Friday, May 22, 2009

Man in ape costume tries to steal banana displays.

From Breitbart:
Police continue a fruitless search for a man wearing an ape costume who has attempted to steal foam banana displays from inside local gas stations. Capt. Steve Klein said Thursday someone donning an ape costume entered two gas stations Wednesday trying to steal the displays and police have received several calls about the suspect hanging around town.

While Klein acknowledges that the action may seem funny, they want to talk to the person behind the ape suit because they aren't sure what the suspect's motives are.

Woman kills son, brings him back to life, kills him again.

From CNN:
A 23-year-old woman suffocated her son and then buried his body beneath the sand of a playground, police in Albuquerque, New Mexico, said Thursday.

Police arrested Tiffany Toribio about 4 a.m., just hours after they said they wanted to speak to her about her missing 3-year-old son, Ty.

Family members had contacted authorities, saying her son matched the description of a boy found Friday at an Albuquerque playground.

Police Chief Ray Schultz said she confessed to killing the boy soon after being apprehended.

"She placed her hand over her son's mouth and nose and suffocated him. She had second thoughts about what she did. She performed CPR on her son, brought him back to life and then decided to go forward with that original act she had started to commit," Schultz said.

"What makes this story especially sad is, when asked the reason why she took Ty's life, Tiffany said that she did not want him to grow up with no one caring about him, the same way that she had grown up where nobody had cared about her."

An emotional Schultz added that Toribio has tried to kill herself since her arrest. She was being held in isolation at a detention facility and kept under observation, he said.

Bank error gives millions to couple, who vanish with the $.


A New Zealand couple who fled overseas after receiving $10 million in a bank error told a friend they were going on a holiday before vanishing.

New Zealand police and Interpol are investigating the case. It is believed $4 million has been recovered, with $6 million still missing.

The Rotorua couple applied for a $100,000 loan but a Westpac employee deposited $10 million into their account instead.

Detective Senior Sergeant David Harvey of Rotorua CIB said police and Westpac were investigating the "inappropriate operation" of a business acount where money had been withdrawn and that the couple had fled overseas, reported The Dominion Post.

The money is thought to have been transfered to an account for a BP service station partially owned by Korean Leo Gao, who fled overseas with his New Zealand girlfriend Kara Young after receiving the milions by mistake.


Lame: Drunk Morgan Stanley trader goes on $10m trading frenzy.

Hero: 6-year-old takes wheel after dad passes out in car.

Creepy: Californian morgue overrun by maggots.

Sad: Younger elephant sad over death of friend.

PSA: 96,000 pounds of ground beef recalled.

Yipes: Angry customer bites off electrician's ear.

Duh: Virgin Mary shows up in a cup of coffee.

Girl who auctioned off her virginity hit with 50% tax bill.

A teenage student who auctioned off her virginity in Germany is set to lose half the money to the tax office, with authorities claiming the act was "tantamount to prostitution".

Romanian-born Alina Percea, who studies in Mannheim, was paid $17,900 in cash for a weekend of sex with an Italian businessman after auctioning her virginity online.

But tax officials in Berlin regard the 18-year-old's act as prostitution, which is not illegal in Germany but is heavily taxed.

"It is not a moral standpoint but a fiscal one," an official said.

"Consequently we are assessing her case and it looks likely she will have to pay around half of the sum she gained."

[...] Because Percea earned so much in a short time, she may also be liable for a hefty GST bill.

GST in Germany works out to 19 per cent, meaning the sale of her virginity could land her with around $6100 in the end.

Percea had told how the 45-year-old businessman took her virginity with unprotected sex at a luxury Venetian hotel.

"I liked the man and got on with him well . . . and next time I won't make him pay" she said.

Would-be gangster shoots off manhood.

Half-cocked! Ha! From Ananova:
A would-be gangster shot himself in the crutch when his gun went off half cocked in his pocket.

Lukas Neuhardt, 27, had forgotten to put the safety catch on when he stuffed the gun into his trouser pocket to impress pals in Saarbruecken, Germany.

He told paramedics that a masked mugger had blasted him in the crutch in a bungled robbery.

But police found a hole in his statement when they saw that the gunshot had miraculously left his trousers intact.

"Instead there was a charred hole in his pocket so either it was the shot of the century or he did it himself," said a police source.

Now - after surgeons stitched his manhood back together - he's facing up to three years in jail for breaching Germany's tough new anti gun laws.

Classic literature condensed down to Twitter size.

From Ananova:
Some of the world's best known books have been condensed down to Twitter size.

Tim Collins, author of The Little Book Of Twitter, has transformed them into 140 characters, reports The Sun.

They include Shakespeare's Hamlet which becomes: 'Danish guy's mum marries his murdered father's brother. He sees his dad's ghost. Everyone dies. Fail.'

Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, is rewritten as: 'Orphan given £££ by secret follower. He thinks it's @misshavisham but it turns out to be @magwitch.'

Wuthering Heights by Jane Austin becomes the pithy: 'Catherine Earnshaw marries Edgar Linton but really loves Heathcliff *sigh*.'

James Joyce's Ulysses is reduced to: 'Man walks around Dublin. We follow every minute detail of his day. He's probably overtweeting.'

Collins has also had a go at some modern best-sellers like Dan Brown's The Da Vince Code: 'Professor of symbology tries to solve a murder by following clues around touristy locations in Europe. Very few paragraphs are longer than tweets.'

And he cleverly manages to transform both Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice and Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones' Diary into the same 18 words.

They are: 'Woman meets man called Darcy who seems horrible. He turns out to be nice really. They get together.'

Obama to sign sweeping credit card reform rules.

From ABC News:

New rules for the credit card industry that are designed to protect consumers from surprise charges, such as over-the-limit fees and costs for paying a bill by phone, are part of a bill President Barack Obama is set to sign into law.

Obama plans to sign on Friday an overhaul of credit card regulations that he blames in part for the economic downturn. Despite opposition from financial companies, the bill cleared Congress with broad support.

[...] The new rules, which would go into effect in nine months, would prohibit credit card companies from giving cards to people under 21 unless they can prove they have the means to pay the debt or a parent or guardian co-signs for the card.

Under the bill, a customer would have to be more than 60 days behind on a payment before seeing a rate increase on an existing balance. Even then, the lender would be required to restore the previous, lower rate if the cardholder pays the minimum balance on time for six months.

Consumers also would have to receive 45 days' notice and an explanation before their interest rates increased.


Hey guys, sorry for the short delay. I was in Atlanta for a few days without internet, but back now and ready to rock out the posts. Will update later today once I've caught up!

PS - Shout out to Flying Biscuit in Hotlanta. Indeed, your biscuits are most fluffy.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bicycle burglar leaves ID outside victim's home.

From China View:
An electric bicycle burglar was nabbed after he left his identification card outside the home of one of his victims in Shandong province.

Lao Sun, a villager in Linqu county, returned home one morning last month and realized his new electric bicycle, which he parked in the courtyard, had vanished.

Police found an ID card outside Sun's home and traced it back to the thief who apparently stole 20 bicycles.

The suspect surnamed Wang said he became addicted to the Internet and needed money to support his addiction. He targeted farmers because they seldom locked up their bicycles.

Vinegar can help reduce body fat.

Awesome if true. I like apple vinegar. From Mainichi Daily News:
Vinegar can help reduce the amount of fat accumulated around internal organs, experiments by Mizkan Central Research Institute have shown.

The experiments, the results of which are being presented at a meeting of the Japan Society of Nutrition and Food Science in Nagasaki this week, were conducted on 175 men and women with a BMI of 25-30, classed as "overweight." The test subjects were instructed to avoid heavy exercise and drink an apple vinegar-based drink twice a day for 12 weeks.

Subsequent abdominal CT scans revealed changes in the distribution of fat. In those that consumed 30 milliliters of the drink a day -- containing 1,500 milligrams of acetic acid -- fat areas decreased by an average of 6.72 square centimeters, with waistlines down 1.85 centimeters. Those that drank 15 milliliters a day also saw reductions, while control subjects who weren't given the vinegar drink saw no change.

Also, those drinking the vinegar beverage saw a drop in blood neutral fat of between 28.2-42 milligrams per deciliter.

The team is now working to determine how acetic acid works to reduce body fat.

Humans ate Neanderthals.

From LiveScience:
Nobody's sure why [Neanderthals] disappeared... Some say climate change did them in. Other scientists figure competition with humans was the issue.

But Fernando Rozzi, of Paris's Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, say our ancestors ate them. The evidence: a Neanderthal jawbone with marks similar to those left on bones of deer and other animals that Stone Age humans butchered, according to the Daily Mail.

"Neanderthals met a violent end at our hands and in some cases we ate them," Rozzi says.

Not everyone is ready to buy the theory yet.

And lest you pity the Neanderthals, know that they are thought to have resorted to cannibalism in tough times, too. "There is strong evidence suggesting that these Neanderthals were eaten" by their own kind, said Antonio Rosas of the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales in Madrid back in 2006 (regarding his completely separate study). "That is, long bones and the skull were broken for extraction of the marrow, [which] is very nutritious." Mmm.

Pollution can change your DNA in three days.

From National Geographic:
Breathing in polluted air may wreak havoc on our DNA, reprogramming genes in as few as three days and causing increased rates of cancer and other diseases.

So says a new study that tracked DNA damage in 63 steel-foundry workers in Brescia, Italy, who, under their normal factory conditions, were exposed to particulate matter.

The same damage may occur in city dwellers exposed to normal air, the researchers say.

Particulate matter includes suspended, tiny bits of dust, metal, or soot in the air, which can lodge deep in the lungs. Exposure to the substance has been linked to respiratory diseases, lung cancer, and heart problems.

Scientists know little about how inhaling particulate matter can cause health problems, according to lead study author Andrea Baccarelli of the University of Milan.

But they did find that exposed workers' DNA was damaged by a slowed rate of "methylation," a biological process in which genes are organized into different chemical groups.

Trillions of robots to be injected into Earth to find oil.

Shooting trillions of robots into the planet? What could go wrong? (Besides turning into self-replicating von Neumann machines and quickly overrunning the planet's raw materials until there's nothing left... as detailed in Live Science's Top 10 Ways to Destroy the Earth. It's #2.) Anyway, from the Houston Chronicle:

Big Oil is thinking small — really, really small — in its quest to squeeze more oil and gas from the ground.

A consortium of companies is funding research at Rice University, the University of Texas and other schools around the country to develop tiny devices 70,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair to gather information about oil and gas reservoirs deep underground.

Trillions of the minuscule hydrophilic carbon clusters, informally called “nanobots,” would be injected into geologic formations thousands of feet in the ground and then pulled back to the surface. Changes to the chemical makeup of the nanobots would tell petroleum geologists valuable information about the reservoir.

The technology and the techniques are still in the early development stages, but researchers and the companies funding them have high hopes they could give a more complete picture of the complex underground structures where hydrocarbons hide.

Echo & the Bunnymen's Ocean Rain to be blasted into space.

I'm a huge Bunnymen fan. If you don't own "Ocean Rain" (and their other albums), you're a damn fool. From a press release:
Move over Star Trek. Echo & The Bunnymen’s mighty 1984 album Ocean Rain will boldly go to the International Space Station on June 13th courtesy of astronaut Colonel Timothy L. Korpa.

Korpa, who has been a Bunnymen fanatic since his teens recently contacted the band via their website about his upcoming three-month mission on the ISS. Though Ocean Rain is Korpa’s favorite, he gave the choice to the band to pick which of their albums they would like him to take on his mission, saying that he would snap photos in space with the album and crew of the ISS and give the album back to the band as a souvenir when he returns to Earth. The Bunnymen ecstatically shipped out to Korpa an autographed copy of Ocean Rain right away.

“What an honour,” said Echo & The Bunnymen’s Ian McCulloch. “Now it’s official. We are the coolest band in the universe. As a kid I dreamt of being an astronaut, and now in a way it feels like I’m fulfilling that dream. I cannot wait to hear from Tim what it is like to listen to ‘The Killing Moon’ in the actual glow of the moon.”

The NASA mission happens to tie in with a box set reissue of Ocean Rain, set for release on May 30. The set will include a live version of the album recorded at the Liverpool Arena last November, plus a DVD documentary and booklet. The first 1000 copies ordered will be signed by McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant.

Two in food fight charged with assault with a deadly burrito.

Sounds like this argument wasn't worth a hill of beans. From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Two men were arrested for allegedly throwing burritos after becoming agitated that they didn’t receive money while playing a coin-operated game early Saturday at a Lincoln Park neighborhood restaurant.

Nicholas Condon, 24, of Connecticut, and Brian Young, 24, of Las Vegas, Nev., were charged with misdemeanor battery in the incident, which occurred early Saturday at Taco & Burrito Express, 2540 N. Halsted, according to a police report.

Young and Condon were arrested at 2:40 a.m. at the establishment, according to the report.

The arrestees allegedly argued with the employees of Taco & Burrito Express when an employee explained to them that there was no “pay out” for winning a game on the coin-operated machine they were playing, according to the report.

The argument escalated and the two allegedly began throwing burritos at the employee and other customers, according to the report.

Coffee not unhealthy.

Best Monday morning news ever.
Coffee drinkers, rejoice! The heavenly brew, once deemed harmful to health, is turning out to be, if not quite a health food, at least a low-risk drink, and in many ways a beneficial one. It could protect against diabetes, liver cancer, cirrhosis and Parkinson's disease.

What happened? Lots of new research, and the recognition that older, negative studies often failed to tease apart the effects of coffee and those of smoking because so many coffee drinkers were also smokers.

"Coffee was seen as very unhealthy," said Rob van Dam, a coffee researcher and epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health. "Now we have a more balanced view. We're not telling people to drink it for health. But it is a good beverage choice."

As you digest the news on coffee, keep in mind that coffee and caffeine are not the same thing. In fact, "they are vastly different," said coffee researcher Terry Graham, chairman of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. One can be good for you; the other, less so.

"Coffee is a complex beverage with hundreds, if not thousands, of bioactive ingredients," he said. "A cup of coffee is 2% caffeine, 98% other stuff."

Before we rhapsodize further, a few caveats:

Caffeine -- whether in coffee, tea, soft drinks or pills -- can make you jittery and anxious and, in some people, can trigger insomnia. Data are mixed on whether pregnant women who consume caffeine are more likely to miscarry. In general, 200 milligrams a day -- the amount in one normal-sized cup of coffee -- is believed safe for pregnant women, said Van Dam.

30 deadly spiders found in airport.

From Colombia Reports:
30 spiders, of which the majority deadly, and two scorpions were found abandoned in a Bogota airport bus, reported Radio Caracol Monday.

Most alarming for the authorities is that 17 of the spiders are poisonous and lethal, speaking of ten tarantulas, four wolf spider, two banana spiders and one black widow.

"Unlike many people believe, these animals are very dangerous because of their venom, some species can easily injure a person with just one bite and some can even lead to death. The person who left these animals behind clearly ignored the risk he exposed to Bogota", said District Secretary for the Environment, Juan Antonio Nieto Escalante.

The boxes, in which the spiders and scorpions were transported, were marked with a stamp that read "aranario of Colombia", a company that could not be located by the authorities.

Teen holds up store with banana, eats weapon before police arrive.

From Ananova:
A US teenager tried to rob an internet cafe with a banana - then ate the 'weapon' before he was arrested.

Police say John Szwalla entered the shop in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with the banana concealed under his T-shirt and demanded money, reports the BBC.

The shop's owner and customers overcame the thief and called for help, but the teenager ate his banana before police arrived.

Officers joked they may charge the 17-year-old with destroying evidence.

Bobby Ray Mabe, the owner of store, said police officials took pictures of the banana skin instead.