CNN weak on geography

February 23, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

That’s Tasmania down the bottom, not Queensland. A tribute to a modern American education?

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Human kindness came before speech: “Early humans carried pebbles shaped like babies’ faces and appeared to care for disabled children in a sign they developed kindness and compassion millions of years before intelligence, researchers have claimed. Researchers point to a skull, dating back 1.5 million years, found with no teeth, suggesting people in the group may have helped this early human find soft food to survive. And evidence of tracks found in east Africa – dating back 3.5million years – appear to show adults being followed by a child. The findings, revealed in a study by Penny Spikins of York University, undermine current theories that early humans were characterised by violence and competition, killing each other in a desperate battle to survive. ‘Evolution made us sociable, living in groups and looking after each one another, even before we had language, ‘ Spikins, a human origins researcher, told the Sunday Times. ‘Our success since then, including the evolution of intelligence, all sprang from that.'”

Is The Simpsons actually set in Australia: “Less than two weeks after The Simpsons producer dismissed a theory that Homer has been in a coma for two decades, an astronomer has come up with another conspiracy: Springfield is in the southern hemisphere. In the latest episode of the show, SpaceX’s Elon Musk guest starred and spends time at the Simpsons’ home. At one point he stands by the dining room window, looking out at the night sky as the family sits behind him eating dinner. The waxing crescent moon is important to note, according to astronomer Phil Plait. In the northern hemisphere, the tips of a waxing crescent moon face left, pointing away from the sun. But in The Simpsons’ scene with Musk, the tips of the waxing crescent moon face right – how they would in the southern hemisphere. ‘This is the moment that changed everything for me. The frozen moment of time when I realized that for 22 years, The Simpsons has been lying to us,’ Plait wrote on Slate. But the fact that there are places called Springfield in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, makes this theory entirely possible.”

Giant rats: “A woman was left horrified after she spotted a giant rat outside her home in north London. Katie Firth photographed the rodent, which she estimated to be between 16 and 18 inches, as it peered through her back door in fashionable Belsize Park. The sighting comes as pest controllers revealed the shocking epidemic of mutant rats – some as big as cats – across the UK. The rodents, which have been seen been seen across the country over the past year, are twice as large as normal species and cannot be killed with traditional substances. One rodent measuring 20-inches was recently spotted at a food establishment in Swindon, Wiltshire. Kevin Higgins, of the British Pest Control Association, said rat numbers were going up by about 15 per cent each year – and the boom was driven by the availability of food. Similar stories of giant rats have been reported by pest controllers in Glasgow, the Scottish borders and Swindon. The species has developed a genetic mutation which means substances approved by the EU to control rat populations has no effect on them.”

The strange and wonderful people who live in the Arctic: “The people living on the Arctic Circle are often mysterious to the world’s southerners, obscured by coverings of fur and snow. But now the lives of those who call the far north home have been captured by London-based photographer Cristian Barnett. The photographer traveled to the eight countries along the 66 degree 33 minutes north latitude marker, taking pictures of the inhabitants for his book Life on the Line. Looking to capture the extraordinary lives of people who did not live exactly on the line, the photographer expanded his scope to include some individuals within 35 miles of the Arctic Circle. He encountered a man who described himself as a ‘master of glibness and sausage poet’ and everyone from reindeer herders to hair dressers. Many Arctic towns and cities rely on local rivers, though they remain frozen solid for most of the year. ‘It’s not actually an extreme environment in a lot of cases,’ he says. ‘Mostly it’s not that difficult of a place to live’ he said.”

Is this the world’s most talented person? Extreme unicyclist braves 550ft drop on ride around edge of Romania’s tallest dam: “An extreme unicyclist risked life and limb by cycling around the rim of the tallest dam in Romania for a TV show – without a safety harness. Facing a drop of nearly 550ft, Flaviu Cernescu is shown on camera steadying himself and getting into position. As the wind howls the 31-year-old daredevil kicks off from a standing start and begins negotiating the rim of the Vidraru dam at quite a pace – with his arms outstretched for balance. He can be heard breathing heavily throughout the clip while bystanders watch on in nervous anticipation. Upon completing the stunt the daredevil dismounts his unicycle and punches the air in relief, receiving a congratulatory cheer in the process. The feat of bravery will be shown in full on World’s Most Talented, a new series on Watch.”

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

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