Odd News Archive - October 2005

formerly Revelations from the Webjockey

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.

October 31, 2005

Cat Survives Three Week Sea Voyage in Container: Workers at a French office supply company were quite surprised to find a live cat in a sealed cargo box from Wisconsin. The cat, Emily, was identified from her identification collar that had a veterinarian's US phone number. One of the workers, Joelle de Becker, said that the animal's owners were quite ecstatic after hearing of the "find". Emily must stay 30 days in quarantine before being returned. ....Maybe there is something to that nine lives thing.
Full story→(NEWS.com.au: AFP)

Spend the Holidays in Style: For just a mere $170,000 you can spend Christmas in luxury at the five-star Ritz-Carlton in Hong Kong. The package includes thee days and two nights in the Presidential Suite, a flight by Gulfstream jet to Bali, exclusive use of a Rolls Royce, Cuban cigars and various culinary and beverage delights.
Full story→(Herald Sun)

October 29, 2005

Remote Control Vibrator: Or in technical terms, an SMS-triggered Bluetooth vibration device. The Cool & Groovy Toy Company Ltd. UK, has dubbed the device The Toy. The gadget can be activated by a simple SMS text message from a cell phone after inputting a secret six-digit code. Each letter typed in can have three "different movement profiles" with five speeds and three time settings. "This allows 45 possible effects from any single letter and an astounding "7200 variations from a single text message". ....Kinda brings new meaning to the term "phone sex".
Full story→(The Register)

October 28, 2005

Chicken Thieves: Scammers will take advantage of any situation these days, including the feared bird flu epidemic. Thieves posing as agriculture department agents in Turkey have been collecting chickens from farmers purportedly to test for the avian flu. Agriculture official Aysel Agayar warned citizens not to give their poultry to anyone.
Full story→(The Australian: AFP)

Airport Terminal Evacuated Because of Cookie: A terminal at the San Diego International Airport was evacuated after a carry-on luggage screening machine mistook a toy and a cookie for bomb-making components. Six flights were delayed by the incident. ....Remember to leave your toys and treats at home with your Smith & Wesson.
Full story→(Herald Sun)

October 27, 2005

Getting Paid to Drink Beer: A female Japanese artist was paid £5,000 (US$8,920) to drink 48 bottles of beer and then fall off a wooden beam in Cardiff, Wales UK. Tomoko Takahashi, 39, also known as Anti-Cool, is now being accused of promoting binge drinking. The Chapter Arts Centre of Cardiff financed the performance with taxpayer money. Amid growing criticism of the performance an arts centre spokesman said: "This wasn't just about a woman drinking a lot of beer. This was a powerful piece of art."
Full story→(The Australian)

October 26, 2005

Art Heist Inspires Board Game: The theft of the famous painting The Scream from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway, has led to a new board game called The Mystery of The Scream. The Scream and Madonna, both painted by Edvard Munch, were taken by armed robbers in In August 2004. The paintings, worth US$100 million, have never been recovered. Reaction to the game is mixed in the art community. The game is aimed at children over six, and players take the role of detectives or robbers. ....Great Christmas gift for friends and relatives to show them your appreciation of fine art.
Full story→(The Australian: AFP)

October 25, 2005

Dead Man in Car Gets Parking Ticket: A 71 year-old man received a parking ticket in Melbourne, Austalia, after lying dead in his car for several days. A parking officer left the ticket on the passenger side of the car's windshield in the Croydon Market shopping centre parking lot. The man had been reported missing nine days earlier. A female friend of the deceased was disgusted with the authoriites' explanation that the officer had not noticed anything unusual regarding the vehicle (imagine the smell). Local officials expressed condolences to the man's family and promised a coroner's inquiry. ....Bet the local parking enforcement officers are likely to be a little more observant from now on.
Full story→(The Register)

October 24, 2005

Carjacker Gets Hot Coffee Instead of Car: A carjacker in Blufton, SC, ended up with less than he bargained for after picking on the wrong motorist. The still at-large man attempted a carjacking by tapping his handgun on the driver's side window. The driver, who had just bought a cup of coffee, responded by slamming the car door into the attacker's legs, doused him with the hot brew, then wrestled him to the ground. The would be victim also grabbed the pistol in the scuffle. Police are now looking for an unarmed man with coffee stains.
Full story→(Fox News: AP)

October 23, 2005

"Munchies" Mystery Solved: Australian behavioral neuroscientist Paul Mallet along with former PhD student Aaron Verty have discovered the part of the brain that triggers pot smokers' "munchies". The study, sponsored by the Australian Research Council, concluded that the drug activates receptors called cannabinoids, which trigger appetite. Dr. Mallet said that "Hunger is associated with an increase in the release of cannabis-like substances produced in the brain." ....Certainly clears that matter up.
Full story→(The Austalian)

Brits Asked to Count Frogs: British charity Froglife is asking for volunteers to count common frogs found in their gardens. In addition the charity is requesting that the frogs be looked at closely for any signs of viral or fungal infection. Froglife fears that two separtate diseases may be infecting the frog population and needs at least a thousand responses from observers to chart trends. ....Sounds like a good activity for retired folks.
Full story→(Al Mendhar:: Link RIP)

October 22, 2005

Chinese Buying Up Moon: Following the success of their recent space mission Chinese are buying up small tracts of land on the moon. The Lunar Agency has set up shop in Beijing and is selling off one acre parcels for @ $45.00 each. The Lunar Agency was founded in 1980 by Amercian Dennis Hope who claims to have 3.5 million customers worldwide. His business also has offices in the US, Germany, Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Mr. Hope believes that there is a flaw in the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty which makes his sales legitimate. However, officials at China's Chaoyang District branch of Beijing's Administration for Industry and Commerce thinks there is a flaw in the Lunar Agency's business registration and is launching an investigation. Evidently the selling of real estate on the lunar surface was not listed as the company's business....
Full story→(The Austalian)

October 21, 2005

Pregnancy by Magic: Magician David Copperfield is going to attempt to impregnate a woman on stage without sex. Copperfield told German magazine Galore that there were definitely more than seven kinds of magic tricks and that he intended to prove it. Right now the magic man isn't saying anything further. ....Stay tuned!!
Full story→(The Register)

October 20, 2005

Shanghai Scrap Metal Thieves Hit New Heights: Even if it's bolted down, it's not safe in Shanghai, China. Phone booths, traffic lights and even manhole covers are disappearing as the economy is booming. Scrap metal prices are at record highs for scarce metals such as copper, aluminum and steel. Now only officially authorized dealers are allowed to trade in such things as street signs, transformers, electrical transmission towers and other metal equipment vital to the city's infrastructure. ....Kinda makes sense with the large amount of tools made in China these days.
Full story→(Reuters)

October 19, 2005

10 Foot Long Sewer Snake Caught: A Boa Constricter which had been haunting toilets in a Manchester, England neighborhood for three months has finally been captured. Residents of a row of flats had been having to keep their toilet lids weighted down in order to prevent unwanted intrusions. The snake, named Keith, had been wandering the sewers and occasionaly popping up in bathrooms since his believed owner was evicted. After a series of "incidents" authorities were finally convinced that reports of the snake were true and tried to locate the creature by running a fiber optic camera through the sewage lines. Finally, a resident who found the Boa in his bathroom was able to trap it in a bucket. Full story→(BBC)

In plumbing news of a different nature, a super beer tap has been invented. The Uber three-way tap will crank out eleven twelve ounce beers a minute via a foot pump. In their own words "Uber technology has created the toughest and most efficient beer dispensing device on the market today". Check out this cutting edge engineering at→(Uber)

October 18, 2005

Million Dollar Winner in Aussie TV Show: Rob Fulton of Sydney was the first contestant ever to win the Austalian Nine Network's "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" quiz show. After studying National Geographic magazines and equally heady stuff for five years in preparation for such a contest, 36 year-old Fulton's final question for the jackpot was somewhat of a "trick" one. He was asked which 60's American TV show came first: Bewitched, Get Smart, Hogan's Heroes or I Dream of Jeannie. Rob was really stumped at first but made an educated guess based on his recollection of the furniture styles, etc. in each show. He picked Bewitched, which was the correct answer. Rob had a balance of $2.99 in his personal bank account at the time that he won. Full story→(The Australian)

October 17, 2005

Results of Black Helicopter Contest: The Register, a UK information technology publication, started a competition to determine who could spot the most black helicopters by using Google Earth. The entries were so numerous that it took weeks for The Register staff to go through them. The winners received t-shirts. Anyway, to make a long story short, and the old saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" (or lots of pics in this case), check out the results yourself here→(The Register)

October 16, 2005

Sperm Donor Liable for Child Support: A 39 year-old Swedish man has been ordered by the Swedish Supreme Court to pay child support to three children he "fathered" for a lesbian couple. Between 1992 and 1996 three sons were born as a result of artificial insemination. The couple has now separated. The court paid no attention to the man's claims of an agreement with the women whereby he would play no part in rearing the children. ....Wonder if he owes "back" child support. (Herald Sun: AFP)
See related story May 25.

October 15, 2005

MP3 Breast Implants: That's right! According to UK tabloid The Sun BT (British Telecommunications) Laboratories researcher Ian Pearson thinks that breast implants should do something more than just look decorative. An mp3 player would occupy one side while a storage chip would reside in the other. When questioned about listening and control apparatus Pearson said that the signal would be transmitted to headphones and a Bluetooth control device worn on the wrist. ....Darn. (The Register)

October 14, 2005

California air pollution problems linked to livestock flatulence: The Califonia Environmental Protection Agency has determined that cattle are emitting 24 tons of ozone-forming gas per day. So what now? Emissions standards for dairy farms for starters. Any operation with 1,000 head or more will be subject to the new regulations effective July 2006. It was not reported how exactly the dairy industry is supposed to reduce the excess gas production. ....Perhaps emissions standards for humans are not far behind. (Fox News)

For you James Bond fans and spy buffs, the British Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6, has just launched its first official website at www.mi6.gov.uk

October 12, 2005

Larceny by finding?: That's what 23 year-old Sean Clifford was charged with after making the find of a lifetime, $264,000 (US$199,646) on a Sydney, Australia street. Instead of turning the money in to police he decided to hide it at his place of employment, the Macquarie Bank. A co-worker later discovered part of the loot in a backpack under Clifford's desk. The rest was found in a safety deposit box at the bank. Since his arrest Sean has lost his job, missed out on a $7,000 bonus from work, and is on an 18-month good behaviour bond. What became of the money you ask? The government got it, of course. The New South Wales Crime Commission took $40,000 off the top for "legal fees". Larceny by finding? (The Australian)

October 11, 2005

Instant wine aging: For those of you who wish to enjoy the taste of fine aged wine without paying the price, a new contraption has been invented. Hiroshi Tanaka, of Shizuoka, Japan, has spent 15 years pioneering the electrolysis device. The machine, a congolomeration of latex tubing, platinum electrodes, an ion exchange membrane, etc., can "age" four liters of wine in only a minute. Various models of the invention are planned, including vineyard and restaurant sizes. Ironically, Mr. Tanaka himself is not a wine drinker. He originally started work on his creation to soften the taste of the type of sake which he drinks. ....Wonder what a moonshiner would make of this gadget. (The Australian)

Remember, here at humoretcetera.com we keep you informed of all important technological breakthroughs....-WJ

October 10, 2005

Match.com glitch criss-crosses profiles: The Washington Post reported Sunday that a computer glitch shuffled @10,000 profiles for several days last week at popular online dating service Match.com. Match subscriber Tom XXXX was not amused when he discovered his profile headline had been changed to "Funny Girl" shortly after emailing introduction letters to several new prospects. Half of Tom's profile had also been deleted (or relocated elsewhere). The online matchmaking service has now fixed the glitch and Tom has re-written his profile. Effected users were offered one weeks free service for compensation.

October 9, 2005

Anything preventing conception banned in Iowa town: Actually, any kind of birth control device or even literature advocating it has been illegal in Decorah, Iowa since 1976. No one even remembered the law until recently when rural resident Bob Ulrich emailed local authorities asking that the law be enforced, referring to two drug stores and a college condom program. Mr. Ulhrich requested that the illegal goods be siezed and offenders arrested. Decorah City Administrator Jerry Freund looked up the law and sure enough it was on the books. Residents have been assured that they won't be arrested for selling or giving out condoms while the City Council reviews the issue. (Fox News: AP)

October 7, 2005

"Diamond Girl" not just an expression anymore: For a mere USD$2,700 to $20,000 LifeGem of Chicago will use cremated ashes to create a diamond. Dean VandenBiesen, vice-president of operations for the company, says that a super-hot oven is used to transform the ashes into graphite, which is then pressed into a diamond. Mark Musgrove, past president of the National Funeral Directors Association, indicated that this is part of a growing trend in the individualistic Baby Boomer generation. Also now available are niche items such as urns made out of Harley-Davidson cylinders. (The Australian: AFP: Link RIP) For those of you not wishing to leave your ashes behind for someone to make diamonds out of, there's always the Final Frontier alternative: Space Services, Inc.

October 6, 2005

Goose gets "final" revenge: Swedish hunter Ulf Ilback probably wishes that his son had not shot the Canada goose which ended up landing on his head. Local newspaper Extra Ostergotland reported that Ilback had to spend two days in bed after being knocked out by the approximately 13 pound (6kg) bird. The goose fell from about 60 feet. (The Australian: Reuters)

October 5, 2005

New way to beat bar smoking bans: German brewer Nautilus is testing a new beer that contains a small amount of nicotine (3mg) to pacify smokers drinking in smoke-free establishments. Marketed under the name of NicoShot the brew is supposedly intended to help smokers quit (the beer is pending approval). One wonders what sort of concoction they'll come up with when they start banning alcohol. (NEWS.com.au: AAP)

October 3, 2005

Snake Charmers to become wildlife officers in India: Snake charmers, who were banned in 1972 in an effort to curb trading in snake skins, will now be visiting schools to educate students about animal life. Also in the planning stage for the "saperas" is a telephone hotline for unwanted snakes which intrude into homes and businesses, a common problem especially during the monsoon season. (The Australian)

More animal news:Chimp weaned off cigarettes after 16 years: A chimpanzee in the Qinling Safari Park in the northwest Chinese province of Shaanxi had to "kick the habit" due to deteriorating health. 27-year-old "Ai Ai" reportedly started smoking in 1989 after the death of a mate, then turned into a chain smoker in 1997 after the death of another mate. China's Xinhua news agency did not report who started her smoking or who supplied the cigarettes all these years. (The Australian: AFP)

And yet more animal news: Puppy swallows 13-inch knife: Veterinarian Jon-Paul Carew of the Imperial Point Animal Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, FL removed a 13-inch serrated knife from a 6-month old Saint Bernard puppy named Elsie. The flabbergasted vet thought the x-ray must a joke at first. The knife was safely removed and the puppy is doing fine. Elsie's owner, Jane Scarola, plans on framing the knife and giving it to Dr. Carew as a present. (CNN: Link RIP)

October 2, 2005

Newlyweds arrive at reception in police car with lights flashing and siren blaring: Nicky Clark and Andrew Allen, having just gotten married, were on their way to the reception when their Rolls Royce broke down near Sudbury, England (must be rough). A passing Suffolk policeman came to the rescue and whisked them to the reception with "all the bells and whistles". Evidently the bride's mum was initially upset at the spectacle, not appreciating the once in lifetime nature of the situation. Definitely one to tell the grandkids. (The Australian: AFP)

And speaking of arriving in style, the new Neiman-Marcus Christmas Book of Gifts features the M400 Skycar prototype. The vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, which costs a mere USD$3.5 million, gets a respectable 21 miles per gallon. Top speed is 350+mph (563kph). Buyers must comply with numerous governmental requirements. Guess most of us will have to wait until the price comes down a bit. (Neiman-Marcus)

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.

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