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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.

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


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