What is it like to drive in China?

April 8, 2015 at 12:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A most interesting and surprising answer from an old China hand found on Quora

Driving in China is like driving in a utopia. The intercity roads are all high grade expressway. The urban roads are lined with trees, bushes and flowers.

Signage is excellent and very clear, nearly always in romanization as well as Chinese. The only trap for beginners us a tendency to use traditional names for cities. Ie the expressway between Nanjing and Shanghai is called the Huning Expressway. Only a Chinese knows that Shanghai is Hu沪, and Nanjing is Ning 宁。

At the urban level too there is no uniformity, romanization varies between English and Pinyin. Sometimes it reflects local pronunciation, and sometimes standard. But these are minor problems.

The only other problem is the lack of respect for laws. Drivers in the fast lane will drive slowly if on the phone. If they miss a turn off They simply back up at high speed. They will drive in the bicycle lane to miss a traffic light, in either direction. They will happily drive on the wrong side of the road if it saves them a U-turn. The golden rule for traffic coming out of side streets is: never stop and look. In fact no driver is responsible for what goes on behind him so they will pull into the fast lane at 90 just as you are coming up at 150km. And remember never to stop in the emergency stopping lane. In China it’s the high speed passing lane.

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Fleas in Arizona test positive for THE PLAGUE after disease begins decimating prairie dog population: “Fleas in Arizona have tested positive for the plague and could spread the deadly disease to humans, according to officials. The plague, which famously killed millions of Europeans during the Black Death, is most commonly carried by fleas and rodents. Prairie dog deaths at Picture Canyon in Arizona alerted officials to the possibility of an outbreak. Parasitic insects from the preserve near a water treatment plant in Flagstaff were found to carry the illness. Human cases have developed from close contact with cats who have preyed on infected vermin and residents in the Southwest have been warned about dangers of the disease while camping. The Southwestern US is similar to the plains of Central Asia where plague began. Plague is still contracted by as many as 2,000 people a year, according to the World Health Organization, though the vast majority of cases are in sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. Insecticide has been sprayed in prairie dog burrows in Picture Canyon to halt the plague’s spread. Modern medications are effective in fighting the plague, also known by its bacterial name Yersinia pestis, though it can be deadly if left untreated.”

Even the dog surrendered: “A dog belonging to a Brazilian drugs gang has proved that learning to drop and roll is not just for humans. When police in the southern state of Santa Catarina busted the gang’s lair, the loyal canine laid down alongside its owner and rolled over on its back. Police spokesman Filippo Valdez said: ‘The officers had been observing the gang for some time and when they arrested them they recovered a substantial quantity of marijuana and cocaine, as well as weighing scales, guns and ammunition. m’There was a male dog that was barking when officers burst onto the scene but when it saw its owners obeying the command to lie down, it ran over and laid down as well.’ Brazilian animal psychiatrist and dog trainer Barnie Rico said: ‘The dog lying on its back exposing its belly is a classic sign of submission in the dog world. ‘It is clearly a very clever animal because it saw the rest of its pack given in, and decided to copy them.’ Online users pointed out that with police tending to simply shoot dogs on site when carrying out armed raids, it was probably a good move to make sure everyone realised the animal wouldn’t cause any trouble. It was reportedly not arrested with the rest of the suspected gang.”

Baby has a priceless reaction to toy hen that lays multi-colored eggs: “Forget the Easter Bunny, it was an egg-laying chick spreading the joy in one household. A video uploaded by YouTube user Shkesi shows a baby girl mesmerized by a toy mothering hen. As the motorized plush bird bounces up and down and pops out an egg, the infant can barely believe her eyes. When the first egg emerges she cries for joy and when the third comes she lets out a shriek with her arms waving around. Before laying its eggs – which are unfortunately plastic, not chocolate – the toy bird plays a short song. ‘I’m about to show you how it’s done, laying eggs is so much fun,’ it chimes. After the show is over, the baby’s big sister asks if she would like to see it again. The little girl lets out another scream signaling a ‘yes’ as she sits excitedly wriggling in her highchair.

Bobcat pictured dragging a SHARK out of the surf: “A bobcat was snapped hauling a shark along a Florida beach in an unbelievable photograph. The image was taken at Sebastian Inlet State Park near Vero Beach by John Bailey, WPTV reported. Bailey told the television station that the bobcat collected the shark after entering the water. Amy Kight, Busch Wildlife Sanctuary’s Animal Care Director, told WPTV: ‘My first reaction was amazement that somebody actually took that picture because bobcats are generally very, very reclusive. ‘You don’t really see them out and about too often.’ A spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has said she believes the image is genuine. FWC’s Liz Barraco told WESH ‘There is no reason to believe it’s fake.’ The bobcat exhibited typical behavior, FWC officials told the NBC affiliate station.

Food allergies ‘can be passed on in blood transfusions’: “Children may be at risk from developing life-threatening food allergies after receiving a blood transfusion from an affected donor, doctors have warned. The phenomenon is rare, but could happen more often than is currently reported, they say. The food allergies most commonly implicated are those involving milk, eggs and peanuts. Doctors in Canada highlighted the case of an eight-year-old boy with no history of allergies who received donated blood products during brain cancer treatment. Within two weeks he had reacted badly to salmon and peanuts and had to carry an adrenaline injector for emergencies. The Canadian Blood Services tracked a donor with severe food allergies who had contributed platelets to the pooled transfusion involved. The individual has been excluded from all future donations. Allergy tests carried out four months later showed the child had no reaction to the suspect foods, and his family safely reintroduced them to his diet within six months.

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

Once upon a time ….

April 7, 2015 at 1:10 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

There is an old Hotel/Pub in Marble Arch, London, which used to have a gallows adjacent to it. Prisoners were taken to the gallows (after a fair trial of course) to be hanged. The horse-drawn dray, carting the prisoner, was accompanied by an armed guard, who would stop the dray outside the pub and ask the prisoner if he would like “ONE LAST DRINK”. If he said YES, it was referred to as ONE FOR THE ROAD. If he declined, that prisoner was ON THE WAGON.

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot and then once a day it was taken and sold to the tannery. If you had to do this to survive you were “pi.. poor”, but worse than that were the really poor folk, who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot, they “Didn’t have a pot to pi.. in” and were the lowest of the low.

Houses had thatched roofs, thick straw piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom, where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence. The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, “dirt poor.”

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over they would hang up their bacon, to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, “Bring home the bacon.” They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around talking and “chew the fat”.

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning and death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or “The Upper Crust”.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of “Holding a Wake”.

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Chinese Casanova is caught out after car accident when hospital contacts his ‘relatives’ – and all SEVENTEEN of his girlfriends turn up at his bedside: “A Chinese man recovering in hospital after a car crash had a shock – when all 17 of his girlfriends turned up to see him. Mr Yuan, from Changsha, was involved in the accident on March 24 and has been in hospital ever since. None of the women knew he had been seeing anyone else – some for up to nine years – and one even had a son with him. The women discovered his secret after doctors contacted all of them to let them know he had been injured. Xiao Li, who had been seeing Mr Yuan for 18 months, said: ‘I was really worried when I heard that he was in hospital. ‘But when I started seeing more and more beautiful girls show up, I couldn’t cry any more.’ Wang Fang, the mother of his son, added: ‘What can I do now? I don’t love him any more, but I do love my son.’ The women have now set up an online Facebook group so they can all chat and are quickly discovering just how much he hid from them, South China Morning Post reported. The story has attracted a lot of attention on social media, with some condemning Mr Yuan’s actions and others expressing admiration.”

Police stunned after discovering car parked on the side of busy street covered in huge chili peppers: “Police have been left stunned after coming across a car parked on a busy street covered in hundreds of chili peppers. NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol Command shared the bizarre image on their Facebook page, showing a silver car on the side of the road laden down with a vast amount of large red chillies. According to several commenters on the post, the incident occurred on Bridge St in Hornsby on the Upper North Shore of Sydney and is a regular occurrence. ‘He’s been doing this for years…. he lives in one of the units in Bridge Road. Parks outside my unit block (Cnr Albert & Bridge) for some reason. One photo shows baskets inside and outside the car, one lined with a Korean newspaper and filled with the chili peppers. Many Facebook users have said that this is a traditional method of drying out peppers in the sun before they are then used to make hot dishes such as kimchi or guksu.”

A swimming “porcupine”: “Beach-goers were faced with a different kind of sea creature when they entered the water at Victoria’s picturesque Rye Beach last week – a swimming echidna! The prickly Australian mammal was filmed paddling out to sea in the turquoise waters off the Mornington Peninsula, 83 km south of Melbourne. The video of the swimming echidna, which looks to be happily using its ant-eating snout as a snorkel, was posted online by YouTube user Emma B. According to Australia Zoo, echidnas, like many native Australian animals, are actually ‘proficient’ swimmers. They like the water so much, that the Zoo built a special swimming pool for its echidna residents to cool off on hot summer days. The echidna – or spiny ant-eater – is found all over Australia, in coastal forests, alpine meadows and desert habitats. They live on a diet of ants, termites, grubs and worms but biologists think the mammals evolved from aquatic ancestors like the platypus.”

Thai police forced to shoot out tires of confused American tourist’s car after she crashes into THIRTEEN vehicles: “Police in Thailand opened fire on a car driven by an ‘crazy’ American tourist after she drove the wrong way down a busy road and crashed into 13 vehicles, injuring two people. The 29-year-old woman, named by local media as Samantha or Amanda, was chased by police through the Pattaya region for 30 minutes before they shot out three wheels of her car. After the smashed-up car came to a halt, officers broke the front passenger window of the white Toyota Innova to arrest her when she refused to open the door. The blonde woman was then bundled into a police car – to protect her from an angry mob that had formed in the wake of the carnage, who hurled abuse and tried to attack the American. The Bangkok Post described how the woman played ‘demolition derby’ through the streets of Chon Buri’s Banglamung district, in a saga which began when she drove the wrong way down Soi Siam Country Club in East Pattaya and clipped a motorbike. The driver did not stop – instead carrying on driving the wrong way down Sukhumvit Road, facing into traffic.” The American tourist was given a ‘hefty’ traffic fine and ordered to pay for all the damages”

The wonders of Britain’s (useless) government medicine again: “A toddler suffering from an huge birthmark that could have blinded him in one eye has undergone life-changing plastic surgery. Colby Ramos-Francis, who is 17 months old, was born with a small, heart-shaped growth over his eyelid. But it quickly developed into a large benign tumour that continued to expand. His parents claim NHS doctors were unable to treat the growth or offer surgery, leaving them no option but to beg for help abroad. Colby has now had the tumour removed free-of-charge thanks to the US-based Little Baby Face Foundation. His mother Aimee, 18, said: ‘Seeing Colby come out without the birthmark is the best thing ever. It makes me incredibly happy. ‘If it hadn’t been removed properly it could have resulted in him losing his eyesight. ‘It is so nice not to have these worries anymore and he can just grow up and be happy.’ While also delighted with the outcome, Colby’s father Jamie, 23, said he was disappointed the family had been forced to fly across the Atlantic to get the treatment they desperately needed.”

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

Some questions answered

April 6, 2015 at 1:30 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Q: WHAT DO YOU DO WITH 365 USED CONDOMS?
A: Melt them down, make a tire, and call it a Goodyear.

Q: WHY WERE HURRICANES NORMALLY NAMED AFTER WOMEN? A: Because when they come, they’re wild and wet, and when they go, they take your house and car with them.

Q: What is a man’s Ultimate embarrassment?
A: Running into a wall with an erection and breaking his nose.

A 3-year-old boy examined his testicles while taking a bath. ‘Mom’, he asked, ‘Are these my brains?’
‘Not yet,’ she replied.

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Scientists unlock mystery of why humans are the only primates that have chins: “The mystery of why humans are the only animals to have chins may have been solved by scientists who suggest that it is linked to the invention of cooking. A number of different explanations have been put forward for the apparently useless appendage, including the idea that it helps humans attract a mate. But new research pours cold water on that theory – pointing instead to the way the jaw evolved and shrank to deal with the fact that cooking was making food softer. Author James Pampush points out that the fact that apes and monkeys do not have chins proves that they must have evolved after the ancestors of man split off from other branches of the primate family. Dr Pampush calculated that the chin began to emerge some time between 6million and 200,000 years ago, with the most likely estimate being around 2million years ago. This would coincide with the enormous leap forward in human intelligence, which led to breakthroughs including the invention of cooking. The evolution of the chin came about as a result of humans’ teeth and jaws shrinking, because they no longer needed to chew through raw meat and plants”

Cook peels five apples in 30 seconds — but makes a mess: “The unconventional peeling technique demonstrated in this 48-second video involves a Y-shaped hand peeler and a power drill. The footage shows the man pushing a drill bit into the top of each apple and then hitting the button, causing the apple to spin without falling off. He then applies the hand peeler to each apple, allowing him to get rid of the skin in record time. What the video doesn’t show is the amount of time it took to clean up the peels and smaller bits of apple that were sent flying all over the room.

A catastrophic pimple: “A young mother will spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair after catching a serious infection from using her best friend’s make up brush to cover up a pimple. Jo Gilchrist, 27, was left writhing in pain on Valentine’s Day when a staph infection invaded her body and eventually attacked her spine. She has been in Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital ever since and doctors are still desperately trying to rid her body of the bacteria. The mother of one says it took doctors a long time to work out what was wrong and her body started to go numb and she lost feeling in her legs. Ms Gilchrist was airlifted from her country hometown of Warwick to Brisbane where she underwent emergency surgery. When she woke she learned she had contracted community-associated MRSA – an antibiotic-resistant form of golden staph. ‘The only thing we can put it down to is the make up brush,’ Ms Gilchrist said. Staph are usually harmless and many healthy people carry these bacteria on their skin or in their nose. However, sometimes it can cause skin and other more serious infections.”

Honest cabbie hands back £10,000 cash to passenger who left it behind: “An honest taxi driver has made a friend for life after returning a bag a passenger left on the back seat of his car – containing £10,000 in cash. Mohammed Nisar, 55, had been driving sole trader Adrian Quinn to Walsall train station when the passenger hopped out of the vehicle in a rush, forgetting his rucksack. He had been carrying the hefty sum of money after cashing a cheque from his inheritance following the death of his mother – and on realising his mistake says he felt ‘dazed’. Mr Quinn, 46, of Hereford, said: ‘Losing that money would have been the end of my business. I was physically sick! After eventually flagging down another cab the father-of-three arrived back at the taxi rank in a flustered state to find Mr Nisar sitting in his car with the bag safely on the passenger seat. Mr Quinn gave Mohammed a cash reward to thank him – in an envelope marked ‘to my best friend in the world’ – and has even invited him and his wife to his home for a family meal. Mr Nisar, 55, said: ‘He nearly had a heart attack, he was really worried!”

Scared of spiders? That’s primitive: “Fear of spiders is a survival trait written into our DNA, researchers have discovered. Dating back hundreds of thousands of years, the instinct to avoid arachnids developed as an evolutionary response to a dangerous threat, the academics suggest. It could mean that arachnophobia, one of the most crippling of phobias, represents a finely tuned survival instinct. And it could date back to early human evolution in Africa, where spiders with very strong venom have existed millions of years ago. Study leader Joshua New, of Columbia University in New York, said: ‘A number of spider species with potent, vertebrate-specific venoms populated Africa long before hominoids and have co-existed there for tens of millions of years. ‘Humans were at perennial, unpredictable and significant risk of encountering highly venomous spiders in their ancestral environments.”

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

Oops!

April 5, 2015 at 6:27 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Cat who got stuck behind Cairo train station wall for FIVE YEARS: “A cat who had been stuck in a wall at a Cairo train station for five years has been freed at last. Biso had squeezed into the hole in the wall at the Mohamed Naguib metro station as a kitten in 2010 – but then soon became to big to escape. He survived thanks to an elderly man named Uncle Abdo, who gave the trapped cat water and fed him scraps of food every day. Now, the feline in finally free thanks to a social media campaign, according to the Cairo Post. Animal rights activist Mounira Shehata told the newspaper the smell when the wall was removed was ‘heinous’. Uncle Abdo, who named the cat, said Biso would regularly hide from bigger cats in the hole, but one day, squeezed inside and was not able to come out again. He added that workers had tried to rescue the cat years ago, but a scared Biso had stayed behind the wall. And Uncle Abdo even visited the station to feed Biso during the revolution in Egypt in 2011, when most stores, including his own, were closed.”

Strange sex: “After much deliberation, scientists and members of the public have crowned the Argonaut octopus’ taste in sex, whose detachable penis ‘swims’ off to mate, the weirdest in the natural world. The eight-armed marine creature has a long, detachable penis in order to mate with females that are five times bigger than itself. When a female swims by, the male Argonaut sends his penis off to swim to the female and mate with her. In fact, the penis is a ball of sperm in a tentacle called a hectocotylus and females can be fertilised by more than one, by storing them in the mantle cavity. The male dies soon after his unique ordeal, whereas the female can mate several times and even store multiple hectocotyli in a special cavity until they’re needed. In the past, scientists that caught female specimens confused the attached penises for parasitic worms. The male mollusc won almost a third of votes in a survey set up by the Society of Biology to identify the strangest animal sex.”

Anti-aging cream could give you cancer: “A face serum that claims to make skin genetically younger has gone on sale for the first time in Britain. TA-65 has the extraordinary effect of lengthening part of the body’s genetic material called telomeres, the protective ‘caps’ at the ends of DNA strands within the body’s cells that control their longevity, says TA Sciences, the American company that makes it. In 2013 the Consumer Protection Coalition (CPC) – ‘a group of concerned citizens’ – wrote to the US Federal Trade Commission to highlight an animal study, published by Aging Cell, that showed that mice given food laced with TA-65 had a higher incidence of liver cancer. The serum is also available as a supplement, and the CPC warned that those who consume it face ‘substantial harm’, although there has been no official response to the complaint.”

Mr and Mrs Burger-King: “Joel Burger, 24, proposed to his 23-year-old girlfriend Ashley King. And she said yes – paving the way for a Burger-King wedding. Friends since kindergarten, the pair from New Berlin, Illinois, went through high school together but didn’t start dating until they were about to part ways for college – Ashley to the University of Illinois Springfield, Joel to Monmouth. But even now, after at least five years together, the ribbing has not subsided. ‘We have yet to escape the teasing,’ Ashley told the State Journal-Register, ‘but we have fully embraced our nickname.’ They were in fifth grade when a motivational speaker visited their school and, after meeting the children, noticed how well their names worked together. And they’re having it their way: the couple posed for an informal engagement photo outside their local Burger King, before taking a set of professional shots for their family. They even revealed they plan to serve drinks in Burger King cups, with each guest’s name on the side – if the international eatery will let them.

Daddy’s girl: “A 31-year-old woman has revealed that she keeps a 20-year-old note from her dad on her fridge, more than two decades after he first hid it in her lunchbox. Katie Rogal, an actress was raised in Pittsburgh but now lives in New York City, shared an image of the crumpled, yellowing missive on Reddit earlier this week, revealing that she has kept the educational letter by her side since the age of eight. Her picture of the note sparked a flurry of comments from her fellow Reddit users, many of whom drew attention to its educational – yet heartwarming – content, while praising her father for penning such a sentimental letter. Indeed, Katie admits that all of the kind comments left by users of the site gave her a whole new level of appreciation for her dear old dad, noting that the pair have always been close – and even have matching ‘dancing skeleton’ tattoos.”

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

The worried boss

April 4, 2015 at 3:21 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Parents beware! Baby names have a lasting effect: “Parents often agonize over what names they give their children; they may be trying to spare their child from cruel schoolyard rhymes or attempting to connect their being to a meaningful symbol or place. But a new video is bringing to light key research which indicates that the names we are given at birth can actually have even more long-term affects on our lives than you may think – from our choice of profession to where we end up in the world. In fact, this research even suggests that we may not have much real control over our own life decisions at all. According to studies compiled for the latest edition of PBS Digital Studios’ BrainCraft series, the act of writing our names over and over again throughout our lives can result in something called implicit egotism – a kind of obsession with the letters and sounds involved in our own names. This means that we may be more attracted to places, careers and even people that have a link to the letters used in our names.The study BrainCraft cites in its video – authored by researchers Polman, Pollmann and Poehlman, of course – calls this idea the name-letter effect”.

Marmite — Britain’s black and salty breakfast spread that Americans loathe: “Marmite, which celebrates its 113th birthday this year, has never been more popular. Twenty-seven jars are sold every minute, and this Sunday tens of thousands of us will be tucking into the latest addition to the brand’s range: the Marmite Easter Egg. What started as a wartime staple has recently revamped its reputation — moving from nursery treat to trendy retro brand. Last year, Marmite saw an 11 per cent rise in popularity among the under-30s. Top chefs swear by it in everything from curries to cupcakes, while coffee shop Starbucks has started putting Marmite in its paninis. And celebrities can’t get enough of the stuff. Marmite, which was invented by a German scientist called Justus von Liebig in the late 19th century, has been produced in Burton since 1902. The town’s beer heritage is important: the basic ingredient of the spread is yeast sludge, a waste product left over from brewing beer. It is named after a French casserole dish, pronounced ‘mar-meet’, having first been distributed in earthenware pots”

Own your own village: “A sprawling rural estate – complete with a Grade II-listed manor house and five cottages – is on the market for £6million. Set in 200 acres of land near Bridgnorth, Shropshire, the Chyknell Hall Estate also boasts a swimming pool, tennis court, stables – and even its own cricket green. Its centrepiece, the 11-bedroom Chyknell Hall, was built in 1814 and has only changed hands twice since. It is thought the Regency home could now attract A-list buyers as the secluded grounds offer residents complete privacy. The owner will also be set up for entertaining with a wine cellar, four-oven Aga, loggia, library and billiard room. And a number of compartment gardens means guests will never be bored by the same view. The estate, described as the ‘pinnicle of the residential tree’, offers 57 acres of woodland and more than 500 acres of adjoining sporting rights, including game shooting. The land also planning permission for five more properties, should the new owner wish to expand. The ownership of Chyknell Hall Estate can be traced back to medieval times and this is only the third time in its history it has been on the market”

Liquid body armour: ‘Magic material’ can instantly harden on impact – and is tough enough to stop a bullet: “Scientists at a Polish company that produce body armour systems are working to put a ‘magic liquid’ that can harden on impact in their products. The liquid is called Shear-Thickening Fluid (STF), and instantly hardens upon impact at any temperature. In a ‘liquid armour’ this provides protection from penetration by high-speed projectiles and additionally dispersing energy over a larger area. ‘This viscosity increases thanks to the subordination of the particles in the liquid structure, therefore they form a barrier against an external penetrating factor,’ said Karolina Olszewska, who performed tests on the STF for Moratex. The exact composition of the STF is known only to Moratex and its inventors at the Military Institute of Armament Technology in Warsaw, but ballistic tests proved its resistance to a wide range of projectiles. Struszczyk said the liquid’s stopping capability, combined with the lower indentation of its surface, provides a higher safety level for the user compared with traditional, mostly Kevlar-based, solutions”.

Diner’s surprise as she finds FIFTY pearls inside her baked oyster: “One diner found her meal had extra crunch this week when she found 50 pearls inside the baked oyster she was feasting on. Toni Elliot, 53, thought she had hurt a tooth when she sat for dinner at Puckett’s Boat House in Franklin, Tennessee, on Thursday. However, when she spat out the mouthful she was chewing she discovered a pearl in the palm of her hand. Forty-nine precious stones followed. Instead of being horrified by the bizarre discovery, Elliot reportedly remained calm and even posed for photos with her treasure afterwards. As naturally-occurring pearls are rare, it’s expected that Elliot’s stash could fetch a princely sum. Puckett’s Boat House thought it could have broken a record for the most pearls in one oyster but apparently the number stands somewhere in the eighties. Puckett’s Boat House says it gets their oysters from the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana.

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

Redneck chess

April 3, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

ECHOES tell us how far away something is: “How we work out the distance of something we can hear but not see has been somewhat of a mystery – until now. Scientists say we know how far away the source of a sound is by listening to the echoes it produces. In a study they found that the reverberations of sound help us locate the distance of, for example, a car passing round a bend or a person nearby. They said that echoes and fluctuations in volume are the cues we use to figure out the distance between us and the source of a noise. The farther away the source of a sound is from a listener, meanwhile, the more echoes there are, and the more limited the changes in volume become. The results suggest that, as a sound gets further away, our brains are able to work out the differences in its maximum and minimum volume – and thus its distance. ‘Reverberation is usually considered a bad thing,’ detrimental to hearing clearly, said Dr Shigeyuki Kuwada, co-author on the University of Connecticut study. ‘But it is necessary and beneficial in order to recognise distance.'”

Singing priest: “A Spanish priest has stunned viewers and judges on a talent show with his remarkable rendition of Angels. Father Damian Maria Montes, 29, from Madrid, was appearing on the Spanish version of The Voice when he belted out the Robbie Williams 1997 ballad while donning his priest’s collar. As he launched himself into the chorus, the audience whooped with delight as the judges sat wide-eyed in amazement. After finishing his stunning performance, the Redemptorist Missionary claimed he had been singing since he was 16 years old and had always wanted to be a musical artist. But he claimed he turned to the church first as he wanted to ‘make sense of life’. Now the singing priest has been compared to Italian nun Sister Christina who shot to fame after appearing in the Italian version of The Voice performing an Alicia Keys song. Footage of the nun belting out hit single No One in full habit racked up 30 million hits on YouTube in just seven days.”

Queen distributes traditional Maundy Money: “The Queen was all smiles as she arrived at Sheffield Cathedral for the traditional ceremony. Joined by the Duke of Edinburgh, Her Majesty was there to present ‘alms’ to 89 women and 89 men, among them D-Day veteran, Denis Gratton. The Queen, who had arrived on the Royal Train, was driven to the cathedral where she got a warm welcome from the flag-waving crowd and was presented with a nosegay of spring flowers. The Royal Maundy Service is one of the UK’s oldest royal customs and sees the monarch distribute alms in the shape of two purses of specially minted coins. This year, the Red Purse contains a £5 coin, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of Winston Churchill and a 50p coin commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Historically, this sum of £5.50 in the Red Purse is made up of £3 for clothing, £1.50 in lieu of provisions and £1 for the redemption of the Sovereign’s gown. The White Purse contains uniquely minted Maundy Money. The Queen was accompanied by the Yeoman of the Guard who carried in the purses

Tough cat: “A ginger tabby cat sneaked inside a shipping container in Egypt before embarking on a mammoth 3,000 mile trip to Herefordshire – without food and water. The kitten, who has since been named Sinbad, was discovered by puzzled staff at Mediterranean Linens in Moreton-on-Lugg, Hereford. They heard meows coming from inside the container, which was carrying laundry linen. The RSPCA was called out to investigate and there they found the exhausted and ravenous eight-month-old kitten, who had made a bed for himself in one of the boxes. Laura Quinn, from the RSPCA, described the case as ‘unique’ and said it was incredible Sinbad had survived the 17-day journey. She told MailOnline: ‘When we found him, he was really hungry, thirsty and tired but he also looked really friendly and was quite vocal. He has now gone into quarantine in Bristol for four months. He will then go to an RSPCA centre for checks and it is hoped he will then be re-homed.”

You CAN eat fast food after exercise: Burgers and chips are just as good as supplements for workout recovery: “Eating fast food after a workout may be just as beneficial as dietary supplements, a study has claimed. Researchers found that during recovery periods between periods of exercise, it didn’t matter what food was eaten. Performance remained the same after resting for several hours, while levels of glycogen – used by muscles as ‘fuel’ – were actually slightly higher after fast food was eaten as a recovery food. In the study, 11 male athletes were asked to fast for 12 hours, before a 90-minute endurance workout. After this, half were fed hot cakes, hash browns and orange juice, followed by a burger, fries and a Coke two hours later. The other group were given Gatorade, organic peanut butter and Cliff Shot Bloks, followed two hours later by Cytomax powder and PowerBar products. Two hours after the second meal, all participants were then ask to ride 12 miles (20km) on a stationary bike a fast as they good. The results showed that, when performing the second exercise task, the times were about the same no matter which meal group the participants were in.”

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

Extreme sport?

April 2, 2015 at 3:00 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Medieval potion made from onions, garlic, wine and bile from a cow’s stomach ‘can kill hospital superbugs’: “A thousand year-old potion made out of onions, garlic, wine and bile from a cow’s stomach can kill hospital superbugs, scientists claim. The potent 10th century brew – used by Anglo Saxons to treat a stye (an abscess on the eyelid) destroyed 90 per cent of the bacteria on scraps of skin taken from mice with MRSA. Interestingly, the ingredients had little effect unless they were all brought together into the concoction, the study by Nottingham University researchers found. The ancient remedy, called Bald’s eyesalve, originates from a manuscript in Bald’s Leechbook – an Old English leatherbound volume in the British Library. The Leechbook is widely thought of as one of the earliest known medical textbooks and contains Anglo-Saxon medical advice and recipes for medicines, salves and treatments. The Anglo Saxon expert came up with the idea of trying out the recipe. It describes a very specific method of making the solution, including the use of a brass vessel to brew it in, a strainer to purify it and an instruction to leave the mixture for nine days before use.”

4-Year-Old Goes to Extremes to Get a Slushie: “A four-year-old girl in Philadelphia got on a public bus by herself at 3 a.m. on Friday in search of her favorite treat – a slushie. Surveillance video shows Annabelle boarding the bus and sitting down by herself. She told bus riders that she wanted to get a slushie. Bus driver Harlan Jenifer said he was shocked to see the little girl boarding the bus alone. He pulled over and called his control center. When the police to arrived, they took the girl to the hospital to be reunited with her parents. Annabelle’s parents said they didn’t know the girl slipped out the back door to go find her favorite frozen treat. They said she crossed busy streets in search of a slushie. Annabelle asked her mother, Jaclyn Mager, if she would take her buy a slushie. “I will take you to buy a slushie, but listen, promise me next time you’ll wait for me, okay?” Mager said.”

The music of the MICE: “Mice really can sing, scientists say. Not only that, but they claim that male mice sing like birds to woo females. They also change their tune depending on whether she is within sight or not. Special equipment was used to record and analyse their squeaks, which are so high-pitched that people can’t hear them. This revealed that they sang one song when they could simply smell a female and another one when they could see her. When they could merely smell a potential mate, they belted out an extremely shrill and complex song, perhaps in an attempt to make themselves known. But when she was within sight, they serenaded her more softly. These songs also had a more simple structure and were longer. The females, meanwhile, seem to like some of the songs more than others. ‘It is clear that the mouse’s ability to vocalise is a lot more limited than a songbird or human’s and yet it is remarkable that we can find these differences in song complexity.’ A second experiment showed that given a choice of the two songs, a female preferred to sit by the speaker blaring out the complex call of attraction.”

Do video games make you SMARTER? “Playing video games makes you better at learning than non-gamers, a study has claimed. Research found that gaming boosts the ability to learn a number of tasks more accurately, and possibly puts gamers in an ‘expert category’ of problem solving. But the researchers note they are not quite sure if gaming makes people learn skills better – or if people who learn skills better are more likely to become gamers. The research was carried out by scientists at Brown University in Rhode Island. To conduct the study, the researchers pitted nine frequent gamers against a control group of nine people who game rarely, if ever. They participated in a two-day trial of visual task learning. Subjects were shown an on-screen ‘texture’ of either visual or horizontal lines and had to quickly point out – in a fraction of a second – the one area where an anomalous texture appeared. In visual processing research this is a standard protocol called a ‘texture discrimination task.’ And the results showed that gamers managed to improve performance on both tasks, while non-gamers did what was expected. Despite the small number of participants, the results proved statistically significant.”

Drunk teenager is rescued after jumping into lion enclosure at zoo: “A drunk teenage boy had to be rescued by security after jumping into a lions’ enclosure at a zoo in western India. Rahul Kumar, 17, clambered over the enclosure fence at the Kamla Nehru Zoological Park in Ahmedabad, and began running towards the animals, shouting he would ‘kill them’. Mr Kumar explained afterwards that he was drunk and ‘thought I’d stand a good chance’ against the predators. Mr Kumar had been sitting near the enclosure when he suddenly made a dash for the lions, surprising zoo security. The intoxicated teenager ran towards the lions, shouting: ‘Today I kill a lion or a lion kills me!’ A zoo spokesman said: ‘Guards had earlier spotted him close to the enclosure but had no idea he was planing to enter it. ‘Fortunately, there are eight moats to cross before getting to where the lions usually are and he fell into the second one, allowing guards to catch up with him and take him out.”

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

They would have to be boneless, wouldn’t they?

April 1, 2015 at 5:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Vegetables fry your balls. Lucky real men prefer meat: “Pesticides in fruit and vegetables may lead to lower sperm counts of poorer quality, warn researchers. Men who ate the most fruit and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residue had half the sperm count of men consuming the least. A new US study also shows a drop of one-third in normally-formed sperm among men consuming most pesticide residue. But the total amount of fruit and vegetables eaten was not linked to changes in measurements of semen quality in the group overall. ‘This suggests that implementing strategies specifically targeted at avoiding pesticide residues, such as consuming organically-grown produce or avoiding produce known to have large amounts of residues, may be the way to go.’ Previous studies have shown occupational exposure to pesticides might affect semen quality.

Police manhunt to locate good Samaritan ends all smiles for boy, police, hero: “A good Samaritan in the US state of Washington has saved a young boy from certain disaster, and it was all caught on CCTV. The video shows the boy, 4, running down a busy street towards an even busier intersection. He appears panicked and is running at full speed. A vehicle passes the boy metres before the intersection and the driver quickly rushes to save the day. Police appear within seconds but the officer fails to get the good Samaritan’s name. Wanting to say thank you, the Federal Way Police Department posted the following message on their Facebook page: “A miraculous action by an unknown driver in Federal Way, saves a 4 yr old boy from running into a busy intersection. FWPD would like to identify this man to personally thank him for his quick action.” The post was shared hundreds of times and eventually helped a photojournalist from local TV news station KOMO-TV track the good Samaritan down. The mystery man was eventually put in touch with police for a proper thank you. “Kind of didn’t want to put myself out there and get any credit for anything that I don’t think there’s really any credit due for,” he said.”

Mafia was using Costa Concordia to smuggle drugs: “DOOMED cruise ship Costa Concordia was used by the mafia to smuggle cocaine, police investigators say. Italy’s most feared crime syndicate, the Ndrangheta, hid drugs on board the cruise ship which partially capsized in January 2012, according to The Independent. “The same ship that made us a laughing stock around the world, took the piss out of us too,” Ndrangheta boss Michele Rossi was reportedly heard saying to an associate Massimo Tiralongo, according to police. Phone and tape recordings of the gangsters from Calabria suggest the drugs were on board but authorities have not confirmed drugs have been found on the Concordia. Investigators believe drugs were stowed without the knowledge of senior officers or senior company officials, but probably with the cooperation of one or more crew members. The cocaine was being smuggled into Europe from Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Songbird’s ‘impossible’ 1,700-mile flight: “It weighs just half an ounce and its natural home is a tree. But tiny songbird the blackpoll warbler routinely undertakes non-stop flights of up to 1,700 miles across open ocean, scientists have confirmed. The heroic journeys are ‘on the brink of impossibility’, according to one of the researchers who attached tracking devices to 40 birds. Experts had long wondered about tantalising clues that suggested the warbler was capable of epic migrations between North and South America. Now they have proof that it really does fly without stopping to rest, eat or drink across the Atlantic. US scientists were astonished when they analysed data from some of the birds they tracked from New England and Canada to the Caribbean, Venezuela and Colombia. ‘When we accessed the locators, we saw the blackpolls’ journey was indeed directly over the Atlantic. The distances travelled ranged from 1,410 to 1,721 miles.’ For the study, published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, the scientists captured 20 birds in Vermont and another 20 in Nova Scotia and fitted them with geolocator packs”.

Sour Swedes continue their ban on dancing: “Sweden has voted to keep a controversial law that bans unlicensed dancing in public – and even includes ‘illegally moving your feet to music’. Owners of bars, clubs or restaurants that lack a dance permit can still be fined if customers ‘dance spontaneously and without permission’, MPs have ruled. Police have backed the law arguing that permits are needed because dancing creates chaos, which can lead to disorder and fighting. But opponents have branded the rule an ’embarrassing bureaucratic relic’ which should be scrapped. ‘How you want to move your own body is not a matter for regulation. ‘What is the definition of dancing? Once you start moving, how do you know when you’ve crossed a line? It’s ludicrous to think stuffy politicians are really the right people to decide this.’

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

A fond Irish father

March 31, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

While reading an article last night about fathers and sons, memories came flooding back to the time I took me son out for his first pint.

Off we went to our local pub only two blocks from the cottage. I got him a Guinness. He didn’t like it, so I drank it.

Then I got him a Kilkenny’s, he didn’t like that either, so I drank it.

Finally, I thought he might like some Harp Lager? He didn’t. I drank it.

I thought maybe he’d like whiskey better than beer so we tried a Jameson’s, nope!

In desperation, I had him try that rare Redbreast,Ireland’s finest. He wouldn’t even smell it. What could I do but drink it!

By the time I realized he just didn’t like to drink, I was so feckin’ sh*t-faced I could hardly push his pushchair back home.

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Doctors are treating cancer with polio — and it’s working: “Doctors at Duke University are experimenting with injecting a modified version of the polio virus into cancerous tumors and are finding that it helps destroy the tumors, reports 60 Minutes. The brainchild of Dr. Matthias Gromeier, a molecular biologist at Duke Medical Center, the idea that cancerous cells could be destroyed using the virus was once dismissed. According to Dr. Henry Friedman, a neuro-oncologist and deputy director of the Brain Tumor Center at Duke University, “I thought he was nuts.” “I really thought he was using a weapon that produced paralysis,” said Friedman who has been researching a cure for glioblastoma for more than 30 years. “This, to me, is the most promising therapy I have seen in my career, period.” Gromeir explained that human cancers develop protective measures to make them invisible to the immune system, but he said the polio treatment removes that shield and allows the immune system to attack.”

China doesn’t mess around with Muslims: “A man in China has been sentenced to six years in prison for ‘provoking trouble’ because he grew a beard. The 38-year-old from the Uighur minority received several warnings before attending court in Kashgar, local newspapers reported. His wife was also given a two-year sentence for wearing a veil that hid her face. In China authorities widely discourage growing a beard because they say it is linked to extremist ideals. The Uighurs vehemently dispute this claim. The unnamed man started growing facial hair in 2010 before being accused of ‘picking quarrels and provoking trouble’ by officials. A campaign dubbed ‘Project Beauty’ similarly encourages women to leave their heads bare and abandon wearing the veil – a relatively widespread practice among the Uighurs. The repression of the Uighurs has been fanning tensions in the region for more than a year. Violence increased last year and at least 200 people were killed in a series of bombings and deadly clashes with security forces. And in August authorities in Karamay city banned people with large beards or Islamic clothing from travelling on public buses.”

This cat has a map of Australia on its nose: “A little Oriental Longhair cat was the talk of the Royal Sydney Easter Show yesterday thanks to an unusual marking on her nose. “Oz”, aptly nicknamed because of the map of Australia on her face, was lapping up all the attention from kids, adults and vets alike at her first cat show yesterday. “Oz didn’t come away with any prizes on Sunday but she certainly had lots of admiration because of her markings. I was really surpsied by the reaction,” owner Deb Nugent told news.com.au. “She has had the marking since birth but because it was so tiny we didn’t notice that it looked like a map until she was a few months old.” Oz, who turns one on April 2 and whose real name is Siajavi Paiwen, is a fun, michievous, “very special” feline according to her owners. She also has a brother and sister, who sadly don’t share the same unique marking as their now famous sibling.”

Cloaking device could protect soldiers from shock waves: “A researcher at the defense company Boeing has filed a patent for a sci-fi-esque cloaking device that would protect soldiers from intense shock waves generated by explosions. The just-issued patent to Boeing envisions stopping shock waves using a veil of heated, ionized air. Such a ‘shield’ would damp the force of explosions. It doesn’t build an invisible wall of force, but rather makes shock waves bend around objects, just as some high-tech materials bend light and make things invisible. Brian J. Tillotson, a senior research fellow at Boeing, said the idea occurred to him after noticing the kinds of injuries suffered by soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

CA: Court rules Sun Worshipping Atheism “not a religion”: “”A California court ruled that atheism is not a religion based on a three-point checklist to determine ‘the sometimes subtle distinction between a religion and a secular belief system.’ Marshel Copple is the sole follower of ‘Sun Worshipping Atheism,’ a belief system the former corrections officer created that advocates sleeping at least eight hours a day, daily fresh air, frequent exercise, having a job, social interaction, and skepticism. However, his beliefs on sleep conflicted with his work as a corrections officer, which required him to be available to work eight hours of overtime if needed and up to 16 hours in the event of a prison riot, reported The National Law Review.”

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

Man vs husky: Pair have hilarious argument over stolen food

March 30, 2015 at 11:07 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

A beloved CARPET!: “It’s the most famous carpet in the world, has more selfies than Kim Kardiashian can throw a stick at, and has captured the imaginations of millions of travellers. But although time has finally been called on Portland Airport’s cult carpet, fans of the post-modern rug are still queuing up to say a fond farewell. And last Friday, it was announced that a fragment of the carpet – which is in the process of being replaced – will have a staring role as the grand marshall in Portland’s annual Starlight Parade in May. Greg Koenig (@gak_pdx) wrote on twitter: ‘Portland just made a chunk of carpet the grand marshall of a city parade. That’s why I live here!’, while Selena Larson (@selenalarson) commented: ‘I hope one day to love something or someone as much as Portland loves its airport.’ Unusually for a floor covering, the carpet has amassed loyal following since it was first laid in the late 1980s Its striking geometric pattern, by architects SRG Partnership, was something of a departure from the standard oatmeal carpets in 1980’s airports, and was carefully designed to reflect the spirit of the northwest.”

Haystacks painting is officially declared a newly discovered Monet: “An oil painting has been proven to be one of Claude Monet’s – after scientists discovered the artist painted over his own signature. The 1891 painting, titled ‘A Haystack in the Evening Sun’, was largely unknown and its origin had never been verified. But a team of researchers from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland painstakingly unearthed the signature. The painting has been owned by the Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation, also in Finland, for more than 50 years. It is thought to be part of a wider series by Monet with all the pieces illustrating stacks of hay in fields after the harvest season. The painting was verified after a special camera was used to examine the composition of the work. This allowed researchers to see different layers including a previous signature by Monet.” The Fine Arts Foundation said the artwork is the first Monet painting to be held in a Finnish public collection.

Tourists to be charged more for parking at British beach on sunny days: “Parking charges at a popular British seaside resort could soon be weather dependent after a council pledged to halve them when it rains. Councillors in Brighton and Hove say they want to end ‘rip-off’ charges and are suggesting motorists pay ‘significantly less’ for street parking on rainy summer days. The scheme, which would be the first of its kind in the UK, is modeled on flexible parking charges schemes in San Francisco and Madrid. It forms part of the Conservative Party manifesto for the May 7 council elections promising, ‘A common sense council for Brighton and Hove’. ‘It is bizarre that summer parking rates begin on 1 March.Under the Conservatives summer parking charges will only apply in summer.’ Conservative transport spokesman Graham Cox, told The Telegraph the economy relied on the weather and they had to look at ways of attracting people when it was bad.”

British garden fashion: “If an Englishman’s house is his castle, his garden shed is his fortress: a refuge that has nurtured many a seedling and saved many a marriage. But today a mere shed is not enough. Timber is so last year. So meet the £22,000 Solardome – an Eden Project for the burbs. It’s the ultimate uber-shed, a grand, permanent 20ft-across structure made from glass. Hundreds of these and similar egg-shaped conservatories are springing up around the country – and now John Lewis is about to start selling the smaller-scale £599 garden igloo. Yes, its construction demands a degree of patience, if not, I’m glad to say, a degree in mechanical engineering, but this DIY dome is undeniably impressive: a 12ft-across and 7ft-tall geodesic structure made of precision-crafted, flat-packed German plastic. The Garden Igloo might look funkier than your average potting shed but there is one drawback: it is completely transparent. If you’re after a secret doze or a hush-hush hideaway for your home brew, this is not for you. And it is crazily hot: a stand-up polytunnel.

The hats have it: “Ladies were out in force today in an array of outrageous hats and bright dresses at Dubai World Cup at Meydan. It is the world’s richest horse race with a total prize money of £20million including a cool £6.7million for the winner. But the stakes were just as high for those going head-to-head in the fashion competition as those racing for glory. It is the most glamorous weekend in Dubai’s social calendar and the ladies were out in force today in an array of outrageous hats and bright dresses that would give the fashionistas at Ascot a run for their money. With a highly anticipated fashion competition taking place behind the scenes, the stakes were just as high for the stylish women in the crowd at the Dubai World Cup as those racing for glory. Around 50,000 revellers attended the world’s richest horse race at Meydan this year, with many hoping to be considered for the off-track prizes including best dressed lady and man, best dressed couple, best hat, most creative hat and Longines most elegant lady.” [Many more hats at the link]

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

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