Behind the scenes

August 23, 2014 at 10:07 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Rare Navajo blanket discovery nets cash-strapped man a fortune: “A man from southern California, who had lost his leg in a car accident, was struggling to live off his disability benefit payments when he discovered he had literally been sitting on a $1.8million fortune. Big L.T. struck gold when he recognised a 19th-century Navajo First-Phase Chief’s Blanket similar to his own while watching an episode of the Antiques Road Show. He said: “I came across a First-Phase Chief’s Navajo Blanket that was handed down through the family. To me it seemed very cool…but I never really thought it was worth any large sum of money.” Navajo blankets can sell for $500k (approximately £300k), so Big L.T. decided to sell the family heirloom. He eventually got in touch with local business, John Moran Auctioneers. With only 100 original Navajo blankets thought to exist, John Moran Auctioneers estimated the “one of a kind” museum quality blanket would go for $100k to $200k, but it netted a record $1.8m, making Big L.T a millionaire. ”

Brazilians can vote for their own ‘Barack Obama’: “In Brazil, where nicknames are everything, voters can now opt for a congressional candidate who goes by the name Barack Obama. He is black, like the US president, and running for Congress in elections on October 5 for the ruling Workers Party. His real name is Claudio Henrique dos Anjos and a court has allowed the 45-year-old to run in the election with ballots that read “Barack Obama”. On his website, he goes by the longer name Claudio Henrique Barack Obama. On Tuesday he formally presented his candidacy, and in the short time alloted him on television, he launched the terse slogan “Vote for Barack Obama!” Electoral laws in Brazil give candidates leeway to choose the name they want to go by in campaigns. Here, people’s nicknames are almost always more well known than their real names. For instance, Edison Arantes do Nascimento is the football legend better known as Pele.”

Study explores why dogs look like their owners: “Japanese psychologist, Sadahiko Nakajima, has been investigating the reason why people resemble their pooches for a while now and he seems to be getting a little closer to the answer. The studies found that 80% of participants were able to pick the pairs correctly when seeing the full faces, with a 7% drop when the mouths were covered. The most significant finding showed that when the eyes were covered, people were basically guessing with the success rate dropping to chance levels. When only presented with the letter box eyes, however, 74% of participants picked correctly. Nakijima even went as far as to test this new theory focussing on the eyes on a new round of participants, of which 76% turned out to be successful. As Slate said when they summed up the study, “It’s not about hairstyles, obesity, gender, height, or even eye color… It’s clearly something that’s being conveyed in the shared look about the eyes of dogs and their people.”

‘Shell-shocked’ farmer sells a sheep for £152,000: “To the untrained eye, the latest ram to be sold at the agricultural market in Lanark, Scotland, is just another sheep, albeit with a rather fine coat. To Alan Blackwood, however, it “sparkles”. Which explains why, together with two other farmers, he has paid £152,000 to buy it – the second highest price a sheep has ever fetched. The 27-year-old, whose family has farmed in Ayrshire for three generations, bought the ram on Thursday as part of a consortium. The sheep, named “Sid Vicious” after the Sex Pistols singer, was only born in February, but is “close to perfection”, according to Mr Blackwood. The three farmers plan to sire hundreds of lambs from it, as well as selling doses of his sperm for at least £100 a time to other breeders who wish to artificially inseminate their ewes. It is a Texel sheep, named after the island off Holland where the breed originated. Sid is so prized because it has “great commercial traits”, with chunky hindquarters and a fleshy spine. It should, therefore, produce good progeny for breeding – or make for thick lamb chops.”

‘You’re already dead’: French pensioner told to prove he is still alive: “A pensioner was forced to obtain a letter from his doctor certifying that he was still alive after the French health service refused to pay his medical expenses on the grounds that he was dead. Jean-Marie Sevrain, 68, who lives in the eastern Vosges region, said he was left speechless when he received a letter last month informing him that he had died more than four years earlier. The letter said he was not eligible for a refund of 23 euros (£18.40) for a routine visit to his GP to renew a prescription for anti-diabetes medicine “because of my death on the 4th of January 2010”. “When I got the letter, I thought I was dreaming, then my wife and I started laughing,” he said. “The strangest thing was that I was supposed to be dead but the letter said I could appeal if I wanted to.” He was told to prove that he was still alive. He duly returned to his GP, who wrote a note certifying that he was still living. After presenting it to the health service, Mr Sevrain obtained his refund.”

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

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