Sunday, October 12, 2008



Kitten with a remote controlled mouse - Part two


Busker with a homemade guitar machine

India's deadly roads officially worst in the world

It is an unenviable title - but India's motorised mayhem has officially made it the most dangerous place to drive in the world.

Last year road accidents claimed more than 130,000 lives, overtaking China, where fatalities have dropped to less than 90,000, and prompted a government review into traffic safety, which until now has been best summed up by local drivers as "good horns, good brakes, good luck".

Ministers are considering a range of new measures such as making air bags and anti-braking systems mandatory in all cars. Lorries may also be fitted with speed breakers in a bid to bring down fatalities.

However, many experts say that new laws will have little effect in India, where seat belts are rarely worn and where no one can anticipate with any certainty the behaviour of the average road user.

Nor can most road users guess what type of vehicle they will face. Delhi alone has 48 different "modes of transport" including cows, elephants and camels, as well as cycle-rickshaws and SUVs.

Rohit Baluja of Delhi's Institute of Road Traffic Education said: "The real issue is not car design but road design. About 85% of all deaths on the roads are pedestrians and cyclists, not drivers. We do not design traffic management systems to separate different streams of traffic. In America this began in 1932."

Texting collar thwarts Kenyan elephant's raids

The text message from the elephant flashed across Richard Lesowapir's screen: Kimani was heading for neighbouring farms.

The huge bull elephant had a long history of raiding villagers' crops during the harvest, sometimes wiping out six months of income at a time. But this time a mobile phone card inserted in his collar sent rangers a text message. Lesowapir, an armed guard and a driver arrived in a jeep bristling with spotlights to frighten Kimani back into the Ol Pejeta conservancy.

Kenya is the first country to try elephant texting as a way to protect both a growing human population and the wild animals that now have less room to roam. Elephants are ranked as "near threatened" in the Red List, an index of vulnerable species published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The race to save Kimani began two years ago. The Kenya Wildlife Service had already reluctantly shot five elephants from the conservancy who refused to stop crop-raiding, and Kimani was the last of the regular raiders. The Save the Elephants group wanted to see if he could break the habit.

So they placed a mobile phone SIM card in Kimani's collar, then set up a virtual "geofence" using a global positioning system that mirrored the conservatory's boundaries. Whenever Kimani approaches the virtual fence, his collar texts rangers.

They have intercepted Kimani 15 times since the project began. Once almost a nightly raider, he last went near a farmer's field four months ago.

Two banned from Australian motor racing event after sex toy incident

One man has attacked a police officer with a dildo at the Bathurst 1000 motor racing event while another man has been caught wheeling around a television set showing porn. And both have been thrown out of the the major annual racing event, police say.

A 22-year-old Moss Vale man was arrested shortly after 10pm (AEDT) yesterday after launching himself at a male police officer sitting inside a police car, hitting him on the head with a sex toy. The officer was not hurt, but the man has been charged with assaulting police.

Earlier in the evening, a 35-year-old St Helens Park man was arrested after police found him wheeling around a television set showing porn. "The man had been walking his trolley around a park campsite displaying the material," a police statement said.

A search of the man's tent revealed more than 20 pornographic DVDs. The man and his trolley were taken to a police station on Mount Panorama where he was charged with displaying pornographic material.

"Camping on the mountain are families with young children and for someone to deliberately walk around displaying pornographic material is completely unacceptable," Assistant Commissioner Lee Shearer said.

Both men have been issued with banning notices and are prohibited from returning to the Mount Panorama racing precinct for the remainder of the weekend's event. They have been bailed to appear at Bathurst Local Court on November 10.

Man tries to identify mystery object found in woods

A Wakefield man has a mystery in his living room, an object that looks kind of a like a rock but not quite, which might have fallen from the sky.

William McCarthy found the mysterious object lying on the forest floor not far from his house, that's about the size of a football and weighs about the same. But he said he can't figure out what it is or from where it came.

"And after I started looking at it, I noticed all of the strange things that were in that lump," McCarthy said.

Some of the unusual features are a detailed leaf imprint on one side, and on the other side is a slash of what looks like red paint, but it won't scratch off, even with a knife.

"I have a hard time believing that occurs naturally, especially since it's so nice and smooth and shiny," McCarthy said.

McCarthy said he took the object to the fire department on Thursday morning to make sure it wasn't radioactive. Firefighters tested it and gave it the all-clear.

Argentine partygoers lured into clubs with breast enlargements

It is a raffle with the ultimate booby prize. For the cost of an entry ticket to an Argentine disco - between £2 and £8 - partygoers are entered into a prize draw in which the winning ticket is worth more than £1,000. The jackpot? A breast-enlargement operation.

Promoters across the country are putting up signs with slogans such as “I want my breasts” as a new way of attracting women - and men who could give such a gift to their girlfriends or spouses - to their clubs.

In a country where the minimum monthly wage is 600 pesos (£110), cosmetic surgery of this kind is well out of reach for those who might want to change their figure.

The discos have proved a huge draw in Argentina, where the subject of plastic surgery, and breast enlargements in particular, is discussed on TV shows as well as in bars. Debates focus on details such as the relative merits of silicon versus gel implants, whether it is better to place the implant under or above the breast muscle, or where the surgeon should make the incision.

Some Argentinians have sardonically labelled the phenomenon Bailando por las lolas, or Dancing for the Breasts - a play on the popular TV programme Bailando con las estrellas, or Dancing with the Stars. Plastic surgeons have condemned the discos, saying that cosmetic surgery involves serious medical procedures.

“You cannot raffle implants as if they were electrical goods,” Francisco Famá, spokesman for the Argentine Plastic Surgeons Association, said.

Man writes with tears

A Chinese man can write calligraphy with water he shoots from his eyes. Ru Anting, 56, of Luoyang, Henan province, sucks up the water with his nose and then sprays it through his tear ducts.

He recently demonstrated his skill at the Lotus World park in Shanshui city, Guangdong, where he wrote four characters, 'Fu Ru Dong Hai' ('Fortune as vast as the sea'), on a board covered with red paper.

Ru said that he discovered his unusual talent as a child while swimming in the river.

"Sometimes I would swallow water while swimming, and once I accidentally discovered the water I swallowed could be shot out through my eyes. My friends were all shocked to see it," he said.

But it wasn't until the 1990s, when Ru lost his job in a local fertilizer factory after more than 20 years, that he began to develop his unusual talent. "At that time I started to train myself and hone my eye spraying skills," he explained.

After three years of intensive training, he found he could shoot water accurately up to 10ft from his eyes at will.

'Drugs underwear' theory fails to wash with Indian court

An Indian man escaped a possible death sentence for drug trafficking after his lawyer told a court it was impossible to walk with a stash of heroin in his underpants.

Mumbai police alleged Dhirendra Kamdar was carrying two kilograms (4.4 pounds) of the drug in four, 500-gram packets in his underwear when they picked him up as he walked from a guest house to get a taxi to the city's airport.

But when the case came to trial, Kamdar's lawyer Ayaz Khan said it was impossible for anyone to walk one kilometre (0.6 miles) with such an amount of drugs concealed in his smalls.

Khan demonstrated his theory to the judge using four identically-sized bags filled with sugar, and was acquitted of the charge on lack of evidence.

Kamdar allegedly wanted to smuggle the heroin to the United States and had a prior conviction for drug trafficking, which meant he would have been sentenced to death if he had been found guilty a second time.

Curiousity finds untouched 1960s shop

Council inspectors entered a boarded-up shop – and found it untouched inside for over forty years.

The shop is due to be converted to a house in Accrington, Lancashire.


Dentist sent patient to ATM to pay for treatment during tooth operation

When David Baxter arrived for an emergency appointment at the dentist, he expected his painful nightmare would soon be over.

But the 58-year-old teacher was told after being injected with anaesthetic that the offending wisdom tooth would not be removed until he had paid for the treatment in full.

Having already withdrawn his daily maximum from the cashpoint, and with only £30 in his wallet, he assured the receptionist that he would return first thing the following day with the extra £30.

But with his face numb from the forehead down, he was forced to leave the dentist's surgery to return home for another cash card.

After supplying the money, the father of three from Hornchurch, Essex, said he had to spend a further 40 minutes in the waiting room before the dentist would see him again - by which time the anaesthetic was beginning to wear off.

Dentist Dr Tariq Mushtaq said he had made it clear that Mr Baxter must be able to pay in full before he started working on him. 'We asked him if he could pay and he said yes. We don't do any treatment until patients are aware of the cost.'

Mother investigated after 'giving girls vodka' on charity walk

A mother is being investigated by police and social services on suspicion of buying vodka, wine and alcopops for three 13-year-old girls to drink on a school sponsored charity walk.

Paramedics had to treat one of the three schoolgirls who drank so much alcohol that she became ill and briefly lost consciousness.

Carol Jones, 40, was originally given an £80 on-the-spot fine for allegedly supplying alcohol to minors but police later withdrew the notice and said she could face charges.

Photo from here.

The three girls, who are pupils at Matravers School, Westbury, Wilts, were taking part in the seven-mile walk on Salisbury Plain last Friday.

On the way to the school, Mrs Jones allegedly bought a bottle of vodka, three bottles of wine and two alcopops, which the girls are said to have decanted into Fruit Shoot bottles to conceal the alcohol from teachers.

Wiltshire Police said they had withdrawn the on-the-spot fine having had a local newspaper article "brought to our attention". A spokesman said: "The fixed penalty notice issued to the mother has now been withdrawn and a joint investigation into the full circumstances of this matter is being conducted by the Wiltshire Police child protection unit and local social services."

Good Samaritan threatened with arrest after organising a whip-round for old lady on train

A train manager tried to have a passenger arrested after he stood up for a tearful OAP in a fare mix-up.

Tom Wrigglesworth stepped in when he saw Lena Ainscow, 75, break down as she was ordered to pay £115 for a single on a Virgin train.

She had an £11.50 ticket for the 10.45am from Manchester to London Euston but was on the 10.15am. She had boarded the earlier service because Virgin staff had told her to do so.

Stand-up comedian Tom, 32, began a whip-round among passengers. He said: "Everyone was happy to help. Someone even put in £30."

But the manager reported him for begging and called police, who met the train at Euston.

Full story here.