Odd News - November 2008 Archive


Odd News Archive - November 2008

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.


November 29, 2008

Sarkozy 'voodoo doll' may be sold : A French appeals court has said "voodoo dolls" of President Nicolas Sarkozy may remain on sale - but must carry a label saying they are offensive to him.

A lower court last month dismissed his demand for a ban, ruling the doll was "within the authorised limits of free expression and the right to humour....full story from the BBC

November 28, 2008

French say they need biggest condoms: The French say they need the largest condoms in Europe while Greeks get by on smaller ones, according to a Europe-wide study by a German consultancy that provides advice on condoms.

The study by the Singen-based Institute of Condom Consultancy was done by asking 10,500 men in 25 countries to measure their penis and enter the number into a database....full story from Reuters UK

November 27, 2008

Disgruntled German boy crashes his teacher's car: An eight-year-old German schoolboy who wanted to complain to his mother about being sent out of class took his teacher's car and crashed it, police said.

The boy, banished from class for disrupting a lesson, pinched the 40-year-old teacher's car key when she was not looking and managed to start up her compact car, accelerating and putting the vehicle into first gear....full story from Reuters UK


Man robbed in Mexico while glued to steering wheel: A driver in Mexico got himself into a sticky situation when he pulled over to help a woman whose pickup appeared to be broken down by the highway.

Anadel Carrizales was driving Wednesday near the northern city of Monterrey when a blond woman in a black miniskirt motioned for him to pull over....full story from CNews


NASA developing brain-monitor hats for airline pilots: US aerospace agency NASA has announced that it is developing a brain-monitoring hat for airline pilots to wear. The idea is that the bonce-clocking headset will know when pilots become "mentally overloaded" and help them to "realise" this.

The brain-titfers are being developed at NASA's Glenn Research Center using "functional near infrared spectroscopy" (fNIRS, apparently) and "other imaging technology". The spectroscope hats work by measuring blood flow in the cortex and the concentration of oxygen in the blood. NASA describes them as "non-invasive, safe, portable and inexpensive". The kit is being tried out on guinea-pig pilots in simulators at Glenn....full story from The Register

November 26, 2008

Luke Skywalker's lightsabre goes on sale: Consoles a-plenty already offer gamers the chance to wield lightsabres in virtual Star Wars battles. But if you crave something more realistic then go and raid your piggybank, because the film's original lightsabre will go on sale next month.

It won't connect to your Wii, but the Hollywood auction house behind the sale has stated that the lightsabre was wielded by Mark Hamill in both Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back....full story from The Register


Polar bear mating doomed by gender mix-up: Handlers of a popular polar bear, brought to mate with a female in a zoo in northern Japan, found their breeding plan was doomed when they noticed that he, in fact, was a she.

Tsuyoshi, a four-year-old, 200 kg (441 lb) cream-coloured polar bear, had been living in harmony with a female polar bear since June, the two often playing together, Masako Inoue, a zookeeper at the Kushiro Municipal Zoo, said on Wednesday....full story from Reuters UK

November 25, 2008

Israelis develop software to improve your looks: Want to optimise your looks without radically altering them? An Israeli team of computer scientists may have the answer.

They have developed a computer software model based on the innate preferences that studies show we have for human faces.

"This technology could become a product where for example there's a web service where people upload their photographs and have them enhanced or beautified by our software," said Professor Dani Lischinksi of Hebrew University in Jerusalem....full story from Reuters UK


Web escapes keep us sane: When the reality of the world gets to be too much for Jana Ogletree, a waitress from Elgin, Idaho, she turns to - puppies.

Six puppies, to be precise - romping, rolling, sleeping, yelping and playing.

Ogletree doesn't own the six furry shiba inu puppies. And she's never touched them. Instead, the puppies are being raised by an anonymous couple in San Francisco, and Ogletree - along with some 4 million others around the world - watches them live, online via video feed on Ustream.tv three to four times a day....full story from USA Today

November 24, 2008

"Internet addiction" listed as a mental illness requiring treatment in China: The "clinical standards in diagnosing Internet addiction" formulated by the General Hospital of Beijing Military Area (acting as the lead agency) recently passed verification by experts. This means standardization will be applied in diagnosing "Internet addiction" in China's medical field.

In addition, "Internet addiction" will be listed for the first time as a mental illness that needs treatment....full story from the People's Daily Online


Crisis forces Russians to cut back vodka drinking: The global financial crisis has grown so bad that Russians are cutting back on vodka.

Stockpiles of Russia's national drink were six times higher at the start of the month than the same time a year ago because factories are producing vodka faster than they can sell it, an alcohol industry lobby and research group said on Monday....full story from Reuters UK


North Carolina carjacking suspect clubbed with frozen turkey: North Carolina authorities say a shopper clubbed an alleged carjacker with a frozen turkey as he tried to steal a woman's car in a grocery store parking lot Sunday.

Police say 30-year-old Fred Louis Ervin of Raleigh stole money from a gas station before running across the street to a Harris Teeter store in a town just south of Raleigh. Garner police say he began beating Irene Moorman Bailey while stealing her car....full story from The Washington Times


NYC public toilets to feature televisions: What a relief! The free public restrooms operated by the Charmin toilet paper company in New York's Times Square during the holidays are being rolled out for another year.

It's the third straight year for the 20 deluxe stalls....full story from CNews

November 23, 2008

McDonald's sued over nude photos: An Arkansas couple are suing McDonald's after nude photos of a woman stored her husband's cell phone, left behind at a franchise restaurant, wound up online.

Phillip and Tina Sherman filed the lawsuit Friday against McDonald's Corp., Mathews Management Co., which owns the McDonald's franchise in Fayetteville, Ark., and Aaron Brummley, a manager of the restaurant, the (Fayetteville) Northwest Arkansas Times reported Sunday....full story from UPI

November 22, 2008

Converted swimming pools for new housing? A Sydney architectural firm suggests converting some of the area's 360,000 swimming pools into mother-in-law apartments -- draining them first.

Nobbs Radford Architects' proposal was the runner-up in the Architecture Australia Prize for Unbuilt Work, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. They firm came up with the idea after New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma announced in July that restrictions on "secondary dwellings" on suburban lots were being eased....full story from UPI


Panda attacks man who wanted hug: A Chinese college student who wanted to hug a panda bear climbed into its pen, but instead of getting a cuddle he was mauled by the animal, officials said.

The student ignored warning signs cautioning visitors to not climb over the panda cage fences at the Qixing Park Zoo in Guilin, China, hopping into a the bear's pen Friday, the state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua reported....full story from UPI

November 21, 2008

Australia outback mayor wins annual sexist award: An Australian outback mayor's plea for lovelorn female "ugly ducklings" to move to a remote mining town to reverse a shortage of eligible women has won him the country's yearly award for outrageous sexism.

Mount Isa Mayor John Malony infuriated women in August with a suggestion that "with five blokes to every girl, may I suggest that beauty-disadvantaged women should proceed to Mount Isa," in northwest Queensland state....full story from Reuters UK


Maverick Thai general does the hand-grenade waltz: A maverick Thai general who has threatened to bomb anti-government protesters and drop snakes on them from helicopters has been reassigned as an aerobics teacher, the Bangkok Post said on Friday.

Major-general Khattiya Sawasdipol, a Rambo-esque anti-communist fighter more commonly known as Seh Daeng, reacted with disappointment to his new role as a military instructor promoting public fitness at marketplaces....full story from Reuters UK


400 teens arrested for flirting in Egypt: Egyptian police have rounded up hundreds of teenage boys in Cairo in a day-long crackdown on sexual harassment.

"We have arrested a large number of boys who were flirting with girls," Cairo's police director Faruq Lashin said.

About 400 teenagers, aged between 15 and 17, were arrested on Wednesday and will be brought before a judge, he said....full story from NEWS.com.au

November 20, 2008

Finland wonders if Russia stole its camouflage design: One of the stranger questions to emerge after the August conflict between Russia and Georgia: Did Russians go to war in camouflage filched from Finland?

That, anyway, is the theory circulating among Finnish commentators, who have been examining such fine points of camouflage design as outline irregularity and light-to-medium-green ratios. Using photographs taken in Georgia, the Finnish authorities are trying to determine whether Russian armed forces are wearing M/05, a pattern that is based on digital photographs of Finnish forests and that is legally protected in the European Union....full story from the International Herald Tribune

November 19, 2008

NASA launches space Internet; ET can email home: The US space agency NASA said Tuesday that it successfuly conducted a first test of a deep space communications network modeled on the Internet.

"This is the first step in creating a totally new space communications capability, an interplanetary Internet," Adrian Hooke, NASA's manager of space-networking architecture, technology and standards, said in a statement....full story from France 24

November 18, 2008

German brothel offers free entry to men who have its name tattooed on their arm: A brothel reputed to be the largest in Europe has been overwhelmed with interest after offering free entry for life to customers who have its name tattooed on their arm.

The manager of Pascha, which houses more than 120 prostitutes across its 12 stories, did not expect any takers when he put up posters advertising the tongue-in-cheek promotion.

But more than 40 men have already come forward to have the name inked onto their arm in large blue letters, and the brothel's tattoo artist is having to work extra shifts to keep up with demand....full story from the Telegraph


A look at some items that have been lost in space over the years: It's not easy holding on to a small bag some 300 kilometres above Earth.

Astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper proved that Tuesday when she accidentally let go of her tool bag after a grease gun inside it exploded outside the International Space Station. The tote bag, containing two grease guns, a putty knife and cloth mitts, was one of the largest items ever to be lost by a spacewalker. ...full story from CNews


Kangaroo genes close to humans: Australia's kangaroos are genetically similar to humans and may have first evolved in China, Australian researchers said Tuesday.

Scientists said they had for the first time mapped the genetic code of the Australian marsupials and found much of it was similar to the genome for humans, the government-backed Centre of Excellence for Kangaroo Genomics said....full story from Reuters UK


Top Japanese anti-drink cop caught drunk driving: A senior Tokyo police official tasked with keeping the city's roads clear of drunk drivers has been arrested for driving under the influence, police said on Tuesday.

The deputy inspector, on his way home from a camping site, was caught late Monday after bumping into another car and veering off the road, said a police official in Ibaraki....full story from Reuters UK

November 17, 2008

Skull with built-in sauna turns heads in Austria: An oversize skull with a built-in sauna is turning heads in the Austrian capital. The white walk-in structure, situated near a busy Vienna intersection, is known as the "Wellness Skull" and also boasts a bathtub and shower. On either side of the neck, that is.

The eye-catching installation, which stands about 15 feet tall and is made of wood and synthetic material, is the brainchild of Dutch artist Joep van Lieshout....full story w/pics from CBS News


Maine man sheds 140 pounds to join the Marines: A man who shed 140 pounds to join the Marines is headed to Parris Island, S.C., to begin boot camp. Topping out at 330 pounds, Ulysses Milana was rejected by Army and Navy recruiters. But Marine recruiters worked with him as he lost about 20 pounds a month.

It wasn't easy, Milana said, but he managed to slim down through exercise, healthier eating habits and giving up the occasional beer after work. He said he was even able to forgo a beer at his going-away party Saturday night....full story from CBS News

November 16, 2008

No ban on nudity in Seattle parks: The Seattle Parks and Recreation board has decided the city is large enough and diverse enough to include those who like to bare it all in public.

Parks commissioners have dropped an effort to have those who go nude in the parks charged with criminal trespass, The Seattle Times reported. They even said they will ask officials to consider making one of the public beaches clothing optional....full story from UPI

November 15, 2008

Woman, 81, suspect in soccer star burglary: An 81-year-old woman was among five suspects arrested on charges of stealing an Olympic medal and other valuables from English soccer star Lucas Leiva.

The woman and four other people -- ranging in age from 19 to 45 -- were taken into custody Thursday night in raids on three houses in Liverpool, the Liverpool Echo reported. All were being held on suspicion of burglary....full story from UPI

November 14, 2008

Activist paid $65,000 for poverty speech: Sources with an anti-poverty event in Melbourne, Australia, said campaigner Bob Geldof was paid $65,000 to speak at the function.

An event insider said Geldof's fee, which was paid by sponsors including the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, included money for luxury hotel rooms and first-class flights, the Melbourne Herald-Sun reported Friday....full story from UPI


Inmate escapes German jail in box: A manhunt is under way in western Germany for a convicted drug dealer who escaped by mailing himself out of jail.

The 42-year-old Turkish citizen - who was serving a seven-year sentence - had been making stationery with other prisoners destined for the shops....full story from the BBC


eBay bans sale of Obama inauguration tickets: The revolution will not be auctioned....

eBay has agreed to ban ticket sales for US President-elect Barack Obama's upcoming inauguration ceremony on its websites.

The online auction house arrived at the decision at the insistence of representatives from the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (which, as you may suspect by their name, takes inaugural ceremonies pretty seriously).

Head of the committee, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, recently has been advocating against online scalping of inauguration tickets amidst an overwhelming public demand....full story from The Register

November 13, 2008

Australian resort plans nude "anything goes" party: An Australian holiday resort will hold a month-long, nude "anything goes" party to combat an expected economic downturn, media reports said on Thursday.

"Tough economic times call for stiff measures," Tony Fox, the owner of the White Cockatoo resort in Mossman, in tropical Queensland state, told the Courier-Mail newspaper.

"It will be a hedonism resort, where anything goes for a month....full story from Reuters UK


Dutch ban magic mushrooms: The drug, which has a hallucinogenic effect, would be banned from December said the Dutch health ministry.

Use of these mushrooms can "lead to unpredictable behaviour and risk-taking", the ministry said.

A report by Amsterdam health authorities in May said 92 per cent of incidents relating to magic mushrooms in the Dutch capital last year involved foreign tourists....full story from NEWS.com.au

November 12, 2008

Prisoner, too fat for cell, released early in Canada: Canadian prison authorities were forced to release a 450-pound (205 kg) drug gang member this week because he was too large for his cell, the Journal de Montreal newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Michel Lapointe -- known as Big Mike -- was arrested in September 2006 and received a five-year sentence in May this year. The paper said he could not fit on the chair in his Montreal prison cell and when he went to bed, his body protruded six inches (15 cm) on either side....full story from Reuters UK


Canadian brewery launches bitter ale for tough times: As central bankers try to prop up an ailing global economy with financial bailouts, a tiny Western Canadian brewery has stepped into the battle with what it bills as a recession-fighting ale.

Howe Sound Brewery began selling Bailout Bitter at its pub in Squamish, British Columbia, on Wednesday, and is awaiting permission to begin selling bottles of the brew in stores in the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta....full story from Reuters UK


Three planes stranded at shuttered Berlin airport: Three propeller aeroplanes have been left stranded at Tempelhof airport in the heart of Berlin two weeks after the Nazi-built landmark was closed down and may now have to be dismantled, city officials said on Tuesday.

One of the world's oldest commercial airports dating to 1923, Tempelhof was shut down despite protests on October 31 as part of plans to consolidate all air traffic at a new Berlin Brandenburg International airport due to open in 2011....full story from Reuters UK


Jilted mistresses to get 'Spousal maintenance' in Australia: Philandering husbands could soon be forced by the courts to keep paying for their mistresses after an affair ends.

That is just one outcome set to arise from laws on broken de facto relationships that will take effect early next year, The Courier-Mail reports.

Under the Family Law Act reforms, de facto partners together for two years will get the same rights as married couples to seek "spousal maintenance" claims....full story from NEWS.com.au

November 11, 2008

China to offer detox to net junkies: China's ministry of health is set to recognise net addiction as a "clinical disease" and will next year formally define the condition, the Telegraph reports.

The ministry classifies an addict as someone who spends "at least six hours" a day glued to the internet, and who suffers symptoms such as "irritation, difficulty in concentration or sleeping, mental or physical distress and a yearning to get back online....full story from The Register


Philips develops "intelligent pill": Dutch group Philips has developed an "intelligent pill" that contains a microprocessor, battery, wireless radio, pump and a drug reservoir to release medication in a specific area in the body.

Philips, one of the world's biggest hospital equipment makers, said Tuesday that the "iPill" capsule, measures acidity with a sensor to determine its location in the gut, and can then release drugs where they are needed....full story from Reuters UK


Chinese police chief arrests 48 relatives: A police chief in a remote county of southwestern China has taken down 48 of his relatives for various crimes including brothers, cousins and a number of his wife's family, local media said on Tuesday.

Laobulaluo, a police chief in Heizhugou township, Sichuan province, had seen 25 relatives either jailed, sent for "re-education through labour," or punished in other ways, according to a report posted on state news portal Chinanews.com (www.chinanews.com.cn)....full story from Reuters UK

November 10, 2008

Charity worker finds $7,500 1st day on job: This stacks up among the better finds at a Goodwill store - $7,500 in cash stuffed in a shoebox.

A recent Bulgarian immigrant found the money during her first day on the job last week at a Goodwill near St. Louis in Glen Carbon, Illinois....full story from CNews

November 8, 2008

$14 bra saves barmaid from stabbing: An English barmaid has told how a $14 bra saved her life when she was stabbed in the chest by a mugger while taking a break from her job at Hull's Wellington Inn.

Victim Vicky Parsons, 26, said the point of the knife pierced her skin but the serrated blade caught on the wiring of a new bra.

"The bra saved my life. It's the best £6 ($14) I've ever spent," she told The Sun....full story from NEWS.com.au

November 7, 2008

Blind pilot guided to land by British Royal Air Force: A plane was scrambled from the RAF base at Linton-on-Ouse in North Yorkshire to help stricken pilot Jim O'Neill, 65.

He was flying a two-seater Cessna aircraft from Glasgow Prestwick Airport to Colchester, Essex, when he suffered a stroke and lost his sight

The RAF plane flew alongside Mr O'Neill and the pilot shepherded him to the base with instructions over the radio.....full story from the BBC


Police dress as nurses to nab suspect: Authorities said police disguised as nurses and visitors arrested an alleged mobster after he woke up from a liposuction operation in Cosenza, Italy.

Italy's Carabinieri paramilitary police said Domenico Magnoli, 27, was arrested on a French warrant after waking to find undercover officers posing as nurses and concerned visitors with flowers and chocolates, The Guardian reported Friday....full story from UPI


UPDATED: New Zealand's 'Boobs' parade ends in Parliament grounds: Thousands of spectators gathered to watch Steve Crow's controversial Boobs on Bikes parade in Wellington, which finished with topless models and Crow posing in Parliament's grounds.

The motorcade of Harley Davidsons complete with topless pornstars made its way down Lambton Quay, as a largely male audience filled the medium barrier and stood sometimes four deep on the sidewalk for the capital's inaugural parade....full story w/video from The Dominion Post

November 6, 2008

"Gladiator World" opens in Rome: For tourists who struggle to make sense of the ruins around the Roman Forum, a new high-tech show provides a 3D sense of what life was like for plebeians and gladiators in ancient Rome.

Blending Hollywood animation and video-game technology with Cinecitta studio technicians' versions of ancient frescoes and brickwork, plus academic research, "3D Rewind Rome" sucks the visitor back in time to 310 AD, the reign of Emperor Maxentius....full story from Reuters UK


Thieves caught in Hungary with 12 pigs in car: Two thieves were caught in southern Hungary with 12 pigs stuffed in their small van during a routine traffic check, Hungarian police said on Thursday.

Police stopped two men in a Renault Kangoo near the town of Szigetvar, about 220 km (137 miles) south of Budapest, as they attempted to drive off....full story from Reuters UK


Australian judge sentenced pair to zzzzzzzzzzzz!: An Australian court has ordered the retrial of two alleged drug traffickers because the judge in their original court case repeatedly fell asleep.

"Periods of sleep became longer as the trial went on. Members of the jury were visibly detracted and, at times, amused," the High Court said Thursday....full story from Reuters UK


No go for 'Boobs on bikes' at New Zealand Parliament: The Speaker has blocked the controversial "Boobs on Bikes" parade from entering Parliament grounds.

But organiser and pornographer Steve Crow says the event due to be held tomorrow is no different to a Destiny Church march and will arrive at the seat of government regardless. Crow had advised the Speaker's office of his plan to arrive at Parliament steps and then "disband as quickly and quietly as possible"....full story from The Dominion Post

November 5, 2008

New cleaning products erase murder stains: Thanks to a new breed of detergent, getting away with murder isn't the daunting task it once was.

In the past, removing telltale murder stains was next to impossible. Even after multiple washes, blood-splattered clothing could still lead the police to your front door.

But according to experts at the University of Valencia, new washing powders that forsake chlorine in favor of sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate can tackle even the nastiest hemoglobin spots....full story from The Register


Man accused of using fake money at club: A man in Union City, New Jersey, created counterfeit money he used to pay for drinks and tips at a bikini club, authorities allege.

Cindy Wofford, U.S. Secret Service special-agent-in-charge in Newark, N.J., said the counterfeit $20 bills allegedly created by Lora-Martinez were low quality and easy to spot by someone with a trained eye.

The manager of the bikini bar said the girls he employs to dance for customers would easily qualify as counterfeit bill investigators....full story from UPI

November 4, 2008

Wisconsin man digs homemade car out of basement: A Wisconsin man who built a replica Lamborghini in his basement said he had to hire an excavator to dig the sports car out of his home.

Ken Imhoff said he fell in love with the car after watching the movie "Cannonball Run" and decided to build his own replica from scratch -- a project that took him 10 years to complete, The Sun reported Tuesday.

However, Imhoff said he was faced with a new problem once his long project was at an end -- getting the car out of his basement and onto the road, the British newspaper said....full story from UPI


This 'Big Apple' is for sail: It's the city that never sinks.

Cruise ships have been compared to floating metropolises before, but Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas - which sets sail next year - actually has seven entire neighborhoods, including a Central Park and a Coney Island-style Boardwalk....full story from the New York Post


Ground crew loses body at airport: Ever been annoyed because an airline lost your luggage?

Spare a thought for a family transporting a corpse home to New Zealand for burial who learned the body had been lost in transit.

The Samoa Observer reported human error was to blame for the mix-up when a defective plane caused flights to be rescheduled....full story from NEWS.com.au

November 3, 2008

Cavern owner seeks bidder to cave in to eBay sale: Calling Batman: Cave owner Steve Rush has a deal for you.

Rush, 49, is auctioning off the Mystic Caverns in the hills of Ozark Mountains on eBay. The 28-acre property in Arkansas includes a gift shop and three caves, two of which are safe enough for visitors....full story from CNews


Aussie teen arrested breaking into police station: The long arm of the law didn't have to reach too far to arrest one Australian teenager, who was caught breaking into a police station in the early hours of Monday.

"A teenage boy has discovered the quickest way of getting arrested is to break into a police station," South Australia state police said in a statement on its website....full story from Reuters UK


Saddam's luxury yacht up for grabs: The Iraqi government plans to sell a luxury yacht, moored off the French resort of Nice, that was one of many opulent treasures belonging to former dictator Saddam Hussein, a senior official said today.

The palatial Ocean Breeze is expected to be sold within weeks, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said.

The 270-foot pleasure boat, expected to fetch $US30 million, features gold-tap bathrooms, a mini-operating theatre, a helicopter landing pad and a secret escape passageway, according to a report from the British Sunday Times....full story from NEWS.com.au

November 2, 2008

'Ghost car' racks up tickets: Chicago police say they are investigating how a 1992 Chevrolet Lumina racked up nearly $4,000 in tickets in the year after it was presumed crushed.

Cheryl Thomas said the police became involved after notices seeking payment for nearly $4,000 were mailed to her home in Alsip, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Sunday....full story from UPI


Pumpkin prank continues in Miami: A group of former Boy Scouts kept alive a tradition begun in 1969 by impaling a pumpkin atop North Miami Library's steeple on Halloween.

"I think we all feared that it would drift away like so many other things, but it seems to me there is a new energy," City Councilman Scott Galvin, an admirer of the prank, told The Miami Herald....full story from UPI

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