An Irish billboard?

April 14, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

The great survivor: “A Cardiff hero whose name appears on a monument to the fallen of the First World War actually survived the conflict. Alf Norman fought in the Boer War, the Great War and worked in a munitions factory during the Second World War yet he is on the Grangetown Memorial remembering the war dead. Sergeant Norman went on to live for three decades after the memorial recording his death was built. He was serving with the Glamorgan Yeomanry, believed to be in Mesopotamia, when his wife received two telegrams – one to say he was missing presumed killed and another to say he had been killed in action. His Cork-born ‘widow’ Mary organised a traditional Irish wake in his absence. Later news came through that far from being dead her husband was still very much alive and doing his bit for king and country. For some reason, his name was still put forward in the early 1920s when the Cardiff memorial was built.”

The world’s most complete preserved mammoth will go on display: “The baby mammoth, discovered in Siberia in 2007, will be the centrepiece of a special three-month exhibition at the London museum. It will be the first time is has been shown in Western Europe. The female mammoth is a little larger than a dog and is thought to have died 42,000 years ago when it was only one month old. It was found by Siberia’s Yuribei river, several mammoth remains have been unearthed in the area. Experts believe that its body was buried in wet clay and mud which then froze, preserving it until she was found by reindeer herder Yuri Khudi and his sons while they were searching for firewood along the banks of the Yuribei river.”

Elaborate graffiti: “Mysterious street artist Banksy is thought to have unveiled his latest creation, taking aim at the thorny issue of government surveillance. The guerrilla graffiti artist is believed to be behind the image of three trenchcoat clad agents eavesdropping on a telephone box that appeared in Cheltenham in the early hours of this morning. It is believed the city was chosen for the work because it is where GCHQ, the centre of the UK’s surveillance network, is based. The graffiti is on the side of a house just three miles from the listening post. The trenchcoat clad agents seem to be listening in on the phone box on the street corner in Cheltenham. Although the artist has not officially claimed the work, it is in his characteristic style and carries a political message in line with his previous pieces.”

Super-cheap frock: “At the bottom of a plastic bag lies a very small piece of highly flammable fabric in a colour never dreamed of by Mother Nature. This is budget clothing chain Peacocks’ latest offering: a £1.99 dress. Yes, that’s right, £1.99. Forty-one pence less than a cappuccino from my nearest coffee shop. I’ve bought it online to see just how cheap and cheerful fashion has become. Mint it is, and over the head it goes. At £1.99, a dress doesn’t come with a zip. There isn’t the budget for one. But once on, there is a mini-revelation; the thing is incredibly comfortable, like wearing a comfy T-shirt or a soft nightdress. But after the grim winter, it is a serotonin boost to be back in a silly, jaunty dress. It’s short, skaterish, girlish and it makes me feel oddly … cheerful. The first test is the children. They are most excited by the price. At last they can afford something in the adult world — who cares if they want it or not. They say they quite like it. ‘Pretty!’ is the verdict.”

Sexier stockings?: “The stockings are laced with the chemicals which are designed to increase sexual attraction. The Hush Hush range by hosiery firm Ballerina is laced with female pheromones believed to send men as wild as Hoffman in the 1967 film. A spokesman for Ballerina said: ‘Pheromones send out subconscious signals to the opposite sex.’ But while pheromones are emitted in our sweat glands, style mavens may be relieved to know the stockings’ ones are synthetic.

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

A suffering man?

April 13, 2014 at 3:22 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Beer joke falls flat at officious British supermarket: “A schoolteacher was refused alcohol at a supermarket for joking to his 12-year-old daughter: “That’s your beer sorted out.” Kieran O’Sullivan, 49, said an “overzealous” cashier overheard the joke as he stood in the queue at Co-op in Worthing, West Sussex, with four cans of beer and a range of groceries. The female worker then demanded to see ID for his child, Nara. The manager backed up his employee, and Mr O’Sullivan left without his shopping. He said the incident was “incredible””

Drunk burglar let down by his bowel: “A burglar was arrested on the lavatory of the house he was raiding. Mark Johnson, 41, who was drunk, was found by police with his trousers around his ankles in the upstairs bathroom of the house he had been seen entering. Johnson had caused a high-speed police chase just hours previously when he was seen speeding in a car while twice over the legal limit. Although officers lost him when he went through red lights and the wrong way around a roundabout, neighbours reported seeing him smashing a window and breaking into a house in Sunderland. The commotion woke the retired householder, who came out of his bedroom to find police officers on his landing and a burglar using his bathroom. The 64-year-old home owner confirmed he did not know the stranger using his bathroom and Johnson was arrested. Johnson, of Sunderland, was jailed for 18 months at Newcastle Crown Court.”

Elderly couple on a small income charged £900 by Virgin for watching porn they claim they didn’t order: “A couple has been handed a £900 bill from Virgin Media for pornography over a five-year period – despite the fact that they insist they have never ordered any. Ann, 72, and Ron Hayward, 75, who live in a one-bedroom bedsit in Stockport, Cheshire, now have no internet or television because the provider have accused the couple of ‘abusing’ services. The great-grandparents first received a bill for almost £200 in 2009, and another £200 last week. They were also sent another letter ordering them to pay more than £500 for blue films. Adult channels paid for through Virgin media cost £5.99 for a 16 hour period. But the pensioners, who live in a quiet housing block for elderly residents, were adamant they had never ordered, let alone watched, the pornographic films. Virgin staff have now told the Haywards that all of their services will be cancelled because ‘they are abusing the service’ – and they have until 9th May to find a new provider for their telephone, broadband and TV.

Breasts not allowed in “Miss England” comp: “A model has been kicked out of the Miss England competition because she posted a topless picture of herself online to promote a breast cancer campaign. Georgia Eden was told on Friday she could not take part in the Miss Oxfordshire heat of the competition after it was discovered she had posted a ‘selfie’ of herself to promote the fight against breast cancer. Miss Eden challenged the ruling saying she tweeted the image twice in March with the hashtags #coppafeel and #breastcancerawareness after losing a close friend to the disease last year. In the photograph she covers her breasts with one of her hands and her arm. Miss Eden said that she felt ‘demeaned’ by the ruling. ‘I have been made to feel cheap. The photo is implied topless – but there are no nipples on show,’ said Miss Eden, who lives in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.”

Baby cleared of murder: “A nine-month-old boy who appeared in Pakistan charged with attempting to murder police officers has been cleared, following a week-long police investigation. Baby Muhammad Mosa Khan was accused of being part of a ruthless gang of gas thieves who tried to kill police by hurling stones at them during a raid. Last week he was pictured at court in Lahore sitting on his grandfather’s lap, contentedly sucking on a bottle of milk as the charges against him were read out. A Pakistani lawyer said the judge announced the decision after Saturday’s court hearing during which police said it had dropped the charge against the boy. He said police had registered the case against the toddler and his family members without investigating the matter and the judge had sought an explanation. The case highlights the country’s dysfunctional criminal justice system where even children are not immune from questionable legal decisions.”

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

Now just a minute …

April 12, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Nearly a quarter of newlyweds get married EXPECTING to divorce: “‘For better or for worse’ appears to be a dying concept in modern Britain. Nearly a quarter (21 per cent) of recently married or engaged couples believe that they’re likely to get divorced at some stage in the future, with 7 per cent of these admitting to having signed a pre-nuptial agreement with a potential break-up in mind. And almost half (44 per cent) of those foreseeing divorce admitted that ‘financial implications’ were their biggest worry for the future. However, the majority (57 per cent) of the newlywed or engaged couples questioned did say that they expected their marriage to last forever. But the remaining 43 per cent had a far less rosy outlook on their union, with 22 per cent saying that they accepted ‘this might not be the case’, while the remaining 21 per cent acknowledged that they didn’t think they would stay with their partner forever.”

White wing supremacist: British swan attacks foreign students: “Warwick University has erected a fence around a campus lake to stop a spate of swan attacks on students. A 4ft tall bird, which boasts an 8ft wingspan, has been accused of behaved aggressively towards foreign students as they cross over a footbridge near its nesting place at the university’s Gibbet Hill campus in Coventry, West Midlands. The footbridge is used by hundreds of students everyday as a route between accommodation and university buildings. Undergraduates revealed that the swan only appeared to target students from ethnic minorities. One 24-year-old student from India said: “These swans are very annoying, and the students feel as though they’re being bullied. “I’m from India, and they attack me especially, they focus straight on me. “We’ve been warned that the swans will be a bit feisty at this time of year, but they go for me all year round. “I think they don’t like too many Indians in England – maybe the swans here are a little bit racist.”

Technicolor lobster: “An eye-catching two-toned lobster called Harley Quinn has become even more striking after moulting to reveal electric blue skin down one side of his body. The strangely pigmented creature was captured near Bridlington in East Yorkshire in 2010 and has been looked after by curious staff who have since monitored his colourful transition at Scarborough Sea Life Centre. The chances of a lobster being two separate colours on each half of its body is around one in 50million and Harley Quinn is arguably even rarer as his claws are the opposite colours to the corresponding sides of his body, making him look like he has been divided into four. Harley, who is thought to be five or six years old, has now shed his unique armour for the second time. ‘Whereas he was a reddish-black on one side and sandy colour on the other, he has now adopted a deep electric blue down one side,’ said Amy McFarlane, of the centre.”

Horse races man – and it’s the MAN who wins!: “He is the youngest person to have conquered 100 marathons and holds the world record for being the youngest and fastest person to run 10 marathons in 10 days. But Adam Holland has added another first to his list of achievements – beating a horse in a 10-mile race. The 27-year-old won the unusual contest, taking on Tango, a five-year-old 14.2 hands high Appaloosa Welsh Horse. The pair raced through the Devonshire countryside, taking on moorland and bridleways near Tavistock. Owner Kate Melville rode Tango, who she rescued along with another horse four years ago, in the race against Mr Holland, whose running name is Tango. And despite Tango’s four legs, Mr Holland just pipped his equine challenger to the post, winning by 10 minutes. He said: ‘I think I had an advantage on the hills – I’m a very good down hill runner but the horse had to walk down the hills.”

Forget taking a little blue pill – now you can have Viagra ICE CREAM: “A British ice-cream maker has invented a dessert which can help with erectile dysfunction – by flavouring the batch with Viagra. The Arousal flavour contains around 25mg of Viagra per scoop. It was created on specific request from a celebrity customer of South Wales ice cream company, Lick Me I’m Delicious. Mr Francis says he was approached by an ‘A-list celebrity’ to create the very specific flavour for a party, and spent a few days perfecting the recipe. He said: ‘It’s all very secretive. We had to sign a confidentiality agreement so I can’t reveal the name of the client. ‘All I’m allowed to say is it was for a party and that they were very happy with the end result and that I made “the required amount””

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

Elaborate tombstone

April 11, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I guess he liked company

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Scottish girls are bustiest in UK – with 34DD breasts: “Scottish girls are on average a 34DD – that’s two cup sizes bigger than their 34C English neighbours. Inverness came out on top, with the average bra size coming in at a 36F. The research reveals that Northern English women are more likely to have bigger boobs – with the average Northern lady wearing a D cup. Northern towns to top the biggest breast poll are Liverpool, Leeds, Aberdeen and Glasgow, while southern towns are at the lower end of the spectrum. A spokesperson for Debenhams Lingerie, who commissioned the research, said: ‘We have seen a dramatic difference in Scottish bust sizes vs. the rest of the UK, our fuller bust ranges have been particularly popular with Scots.’ [I think Canadian ladies are bigger than US ones too]

Parrot defends owner from attacker: “A crime-fighting parrot has saved his owner after she was pushed to the ground in a park. The female victim had been taking Wunsy the African grey for a walk and fly in Sunny Hill Park, north London, on Friday when she was grabbed by the shoulders and shoved. The parrot, who is taken to the park daily in a harness and lead, flapped his wings and squawked, causing the attacker to flee. The attacker is a white man aged 25 to 35 with short blond hair. He was wearing beige trousers and had a dark black rucksack.”

World’s oldest barmaid is celebrating her 100th birthday but has no plans to retire: “A great-grandmother who has been named the oldest bar maid in the world is celebrating her 100th birthday, but despite having pulled pints since 1940 she has no plans to retire. Dolly Saville still works three days a week at The Red Lion Hotel in Wendover, Buckinghamshire, and has been working for 74 years. She started pulling pints when she was 26, just before World War II, and she estimates that she has poured around two million pints since she began. Over the last seven decades she has served many famous faces, including James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan, former Prime Minister Ted Heath, footballer Stanley Matthews, singer Vera Lynn, ballet dancer Margot Fonteyn and actress Elizabeth Taylor. Until six years ago when she was 94 she was still working at least six hours a day, six days a week and has only ever had two weeks sick leave her entire life. Now she has had to reduce her shifts to three hours a week, but still spends the time working on her feet clearing tables, serving customers and polishing glasses.

Chubby locals complain after Chinese council builds public toilet with 20-inch wide doors that only thin people can get through: “The local council has been flooded with complaints from larger locals who say they are unable to get through the 20-inch doors to access the facility. There is only enough space in the corridor for a single person to go in and out of the toilet at any one time, while queues can form during winter as people try to force themselves in while wearing thick jumpers and woolly coats. Local council official Guang Yao, whose department operates the toilet, said they had decided to put the toilet there two decades ago because there was an urgent need for more public facilities but there was very little space. He said: ‘It was less of a problem then because people were not so overweight as they are now, and there was not so many people using it so they had time to come in and go out.”

Butcher invents Scotch Creme Eggs: “A creative butcher has cooked up a unusual take on an Easter favourite – Scotch Creme Eggs. Graham Eyes created the seasonal snacks in a bid to entice more customers through the doors of his shop in Southport, Merseyside. The 53-year-old is renowned locally for his unusual concoctions and, after the success of last year’s Cadbury’s Mini Egg sausages, he was looking for another way to brighten up Easter. His latest offering is a Cadbury’s Creme Egg, wrapped in sausage meat, and flavoured with a variety of seasonings. ‘Personally I think they are really tasty, I really like them. They’ve got a really interesting taste. ‘You’ve got the sweetness from the chocolate, contrasting with the chilli and lime that we use in the coating – but the flavours go really well together.’

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

The chase

April 10, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Priest moves bride to tears with ‘Hallelujah’: “Chris and Leah O’Kane’s wedding ceremony was going perfectly to plan in Oldcastle, Co Meath in Ireland on Saturday. The band, SonLight Music Ministry had just finished singing “Be thou my vision”, and the priest and congregation were pausing for a moment of reflection, when Fr Ray Kelly stood up and went to the microphone, ostensibly to say a few words. Instead of saying the words, however, Fr Kelly burst into song, performing a personalised rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. “We join together here today, to help two people on their way, as Leah and Chris start their life together”, he sang. Fr Kelly’s singing talent moved the “blushing” bride to tears, but we can assume they were tears of joy, as the congregation gave Fr Kelly a rousing standing ovation.”

US Navy unveils rail gun that fires at seven times speed of sound: “THE US Navy has unveiled a rail gun that fires at seven times the speed of sound — noting that “there’s not a thing in the sky that’s going to survive.” The rail gun is designed to take out incoming missiles — or possibly aircraft. It uses an electromagnetic pulse to propel a projectile down the barrel, creating a fireball of molten steel. The projectile sheds layers of its steel cladding to turn first of all into a a forearm-length missile then finally into a smaller slug that punches a hole in its target. “An electromagnetic rail gun is a gun that uses just electricity — no gun powder — and, oh, by the way, can shoot a projectile like this, well over 100 miles (160km) at Mach 7,” Chief of Naval Research, Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, from the Office of Naval Research, told CBS News. “So think about that. A slug that big — a slug that big going Mach 7 puts a hole through six half-inch steel plates,” he added.”

Million jars of peanut butter in landfill after Costco refuse to donate it: “NEARLY a million jars of peanut butter are being dumped at a landfill to expedite the sale of a bankrupt peanut-processing plant that was at the heart of a 2012 salmonella outbreak and nationwide recall. Bankruptcy trustee Clarke Coll said he had no other choice after Costco Wholesale refused to take shipment of the Sunland Inc product and declined requests to let it be donated to food banks or repackaged or sold to brokers who provide food to institutions like prisons. After extensive testing, Costco agreed to a court order authorising the trustee to sell it the peanut butter. But after getting eight loads, Costco rejected it as “not merchantable” because of leaky peanut oil. Coll said “all parties agreed there’s nothing wrong with the peanut butter from a health and safety issue”

Tough guy dies young: “WWE superstar The Ultimate Warrior has died in Arizona at the age of 54. The former pro wrestler, whose given name was James Brian Hellwig, collapsed in front of his Arizona hotel room and was pronounced dead at hospital. He died just three days after he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of Wrestlemania weekend. The wrestler was walking to his car with his wife just before 6pm when he fell to the ground, TMZ reported. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. Hellwig, who started in the ring in 1987 and counted Hulk Hogan among his many victories, legally changed his name to Warrior in 1993 to match the name of his neon-faced, wild-haired alter-ego. He became a household name after besting the Hulk in 1990′s Wrestlemania VI, the highlight of a 13-year career in professional wrestling that included three stints in what was then known as the WWF.”

Telling the time with ball bearings: “Most of us take telling the time for granted. But for visually impaired people it can be a real struggle and sometimes a speaking clock just isn’t practical. However, a new tactile watch is about to hit the shops that lets people tell the time just by touching it – and it’s so stylish that many people with perfect vision are also ordering one for themselves. The Bradley Timepiece has a minimalistic titanium face with gently protruding markings, but no numbers or hands. Instead of traditional watch hands, time is indicated by two ball bearings. The one towards the centre of the watch indicates the passing minutes and one marking the hours is positioned on the side. The ball bearings are connected to a watch movement beneath the casing with magnets. If the ball bearings are pressed a little too hard and are moved accidently, a user can shake their wrist and they spring back to show the correct time.”

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

Redneck garage sale

April 9, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

A glass of milk a day ‘keeps arthritis at bay’ – but only if you are a woman: “A glass of milk a day could help stop women’s knees from creaking, claim researchers. A new US study found women who frequently drink fat-free or low-fat milk may have less osteoarthritis in the knee. But eating cheese increased the problem in women. Drinking milk made little difference in men, and eating yogurt did not affect progression in men or women. Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease that causes pain and swelling of joints in the hand, hips, or knee. At the start of the study dietary data was collected and joint space width was measured using X-rays, says a report in the journal Arthritis Care & Research. A total of 888 men and 1,260 women with knee arthritis took part who had follow-up checks up to four years later. There was a slight worsening of the condition among women eating cheese every day.”

Chinese ‘Chicken Cup’ sells for £19.6 million at auction: “A Shanghai collector bought a rare Ming Dynasty cup that’s touted as the “holy grail” of China’s art world for £19.6 million at a Hong Kong auction on Tuesday, smashing the previous world record price for Chinese porcelain. Sotheby’s said Liu Yiqian was the winning bidder for the small white cup, which measures just 3.1 inches in diameter and is more than 500 years old. The vessel is known as a “chicken cup” because it is decorated with a rooster and hen tending to their chicks. The cup was made during the reign of the Ming Dynasty’s Chenghua Emperor, who ruled from 1465 to 1487. Sotheby’s said there are only 17 such cups in existence, with four in private hands and the rest in museums. “There’s no more legendary object in the history of Chinese porcelain,” said Nicholas Chow, Sotheby’s deputy chairman for Asia.”

How Boris silenced John Humphrys – with Latin: “This morning, on the Today Programme, John Humphrys repeatedly asked Boris Johnson whether he supported Maria Miller. Every time, Boris stonewalled until he came up with the ultimate ruse – speak Latin. “Nemo iudex in causa sua,” Boris said, quoting the old legal maxim – “No one should be a judge in his own cause”; ie Parliament shouldn’t decide the punishment of MPs like Miller. Humphrys was silenced and Boris had had the last word – that was the end of the interview. As Boris well knows, Latin is the ultimate answer. Latin gives the impression of planet-brained intelligence on the part of the Latinist. And, because there’s an odd expectation that we should all know Latin idioms, no one questions it or asks for a translation. The interviewer is silenced; the interviewee triumphs. Latin is the interviewees’ magic weapon. Res ipsa loquitur.”

Yale student says university forced her to gain weight: “A 42-KG YALE history major says the university’s health centre told her she needed to gain weight or take a leave of absence from school. She’s spent the past 6 months trying to put on pounds for her weekly weigh-ins. Frances Chan, 20, told the New Haven Register that she tried everything to gain weight, but only put on 0.9kg from September to April. “I ate ice cream twice a day. I ate cookies. I used elevators instead of walking up stairs. But I don’t really gain any weight,” she said. Yale’s health services staff also required Chan to meet with a nutritionist and a mental health professional to determine whether she had an eating disorder. Chan, who is 5’2”, says she doesn’t: Her parents and grandparents also had small frames. Chan said on Facebook that she and her parents are now working with a new doctor at Yale, who said the university made a mistake by focusing too much on Chan’s weight, and apologised for “months of anguish” caused by the mandate to put on pounds.”

The $1.5m golden nugget: World’s largest single crystal of gold discovered: “It is worth as estimated $1.5m, and was found in a river in Venezuela. Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory used a neutron scanner to effectively look inside the 217.78-gram piece of gold, roughly the size of a golf ball. The crystal’s owner wanted to undergo the scans to prove its estimated $1.5m worth – while researchers were keen to study the arrangement of the crystal. Its owner, who lives in the United States, provided the samples to geologist John Rakovan to assess the crystallinity of four specimens, all of which had been found decades ago in Venezuela. Proving it was a crystal would mean it was created entirely naturally – and increase its value. Three of the four samples turned out to be single-crystal pieces of gold, rather than the commonplace multiple-crystal type. Of particular interest was a golf-ball-shaped nugget that at one time was believed to be the world’s largest trapezohedral gold crystal.”

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

Hidden power outlet

April 8, 2014 at 5:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

For the kitchen with everything

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

British Keystone Kops keep falling down stairs: “A team of fast response officers want to be moved from the top floor of a Midland police station – because they keep injuring themselves when running down three flights of slippery stairs. In what has been compared to a Keystone Cops comedy sketch, three constables have suffered serious injuries in the past year alone trying to get down the old Victorian tiled staircases. One constable, who is part of the 30-strong response team, said that his colleagues now lose vital minutes by having to walk slowly down the stairs to avoid injury. The officer, who did not want to be named, said: ‘There is a Keystone Cops element to it with officers tumbling down a flight of steps and injuring themselves before they’ve even got out of the building. ‘But on a serious note it’s a real health hazard.”

Mr Bean has trouble getting in and out of his fancy car: “It is considerably more showy than the kind of runabout most of us might pop to the supermarket in. But perhaps this metallic red £200,000, gullwinged Mercedes SLS AMG supercar is just what Rowan Atkinson needs to lift his spirits after rumours that his marriage is in trouble. Even so, the 59-year-old millionaire actor needed his torso to be as flexible as his famously rubbery face as he lowered himself into the gleaming two-seater after nipping out for some groceries at Waitrose. If getting in to the driver’s seat made him look as ungraceful as his bumbling comic creation Mr Bean, no one could argue that the SLS – which has a top speed of 199mph and does 0 to 62mph in 3.7 seconds – is far more impressive than that other recent addition to his car collection, a Skoda.”

Brits like cheap plonk: “Most Britons refuse to pay more than £6 for a bottle of wine while only one in three can name a single grape variety, it is claimed. The shift to cheap plonk has brought claims that Britain, which imports more wine than any other nation, is effectively dumbing down as a wine nation. Some 80 per cent of all wine sold in the UK sells for less than £6, which leaves very little profit for the producers once tax – at 60 per cent – and shipping is taken out of the equation. The research found that a third cannot name a single grape type and only four per cent can name more than 10. Overall, women were far less knowledgeable than men. A study found that eight in ten people in blind taste tests preferred a bottle of wine costing £4.99 over a £19.99 option which was made from the same grapes. Six in ten thought the £4.99 version was just so delicious that it must be the more expensive of the two, according to research by the London Wine Academy.”

Chinese mother beats son, six, with wire coat hanger for not doing his homework – but escapes arrest when police say: ‘He was a NAUGHTY boy’: “Police in China have decided not to take action against a mother who savagely beat her six-year-old son with a wire coat hanger after they agreed he had been ‘naughty’ for not doing his homework. Xiao Bing’s injuries were discovered by a teacher at the nursery school he attends in Jiangmen city in China’s southern Guangdong province while he was getting changed for a sports lesson. But despite the teacher reporting the wounds to the authorities, Xiao Bing’s mother will not face arrest after local police said the injuries were not as bad as they look, adding that they have told the woman not to beat her child so severely in future.”

World’s leading violinists CAN’T tell the difference between a Stradivarius worth millions of pounds and a modern instrument: “Worth millions of pounds, it has been dubbed the créme de la créme of string music. But a Stradivarius could be no more special than a bog-standard violin, according to a new study. Researchers found the world’s leading violinsts could not distinguish between the antique Italian instrument and its cheaper counterpart. This is despite the Stradivarius having a longstanding reputation for being tonally superior to anything you can buy today. Most musicians even prefer contemporary violins which cost a fraction of the price, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported. French and U.S. researchers asked ten experts to play 12 violins – six new and the others old, including five by Antonio Stradivari – to find out which were superior. They blindfolded the participants, before testing them each for an hour and a quarter in a rehearsal theatre, and then again in a 300-seat concert hall. At the end, six selected a new violin as their preference”

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

For the wine waiter with shaky hands

April 7, 2014 at 6:06 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Mafia are family men, not psychopaths: “Italian researchers Schimmenti and colleagues, who are based in the birthplace of the mafia Sicily, went to a prison in Palermo to interview 30 convicted mobsters. They questioned 39 prisoners in the same institution who were jailed for non gang-related crimes. The researchers then used the Hare Psychopathy Checklist (PCL-R) to determine whether any of the subjects showed psychotic characteristics. The 20-item list of personality traits and recorded behaviors associated with psychopathy – such as pathological lying, lack of empathy and an impulsive nature – is a common assessment used to determine whether someone has the personality disorder. Interviewees are assessed and given a score – with those marked above 30 being deemed a psychopath. The researchers discovered that none of the Mafia members they questioned scored over 30. Conversely, 10 per cent of the comparative group did. ‘Further, during the interviews, they often expressed concerns for their children and their families, and they had never ceased to write and call them. Such expressions of attachment were less apparent among the comparison men.”

Bargain hunters buy Royal Doulton figurine at a car boot sale for £2 and sell it at auction for £4,000: “David and Helen Lambert paid for the unusual blue Royal Doulton figurine they spotted at a car boot sale in Stockport with a £2 coin. They took it to valuers from BBC’s Flog It programme and were thrilled to discover they had bought a 1922 ‘Spook’ figure believed to be worth around £300. Auctioneer, John Cook, who sold the ornament at Gerrard’s Auctions, Lytham St Anne’s, was surprised to see its blue colour and believes it is a prototype glaze. He thinks the figure could be the only one in this colour and this is why the hammer fell much higher than expected. The lucky couple from Colne, Lancashire, head to car boot sales in search of a bargain most weekends but have decided to save the cash they raised from selling the ornament. ‘I think this sort of thing is a only once in a lifetime thing to happen to people and we don’t expect it to happen again.’”

Archbishop wages war on the Devil: Payday loans “The Archbishop of Canterbury wants to take his ‘war on Wonga’ into the classroom using Britain’s network of Church of England primary schools to spearhead an educational campaign against high-cost borrowing. The strategy to teach children the dangers of sinking into expensive debt through so-called payday lenders such as Wonga is being examined by former Financial Services Authority chief and Barclays executive Sir Hector Sants, who now heads the Archbishop’s Task Group on Responsible Savings and Credit. Archbishop Justin Welby has slammed payday lending as ‘usury’ and last year said the Church would try to ‘compete them out of business’ with its own credit operation.”

Piratical British lawyers: “A law firm was yesterday accused of sending the NHS legal bills of up to 80 times the value of compensation claims awarded to patients. Rapid Response Solicitors allegedly won £2,500 for a patient scalded by a hot drink – then billed the health service £58,000, more than 20 times the pay-out. In one case the company apparently submitted a bill of £83,000 after winning a client a pay-out of just £1,000. Now NHS managers have launched a crackdown on ‘excessive’ legal bills, challenging them in court and freeing up potentially millions of pounds to be spent on patient care. In the case of the hot drink pay-out, the costs – which included a reported £800-an-hour bill for legal advisers –were successfully slashed to £5,610.”

I have bow legs, says famous model: “She has just celebrated a quarter of a century as one of the world’s most successful supermodels. But despite her illustrious reputation, Kate Moss has revealed how a rare affliction prevents her pulling off certain outfits. The 40-year-old catwalk star said that her bow legs mean she has to avoid wearing mid-calf garments. Miss Moss claims dresses and coats that fall below the knee and sit about her ankles make her appear ‘bandy’. Only around five per cent of the population are said to suffer from bow legs, a condition that means the legs curve outwards, even when standing with the ankles together. The supermodel has previously revealed that she prefers short mini-skirts, and even admitted that she once asked her assistant to cut the hem of a £40,000 mid-calf coat to shorten its length.”

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

A useful invention

April 6, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You can find the keyhole even when drunk

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Ouch! Intruder gets thrown into cactus bushes: “Hollywood actress Julia Robert’s $9.5 million Malibu home was almost infiltrated by an intruder. Fortunately the star’s security team caught him in the act and ‘slam dunked’ him into nearby cactus bushes, according to RadarOnline. The website reports that the incident occurred in mid-January, just weeks before her sister Nancy took her own life. An eye-witness told the site: ‘By the time I got there, the man was just crawling out of the cactus bush outside her property and the security guards were talking to the police. ‘One of them was boasting saying: ‘I’m an ex-Marine and I just picked him up and threw him head first in the cactus.’ ‘The security told me that it was some crazed stalker guy. He was a brave man for even trying to get in her place, as it’s swarming with her detail.

US ATM gives man $37,000 instead of $140: “A MALFUNCTIONING automated bank machine has dispensed $37,000 in cash to a man who requested $140. Police in Maine say they responded to the TD Bank branch on Thursday morning after getting a call from a woman who said a man was spending an unusual amount of time at the ATM she was waiting to use. Officers found the man stuffing cash into a shopping bag. The money was returned to the bank. Bank officials say they don’t want to press charges but police continue to investigate. The man hasn’t been charged. A bank official describes the problem as a “code error’’ and says no customer accounts were affected.”

Could tobacco hold the key to beating cancer? Researchers say plant’s defence mechanism could work in humans to ‘explode’ invading cells: “The tobacco plant’s natural defence mechanisms could be harnessed to kill cancer cells in the human body. Scientists have identified a molecule in the flower of the plant that usually fights off fungi and bacteria – and were stunned to find it also has the ability to identify and destroy cancer. Called NaD1, it works by forming a pincer-like structure that grips onto lipids present in the membrane of cancer cells and rips themopen, causing the cell to expel its contents and explode. Called NaD1, the moecule works by forming a pincer-like structure that grips onto lipids present in the membrane of cancer cells. The structure then effectively rips them open, causing the cell to expel its contents and explode, rendering them unable to cause damage.”

Your ticket to Italy! Diner leaves single mom waitress a $1,000 tip: “One lucky waitress who has always dreamed of visiting Italy where her family is from is now able to do so after a customer left her a $1,000 tip for the trip. In a post on Tumblr, the daughter of the waitress recounted the story. She said that her mom was talking with a man she waited on and told him that her family is from Florence and she has always wanted to go there. ‘She’s got 8 years of art education and she’s working a waitress,’ the daughter, who is a waitress at the same restaurant, wrote. ‘It’s pretty…sad and disappointing I guess.’ The daughter, who does not identify either her, her mother or the restaurant they work at, goes on to say that her parents divorced six years ago and her mom ‘hasn’t had a real job ever.’ She adds they have been stuck in a small town. The man who tipped the mother $1,000 just walked out without saying he left the gigantic gratuity on his credit card slip. He simply wrote, ‘Your ticket to Italy. Enjoy!!’

Soldiers set to wear night vision CONTACTS after researchers develop super-thin sensors: “A new, super-thin infrared light sensor could become an invaluable tool for the soldiers of the future as researchers work to develop the advance into night vision contact lenses. Created by University of Michigan researchers Ted Norris and Zhaohui Zhong, the sensor uses an atom-thin material called graphene which could be layered onto contact lenses. Graphene takes infrared rays and translates them into electrical signals. The process is similar to the way silicon chip in a digital camera work with visible light, Wired reported. However as researchers must still figure out how to produce a better light sensitivity and broader range of temperature, a useable contact model is still years away.”

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

Humility needed

April 5, 2014 at 5:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Pakistani baby accused of attempted murder: ” While many children his age are still learning how to crawl, a nine-month-old boy in Pakistan has been accused of attempted murder in a case observers say highlights endemic flaws in the country’s legal system. Baby Mohammad Musa along with his father and other family members was booked for throwing rocks at gas company officials in the working-class Ahata Thanedaran neighbourhood on February 1, the family’s lawyer Chaudhry Irfan Sadiq said on Friday. Inspector Kashif Muhammad, who attended the alleged crime scene and has since been suspended, wrote in his report that it was a case of attempted murder. Appearing in a packed court room with others accused in the case on Thursday, Musa was seen crying as his grandfather Muhammad Yasin held him on his shoulder. Judge Rafaqat Ali Qamar ordered the inspector to be suspended and granted the child bail, though he will have to appear at the next hearing on April 12. But Sadiq, the lawyer, said the charges against the child should have been dropped.”

Video shows cat unraveling entire roll of toilet paper – then dutifully re-rolling it back up again: “Enter Willie the cat, who stars in a video which has already clocked up over 23,000 views since it was uploaded to YouTube by his owner, Michael Thompson, on Wednesday. The video, titled Willie Is Better Than Your Cat, starts off with the adorable feline, rather irritatingly undoing an entire roll of toilet paper with his paw, before pausing and then changing his tack in a surprising and heart-warming gesture. The grey tabby then proceeds to systematically bat the dispenser in the opposite direction, conveniently restoring the roll to its former, if a little crumpled, glory. And just when it looks like he is planning to unravel it once again, he stops and decidedly withdraws from his mission. ‘That’s very helpful, thank you,’ Mr Thompson can be heard saying.”

Ladybirds that arrive in the post: Insects sold via mail order to tackle invasion of greenflies: “There can be few things more annoying for the keen gardener than greenflies munching away on your prized roses. But for those not keen on using chemical pesticides, one gardening expert has come up with a solution – delivering live ladybirds to your door. Sarah Raven, a guest presenter on Gardener’s World, has started selling the insects through her website, sarahraven.com. The ladybirds are put into tubes where they live happily on a diet of popcorn or cereal while being delivered by first class post. Mrs Raven said: ‘Ladybirds are brilliant in the garden because they feed off green and black fly, as well as other insect pests who would otherwise be munching on your home-grown flowers and produce. ‘They will get rid of pests without affecting your crops or being harmful to other wildlife. Once established, they should start breeding – and help solve your greenfly problems for years to come.”

Problem of biscuits being too big to be fully submerged into cup of tea is finally solved with ‘Little Dipper’ mug: “This must surely be the ultimate tea break accessory for those with a sweet tooth – a ‘dipper’ mug designed to perfectly accommodate and dunk a biscuit. Craig Kaplan, a 3D printing enthusiast, designed the Little Dipper to solve the problem of biscuits being too big to be fully submerged. Originally marketed in America for kids who want to dunk biscuits in a small amount of milk before bed, they could also become a hit with tea lovers in Britain. Each cup holds 100ml of fluid and is 8.5 cm long – perfect for a McVitie’s chocolate digestive – and features flared sides to allow the thumb and forefinger to be accommodated. After designing the cup it was created in ceramic by 3D printing service Shapeways, which is now selling the pale blue mug for $36.82 USD (£22).

China forces students to put their cellphones in giant classroom phone holders before lessons: “Across the globe, text slang is the bane of any teacher’s life. But this Chinese college claims to have found a simple solution. Using makeshift canvas ‘phone lockers’, teachers now order pupils to deposit their mobiles before class starts, in a desperate bid to stamp new ‘modern’ words out of exam papers. It may be a move worth considering by heads of schools in Britain, as hundreds of teachers continue to complain about students’ diminishing language skills. The lockers were introduced at the Luoyang Institute of Science and Technology, in Henan, China, after teachers said ‘most pupils’ were on Weibo (Chinese Facebook) ‘most of the time’ during lessons. Zhao Jianli, dean of the institute, said the ‘visible reminder’ encourages a ‘studying atmosphere’.”

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

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