadow nature reserve on the outskirts of Cambridge as part of a wider wetland habitat creation plan in 2011.  It was commissioned by Cambridge City Council and created by London-based artist Andrew Merritt, who worked with ecologists and swift experts to combine design with a functional home for the birds."

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

16 July, 2014

It's a dog's life




Odd news from around the world

'Poltergeist' that mysteriously trashed couple's home turns out to be meth addict who was hiding under the bed:  "A Seattle couple returned to their apartment late on Wednesday night to find the home completely trashed.  They called the police, who came to investigate, but nothing had been stolen, leading them to wonder whether something supernatural had occurred.  However it wasn't until after the cops - who were equally as baffled - had left after 45 minutes that Brian and Bridget O'Neill made the truly distressing discovery.  As the pair began to clean up the mess, Brian moved the bed slightly to pick up a bracelet on the floor.  He then heard something underneath the mattress.  'It was a noise coming from something alive,' he said.  'It sounded like a dying possum or raccoon.  When the noise got louder, becoming a scratching sound, the couple left the apartment and called the police again.  Officers went inside and came out minutes later.  They were escorting a 'lanky, wild-eyed woman', Vocativ reported.  The woman had been under the bed - which stands only about a foot from the ground - for at least two hours."

Quebec’s Royal 22nd Regiment guards Buckingham Palace as guard changes:  "If you’ve been to London, chances are you’ve seen the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. But history was made on Monday, when Canadian soldiers had a turn standing guard.  A contingent from Canada’s fabled Royal 22nd Regiment is standing on guard for the Queen today.  About 70 members of the unit’s ceremonial guard are in London to protect Buckingham Palace.  It’s the first time the francophone regiment has stood guard at Buckingham Palace since 1940, when it was done at the request of King George VI, father of Queen Elizabeth.  That also marked the first time the King’s Guard Sentinels got commands not only from a non-British unit but also in French.

Want to appear 10 years younger? Just buy a dog:  "Scientists have shown that simply owning a dog can turn back the ageing clock, with canine companionship making owners act 10 years younger.  This tonic effect was regardless of the distance an owner walks with their pet, the study found.  Researcher Dr Zhiqiang Feng, of St Andrews University, said: ‘If you have a dog in the home, your physical activity level is roughly equivalent to a person 10 years younger.  'It may not add a decade to your life, but it is very beneficial – it is all about getting up and out and about.’   Remaining active into old age is proven to stave off a host of ailments, particularly muscle and bone conditions, as well as promoting mental wellbeing.  In addition to the physical benefits, a dog is also good for the owner’s mental health.  ‘On average dog owners have lower levels of depression,’ said Dr Feng, a senior lecturer in the university’s School of Geography and Geosciences." ‘The bond between pet and owner benefits people’s health generally.’

Do YOU hate modern life? 57% of us would rather live in another decade - and the swinging 60s come out on top:  "A survey revealed 57% of adults wish they could live in another time. One in five said they'd rather live in the 1960s.  Despite the current advancements in medicine, technology and transport, almost 60 per cent of British people would rather live in any other era than the current one.  And when asked which decade they'd prefer to live in, one in five voted for the 1960s.  The decade was also voted as one of the most prosperous in the whole of human history, beating the entire 19th century, and the Roaring Twenties.  The findings were revealed as part of the Yesterday Historical Report commissioned to mark the launch of show Inquisition on the TV channel, Yesterday.  The 1960s were seen as great because of the widespread revolution and change in politics, music and society around the world."

Germany were so confident they were going to win World Cup they printed five million victory stamps BEFORE the final: "Germany printed five million stamps commemorating their fourth World Cup title before the final on Sunday had even started.  The 60-cent stamps are due to go on sale this week after the first commemorative copies are offered to the players and staff. If Germany had lost the final, the stamps, printed by Deutsche Post, would have had to be pulped.  The stamps were ordered by Germany's Finance Ministry, which holds 21 per cent of Deutsche Post's shares through the state-owned KfW bank.  'This year I dared to hope very early on that our team would take the title,' Finance Minister Wolfgang Scaeuble told AFP.  'It's wonderful that the team turned this dream into a reality. I hope that this stamp will remind many citizens of the immense joy the team has given us.'

Scientists baffled by gigantic 262ft hole that has appeared at Siberia:  "An urgent expedition will leaves tomorrow to probe a giant crater that has appeared in gas-rich northern Siberia.  Extraordinary aerial images show a mysterious hole which experts say may be up to 262 feet wide, in the Yamal Peninsula of northern Russia.  'A scientific team has been sent to investigate the hole and is due to arrive at the scene on Wednesday,' The Siberian Times has reported.  There has been web speculation about the crater indicating 'the arrival of a UFO craft'.  But one Russian expert says the cause is more likely to be global warming releasing gases under the surface, which then explode like a champagne cork.  Experts say that the darkening around the inner rim of the crater indicates 'severe burning' which scorched its edges."

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

15 July, 2014


Some real notes written by parents in the Memphis school district. Spellings have been left intact

1. My son is under a doctor's care and should not take PE today. Please execute him.

2. Please exkuce lisa for being absent she was sick and i had her shot.

3. Dear school: please ecsc's john being absent on jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 and also 33.

4. Please excuse gloria from jim today. She is administrating.

5. Please excuse roland from p.e. for a few days. Yesterday he fell out of a tree and misplaced his hip.

6. John has been absent because he had two teeth taken out of his face.

7. Carlos was absent yesterday because he was playing football. He was hurt in the growing part.

8. Megan could not come to school today because she has been bothered by very close veins.

9. Chris will not be in school cus he has an acre in his side

10. Please excuse rayfriday from school. He has very loose vowels.

11. Please excuse Lesli from being absent yesterday. She had the shits. (BEST ONE)

12. Please excuse tommy for being absent yesterday. He had diarrhea, and his boots leak.

13. Irving was absent yesterday because he missed his bust.

14. Please excuse jimmy for being. It was his father's fault.

15. I kept Billie home because she had to go Christmas shopping because i don't know what size she wear.

16. Please excuse jennifer for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the sunday paper off the porch, and when we found it monday. We thought it was sunday.

17. Sally won't be in school a week from friday. We have to attend her funeral.

18. My daughter was absent yesterday because she was tired. She spent a weekend with the marines.

19. Please excuse Jason for being absent yesterday. He had a cold and could not breed well.

20. Please excuse mary for being absent yesterday. She was in bed with gramps.

21. Gloria was absent yesterday as she was having a gangover.

22. Please excuse brenda. She has been sick and under the doctor.

23. Maryann was absent december 11-16, because she had a fever, sorethroat, headache and upset stomach. Her sister was also sick, fever an sore throat, her brother had a low grade fever and ached all over. I wasn't the best either, sore throat and fever. There must be something going around, her father even got hot lastnight.




Odd news from around the world

Busker gets a big break:  "A man who spent 20 years as a street busker has finally hit the big time with a million-pound recording contract.  Crooner Si Cranstoun, 38, started writing his own songs and performing when he was just 16.  For years he struggled to make ends meet as he played on London's streets - where Prime Minister Tony Blair once gave him 30p.  But success evaded him until April last year when he finally landed a breakthrough deal with music giants Warner. Music mogul from Warner spotted him on street and signed him up. Si is due to release his debut album this summer after being backed by Radio 2 DJ Terry Wogan and he looks set for success after his debut single 'Caught in the Moonlight' was shortlisted on the Radio 2 playlist last month.

Couple find huge fire-proof safe that could be 160 years old buried at the bottom of their garden pond:  "A couple have found a metre-wide safe they believe is more than a century old in their back garden, but there's just one problem. They've no idea how to get into it.  David and Nikki Maguire found the heavy, rusting box - made by the same firm which supplied the Titanic - sticking out of the earth after they drained their garden pond in Gateshead.  Mr Maguire, 34, spent an afternoon tirelessly shifting heaps of soil and was astounded to find the safe completely intact.  A locksmith is now due to visit the couple tomorrow morning - but for the moment, they are enjoying the mystery.  The safe was made by Milners, which began working in 1814 under Thomas Milner and became famous for developing the world’s first fire-proof safes.  On the front of the safe found in the Maguires’ garden is a plaque which reads ‘Milners of London, Manchester and Liverpool’ and ‘Patent fire resisting special safe’.  It is likely to date from between the mid-19th Century and 1955, when the Milner company merged with the firm Chatwood."

The car boot bargain that turned out to be TREASURE: £3 tool revealed as 4,500-year-old ancient Egyptian hammer: "Archaeologists train for years to unearth and identify ancient artefacts, but an ambulance worker from Northumberland has happened upon one at a local car boot sale with no effort at all.  Martin Jackson, 50, paid just £3 ($5) for the 4,500-year-old ancient Egyptian wooden maul - a type of hammer - and experts have since valued it closer to £4,000 ($6,800).  The maul, which would have been used by craftsmen to create carvings in temples, was among a haul of broken tools at Mr Jackon’s local sale on the quayside at Amble, Northumberland. Mr Jackson said the maul was in ‘a shabby condition’, with electrical tape roughly wrapped around the handle.  After removing the tape, Jackson noticed a finely engraved silver band which explained it was an Egyptian maul, and that it had been found at the ancient burial ground Saqqara.  It was brought to Ireland in around 1905 by a highly-decorated British officer who is frequently mentioned in dispatches at that time."

World's oldest bottle of mineral water uncovered: 200-year-old corked Selters flask found deep within the Baltic sea:  "The world’s oldest bottle of mineral water has been uncovered from the depths of the Baltic Sea by Polish scuba divers.  The 200-year-old flask, described as in a ‘good condition and still corked’, has the name ‘Selters’ inscribed in its stoneware.  Polish archaeologists found the 12 inch (30cm) bottle in shipwreck lying 12.2 metres (40ft) below water in the Gda?sk Bay close to the Polish coast.  Produced between 1806 and 1830, the brown bottle is an extremely rare find as most sealed flasks from that period contain either beer or wine.  'We have not opened the bottle, we are not sure what it contains and what is the taste of the water which is 200 years old,' said Tomasz Bednarz, National Maritime Museum archaeologist.  Selters is a German luxury mineral water brand which gained popularity with Europe’s wealthy during the nineteenth century.

Japanese shrine is dedicated to curing haemorrhoids: "An ancient Japanese shrine dedicated to the curing of haemorrhoids, where people wash their bottoms in holy river water, has seen a resurgence in popularity.  The unusual ritual is growing in popularity as more people in Japan are said to be suffering from the condition.  According to Japanese tradition, anybody who heads to the shrine in Japan's Tochigi Prefecture simply needs to wash their naked bottom in a local river, point it in the direction of the 'holy egg' and then eat boiled eggs at the nearby temple to find themselves cured.  It also welcomes people who do not have haemorrhoids at all, on the premise that if they also carry out the ritual, they will never suffer from the problem later in life.  The temple fell into disrepair in the 1980s but more recently after a resurgence in the number of people suffering from haemorrhoids, it has been refurbished and reopened and now has experienced a boom in popularity."

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

14 July, 2014

More shopping with the wife




Odd news from around the world

Eye tests could be used to diagnose early-stage Alzheimer's disease: "Early trials of two different techniques show that a key Alzheimer's trait can be identified in the retina and lens of the eye.  Both methods were able to distinguish between probable Alzheimer's patients and healthy volunteers with a high level of accuracy. Although the research is still at an early stage, further work could see such tests used as a first step in identifying individuals with Alzheimer's. After an initial eye test, more expensive and costly procedures such as PET (positron emission tomography) scans or spinal fluid analysis would then be used to confirm the disease.  The eye tests exploit the fact that the eye is, in effect, an extension of the brain.  In both studies, scientists looked for signs of beta-amyloid protein, which forms clumps in the brains of Alzheimer's patients and is a key hallmark of the disease.  Levels of beta-amyloid in the retina mirrored those shown in the brain by PET imaging."

Baby delivered by emergency C-section after her pregnant mother was struck by lightning still has STATIC HAIR a year on:  "Kimberly Gordon was delivered by emergency Cesarean section a year ago after her mother was struck by lightning in Albuquerque, New Mexico. But not only did the one-year-old survive the electrical jolt, she now has static hair.  On July 4 last year, Gordon and his 38-weeks-pregnant girlfriend Kendra Villanueva were watching the Independence Day fireworks when they were hit by a bolt from the blue.  ABC News reported the thunderbolt traveled through Gordon's ear before jumping to Villaneuva's body and leaving through her thumb.  The pair were rushed to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where Villaneuva was induced and gave birth to little Kimberly. She was two weeks out from her due date.  More than a year on, Kimberly still has neurological damage from the lightning strike. She can't sit up, crawl or digest food properly. Doctors also don't know when she will begin to walk and talk as the case is so unusual. It is not clear why the child's hair is still static.

British researchers devise material so dark it looks like a black hole:  "British researchers have created the 'new black' of the science world - and it is being dubbed super black. The material absorbs all but 0.035 per cent of light, a new world record, and is so dark the human eye struggles to discern its shape and dimension, giving the appearance of a black hole.  Named Vantablack, or super black, it also conducts heat seven and half times more effectively than copper, and is ten times stronger than steel.  It is created by Surrey NanoSystems using carbon nanotubes, which are 10,000 thinner than human hair and so miniscule that light cannot get in but can pass into the gaps in between.  Most of the light is then absorbed as it bounces around, the Independent reports, creating the illusion of a black hole. It has been grown on sheets of aluminium foil which can be seen in pictures released by the company. While the foil is crinkled and uneven, the surface covered by Vantablack appears completely smooth because of its light absorbing property."

The Kaiser and the King (L to R)

A British king in a German army uniform:  "For more than a century they have been hidden away in a Royal wardrobe, a reminder of the rift in the House of Windsor caused by the First World War.   Now the Queen is facing calls to display the German uniforms worn by her grandfather, George V, to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of war.  The close familial links between the British and German monarchs in 1914 – George V and Kaiser Wilhelm II were both grandchildren of Queen Victoria – meant that George held the honorary ranks as a German Field Marshal and as a colonel of German regiments.  He was fitted out for Teutonic uniforms to mark his roles as Admiral of the Imperial German Navy, Prussian Field Marshal, Colonel-in-Chief of the 1st Guard Dragoon Regiment and Colonel-in-Chief of the Kürassier Regiment Graf Getzler (Rhine) No 8.  At the time, both sides of the family used the name Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.  The uniforms are still held by the Royal Collection, but have been displayed only on rare occasions."

Gyrocopter that can hit 112mph on land and in the air goes on sale:  "It's 50 years since the Jetsons first predicted we'd be flying the family about in airborne cars.  And now we are finally standing on the cusp of that long-awaited milestone, as the world's first flying motorcycle goes on sale.  The Pal-V One Helicycle is a two-seat hybrid car and gyrocopter that has the potential for making rush-hour delays a thing of the past.  It is road - and air - legal and now, two years after its maiden flight, it is finally available to buy - if you have a spare $395,999 (£230,000) that is.   The Dutch-built Pal-V One can reach speeds of up to 112mph and goes from 0 to 60 in under 8 seconds when driven on the road.  The two-seater vehicle converts from a three-wheeled motorcycle to a gyrocopter in 10 minutes.  It has 230hp, four-cylinder engine and reaches speeds of up 112 mph in the air or on the road.  The gyrocopter is designed to cruise at low altitudes (below 4,000ft) and it requires a 540ft runway for take-offs. For landing, the vehicle needs just 100 ft.  The 27-gallon gas tank provides a 220-mile flight range (750 miles on the road)."

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

13 July, 2014

A touchy man

A bald amputee with a wooden leg is invited to attend a fancy dress party. Wanting to hide his baldness and his wooden leg, he writes to the Ryde Fancy Dress store to explain his problem and soon receives a parcel with a note:

“Dear Sir, Please find enclosed a Pirate’s outfit. The spotted handkerchief will cover your pate, and your wooden leg you will look the part as a Pirate.”

Outraged that the outfit emphasises his baldness and his leg he writes a strong letter of complaint, and soon receives another parcel and note:

“Dear Sir, Sorry about the previous parcel, whatever were we thinking of? Please find enclosed a monk's habit. The long robe will cover your wooden leg and with your bald head you will really look the part.”

Incandescent with rage this time, for the same reason, he writes an even stronger letter of complaint. A few days later he gets a very small parcel from the Ryde store, and a note:

“Dear Sir, Please find enclosed a small tin of Syrup with our compliments. We suggest you pour the tin of Syrup over your bald head, let it harden, then stick your wooden leg up your ass and go as a toffee apple.”




Odd news from around the world

Plane is downed... by an escaped CROCODILE:  "A plane crash which killed a British pilot in Africa may have been caused by passengers panicking over an escaped crocodile.  Today an inquest into his death heard a stampede may have broken out over an escaped crocodile in the cabin, which saw passengers surge forward, causing the plane to nose-dive.   The only surviving passenger claimed the reptile spooked a cabin crew member, who ran towards the cockpit causing the passengers to follow.  'There is apparently a video of the crocodile being taken out of the plane.    He added: 'It would have been a maximum of two or three feet in length. It was apparently quite normal for animals and chickens to be carried on the plane, it was used like a taxi in this regard.'

Do ladies in red make us see... red?:  "If you decide to pull on a red dress for a night out, beware: other women might assume you're out to steal their boyfriend.  According to a new study by University of Rochester social psychologist Adam Pazda, women in red are perceived by other women as more sexually receptive and unfaithful than women wearing other colors like white or green. 'The color of a woman's shirt affects how men and women think about her,' Mr Pazda told Today, explaining that red evokes sex because it symbolizes love and lust. 'Women don't want other women in red near their boyfriends,' he added. Mr Pazda said that there is also a biological reason that the might be seen as sexual. 'When [women] become sexually excited, they blush,' he explained.  The female participants in the study were first asked to look at pictures of women in white, and then at the same pictures which had been digitally altered to make it look like they were now wearing red.   When asked which woman looked more promiscuous or 'receptive to sex', the overwhelming majority of respondents chose the one in red."

Victorian camera revived:  "It had been left untouched for decades, but thanks to one North-East man a Victorian studio camera has taken its first pictures in almost a century.  The camera and stand is around 5ft tall and believed to date back to 1880-1900, a far cry from the digital gadgets of today.  But after being discovered in a Sunderland attic, keen photographer Andy Martin has spent the best part of two years bringing the studio camera back to life.  ‘I got a call from a friend and their uncle had a garage up in Roker,’ said 29-year-old Andy. ‘He was doing out the attic and this camera had been in there for at least 70 years.’  Knowing Mr Martin was a big fan of the older art of photography, his friend knew the camera would find a good home with him. ‘It was in a really sorry state, covered in dust and paint and unfortunately woodworm had got to quite a lot of the stand to the camera,’ he said.  ‘I got it home and started stripping it down,’ said Mr Martin. ‘It's huge, the plates it takes are 15 inches square. The camera itself on the stand was 5ft tall.’  Andy set about doing a lot of the work himself and said it was good fortune that the camera was made of mahogany as it was protected from woodworm."

The human bomb magnet who's been blown up 17 times:  "He's known as ‘the Bomb Magnet’ after surviving 17 explosions in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Remarkably, Regimental Sergeant Major Patrick Hyde is virtually unscathed, having suffered just a few cuts and bruises.  And no matter how close the call, the 38-year-old has written off every roadside bomb and rocket as an ‘occupational hazard’.  Yesterday the unflappable Warrant Officer Class 1 received a gallantry medal for saving his colleagues’ lives while he lay wounded after his 17th brush with death.  The soldier, who serves with the 4th Battalion The Rifles, was presented with his Military Cross by the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace.  He received the award for helping to co-ordinate the evacuation of troops injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) that had knocked him to the ground in Helmand on July 19 last year.  All but one of the 17 explosions took place in Sangin, a Taliban stronghold in Helmand where more than 100 service personnel perished."

DIY broadband:  "Frustrated residents in a remote village finally have superfast broadband – after they dug trenches and laid new cables themselves.  Locals in Dolphinholme, Lancashire, had repeatedly asked internet provider BT to wire them up to the new superfast cable, since it took them several minutes to load a single webpage. But BT refused because of the village’s remoteness and the cost.  So volunteers laid new cables themselves to connect the village of around 50 homes to a superfast network, provided by independent firm Broadband 4 Rural North (B4RN).  They now have one of the fastest networks in the UK.  Allen Norris, of the Dolphinholme B4RN Action Group, it was 'life changing' to the village.  He said: ‘It’s no exaggeration to say that having hyper-speed broadband is a life-changing event.  'Previously, we were getting speeds of around one megabit meaning it could take six or seven hours to download a simple smartphone software update and minutes to load a webpage. Now it takes seconds."

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

12 July, 2014

A Man With No Enemies

Toward the end of the Sunday service, the Minister asked his congregation, "How many of you have forgiven your enemies?"

80% held up their hands. The Minister then repeated his question. All responded this time, except one man, Walter Barnes.

"Mr. Barnes, are you not willing to forgive your enemies?"

"I don't have any," he replied gruffly.

"Mr. Barnes, that is very unusual. How old are you?"

"Ninety-eight," he replied. The congregation stood up and clapped their hands.

"Oh, Mr. Barnes, would you please come down in front and tell us all how a person can live ninety-eight years and not have an enemy in the world?"

Barnes tottered down the aisle, stopped in front of the pulpit, turned around, faced the congregation, and said simply,

"I outlived all them assholes"

- and he calmly returned to his seat.




Odd news from around the world

Council spent £10,000 on DVD showing tenants how to change a lightbulb that was never even released: "A cash-strapped council has been slammed for splashing more than £10,000 on a DVD showing tenants how to change lightbulb - which hasn’t even been released.  Stoke-on-Trent City Council approved the production of the instructional video in 2012, in the hope that it would help save £2 million in housing repair costs.  But two years later the DVD - which also offers advice on other minor repairs - is still awaiting ‘final approval’ by town hall chiefs.   Now campaigners and local residents have criticised the authority for spending the ‘extortionate’ amount at a time they are looking to make £97 million worth of savings from their budget.  John Caulkin, chairman of Eaton Park Residents’ Association, in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, fumed: ‘It has taken longer to release than the production of a Hollywood film.  ‘I find it incredible they can spend that sort of money and then be so lax as to let the two-year delay occur.’"

Faceless sjeep: "A Scottish farmer has spent £5,000 on CCTV cameras and guard dogs to protect his new flock of the 'world's cutest sheep'.  Raymond Irvine paid £55,000 for 10 ewes and one ram of the Valais Blacknose breed and now intends to breed them at his farm near Tomintoul in Moray.  The sheep, which are only found in Switzerland, are well-known for their shaggy coats and spiral horns, but it is their distinctive, incredibly dark 'black hole' faces - which look as if they have been Photoshopped to have all features removed - that draw much of the attention.  His 10 ewes and show-winning ram King Kong are now the first Valois Blacknose herd in Scotland.  He and girlfriend Jenni McAllister got a surprise when it turned out one of the ewes was already pregnant, giving birth to Scotland’s first baby Valais Blacknose.

Agave gone wild:  "Once upon a time, a couple planted a rare shrub in their front garden.  For eight years, nothing happened until – lo and behold – it suddenly sprouted into this 20ft monster dubbed the Giant Beanstalk.  The agave Americana is already higher than its owners’ bedroom window and its amazing growth shows no sign of slowing.  Sharon McMullan, 54, and her 66-year-old husband Bill bought the plant at a garden centre.  It remained dormant for years, producing nothing but spiky green leaves.  But following a series of mild winters, it has unexpectedly burst into life – producing the towering stem in a matter of weeks.  Mrs McMullan, a grandmother from Paignton in Devon, said: ‘The flower prong is nearly as tall as the house. You can see it getting taller on a daily basis.  'It’s outside the bedroom window now and it doesn’t seem to have stopped yet.  Agaves – which are native to Mexico and used to make tequila – flower only once before the  plant dies."

A tropical oasis in England:  "A dedicated gardener has spent a quarter of a century turning his 'blank canvas' of a garden into an exotic jungle.  Tim Wilmot, who runs a software firm, has spent £10,000 and 25 years of his life transforming the back of his suburban Bristol property into a lush paradise of foliage.  It boasts more than 80 species of plants, including bamboo, banana trees and palms hailing from as far as South Africa.  Mr Wilmot, 56, spends between three and four hours a week in the garden, helping the plants to grow in the colder British weather.  He said: 'When I first bought the house the garden was a blank canvas - it was just a lawn with a few old trees but now it completely been transformed and it's totally exotic.  'I've always wanted to create my own little paradise, and I've spent 25 years doing it. I've got about half a dozen palm trees, all of which are hardened to survive in the UK."

Triceratops killer:  "Hollywood movie director Steven Spielberg is the talk of the internet after a photo of him posing with a 'dead' dinosaur went viral.  The picture, taken on the set of his 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park, was posted online last Sunday by Facebook meme-maker and wit Jay Branscomb.  In an apparent reference to the furor surrounding Kendall Jones, the 19-year-old Texas cheerleader who has gained notoriety for posing with exotic animal she has killed, Branscomb added a jokey caption claiming the photo showed a ‘despicable’ hunter.  But it appears that not everyone was able to appreciate Branscomb’s sarcastic sense of humor and failing to recognize the world famous director, they took the photo at face value.  One Facebook commenter who misunderstood Branscomb’s humor was PenelopeRayzor Bachand. She labelled Spielberg an ‘inhumane p****’ and ‘animal killer.’"  A number of other commenters also apparently fail to realize that the triceratops has been extinct for 66 million years ago and that Spielberg, one of the most famous movie makers of all time, is sitting beside a mechanical prop from a movie"

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

11 July, 2014





Odd news from around the world

Scientists unveil low fat food they say tastes exactly like the real thing:  "Researchers may have discovered the holy grail of dieting - low fat cake and cheese.  British researcher say they have created a protein that mimics the taste and texture of fat perfectly.  The proteins will enable food manufacturers to remove much of the fat used in their products without compromising on product quality.  By studying the proteins’ chemical structure, the team has developed a detailed understanding of how they behave when they are heated or undergo other food manufacturing processes.  This has provided the basis for modifying proteins so that they can be used as effective fat substitutes.  The proteins could encourage development of a wider choice of low-fat foods, helping consumers to eat more healthily and reducing obesity.  Protein-for-fat substitution is not a completely new idea, but to date it has been restricted to products such as yogurts.  In cheeses and cakes it has proved less successful in ensuring the authentic taste and texture vital to consumer satisfaction, mainly because proteins could not mimic the behaviour of fats closely enough.

PAPER BAG speed-dating??:  "We've had silent speed-dating and dating in the dark but the latest activity for singles in London is possible the quirkiest yet.  It involves participants placing a paper bag over their head, and has been dubbed, 'The thinking person's Tinder,' because decisions are fast but based on personality (and body) alone.  The event has just debuted at the British Science Museum and, according to organisers, it's bags of fun.  Each participant wrote an amusing comment or personal fact on their bag to act as a conversation starter.  Said Londoner Ian Maddison, 31: 'It was an interesting balance to Tinder and Grindr, but also quite difficult as it's hard to get to know someone in two minutes.  'Your first impression does include how people look and that was denied.'

Pet terrors:  "Meet Britain’s most badly behaved pets which include a pug that climbs blinds, a cat that licks milk cartons, and a Labrador that shreds any doormat in sight.  Three hundred pets contended for the crown, but it was German Shepherd and Keeshond cross Yodie who was voted the naughtiest animal in a survey carried out by online blind firm Direct Blinds.  Owner Laura Vitty, 25, who is a teacher from Newcastle, said her beloved pet had caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage to her home.  She said: ‘When I first saw the mess Yodie had made, I actually thought it was scrambled egg, but it’s the inside of cushions.  ‘It was all over the entire house - I was picking up bits of cushions for hours.’  Yodie, who is a rescue dog, has a habit for shredding cushions but Miss Vitty says she loves him all the same.  She said: ‘This particular cushion attack occurred when he was very bored as he had to stay indoors for three weeks on vets orders. ‘Although he has chewed and destroyed his dog bed and countless other items, he is a lovely dog and I couldn’t be without him.’

Terrified police officer shoots dead 'aggressive' tortoise 'in self defence' in Uganda :  "A police officer in Uganda has reportedly shot a tortoise dead after being attacked by the 'aggressive' creature.  The incident happened in the Nebbi district in the north of the country near the Congolese border. The officer, named as Charles Onegi, said the animal entered his home and attacked him while he was enjoying a cup of tea after his morning shift.  'I tried to scare it but the tortoise became very aggressive,' he told the New Vision newspaper. 'I took a stick to chase it but it instead became more violent.  'It then got out of the hut and moved towards the latrine as people rushed to my rescue.  'When it came out, I reached for my gun and shot it dead. It was a very big white tortoise. As I talk now, I am still scared.'  Onesmus Mwesigwa said he thought his officer's extreme reaction to the attack may have been down to local superstitions 'where people think 'somebody is after me'."

Hospital trials roving 'Star Wars' robot that uses UV light to kill bacteria:  "It looks uncannily like the R2-D2 robot from the Star Wars films, but in fact this roving robot is already hard at work in a Pittsburgh hospital, zapping superbugs.  The robots emit ultraviolet light that penetrates and damages bacteria, including Clostridium difficile (C. diff), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), all of which are commonly referred to as 'superbugs' because they are highly resistant to traditional antibiotic treatments. The $67,000 machine emits UV light to penetrate through the cell walls of bacteria and viruses and destroy their DNA, rendering them unable to reproduce.  After a hospital environmental services employee thoroughly cleans a room with germicidal disinfectant, a trained technician wheels the robot into the room, opens all the interior doors and drawers to expose surfaces where germs could lurk, turns on and programs the robot, and leaves the room."

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

10 July, 2014

All cars should have 'Catholic converters': The exam howlers that earn an F in annual competition to find the best gaffes

In future, all cars will be fitted ‘with Catholic converters’, if under-pressure students are to be believed.  The statement, written by a University of Ulster undergraduate in a paper on vehicle emissions, is just one of a string of exam howlers identified by academics during this summer’s marking season.

It was submitted to a Times Higher Education competition by John Milliken, a lecturer in education, who was also amused by another student’s claim that ‘the [hole in the] ozone layer was caused by "arseh*les".  Dr Milliken said: ‘He probably meant aerosols, but then… maybe not.’

One topical blooper was entered by Verity Brack, information technology programme director at the University of Sheffield, after a student wrote that Google was ‘one of the two main suppositories of data in the world’.

Meanwhile, Josephine Kelly, a lecturer in business and government at Aston University, was intrigued to read that the Coalition government had a ‘toff stance on tax avoidance’. She noted that the student actually meant to write ‘tuff’.

There was also a new interpretation of London’s thriving social scene in the 18th century in a paper on the creation of the Spectator publication in 1711.

‘Within these coffeehouses, men from all different parts of the world could interfere with each other’, wrote a student in a paper marked by Andrew Rudd, lecturer in English literature at the University of Exeter.

Modern history was equally troublesome for a first year at the University of Southampton.  According to Suzanne Reimer, senior lecturer in geography, the student observed that ‘globalisation has led to a growing interconnectedness between small-scale people and larger-scale cities across the globe’.

Britta Osthaus, senior lecturer in psychology at Canterbury Christ Church University, who teaches a course on the mental capacities of animals, was surprised to read that ‘octopuses are intelligent because they have been found to be able to predict the winners of football matches during the World Cup’.  This was a reference to Paul the Octopus, the cephalopod that ‘predicted’ results in the 2010 tournament.

Meanwhile, Alix Green, lecturer in history at the University of Hertfordshire, was baffled to hear that ‘Hitler’s role in the Second World War is often overlooked’.

Original story here




Odd news from around the world

Amazonian rain forest was created just 2,000 years ago by climate change which wiped out ancient farmers:  "Huge areas of the Amazon rainforest were grassland until just 2,000 years ago, it has been revealed.  Researchers say the find sheds new light on the Amazon's history - and show it was a savannah rather than the high forest it is today.  They believe much of the area was grassland until a natural shift to a wetter climate about 2,000 years ago let the rainforests form, according to a study that challenges common belief that the world’s biggest tropical forest is far older.  By analysing pollen and other particles trapped in the mud, the group was able to build up a picture of how the ecosystem has changed, on both local and regional scales, over the previous 6,000 years.  The scientists also studied man-made earthworks, uncovered by recent logging in Bolivia, that included ditches up to about a kilometer (1,100 yards) long and up to 3 meters deep and 4 meters wide."

Mountain top airport:  "This is a new airport runway set to open in China next month.  Chinese architects levelled several mountain tops to build the spectacular £80m development in Hechi, a city in China's southern Guangxi province.  Engineers managed to slice off the mountain tops to create a 1.4-mile runway that will provide a spectacular if nail-biting panorama for arriving passengers.  It sits amid several mountain ranges, including Jiuwangda to the north, the Phoenix Mountains in the north-west, Fengling to the east, and Duyang to the west. The Green Dragon Mountains sit to the south-west.  The airport, which is 2,200ft above sea level and has only one terminal and one runway, is so narrow that it can only accommodate three flights an hour - compared to the number that the mainland's busiest airports handle on an hourly basis which is 20 times that."

Giant sinkhole opens up under Chinese parking lot and takes  the cars with it:  "This car park in China collapsed into a pit after a sudden and heavy rainfall washed away the soil beneath.  The stricken building is next to a construction site in Chengdu, in south-west China's Sichuan province. Five cars dropped 30ft into a deep pit and another left hanging precariously over the edge after the incident, which took place earlier today. Several trees were also dragged in, but no casualties were reported.

The $500 rocket skates you could ride to work: 12mph motorised electric skates: "While we wait for the hoverboard to arrive, one Los Angeles inventor has come up with a worthy stopgap - motorised roller skates.  RocketSkates are designed to be strapped on over regular footwear, and monitor foot movements to make them easy to control.  They also lets riders simply tip forward to stop, should they find themselves needing to climb stairs, for example.  Each skate has two hub motors controlled by an on-board microprocessor, and are powered by a lithium-ion battery pack.  When you want to let each skate's two hub motors do the work, you just tip your feet back so that only the rubber wheels make contact with the ground.  Their maximum speed is 12 mph (19 km/h), and the range depends on the model chosen.  The $249 R6 will get you around 6 miles (9.7 km) or 45 minutes of use, the $499 R8 is rated for 8 miles (12.9 km)/70 minutes, and the $599 R10 will whizz along for 10 miles (16 km) or 90 minutes.  For all models, a full charge of the lithium-ion batteries takes 1.5 hours."

'Pornographic' 100-ruble note needs to be replaced says Russian MP:  "A Russian MP has called for the replacement of ruble bank notes featuring a nude Greek god, claiming the image's miniature genitals are pornographic and a bad influence on children.  The widely circulated 100-ruble note, worth around $3, depicts a statue of Apollo on the portico of the legendary Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. The figure has a partially visible penis peeking out from under a cloak. Roman Khudyakov, a lawmaker in the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, said he had written to the central bank asking it to change the note's design.  "I sent an official request to the Bank of Russia asking it to replace the 100-ruble notes showing the naked Apollo," Mr Khudyakov told AFP, adding he was alerted to the image by sniggering school children.

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

9 July, 1950

Friendly horse




Odd news from around the world

Phone goes on a trip from USA to Japan and back again:  "Whitney's phone started it's long journey across the globe back in October 2013, when the farmer accidentally lost the phone in a grain pit on his Chickasha farm. 'I had it in my pocket and I bent over to work on a copper bottom door and it fell out of my pocket into my grain pit and went up the elevator,' he told KFOR.  Whitney went out and got a new phone the next day, while his bin of 280,000 pounds of grain was moved to another Oklahoma grain facility, down the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers and then to a Louisiana depot where it was loaded on a ship bound for Japan's Hokkaido island. It was at the Zen-Noh Grain Corporation processing facility in Japan that that mill worker found the phone and sent it back to America. Last May, Whitney received a phone call from Eric Slater, manager of Zen-Noh's terminal in Convent, Louisiana, telling him that the phone had been recovered. Slater says he charged up the phone and scrolled through the pictures of the wedding and a vacation and knew he had to return the phone to it's owner."

Fukushima residents react to reports that they live in fear of nuclear meltdown with hilarious dance video:  "Residents in the Japanese province of Fukushima have decided to tell the world that they are alive and well and living perfectly normal lives despite the recent nuclear disaster by recording a music video with Pharrell Williams' hit song Happy as the soundtrack.  About 200 people, including Fukushima Mayor Kaoru Kobayashi, small children, Buddhist monks, and people from all walks of life in the area appear in the video and dance in their own styles.  Participants were given a free rein to dance to the song in their own way, and the video they produced as a result was filmed at various locations including the Fukushima Train Station, local tourism attractions such as the hot springs, a rice paddy and vineyards, and a shopping mall.  Kumasaka filmed the video over two weeks in May and then released it last month, with 500,000 views so far.

Go freeze your head:  "A cancer victim endured agonising head freezing sessions cooling her scalp to -4C to save her hair from gruelling chemotherapy.  Shelley Cain opted for the painful treatment after her 10-year-old daughter Ruby begged her not to go bald.  The 38-year-old vowed to fight for her life and her looks, after breaking the news of her breast cancer to her two children.  Mrs Cain had to endure three hour sessions of the 'cold cap' treatment, which doctors warned was hit-and-miss, not guaranteeing its success.  The therapy stops hair loss from the cancer-killing drugs by cooling the head to -4C.  It meant the HR worker retained a full head of hair, as well as her eyebrows, throughout her treatment.  And she now credits her stringent beauty regime with helping save her life, keeping her sane and positive throughout the process."

PLASTIC manhole covers?: "Cost-cutting Communist Party officials are coming under fire after three people have fallen into manholes because of the authority's insistence on using cheap plastic covers.  The cheap alternatives look similar to the metal manhole covers, apart from the fact that they are bright green or blue.  Locals say they easily break when stepped on, resulting in at least three accidents in Nanjing City, the capital of the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu.  Local media said that the thin plastic covers are no more than 7mm thick, and that there have been several incidents where they have broken after people walked on them.  Local party spokesman Kuan-Yin Cheng, 46, said: 'The plastic lids are thin but they have steel bars through them which means they are more than enough to bear the weight of an ordinary pedestrian.  'The accidents happened by people illegally driving their cars onto the pavement which weakened the lids, causing these accidents.'"

Apple's iPhone 6 'indestructable' sapphire display tested: "Apple's iPhone 6 will have a virtually indestructible screen made of sapphire, it has been claimed.  A YouTube videomaker claims to have acquired one of the screens - and has subjected it to a barrage of abuse, from stabbing it with a knife and keys to bending and twisting it.  In the video, the screen emerges totally unscathed - raising hopes is could lead to a far more resilient handset from Apple.  Synthetic sapphire is a hard, transparent material made of crystallising aluminium oxide, produced at high temperatures.  As the material is heated, it forms disks that can be sliced using diamond-coated saws.  These round disks are ground into shape, and polished, to become glass.  The technology is traditionally used in watch displays because it is thin, super-strong and scratch resistant.  Apple already uses sapphire crystal in the Touch ID fingerprint scanner on its latest iPhone 5S and to protects the phone's camera.

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

8 July, 1950

A little cutie




Odd news from around the world

Russian priest declares the World Cup is a ‘homosexual abomination’ – because of the players’ brightly coloured boots:  "A Russian Orthodox priest has found a novel way of overcoming his nation's pain at their early exit from the World Cup.  Alexander Shumsky has denounced the tournament as a 'homosexual abomination', because players' brightly coloured boots lined up bear a resemblance to the 'gay rainbow'.  'Wearing pink or blue shoes, [the players] might as well wear women's panties or a bra,' wrote Father Shumsky in his column on Christian website Russian People's Line.  The Moscow Times reports that Father Shumsky was also cross with the 'unthinkable' hairstyles worn by some of the players in Brazil.  But hilarious as it might seem to foreign eyes, it comes amid an atmosphere of extreme homophobia in Russia, where gay people have been publicly targeted by vigilantes and a law was recently passed banning 'gay propaganda'."

Migraine sufferer banishes crippling headaches using hi-tech headband which emits electrical pulses to the brain:  "A migraine sufferer has banished the crippling headaches which once left her sick and incapacitated for days, using a high-tech headband which emits electrical pulses to the brain.  The silver headband may look and sound like a prop form a sci-fi film. But Cefaly exists and the medical device is now available in the UK, having relieved the painful symptoms of migraine sufferers across Europe and the U.S.  The non-invasive device claims to be free of any side-effects and works by applying neurostimulation to the nerves affected by migraine attacks.  Fay Sharples, 26, from Morecambe in Lancashire, told MailOnline the device has changed her life, easing her debilitating headaches in one day, after five weeks of treatment.  Migraine sufferers are advised to wear the device for 20 minutes every day as a preventative measure or at the start of an attack to help to relieve the symptoms."

'Britain's oldest tree' is discovered in a Welsh churchyard - and it's more than FIVE THOUSAND years old:  "A tiny village is believed to be home to Britain’s oldest tree - a yew that first took took root more than 5,000 years ago.  The majestic yew that lives in in a Welsh churchyard was 3,000 years old when Jesus Christ was born, according to tree ageing experts.  Experts have run tests on the tree in the St Cynog’s churchyard at Defynnog near Sennybridge, Powys, including DNA and ring-dating.  There are hundreds of ancient yew trees dating back at least 600 years across Britain, but the 60-foot-wide giant at St Cynog’s is believed to be the most ancient.  'Its DNA has been tested by the Forestry Institute and its ring count is 120 per inch which makes it [more than] 5,000 years old.'  The yew tree is a poisonous species of conifer"

Why chewing gum may be to blame for those recurring headaches: "Leaving his GP with a prescription for antidepressants, Chris Cullen feared he would never feel like himself again. For nearly two years, he'd endured dizziness and headaches, his ears felt permanently clogged, he was also exhausted, and his mood had reached rock bottom.  His GP diagnosed depression. But Chris, a project manager, wasn't depressed. His symptoms had a distinctly physical cause - a problem with his jaw known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD).  However, GPs and dentists don't always recognise the condition, leading to the assumption that it is psychological. Some treatments used to treat jaw pain - such as tooth extraction - can make it worse.  The condition affects one in five people at some point, say the NHS. A common cause is over-worked, inflamed muscles and ligaments around the jaw from chewing gum, or grinding teeth - often at night."

Fancy a black burger bun, seaweed with your fries or even a McCurry? McDonald's meals abroad:  "For unadventurous tourists abroad, a trip to Maccy D’s is usually the safe option if you don’t want to sample the local cuisine.  But don’t be fooled into thinking that McDonald's abroad is going to be exactly the same as it is back home; in fact different countries have their own additions to the menu, designed to appeal to local tastes.  China, Taiwan and Hong Kong take the the Ying-Yang vibe to food with one burger that comes in a black bun and another that comes in a white bun.  The black burger contains a beef patty topped with onion and black pepper sauce, while the white burger has a chicken burger topped with spicy sauce and lettuce."

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

7 July, 1950

Start 'em young




Odd news from around the world

Good colleagues 'beat high pay':  "Getting on with colleagues is more important to workers than a big salary, a new study has revealed.  A detailed study of work attitudes found that many factors outweigh the pay cheque, such as relationships with colleagues, self-worth, and the nature of the job itself.  Eight in ten of the 2,000 people polled said they would turn down a big salary increase if it meant working with people or in an environment they didn’t like.  The results showed people are the most important factor in work happiness, along with enjoying the role and getting on with the boss.  And a manageable commute was also deemed more important than good pay, according to the study by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT).  Chief Executive Mark Farrar said: 'The results show that, when it comes to working happiness, money is far from the driving factor for most of us.'"

Britney Spears' music used by British navy to scare off Somali pirates:  "In an excellent case of "here's a sentence you won't read every day", Britney Spears has emerged as an unlikely figurehead in the fight against Somali pirates.  According to reports, Britney's hits, including Oops! I Did It Again and Baby One More Time, are being employed by British naval officers in an attempt to scare off pirates along the east coast of Africa. Perhaps nothing else – not guns, not harpoons – is quite as intimidating as the sound of Ms Spears singing "Ooh baby baby!"  Merchant naval officer Rachel Owens explained the tactics to Metro: "Her songs were chosen by the security team because they thought the pirates would hate them most. These guys can't stand western culture or music, making Britney's hits perfect. As soon as the pirates get a blast of Britney, they move on as quickly as they can."

Iron Age coins found in a cave.  26 gold and silver pieces that have laid untouched for more than 2,000 years:  "A precious hoard of Roman and Late Iron Age coins has been discovered in a cave where they have lain undisturbed for more than 2,000 years.  The treasure trove was initially unearthed by a member of the public, who stumbled across four coins in the cavern in Dovedale in the Peak District, sparking a full-scale excavation of the site.  Experts say the find is highly unusual as it is the first time coins from these two separate civilisations have been buried together.  And the setting itself adds to the mystery surrounding the discovery, as while Roman coins have often been found in fields, this is understood to be the first time they have been unearthed in a cave.  Archaeologists discovered 26 coins, including three Roman coins which pre-date the invasion of Britain in AD43, and 20 other gold and silver pieces"

The benefits of beer:  "Research suggests it can help protect against Alzheimer’s disease, aid weight loss and even balance hormones – and now it’s attracting more and more health-conscious men and women.  ‘If you analysed beer you would  be amazed at how many super-nutrients there are in it,’ says Dr Stephan Domenig, medical director of The Original F.X. Mayr Health Centre in Austria. ‘Beer contains  all of the essential – and many of the non-essential – amino acids.’   As well as these protein-building blocks and minerals including phosphorus, iodine, magnesium and potassium, beer is rich in calcium  so could benefit your bones.  A study by Tufts University in the United States in 2009 found that moderate beer consumption can protect bone mineral density.  For years Guinness was even prescribed to pregnant women due to its high Vitamin B content. ‘It’s  now recommended that pregnant women avoid alcohol but other  people could benefit,’ says nutritionist Vicki Edgson.

Snails can see colour –  They particularly like red:  "A sixth form student has won a prestigious award for her scientific breakthrough which proved snails can see in colour.  Her study involved placing snails in 'choice chambers' into which coloured lights were shone and their movements were recorded.  Just over 50 per cent moved towards red - suggesting snails do respond to colour.  Her research has challenged the traditional assumption that snails' eyes are too primitive to differentiate between colours.  Carly's 2,000-word study - titled 'Can the common garden snail see in colour?' - was praised by the judges as thoroughly researched and well argued."

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

6 July, 1950

Errr... Yes




Odd news from around the world

Is this the worst getaway driver ever?:  "This is the astonishing moment a bungling thief used his car as a battering ram to smash down a parking meter before struggling to lift the heavy machine in to the vehicle.  Wesley Bristow, of Oldswinford, West Midlands, is then seen driving off with sparks flying underneath his Peugeot which is scraping the ground because of the weight of his stolen haul.  The 25-year-old thief and another unidentified man were completely unaware they were being watched on CCTV cameras as they targeted the dispenser in an Asda car park in February this year.  Along with his accomplice, he finally uproots the machine and the pair then struggle to fit it in to the back seat of his Peugeot.  The father-of-four then speeds off in his car just as police - who had been alerted by security staff watching the CCTV cameras - arrive at the scene.  Bristow led officers on a mile-long pursuit at speeds of up to 55mph before he lost control of the car, demolished a bollard and crashed into a wall."

Tough Vicar choked thief by the throat:  "A brave vicar grabbed a thug by the throat after he demanded money on his vicarage doorstep.  Reverend Simon Treloar, 53, grabbed attacker Jason Haynes, 32, by the throat after the criminal, who had been released from prison just that day, tried to force his way in.  The Dean of St Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Wrexham, North Wales, kept Haynes at arms length and forced him out of his house before calling the police.  The attempted theft comes almost a year after Father Treloar thwarted an attempt to smash a bottle into his face.  Neither incident has dampened his community spirit. Reverend Treloar said: 'I am happy to keep serving the community in Wrexham for as long as my bishop wants me to.  And Reverend Treloar refuses to live in fear of further attacks, saying: 'I can't stop living just because of a couple of idiots.'  The dean's bravery came to light at Mold Crown Court after Haynes was jailed for a year for assault and breaching his ASBO.

Historic tennis dress sells for £15,500: "The white dress that featured in the iconic Tennis Girl poster of the 1970s sold at auction yesterday for £15,500. The handmade dress with lace trim was being worn by 18-year-old Fiona Butler when the image was captured by her then-boyfriend, Martin Elliott, on the University of Birmingham tennis courts in 1976.  Fieldings Auctioneers, which offered the dress as a part of a lot that included the tennis racquet from the image and two copies of the poster, confirmed it had smashed its £2,000 estimate at the auction in Stourbridge in the West Midlands.  Commercial photographer Mr Elliott, who died in 2010, sold the image licence and the photo was reprinted in the 1977 Athena poster, which sold more than two million copies. The dress was made by Ms Butler’s friend Carol Knotts, who said: ‘I’ve had it tucked away in a cupboard for all those years."

A computerized cook?  "IBM has set a culinary challenge for its multimillion-dollar supercomputer Watson, which has been programmed to tantalize taste buds.  A joint initiative between the tech company and food magazine Bon Appetit is trying to come up with new recipes by blending data on ingredients.  The kitchen is new territory for Watson which so far has been used to win at Jeopardy and to work on a cure for cancer.  New combinations are then created by Watson, which analyzes data on the compounds in ingredients, and how frequently they are combined in different dishes.  Tests so far have come up with some unusual, but delicious options such as a Bengali butternut BBQ sauce. Watson, which according to CNN cost IBM an estimated $900 million to develop, came up with the unusual combination after being asked to create an Indian sauce using butternut.   The combinations have excited and surprised the Bon Appetit team, who were curious about what creations Watson would deliver."

The five most bizarre items passengers have tried to smuggle on planes:  "A turtle in a hamburger, tadpoles inside the mouth and a corpse all rank among the top five weirdest items passengers have tried to smuggle on to planes.  The bizarre list, compiled by Jetcost, also reveals a man attempted to board a plane in Miami for Brazil with bags full of exotic snakes – and reptiles in his pants.  Scooping first place on the list is a man identified as Mr Li who tried to board a flight to Beijing from China's Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in 2013.  Security workers noticed ‘strange bulges’ in his luggage as it passed through X-ray machines. Upon finding a turtle hidden in a burger, Mr Li told them: ‘This is not a turtle, but just a hamburger.  ‘There is nothing to see.’  Second place goes to American father who attempted to smuggle weapons and ammunition in his son’s stuffed toys – including a Mickey Mouse bear.  But, after speaking to the man, he and his four-year-old son were allowed to fly to Detroit as it was deemed he posed no threat."

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

5 July, 1950

3 uniformed Russian police officers on duty -- in Yekaterinberg




Odd news from around the world

Strange definition of summer:  "For families seeking a cheap break abroad, British Airways’ offer ‘to summer in Europe’ from £39 one way seemed a real bargain.  Until, that is, you read the small print which revealed that BA’s definition of ‘summer’ ran from September to December.  Even then, the autumn half-term school holiday period is specifically excluded. And it’s for ‘hand-baggage’ passengers only.BA has now apologised for the adverts and pledged not to run them again... close investigation of the small print at the bottom reveals that the £39 ‘summer’ deals are limited to flights to Barcelona, Amsterdam, Nice and Malaga from September 8 to December 14.  Bob Atkinson of said: ‘It would appear BA are creating a new definition of the word summer.’  A BA spokesman said: ‘We are sorry if some customers may have felt misled.'"

Cow doesn't like the music:  "If the crowd doesn't like an act on stage, they may start heckling or simply walk out.  But this cow seemed to take its hatred of the band one step further - by trashing the stage.  The unnamed group were forced to cut their set at a Brazilian music festival short when the angry animal charged at the stage and trampled on their equipment.   The group were in the middle of a song when the frontman suddenly noticed the animal running at them.  They quickly leaped from the cow's path and took cover as it began its rampage through the marquee, knocking over microphones and a drum kit.  Audience members were also forced to flee following the rampage, but no one is thought to have been hurt.  It then runs off into the field behind, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake."

Atheist forced to spend 18 days in a psychiatric ward after his Nigerian Muslim family declared him insane for not believing in God:  "A Nigerian man was detained on a psychiatric ward for 18 days because he did not believe in God, a humanist charity has said.  Mubarak Bala said he was detained and medicated at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, in Kano state, northern Nigeria, by his Muslim family after speaking openly about his religious beliefs, the International Humanist and Ethical Union has said. Mr Bala was freed on Tuesday following a strike at the hospital which also saw a number of other patients discharged, the charity said in a statement this week.  The IHEU, along with other activists who had been pushing for his release, agreed not to issue the news of his release until he was in a safe location.  The charity said: 'There are still deep concerns for Mubarak's safety in a part of the country where accusations of "apostasy" can be deadly.'"

Flying saucers were U2s:  "The mysterious UFO sightings in Europe around the 1950s have been explained by (yet another) mysterious Tweet from the Central Intelligence Agency.  At the time Norwegians documented what they believed were alien spacecrafts soaring across the sky.  But thanks to one tweet, the CIA have explained exactly what was happening.  'Do you remember the reports of unusual activity in the sky in the 50's? That was us,' the Tweet said.  Attached to the tweet was a government writeup about the sightings, showing that they were actually test flights of U2 reconnaissance planes.  The planes flew above 60,000 feet, which wasn't thought possible at the time, so commercial pilots who saw something so far above them couldn't explain it.  The effect was more pronounced at different times of the day and night, and if the U2 planes caught the rays of the sun, people on the ground were able to see silvery glints of light.

British children forced to attend Hindu faith school with compulsory yoga, meditation and vegetarian lunches because of a shortage of places at state schools:  "A group of Christian and Muslim parents are in revolt after they were told their children would have to attend a Hindu school that bans meat and offers regular meditation and yoga.  A shortage of places in South Woodford, east London, has led to more than 20 children being placed in Avanti Court Primary School.  But 11 sets of parents have declined the places, leaving their children, aged four and five, with nowhere to go this September. Liz Beck, of South Woodford, was 'not comfortable' with the school's 'strict no meat policy' and practice of yoga and meditation, so she turned down her child's place.  She added: 'Culturally it's quite different and even though we don't want to shelter our son we feel it would be difficult for him to be in that environment where it's quite different from what we believe.'"

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

4 July, 1950

Can you meet this challenge?

I've seen this with the letters out of order, but this is the first time I've seen it with numbers. Good example of a Brain Study: If you can read this OUT LOUD you have a strong mind. And better than that: Alzheimer's is a long long, way down the road before it ever gets anywhere near you.

7H15                    M3554G3

53RV35                    7O PR0V3

H0W                    0UR M1ND5 C4N

D0                    4M4Z1NG 7H1NG5!

1MPR3551V3                    7H1NG5!

1N                    7H3 B3G1NN1NG

17                    WA5 H4RD BU7

N0W,                    0N 7H15 LIN3

Y0UR                    M1ND 1S

R34D1NG 17


W17H                    0U7 3V3N

7H1NK1NG                    4B0U7 17,


C3R741N                    P30PL3 C4N

R3AD                    7H15.

PL3453                    F0RW4RD 1F

U                     C4N R34D 7H15.




Odd news from around the world

Hero Starbucks barista: "A young male barista gave a young mother a free coffee after a middle-aged woman complained about her breast feeding in Starbucks.  Julia Wykes was out in Ottawa, Canada when she popped into the multi-national coffee shop for a break. When her five-month old son started whinging, she fed him at the counter.  As the temperature was 39c, Ms Wykes said she had no intention of covering her young son while feeding him. 'I am not going to suffocate my child to save you from the potential glimpse of side-boob.' This morning I was nursing my son in Starbucks and a woman very loudly complained (so she knew I could hear) to the baristas that they should get me to stop doing that in public as it was disgusting. 'The barista smiled at her and said he would handle it. I was gearing up for a fight, but he came over with a free drink for me and said loudly "And here's a voucher for a free drink next time you're in here, I am so sorry that you had to deal with such unpleasantness today." Coming from an at most 19- year-old guy!'"

Shocking moment Chinese supermarket worker stops child urinating in the aisles, only to have a heart attack when furious mother shouts at her for 30 minutes:  "A supermarket shelf stacker who tried to stop a child urinating in the aisles had a heart attack when his mother reacted with a 30-minute tirade of abuse.   Ling Chen, 45, ran over after she spotted the boy dropping his pants and preparing to pee on a fruit display at the supermarket in Liaoning Province, north-west China.  But the boy's mother, who apparently thought it okay for him to relieve himself on things that others might eventually eat, flew into a rage at Ms Chen's intervention.  She reportedly shouted: 'How dare you, children need to be able to relieve themselves wherever they want. Everyone knows that they can't hold it in and it's unhealthy.'  When Ms Chen's colleagues came over and tried to calm the woman down she became even more enraged, continuing to scream and shout even when the manager turned up.  She only stopped when Ms Chen collapsed clutching her chest and was rushed to hospital with a suspected heart attack. 'The woman's husband who stood quietly behind her saying nothing during the incident left with his wife and son after the ambulance arrived."

Hapless dog tries and fails to get a statue to play fetch:  "The hilarious moment a dog mistook a statue of the World War II codebreaker Alan Turing for a real person has been caught on camera.  Robbie the border collie is seen by the bronze memorial in Sackville Park in Manchester, England, running back and forth and whimpering in confusion.  When he doesn't get any reaction from his new playmate, the canine then picks up a stick and tries to place it in the statue's hand. He also paws at the feet of the sculpture.  Robbie's owner, Jamie Goodwin, is heard chuckling in the background as he stands filming. 'Oh, I've got to save him,' he says towards the end of the clip, as Robbie throws a forlorn look at the camera.  Mr Goodwin, who adopted Robbie from an animal shelter more than four years ago, says the pet loves playing catch.  He continued: 'I love him to bits but once you throw the stick for him he will NOT leave you alone!  'He runs up to random strangers in the street with a stick - not a care in the world."

Burger King debuts Gay Pride Whopper:  "Behind the counter at a Burger King in the heart of San Francisco is a rainbow-colored menu board advertising a product that the fast-food behemoth has never sold before and isn’t selling anywhere else: The Proud Whopper. When customers visiting during Sunday’s pride parade asked cashiers what made this Whopper different from a standard-issue burger, they simply said, 'I don’t know.' The mystery was revealed once diners opened the rainbow-colored wrapper and got a taste: absolutely nothing is different about this burger, nothing at all. To emphasize the point, the interior of the wrapper comes with a second message: 'We Are All the Same Inside.'"

There's a new 'Human Barbie' in town:  "Alina Kovalevskaya, 21, is a walking, talking doll who is on the hunt for her 'real-life Ken'.  The doll-like beauty has made a splash online, with her YouTube videos attracting hundreds of thousands of views.  She has a devoted band of followers on Russian social network VK, and is frequently bombarded with autograph requests, declarations of love and even marriage proposals - but says that she is still looking for her perfect man.  The 21-year-old is is from Odessa in the Ukraine - the same city as real-life Barbie Valeria.  The pair were previously friends, but their relationship has since soured. Alina claims her resemblance is more natural than Valeria's  because of her big eyes, small nose and small, plump lips

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

3 July, 1950

A good news  post

The train dispatcher who defines what it means to be a gentleman

“A gentleman is one who puts more into the world than he takes out.” George Bernard Shaw

Very early on the morning of October 7, 2013, James Allen walked along Platform Three of St. Albans train station. For most of the commuters waiting, the day was not looking promising: it was Monday, it was cold, the sky was grey, and it was beginning to rain. Smiling graciously, he lifted his speaker and in a soft and quintessentially English voice, said:

“Hello, my name is James. It is lovely to see you all here this morning. I understand that Monday mornings are a difficult time for you all, but can I just say how happy I am to see you today. I truly mean that. I wouldn’t do this job if it wasn’t for all of you.”

Various nameless faces grinned at one another and after a few seconds some began to clap; soon most of the platform joined in.

Ever since that morning I like to stand and listen to James before I head to work. Sometimes I get a slower train into central London so I can watch him for a while. After a few minutes I normally get to thinking about my old grandfather and something he used to say: “Manners maketh the man,” he’d tell me in his gentlemanly manner, before adding: “manners don’t cost you anything.”

I often take out my notebook and record what James says. He always open with: “Hello my name is James. I just want to say how lovely it is to see you all here today”. Sometimes he goes on to say: “I am terribly sorry to announce the next train is running a minute late. It jolly well matters and I'm not going to be complacent about it”. Other times, he will say: “I tell you this today because I care. You are all very important to me”. After these announcements he often gets a round of applause and many thank him for brightening their day.

In person, he is endearing and effortlessly charming. His face is round and clean-shaven and he has a gentle smile. His hair is short and mousy coloured, with a grey patch on the left side, and when he works he wears a train driver's hat. At the end of his nose hang a pair of small round frame glasses, which allow his watchful, green eyes to peer over.

James was born in Reading in 1961, the son of a distinguished Geology professor. He believes that being a gentleman is about being kind to people. This is what he strives for on a daily basis in his job.

“One of the things life has taught me is that we have to be noble in what we do,” he says. “I have no religion, and I don’t want it, but intellectually, we have to try and strive for the best and the best means looking after the people around us.”

Before becoming a station announcer, James worked as a butler for a Private Members Club in Inverness, Scotland. It was here that he honed his sense of gentlemanly service.

“Being a butler is about getting there first every time. If somebody said ‘James may I have a whisky’ that was failure; words from a customer were failure. My job was to anticipate, so I would have whisky ready for people if I knew that is what they liked. And I would watch their glasses, and as soon as they started to empty, I would refill them.”

He worked as butler for fifteen years but left when new management came in. “They wanted to do things their own way,” he says. “I failed to change. I wanted to stay with the old. It is a very classic conundrum.” Afterwards, James looked after people with learning difficulties for three years, before joining First Capital connect as a station announcer and train dispatcher 14 months ago.

“I regard it as a privilege to be a railwayman,” says James, who brings a butler's mentality to St. Albans's platforms. “I look at the weather forecast before my shift; if it is raining I give people umbrellas from lost property. And whenever I’ve got them, as trains come or depart, I’ll say ‘I’ve got a big pile of brollies, help yourself.’ It is touches like that that really matter.”

However, there was a period when being kind and noble wasn’t so easy for James.

“I can assure you I am a profound failure in life,” he says softly. “I spent much of my life as an alcoholic. But I haven’t had a drink for 15 years. The hard knocks have taught me that you have to strive to lead a good life. I can’t emphasise that enough. It’s so important. My life is meaningless if I am not being nice to the people around me. Now I am well aware that human nature is thoroughly flawed. Mine in particular. But that’s not the point; the point is I have to be happy being me.

“Being a butler allowed me to put on a mask. It allowed me to hide the real me. It suited me very well because I could pretend to be a very stiff and reserved English butler.”

When discussing alcohol addiction, James becomes reflective, even philosophical.

“I drank because of life experience,” he says. “We do try and learn, don’t we? But we all learn very badly and slowly. And most of us probably don’t learn that much, but we do try." Evoking Socrates, he adds: “Real wisdom is knowing that we don’t know anything.

“Life teaches us a sort of wisdom, if we are willing to listen. Most of the time we are not willing, really. I mean we look at the people around us and think they have settled lives and they look calm and wise. But inside people are always different.

“There is an interesting line in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, which I am great fan of. It correctly points out that the very last thing that human beings need is a genuine sense of perspective because we will see how minuscule we all are.”

Does his gentlemanly approach to people stem from this awareness of human insignificance?”

“Absolutely, it gives my minuscule life just a little bit of meaning, and I think that’s worth hanging on to. We are all going to turn to dust and our vanity is so often just in vain, but being kind is actually one of the things that has a little bit of meaning, isn’t it? Being nice to the people around you. That is one of the things that is really worth fighting for. Everything else is vanity.”

“What does being noble and gentlemanly in your job mean to you, James?”

“Just to go home at the end of the day happy,” he says softly, smiling. “That’s all. What is the point in going home with a knot in my tummy? Is there any basis for being alive if you live like that? It’s so easy to do a good job, and so hard to a bad job, isn’t it? If I was confrontational with my customers, it’d be jolly hard work, wouldn’t it? I’d go home feeling wretched. What’s the point in that?”

Original story here




Odd news from around the world

The microscopic balls that could dramatically increase the survival rates of soldiers in bomb blasts and car crash victims:  "A radical new type of artificial platelet that can help blood clots form quickly after gunshot would or other major traumas has been revealed.  The nanoparticles can be injected by doctors, and researchers say early tests have shown a 'dramatic' increase in survival in mice.  They also claim the technique shows no side effects.  The particles are made from short polymer chains already approved for other uses by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  In preclinical tests led by a Case Western Reserve University researcher, the artificial platelets, called 'hemostatic nanoparticles,' when injected after blast trauma dramatically increased survival rates and showed no signs of interfering with healing or causing other complications weeks afterward.  Other researchers had raised concerns that the foreign matter would interfere with healing, or form free-floating clots, but 'we saw none of that.'"

Fishing village menaced by seagulls that won't stop pecking on kitchen windows until they're fed:  "Families in a pretty fishing village are under siege from menacing seagulls that are bashing at their windows and scaring them into feeding them - in scenes reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.  The scavengers crack their beaks against the windows of homes while families are inside eating, and have become a constant menace in the seaside community of Mevagissey, Cornwall.  The brazen birds have become so bold that they snatch snacks from people’s hands and tear open refuse sacks, leaving streets strewn with rubbish.  Andy House, who runs Buckingham House Bed and Breakfast, said: 'We have a real problem with them in the village - they’re an absolute menace.  They smack their beaks against the patio doors which makes an extremely loud noise.  'The power they generate is unbelievable - it’s much louder than a human knock. It sounds as if they’re going to break the glass.'

Is this the happiest hound on the internet? :  "A dog in Japan has taken the internet by storm after being labelled the happiest hound on the internet.  Pictured happily smiling as he goes about his day-to-day business, perky pooch Maru, has gathered an army of online followers, all eager to catch up with his latest antics.   Owned by Japanese dog enthusiast Shinjiro Ono from Tokyo, Japan, the contented pooch is regularly snapped and filmed looking effortlessly cute - much to the admiration of his adoring fans.  Whether he's walking, eating, playing or even sleeping, the Shiba-Inu dog just can't seem to stop grinning and has now has a whopping 800,000 followers on picture sharing social media site Instagram.  Not only that, Maru also has his very own YouTube channel where viewers are able to see him playing with his toys, digging on the beach and napping at home."

'Miracle in a jar': Is £60 manuka honey just a big pot of hype?:  "Many swear by its healing qualities, health gurus prescribe it for everything from bad skin to stomach ulcers and now crooks are counterfeiting it for huge profits.  Manuka honey has acquired a quasi-magical reputation as a natural cure for an amazing variety of ailments.  Forget the £1.79 you might pay for some runny honey to spread on your toast in the morning, pots of this panacea can sell for up to £60 for a 500g jar.  It has been nicknamed ‘liquid gold’ — and so it has proved for unscrupulous sellers, who package ordinary honeys as ‘manuka’ and sell them for £30 a jar. Practically all natural honey contains a chemical called glucose oxidase, which helps to produce hydrogen peroxide — a bleaching agent that can kill bacteria, including the antibiotic-resistant hospital superbug MRSA.  Professor Molan claimed that manuka honey is especially potent, as it seems to have additional bacteria-killing powers beyond other honeys."

Plants can ‘hear’ themselves being eaten - and become defensive when attacked:  "The researchers at the University of Missouri (MU) found that plants can identify sounds nearby, such as the sound of eating, and then react to the threats in their environment.  Super-sensitive microphones picked up a 'bubbling' sound from a healthy plant.  But this rose to a piercing screech when it was under threat.  Even a tiny insect bite could have an effect.  'The more a plant is subjected to stress, the louder the signal,' said Dr Frank Kühnemann.  Plants do not actually scream in pain. But different sounds are heard when the gas they emit, ethylene, is bombarded with lasers.  The research could help to work out which pieces of fruit and vegetables are likely to stay fresh longer, as a cucumber which is starting to go off produces a squealing sound.  It could then be separated from the fresher ones."

Colony of ants help scientists develop new strains of antibiotics:  "British scientists at the University of East Anglia say the leafcutter ants could save countless lives thanks to a natural antibiotic they produce.  The pioneering research by the School of Biological Studies centres on a particular type of fungus the ants eat, and how the ants’ natural resistance protects it.  Dr Hutchings said: 'Leafcutter ants from South and Central America evolved antibiotic use 50million years ago.  'They love to eat a particular kind of fungus, which the worker ants protect using natural antibiotics produced by bacteria on their bodies. 'The worker ants climb over the fungus and sniff it, and any fungus, which we call weeds, that aren’t the food they eat they take over to a completely different area and sterilise.  'They rub more than one antibiotic - they produce several - onto the weeds using their chest plates which excrete it, and then bury it. This means the fungus they eat can thrive.'"

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

2 July, 1950

Football controversy

As you are probably aware, the Washington Redskins football team has been getting a lot of flack, even in Congress for their use of the name and mascot of REDSKIN. Well, yielding to constant pressure, they decided to do something about the adverse publicity and came up with the following news bulletin.




Odd news from around the world

Good looks signify good health:  "Attractive people are less likely to get tinnitus — and asthma, diabetes, and high blood pressure, according to new research.  The more physically attractive men and women are rated, the more unlikely they are to suffer from a wide range of health problems, from high cholesterol to depression.  They also feel healthier, have less time off work and are diagnosed with fewer physical and mental health conditions during their lifetime.  These extraordinary findings by U.S. researchers are based on a study of 15,000 men and women aged 24 to 35 who have been followed since they were ten. The new research is based on interviews with a nationally representative sample of the U.S. population.  And, unlike earlier studies, this is based on the researchers’ ratings of the participants’ physical attractiveness done face-to-face, rather than assessments based on pictures, drawings or videos."

Deadly island:  "Fancy a trip to an island swarming with 4,000 of the world’s deadliest snakes that pluck birds out of the sky and kill them with a venom that can melt human flesh?  That’s what awaits you if you travel to Ilha de Queimada Grande 20 miles (32 km) off the coast of Sao Paolo, Brazil, which is home to the golden lancehead viper.  In fact, the island is deemed so dangerous that visiting it was been banned by the Brazilian government - although not before numerous people foolishly ventured there in the past.  Ilha de Queimada Grande, understandably nicknamed ‘Snake Island’, is a piece of land 4,630 square feet (430 square metres) in size.  Ilha de Queimada Granda is the only place in the world where Bothrops insularis, also known as the golden lancehead viper, can be found.  The species has a light yellowish brown colour on its underside.  It grows to an average length of 28 inches (70 centimetres) but can reach a maximum of 46 inches (118 centimetres).  The island is devoid of almost any human visitors, save for a few scientists granted permission to study the snakes each year, reports the Smithsonian."

Meet the petite 17-year-old schoolgirl who can fight men who are TWICE her size and age:  "When Lucy Garland first told her parents she wanted try out wrestling, they didn't think she was serious.  But now the petite blonde, at only 5ft 5ins tall, takes on men in the ring who are more than twice her age and size.  The 17-year-old started training at the Ultimate British Wrestling (UBW) club in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, just one year ago but has already progressed to a competitive level.  Lucy, who has gained a reputation for her high-energy moves, will take on her 37-year-old trainer, Paul Ashe, in the ring during her first live match later this month (July 19).  With her long blonde curly hair, small frame and studying production art and costume design at Btec level, Lucy is not your typical wrestler.  Although Lucy has only been training for a year, her interest spans back over eight years, when she first became engrossed in the subject after watching a wrestling match on TV at the age of nine."

Huntress criticized:  "Global animal lovers are up in arms over a teenage Texas girl's love of killing big African game, so much so that they're even demanding she be banned from posting pictures of herself smiling alongside her trophies online.  Nineteen-year-old Kendall Jones claims photos of dead hippos, elephants, lions and other beasts on Facebook are a testament to her hunting skills and dedication to game preservation. But critics are appalled by the teen's beaming social media and are calling Kendall sick and depraved for killing the rare animals and boasting about it online. An online petition to force Kendall to remove her page because it promotes animal cruelty had gained over 40,000 signatures in just a week.  Jones, whose Facebook indicates she 'is looking to host a TV show in January 2015,' maintains she is doing what's best for the preserves, where there isn't always space for even threatened species like elephants or lions.  'Controlling the male lion population is important within large fenced areas like these,' Jones writes"

Woman batters burglar:  "Professor Brian Cox may be renowned for solving problems with his mind. His wife, it seems, prefers to use her fists.  The spouse of the sky-gazing TV  physicist has revealed she fought off a burglar who broke into their house at night – and left him seeing stars.  In a dramatic showdown, Gia Milinovich used skills she learned in boxing self-defence lessons to punch the intruder so hard in the face he ran away.  The 44-year-old American gave him a right hook fearing she was in a ‘life or death’  situation with someone who may have been armed or might rape her.  Police officers who rushed to the scene later congratulated her on her bravery. They caught the man using CCTV cameras and he was later jailed for eight weeks.  Miss Milinovich said she has taken boxing lessons for the past three years, which had taught her to approach self-defence with a ‘kill or be killed attitude’. So rather than run away or wait to see if the intruder would attack her, she immediately rushed at him."

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

1 July, 1950

All you need

Vacation camping in the '50s




Odd news from around the world

A very neat crash:  "A driver lost control of his car and ploughed straight through the side of a house and into a living room, without leaving a single piece of debris on the road. The driver and all three passengers, as well as the homeowner and her daughter, had to be taken to hospital following the incident in the market town of Louth, Lincolnshire.  Pictures taken at the scene show the red Seat Leon's front end embedded in the side of the £120,000 detached house.  The seriously injured 43-year-old owner of the property had to be airlifted to hospital with broken bones and internal injuries, where she is expected to remain 'for some weeks'.  A neighbour living near to the property today said: 'I thought it was an optical illusion at the time - the car had gone straight through the wall but not a brick looked out of place.  'I am amazed that nobody was killed. It must have been going at some speed to go straight through the wall like that.'"

At just FIVE INCHES tall, Pixel could be the world's shortest cat:  "This tiny feline could be about to enter the record books as the world's shortest cat.  Tiffani Kjeldergaard from Potrero, California, is confident that her cat Pixel is no more than five inches tall, although she's yet to get official confirmation from Guinness.  If it is verified, then Pixel snatch the title of shortest adult cat to have ever lived, from Cye, a 5.35in tall Napoleon Munchkin cat from Canada.  The average house cat is nine to ten inches tall.  She said: 'Even people that aren't cat people go crazy for them. They say about how cute they are and how they want to take them straight home with them.'  A relatively new breed which was only recognised by The International Cat Association in 1995, Munchkin cats are characterised by their short legs, which are caused by a naturally occurring genetic mutation.

Grandfather still uses 78-year-old Hoover which has never been repaired:  "A grandfather is still cleaning his house with an almost 80-year-old Hoover - built the same year Edward VIII abdicated and just four years younger than himself.  Bernard Storey, 82, regularly vacuum cleans his carpets with the Hoover 825, which rolled off  production lines in 1936 - the same year as the Summer Olympics in Berlin.  The ahead-of-it's time machine would have cost around £25 when it was new - the equivalent of around £1,200 to £1,500 in today’s money - and previously belonged to Mr Storey's mother Emma, who was given it by the lady she used to clean for.  He rediscovered the ancient machine when he was cleaning out his workshop and was stunned to discover it still worked. The upright silver and grey model was quite advanced for its day and boasts an adjustable handle with three positions, two speeds - with a lower setting for cleaning flexible, small lightweight rugs - as well as a light and a hose with attachments. The machine would have cost around £25 when it was new - the equivalent of around £1,200 to £1,500 in today's money."

Himalayan village's colourful Buddhist festival:  "A quiet Himalayan mountain village springs to life for a colourful Buddhist festival designed to expel evil spirits and bring happiness.  The annual Torgya Festival in Tawang, in north-eastern India, is full of colourful dancing, music and theatre.  The three day festival is held in the courtyard of the Tawang monastery, which is nestled on top of the hill overlooking the town.  Guests at the festival, which took place on January 29th, 30th and 31st, gather in the main square of the monastery wearing their finest clothes.  Monks dressed in colourful robes and traditional Buddhist masks carry out performances that involve chanting, dancing and acting.  'The whole festival attracts people from many miles around.  'Some people will walk for many days to get there and come from as far away as Tibet and Bhutan."

Amazing sand art:  "Forget those holiday sandcastles you spend hours building, you're never likely to match these works of art, created by British globetrotter Paul Hoggard and his Dutch wife Remy. The sand artists have toured the world - from China, to Kuwait and Denmark - creating their massive monuments, which display surprisingly intricate detail.  Their most impressive figures include a mass elephant graveyard - complete with skulls and tusks - and the Biblical battle between David and Goliath.  The talented couple travel the globe making their impressive constructions for festivals, competitions and advertising campaigns.  Paul, originally from Beverly, Yorkshire, said: 'We love our work - we get to create huge sculptures out of sand and water together, travel, meet new people and experience other cultures.  Paul, 49, and Remy, 43, have been sculpting since 1991 and 1999 respectively and both compete in solo and doubles competitions together.  The pair, who now split their time between Holland and Bulgaria, only use wet sand and - in extreme circumstances - wooden frames to complete their creations.

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

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