The best Spoonerisms

July 23, 2014 at 7:12 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

* “Blushing crow” for “crushing blow.”

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

* “A well-boiled icicle” for “well-oiled bicycle.”

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

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

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

* “Go and shake a tower” (Go and take a shower).

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

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

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

* “Such Bulgarians should be vanished…” (Such vulgarians should be banished).

* Addressing farmers as “ye noble tons of soil”.

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

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

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

Original story here

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

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

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

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

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

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

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

Survival kitten

July 22, 2014 at 4:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

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

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

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

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

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

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

A weird joke

July 21, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

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

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

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

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

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

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

One baby photo that got left out of the album

July 20, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

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

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

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

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

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

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

11 absurd health and safety rules

July 19, 2014 at 4:22 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

2) Death by lactose

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

3) Stop that voyeur

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

4) Hard hats on

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

5) Dial a crash

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

6) Frisky business

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

7) Millennium bugs

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

8) Runaway train

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

9) Devices out

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

10) A dog’s life

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

11) Off the deep end

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

Original story here

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Can Your Surname Tell You?

July 18, 2014 at 1:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Original story here

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nothing like being upfront with your customers

July 17, 2014 at 11:26 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s a dog’s life

July 16, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NO PARENT LEFT BEHIND?

July 15, 2014 at 2:57 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

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

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

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

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

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

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

More shopping with the wife

July 14, 2014 at 2:50 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

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

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

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


The Kaiser and the King (L to R)

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

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

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

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