Dangerous realism

October 31, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Elderly physicists reinvent the “soul”: “A near-death experience happens when quantum substances which form the soul leave the nervous system and enter the universe at large, according to a remarkable theory proposed by two eminent scientists. According to this idea, consciousness is a program for a quantum computer in the brain which can persist in the universe even after death, explaining the perceptions of those who have near-death experiences. Dr Stuart Hameroff, Professor Emeritus at the Departments of Anesthesiology and Psychology and the Director of the Centre of Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona, has advanced the quasi-religious theory. It is based on a quantum theory of consciousness he and British physicist Sir Roger Penrose have developed which holds that the essence of our soul is contained inside structures called microtubules within brain cells. They have argued that our experience of consciousness is the result of quantum gravity effects in these microtubules, a theory which they dubbed orchestrated objective reduction (Orch-OR).”

Tree disease a threat to Britain’s wood-framed cars: “Classic car manufacturer Morgan has held crisis meetings over threats to the supply of ash, which it uses to make its vehicles. The firm is concerned profits could be at risk if ministers fail to crack down on the spread of ash dieback. They are also considering whether they may have to move to other types of wood as an emergency measure – even though this would end 100 years of manufacturing history. Morgan uses ash in the framework of its cars. Some 1,300 of the high-end vehicles are made every year. ‘Ash has very good properties for stability and the way it can be formed. We have been using ash for traditional building for 100 years. It is possible that we would have to look at other types of wood. The company’s website explains why it uses ash in the manufacture of its classic cars, which are delivered worldwide. It says: ‘The Morgan car has always been built around an ash-frame, and a steel chassis. The new Aero 8 also has an ash frame. ‘This gives unique strength, flexibility and, surprisingly, research showed that the frame made the car safer on impact tests.’”

Swedish princess (above) to marry: “Madeleine, 30, announced her engagement to British banker, Chris O’Neil, 37, last Thursday via the palace website. In a video recorded at the Drottningholm Palace just outside Stockholm, Madeleine revealed that O’Neil proposed at the beginning of October and said she was extremely happy. Mr O’Neil added: ‘Madeleine and I have known each other for two years and I recently summoned up the courage to ask her to marry me. Thankfully she said yes,’ Although no date has yet been set for the nuptials, it is expected that the pair will marry in Stockholm like Princess Madeleine’s older sister, Crown Princess Victoria, 35.”

Coffee simplified in England: “These days to enter a Starbucks, Costa or Neros is to be confronted by a mystifying roll call of drinks with baffling names, and all offered in an array of seemingly interchangeable sizes (which is the larger one, tall, grande or venti? Who knows). But for all the choice and ostensible exoticism available to us, sometimes, all we want is a mug of the black stuff. Now, a high street store has come to the rescue of the curmudgeonly caffeine addicts among us who are tired of interpreting the coffee menu before getting our fix. Debenhams has launched a plain English coffee menu that simplifies our favourite drinks, making it a whole lot easier to order. The new look drinks menu was created in response to customer feedback that revealed over 70 per cent of coffee drinkers have experienced ‘coffee confusion’ in cafes, bars and restaurants. On the store’s deconstructed menu, a caffe latte is described as ‘really really milky coffee’, cappuccino as ‘frothy coffee’ and caffe mocha as ‘chocolate flavoured coffee’.”

Rio drug gang issues death warrant on police sniffer dog after it finds 300kg of their cannabis: “A drug gang in Rio de Janeiro has issued a death order against a brown labrador named Boss, after the sniffer dog uncovered 300kg of cannabis. Five-year-old Boss is the most feared of the 68 sniffer dogs who help police find drugs in Rio’s vast slums, police said. He has been known to home in on a single hidden cannabis joint buried in the ground several metres away. The gang in the violent Manguinhos slum wants the labrador’s head after he sniffed out the huge quantity of cannabis hidden inside a false wall. Police patrolling the favela in the north of the city intercepted a radio message from the trafficking kingpin with an order to ‘target brownie’ – a reference to the dog’s colour. The gangsters recently tried to throw him off the scent by hiding a batch of drugs next to an open sewage drain, but the labrador still managed to lead officers to them despite the pungent smell. Major Vitor Valle, from Rio’s military police dog squad, said Boss will continue to work in the slum but will now be protected by nine policemen.”

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

Tokyo in the rain

October 30, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Notice the traditional Japanese coffee shop!

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Must not criticize British food? “Cherie Blair attacked Jacques Chirac like an ‘Exocet’ missile in a verbal slap that won London the 2012 Olympics, architect of the Games Lord Coe said today. In an onslaught on British cuisine the former French president had said ‘you can’t trust people who cook like that’ so the furious Mrs Blair went at him ‘like a banshee’ on the eve of the key 2005 IOC vote in Singapore. Chirac had joked with Russia’s Vladamir Putin and Germany’s Gerhard Schroder about the standard of British cuisine at the G8 summit at Gleneagles, because they were going to be fed haggis. ‘You can’t trust people who cook as badly as that. After Finland it’s the country with the worst food,’ he said, prompting Cherie to give him a verbal battering when they met in Singapore in July 2005. In ‘Running My Life,’ which is serialised in The Times, Lord Coe said: ‘I spotted Cherie heading like a heat-seeking missile towards the French contingent. Above the hubbub her voice rang loud and clear “I gather you’ve been saying rude things about our food”, at a volume that would have done justice to a packed courtroom.’” Lord Coe went on: ‘She was at him like a banshee and he couldn’t get out of that building fast enough.”

Book now: ‘world’s worst airline’ launches website: “Air Koryo, the North Korean carrier described as “the world’s worst airline”, has finally moved into the digital age with its first online booking service. The state-owned airline, which is the only one in the world with just one star according to the ranking service Skytrax, now sells flights from Pyongyang to Beijing and Shenyang in China, and Vladivostok in Russia, on its website. Early reports seems to suggest the website is unlikely to help the North Korean flag carrier shake its one-star rating, however. Users have already reported slow response speeds, with some searches not offering any availability for flights, while others result in an error message appearing on the screen. The majority of the Air Koryo’s fleet consists of Russian-made Tupolev aircraft, although older planes constructed in the former Soviet Union are used for domestic flights. The majority of its aircraft are banned from operating in the EU.”

Steely courage of Chinese power grid workers braving heights 90-storeys up to install world’s tallest pylons: “They are the equivalent height of a 90-storey building. But these Chinese power grid workers don’t seem too fazed by the dizzying heights of the world’s tallest pylons. The men are required to work at a height of 885ft (270 metres) as they install a crossing tower for a new line of ultra high voltage cable stretching from Anhui province to Shanghai – a distance of 268 miles. The tower is just one of 1,421 starting west from Huainan. The men have until the end of 2013 to finish the ambitious project. By comparison: Big Ben towers 316ft (96.3metres) into the sky but is still dwarfed by China’s electricity pylons. The workers are strapped into safety harnesses but use flimsy rope ladders to go up and down the pylons.”

The triumph of the cellphone: “It looks like something from another era – and in many ways it is. But this overgrown telephone box, covered both inside and out by ivy, is still fully functioning in Street, Somerset. However, BT are set to decommission the telephone box because it has only been used four times in the last year. It is not known whether its lack of use is down to the increasing popularity of mobile phones… or whether people aren’t even able to see it’s there! Despite its shabby state – it is actually in full working order. It has become so overgrown with trees, shrubs and ivy from a nearby hedge that it is hard to tell it is there at all in a sign of our times when more people than ever are using mobile phones. A BT spokesman said: ‘This is a little used payphone, which is due to be removed in the next few months. ‘Only four calls have been made from this payphone in the past year.”

Chinese Communist newspaper slams its American equivalent: “The mouthpiece newspaper of China’s Communist Party has launched a blistering attack on The New York Times, accusing it of “faking” and “distorting” news and being a government “propaganda tool”. The 1,500 word People’s Daily editorial appeared to be a direct response to The New York Times’s explosive exposé last week about the $2.7 billion (£1.67 billion) “hidden fortune” of the family of Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao. The Beijing-based People’s Daily turned its cannons on the 161-year-old newspaper on Monday, three days after The New York Times published the highly embarrassing results of its one-year investigation into Mr Wen’s family’s finances. “For a long time, the New York Times has [had] one line printed on its masthead, ‘All the news that’s fit to print’,” noted the People’s Daily opinion piece, under the headline: ‘New York Times: scandals stack-up, prestige declines’. “This century-old newspaper claims its news is authentic and reliable, yet there have been quite a few [cases of] plagiarism and fake news in recent years,” added the combative piece”

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

Friendly carrots

October 29, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Gay sperm donor must pay out for daughters he barely knows: “Mark Langridge didn’t want children, but his lesbian friends did – so he agreed to donate his sperm. Now his ‘act of kindness’ has come back to haunt him 13 years later, after he received a letter demanding child support payments. Mr Langridge has not spoken to the family he helped create since 2004. He was not named on the birth certificates of the two children, and played no role in their upbringing – but the Child Support Agency insists he has to pay £26 a week to support them. He says he cannot afford the payments, which will add up to £8,000 before both children reach adulthood. The 47-year-old book-keeper from Essex has been in a relationship with his partner Shaun Keeble, 37, for 17 years. Mr Langridge and Mr Keeble met the women in a gay nightclub in Southend in 1997, and became good friends. When one of the women revealed she was desperate to have children Mr Langridge agreed to help, as long as there were no strings attached. ‘I did not ask for anything to be documented legally and with hindsight perhaps I should have done,’ he said.”

Coffin fit for a toilet: “IT’S the loo that is taking the term toilet humour to a whole new level – and it has Millaa Millaa residents in a spin. After being told by council it would cost more than $80,000 to build a toilet at the local cemetery, the Chamber of Commerce group decided to take issues into their own hands and build their own – in the shape of a coffin. “You have to be careful, not everyone is going to have our macabre sense of humour,” Chamber president Pat Reynolds said. “But we did it with good intentions. It’s for firstly, the cemetery, and secondly, maybe a few more people will notice Millaa Millaa now.” This is no shabby construction, it has a cement foundation, a septic system and solid walls, one of which bears a cross and the letters RIP.”

Gary Glitter has lost his shine: “Police investigating Jimmy Savile are poised to make fresh arrests this week after Gary Glitter was taken into custody. The convicted paedophile was the first to be detained in what is expected to be a wave of arrests of celebrities and former BBC staff. Police arrived at former pop star Glitter’s flat in Marylebone, central London, at 7.15am and arrested him on suspicion of committing sexual offences. Wearing a bobble hat, thick grey coat, grey trousers, black gloves and sunglasses, the 68-year-old, whose real name is Paul Gadd, was later ushered into an unmarked police car. He was questioned at Charing Cross police station for nearly ten hours, while officers scoured his flat for evidence. They removed several black sacks. Gadd was released on police bail until mid-December pending further inquiries. He arrived home in a taxi at 5.15pm and refused to comment.”

126 years old and not going strong: “One of Britain’s oldest shops is closing after the recession left owners unable to renew the 126-year-old lease. The Famous, a menswear shop in Cheltenham, opened in 1886 selling trousers for 13 shillings (65p), a suit for 30 shillings (£1.50) and overcoats at 4/11 (24p). It is one of the last shops in the country to operate the once popular Lamson vacuum system, which sends money to a cashier’s office. But owners of the family-run business selling men’s clothing now say it must close – because they cannot afford to renew the lease. The Cole family have been renting the property from a private landlord since it opened but now cannot afford to keep it going. Chairman Ross Cole, the great grandson of AN Cole, who bought the business in 1896 has worked at the shop for more than 50 years. He said: ‘The building is very expensive to maintain and stay in and obviously we have felt the pinch quite a bit. ‘The business is still going well but we decided, after discussing among ourselves, that we simply couldn’t replicate what we have here in a modern shop premises.”

Sensation-seeking woman abandons her children for a life of “protesting”: “The mother-of-four who made headlines last year leaving her children to go join Occupy Wall Street is divorcing her husband and cashing in on his banking-earned riches in the process. Stacey Hessler cites protesting as her profession and famously devoted herself to the Occupy movement, demonstrating against the very banks behind her recently increased cash-flow. Divorce papers, seen by the New York Post, list ‘irreconcilable differences’ as the reason for the split, adding that their 19-year marriage ‘is irretrievably broken’. It is understood by friends of the Occu-Mom that her persistent protesting has caused their relationship to fail. She would spend nights at a time sleeping outside high street banks in New York’s financial district, including Bank of America, where Mr Hessler once worked before moving to a Florida local bank. He will keep the $65,000 house under the settlement and assumes the $13,000 mortgage. He gets sole custody of their four children: Peyton,18, Kennedy,16, Sullivan, 14, and Veda, 8.”

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

Some football insults

October 28, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ohio State’s Urban Meyer on one of his players: “He doesn’t know the meaning of the word fear. In fact, I just saw his grades and he doesn’t know the meaning of a lot of words.”
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Why do Texas fans wear orange?

So they can dress that way for the game on Saturday, go hunting on Sunday, and pick up trash on Monday.
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What does the average Alabama player get on his SATs?

Drool.
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How many Michigan freshmen football players does it take to change a light bulb?

None. That’s a sophomore course.
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How did the Georgia football player die from drinking milk?

The cow fell on him.
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Two West Virginia football players were walking in the woods.

One of them said, “Look, a dead bird.”

The other looked up in the sky and said, “Where?”
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A University of Cincinnati football player was almost killed yesterday in a tragic horseback-riding accident.

He fell from a horse and was nearly trampled to death.

Luckily, the manager of the Wal-Mart came out and unplugged the horse.
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What do you say to a University of Miami Hurricane football player dressed in a three-piece suit? “

“Will the defendant please rise.”
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If three Florida State football players are in the same car, who is driving?

The police officer.
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How can you tell if an Auburn football player has a girlfriend?

There’s tobacco juice on both sides of the pickup truck.
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What do you get when you put 32 Arkansas cheerleaders in one room?

A full set of teeth.
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University of Michigan Coach Brady Hoke is only going to dress half of his players for the game this week; the other half will have to dress themselves.
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How is the Indiana football team like an opossum?

They play dead at home and get killed on the road.
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Why did the Nebraska linebacker steal a police car?

He saw “911″ on the side and thought it was a Porsche.
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How do you get a former Illinois football player off your porch?

Pay him for the pizza.
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What are the longest three years of a University of Kentucky football player’s life?

Freshman I, Freshman II, and Freshman III.
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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Chinese man sues his wife for being ugly, and the court AGREES: “They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But for one man from northern China, this was not the case. Earlier this year, Jian Feng, divorced and sued his wife for being ugly. He won his case and was awarded a little under £75,000 by the judge, Fox 31 reported. Mr Feng said he took issue with his wife’s looks only after the couple’s daughter was born. He was shocked by the child’s appearance, calling her ‘incredibly ugly’ and saying she looked like neither one of her parents. Mr Feng was so outraged that he initially accused his wife of cheating. Faced with the accusation, his wife admitted to spending around £62,000 on plastic surgery which had altered her appearance drastically. She had the work done before she met her husband and never told him about it after they met. Mr Feng filed for divorce saying his wife had deceived him and convinced him to marry her under false pretenses. The judge agreed with him and awarded him the damages.”

McDonald’s-haters get hated back — by the younger generation: “ARSONISTS have attacked a site occupied by residents fighting a McDonald’s restaurant in the Dandenong Ranges. Fires lit overnight have damaged signs, furniture and a tent in the community garden protest site and highlighted tensions in the small Tecoma community. Protest organiser Shakti McLaren said the fires appear to have been lit by “angry kids” who are in favour of the restaurant. “The majority of the community are against this but some people are getting angry about the protest. “These young kids have come down another time but we ended up being able to sit down and talk with them.” An administrator of the “Yes to Tecoma McDonalds” facebook page has written in support of the attack. “We are pro-anything that upsets you hippies. So burn garden, burn!”. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal earlier this month gave the go-ahead for McDonald’s to begin building on Burwood Highway. Protesters concede they’re running out of avenues for fighting the proposal.”

Weird British chef: “Chef Heston Blumenthal is famed for his bizarre dishes like curry ice-cream and snail porridge. But his latest culinary experiment may leave a sour taste with some of his foodie fans. He has resorted to using a tampon to soak up the juices in his mouth – so he can enjoy his food more. Blumenthal told the Guardian: ‘If you drain the moisture in your mouth you experience richness, creaminess and sweetness more intensely and there is really nothing more absorbing than a tampon. One of his lunch favourites is yoghurt with tampon, but patrons of the Fat Duck, his restaurant in Bray, Berkshire or Dinner in London, won’t have to experience the delight of cleaning their palates in the same way. Speaking to the paper’s Weekend magazine about his food diary, he promised customers that tampons would not be served up with their food.”

Gun hidden inside donated book’s secret compartment stuns small-town library staff: “One public library found a bestseller packing a little extra literary firepower than usual – when an employee opened a donated book to discover a gun inside. Tucked away in a hallowed-out-space made in a novel from 1998 called ‘Outerbridge Reach’, the .31-calibre, single shot, A.S.M. gun with a gold and wooden handle elicited gasps from staff at the Valparaiso branch of the Porter County Public Library. ‘Somebody just opened it up and said, ‘Oh my,’ said Porter County Public Library assistant director Phyllis Nelson to The Times of Northwest Indiana. However, in a twist for the tale, local police did say that the gun was not reported stolen after staff had handed it in to the authorities. The single shot gun found in the library book was produced by Armi san Marco and are worth around $175 in mint condition” [Armi san Marco produce replicas]

Thou shalt not smoke: “A mother who killed her nine-year-old son by setting him on fire as punishment for smoking has been sentenced to 11 years in prison. Noluthando Nomavayi , 37, from Delft in Cape Town drenched her two sons with paraffin [kerosene] and set them alight when she discovered them smoking cigarettes in May 2011. The older son survived the vicious attack but the younger one suffered 90 per cent burns and died at the Red Cross Hospital in Cape Town six weeks later, Sowetan Live reported. Judge Vincent Saldanha said: ‘[The deceased] and his brother were much-loved and spent most of their time playing soccer in the confines of the family home.’”

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

French perversity

October 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I liked the following recent report from France — by a Briton

There was proof that politicians can actually do some good for a country, albeit often unwittingly – last weekend, when Arnaud Montebourg, France’s Minister for Productive Recovery (which could almost be translated as Vorsprung durch Technik) posed on the cover of a newspaper supplement wearing a typical Breton stripey jumper, and sales instantly shot up. The manufacturer of the traditional blue-on-white sailors’ pullover, the marinière, said that sales rose 60% over the previous Saturday, and that they had sold 400 jumpers that day, for 20,000 euros.

Admittedly, that’s not enough to bring France out of the recession, but it’s a move in the right direction. The photo was part of a campaign supporting products made in France (bizarrely known here as “produits Made in France“). And it’s probably good news for the company’s French factory workers, even though only 40% of its products are actually “Made in France”.

Montebourg is one of the new government’s most popular ministers, mainly because he is a bit of a looker. And he is famously en couple with another of France’s beautiful people, a TV journalist called Audrey Pulvar who was recently in the news for promoting a different French product. It was reported in the press that her trademark dark-rimmed glasses had cost 12,000 euros – almost a full year of France’s minimum salary. They were (custom-)Made in France, but it’s not exactly the right message for the partner of a Socialist minister to be sending out, you might think.

But you might not be right if you did think that, because Socialist politicians have also been caught revealing a certain taste for luxury. Several big names in the party were recently outed for their taste in watches. Pierre Moscovici, the Minister of Finance, declared that he has been wearing Rolexes since he was a student (grants must have been more generous in those days.) Jérôme Cahuzac, the Budget Miinister, had a collection of watches worth 100,000 euros until he was burgled. And this is a regime headed by a so-called “Monsieur Normal”, who replaced a president criticized for his bling-bling lifestyle (Nicolas Sarkozy introduced the term bling into the French language).

At a time of recession, this should be intensely embarrassing, but these are French politicians, a shameless species if ever there was one, so you feel it will probably all blow over. And anyway, we now have nice Monsieur Montebourg sporting his 50-euro jumper and single-handedly boosting the French economy by, coincidentally enough, just enough to buy a decent Rolex.

Original story here

NOTE: “Vorsprung durch Technik” (Advancement through technology) is the motto of German car-maker Audi. It tends to be rather mocked by anyone able to pronounce it.

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Victory over cold callers: Homeowner wins damages for time wasted answering phone: “A cold-call firm has been forced to pay compensation to a businessman after he took it to court for wasting his time. The stunning victory could open the floodgates to further claims from the millions of homeowners plagued by similar unwanted and infuriating calls. Richard Herman vowed to hit back after he was targeted by firms promising compensation for mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI). The 53-year-old turned the tables by invoicing one of the firms for £10 for every minute he wasted answering their telephone calls. He also recorded the calls, meaning that when the unscrupulous company denied ever having rung him, he was armed with incontrovertible proof to the contrary. He offered to send the firm the recordings but they ignored him, so he took his case to the small claims court. In a victory for the little man, marketing company AAC, which sells referrals to claims management companies, agreed to pay the full £195 for 19-and-a-half minutes of calls, plus a £25 court fee.”

Homeowner mis-sold gas becomes first person to win harassment payment from energy giant: “A homeowner has become the first person to win a payout from Npower for harassment and breach of contract after being mis-sold a tariff by a doorstep salesman. David Osborn, 59, won his four-year legal battle against the energy giant after the cheap rate he signed up to failed to materialise. The 59-year-old was instead put on a tariff that would potentially cost an extra £2,000 over the two-and-a-half year contract. He has become the first person to win a payout from an energy company for harassment. When he refused to pay the difference, Npower began chasing him for payment, hiring ten debt collection agencies to pursue him. Mr Osborn took his case to the small claims court, which awarded him £1,000 compensation for breach of contract and harassment. Mr Osborn originally signed up to a price plan named Price Fix 2011 when a doorstep salesman called at his house in Longwell Green, Bristol, in 2008. Under the terms of the deal, he would pay just 7.5p per kilowatt of electricity and 2p per kilowatt of gas until 2011. However, he was later told this tariff had been withdrawn and that he had been placed on the standard rate, which was twice as expensive.”

Milky mom: “A mother in North Texas has been awarded a Guinness World Record for donating breast milk. Alicia Richman, 28, from Granbury, pumped over 86 gallons between June 2011 and March 2012 for donation to The Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, a nonprofit that supplies neonatal intensive care units. The vast quantity equates to 11,000oz – to put it into context, a typical newborn’s feed is around 3oz. She told CBS DFW: ‘I pumped at work, on vacations, in the car. And I never had to buy formula.’ Mrs Richman began donating shortly after giving birth to her son, now 19 months, when she found that she had managed to fill two freezers with pumped milk – far more than he would ever need. She decided to put her extraordinary ability to good use and help premature and critically ill babies who could benefit from the nourishment human breast milk can provide over formula. ‘I feel like God blessed me with plenty of milk and I need to do something special with it,’ she said. ‘There’s a need for it, little babies everywhere are sick and they need breast milk to survive, and I wanted to give them that.’”

Hero plumber sifts through 100 gallons of sewage to find an engagement ring that had slipped down the toilet: “A kind-hearted plumber spent seven hours sifting through 100 gallons of sewage to find an engagement ring that had slipped down the toilet. Sian Robbins, 28, was running a bath when her platinum Tiffany ring – given to her by husband Adam, 34 – slipped off her finger and into a flushing loo. Horrified Sian desperately tried to recover the ring but after admitting defeat contacted local plumber Dave Scanes to help. Mr Scanes visited Mrs Robbins’ farmhouse five days later and spent a gruelling seven hours manually sifting through waste to find the ring. He refused to take a single break and his hard work paid off when he located the dazzling ring in a drain. Delighted Mrs Robbins, who lives in Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, said she burst into tears when Mr Scanes – who has earned himself the name Diamond Dave with colleagues – showed her the rescued ring.”

Home invader fled with serious injuries after breaking into home of 83-year-old black belt: “POLICE are trying to find a home invader who was badly hurt when he tried to force his way past an 83-year-old black belt home owner last night. The home invader, a muscular man in his thirties, broke into the high-set home in Gilruth Rd, Kenmore at about 8.30pm. Inside were Edwin Dowdy, 83, and his wife Jutta, 76, who have in the property in the quiet Kenmore street since 1966. When the couple – who both have black belts in martial arts – realised there was an intruder in the house Mr Dowdy grabbed a knife from the lounge room he had kept for security and went to confront the burglar and warn him he was armed. He said he confronted the intruder and told him he had a knife, but the man tried to push past him and ran onto the blade. The injured burglar – who was bleeding heavily from a knife wound to his stomach – took two of Mrs Dowdy’s handbags and ran onto the balcony and jumped to the ground. A large amount of blood was visible there this morning.”

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

Live Teddy bears?

October 26, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

They’re red Panda cubs

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Live SHARK mysteriously drops ‘from the sky’: “It wasn’t raining cats and dogs at a California golf course on Monday – it was raining sharks. A live leopard shark was discovered thrashing about on the grass at around 4pm at the San Juan Hills golf club in San Juan Capistrano, which is four miles from the coast. The sea creature was spotted by a startled golf club marshall near the 12th tee box, where a group of golfers had just been playing. Ms McCormack believes the two-foot-long shark may have been scooped out of the ocean by a predatory bird and dropped onto the golf course. The staffer who came upon the shark picked it up, put it in the back of his golf cart and drove it to the clubhouse. ‘It was just wriggling around. He needed to get to the ocean right away,’ Ms McCormack told The Capistrano Dispatch. Still alive, the shark was dropped back into the sea at Baby Beach near Dana Point. ‘I thought he was dead,’ Mr Stizer told The Dispatch. ‘When I dropped him into the water, he just lied (sic) there for a few seconds, but then he did a twist and shot off into the water.’

Insurance defeats 92 year old cricket umpire: “One of Britain’s oldest umpires has been forced to retire despite his perfect eyesight and good health because he is no longer covered by insurance. Charlie Fenton, 92, was disappointed that he had to step down from the Derbyshire and Cheshire Cricket League after more than 61 years umpiring matches. The spritely pensioner is no longer covered under the league’s insurance which only insures umpires up to the age of 85-years-old. Mr Fenton, from Hyde, Tameside, said: ‘I’m so lucky. I’m so fit, I don’t wear glasses, I don’t wear a hearing aid and I can stand for seven hours. The great-grandfather’s love of the game began at school when he travelled to Old Trafford to watch Lancashire play. ‘If I was ill, it was between Monday to Friday, I was always better by the weekends.”

Unusual British army corporal: “She’s more used to covering up in weighty military fatigues and camouflage face paint. But it seems Melissa Haywood is also very comfortable stripping down to less. A lot less. The 26-year-old British Army corporal from Wiltshire, Salisbury, who served in Iraq in 2007 in the Adjutant General’s Corps, has just won the best bikini body award at the UK Bodybuilding Championships. Melissa – who weighs 9st, is 5ft 8in tall and has a bust size 34DD – competed in the championships in Manchester over the weekend. Melissa is married to fellow soldier Kieran, and when she is not training spends her time posting inspirational messages and photos to her 1,500 Twitter followers, detailling her strict diet and gruelling exercise regime.”

Our first impressions of others are based on appearance: “Bad news for ugly ducklings and the less fashion savvy- it seems appearance is as important to us as they ever were, according to an online survey. Three fifths of people form their opinion of someone within just five seconds of meeting them and more than a third said appearance was everything when forming first impression. A quarter of (rather judgmental) respondents admitted that they always evaluate someone by their appearance alone. Those living in the capital are the most likely to ‘judge a book by its cover’ 37 per cent of Londoners reporting that they ‘always’ judge someone by their appearance when meeting them for the first time. One in ten Britons confess they have walked out on a first date because they were turned off by what their prospective partner was wearing or how they looked. Across the country men are the worst culprits with nearly a fifth admitting to walking out on a date because they did not like what the woman was wearing.”

Court returns £51,000 in stolen cash to armed robber after bank and insurance firm refuse to take it: “An Austrian court has ordered a bank robber be given back £51,000 that he stole 19 years ago because they can’t find anybody else to take the money. Otto Neuman, now aged 63, was a bank manager and the ringleader of a gang that stole £150,000 as well as gold bars and gold coins 19 years ago, and by the time police found them only £51,000 and the gold could be recovered. The lawyer checked with the bank where the robbery took place, and was told by managers that what had been stolen had been paid back in full by their insurance company – and they no longer had any entitlement to the money. They therefore refused to take it. But when he questioned the insurance company he discovered that they also felt they did not have any right to the money because the gold which had been stolen had been valued and the money for the gold paid out. But by the time the gold had been recovered it had also substantially increased in value. That gold was automatically the property of the insurance company as they had already compensated the bank for it, and the increasing value had been used to write off the £150,000 that they had paid to compensate the bank for the cash that was stolen.”

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

Hair

October 25, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

All that I know about fashion could be written on the head of a pin but I cannot help being amused by the advertisement below, which has been popping up in various unexpected places for at least a week now. Note the luxuriant locks. Methinks the Middleton sisters (one of whom is now a real live Duchess) have set the fashion for a long time now.

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

British officials taking journey in elevator to reassure tower block residents of its safety are left red-faced when they become trapped: “When council officials visited residents at a tower block to reassure them about a temperamental lift, there was only one way to do it. Unfortunately, the show of faith by the six occupants – including a pregnant woman – backfired when they got stuck a couple of floors from the top. After much fruitless jabbing of buttons, an emergency call was put through to firefighters to come to their aid. But the farce deepened when it suddenly sprang back into life, carrying the delegation down to the ground floor and then back up to the 12th floor. At this point the doors opened, allowing the five council officials and an Essex Fire Service safety officer to scramble out after 30-minutes of drama. The irony of the situation was not lost those living in the Grade II-listed building, who have made numerous complaints about the lift breaking down.”

Star of children’s panto found to be a porn star: “A talented musical star who shot to fame on the BBC talent show Any Dream Will Do has been sacked from his role as Prince Charming after it was revealed that he starred in a porn film. Craig Chalmers, 30, made his name after appearing in the hit BBC show Any Dream Will Do which searched for a new lead to star in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. He has since established himself as a talented performer and was due to play Prince Charming in Cinderella at the Alhambra Theatre in Dunfermline, Scotland. But the star, from Edinburgh, was axed after bosses were tipped off that he had starred in X-rated movies. A spokesperson from the Alhambra Theatre said that the content was not appropriate for someone appearing in a family show and that Chalmers had admitted his involvement. She said: ‘In light of information given by an anonymous member of the public, of which we were completely unaware, we can confirm that Craig Chalmers is no longer taking part in our pantomime Cinderella.

High-priced Brazilian: “A Brazilian student is set to sell her virginity for a staggering $780,000 after she put it up for auction online. A man called Natsu, from Japan, fended off strong competition from American bidders Jack Miller and Jack Right, and Indian big-spender Rudra Chatterjee, to secure a date with 20-year-old Catarina Migliorini. The auction closed this morning, and the physical education student – who said she will use the cash to build homes for poverty-stricken families – was the subject of 15 bids. Catarina’s move sparked outrage across the globe, with many claiming she was little more than a prostitute. She also caused controversy when she revealed she would be followed every step of the way by an Australian crew for a documentary film called Virgins Wanted. But she said: ‘I saw this as a business. I have the opportunity to travel, to be part of a movie and get a bonus with it. ‘If you only do it once in your life then you are not a prostitute”

Girl, 6, helped deliver her sister when mother went into labour: “A six-year-old girl delivered her own sister when she was woken up by her mother who had gone labour on the bathroom floor at home – thanks to watching an episode of BBC drama Casualty. Francesca Goodby calmly talked her mother Kay, 28, through the sudden birth after her waters broke in Bearwood, West Midlands – while her father Michael, 33, was calling 999. She helped her panicking mother with her breathing, encouraging her to push, fetched her clean towels and even made sure the umbilical cord was not wrapped around the baby’s head. Francesca leapt into action in July after recalling an episode of Casualty when a woman suddenly went into labour. After 12 minutes of pushing, 6lbs 8oz baby Roisin had been delivered. The schoolgirl said: ‘I had to keep mummy calm. I didn’t want the cord to be wrapped around her neck because she might have died and I held her when she was born to keep her safe.”

A sight you wouldn’t want to see: “Australian Sam had been taking part in a Great White tagging trip when he found himself face-to-face with the deadly predator off the Neptune Islands, South Australia. The Shortfin Mako shark – which have been known to attack humans eventually left after eating tuna baits thrown into the water. Sam said: ‘The Mako made some menacing passes. On a number of occasions she almost swallowed the camera whole, allowing me to shoot straight down her maw. Sam said: ‘When I saw the shark I couldn’t get in the water fast enough to get some pictures. ‘I couldn’t believe what I was seeing up close. This Mako was audacious, bordering manic. ‘At one point I had a Great White and a Mako circling for the tuna bait. ‘Once the Great White left, the Mako decided I was the next threat to her free meal. She circled me for around two hours making intimidatingly close passes.’

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

Are you ready to have kids? Some things to check

October 24, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Test 1: Preparation

Women: To prepare for pregnancy

1. Put on a dressing gown and stick a beanbag down the front.
2. Leave it there.
3. After 9 months remove 5% of the beans.

Men: To prepare for children

1. Go to a local chemist, tip the contents of your wallet onto the counter and tell the pharmacist to help himself
2. Go to the supermarket. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home. Pick up the newspaper and read it for the last time.

Test 2: Knowledge

Find a couple who are already parents and berate them about their methods of discipline, lack of patience, appallingly low tolerance levels and how they have allowed their children to run wild.

Suggest ways in which they might improve their child’s sleeping habits, toilet training, table manners and overall behaviour.

Enjoy it. It will be the last time in your life that you will have all the answers.

Test 3: Nights

To discover how the nights will feel:

1. Walk around the living room from 5pm to 10pm carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 4 – 6kg, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly.
2. At 10pm, put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 11pm and walk the bag around the living room until 1am.
4. Set the alarm for 3am.
5. As you can’t get back to sleep, get up at 2am and make a cup of tea.
6. Go to bed at 2.45am.
7. Get up again at 3am when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs in the dark until 4am.
9. Put the alarm on for 5am. Get up when it goes off.
10. Make breakfast.

Keep this up for 5 years. LOOK CHEERFUL.

Test 4: Dressing Small Children

1. Buy a live octopus and a string bag.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the string bag so that no arms hangout.

Time Allowed: 5 minutes.

Test 5: Cars

1. Forget the BMW. Buy a practical 5-door wagon.
2. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there.
3. Get a coin. Insert it into the CD player.
4. Take a box of chocolate biscuits; mash them into the back seat.
5. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Test 6: Going for a walk

a. Wait.
b. Go out the front door.
c. Come back in again.
d. Go out.
e. Come back in again.
f. Go out again.
g. Walk down the front path.
h. Walk back up it.
i. Walk down it again.
j. Walk very slowly down the road for five minutes.
k. Stop, inspect minutely and ask at least 6 questions about every piece of used chewing gum, dirty tissue and dead insect along the way.
l. Retrace your steps.
m. Scream that you have had as much as you can stand until the neighbours come out and stare at you.
n. Give up and go back into the house.

You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk.

Test 7: Conversations with children

Repeat everything you say at least 5 times.

Test 8: Grocery Shopping

1. Go to the local supermarket. Take with you the nearest thing you can find to a pre-school child – a fully grown goat is excellent. If you intend to have more than one child, take more than one goat.
2. Buy your weekly groceries without letting the goat(s) out of your sight.
3. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys.

Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Test 9: Feeding a 1 year-old

1. Hollow out a melon
2. Make a small hole in the side
3. Suspend the melon from the ceiling and swing it side to side
4. Now get a bowl of soggy cornflakes and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon while pretending to be an aeroplane.
5. Continue until half the cornflakes are gone.
6. Tip the rest into your lap, making sure that a lot of it falls on the floor.

Test 10:TV

1. Learn the names of every character from the Wiggles, Barney, Teletubbies and Disney.
2. Watch nothing else on television for at least 5 years.

Test 11: Mess

1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains
2. Hide a fish behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flowerbeds and then rub them on clean walls. Cover the stains with crayon. How does that look?
4. Empty every drawer/cupboard/storage box in your house onto the floor and proceed with step 5.
5. Drag randomly items from one room to another room and leave them there.

Test 12: Long Trips with Toddlers

1. Make a recording of someone shouting ‘Mummy’ repeatedly. Important Notes: No more than a 4 second delay between each Mummy. Include occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet.
2. Play this tape in your car, everywhere you go for the next 4 years.

You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Test 13: Conversations

1. Start talking to an adult of your choice.
2. Have someone else continually tug on your shirt hem or shirt sleeve while playing the Mummy tape listed above.
You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

Test 14: Getting ready for work

1. Pick a day on which you have an important meeting.
2. Put on your finest work attire.
3. Take a cup of cream and put 1 cup of lemon juice in it
4. Stir
5. Dump half of it on your nice silk shirt
6. Saturate a towel with the other half of the mixture
7. Attempt to clean your shirt with the same saturated towel
8. Do not change (you have no time).
9. Go directly to work

Original story here

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Car hits footballer; car loses: “IF Jonathan Brown was any tougher, he’d rust. While his mentor and former coach Leigh Matthews snapped a goalpost in half in 1982, Brown took on a car yesterday, and won. The AFL superstar was on an early morning training ride with a group of Gold Coast cyclists and triathletes through the Tallebudgera Valley when his bike was hit by a car going through a roundabout. Brown flew on to the car’s bonnet with his elbow smashing the Hyundai’s windscreen. Pieces of his flesh were imbedded in the shattered glass as the car was towed away. Brown was taken to hospital where he received 10 stitches but was discharged shortly after. Just hours later he was having a coffee and describing the incident as a “little hiccup”. “I’m fine, I’ve pulled up pretty well…a couple of little dings here and there but I’ll be right for training,” Brown said. “I feel like I’ve played a game of footy. I count myself lucky I got away with minor injuries.”

“Respectable” couple turn out to be porn stars: “For the five-star hotel that didn’t want to host her wedding, this bride-to-be was apparently the wrong type of person. But Pauline Bailey [above] does have her fans. Ten thousand, to be exact. They tune into Red Light Central TV to watch her posing, pouting and parading in a series of skimpy outfits. And the blushing bride-to-be doesn’t blush at all, despite the fact that she is wearing hardly anything. Yesterday it emerged that the 27-year-old medical law graduate, who described herself as ‘respectable, middle-class and well-educated’, is also an adult TV star and glamour model who goes by the name of Rachel T. That was a small detail that the wedding planner at Stoke Park Hotel didn’t know when she branded Miss Bailey and her fiance Paul Carty, 51, ‘not our type of people’ in an email to her boss after they inquired about holding their wedding there.” [So the wedding planner was apparently a good judge of people]

DON’T surprise her! Women confess they hate spontaneity from their partner – especially if they spring a weekend away: “This will come as a surprise to many men who expect to earn Brownie points by whisking their other half off for a surprise romantic getaway. In a recent survey, 60 per cent of women confessed they hate surprises, with a third admitting they would be annoyed if their partner sprang a holiday on them – because they would have no time to prepare for it. The research found the typical woman wants seven days and 11 hours notice before even the shortest break so she can plan her outfits (with at least three shopping trips) and arrange cover at work. While romantic city breaks or a spot of culture are welcome treats, planning is key to couples enjoying a trip away together, the study of 2,000 women shows. Key activities before leaving home include having beauty treatments, cancelling prior arrangements and ensuring all essentials are packed. The research, commissioned by British Airways, found women think at least nine outfits are needed for short breaks”

Friendly fellow: “The creature, which spends its life mostly buried beneath the sand of the sea-floor, sticks just a portion of its body up into the water where it has five antennae to sense its prey, usually smaller worms and fish. It snares its prey using a complex feeding apparatus called a pharynx which can turn inside-out, like the fingers of a glove, and has sharp mandibles on the end which snap shut like scissors. Unlucky creatures are sometimes sliced in two because of the speed and strength of the worm’s attacks, and it can dish out nasty bites to any humans who stray too close… A 4ft-long specimen was unearthed in a Newquay, Cornwall aquarium that was attacking coral and prize fish. Workers at the attraction had been left scratching their heads as to why the coral had been left devastated and – in some cases – cut in half. After staking out the display for several weeks, the last resort was to completely dismantle it, rock by rock. Staff believe the beast – which they nicknamed Barry – arrived by hitching a ride into the aquarium hiding inside a piece of coral when it was young and grew enormous over a number of years.”

Heroic efforts of British heritage volunteers: “It was once a grand 18th century canal – the hub of a thriving salt trade which brought wealth to the townsfolk of Droitwich in Worcestershire. But by 1939, unable to compete with the rise of railways, it lay abandoned and gradually became overgrown and silted up. Now, a team of volunteers who restored the waterway after removing 300,000 tons of mud have won an English Heritage Angels award for their efforts. In 2000, the first three locks on the Junction Canal were fully completed. Further funding, including £12.7million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, saw the restoration of nine broad locks, the building of a new bridge, just over half a mile of new canal and four new locks. In addition, five miles of canal were dredged, and a 5.5 hectare reed bed was made. Finally, after 38 years of restoration, the Droitwich Canals were opened in July 2011. The canals form part of a navigable 27-mile ring passing through Worcester and Droitwich. More than 3,000 boats have used the canal”

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

Why was this London mansion generally known as the “In and Out” club?

October 23, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It was officially the premises of the Naval and Military club — now moved elsewhere

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Italian scientists found guilty for earthquake deaths: “Six Italian scientists and a government official have been found guilty of multiple manslaughter for underestimating the risks of a killer earthquake in L’Aquila in 2009. They were sentenced to six years in jail in a case that has provoked outrage among scientists worldwide. The experts were also ordered to pay more than €9 million ($11.5 million) in damages to survivors and inhabitants. Under the Italian justice system, the seven will remain free until they have exhausted two chances to appeal against the verdict. Some commentators had warned that any convictions would dissuade other experts from sharing their expertise for fear of legal retribution. The prosecutor, Fabio Picuti, had asked for jail sentences of four years for each defendant for failing to alert the population of the walled medieval town of L’Aquila to the risks, days before the 6.3-magnitude quake killed 309 people. All seven were members of the Major Risks Committee, which met in the central Italian town on March 31, 2009, six days before the quake devastated the region, tearing down houses and churches and leaving thousands homeless.”

Spear lily’s spectacular flowering came after 14 years: “PERHAPS this plant with its spectacular flowering stem would be better named patience. Golden Grove gardener Steve Hill has waited 14 years to see his 2.4m spear lily flower. Mr Hill bought the native plant as tube stock from a plant sale at Wayville Showgrounds in 1998. “I was expecting it to be a Gymea lily, which is very similar and they flower a bit earlier,” Mr Hill, 52, said. “When it flowered 14 years after planting it, we realised it was a spear lily and thought it was amazing. “I was totally surprised by the size of the inflorescence and its flower spike, which is about 4.5m.” The plant, which has the botanical name Doryanthes palmeri, is defined by sword-shaped leaves stretching more than 2m long and red flowers. This is a slow-growing, but long-lived species. “They grow so large and take a long time to flower. They can grow 7m high, which is taller than houses.”

No more London black cabs? “It has been one of London’s most familiar sights for more than a century, as instantly recognisable to visitors as the red telephone box or the Tube stop. But whether the distinctive black cab will continue to come off the assembly line in years to come is now in question. Coventry-based manufacturer Manganese Bronze, which makes the London taxi, is to appoint administrators and faces an uncertain future.The group made the announcement after it failed to secure a funding boost from one of its largest shareholders. Manganese was reportedly in talks with Chinese private car maker Geely, which owns a 20 per cent stake in the firm, over a £15million loan. It said it ‘remained hopeful’ that the business would survive. Motorised taxis first appeared in London at the end of the 19th century. There are now more than 20,000 licensed cabs serving the capital.

Referee bludgeoned to death with a log in Africa: “A pub league football referee was bludgeoned to death after he ruled a goal was offside during a friendly match in Zimbabwe. Isaac Mbofana, 34, died on the spot after a fan battered him around the head with a log during the heated game last week. The country’s Chronicle newspaper reported that Mr Mbofana had been running the line as an assistant referee when he ruled a goal was disallowed during the social match on a primary school playing field. Police said a group of local fans reacted angrily to the decision, with one allegedly picking up part of a tree trunk and attacking the linesman by the pitch side. Spokeswoman Thandiwe Khumalo confirmed officers had launched a murder probe following the incident, which happened last Thursday in the central village of Takawira.”

Caterpillar slows to a crawl: “CATERPILLAR says the world’s economy is weaker than it thought, and it doesn’t expect growth to pick up until the second half of next year. The company on Monday cut its 2012 revenue and profit guidance, and said next year won’t be much better. Caterpillar makes the yellow-painted excavators, heavy tractors and other construction equipment often seen on road-building projects. It’s the world’s largest maker of construction and mining equipment, and also makes engines, so its results are watched closely for signs of where the broader economy is headed. Where it’s headed right now is for some weak growth, based on what Caterpillar was saying on Monday.”

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

Apologies for this

October 22, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

(Commercial first)

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Magazines in waiting rooms a health risk: “Magazines in the waiting room can provide a welcome distraction before having to face the dentist. But they could do more harm than good by spreading germs, claim infection experts. They insist that magazines should be thrown out or recycled after just a week and not left out to be leafed through by patient after patient. This advice was handed out to Monica Symes, a dentist in Lyme Regis, Dorset, by an NHS infection control worker. She was also warned that ignoring it could lead to her failing an inspection by the Care Quality Commission. Miss Symes, 65, who has practised for more than 30 years, said: ‘I can’t believe the magazines would pose any risk to patients.’ She has some dating back to 2004 but added: ‘Generally we try to keep up-to-date but plenty of old magazines are quite interesting.’ The General Dental Council said it was heavy-handed to wage war on magazines. Magazines were removed from some doctors’ waiting rooms during the swine flu outbreak.”

Eerie glow-in-the-dark flowers for Halloween: “A flower company has launched the UK’s first ever bouquet which glows in the dark. The extraordinary creation looks like a normal bunch of cream roses in the daylight, but produce an eerie green haze when the lights are dimmed. The amazing effect is produced when the variety of blooms called Avalanche are left out to absorb natural or electric light. The limited edition bouquet, from Interflora, is being launched in time for Halloween at the end of the month. Interflora say it will appeal to those who are sick of the usual pumpkin decoration – or those who like a bit of gothic glamour. The flowers, which cost between £49.99 and £74.99, are currently being prepared for delivery up and down the country. But the special process used to achieve the glow-in-the-dark effect remains a closely guarded secret.”

Wha?? British Scout Association to clamp down on the use of nicknames ‘because it encourages bullying’: “The organisation founded by Lord ‘B-P’ Baden-Powell believes that giving children nicknames could encourage taunting and bullying. Training sessions are being offered to new and current leaders, who have also been warned not to use the shortening technique amongst themselves. It is particularly concerned about the use of nicknames which focus on an individual’s physical characteristics – such as their hair colour, height or weight. So traditional nicknames such as ‘ginger’, ‘lanky’ and ‘tubby’ would be likely to be frowned upon, the Daily Telegraph has reported. The association’s chief ‘safeguarding’ officer Sam Marks drew up the plans. He told Scouting Magazine: ‘Bullying can advance gradually and can start with something as simple as a nickname.” [I am quite proud of two nicknames I have had, although both are unrepeatable in polite society!]

Sex addiction IS a legitimate mental disorder, psychologists say: “Sex addiction is a legitimate mental disorder that can ruin careers, destroy relationships and cause health problems, say US psychologists. Out of control sexual behaviour can ruin people’s lives, researchers say, but psychiatrists have been reluctant to accept it as a genuine disorder. Now a team from the University of California, Los Angeles has devised a set of criteria to define ‘hypersexual disorder’ as a new mental health condition. Symptoms include a recurring pattern of sexual fantasies, urges and behaviors lasting a period of six months or longer that are not caused by other issues, such as substance abuse or another medical condition. The results of the study, reported in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, will influence whether hypersexual disorder should be included in the forthcoming revised edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, considered the ‘bible’ of psychiatry.”

Boys reach puberty two years earlier than in the past… and some start to mature at the age of six: “Boys are hitting puberty up to two years earlier than in the past – with some starting to show the first signs of maturing as young as six, according to doctors. Although it is well-documented that girls are hitting puberty younger, the study is one of the first to suggest that boys are also growing up earlier. Data gathered from 4,000 boys across the US revealed that, on average, white and Hispanic boys go through puberty around the age of ten, while the average age is nine for black boys. Researchers working for the American Academy of Paediatrics said that a similar trend had been noticed in other countries, including the UK. Nine per cent of white boys showed some signs of puberty at six, as did almost 20 per cent of black boys and 7 per cent of Hispanics, the AAP’s annual conference heard. Overall, the average age of the onset of puberty was 18 months earlier than the long-considered figure of 11.5 years for white boys and two years earlier for black children”

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

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