Odd News Archive - February 2011

Note: Stories from some news services expire after a few weeks. If you click on a link to the original story it is possible that you will be re-directed to an archives page with the option to access the news item for a small fee.

February 28, 2011

20 tons of mayo spills onto interstate: SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Missouri authorities said they are investigating a tractor-trailer crash that spilled 40,000 pounds of mayonnaise onto Interstate 44.

Springfield police Lt. Scott Leven said the truck driver lost control of the vehicle Saturday night and wound up between the bridge supports and a guardrail underneath the U.S. 65 overpass on I-44, spilling the 20 tons of condiment onto the pavement, the Springfield News-Leader reported Monday....read more from UPI

Jet grounded by bed bugs: British Airways has taken one of its Boeing 747 jumbo jets out of service after a passenger complained she was bitten by bed bugs during a flight.

Business executive Zane Selkirk, 28, who lives in California, said she had been bitten during two flights recently, from Los Angeles to London on January 28 and Bangalore to London on February 5.

Selkirk said she noticed one of the blood-sucking creatures on the seat in front of her shortly before take-off on the first flight, later going to the plane's toilet to find five or six "crawling around on my white shirt"....read more from Stuff.co.nz

Girls Scouts banned from selling cookies outside home of founder: Girl Scouts are no longer able to sell their famous cookies outside the historic US home of the woman who founded the organisation almost a century ago.

A complaint last year ended the long-time practice of selling the cookies on the public footpath outside the home of Juliette Gordon Low at the busy intersection of Bull St and Oglethorpe Avenue in Savannah, Georgia.

Peddling on a public footpath is a violation of a city ordinance. One city councillor said he thinks the city should consider a temporary exception for biscuit season....read more from NEWS.com.au

February 27, 2011

Man sues over strip club dental injuries: INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana man's lawsuit for injuries he suffered when a stripper's shoe flew off during a performance and hit him in the teeth isn't far-fetched, lawyers say.

Jake Quagliaroli, 34, of Indianapolis sat approximately 20 feet from the stage at PT's Showclub when the shoe hit him in the face and chipped his front teeth, the Indianapolis Star reported Friday.

Quagliaroli got veneers, which will require replacement every 10 or 15 years....read more from UPI

Man sacked for doing too much work: Ping Han was a successful small business owner - he ran an insulation business, a travel agency, an interpreting service, a migration agency and also managed several rental properties.

The problem was he did it all while working at his "proper job" - as a RailCorp* clerk.

Mr Han was sacked after 14 years working for RailCorp when his bosses found out the extent of his moonlighting. He lost an appeal this month to the Transport Appeals Board for using his employer's time and resources to run his stable of small businesses....read more from NEWS.com.au

*State-owned corporation offering passenger rail services within New South Wales, Australia

February 26, 2011

Russian fighter jets sold for $5 in fraud scheme: A Russian court has jailed a former official for 11 years over the sale of four fighter jets for just $5 each.

The military corruption scandal, that cost the government about $55 million, underscored endemic fraud in Russia's armed forces.

Andrei Silyakov, a former employee of the state Federal Reserve Agency, illegally included the warplanes on a list of state assets to be sold, the Nizhny Novgorod regional court said in a statement on its website....read more from ABC News (AU)

Fugitive to be sentenced after 31 years: FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A man who has spent half his life as a fugitive has appeared before the same federal judge who presided over his trial in Florida 31 years ago.

Mark Steven Phillips, 62, who was convicted of drug charges in absentia in 1979, is to be sentenced May 26, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. Phillips, who was free on bail during the trial, left the country and spent years in Germany and Chile.

His lawyer, Ed Shohat, told the newspaper no one commented during Friday's hearing on the coincidence that Phillips and U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King were reunited....read more from UPI

February 25, 2011

Magazine editor crashes $250,650 Bentley: The editor of wealth management magazine Worth crashed a $250,650.00 Bentley in Connecticut during a test-drive.

Kate Winick, the senior editor for the magazine that advises high-net-worth people how to manage their money, was test-driving a new Continental GTC Speed 8011, in Ridgefield, Connecticut, when she lost control of the pricey convertible on an icy road and had to swerve to avoid a parked UPS truck, Women's Wear Daily reported....read more from NEWS.com.au

'Pub Guy' hits 2,500 bar milestone: TORONTO — Canada's "Pub Guy" Bill Perrie has a dream job that allows him to travel around the country in search of bars to drink his favourite brew.

Perrie, 53, of Stouffville, Ontario, located 50 km northeast of Toronto, was nursing a cold one at one of his favourite watering holes in the city, the Firkin on King, on Thursday to mark his 2,500 bar visit.

He was accompanied by friends and fellow beer aficionados who openly profess their love for suds....read more from CNews

Fox found living at top of Europe's tallest skyscraper: (by Stephen Swinford) Staff discovered the intrepid visitor on the 72nd floor of the Shard building at London Bridge, 944ft above the ground.

The animal, nicknamed Romeo by staff, entered the building through a central stairwell before climbing to the top. It was living off scraps left by builders.

Pest controllers from Southwark Council eventually caught the fox after two weeks and took it to an animal sanctuary. It has since been released near London Bridge....read more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

February 24, 2011

London shop to make breast milk ice cream: A specialist ice cream parlour plans to serve up breast milk ice cream and says people should think of it as an organic, free-range treat.

The breast milk concoction, called the "Baby Gaga," will be available from Friday at the Icecreamists restaurant in London's Covent Garden.

Icecreamists founder Matt O'Connor was confident his take on the "miracle of motherhood" and priced at a hefty 14 pounds ($23) a serving will go down a treat with the paying public.

The breast milk was provided by mothers who answered an advertisement on online mothers' forum Mumsnet....read more from Reuters UK

When pigs fly...well their frozen knuckles anyway: The police joked he'd caught lunch and the autobody repairman will be glad of the business, but a German driver was shaken up when a frozen pig's knuckle collided with his car on the high speed autobahn.

The piece of frozen pork flew from a truck and damaged the unnamed man's car in the Ruhr region of western Germany before he could swerve to avoid it, German police said on Thursday....read more from Reuters UK

UK Primary school bans footballs: A school where Steven Gerrard grew up has banned footballs from the playground, saying would-be England stars must instead use sponge balls for "health and safety" reasons.

Huyton's Malvern Primary School in Merseyside has decided that exposing pupils to leather and plastic footballs during breaktimes is too dangerous.

Using a February newsletter to remind parents of the policy, the school stressed that the only balls not deemed a health hazard which can be brought into school are those made from sponge....read more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

'Most stupid criminal ever' blew cover on Facebook: (by Lester Haines) A man who stole a laptop, then used it to post a gloating self-portrait of himself on the victim's Facebook page is challenging for the title of the world's thickest criminal.

Last December, Rodney Knight Jr, 19, broke into the house of Washington Post journalist Marc Fisher and lifted "a bunch of stuff", including cash, a winter coat and a laptop computer belonging to the hack's 15-year-old son.

Fisher reported: "He felt compelled to showboat about his big achievement: He opened my son's computer, took a photo of himself sneering as he pointed to the cash lifted from my son's desk....read more from The Register

Handcuffed burglary suspect drives off in police car: LAS VEGAS - A 19-year-old Henderson, Nevada man arrested for burglary managed to drive off in a police car on Wednesday, despite wearing handcuffs, only to be nabbed on foot a few hours later.

The unidentified burglary suspect drove off in the police car while officers stood outside their Chevrolet Tahoe shortly after apprehending him on suspicion of attempting to break into a nearby home, police spokesman Todd Rasmussen said....full story from Reuters UK

February 23, 2011

Chemists create current-bearing plastic: Chemists have found a new way of producing plastic that conducts electricity, potentially paving the way to cheaper, more robust and er, more plasticky computers.

Polymer electronics isn't new, and the printed electronics business is reckoned to be worth around $2bn, although not all the printing goes onto polymers. But with all the attention lavished upon nanotubes, the more mundane research breakthroughs can be overlooked.

A team led by Professors Paul Meredith and Ben Powell at the University of Queensland, Associate Professor Adam Micolich of the University of New South Wales School of Physics and UNSW doctoral student Andrew Stephenson used an ion beam to "tune" the plastic film....full story from The Register

Tank rowPolice called to settle extraordinary village 'tank' row: (by Andrew Hough) Residents in a quiet English village are embroiled in an extraordinary neighbourhood row after a military enthusiast bought a £10,000 [US$16,200] tank and parked it outside his home.

The huge green tanklike crane, designed to carry out battlefield repairs, has been sitting in a lay-by since new owner Nicholas Kravchenko drove it there last week.

Residents living in the normally tranquil area of Wolvercote, near Oxford, Oxon, have branded the machine an ''eyesore''....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Russia admits beer is alcohol: (by Andrew Osborn) Beer is to be legally classified as an alcoholic drink in Russia for the first time as the Kremlin forges ahead with the toughest anti-alcohol campaign since the fall of the Soviet Union.

The beverage is technically classified as a foodstuff for now, an anomaly that has allowed producers to avoid a sweeping new crackdown on alcohol advertising and night-time sales.

But a new Kremlin-backed bill that passed its first reading in the lower house of the Russian parliament on Tuesday will abolish beer's special status, dragging Russian alcohol regulation into the 21st century....read more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

February 22, 2011

HaremIndian man with 39 wives, 94 children and 33 grandchildren: A 66-year-old man in India's remote northeast has 39 wives, 94 children and 33 grandchildren, all living under one roof.

They all live in a four storied building with 100 rooms in a mountainous village in Mizoram state, sharing borders with Burma and Bangladesh, according to reports.

"I once married 10 women in one year," Ziona Chana said.

His wives share a dormitory near Ziona's private bedroom and locals said he likes to have seven or eight of them by his side at all times....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

- 39 wives is bad enough, but can you imagine having 39 mothers-in-law???

Uzbekistan warns against 'evil, satanic' rock music: Uzbekistan's state television issued overnight an unequivocal denunciation of rock and rap music as a Western liberal excess, saying the music was epitomized by sadism, drug addiction and immorality.

A TV documentary called "Melody and Calamity" on Uzbekistan's second main channel, which targets the youth market, raised alarm over the "pernicious influence of Western rock and rap music approaching as dark clouds over the heads of Uzbek youth."

Uzbekistan is Central Asia's most populous country, where 90 percent of the 28 million inhabitants are Muslim. The secular government, wary of both religious extremism and "excesses of Western democracy," in recent months showed increasing impatience with cultural imports from abroad....full story from NEWS.com.au

Hondurans call police on family smokers: The last refuge is vanishing for besieged smokers - at least in Honduras.

A new law says family members can call in the police on people who smoke at home.

The bans all smoking in most closed public or private spaces and orders smokers to stand at least six feet away from nonsmokers in any open space....full story from Stuff.co.nz

February 21, 2011

Knife was in man's head for four years: YUXI, China - Doctors in China said they worked for four hours to remove a 4-inch knife blade that spent four years lodged in a man's head.

Surgeons at the People's Hospital of Yuxi said they removed the blade Saturday after Li Fu, 37, came into the hospital Jan. 24 complaining of headaches, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported Monday....read more from UPI

Healthier lunches unpopular with students: CHICAGO - Officials with Chicago Public Schools said school lunch sales have dropped about 5 percent since the introduction of a healthier menu.

The district stopped offering daily nachos, doughnuts and Pop-Tarts in favor of healthier options at the start of the school year. District officials say figures from September to December show lunch sales were down about 5 percent, about 20,000 lunches per day, from the previous year, the Chicago Tribune reported Monday....read more from UPI

February 20, 2011

Royal Mail's red rubber band use revealed: Postal workers get through two million red rubber bands per day, the Royal Mail has revealed.

In the past five years, the organisation has spent almost £5m on four billion bands which are used to bundle letters together.

Keep Britain Tidy has called for their use to be reduced because they say wild animals can choke on them....full story from BBC News

Thieves lose money trying to rob Kansas City gun store: Two men attempted to rob a Kansas City, Missouri, gun store Thursday and ended up leaving with less money than they had when they came in, the Kansas City Star reported Saturday.

One of the would-be robbers entered the store around 2:00pm Thursday local time and asked to buy a box of ammunition.

When the 65-year-old clerk, who wore a shoulder holster and a handgun in plain view, told the man it would be about $50, the man said he needed to get more money and left....full story from NEWS.com.au

February 19, 2011

Russian airline plans in-flight clowns, actors: MOSCOW - Russian budget airline Avianova announced it will be hiring clowns, actors and musicians to amuse and entertain passengers during flights.

Avianova officials said the first in-flight live entertainment will take place Saturday on a flight from Moscow to Krasnodar....full sotry from UPI

Police: use a sign to warn burglars about expensive tools: Police told a man worried about his shed being burgled to put up a sign warning thieves that they could get electrocuted if they tried to pinch his valuable equipment.

David Bishop was given that advice after attended a police meeting in Tatsfield, Surrey [England], following a string of shed burglaries in the surrounding area.

Police previously told residents they should use 'good quality locks and bolts' and not resort to use home-made devices like putting wire mesh around shed windows as burglars may 'hurt themselves' and sue for compensation....read more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

....Hmmm. Wonder how many languages that police suggested that the signs be in. After all, not all burglars speak English.

February 18, 2011

Australian city to expel 22,000 bats from downtown gardens: A colony of 22,000 bats may be coming to a neighbourhood near you after an Australian court served the flying foxes with an eviction notice and allowed the government to chase them away with loud industrial noise.

The court ruled that the grey-headed flying foxes, the largest bats in Australia, could be driven out of the Royal Botanical Gardens in the heart of Sydney as the colony grew too big and threatened hundreds of rare and protected trees....read more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

British couple happily married despite wife suing husband: A stubborn wife told how she is still "happily married" to her dentist husband - despite suing him at an employment tribunal.

Helen Hutcheson, 46, claims husband John reneged on an agreement to pay her £3,000 [US$4860] a month as manager of his practice.

She quit and launched legal proceedings for unfair dismissal - but lost on a technicality.

However, the mother-of-three says the case has not affected her relationship with her husband....read more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Australian town changes name to Speedkills: A tiny Australian town is changing its name as part of a quirky road safety campaign.

The town of Speed in Victoria, which has a population of just 45 people, will be known as Speedkills for the month of March after locals decided to help promote safe driving.

Each year hundreds of people die in accidents on Australian roads and in 2010 deaths on rural roads increased by about 25 per cent, but successive advertising campaigns by the government urging motorists to slow down have been largely unsuccessful....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

February 17, 2011

Malaysia police nab 3 for stealing 725,000 condoms: Malaysian police have arrested three suspects involved in the heist of some 725,000 condoms, which have not yet been found.

Mohamad Shukri Dahlan, the police chief of Malaysia's northern Perak state, says the heist was "an inside job." He said Friday the suspects work for the firm responsible for transporting the condoms from the factory to the port, where they were to be shipped to Japan....read more from Townhall.com

Ugandan rapperSaucy spy Anna Chapman to design Russian space uniforms: (by Lewis Page) One-time Russian secret agent Anna Chapman, globally famous for being the only one of the deep-cover spy ring unmasked by the US last year who is even mildly attractive, will now assist the Russian space agency in designing a stylish new uniform for its personnel.

The revelations come from top Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, who has six space missions to his credit: two long-duration stays on the Mir space station, two missions as a crew member aboard US space shuttles, and two further Soyuz trips to the International Space Station – including a stint as station commander. Krikalev has logged more than two years in space and is nowadays chief cosmonaut at Russia's Gagarin centre....full story from The Register

Ugandan rapperUgandan president says may release rap album: President Yoweri Museveni says he might release an album after a rap he performed became a smash hit on Uganda's radio stations and in its nightclubs.

"I was very happy with the reaction of the youth because that means they are very thirsty for the music of their ancestors," the 67-year-old told a news conference before elections on Friday.

"So after the election you may get quite a big album of the classics."....full story from Reuters UK

Kleptocat burglar caught red-pawed: A thieving cat has been caught on camera, stealing over 600 items from neighbours' homes in a California town, reports said today.

Dusty the cat burglar was videoed by a night-vision camera carrying everything from a bath sponge and a toy dinosaur to a neighbour's bikini top down the street in San Mateo, south of San Francisco.

"Towels, gloves, shoes, socks and children's toys," owner Jean Chu told locla ABC News television, listing the various household goods her pet has brought home....full story from NEWS.com.au

February 16, 2011

Russia's Putin criticises Customs' YouTube video: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Wednesday criticised a group of customs officers for a video clip they posted on YouTube celebrating the lavish lifestyle they say comes with their government jobs.

The mock rap video made in the Pacific port city of Vladivostok shows customs officials in sunglasses driving a Rolls Royce and drinking champagne surrounded by scantily clad women.

"You can't even imagine how the customs officials have fun," officers sing in chorus as a topless woman clutches customs forms to her breasts....full story from Reuters UK

Police officer on paid leave for seven years: DAVIE, Ga. - A police officer in Florida has collected more than $550,000 while on paid leave for seven years, says his attorney who contends his client was "railroaded."

Officer Kevin Kilpatrick, 41, of the Davie Police Department was originally placed on leave in October 2003 while being investigated on allegations he violated orders by refusing to stay away from members of the department's Special Investigation Unit, the Orlando Sentinel reported Wednesday....full story from UPI

Moose undisturbed by stun gun jolt: FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Alaska Department of Fish and Game said biologists were unable to remove a rope from around a moose's neck despite employing a special wildlife stun gun.

The department said biologists had the stun gun specially shipped to use on the Fairbanks moose, which has had the rope around her neck since she was pulled from the Chena River Jan. 2 by people who saw her fall through the ice, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Wednesday....full story from UPI

[Probably the same stun gun described here on January 19th]

February 15, 2011

Kazakh armed forces to draft celebrities in new reality show: The Kazakh Defense Ministry and national TV have launched a televised project in which politicians, athletes and celebrities will be drafted into the armed forces.

The participants of the project, titled "Special Mission," will undergo special training for several days in one of the country's military units and then will be tasked with an "important mission."

"Those who did not fulfill their military service duty for whatever reasons will get combat experience in various services and branches of the armed forces," the Defense Ministry said in a statement....full story from RIA Novosti (RU)

Coca Cola recipe 'discovered': The ingredients of the drink, created by John Pemberton, a medicinal pharmacist in 1886, have always been a mystery.

However, Thisamericanlife.org claims to have discovered a list in a photograph in a newspaper article giving the ingredients and exact quantities to make the drink.

The Feb 8 1979 edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a photo of someone holding open a book with a recipe claimed to be an exact replica of Pemberton's....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

February 14, 2011

McDonalds serves up McWeddings in Hong Kong: In the buzzing financial hub known for its fast living, young Hong Kong couples can now grab love on the run at the city's McDonald's outlets, which are offering a burgeoning new sideline: "McWeddings."

On Valentine's Day at a downtown McDonald's close to the financial district, the fast food joint was decked out with pink balloons, a "cake" stacked from apple pies, as well as a pair of tiny souvenir crystal M rings, for a surprise engagement bash thrown by Kelvin, a young model, for his girlfriend, Ashley.

The party is the first formal wedding event since the service was launched in January....full story from Reuters UK

One third of Russians say Sun revolves round Earth: (by Lester Haines) Those of you brought up in the heliocentric tradition are advised to look away now, because a poll has revealed that one-third of Russians favour the Ptolemaic model of our solar system.

A shaken spokeswoman for state pollster VsTIOM admitted on Friday that a survey of 1,600 across Russia confirmed the worst: 32 per cent of citizens reckon the Sun revolves around the Earth.

In a further blow to the Russian education system, 29 per cent confidently stated that the first humans, presumably clad like Raquel Welch in animal skin bikinis, battled the dinosaurs for control of the solar system's centre....full story from The Register

Finding love no bed of roses for Chinese men: Finding one's better half can be a tricky business in modern-day China, with hectic work schedules, nagging parents and a gender imbalance conspiring to make selecting a partner a nightmare for single men.

According to the recent "2010 China Marriage and Relationship Survey Report," 260 million Chinese are looking for love -- 180 million singles and 80 million concerned parents.

Eager singles swamped matchmaking events held in Beijing during the Chinese New Year holidays, with an estimated 50,000 people attending a week-long event in the capital's Ditan Park, according to organiser Jiayuan.com, a popular matchmaking website with over 40 million registered members....full story from Reuters UK

February 13, 2011

Give sweet nothing for Valentine's Day, urges UK council: (by Patrick Sawer) Councillors have urged couples to abandon the tradition of sending Valentine's Day cards in favour of the electronic version in order to cut down on waste.

It is supposed to be the day of romantic gestures, but a council has told residents to offer their loved ones sweet nothings for St Valentine's Day.

Recycling bosses at Central Bedfordshire [England] Council have urged couples to ditch Valentine cards this year, because of their environmental impact.

Instead, the authority suggests people should send each other decidedly less romantic "e-cards"....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Gardener told not to enter village show for 'being too good': (by Rebecca Lefort) A 73-year-old gardener has been told not to enter the vegetable competition at his village show becaues he kept on winning.

It is the ultimate accolade for a keen vegetable grower – a 73-year-old has been told not enter his village gardening competition because he is too good.

David Stirzaker has been asked by the organisers of the North Cadbury and District Horticultural Society, in Somerset, not to exhibit his produce at its annual show, because his impressive record at the event is discouraging others from taking part....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

February 12, 2011

Lady golfers unhappy about law to end sex discrimination: The Equality Act has given women more rights in golf clubs – but many lady golfers have been left out of pocket and out of sorts.

It was meant to put women on a par with men.

Women golfers have long faced restrictions at their local courses on what times they could play and which bars they could drink in. Often they were blocked from becoming club captain.

So when Harriet Harman introduced the Equality Act to give women more rights in work places and social settings, golf clubs were seen as ripe for reform....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

70 year Valentine's card: (by Patrick Sawer) There's no danger of 88-year-old Harry Ward forgetting his wife Doris's Valentine's Day card - the couple still use the same one he bought her 70 years ago.

When 17-year-old Harry Ward presented his sweetheart Doris with a Valentine's Day card as he boarded a train to join the wartime effort on February 14, 1941, he must have been fairly confident his affections would be requited.

After all the couple had been dating since they met in a Bristol café three months earlier....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Shed owners warned wire on windows could hurt burglars: Police have told residents to stop putting wire mesh on their garden shed windows – because they could be sued if a burglar is injured.

A spate of thefts in several towns and villages in Kent and Surrey [England] over the past few months led to many householders taking action to protect their property.

Some have been warned by police that using wire mesh to reinforce shed windows was "dangerous" and could lead to criminals claiming compensation if they "hurt themselves"....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Whaling shipwreck linked to 'Moby-Dick' discovered: Marine archeologists off Hawaii have found the sunken remains of a 19th century whaling vessel skippered by a captain whose ordeal from an earlier shipwreck inspired the Herman Melville classic "Moby-Dick".

Iron and ceramic scraps from the Nantucket whaling ship known as Two Brothers were located in shallow waters nearly 600 miles (965km) from Honolulu in the remote chain of islands and atolls that make up the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

The discovery was announced on Friday by researchers from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which led the initial 2008 expedition to the wreck and subsequent explorations of the site during the past two years....full story w/pic from The Daily Telegaph (UK)

February 11, 2011

Third eyeArtist forced to remove head camera implant: An artist who had a camera implanted into the back of his head has been forced to remove it after his body rejected part of the device.

Iraqi-born Wafaa Bilal had surgery last week to remove one of three posts holding the camera in place as it posed a risk of infection.

The camera had been taking a photo every minute as part of a year-long project.

Bilal says he hopes he will be able to reattach the camera....full story from BBC News

Detroit citizens demand RoboCop statue: (by Lester Haines) Fans of Paul Verhoeven's 1987 classic RoboCop have launched an online campaign to erect a statue in honour of their crimebusting hero.

RoboCopVia the inevitable Facebook presence, and a tin-rattling site, Brandon Walley and chums hope to raise the $50,000 necessary to make officer Murphy a permanent fixture on Detroit's streets.

The initiative has the tentative support of mayor Dave Bing, who "would consider using public land for a donated RoboCop statue", Reuters reports....full story from The Register

February 10, 2011

Ford sues Ferrari over use of F150 name: US motor giant Ford has said it is suing Ferrari over the Italian carmaker's use of the name F150 for its new Formula 1 racing car.

Ford argued that the use of the name detracts from its own F-150 brand of best-selling pickup trucks.

It has also said the Ferrari F150 logo looked similar to its own F-150 logo....full story from BBC News

'Race against time' to find lost trees from the moon: (by Lewis Page) NASA has appealed for help from the public in tracking down a plague of 'Moon trees' grown from seeds brought back from a 1971 lunar mission in an astronaut's personal kit. Space boffins say that the seeds survived in conditions of total vacuum and are thought to have been planted out at various locations on Earth, growing into trees outwardly resembling terrestrial species.

"Hundreds of moon trees were distributed as seedlings," says Dave Williams of NASA's Goddard spaceflight centre in Maryland, "but we don't have systematic records showing where they all went."

No space was set aside in the Apollo capsules for seeds found on the Moon, but it seems that astronaut Stuart Roosa, command module pilot on the Apollo 14 moonshot, got round this by bringing the seeds back from the Moon in his "personal preference kit"....full story from The Register

US gov says it can't build an interstellar starship: (by Lewis Page) Space enthusiasts will no doubt rejoice at the news that the wealthiest and most powerful organisation yet assembled by the human race – to wit, the US government – reports early progress in its plan to build an interstellar starship capable of carrying people to other star systems than our own.

Enthusiasts may be less pleased to hear that the starship project has a fairly relaxed 2100AD deadline to get itself in gear. Also, this is not a sort of lackadaisical version of President Kennedy's famous 1961 promise to land a man on the moon "before this decade is out" – a promise which the American space programme kept for him, though he died only two years later....full story from The Register

February 9, 2011

New York's bed bug problem spreading to London: Avoiding New York and boiling your suitcase might not be enough for Londoners to dodge the global bed bug pandemic - they're already here, probably in a hotel, house or cinema near you.

Apple seed-sized, flat, brownish bed bugs (also known as Cimicidae) were once rife all over the world but had been largely wiped out by the banned pesticide DDT. During the past few decades, like head lice, they have been mounting a comeback, pest control firms say.

Wrongly linked to poverty or poor hygiene, today's jet-setting bed bugs travel on all airline classes in luggage, aircraft seats and clothes to wherever people sleep or rest....full story from Reuters UK

Horse in pubHorse enjoys a refreshing pint in his local pub: A horse called Basil has finally been allowed into his local pub in Staffordshire [UK] for a refreshing pint.

The Welsh Cob stallion visits his favoured watering hole every Sunday at the Meynell Ingram Arms in Burton, Staffordshire.

He enjoys mingling with the locals as he relaxes and sups on his favourite tipple in the country boozer.

His favourite drink is the locally brewed ale Marson's Pedigree, which is always waiting for him at the bar in his very own glass....read more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Catholics 'can't confess via iPhone': Catholics cannot confess by iPhone, the Vatican has said, after the launch of a 'confession app' sanctioned by the US Catholic Church.

Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said technology was not a substitute for being present when admitting sins to a priest.

"One cannot speak in any way of confessing via iPhone," Father Lombardi said, adding that confession required the presence of the penitent and the priest....read more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

February 8, 2011

Suspicious toilet'Suspicious toilet' provokes Maryland bomb scare: (by Lester Haines) A "suspicious toilet" left outside a government building yesterday provoked a full-scale bomb alert in Towson, Maryland.

A security guard spotted the white crapper dumped outside the Old Courthouse at around 8am, and called in the cops. According to the Towson Times, the porcelain loo was packed with "some type of electronic device, along with a cellphone and some notes" and decorated with "a scrap of newspaper, as well as a piece of cardboard with a message written on it"

Cue bomb squad intervention, with a sniffer dog and remote-controlled robot first checking out the suspect dunny before a human operative moved in to confirm the bog wasn't going to go bang....full story from The Register

-Guess everyone involved in this must have seen Lethal Weapon II at least once....

NY hookers cross street from Craigslist to Facebook: (by John Leyden) New York prostitutes are increasingly plying their trade using Facebook instead of Craigslist, following the latter's exit from the adult services business last year.

A study by sociology professor Sudhir Venkatesh on trends in the world's oldest profession, published by Wired, estimated that 25 percent of hookers' regular clients came through Facebook compared to only three per cent through Craigslist.

Five years before that, in 2003, nine per cent of the prostitutes regular clients came through Craiglist and none through the then infant Facebook....full story from The Register

February 7, 2011

Rats! Good for protein and protests in Uganda: A man who ate a rat in front of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in 2005 is threatening to repeat what he says is a traditional form of protest used to bring change.

John Ojim Omoding, 79, told the Daily Monitor newspaper that his grandfather ate a live rat in front of British colonisers in 1947, persuading them to make the eastern Torora area a county.

Now Omoding wants Tororo (more than 150 km (93 miles) northeast of Kampala) promoted to district status and says he may eat more rats in front of Museveni -- who is touring the country to campaign for a fourth term in office in polls due on February 18 -- to achieve this goal....full story from Reuters UK

Wood-burning stoves 'can cause cancer and heart disease': (by Stephen Adams) Trendy wood-burning stoves produce invisible particles that can cause heart disease and cancer, scientists have warned.

Breathing in the particles has a similar effect to inhaling emissions from car exhausts and power plants, it is claimed.

The stoves have become very popular in Britain and other European countries, due both to rising oil, gas and electricity prices, and their green credentials.

However, new research indicates that the tiny airborne specks in wood smoke, known as "particulate matter", can be a silent killer because they are small enough to be inhaled into the deepest parts of the lungs....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

February 6, 2011

'Pet boutique' millionaire fined after dog bit jogger's bottom: (by Nick Collins) The millionaire owner of one of London's top "pet boutiques" has been ordered to pay £1,000 [US$1,610] after his dog bit a jogger on the bottom.

Julia Gentgen was left with a bruised posterior and could not sit down for days after Jazz, a two-year-old long haired male Weimaraner, pushed his muzzle up her shorts and bit her on the left buttock in Kensington Gardens last July.

She also needed a tetanus jab after the bite from the dog, which was owned by Andrew Saville-Edwards, the millionaire owner of Pet Pavilion, a London boutique where celebrities pamper their pets....read more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

UK Police issued bike-riding guide: (by Jasper Copping) Police officers are being issued with lengthy guides on how to ride a bike – including tips on avoiding swarms of insects and suggestions for lemon curd snacks.

Pity the poor policemen sent out on bicycle patrol.

It is not just the criminals they need to worry about, but the ever present threat of chapped lips, flagging energy levels, airborne insects and sore bottoms.

Now, however, help is at hand for police cyclists in the shape of hundreds of pages of advice including guidance on what they should eat and wear....read more from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

February 5, 2011

Alligator Farm installs zip line: ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - The owner of a Florida farm featuring every species of alligator and crocodile said he is installing a zip line for tourists to travel above the reptiles.

Scott Brown of the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine said the zip line will be part of a seven-acre obstacle course at the attraction designed to give visitors a unique view of the animals below, WJXT-TV, Jacksonville, reported Friday....read more from UPI

Florida city may repossess trash bins: PALM BAY, Fla - Officials in Palm Bay, Fla., said sanitation workers may begin repossessing trash bins from residents who haven't paid their bills.

Nearly 3,000 residents had not paid quarterly bills, each amounting to about $33, and trash collectors may begin removing their bins after emptying them, WFTV, Orlando, Fla., reported Friday.

Officials said the delinquent accounts could be a result of confusion from the city's automated garbage program, which began five months ago....read more from UPI

British politician's wife poses for newspaper naked, save a bedsheet: John Bercow's wife Sally, 41, appeared in London's Evening Standard* on Thursday wrapped only in the white sheet, standing before a window overlooking parliament.

In a story titled "My bedroom secrets", she said her 48-year-old husband had turned into a sex symbol since taking the speaker's chair in June 2009.

Sally Bercow has raised eyebrows with her extrovert actions - admitting in the past she used to drink heavily and engage in one-night stands when she was single - and her latest public appearance has heaped further pressure on her husband....read more from ABC News (AU)

*ex-KGB spy Alexander Lebedev bought the Evening Standard in January 2009....see Telegraph article

February 4, 2011

Church holds Sunday service in a bar: KINGSTON, Ont. — For some, church and beer should go hand-in-hand.

Members of the Cafe Church in Kingston, Ont., held a special service in a pub in the eastern Ontario town to try to attract more people.

“We’re trying to build a buzz," community outreach and evangelism director Gerald McCaffrey said. “We’re trying to make church cool again. It has become irrelevant to people of this generation, but we think it still has a good message: that God loves us."....read more from CNews

Boy, 7, tries to buy fighter jet on eBay: AN overenthusiastic seven-year-old London boy almost bought today his very own real-life Harrier fighter jet on eBay for £69,999 ($113,515).

The British-built Harrier jump jet was for sale on the site - but for a fixed price instead of an auction.

A youngster hit the "buy it now" button to purchase the restored fighter jet, causing his father to quickly apologize to the sellers and tell them his son was not able to buy the aircraft out of his pocket money....read more from NEWS.com.au

City of Austin, Texas asking for input on new name for Solid Waste Services Department: The City of Austin is renaming the Solid Waste Services Department to better reflect all of the services the Department provides, including recycling, garbage collection, yard trimmings pick-up, street sweeping, litter abatement and litter control, household hazardous waste disposal, storm debris clean-up, Zero Waste initiatives (http://www.austinrecycles.com) and community outreach & education. We would like your input on the three new department name ideas below. You can cast a total of three votes, and as many as three votes for a particular name.

At the time this item was posted the Fred Durst Society of the Humanities and Arts was in first place with 17,315 votes and Department of Neat and Clean in second with 1,693 votes....throw in your two cents worth at the City of Austin Community Forum
H/T Dr. Saturday

February 3, 2011

Bus shelter movies in AustraliaAustralian commuters flock to bus shelter movies: A bus shelter has become a miniature movie theatre in Adelaide.

The unusual stop for commuters is to promote the Adelaide International Film Festival, which will be held from late this month.

The shelter in North Terrace now has theatre seats, curtains and a projector....full story from ABC News (AU)

Mice trained for airport security: Mice are being trained to detect would-be bombers and drug couriers at airports.

Israeli scientists have created a detector, similar looking to a full-body scanner but with three concealed cartridges each containing eight specially trained mice.

According to the New Scientist the mice work four-hour shifts and are more accurate than using dogs and x-ray machines, the researchers claim....full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Man faces jail after 'axe-attack' joke: A man is facing jail after he tried to scare teenagers away by chasing his ketchup-smeared fiancée down a moonlit farm track whilst wielding an axe.

John Powell, 28, admitted two charges of possessing an axe in a public place and using behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress on October 20 2010, when he appeared at South Lakeland Magistrates Court [UK].

His case was adjourned pending reports, but he was warned he may receive a custodial sentence.

He hatched the plan with Lucy Walton, 27, to spook the men parked in a lay-by on Cleabarrows Lane, Windermere. ...full story from The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Polish hunter sues after failing to find elephant: A Polish hunter who dreamt of shooting an elephant has sued a German-based travel company after it sent him to a part of Africa where he said there were no elephants to be found, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

The company, Jaworski Jagdreisen, which organises hunting expeditions, insists there are elephants in the area of Zimbabwe it sent the hunter, identified only as Waldemar I, the Rzeczpospolita daily newspaper said....full story from Reuters UK

Mona Lisa model was a male, say Italian researchers: Italian researchers who specialise in resolving art mysteries said today they have discovered the disputed identity of the model for Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa - and claimed he was a man.

Silvano Vinceti, chairman of the Italian national committee for cultural heritage, said the Florence-born Renaissance artist's male apprentice and possible lover Salai was the main inspiration for the picture.

However his claim was immediately disputed by experts at the Louvre in Paris, where the painting is on display....full story from NEWS.com.au

February 2, 2011

Bears attack parked Ford Taurus: SANFORD, Fla. - A Florida man said a pair of black bears attacked his 2004 silver Ford Taurus outside of his house, causing damage to the roof and a tire.

David Swerdlow, 63, of Seminole County near Wekiwa Springs State Park, said a neighbor spotted the bears on his car at about 1 a.m. Tuesday and by the time he awoke the morning, the animals had caved in the roof and punctured a tire, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported Wednesday....full story from UPI

'Flight risk' convicts to become cabbies: (by John Kay) Male prisoners will drive female convicts on trips from jail in a money-saving move slammed as "crazy," The Sun reported today.

The scheme aims to cut out taxi fares for such things as hospital visits.

To ensure drivers stick to their routes, tracking systems will be fitted to the vehicles at a cost of £10,000 (more than $16,000).

Men at Sudbury open prison in Ashbourne, central England, will ferry women from closed prison Foston Hall 10 miles (16 kilometres) away using jail pool cars....full story from NEWS.com.au

February 1, 2011

Car crashes into Tampa office that insures it: For the third time in 10 years, a car has struck the Adrian Fernandez Insurance office on Armenia Avenue.

But Monday night's crash was the first time the building was hit by a car the company insures.

About 8:30 p.m. Tampa Fire Rescue crews responded to a report that a car had struck a building at 6115 N Armenia Ave....full story from the St. Petersburg Times

Russian spy Chapman registers her name as trademark: Russian spy Anna Chapman has registered her name as a trademark to cash in on her growing popularity since she was deported in a Cold War-style swap last year, Russia's state patent agency told Reuters on Tuesday.

"Maybe she wants to open the 'Anna Chapman' dry-cleaner or make cookies," Nikolai Kravtsov, an official at the agency, told Reuters by telephone, adding that she had registered for the trademark in August.

The 28-year-old redhead has posed in lingerie, attended a space launch and even had a sing-along with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin since she returned to Russia following her arrest and expulsion from the United States in July....full story w/pic from Reuters UK

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