Saturday, June 30, 2007

Nobody Can Explain The Mystery Of The Night-Shining Clouds

They street term is "night-shining" clouds. And it's far more poetic than the scientific term, "noctilucent", for one of the world's greatest, and most beautiful mysteries.

So far, there is no peer-reviewed, or even unanimous, explanation for why high-floating clouds are glowing spectacularly at night, usually coming from out of the Arctic.

There's a few theories - volcanic ash, ice crystals sandwiched between layers of atmosphere, space dust.

But when in doubt of an explanation that makes sense, you can always try this one : climate change.

From Live Science :

The clouds are on the move, brightening and creeping out of polar regions, and researchers don't know why.

"It is clear that these clouds are changing, a sign that a part of our atmosphere is changing and we do not understand how, why or what it means," said atmospheric scientists James Russell III of Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia.

"These observations suggest a connection with global change in the lower atmosphere and could represent an early warning that our Earth environment is being changed."

The clouds form 50 miles above the Earth’s surface, in an upper layer of the atmosphere called the mesosphere. The puffs of water vapor and crystals appear during summer months above the Northern Hemisphere's pole as well the Southern Hemisphere’s pole in summer.
The mysterious clouds aren't new. They were first recorded back in 1885, but weirdly, they are now on the move, spreading further across the planet, through the upper atmosphere, as the decades pass.

Night-shining clouds were observed, and photographed, from the International Space Station back in 2003. Astronauts described them vividly, as visions of immense beauty :
They hover on the edge of space. Thin, wispy clouds, glowing electric blue.

Some scientists think they're seeded by space dust. Others suspect they're a telltale sign of global warming.

A century ago the clouds were confined to latitudes above 50 degrees; you had to go to places like Scandinavia, Russia and Britain to see them. In recent years they have been sighted as far south as Utah and Colorado.

A view of the night-shining clouds from the International Space Station, back in 2003
Even Man-Beasts Have A Right To Life

Will The Catholic Church Allow A PigMan To Become Pope?

Just because you managed to combine animal and human embryos in your laboratory, late at night, in a castle, with lightning flashing outside, and a hunchbacked ogre providing assistance, doesn't mean you have the right to kill your own mutant creation.

Or so says the Roman Catholic Church.

Bizarrely, some bishops believe that human-animal hybrids, or man-beasts as we like to call them, not only deserve the right to life, they should be allowed the option to be born as human babies are born and raised like normal children.

Haven't these clowns seen The Island Of Dr Moreau? You can't trust a man-beast, particularly not when the animal instincts override the human :
Human-animal hybrid embryos conceived in the laboratory - so-called “chimeras” - should be regarded as human and their mothers should be allowed to give birth to them, the Roman Catholic Church said yesterday.

Under draft Government legislation to be debated by Parliament later this year, scientists will be given permission for the first time to create such embryos for research as long as they destroy them within two weeks.

But the Catholic bishops of England and Wales, in a submission to the Parliamentary joint committee scrutinising the draft legislation, said that the genetic mothers of “chimeras” should be able to raise them as their own children if they wished.

The bishops said that they did not see why these “interspecies” embryos should be treated any differently than others.

The bishops, who believe that life begins at conception, said that they opposed the creation of any embryo solely for research, but they were also anxious to limit the destruction of such life once it had been brought into existence.

In their submission to the committee, they said: “At the very least, embryos with a preponderance of human genes should be assumed to be embryonic human beings, and should be treated accordingly.

“In particular, it should not be a crime to transfer them, or other human embryos, to the body of the woman providing the ovum, in cases where a human ovum has been used to create them.

“Such a woman is the genetic mother, or partial mother, of the embryo; should she have a change of heart and wish to carry her child to term, she should not be prevented from doing so.”
Religious doctrines dating back hundreds, and thousands of years, are going to look increasingly absurd in the coming decades, as new strands of human evolution are created and guided by scientists and researchers.

Chimpanzees share almost the exact amount of genetic material as humans do, and some would argue that chimpanzees show more empathy, humanity and respect than that possessed by many drunken thugs in the high street on a Saturday night.

So does the Catholic Church support the right to life for our closest living mammalian relatives?

And will the Catholic Church stand by its widely-scoped 'right to life' for man-beasts in the decades to come and one day allow a PigMan, or FlounderMan, to become Pope?

Friday, June 29, 2007

Headache Mystery Solved Once Bullet Was Removed From Skull

A man in Florida woke up with a terrible headache. It was so bad he thought he was having an anuerysm. Drive me to the hospital, he told his wife, the pain is killing me.

When doctors took a look at the man's head, were stunned at what they found :

"The nurse looked at him and said, 'It appears that you've been shot,'" the Fort Pierce Tribune quoted St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara as saying. "And he said, 'No way.'"

The wife, April Moylan, fled the emergency room when the bullet was discovered but later told deputies she had accidentally shot her husband as he slept early on Tuesday. She was jailed on a weapons violation charge while deputies pursued additional charges.

The man survived.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

All Hail The Guinea Pig

Ready for the barbecue...

Yeah, it's a rodent. But it's a tasty rodent.

Peru loves guinea pigs so much, Peruvians are now holding an annual celebration in honour of the little 'cuy'. The festival is into its second year, and brass bands took to the streets of the highland town of Churin, last Sunday, to celebrate the furry little meat ball.

But yeah, behind all the, ahhh, pagentry, this is a food festival. And the figure of celebration also happens to be the main course.

From Associated Press :

"Zero cholesterol! Protein for anemia!" Teresa Figeroa shouted from under her woven, flower-lined hat.

For 20 soles ($7), she sold plates of guinea pig fried, grilled, baked - even cuy au vin - with generous helpings of Andean potatoes and large Peruvian corn called choclo.

Foreigners may cringe at seeing the critters served for lunch, looking much like they did in life, face down on a bed of greens. But people came from across Peru to savor the meat and to compete in a cuy cookoff.

There was also a competition for the biggest guinea pig; the winner weighed in at almost 8 pounds of flesh, fat and fur.

That's one big rodent.

Barbecued guinea pig is very good with chili peppers. Apparently.

It's not the cooking of a cute little guinea pig, or the eating of its meat, that makes me shudder. It's the crunching of all those little bones. Brrr...

Optimistic : When Peruvians Tried To Market Guinea Pigs To The American Food Market

It's Not All About The Guinea Pig, Peru Is A Land Of Culinary Riches

An Excellent Selection Of Peruvian Recipes - Cuy Free

Monday, June 25, 2007


Officially, this is 'The World's Ugliest Dog' :
Elwood, a 2-year-old Chinese Crested and Chihuahua mix, was crowned the world's ugliest dog Friday, a distinction that delighted the New Jersey mutt's owners.

Elwood, dark colored and hairless _ save for a mohawk-like puff of white fur on his head _ is often referred to as "Yoda," or "ET," for his resemblance to those famous science fiction characters.

"I think he's the cutest thing that ever lived," said Elwood's owner, Karen Quigley, a resident of Sewell, New Jersey.

World's Ugliest Dog competitions are sure to boom, considering the amount of international publicity and news time that creature captured in the past week.
There's money in it, too :
Beyond the regal title of ugliest dog, Elwood also earned a $1,000 reward for his owner.
Elwood was rescued from a dog shelter. Not suprisingly, the original owner, who sells 'interesting' cross breeds, thought the best was so hideous he wanted it put down.

Let's hope Elwood doesn't start breeding himself.

In the 150 years that people have been traveling the planet, with a camera in tow, there have been millions of strange, unusual and dramatic travel photos taken.

But is the above image the greatest travel photo of all time?

It's got to be in the top ten, minimum.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Even After Being Stabbed Twice, He Couldn't Stop Masturbating

If this story didn't involve the presence of children, it would be funny. But it does, so it's not.

It is, however, provide yet another example of how amphetamines can lead the user to episodes of compulsive masturbation. Even after being warned to stop, and then being stabbed twice, the masturbation marathon continued. Bizarre and disturbing :

Defence lawyers for Kylie Louise Wilson, 28, said the mother of two "lost it" when her friend of six years, Daniel Peter Blair, went on a masturbation marathon on April 6 last year.

Brisbane's District Court this morning heard Mr Blair had showed up at Wilson's unit at Birkdale unit, in Redland Shire, where he took amphetamines before having a shower.

Whilst in the bathroom, Mr Blair, 32, began pleasuring himself, before moving to Wilson's bedroom, where he rolled around naked on her bed and continued his lewd conduct.

He returned to the bathroom for more and was busted by Wilson, who was attempting to bath her three-and-a-half year-old daughter.

The court heard Mr Blair refused her repeated requests to stop, prompting her to fetch a knife from the kitchen which she used to stab him twice in the left shoulder.

Crown prosecutors said Mr Blair paused only to put on his shorts and flee outside to wait for police to arrive, but was again overcome by the urge.

"Despite his injury, it seems (Mr Blair) continued to masturbate while in the garage," the prosecutor said.

Ms Wilson was sentenced to nine months jail, but was immediately released on patrol.

No word on whether or not Mr Blair has sought help for his twin addictions : amphetamines and wanking.
Species Deceases - Tens Of Millions Of Birds In America Disappear Without A Trace

The passenger pigeon, from 5 billion to none in 200 years

This report from the New York Times discusses the massive decline in bird numbers across the past few decades. Tens of millions of birds have just disappeared :

Last week, the Audubon Society released a new report describing the sharp and startling population decline of some of the most familiar and common birds in America: several kinds of sparrows, the Northern bobwhite, the Eastern meadowlark, the common grackle and the common tern. The average decline of the 20 species in the Audubon Society’s report is 68 percent.

Forty years ago, there were an estimated 31 million bobwhites. Now there are 5.5 million. Compared to the hundred-some condors presently in the wild, 5.5 million bobwhites sounds like a lot of birds. But what matters is the 25.5 million missing and the troubles that brought them down — and are all too likely to bring down the rest of them, too. So this is not extinction, but it is how things look before extinction happens.

The word “extinct” somehow brings to mind the birds that seem like special cases to us, the dodo or the great auk or the passenger pigeon. Most people would never have had a chance to see dodos and great auks on their remote islands before they were decimated in the 17th and 19th centuries. What is hard to remember about passenger pigeons isn’t merely their once enormous numbers. It’s the enormous numbers of humans to whom their comings and goings were a common sight and who supposed, erroneously, that such unending clouds of birds were indestructible. We recognize the extraordinary distinctness of the passenger pigeon now because we know its fate, killed off largely by humans. But we have moralized it thoroughly without ever really taking it to heart.

The question is whether we will see the distinctness of the field sparrow — its number is down from 18 million 40 years ago to 5.8 million — only when the last pair is being kept alive in a zoo somewhere. We love to finally care when the death watch is on. It makes us feel so very human.

Why are so many bird species racing towards extinction?

Agriculture has intensified. So has development. Open space has been sharply reduced. We have simply pursued our livelihoods. We knew it was inimical to wolves and mountain lions. But we somehow trusted that all the innocent little birds were here to stay. What they actually need to survive, it turns out, is a landscape that is less intensely human.

In our everyday economic behavior, we seem determined to discover whether we can live alone on earth. E.O. Wilson has argued eloquently and persuasively that we cannot, that who we are depends as much on the richness and diversity of the biological life around us as it does on any inherent quality in our genes. Environmentalists of every stripe argue that we must somehow begin to correlate our economic behavior — by which I mean every aspect of it: production, consumption, habitation — with the welfare of other species.

This is the premise of sustainability. But the very foundation of our economic interests is self-interest, and in the survival of other species we see way too little self to care.

The story of the decimation and extinction of the American passenger pigeon is a shocking story, probably even more so today. From an estimated population of more than 5 billion before Europeans arrived in North America, to none in less than 200 years :

They lived in enormous flocks, and during migration, one could see flocks of them a mile (1.6 km) wide and 300 miles (500 km) long, taking several days to pass and probably containing two billion birds.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Giant Human Skeletons?

The impressive photographs below were forwarded to me, from a reader, via e-mail.

Of course, they are photoshopped hoaxes. But they are extremely impressive hoax photos.

If you know the source of these pics, or the stories that go along with them, drop a line in the comments. I've found nothing of value online about these images, so far.

Stone Age Mickey

An American named Walt Disney didn't invent the iconic big-eared, huge smile face known as Mickey Mouse. It was a French artist, who lived more than 1000 years ago.

Well, Walt Disney did come up with the original design of Mickey Mouse. The brooch shown above was unearthed decades after Mickey appeared on cinema, and TV, screens.

It's a remarkable coincidence, however.

From the Discovery Channel :
One thousand years before the cartoon character Mickey Mouse was even a glint in Walt Disney's eye, a French artist created a bronze brooch that looks remarkably like the famous rodent, according to archaeologists at Sweden's Lund Historical Museum, which houses the recent find.

The object, dated to 900 A..D., was excavated at a site called UppÄkra in southern Sweden.

Although made of bronze, the brooch ornament likely adorned the clothing of an Iron Age woman.

The bronze brooch may remind modern viewers of Mickey Mouse, but archaeologist Jerry Rosengren from Lund University told Discovery News that it actually represents a lion.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

"Look, It's The Face Of God! Can't You See It?"

Ahhh...No, Not Really

Don't stare too hard for too long, you can only see this 'Face Of God' through a camera

See it now? No? Me neither...

The pastor can see it, so can members of his Memphis congregation. It's the face of God, staring back down at them from the ceiling of their church.

Or it's just the way the lights happen to spill across the ceiling that makes it look like a face. If there's even the image of a face to see :

Pastor Reginald Lowery of Miracle Crusade Bible Church Holiness said it all started one Friday night at his church, located near 6th and Looney.

"I was preaching on 'God Knows Where We Are,' and all of a sudden a big bang hit the church," he said.

With that, Lowery said, alarms all over the neighborhood started going off, including those at the church. Then, according to the pastor, something else happened.

"The lights on the inside went to solid gold," he said.

It was then that Lowery's daughter first saw it: The face of God on the church's ceiling. But, there was a can't be seen with the naked eye.

"She took her camera and took a picture," Lowery said. "That's when the image came through."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Public Donates Thousands To Fund Backward-In-Time Experiments

NASA didn't want to know, neither did a special research unit of the Pentagon, but the members of the public want to find out whether or not an American physicist can actually prove that travelling back in time is a reality. And they put their money behind their curiosity, funding the radical research project with more than $35,000 in donations.

A rocket scientist has kicked in money, so has a chemist, an artist, a computer programmer and a Las Vegas music mogul.

Albert Einstein said it was impossible to travel backwards or forwards in time, but he would have stuck to that belief, wouldn't he? For even a particle to make such a journey would have gone against the rules of his greatest claim to fame : the theory of relativity.

But to prove that it is possible to go backwards in time doesn't necessarily mean that Einstein was wrong.

A University of Washington scientist believes it might just be possible for "light particles to act in reverse time". It's not a completely radical idea, quantum physics, and scientific observations, have already shown it is possible.

From the Seattle Post Intelligencer :

Cramer, a physicist, for decades has been interested in resolving a fundamental paradox of quantum mechanics, the theory that accounts for the behavior of matter and energy at subatomic levels. It's called the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox.

It was set up by Albert Einstein (and two other guys named Rosen and Podolsky) in the 1930s to try to prove the absurdity of quantum theory. Einstein didn't like quantum theory, especially one aspect of it he ridiculed as "spooky action at a distance" because it seemed to require subatomic particles interacting faster than the speed of light.

However, experimental evidence has continued to pile up demonstrating the spooky action. Two subatomic particles split from a single particle do somehow instantaneously communicate no matter how far apart they get in space and time. The phenomenon is described as "entanglement" and "non-local communication."

For example, one high-energy photon split by a prism into two lower-energy photons could travel into space and separate by many light years. If one of the photons is somehow forced up, the other photon -- even if impossibly distant -- will instantly tilt down to compensate and balance out both trajectories.

As the evidence for this has accumulated, several fairly contorted and unsatisfying efforts have been aimed at solving the puzzle. Cramer has proposed an explanation that doesn't violate the speed of light but does kind of mess with the traditional concept of time.

"It could involve signaling, or communication, in reverse time," he said.

He has proposed a relatively simple bench-top experiment using lasers, prisms, splitters, fiber-optic cables and other gizmos to first see if he can detect "non-local" signaling between entangled photons. He hopes to get it going in July. If this succeeds, he hopes to get support from "traditional funding sources" to really scale up and test for photons communicating in reverse time.

"I'm not crazy," he confirmed. "I don't know if this experiment will work, but I can't see why it won't. People are skeptical about this, but I think we can learn something, even if it fails."

Cramer said it's possible that the primary goal of his experiment could fail and yet still produce something of value. Some new subtlety about the nature of entanglement could be revealed, he said, even if the photons don't engage in measurable non-local communication. The "disentanglement" itself, he said, could be quite revealing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

And You Thought Your Neighbourhood Was Crowded...

Photographer Michael Wolf has a collection of mind-boggling images of incredibly overcrowded apartment blocks and apartment tower complexes in Hong Kong.

Go Here To View More Of Wolf's Photograph From Hong Kong

(tip 'o the hat to Dark Roasted Blend)
Behold The Dubai 'Lighthouse'

Green Tower To Chew Less Power

There has been an exciting, inspiring explosion of creativity in 'green' architecture in the past few years. But this 'Lighthouse' tower planned for Dubai is easily the most extraordinary design we've come across, so far.

The top third of the building is filled with huge wind turbines.

Here's some detail on 'The Lighthouse' from the developers :
...the 400-metre luxury office tower aspires to be a low carbon commercial building which aims to reduce its total energy consumption by up to 65% and water consumption by up to 40%. This will be achieved through the use of passive solar architecture, many low energy, low water engineering solutions, recovery strategies for both energy and water and building integrated renewables – including large scale wind turbines and photovoltaics.

During the development of the design Atkins will map and manage the embodied energy content of the building and select materials from sustainable sources, so that impact on global resources is controlled. Already this is leading designers to consider a steel frame solution for this structure.
According to a report on TreeHugger, the three 225 kilowatt wind turbines will be each be a whopping 29 metres in diameter, and some 4000 photovoltaic panels will soak up the sun's energy to help keep the whole building running.
Weirdest Weapon Used In A Robbery This Week?

Snout Of Swordfish

During a 'home invasion' in Queensland last night, a man was attacked with the snout of a swordfish. Long, hard and covered with serrated teeth-like pieces of cartilage, the two robbers used it to cut the man's arms, hands and back, as he presumably tried to fight them off.

Police are investigating and no doubt shaking their heads in disbelief at this bizarre weapon of choice.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Great American Bee Die Off

Mystery Surrounds Reasons Why Bees Are Dying In 35 American States

It's one of America's greatest modern mysteries - why are millions of honeybees dying off? Why are millions more leaving their hives never to return? Are chemicals somehow responsible? Is it radiation from cell phone towers? A genetic virus yet undetermined?

Nobody seems to have a firm answer, but the great bee die-off is threatening the future of America's food supply, in the midst of some of the worst drought conditions to hit the American mid-west, and its 'food belt' since the Dust Bowl years of the Great Depression.

From the Los Angeles Times :
The dead bees under Dennis vanEngelsdorp's microscope were like none he had ever seen.

He had expected to see mites or amoebas, perennial pests of bees. Instead, he found internal organs swollen with debris and strangely blackened. The bees' intestinal tracts were scarred, and their rectums were abnormally full of what appeared to be partly digested pollen. Dark marks on the sting glands were telltale signs of infection.

"The more you looked, the more you found," said VanEngelsdorp, the acting apiarist for the state of Pennsylvania. "Each thing was a surprise."

VanEngelsdorp's examination of the bees in November was one of the first scientific glimpses of a mysterious honeybee die-off that has launched an intense search for a cure.

The puzzling phenomenon, known as Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD, has been reported in 35 states, five Canadian provinces and several European countries. The die-off has cost U.S. beekeepers about $150 million in losses and an uncertain amount for farmers scrambling to find bees to pollinate their crops.

Scientists have scoured the country, finding eerily abandoned hives in which the bees seem to have simply left their honey and broods of baby bees.

"We've never experienced bees going off and leaving brood behind," said Pennsylvania-based beekeeper Dave Hackenberg. "It was like a mother going off and leaving her kids."

Researchers have picked through the abandoned hives, dissected thousands of bees, and tested for viruses, bacteria, pesticides and mites.

So far, they are stumped.

According to the Apiary Inspectors of America, 24% of 384 beekeeping operations across the country lost more than 50% of their colonies from September to March. Some have lost 90%.

...honeybees, scientifically known as Apis mellifera, are required to pollinate a third of the nation's food crops, including almonds, cherries, blueberries, pears, strawberries and pumpkins.

Pentagon Spent Millions Trying To Develop 'Gay Bomb' That Would Induce Homosexuality In Enemy Fighters

Stories surfaced on so-called 'conspiracy' websites in the late 1990s stating that the Pentagon was actively looking into the use of a hormonal chemical weapon that could turn an angry enemy into a virtually paralysed, submissive, and highly distracted non-threat.

The bizarre claims, back then, storied that the Pentagon was actively pursuing a stream of genuinely weird and highly unlikely ideas as they sought to expand the development of supposedly non-lethal weapons.

Back then, the 'gay bomb' idea was totally dismissed by the Pentagon and the mainstream media as an absurdity, and little more than a fantasy.

But it was, in fact, true. The Pentagon had spent millions in funding the development of such a weapon :
A Berkeley watchdog organization that tracks military spending said it uncovered a strange U.S. military proposal to create a hormone bomb that could purportedly turn enemy soldiers into homosexuals and make them more interested in sex than fighting.

Pentagon officials on Friday confirmed to CBS 5 that military leaders had considered, and then subsequently rejected, building the so-called "Gay Bomb."

Edward Hammond, of Berkeley's Sunshine Project, had used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain a copy of the proposal from the Air Force's Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio.

As part of a military effort to develop non-lethal weapons, the proposal suggested, "One distasteful but completely non-lethal example would be strong aphrodisiacs, especially if the chemical also caused homosexual behavior."

The documents show the Air Force lab asked for $7.5 million to develop such a chemical weapon.

"The Ohio Air Force lab proposed that a bomb be developed that contained a chemical that would cause enemy soldiers to become gay, and to have their units break down because all their soldiers became irresistibly attractive to one another," Hammond said after reviewing the documents.

"The notion was that a chemical that would probably be pleasant in the human body in low quantities could be identified, and by virtue of either breathing or having their skin exposed to this chemical, the notion was that soldiers would become gay," explained Hammond.

The Pentagon told CBS 5 that the proposal was made by the Air Force in 1994.
During the South African Truth And Reconciliation hearings in the late 1990s, it emerged that 'backyard chemists' from America and the United Kingdom had been recruited by South African apartheid-era regime to help develop drugs that could be sprayed on, or distributed through, rioting crowds to calm them down, make them submissive, or more inclined to turn to love instead of war.

Powerful strains of cannabis and Ecstasy were developed and apparently tested on unknowing people in poor townships.

The Pentagon revelations prove that developing drugs to alter the behaviour of presumed or known enemies as part of non-lethal weapons development is neither a 'conspiracy theory' or all that far-fetched.

Such programs have existed since the 1980s, if not earlier.
Drug Sniffing Dogs Fired For "Sexual Harassment"

For Customs agencies around the world, a good drug dog is hard to find. Which is why some dogs with less than savoury personal habits are usually allowed to keep on working, as long as they keep finding the drugs.

But there are some lines that even hard working drug dogs cannot cross.

Mok and Lai, two "streets mutts" in Thailand who became "ace sniffer dogs" have been "fired" for sexually harassing female passengers and urinating on travellers' bags.

From Reuters :

Mok and Lai had been plucked from obscurity under a program initiated by King Bhumibol Adulyadej to turn strays into police dogs, the Bangkok Post said on Sunday.

Although they won plaudits from police for their work in sniffing out drugs at northern Thailand's Chiang Rai airport, near the border with Laos and Myanmar, so many passengers complained about their behavior they had to be fired.

"He liked to pee on luggage while searching for drugs inside," Mok's former handler, Police Lieutenant Colonel Jakapop Kamhon, said. "He also liked to hold on to women's legs."

"...they were stray dogs, so their manners were worse than those of foreign breeds."

The animals weren't put down, or returned to the streets. They are apparently working on a farm, herding sheep. And presumably still trying to hump legs and piss on whatever they please.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Elephant Beats Zookeeper When Its Meals Are Served Late

Suzi The Elephant Also Doubles As Harmonica Player, Children's Ride And Saluter Of Visitors

Imagine trying to get away with this sort of behaviour in your favourite restaurant?

The only elephant in a Pakistani zoo knows when its meals are being served late, and it knows how to deal with such insubordination.

'Suzi' the elephant seizes a cane in its trunk and beats the zookeeper with it, no doubt providing much enjoyment for the crowds that gather to watch this apparently regular ritual in Lahore.

If you think that's cute, the zoo is looking for donors to sponsor the elephant's meals, as they are running out of money and can't afford to keep the aggrophant for much longer :

The zoo was hoping philanthropists and schools would "adopt" Suzi and pay for its food, the paper said today.

"We don't have enough funds to feed Suzi and its expenses are more than our budget," said zoo director Yousuf Pal.

Actually, on further research, forget the donations. It appears the zoo has a few problems with its rare animals dying from curable diseases, the most recent victim a chimpanzee, and gets 'Suzi' to regularly beg for money from crowds, which she collects in her trunk :
“This is a negative trend which is totally against zoo ethics,” sources said. They said that the 20-year-old Suzi was living alone, which was rather sad because elephants normally live in groups. There should be more elephants at the Lahore Zoo, they said.
Perhaps money should be raised to rescue poor old, lonely Suzi from the zoo before the 'beat the zookeeper' donations start pouring in.

This 'Elephant Beats Zookeeper' story, which will be the top of the 'most read' stories on internet news sites around the world today, hides a few important facts about Suzi. She is likely to be beating the zookeeper not only because her meals are late, but because those meals are becoming more infrequent as the zoo doesn't have the money to feed her any longer.

More research reveals that the zoo also uses Suzi as an amusement ride for kids.

And she also has to play the harmonica for the amusement of the crowds. How many gigs does this poor old elephant have?

And more still. People visiting the zoo are also charged money to get a 'salute' from Suzi.

Seems Suzi might be beating her zookeeper for a few other reasons than just the late meal service.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

British Family Forced To Flee Home Because Of Their Hair Colour

Perhaps this story will be exposed as something close to a hoax, or an exaggeration, but then again, life for anyone deemed "weird" or "different" on some of the more impoverished council housing estates in England can be a nightmare.

And Brits generally seem to enjoy mocking those with red hair, or for being "ginger", as the slang goes.

In the rapidly police state-like land that is England, will being a "gingerist" soon become punishable prejudice? Or hate crime?

From the Daily Mail :

A family are being forced out of their home by a gang of thugs because of their red hair.

Kevin and Barbara Chapman say they and their four young children have already moved twice to avoid the taunts but at each address have been subjected to attacks.

Their windows have been smashed, the walls daubed with graffiti and their children physically assaulted in the street by other youths.

In the latest incident the family returned to their third home in Newcastle upon Tyne to find the words "ginger is gay" painted on the outside of the property.

Even as the family, all of whom have red hair, discussed a move with social workers, their windows were smashed.

The Chapmans, who have a ten-year-old daughter Ryelle, and sons Daniel, ten, and Jordon, 13, first moved from Walker to Newbiggin Hall to escape the prejudice.

They were forced to move again a year ago to Kenton Bar. Within weeks they were once again subjected to abuse.

"There seem to be around ten or 12 families who have relations in the different areas we have been," said Mr Chapman. "Word seems to get around and it starts again."

Mrs Chapman, 44, said: "Wherever they go they get called "ginger nut, ginger bastard, ginger c***", it's disgusting."

Another 'Salt Man' Discovered In Iran

Salt, like honey, can be a remarkable preservative, keeping hair, flesh and bones in something close to a pristine state for thousands of years. 'Pristine', at least, compared to the rapid decomposition of corpses left exposed to air and bacteria.

From Press TV :
The sixth Iranian salt man was discovered in a salt mine in the central province of Zanjan, where five other similar discoveries was made.

It was discovered around the area of a mine where the second salt mummy belonging to the Achaemenid and Parthian dynastic eras was discovered.

Chehr-Abad is a historical salt mine of Zanjan where other salt men dating back to the Sassanid era (224 - 651 AD) were previously found.

Items found with the previous skeletons, which include leather shoes, a leather bag, a terra cotta lamp and two cow horns, which have probably been used for the transportation of oil, are mostly intact.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Journey To Find The People Who Live At The Earth's Core...Or Something

There's a hole in the Arctic that leads right down to the centre of Earth. Maybe. And far below the Earth's crust are huge caverns and thousands of miles of tunnels. Perhaps. And living in that all that space is a race of long lost human-like creatures, who've adjusted well to their new home far below the surface world and they've built a new society for themselves. What?

Yes, or so claims a US scientist. Well, he doesn't claim it all to be true. He just thinks it might be. But regardless of the absurdity of his claims, he's going to mount an expedition to the Arctic to find the cave that will lead to the tunnels that will lead to the caverns that will bring him to the underworld civilisation. He's calling the trip "the greatest geological expedition in history."

Naturally the American scientist is also selling tickets for his great expedition :

This time next year, Kentucky based physicist and futurist Brooks Agnew hopes to board the commercially owned Russian icebreaker Yamal in the port of Murmansk, and to sail into the polar sea just beyond Canada's Arctic islands.

"Everest has been climbed a hundred times," Mr. Agnew says. "The Titanic has been scanned from stem to stern. [But] this is the first and only expedition to the North Pole opening ever attempted."

Mr. Agnew is the latest in a long line of people to peddle the nutty, yet persistent, theory that humans live on the surface of a hollow planet, in which two undiscovered openings, near the North and South poles, connect the outer Earth with an interior realm.

In the 17th century, English astronomer and mathematician Sir Edmond Halley, who calculated the orbit of Halley's Comet, advanced hollow-Earth theories, as did German scientist Athanasius Kircher.

While he insists the journey has a genuine scientific purpose, Mr. Agnew also says the expedition will include several experts in meditation, mythology and UFOs, as well as a team of documentary filmmakers.

Randy Freeman, a Yellowknife writer commenting in the current issue of Up Here magazine, warns that "besides heaps of throwaway cash, prospective cruisers should bring along enough gullibility to swallow an outlandish theory that, despite centuries of scorn, refuses to die."

But Mr. Agnew is unfazed by such criticism, promising a grand polar adventure, no matter what the outcome.

If the polar opening isn't there, the voyage "will still make an outstanding documentary," he promises.

"But if we do find something, this will be the greatest geological discovery in the history of the world."

Is it a proper scientific trip and investigation? Well, not really. He's setting out find something that he knows very likely does not even exist : the cave that acts as the 'portal' to the underworld.

He's just going to drag a bunch of people into the middle of nowhere, meditate, and roll cameras.

Will it be profitable?

Oh yes. Mr Agnew is charging $20,000 for anyone who wants to join him on his journey of discovery to find just a cave, if he's lucky.