Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Are we nearly there yet?

Here's a hummingbird filmed in slow motion

YouTube link.

Man arrested for banging on window and making kissing noises to female rehab centre employee

50-year-old Timothy Baker of Yorkville, Illinois, has been arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespass to property.

Police responded to Hillside Rehabilitation and Care Center after a report of a male banging on a window and making kissing noises to a female employee.

When police arrived at around 8:22 on Thursday, Baker was identified by the employee and arrested for disorderly conduct.

Baker was also charged with criminal trespass to property after previously being banned from the property.

Man named High arrested for possession of marijuana

Police say a man arrested for marijuana possession inside public housing in Hoboken, New Jersey, was High.

Hakem High, 25, of Hoboken, was arrested early on Sunday on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and possession within 1,000 feet of a school and within 500 feet of public housing. "Ironic," Sgt. Edgardo Cruz, a Hoboken Police spokesman, said of the suspect's name.

High was also charged with aggravated assault, as well as trespassing on public housing property, Cruz said. Officers responded at 5am to a report of an assault inside a third-floor apartment in a building operated by the Hoboken Housing Authority, Cruz said.

Police found the victim with a black eye, and arrested High who was then found to be carrying 16 small zip-lock bags containing marijuana, Cruz said. He said the victim was treated at Hoboken University Medical Center. High was released pending a court appearance on Sept. 14.

Flaming mice probably a factor in Frog Hollow fire

Fire Chief Larry Hector’s best guess is that flaming mice on the run rekindled a fire at Frog Hollow in the Walla Walla Valley, Washington, that had began earlier on Saturday. “Mice come out of the fire, on fire, and run into the unburned stuff. And start the fire all over again,” Hector explained.

Hector heads Walla Walla County Fire District 6 out of Touchet and was incident commander for three separate fires that scorched about 300 acres of mostly alfalfa stubble in the Touchet area. The original fire was started by a combine, the second started under a power line and the third was caused when a hawk struck a different power line and brought it down, he said.

A fourth burn was a restart of the original Frog Hollow Road blaze, he said, and that came under control at about 5pm. The situation forced the evacuation of one family in Frog Hollow Road for a few hours, and other residents left nearby homes as a precaution, said Liz Jessee, director of Walla Walla County Emergency Management.

Fighting flames exacerbated by high winds was a collaborative effort that brought about two dozen firefighters from five fire stations, Hector said. The main fire began just before noon, closing several roads in the area. The fires were contained by 4pm, with the rekindled blaze coming under control by about 5pm, she noted. Residents of the community were allowed to return home at 3:30pm.

Police investigating the theft of 500 cows suspect they were stolen over a period of time

Police investigating reports that 500 cows have been stolen from a farm in Ashburton, New Zealand, say they probably happened in multiple thefts over a period of time. It is not known exactly when they began disappearing, as their absence was only noticed recently.

Police said it was "unlikely the theft of hundreds of animals could be completed at once, and is more likely that multiple thefts could be carried out over a period of time". The cows are reportedly worth at least NZ$750,000 (£415,000, $545,000) in total.

A friend said the farmer was "absolutely gobsmacked, and deeply embarrassed". "If you had three-quarters of a million dollars go missing, you wouldn't want to talk about it either," said Willy Leferink. Locals said they had never heard of cattle rustling on such a scale before.

The farm's original 1,300 cows are thought to have last been counted in July. Sr Sgt Scott Banfield of Ashburton Police urged farmers to check on their stock numbers once a week. "Farmers should also be keeping an eye out for unexpected signs of herding near their boundary lines too." New Zealand is home to around 10 million cows, more than twice the human population.

Hundreds of mysterious spots that appeared on grass explained

Residents of Aberdeen, Scotland, were left wondering if they had been visited by aliens after waking up on Monday to find hundreds of mysterious markings on nearby grass land.

The tenants of the tower blocks in the Seaton area were left scratching their heads at the circle imprints on the grass. Some speculated that the Granite City had been visited by beings from another planet.

However, the council later came forward to say it is behind the circles. An Aberdeen City Council spokeswoman said: “The marks are not alien crop circles. They are preparatory work for planting trees as part of the £500,000 Seaton Backies project

“This is rejuvenating a neglected green space for family use. We are planting dozens of trees as part of the project to create shelter, and the spots where the trees are to be planted need to be free of weeds before then – the trees will be planted from late autumn to April.”

Woman hopes for return of artificial grass mat that was stolen from outside her beach hut

A resident of Budleigh Salterton in Devon fears the town has ‘changed’ after an artificial grass mat was stolen from outside her beach hut. The mat was taken from outside the hut of counsellor and psychotherapist Sue Claire Morris, 55.

Sue said: “I just think Budleigh is changing. I am now more worried about vandalism in the town.” She noticed the mat was missing after leaving it the night before at 10pm.

Sue said the artificial grass had been nailed to the floor. The yoga enthusiast, who is training to become a teacher in the field, bought the mat for £15 and had it put down by a friend. “The mat was really soft to do my yoga on.

“It is just really irritating, having gone to the trouble of getting a friend to nail it down,” said Sue. “I didn’t expect some one to rip it up. I cannot believe someone did that.” Sue has called for the mat to be returned to her. She added: “To whoever took it, if you do not really need it, please bring it back.”

Double yellow lines painted across the middle of road

Double yellow lines have been painted across the middle of a road in Truro, Cornwall.

As Mark Mitchell left his family's interior design business Stylehome on Threemilestone Industrial Estate on Friday evening, he spotted "a line painting van" on the estate.

When he arrived the following morning he discovered yellow lines had been painted across the road. He posted photographs of the new markings on Facebook, saying: "No this isn't Photoshopped, it is what we found on arriving at work this morning …it is hard to make this up, frankly, simply beyond belief."

Mr Mitchell, 45, who also lives in Thremilestone, said: "Regardless of any excuse, it displays a total lack of common sense to put road markings in a position where they are obviously unsuitable. He believes the work was carried out by Cornwall Council. The Council have been approached for a comment.

Pub want return of ghost that was captured by Chinese artist

A pub's owner is requesting the return of a ghost, after its famous spectre was captured by a Chinese artist. Lu Pingyuan claims to have captured the ghost of James Stanley, the seventh Earl of Derby, who is said to haunt the Ye Olde Man and Scythe, in Churchgate, Bolton, Greater Manchester. A sealed metal cannister supposedly containing the spirit went on display this month at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, unbeknown to the pub’s owner, Richard Greenwood, after the artist became captivated by the story and travelled from Shanghai to Bolton to catch the ghost.

And after discovering that the town’s oldest pub is now missing its favourite phantom, Mr Greenwood is determined to have it returned to its rightful home. In a letter to Mr Lu, he said: “I would have liked to have been privy to your actions and indeed to the exhibition before the ghost of James Stanley was taken out of Bolton, his ties to the town and to Ye Olde Man and Scythe run very deeply. “I feel very strongly that James Stanley’s ghost should remain in Bolton and at Ye Olde Man and Scythe to preserve the natural order of things. That said I do believe that your exhibition should travel and be seen by many people around the world and I would like to contribute to this as long as at the end of your exhibition it returns home.”

Mr Greenwood has offered to donate the chair that the Earl sat at for his last meal to the exhibition, on the agreement that both it and the ghost are returned at the end of the tour. It is thought that the Royalist commander spent his last few hours at the pub before being executed outside the premises for his part in the Bolton massacre of 1644. Mr Lu came across his story after seeing CCTV footage that emerged in 2014, which appeared to show a ghoulish presence at one end of the bar. The artist, who claims he followed the ghost into the pub’s bathroom before performing an incantation to trap it, said: “I was totally captivated by the legend, that the ghost remained in the human world long after his decapitation.

“I wish him to exist and be treated as a real artwork and to present him around the globe, getting respect and tribute from people everywhere. I told his ghost about my proposal the second time I visited this place and James Stanley agreed that I can put him into a jar in order to exhibit him in galleries and museums alike. Therefore, in this way, he became a piece of art. I consider my exhibition at CFCCA to be the beginning of his worldwide trip. After this exhibition, I plan to prepare for the next one in 2017. My original thought is that after the world tour of exhibitions, I will discuss with him and ask him whether he would prefer to stay like this, as a piece of art, or go back to the Ye Olde Man and Scythe.”

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Smile for the camera

Would a dog abuse a biscuit on demand button?

Cooper the Shih Tzu was given a biscuit on demand button.

YouTube link.

It appears he wasted no time abusing his new powers.

YouTube link.

Professor wants university's mascot to display a wider array of facial expressions

A University of Iowa professor is asking for the Department of Athletics to allow the university’s mascot, Herky the Hawk, to display a wider array of facial expressions. “I believe incoming students should be met with welcoming, nurturing, calm, accepting and happy messages,” Resmiye Oral, a clinical professor of paediatrics at UI, wrote recently in an email to UI athletic department officials. “And our campus community is doing a great job in that regard when it comes to words.

“However, Herky’s angry, to say the least, face conveying an invitation to aggressivity and even violence is not compatible with the verbal messages that we try to convey to and instill in our students and campus community.” Oral said she has been concerned for some time with the lack of emotional variety displayed by the university’s long-standing mascot. Her intention, she said, is to bring diversity to how Herky feels, not to eliminate the ambitious, competitive, go-getter Herky.

Athletic department officials said they are looking into some concerns raised by Oral but note that the request is complicated. "UI athletic department officials are aware of this request and are in the process of formulating a response in regard to Herky," Steve Roe, the department's director of communications. The problem is that, if the university is to maintain the value of its brand and logo, then the university needs to keep that brand and logo unchanged and recognisable for as long as possible, said Dale Arens, director of UI's trademark licensing programme.

Herky has been the symbol of UI and its intercollegiate athletic teams for more than 60 years. The cartoon image was created in 1948 by Richard Spencer, an instructor of journalism at UI, and the character earned its name through a statewide contest staged by the department. Over the next decade, the mascot came to life at football games with a black leather head and gold felt feathers. After decades, the costume for the life-size Herky was changed two years ago to a fuzzy-faced, thick-browed Herky, with teeth perpetually bared into a half-smile or half-grimace.

Police saved man’s life with Heimlich manoeuvre before arresting him over drugs he coughed up

A police officer in Buffalo, New York, saved a choking man’s life by performing the Heimlich manoeuvre, but after the man coughed up a bag of cocaine, he arrested him.

Central District Officers Sean McCabe and Omar Rodriguez said they were on routine patrol on Thursday when they saw Bryan Ramos sitting outside a vacant house. When they approached Ramos for questioning and for a pat down, he put a pack of cigarettes that appeared to contain drugs in his mouth, according to an arrest report.

Ramos struggled, and he was pulled by the officers to the ground. He continued to resist, so the officers sprayed him with pepper spray. Ramos began having a hard time breathing, and was turning purple, so McCabe performed the Heimlich manoeuvre on him. Officers said Ramos coughed up the cigarette pack containing a plastic bag of cocaine.

Ramos, 23, was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, tampering with physical evidence, obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest and criminal trespass following the incident. After his arrest, Ramos told the officers his cousin had asked him to hold the items. “If there is something in that bag I am (in deep trouble). That bag is huge. I know it’s probably a B felony,” Ramos said, according to police.

Burglary suspect left behind a T-shirt with his name on it

A man accused of breaking into two businesses in Racine, Wisconsin, in late July allegedly left a shirt with his name ironed into it at one of the crime scenes. On July 28, Racine police officers were dispatched to the Port of Call liquor store on a report of a burglary.

When police arrived, the observed two broken glass doors leading into the store in addition to a grey T-shirt laying in the entrance way. Police observed that the cash register had been taken. When they talked with the owners, they indicated the cash in the register was about $300 and the register itself was valued at about $1,000.

When police reviewed the security footage, they observed that the T-shirt on the floor contained the name "Dustin Brannon" ironed onto it. Officers looked up the aforementioned name in their lookup system and found a picture of Brannon. They compared the photo with Port of Call's security footage and made the match.

Brannon is also accused of robbing a second Racine-area business, a Citgo gas station. Brannon, 35, of Trevor, is being held in the Racine County Jail on a $2,500 cash bond. He has been charged with two counts of felony burglary that carry a combined maximum of 24 years of incarceration if he is convicted. Brannon's next appearance in court is Sep. 1.

Police used fishing hook to capture alleged criminal in canal

Police in Queensland, Australia, went to great lengths to catch an alleged armed criminal on the Gold Coast, chasing him down in a teenager's dinghy and finally capturing him with a gaff hook.

Officers said the man, 38, fled when they arrived at a Palm Beach house on Sunday morning over reports he was seen armed with a knife and trying to enter a house.

Neighbour David Rowe said the man tried to get away by jumping a number of fences into the nearby canal, where he tried to swim to the other side. Quick thinking police saw three teenagers cruising past in a dinghy and commandeered their vessel. "He was in the water a good 20 minutes or so before they used the gaff hook and pulled him to shore," Mr Rowe said.

YouTube link.

The alleged offender could been seen trying to swim away despite being hooked, until he was dragged to shore where three officers were waiting. The man, from Maroochydore, has been charged with possessing a knife, trespass and assault or obstruct police officer. "I've seen some weird arrests, but this is the weirdest one I've seen in a while," a Queensland police spokesman said.

Village abandoned by its residents due to hoax ghost threat

A village in Jharkhand, India, has been abandoned by its residents due to a hoax ghost threat.

Reportedly, at least 10 people of the Parhiya caste in Khirakhar in the Latehar district have died in the past year.

This has frightened the residents of the presence of some supernatural powers in the village.

YouTube link.

However, residents of nearby villages claim that it’s the lack of proper medication and diagnosis due to which these people have died. The village also lacks basic water and electricity facilities.

Woman says she came face-to-face with Old Stinker the werewolf

A woman has described the moment she came face-to-face with the notorious werewolf Old Stinker. Jemma Waller, an animal rescue worker, was driving through the East Riding of Yorkshire village of Halsham when she believes she saw the legendary creature. The 24-year-old said the beast looked like a big dog "with a human face". Ms Waller was with two friends at the time of the sighting. She said: "We were driving down this country lane on our way to get some pizza and my friend in the back seat said that he had seen a fox.

"I looked on my driver's side and saw this beast on all fours who started to walk straight towards my car on two legs. It looked like a big dog, probably bigger than my car, but it had a human face. It also had this cream and grey fur. My automatic reaction was to keep on driving, but thankfully it didn't keep coming towards me. It just turned around and ran off diagonally. Everyone in the car was really shaken. We'd never seen anything like that before." The party stopped their car at a nearby petrol station to calm themselves down.

When concerned staff asked what was wrong, the friends described what they had seen. Staff then told them about the Beast of Barmston Drain. Ms Waller said: "We had never heard about it before, but when we started reading up about it, it was exactly like what we saw. It just made us more scared to be honest and I didn't get any sleep that night. It was just like a horror movie." Sightings of "Old Stinker" are believed to date back to the 18th century when wolves still stalked the countryside.

In one report from the 1960s, a lorry driver said a creature had tried to smash its way through his windscreen as he drove along a remote Wolds road. Last month, Hull City Council officially confirmed it has no written policy on dealing with werewolves after a resident submitted a freedom of information request. Wayne Carr asked if a risk assessment had been "undertaken on Barmston Drain with regards to werewolves". The council replied by saying it had no written policy on werewolves, no record of werewolf-related risk assessments and no secret stock of silver bullets locked away in a Guildhall cupboard.

Man wearing red dress robbed sex shop at gunpoint

A gunman wearing a red dress and wig who carried out an armed robbery at a sex shop in Liverpool is being sought by police. The robber who was also wearing a grey cap and white gloves struck at adult store Nice’n’Naughty in the city centre at 5.40pm on Sunday.

The man brandished a black handgun, which was used to threaten a member of staff. Following a brief struggle, the man snatched money from the counter before leaving the shop. Now police have issued CCTV images of a man they wish to speak to following the raid.

Detective Inspector Steve McGrath from Liverpool CID said: "We are keen to speak with the man pictured to assist us in our enquiries. The staff at the shop were thankfully unhurt but understandably distressed to be threatened with what had the appearance of a firearm, regardless of whether it was real or fake.

"I would appeal to anyone who saw a man dressed as described and acting suspiciously to contact police at once. We have spoken with the owners and staff to offer reassurance but I want to assure all businesses that we will do everything possible to identify this offender and bring him to justice, and ensure Liverpool City Centre is a safe place to live, work and visit."

Not-so-thin Lizzy the overweight monitor lizard reunited with owner thanks to the RSPCA

A three-foot long monitor lizard that went missing from a back garden in Suffolk has been reunited with his owner thanks to the RSPCA. Lizzy had already been rescued and re-homed after he was overfed by his previous owner and was overweight. The giant reptile, who weighs in at around 6kgs, had been on a strict diet and exercise regime since New Year and had escaped from his garden enclosure in the warm weather.

The lizard was found hiding underneath a piece of corrugated metal a week after going missing by passers-by in fields in Kelsale on August 22nd. RSPCA Inspector James Finch said: “I was shocked when I first saw this lizard – at a first glance he could easily be mistaken for a crocodile, he is huge. I have only ever seen one monitor lizard before, but it was nothing like this. This one was so big – and very strong too.

“He was clearly overweight and was lost – and a bit grumpy about it. The person that found him had managed to contain him in a trailer and called us to help. Thankfully his owner was tracked down and we could reunite them fairly swiftly.” It is believed the recent spell of warm weather made not-so-thin Lizzy more energetic during his afternoon exercise, prompting him to escape into the nearby field. Insp Finch said: “The owner was so relieved to get his lizard back.

“He had been cutting down shrubbery in his garden desperately trying to find him, but with no luck. It was lovely to be able to reunite them again.” Dr Ros Clubb, exotics scientist for the RSPCA, said: “Lizards like this would not survive long-term in the wild in this country so it is lucky he was found when he was. It is great that his owner is taking such care to exercise him and make him lose weight. With reptiles this is a very slow process as their metabolism is slow. So this shows dedication getting him to stick to his regime.”