Saturday 30 June 2012

A Great Tip!!

Waiter Gets $5000 Tip

Greg Rubar works at D’Amico’s, an Italian restaurant in Texas. He’s been working there for 16 years.
A couple who regularly come to the restaurant, and have been for the past eight years, gave him a tip he definitely won’t forget in a hurry. Five thousand big ones!
Who gives a $5000 tip, especially with the way the economy is? Well, this couple does!
Why did they give him that much? Well, there’d been some recent thunderstorms in Houston and Greg’s car had unfortunately been damaged in the midst of it all. The couple gave him the tip so he could buy a replacement car.
When Greg was initially given the money, he didn’t know how much was in it. He probably thought it was just a regular tip. No wonder he was speechless once he realised.
Extremely generous, thoughtful and selfless of the couple to do. The fact they’ve chosen to remain anonymous makes them even more endearing. They weren’t seeking publicity. Merely looking to help a guy out.

Friday 29 June 2012

What Goes Around??

LA police officer sets Ferris Wheel ride record
After a record-breaking 25 hours on a Ferris Wheel, Los Angeles police Detective Gus Martinez likely knows better than anyone that what goes around comes around.
Martinez climbed aboard the 130-foot-tall wheel at Santa Monica Pier's Pacific Park at 7:30 a.m. Thursday. Except for hourly five-minute breaks, he didn't stop riding it until 8:30 a.m. Friday.
Several hours into his run, he didn't even bother to take some of the allotted breaks.
"He finished quite solidly," said Guinness World Records adjudicator Philip Robertson, who traveled from London to the park to verify that an official Guinness record was being set. The previous mark, 24 hours and 30 minutes, was set by a woman in Dublin, Ireland, last year.
Witnesses said Martinez seemed to hit his stride after some worrisome queasiness during the first few hours, when the big wheel stopped and started repeatedly to let other riders on and off.
The 18-year police veteran, who is assigned to the LAPD's special crime task force, acknowledged he doesn't like heights and doesn't much care for Ferris Wheels either.
What's more, he did nothing special to prepare for his marathon effort.
"But after 18 years of long shifts, double shifts and a lot of extended hours, I think that kind of helped, actually," he said with a laugh.
He agreed to ride the wheel to help raise money for the Southern California Special Olympics. A son who has Down syndrome competes in Olympic events and accompanied him on part of his record-breaking ride.
To pass the time riding after the park closed, Martinez talked on his cell phone, checked his iPad and sometimes watched a big screen TV that had been installed for him.
And despite his fear of heights, he even checked out the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the Los Angeles skyline from time to time.
"Even overnight it was just beautiful," he said. "Not quite a full moon but almost."

Thursday 28 June 2012

Love Finds A Way?

Amorous bovines block traffic on W. Pa. highway
State police say a pair of amorous bovines tied up traffic near the intersection of two rural Pennsylvania highways.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette first reported the situation Friday morning. Trooper John Corna tells The Associated Press it was resolved about 9:15 a.m. when state Department of Agriculture managed to shoo the bull and cow into a trailer.
Corna says the intersection of Routes 28 and 85 in Rayburn Township is busier than usual because of construction, and traffic was hampered when the mating bovines refused to budge. The intersection is about 40 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
Corna says troopers "kept trying to shoo them off the highway, but that just got the bull mad and it started to escalate."
The animals are at a nearby farm until their owner is identified.

Wednesday 27 June 2012

It’s The Name?

Man sick of cold calls, changes name

A man has changed his name because he is sick of receiving cold calls.

Previously Tim Price from Leicester, he has now changed his name to Tim P-P-P-P-P-P-P-P-P-Price in the hope that cold callers will see it and avoid calling him due to it being practically unpronounceable.

Tim (not the man pictured) is unaware of how his number was found because he is registered as ex-directory.

The man, now nicknamed '10p Price', said: "When I rang the woman at HSBC, my bank, she was wetting herself."

The name - pronounced Tim Per-per-per-per-per-per-per-per-per-per-rice - cost £100 to change to via deed poll.

It has also taken time to alter his driving license and passport but he says that he does not regret his decision.

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Clean Up?

Cleaning fairy breaks into house

US police are investigating after a real life cleaning fairy broke into a home to do some housework.
The woman broke into a house in Westlake, Ohio, did some light cleaning, then left a bill for $75.
She broke into the house while the owners were out but their teenage daughter was asleep upstairs.
The woman took out the rubbish, vacuumed the carpet and cleaned up the living room.
Homeowner Sherry Bush said: "I think our jaws just dropped to the ground. There were some coffee mugs that my husband had out. She had washed them all.
"She wrote a note on a napkin and left it on the table, saying, '$75 I was here to clean,' and left her name and number."
Assuming she had got the wrong house, Mrs Bush gave the woman a call.
"I said, what happened, did you get the wrong house? She said, 'No, I do this all the time'.
"That's what she does for a living. She cleans. Now that we've seen the job that she did, it was like whoa, $75? $15 maybe."

Monday 25 June 2012

A Bum Deal?

Probation for Colorado woman who slid buttocks across $30 million painting

A woman who punched, scratched and slid her buttocks against a $30 million painting by abstract expressionist Clyfford Still at a Denver museum has been sentenced to two years of probation, and will have to undergo mental health treatment, prosecutors said on Thursday.
Carmen Tisch, 37, pleaded guilty earlier this month to felony criminal mischief for striking at and leaning against the oil-on-canvas painting "1957-J No. 2" at the Clyfford Still Museum last year, the Denver District Attorney's Office said.
After causing an estimated $10,000 worth of damage to the painting, an intoxicated Tisch then pulled down her pants, slid her buttocks against the painting and urinated on the museum floor, prosecutors said.
A judge sentenced Tisch to two years probation and she must also undergo mental health treatment and receive help for alcohol dependency as a condition of her sentence. She may still face a restitution hearing.
The North Dakota-born Still was considered one of the most influential post-World War Two American abstract expressionist artists, but he was not as famous as contemporaries such as Jackson Pollock.
Still died in 1980, and Denver officials worked for decades with his widow, Patricia, to secure a single-artist museum featuring his works. When she
Patricia, to secure a single-artist museum featuring his works. When she died in 2005, she bequeathed her husband's collection to the city.
Four of his works were auctioned by Sotheby's for $114 million to endow the museum, which opened in late 2011.

Sunday 24 June 2012

A Fishy Tale!!

Dad faces jail after pretending to catch frozen fish

A father faces prosecution after he used a frozen fish in a prank.

While on holiday in Tyrol, Austria, Alexander Donninger and his wife Stefanie bought a frozen fish and decided to attach it to the end of their children's fishing line as a joke.

The couple, who purchased the trout the previous day, said that it had already been gutted and was ready to cook. However, on seeing the family by the river at Kufstein, a local man reported them for illegal fishing.

Alexander claimed that the man who approached the family was aware the fish was frozen, and spoke to them without mentioning his intention to report them.

A spokesperson for local police authorities said: "Regardless of whether he had a frozen fish on the line or not, it is illegal to have a rod in the water without a license."

Alexander could face a possible six months in prison if convicted, due to the owner of the lake saying there is no proof the fish was frozen.

Saturday 23 June 2012

A Bugger Please?

Teens Tried to Trade Sex for McDonald’s Meal: Cops

Police say they witness the women talking about the deal with two transients

Two Arizona teenagers have been accused of trying to trade sex for food at a local McDonald’s.
Police in Tempe arrested 18-year-old Faelyn Ritz after allegedly watching her and a 14-year-old girl discuss the fast food for sex swap with two transients, reported.
When confronted by an officer, Ritz reportedly copped to the illicit deal and also revealed that she had been a prostitute since age 15.
Ritz was sent to jail and faces child prostitution charges for allegedly helping the younger girl solicit sex, according to ABC15.

Friday 22 June 2012

Buried Treasure?

Treasure chest hoax fools beach goers

Practical jokers buried a treasure chest on a popular beach under the cover of darkness - then 'discovered' and dug it up the next day.
The pranksters staged the stunt on LA's busy Venice Beach and posted a video of beach goers' reaction to their 'find' on YouTube.
They used metal-detectors to supposedly find the old chest, which they had filled with gold foil-covered chocolate coins, reports the Standard-Examiner.
They then dug it up with spades, as a growing crowd gathered around them, before finally opening the chest to reveal the 'treasure'.
Joker Johnny Burdock said one of his friends came up with the idea. They bought a chest for $100, piled it on top of Burdock's car, then drove it to LA.
They buried it in the early hours of Sunday morning and then returned later that day when the beach was packed with visitors.
"By the time we hit the treasure with the shovel - thump! - there was a pretty big crowd. The people gathered around start screaming with excitement," he said.
"We had maybe 100 to 150 people surrounding us, and we pry one of the ends of the chest lid open and we act like we're trying as hard as we can.
"Me and my friends flip the lid open all at once, quickly, and everyone sees shining, shimmering gold coins, and everyone goes crazy, and some of them start jumping in to try to steal the coins."

Thursday 21 June 2012

It’s Raining “Planes”!!

Money paper planes spark street brawls

The things rich people do.
Perhaps it was boredom or perhaps it was chance to watch people fight on the streets below.
Whatever the reason, 27-year-old Russian millionaire Pavel Durov and his vice president made headlines on the weekend when they made paper planes out of 5,000-rouble notes (about $160) and threw them from their office window to a St. Petersburg crowd.
They reportedly took great joy watching the crowd’s reaction, according to news website
The bizarre actions of the founder of Russia's most popular social networking site VKontakte sparked a footpath brawl when people realised what was soaring down from the office above.
“People turned into dogs as they were literally attacking the notes,” one witness said. “They broke each other’s noses, climbed the traffic lights with their prey – just like monkeys. Shame on Durov!”
Later, Mr Durov said they wanted to create “a festive atmosphere” in the city that was celebrating City Day.
“We had to stop soon, though, as people turned into animals,” he wrote on Twitter. “Definitely, more such actions are to follow.”
Russian bloggers called Durov’s “experiment” crazy and provocative.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Well…..What A Surprise!!

Piracy Really Helps Music Sales

Everyone knows that the entertainment industry has always blamed piracy for job loses, as well as for the economic crisis in whole. At the same time, the industry was trying to force down anti-piracy legislation within and beyond borders of the United States – laws that come into conflict with every fundamental human right that exists now. However, the latest study proves that the things are about to change.
Aside from the fact that the entertainment industry has never brought into the court of law any evidence of the supposed damage related to illegal file-sharing, they have always relied on statutory damages, claiming that it is actually impossible to quantify this damage.

However, if you take a closer look at their revenues, you may come to a conclusion that they are not at all in a tight financial situation – it is in fact the opposite! Moreover, a great part of the file-sharing studies revealed that sharing files doesn’t have much effect on sales. This is true for music, film, and video games – for example, you may remember how Call of Duty’s series sales broke all the records recently.

One of the recent independent studies was carried out by Robert Hammond (Assistant Professor of Economics at North Carolina State University) and is titled “Profit Leak? Pre-Release File Sharing and the Music Industry”. The results of his research state that piracy really helps with increasing the sales of music albums.

Along with that, Robert Hammond points out that this study is more accurate than the earlier ones, because the sample size is larger: 1095 albums from 1075 musicians on the largest private BitTorrent tracker dedicated to music. His research was focused on albums that were leaked before being released, and showed that on average this had brought around 60% additional sales.

Tuesday 19 June 2012

God Help Australia?

Julian Assange May Become Australian Politician

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, decided to dive into politics and seems to have a real chance to win an upper house seat in Australia. Media reports confirm that whistleblowing website chief is pressing ahead with his plans to stand for election, and experts agree that he has quite a good chance of getting in.

UMR Research, the ruling Labor party’s internal pollsters, have carried out a survey, which revealed that 1/4 of people polled would vote for Julian Assange. It turned out that he is likely to take supporters of the Greens with him and might get a Greens Senate spot. Indeed, the survey showed that there was an impressive level of support for Assange which crosses party lines and is more concentrated among Greens voters.

Over 27% of Labor supporters confirmed that they would vote for Assange, as did 23% of Conservatives. The WikiLeaks founder said he would run for Aussie 76-seat Senate a few months ago, claiming to be a libertarian and “fierce defender of free media” were he elected to the upper house.

Now he’s being wooed by the Australian parties, but could also stand as an independent or establish his own party dedicated to advancing open government. Meanwhile, the experts point out that Australian politics is in a mess today, with political parties standing behind their leaders like the Roman senate stood behind Julius Caesar. Many Australians are currently becoming alarmed, watching the tendency of the last two governments to filter and censor whatever was noticed moved.

Julian Assange, known worldwide for his online service and the struggle against American government, is currently under house arrest in the United Kingdom, awaiting judgment from the Supreme Court in London on whether he can be extradited to Sweden for questioning over allegations of rape and sexual assault. As such, he seems to be quite an unusual choice for people to back.

In case Assange is allowed to be extradited to Sweden, he will find himself in trouble even if the prosecution fails to make the charges stick. The matter is that court cases related to sex accusations usually kill off political careers, even if the defendants are acquitted. This is because the stories are told in court which politicians would mostly prefer to keep under wraps.

Monday 18 June 2012

We’re All Guilty….Well 50% Are?

Anti-Piracy Outfit Calls to Arrest Half the World

The BSA has published another study which contains the usual statistical nightmares, specifically designed to frighten politicians into locking up more people.
The publication claims that 50% of Internet users are copyright infringers and have installed unlicensed software. The 9th annual Global Software Piracy Study has revealed a sharp increase in software piracy, particularly among emerging economies. The anti-piracy outfit said that in the United Kingdom over 25% programs users installed last year were unlicensed.

The survey involved 15,000 PC users from 33 countries across the globe, and 57% of them admitted to unlicensed software use, which is an increase of 42% from the year before. The outfit estimates that the global annual cost of software piracy is somewhere $63.4 billion.

However, the United Kingdom is still below the global average, with only 27% of PC users admitting they have got software illegally in 2011. As far as the anti-piracy outfit is concerned, that means that the industry lost around £1.2 billion. The BSA explained that the United Kingdom is in a double dip recession and believes that it is very important to protect the entertainment industry’s intellectual property and its contribution to the economy. However, the outfit didn’t seem to think that the recession could become the cause of piracy and that its products were now too expensive.

Moreover, the BSA ignored the fact that the more expensive the content is, the more likely it’s to be pirated. This is born out by the fact that piracy is more widespread in developing countries, because people there are broke. Instead, the BSA says that the penalties for piracy are not very strict. According to the results of its survey, over 3/4 of British users surveyed don’t think the risk of getting caught is an effective deterrent to piracy.

The anti-piracy outfit is now calling for a stronger damages legislation, which includes double damages, in order to stop the increase in unauthorized software use. As a result, general counsel at Federation Against Software Theft called for the government to introduce new legislation which could make it easier for the entertainment industry to lock up pirates.

Meanwhile, this problem has another side which the industry hasn’t worked out yet. In fact, if over 50% of the world are pirates, then democratically they are in the majority! The conclusions are up to you…

Sunday 17 June 2012

Tell Us Something New!

UK Will See 30% Increase in Piracy

One of the leading British law firms has published a report saying that around 30% of the file-sharers in the country admit that they are going to pirate more films, music, games, and e-books within the next year. Meanwhile, the same report says that 34%-36% of people who pay for their music and video will continue to purchase more.

Wiggin, one of the largest UK’s law firms, has published its 2012 Digital Entertainment Survey, which polled 2.500 citizens of the country and revealed quite interesting statistics. Its first part covered consumers’ entertainment activities, such as watching TV, listening to music or reading e-books. The results of the study showed that it wasn’t until the 34th position out of 40 when an illegal activity appears.

Moreover, 6% of respondents explained that they download films or TV shows from linking and hosting sites, and 5% admitted they download video content from regular file-sharing websites. As for the illegal music downloads, only 5% of people confirmed they did it, and 4% admitted to have downloaded e-books.

According to the study, file-sharing is mostly popular with male youth. 14% of 15-to-19-year-old men said they have downloaded films and TV-shows via file-sharing services, compared to 2% of women.

As the audience mature, the percentage drops, and it is only 1% for both men and women of 45 or older. The researchers point out that people who are already downloading from illegal sources aren’t likely to stop from their activities. Of people admitting about their file-sharing habits, 29% confirmed they would keep downloading more e-books, while 28% promised to download more games and software. The same number of respondents admitted they will continue downloading music content.

On the other hand, there’s a positive trend on the legal side of the issue. For example, of those already streaming ad-supported music, 27% promised do more within the next 12 months. In addition, 36% music enthusiasts already paying for a streaming subscription confirmed they would keep consuming more music in the future.

Finally, the survey also asked out the issue of regulating online content, and around 40% of respondents disagreed with the notion that the web should be regulated the same way as TV. However, a total of 58% said that it should.

Saturday 16 June 2012

Walk The Walk!!

Fines For Texting While Walking In US Town

People caught texting on their mobile phones while walking face being fined by police in a US town.

The clampdown comes after a rise in the number of jaywalking incidents, where pedestrians cross roads illegally or recklessly, instead of using marked routes.
Officers in Fort Lee, New Jersey, have said some people are constantly putting themselves at risk of being hit by vehicles because they do not pay attention.
Police are stepping up patrols looking for "dangerous" walkers who are not obeying the rules of the road.
They have been handing out leaflets warning pedestrians about the crackdown.
So far this year, more than 20 people have been hit by cars in Fort Lee.
"It's a big distraction. Pedestrians aren't watching where they're going. They're not aware," said Fort Lee Police chief Thomas Ripoli at a news conference.
One resident Sue Choe admitted she texts and walks "all the time," but added: "When I walk, I still look around. I'm not constantly looking down."
In the last month-and-a-half, at least 117 tickets have been issued for jaywalking - an offence which carries a fine of $85 (£53).

Friday 15 June 2012

We Always Get Our Man!

Mounties nab man who left cellphone in off-duty cop's car
Mounties have a man in custody after a crook busted into an off-duty officer’s car and left a cellphone behind.
B.C. RCMP said prior to the arrest, they were keeping a close eye on a spiking number of car thefts in the small B.C. town.
The cellphone was found inside an off-duty officer’s vehicle Tuesday.
The phone, Mounties say, belonged to Derek Arthor Mitchell, a 28-year-old convicted sex offender who had a Canada-wide warrant for his arrest.
Mitchell -- who is facing charges in Alberta for ditching his parole officer -- was later arrested by Mounties on Wednesday in a home in the B.C. town.
Charges are pending against the man.

“This is a prime example of how dedicated police work and community involvement can solve crimes,” RCMP Const. Lesley Smith said.
“This small community is known to work closely with their RCMP detachment as everyone has the same priority of ensuring it remains a safe and secure community to live in.”

Thursday 14 June 2012

It’s Conga Time!

Fun-loving bears line up and get ready to do the conga

A group of bears showed off their fun side after gathering together in preparation for a cuddly conga.

While most bears have a fearsome and dangerous reputation, these young cubs appear to have the same outlook on life as the Jungle Book's laidback fictional character Baloo.
They may as well have all been singing the film's hit song I Wanna Be Like You as one bear after the next began forming a conga line.
The cute clip shows ten of the baby bears lining up for a spot of grooming, with each one licking the back of another's head.

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Sod You….I’m Off!!

An IT Administrator Revolted after Being Made Redundant

A member of the IT Crowd at a Missoula company went as far as to crash his ex-employer’s computer system mere days after being fired.
Local press reported that Vladimir Shved (a Russian guy, judging by name) used to work as an IT administrator at Edulog. This company provides software for school bus routing and scheduling in Missoula. Vladimir Shved was laid off last fall and here our story begins. The prosecutors point out that a few company PCs crashed nearly the next day after Shved left. When the company tried to restore the systems, it discovered that the backup servers had been erased. What a coincidence.

According to court records, Edulog called its former IT administrator and offered him an hourly rate to help resolve the problem. However, the company faced Shved’s demand of a 3-to-5-year contract at $100 to $150 an hour, and, of course, refused him. That’s what made the company suspect that probably Vladimir had a hand in trashing their network. As such, Edulog started its own investigation to find out that he really did.

The most interesting part of the story is that his cunning plan might have ended successfully if he hadn’t asked for such a daft condition to get his job back. Finally, Vladimir Shved told the judge he was sorry about the incident and believed that it was the biggest mistake in his entire life.

The judge seemed to believe the IT worker and sentenced him to 3 years on a felony charge of illegal use of a PC, but also decided to defer the sentence. This means that the worker’s record will be clean if Vladimir stays out of trouble during 3 years.

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Keep Your Saturday Free!!

Revealed: a woman's 'sexiest time'

The time a woman is most likely to want to engage in sexual activity has been uncovered by new research.

A survey has concluded that around 11pm on a Saturday night is the most common time for a woman to feel amorous.
However, for many, having sex in the bedroom is not on the agenda.
Forty per cent of of the 1,000 women questioned in the Women's Health survey admitted to having “al fresco sex”.
Regular lovemaking outside was labelled the “most exciting” way to become aroused, followed by sex at work and on the beach, the Huffington Post reported.
It also found women in the South West, North West and Scotland were the most sexually satisfied with more in four in five females saying they were happy with their sex life.
In contrast the sex lives of Irish females’ were cited as the least satisfying, with less than a third saying they were happy with their love life.
But more than 40 per cent of women living in Ireland were found to attempt sex more than three times a week.
A third of Londoners and Welsh women also admitted to having sex on more than three occasions every week, according to the survey for Women’s Health magazine.
“It is great to see that the majority of British women are satisfied between the sheets, or outside, as our … sex survey reveals,” said Farrah Storr, the magazine’s editor.

Monday 11 June 2012

We’re Watching YOU!!!!!

Another Way to Prevent Taping in Theatres

In yet another attempt to prevent camcording in cinemas, the largest studios have paid over $5,000,000 to a surveillance firm called PirateEye to mount cameras and catch pirates.
This firm will install 5” cameras that weigh 14.5 pounds each in the theatres. These cameras will send out beams of light and capture on film several seats at a time. Meanwhile, CEO of PirateEye explained last week that their company usually installs the cameras at premiers and press screenings. The goal of the company is to give up checking bags and use metal detectors at such events. Soon such systems would be used by theatre owners in order to discourage and catch camcorders trying to illegally tape the video. Maybe, it will even manage to stop the rude behaviour like talking on cellphones during the show.

Although the majority of people who like visiting the movies may be uncomfortable with the idea of being taped, the company is sure that there shouldn’t be any privacy concerns. Their goal is to not have someone else look at you suspiciously if you haven’t done anything wrong.

In case the cameras don’t catch a camcorder, the pictures will be destroyed. Thus far, the system covers 4/5 of industry screenings, and the company believes that a thousand more systems would be installed across the globe within the next 18 months. Meanwhile, the PirateEye has already proved its usefulness during CinemaCon’s industry presentation, because it managed to snatch a high-profile pirate last week.

According to Mitch Neuhauser, CinemaCom’s managing director, an individual was captured trying to illegally record Paramount’s presentation to exhibitors. This person was placed in police custody, and that’s all we know about his fate.

Sunday 10 June 2012

U.K. Pirates Live Another Day!

UK Anti-Piracy Legislation Postponed

The provisions of the anti-piracy law of the United Kingdom (under its Digital Economy Act) have been delayed again until 2014. Meanwhile, the “three-strikes” regime was designed to cut off repeat infringers and illegal file-sharers.
Actually, the “three-strikes” regime consists in the involvement of Internet service providers, because they are the ones to send notifications to alleged pirates (if caught) and monitor the overflow of authorized file-sharing. However, the country’s government department responsible with the DEA confirmed that all these plans of the creative industry have been put to a hold until 2014. The Big Content must be disappointed…

Among the measures that the graduated response system includes, you can find broadband limitations, but they only apply as a final solution for repeat infringers. Ofcom, the country’s communication regulator, had also confirmed earlier that it would start sending out warnings to file-sharers since the middle of 2013.

Nevertheless, because of legal challenges and bids raised (to clarify the legislation) by ISPs, the anti-piracy law has been delayed. The DEA was passed at the end of 2011 Labour government. Because of the bill’s controversy, major part of MPs withdrew their support, and the bill ended up with being voted by less than 10% of all the country’s representatives.

Meanwhile, the most prestigious Internet service providers of the United Kingdom, TalkTalk and BT, decided to intervene, saying that the legislation was breaching EU laws unsuccessfully. Moreover, the government of the United Kingdom had also faced criticism after the questions were raised in a Parliamentary committee regarding the evidence for the bill.

Since 2015 is the election year, this piece of legislation will undoubtedly appear at the centre of heated debates. You can imagine the Labour government drafting and implementing the controversial anti-piracy act, and the Conservative-led coalition government pushing through its measures. Of course, in 3 years it will be a hot topic for the politicians on the soapboxes. As for now, the pirates can sleep easily, at least until any new developments.

Saturday 9 June 2012

Walking The Line!!

Councils revive medieval tradition of lengthsman

It is a medieval solution to a very modern problem. The ancient role of the lengthsman, who would “walk the length of the parish” to ensure ditches and drains were clear, is being revived across the country.

It is hoped the practice will help cash-strapped local authorities by spotting highway problems early before they become too expensive to fix.
Nottinghamshire County Council is the latest authority to reintroduce the scheme, planning to create 40 jobs.
In addition to checking ditches, modern recruits will trim grass verges, clear snow from roads, clean grates and report potholes.
Martin Suthers, deputy leader of the council, said: “There is considerable benefit to local communities. It will ensure local concerns are quickly acted on, nipping minor problems in the bud before they become significant and costly.
“It will also provide local employment and help communities take pride in their areas. It’s not a new idea but more about trying to adapt it to modern circumstances.”
The council plans to spend £54,000 on a one-year trial involving four lengthsmen and is hoping the scheme can then be extended to a team of 40 workers, with parish councils meeting half the bill.
Each parish or town council would benefit from the services of a lengthsman for around 135 hours a year under the scheme.
The position of the lengthsman dates back to the Middle Ages when parish councils employed men to maintain an area or length of road.
But it began to fall into decline after the late 1880s when road maintenance became the responsibility of county councils.
By the 1960s, increasing mechanisation of maintenance and the labour costs involved in keeping a lengthsmen saw them disappear - and with them their close knowledge of local highway networks and the communities they served.
But recent years have begun to see them return, with parishes in counties including Worcestershire, Lancashire Surrey and Dorset reviving the role.
The term lengthsman was also applied to those employed to maintain a stretch of canal and sometimes live in a lengthsman’s cottage close to a lock.

Friday 8 June 2012

Phew…..What A Pong!!

It's a gas: dinosaur flatulence may have warmed Earth

In a major new climate finding, researchers have calculated that dinosaur flatulence could have put enough methane into the atmosphere to warm the planet during the hot, wet Mesozoic era.
Like gigantic, long-necked, prehistoric cows, sauropod dinosaurs roamed widely around the Earth 150 million years ago, scientists reported in the journal Current Biology on Monday.
And just like big cows, their plant digestion was aided by methane-producing microbes.
"A simple mathematical model suggests that the microbes living in sauropod dinosaurs may have produced enough methane to have an important effect on the Mesozoic climate," researcher Dave Wilkinson of Liverpool John Moores University said in a statement.
"Indeed, our calculations suggest that these dinosaurs could have produced more methane than all modern sources - both natural and man-made - put together," Wilkinson said.
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, with as much as 25 times the climate-warming potential as carbon dioxide.
This gas is enough of a factor in modern global warming that scientists have worked to figure out how much methane is emitted by cows, sheep and other plant-eating animals.
The inquiry raised questions about whether the same thing could have happened in the distant past.
Wilkinson and co-author Graeme Ruxton of the University of St. Andrews worked with methane expert Euan Nisbet at the University of London to make an educated guess about the degree to which gaseous emissions from sauropods could have warmed the atmosphere.
Calculating methane emissions from modern animals depends only on the total mass of the animals in question. A mid-sized sauropod probably weighed about 44,000 pounds (20,000 kilos), and there were a few dozen of them per square mile (kilometre), the researchers found.
They reckoned that global methane emissions from sauropods were about 520 million tons per year, comparable to all modern methane emissions. Unlike emissions of carbon dioxide, which come from natural sources but also from the burning of fossil fuels, methane emissions have decreased substantially since the start of the Industrial Revolution some 150 years ago.
Before the fossil-fuel intensive Industrial Revolution took off, methane emissions were roughly 200 million tons annually; modern ruminants, including cows, goats, giraffes and other animals, emit between 50 million and 100 million tons of methane a year.

Thursday 7 June 2012

Dolphins Don’t Do “Raves”?

Connyland Dolphins Died After 'Heroin' Overdose During Techno Rave

Two dolphins at a Swiss zoo have died after ingesting a heroin substitute drug during a "rave" at the centre, a post-mortem has shown.
The mammals died at Connyland zoo, Lipperswil after a weekend-long festival held near the dolphins' habitat.
A toxicology report released over the weekend showed that the two ingested buprenorphin, a drug used as a heroin substitute, which caused Shadow and Chelmers to die slowly and painfully.
It is almost certain that the two dolphins were given the drug at the weekend rave, organised by the Connyland park management, however they deny any wrongdoing in the treatment of the animals.
Their death was initially blamed on the zoo's vets, who were assumed to have given the dolphins incorrect medicine before the toxicology report finally revealed the real cause of the dolphins' death.
It is not clear who gave the dolphins the drug or whether it was a deliberate act.
Dutch marine biologist Cornelis van Elk added that the drug is incredibly dangerous for sea mammals.
"Opiates are extremely dangerous for underwater mammals.
"Even when sleeping - there is part of the brain that automatically controls the breathing instinct in the same way as it does for people when asleep," van Elk explained.
"Drugging them with opiates could well cause this part of the brain to switch off with fatal consequences."
Their keeper, Nadja Gasser, said that they dolphins died an awful death. Shadow died very soon after the event, with Chelmers dying five days later.
"The death was very drawn out and painful. The death went on for over an hour. It was horrendous. I have not been able to sleep since," Gasser said.
"He [Chelmers] was drifting under the water and was clearly in trouble and so we jumped into the water. We tried to hold him. He was shaking all over and was foaming at the mouth.
"Eventually we got him out of the water. His tongue was hanging out. He could hardly breath. He was given adrenalin, but it didn't help. After an hour the dolphin died."

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Sail Away With Jimi?

Boat crafted from Mary Rose and Jimi Hendrix's guitar to be launched

A boat crafted from 1,200 pieces of wood, including fragments from the Mary Rose and Jimi Hendrix's guitar, will be launched as part of a national art project to mark the Olympics.

Created as a ''floating collage of memories'', The Boat Project has been funded by the Arts Council England's Artists' Taking the Lead project as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
The artists who came up with the idea, Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan, known as Lone Twin, visited 20 locations across the region seeking contributions to be used in the building of the craft.
They also invited members of the public to bring wooden pieces to the West Sussex boatyard where it was built. The only criteria was that the items were made from wood and had a story behind them.
The diverse contributions include a plank from the London 2012 velodrome, several hockey sticks, a Victorian policeman's truncheon, large crates used to transport gold as British securities to Canada during the Second World War and a hairbrush used by a make-up artist at Pinewood Studios in the 1960s.
A spokeswoman for the project said: ''People from all walks of life responded by giving treasured items from all parts of the world and, more humbly, their garages.
''Each and every fascinating back-story was digitally recorded and photographed with its donor.''
Mr Winters said that a sense of fun flowed through the whole design and construction of the boat.
He said: ''The call-out was for objects which had a significance and a story, and people responded to that in all sorts of ways and we were given some lovely, lovely things, personal and emotional things.
''It's very difficult to be very serious with an aardvark and a coat hanger.
''I don't have any favourites but I like a stick which came from someone who made a pilgrimage to Sad Hill Cemetery in Spain, which was used for the set of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, and that stick has made a migration to the boat and will continue to do so.''
Mr Winters added: ''It has been an inclusive project about bringing peoples' lives to the front and celebrating ordinary people's lives in something extraordinary.''
As well as Lone Twin, the build team also included Olympic silver medallist sailor and boat-builder Mark Covell and international boat designer Simon Rogers.
Mr Rogers said his aim was to combine traditional wooden boat-building techniques combined with modern technology to build a 21st-century yacht.
He added: ''We had no idea what was going to be given to us and the first question a designer is asked is 'what are you going to make it of?', and I had 1,500 pieces of wood.
''From a design point of view it was a very challenging brief as we were completely in the dark.''

Tuesday 5 June 2012

The French Will Eat Anything!!

French fishermen accused by marine experts of eating dolphins illegally caught in Channel

French fishermen are dining on "large fillets" cut from the bodies of dolphins illegally caught in nets off Cornwall, conservationists claim.

The practice is becoming increasingly common in waters off the Souh West where concern is mounting over the number of dolphins and porpoises caught in fishing nets this year.
Since the beginning of January, Cornwall Wildlife Trust's Marine Strandings Network has examined and recorded 50 dead dolphins and porpoises so far. Just under half, 23, show signs of having died in fishing gear.
One common dolphin examined on the beach at Mousehole in early April showed the mark of a large mesh, mid-water trawl net from which it tried to escape.
A spokesman for Cornwall Wildlife Trust said: " A large fillet of flesh had been removed from the back - presumably for eating.
"This is a known practice on French boats and French pair trawlers were working close to the south coast at the time.
"The dolphin's tail had been cut off in the course of cutting the animal free from a winch strop which was used to lift it over the side of the boat.
"Local people were very upset to see what had been done to this beautiful animal and to hear that this was just one of many."
Cetacean researcher, Nick Tregenza, added: "UK mid-water trawlers have been pushed outside the 12 mile limit by national fishery regulations but French vessels are allowed to come in closer.
"Some research is underway by the Sea Mammal Research Unit at St. Andrew's University in Scotland they're hopeful of finding an acoustic deterrent to keep animals out of the nets but there's no EU requirement on fisheries to use such a device.
"In the present situation we believe that EU mid-water trawlers should be subject to video monitoring to assess the size of the bycatch offshore of these animals that are so highly valued by people here and across the world."
Dolphins that died in gill nets were also recorded by the network and four porpoises that had been caught almost certainly by local boats also stranded.
Nick Tregenza added: "Many people are unaware that porpoises were a common sight quite close to shore in the recent past but they suffered a major decline that was almost certainly caused by pesticide pollution of the sea from agricultural run-off on land.
"That problem has diminished substantially and if pingers were widely adopted, we could expect to see porpoises along the coast and in our estuaries again.
"In the 1800's they were commercially hunted in the Fal estuary and it would be great to see them back.
"However the data from the Trust's Marine Strandings Network indicates that accidental capture in fisheries for other species may be doubling their natural death rate and we're concerned for their welfare."
A spokesman for Cornwall Wildlife Trust added: "Cornwall Wildlife Trust is encouraged that some inshore fishermen are showing an interest in using the acoustic pingers that are known to greatly reduce the accidental capture of these animals.
"Cornwall Wildlife Trust is grateful to the public for contacting them about the strandings. "

Monday 4 June 2012

It Must Be Right Then??

Jeremy Kyle: Wallis Simpson is to blame for George VI’s death

Jeremy Kyle says his father was the Queen Mother's personal secretary and learnt that she blamed Wallis Simpson for precipitating the death of George VI.

Madonna’s recent attempt to rehabilitate Wallis Simpson in the film W.E. has not apparently impressed Jeremy Kyle. The king of daytime television says the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother always blamed Simpson for precipitating the premature death of her husband, George VI.
“My father, now in his eighties, was the Queen Mum’s personal secretary and accountant 41 years,” says Kyle. “She always blamed Wallis Simpson for killing her husband. If not for the abdication and old Bertie becoming king, she believed he’d have lived longer.”
George VI, who was known informally as Bertie, died in 1952 at the age of 56, after 15 years on the throne. He became king after his older brother, Edward VIII, abdicated before his coronation so that he could marry Simpson, an American who was divorcing her second husband. Queen Elizabeth lived to the age of 101.
Kyle, 46, has seldom talked about his father, Patrick. He reputedly had such a difficult time of it trying to get Queen Elizabeth’s finances in order that his family wanted him to take early retirement lest it take a toll on his health. The presenter of ITV’s The Jeremy Kyle Show recalls: “We were brought up with royalists and knowledge of royal yachts and tours.
“Sixty years ago, my old man, in our flat over a vegetable shop, answered a simple newspaper ad. To serve as junior clerk in the Royal Household. Ten interviews later, he was involved in her office, trips and handwriting all this archetypical elegant Royal matriarch’s personal menus for supper and dinner.

Sunday 3 June 2012


Devon residents enjoy unexpected foam party on Seaton Bay beach

Residents from a quiet seaside town in Devon have received an unexpected invitation to a foam party after one washed up on Seaton Bay sea front during yesterday's bad weather.

The strange sea foam arrived on the south coast of England last night and covered the whole beach front along Fisherman's Gap leaving local homeowners baffled.
A white sheet of snow appeared to have fallen all along the bay, with spring's barmy weather conditions seemingly taking another strange twist following weeks of up and down temperatures.
Blizzard-like conditions are likely to have sparked the appearance of the sea foam, with locals reporting a combination of blustery winds, heavy rain and choppy waters.

The white foam, which reportedly rose up to waist height, attracted huge crowds who took the opportunity play around in the frothy mess. 
Seaton resident Janet Seward, whose house is on the beachfront, said: 'People were visiting all night and playing in it as the whole beach was covered.
'Beach huts are now strewn everywhere due to the high tide.
'We went along and it was an amazing sight with children playing in the foam, which was over their wellies.'
Pictures of the astonishing natural phenomenon have been posted on the Seaton Bay's official Facebook page where residents have been discussing what the foam substance might be.

Saturday 2 June 2012

Three Wheels On My Wagon!!

Truck driver 'too tired to notice front wheel had fallen off'

A Czech lorry driver has been pulled over after he continued driving with only three wheels.

Ales Stastna only realised his front wheel had fallen off after police stopped him, according to
Orange News.

The 38-year-old said that he had just finished a marathon delivery shift and was suffering from exhaustion.

"I could have sworn it was there when I set off," he told officers.

Police spokesman Gabriel Holcakova said: "He's lucky he didn't kill himself or cause a serious accident.

"He was given a warning, his truck was impounded and he had three points put on his licence."

Friday 1 June 2012

A Loose Screw?

Lawsuit: Dentist Dropped a Screwdriver Down My Throat

"Eat a diet high in fiber," the dentist allegedly advised the plaintiff after the mishap

A Kentucky woman is suing a dentist, accusing him of dropping a small screwdriver down her throat that migrated to her digestive tract and later required surgery to remove.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Fayette Circuit Court in Lexington by 71-year-old Lena David of Nicholasville. David claims Dr. W.B. Galbreath told her to try to regurgitate the screwdriver and then sent her for X-rays when that did not work.
Galbreath did not return a message left at his office Friday by The Associated Press.
The lawsuit says that the X-rays showed the screwdriver in David's stomach, and that the dentist discharged her with instructions to "eat a diet high in fiber."
In June 2011, about a month after swallowing the screwdriver, David checked into a hospital with abdominal pain and had to have the screwdriver removed.