Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Giddy up

Eclectus chick propels his bowl along

This week-old eclectus chick has a wing-powered bowl.

YouTube link.

Hyperactive kitten is hyperactive

Five-week-old Rickles' brothers, Shecky and Belushi, aren't quite sure what to do with their energetic sibling.

YouTube link.

Town hopes that fake whale will fix their sea lion problem

A community in Oregon is bringing in some unusual help to fix their sea lion problem. They're hoping a fake killer whale from Bellingham, Washington, will do the trick.

"I don't have any idea in the world if it'll work or even should work. It's just kind of a fun, crazy thing to do," said Terry Buzzard, who runs Island Marine Cruises in Bellingham. He owns a life-size mock orca which he's used to promote his business during parades and other events.

Buzzard recently heard about the problems at the Port of Astoria, where hundreds of sea lions have taken over the docks, preventing boat owners from using their slips. He offered up his giant mock orca, which will head south to act as a scarecrow of sorts.

YouTube link.

"If it doesn't look like an orca whale and they call our bluff, then I guess they'll sit there and thumb their noses at us," said Buzzard. The Port of Astoria has tried using electrified mats to deter sea lions, but those didn't work all that well. They've considered putting up fences, but they're worried the animals will just knock them down.

Man died while 'fooling around' with bulletproof vest and gun

A man has been arrested in connection to a deadly shooting on Friday night on the American River Bike Trail in Fair Oaks, California. According to the victim's brother, the shooting resulted from the victim and his friends playing around with a bulletproof vest and a gun.

Sacramento County Sheriff's deputies said 21-year-old Elijah Lambert faces a murder charge in the death of 19-year-old Miguel Henry Martinez, who was identified by family members. Martinez's older brother, Tom Cline, said Martinez died in the most senseless way. At around 9:45pm, "Miguel was fooling around with his buddies. They were in possession of a gun and a bulletproof vest," Cline said.

Cline said friends encouraged his brother to put on the vest. The three friends with Martinez assured him that he would not be hurt, Cline said. According to the sheriff's department, Lambert fired the gun. "The kid had shot my brother. The bullet penetrated the top of his vest," said Cline. "My brother was hit. My brother said he couldn't breathe." According to Cline, one person ran for help. Two men carried Martinez up the bike path to meet deputies, but Martinez died.

"My brother did not deserve this death," Cline said. "I want everybody to know Miguel Henry Martinez was a good boy." Cline said he believes his brother might have survived the shooting if someone called for help sooner. He said he doesn't know where the bulletproof vest or gun came from. The sheriff's department would not comment. Lambert is expected to go before a judge on Wednesday to answer to homicide charges.

Six cyclists arrested after attacking PedalPubs with water pistols

They arrived armed and on bicycles, planning a “Mad Max”-style attack. Their target were PedalPubs in downtown Minneapolis. Their weapons of choice were water pistols (squirt guns) and water balloons. What they didn’t know was that there were off-duty police officers among the passengers.

Two of the people-powered, 16-seat vehicles were hit on Saturday in the late afternoon, said Lisa Stanplin, manager of Twin Cities PedalPubs. In the first attack, the cyclists rode to the front of the PedalPub and squirted the driver in the face. In the second, cyclists approached on both sides, squirted passengers with water pistols and hit one woman in the back of the head with a water balloon.

A potential third attack was thwarted when PedalPub passengers spotted the cyclists’ approach, jumped off and turned the tables on the cyclists. A video showing the aftermath of the third incident shows abandoned bikes littering the street and what appear to be several cyclists being pinned down on the pavement. One cyclist can be heard yelling, “I don’t even have a water bottle!” A woman can be heard telling the cyclists that it was “a PedalPub full of cops.”

Contains NSFW language.

YouTube link.

Indeed, Burnsville Police Chief Eric Gieseke confirmed on Sunday that six of his off-duty officers were on board. Minneapolis police arrested six people, who were booked into the Hennepin County jail and released on Saturday night after each posting $78 bail. The jail log lists fifth-degree assault and disorderly conduct, misdemeanors, as probable-cause charges. All have their first court appearances set for June 4.

Wayward seal coaxed back to estuary after relaxing on man's driveway

A seal on the loose in South Auckland, New Zealand, has been rescued by emergency services. The Papakura seal was herded down to the reserve near the estuary by police and firefighters before being monitored by Department of Conservation staff.

"Hopefully will just jump back in and swim home," an emergency services source said. When Danny Yong woke up on Monday morning and found his house surrounded by police and firefighters - he naturally panicked. "I thought I'd got myself into trouble somehow. Then my flatmates went outside and saw a seal in the driveway," he said.

Unbeknown to Mr Yong, the seal had settled into his driveway and was in no hurry to move. "It was very, very cool. We were trapped in the house for about three hours while police tried to move it," he said. "It was just relaxing, doing nothing in the driveway. It was lying down in front of my door."

YouTube link.

Emergency services staff made a makeshift enclosure out of plywood to stop the seal getting away from them, and eventually managed to coax the mammal to the estuary opposite Mr Yong's home. "It's the first time I've had a seal in my driveway," he said. "It was pretty interesting." Nearby residents had been advised to stay indoors until the seal had been caught.

There are additional videos, filmed by Mr Yong, here, here and here.

Armless man denied disabled parking permit because he can walk

A Swedish man has had his disabled parking permit revoked despite lacking both arms and thus unable to pay for a ticket either via phone or at a meter.

Thomas Johansson's request to renew his disabled parking permit was rejected by Örebro municipality in central Sweden due to the fact that he can walk. Mr Johansson, who lost his arms in an accident in 1989, drives a specially designed car which allows him mobility despite his handicap.

The car is important to his family and now he's considering resigning from his job as a motivator for people with addictions. "I'm so disappointed in society. I have tried to help despite my injury," he says. Mr Johansson appealed the municipality's decision but the decision was backed up by both the county administrative board and the Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen).

Mr Johansson has argued that despite his ability to walk he has trouble carrying heavy items for long distances. A disabled parking permit affords the user free use of designated parking places in Swedish cities which are typically located close to stores and public transport links.

Man sets new world record for longest plank

Denmark is once again home to the world record holder in planking after a Danish fitness instructor held his body's weight on his forearms, elbows, and toes for four and a half hours, smashing his previous record. 51-year-old Tom Hoel reclaimed his title in the Zealand town of Jægerpris on Friday night, beating his own previous world record by a full 80 minutes.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to get the title of world champion back. The best feeling is actually not the title but meeting the hopes and expectations of all my friends and club members, who were there to share both my pain and happiness,” Hoel said. “I have never pushed myself that far. I had a serious crisis for almost two hours. After mentally arguing with myself, I finally asked for the time at three hours and 41 minutes.

"I thought that I was still under three hours and was ready to quit but when I realised I that had beat my former record and the goal was within sight, I mobilised every resource in my mind and body,” he said. Hoel said he was able to knock China’s Mao Weidong off his perch as the global master of the abdominal core exercise thanks to a strict training regimen. “The new record time is a result of nine months of structured training.

"My first record was made after four months with little or no planning. I’ve had no alcohol the last four months, have eaten healthy foods and focused a lot on getting enough sleep. Sleep timing was a challenge for me, basically because it’s easier to find time for long planks when my family is asleep,” Hoel said. Hoel’s family were there to cheer him on and he said he couldn’t have done it without the support of his wife Kirsten and sons Frederik and Kaj.

There's a two hour-long video here.

Artist to have second road named in his honour after the first was spelt wrong

A second road is to be named in honour of a celebrated Suffolk painter after a typing error meant the first one was misspelt. Paul Earee, who died in 1968, is considered by some to be the finest Sudbury artist since Thomas Gainsborough.

The town and district councils agreed to name a road after him, however, it was misspelt as Paul Airey Mews. After residents refused to change their addresses, a new location was agreed.

The original road sign was installed in Paul Airey Mews, a development close to where Earee lived, in July last year. "It took until February for anyone to notice the mistake," Jodie Budd, customer services manager at Sudbury Town Council, said.

"It was a simple typing error in an email we sent to Babergh District Council," she added. The district council is responsible for registering new roads in its area. Gary Starling from the district council confirmed a location has now been identified and agreed by both councils and Earee's family.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Belly up

Chihuahua practices swimming technique

Look at those little legs go.

YouTube link.

Cyclist jumps red light

I suppose he can take some consolation in that he wasn't run over.

YouTube link.

Woman hit self on head with bowling ball as cover for robbery

A 30-year-old employee of Pla-Mor Lanes bowling alley in Decatur, Illinois, triggered a massive rapid response from police when she reported she was knocked unconscious by a robber with a bowling ball who emptied the company's safe. However, when police looked at the surveillance video, it told a different story. At 9:25pm on Thursday, eight officers reponded to the report of the robbery, many of them using their emergency lights and travelling at "an increased rate of speed," said an affidavit by patrol officer James Weddle.

Jamie L. Gordon said "she had been struck in the head with a bowling ball and all of the money, $2,100, had been stolen out of the safe," Weddle wrote in his statement. She said she did not see her assailant because she was struck from behind and knocked unconscious. When a manager arrived at the bowling alley, he granted Weddle permission to view the surveillance video. "I observed Jamie walk into the office. Jamie walks over to the counter in the office and picks up a red bowling ball with her left hand and a cash drawer with her right hand," the affidavit said. "Jamie proceeds to strike herself twice in the back, left side of her head with the bowling ball."

Gordon then "droppped to the floor," where she remained for 13 minutes, waiting for another employee to discover her. After informing Gordon that he "just watched her strike herself in the head with a bowling ball twice on video," he asked her where the money was. "Jamie sighed and stated, 'Some of it is in my car.'" She led the officer to her car "where she pulled out a Hello Kitty brand bag full of money. The bag contained $439." When asked where the rest of the missing money was, Gordon said she had gambled it away in the bowling alley's slot machines.

During an interview, Gordon said she recently gambled away her pay cheque. After that, "she began taking money from the drawers and safe." She said she "already owed Pla-Mor Lanes $250" as a result of the other missing cash. "Jamie admitted to striking herself in the head with the bowling ball in an attempt to make it look like she had been robbed. Jamie advised she struck herself with the bowling ball so that she would have a knot on her head when police arrived." Gordon, who has no prior criminal record, was booked into the Macon County Jail, where she was being held on $7,500 bond.

Man named Bacon arrested after becoming involved in sausage dispute

A man from Madison, New Jersey, was arrested recently for assaulting another person during a dispute over sausage.

On May 12 at 3:32am, Officer Lisa Esposito responded to a residence for a reported dispute in progress.

When Officer Esposito arrived, she found that Thomas Bacon, 19, had allegedly assaulted another person inside the house over eating a piece of sausage.

Because of the sausage, Bacon was charged with simple assault and released pending an appearance in the Madison Municipal Court.

The world's first bumblebee highway created in Norway

The Norwegian capital Oslo has inaugurated the world's first 'bumblebee highway', a corridor through the city pollen stations every 250 metres. “The idea is to create a route through the city with enough feeding stations for the bumblebees all the way,” Tonje Waaktaar Gamst of the Oslo Garden Society said. ”Enough food will also help the bumblebees withstand manmade environmental stress better.”

Bumblebees and other pollinating insects struggle in urban environments where there are few flowers rich in nectar, effectively starving them. Gamst and his team have placed flowerpots on rooftops and balconies along a route from east to west through the city. During the last few years, bees, bumblebees and other insects have suffered, with many colonies dying out, causing damage to agriculture that depends on the insects.

Six out of 35 Norwegian bumblebee species are close to extinction. Oslo's municipality is co-operating with environmental organisations, the public, and and companies, who are asked to plant bumblebee friendly flowers on their property. To help the insects along, the organisation ByBi (Bee Town) has created an app, where the public can see the “grey areas”, long stretches with no food for bees, in order to encourage the planting of flowers in areas that don’t have nearby parks.

“It will be easy to see barriers and obstacles on the map. The goal is to inspire people to fill these gaps.” Agnes Lyche Melvær of ByBi said. The public will also be able to upload pictures of their projects to improve the situation for bees and bumblebees, such as flowerpots and bee hotels. ”Some bee species like to live in solitary rooms. They need small hollows like a crack in an old tree truck. It’s very important to have some old wood lying around,” says Melvær.

Mystery over cremated remains from Michigan that washed up on Scottish beach

Morag Paterson was going for a swim near Inverness on Friday morning when something on the beach caught her eye. A plastic bag sat near the water and was full of a greyish powder.

The bag was sealed and attached to it was a round metal tag that said simply, “Central Michigan Crematory Battle Creek MI” with a five-digit identification number. And so the mystery began. Paterson tried to email the crematory, run by Brutsche Concrete Products, but could not get through, so she contacted the Battle Creek Enquirer instead to make known what she had stumbled upon.

When they contacted the company’s Mickey Brutsche, he said they know who the remains belong to through the ID number. He has no idea how the remains ended up in Scotland but said remains have been known to show up far from where they might be expected. “It does happen somewhat often,” he said.

“They found the remains in Ireland (actually in the north of Scotland) and we are working with our records and the funeral home and letting them know. It happens a couple of times a year.” Brutsche would not identify the funeral home that handled the service and he said it would be the funeral home’s responsibility to notify the family. “But this is someone’s loved one so it’s up to them if they want it to be public or not,” he said.

Train company apologises for 'callous and tasteless' death announcement

A rail company has apologised after a staff member told passengers the train was delayed because someone "couldn't be bothered to live any more". Passengers aboard a train to Plymouth were delayed after a fatality on the line. Esmee Phillips, 21, complained to First Great Western, saying "the shocking and callous" loudspeaker announcement left people "completely open-mouthed".

The company has apologised for "any distress caused". Its services were disrupted on Friday after a man was killed by a train between Slough and Reading. Miss Phillips was travelling back from Oxford to Plymouth on a delayed service and said a female staff member made two loudspeaker announcements about the fatality. She said the announcement said: "Our delays are due to someone who couldn't be bothered to live any more.

"Because of this, there are severe delays. Some of you have missed your connecting flights for the Bank Holiday." Miss Phillips said she and other passengers "cringed" at the message. "It was shocking as it was said in a very callous and tasteless way, especially as you don't know what personal experiences other passengers have gone through," she said. Fellow passenger Jay Young said the announcements, made once near Westbury and again just before Exeter, made passengers in his carriage "gasp".

First Great Western said: "We expect high standards from our onboard teams, who are trained to make clear announcements about delays. When this involves a fatality this should be done with sensitivity and care. We're sorry for any distress caused to customers yesterday and can confirm that this incident is under investigation."

Anger over kitchens on first floor of new homes

Internal changes to a new housing development have created tension between a developer and neighbouring residents. Developer Bramber Construction Co Ltd has built four three-storey houses in Shoreham, West Sussex, with kitchens located on the first floor. The original planning application for the site included kitchens on the ground floor of the properties and the changes were made before an amendment application was submitted. Angry residents have hit out at the developer’s conduct and believe if the internal layout of the houses is not changed back it will make a mockery of the planning system.

Jose Enticknap, 59, said: “I think this sets a precedent. If we’re told the developer can do what they want where do we stop? I’m gobsmacked with all of it really.” The development backs onto Mrs Enticknap’s Grade Two listed house. Concerns include overlooking, additional noise, smells and disturbance. Mrs Enticknap and her husband Kevin said none of the above were issues in the approved application. The couple have lodged a formal complaint against Adur District Council for ‘neglecting their duties in overseeing the development being built to the agreed plans put in place by Adur planning office’. Bruce Williams, chairman of Bramber Construction Co Ltd, lives in Shoreham and said there was ‘no way’ he would be party to something he should not be doing.

“The whole thing is unbelievable,” said Mr Williams. “We were advised to put them on the first floor by local agents who had quite a few people interested who wanted kitchens on the first floor. It costs more money to put them on the first floor. We are incredibly disappointed actually that it’s got to this stage.” The Shoreham Society had planned to present Bramber Construction Co Ltd with a plaque for the development being ‘exemplary’, but it will now withhold the award. Gerry Thompson, an architect and member of the Shoreham Society’s building and planning sub committee, called the alteration ‘significant’ and said the society objected to developers applying for retrospective planning approval. He said: “The developer has not built in accordance with planning approval. We are very strongly against that.”

Mr Williams submitted an application for variation of an approved application to Adur District Council on March 27. A council spokesman said: “The council is currently negotiating with the developers to reduce the amount of overlooking caused by relocating the kitchens to the first floor of this development.” He said the council relied on developers to build in accordance with approved plans, and for them to notify the council if internal layout elements are changed. The spokesman continued: “The developer has submitted a retrospective planning application for these amendments and the application will be assessed on its planning merits, having regard to all representations received from adjoining occupiers. The council remains hopeful that a compromise solution can be found to address the concerns of neighbouring properties.”

Man wearing only underpants and socks left taped to traffic lights

An unfortunate man was left taped to traffic lights at Hazel Grove in Stockport, Greater Manchester on Saturday morning.

Motorists were left bemused when they pulled up at the lights to see the half-naked man attached to the metal pole.

Wearing just a pair of patterned briefs and socks, the man was strapped with his hands behind his back using duct tape and cling film.

It is not known how long he was left taped to the lights.