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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Weird news - Pakistani children paralyzed at night

Whenever we think that we have learned a lot about our body and what could be impacting it, we come up with something new that tells us that there is a lot to learn about maladies and the functioning of the human body. So, for example, we have learnt how to dramatically extend the life duration for somebody afflicted with AIDS or with many different types of cancers.
What happens when somebody gets afflicted with a malady for which doctors are not able to provide any help. Family members are clueless about what to do, and depending on the society they are based in, they may try to get faith help or help from outside the medical system. This happened to a couple of boys in Pakistan, who were getting called 'solar' kids because they were active during the day but went into a sort of paralytic state when the sun went down (link to article):
The ‘solar kids’ who are being treated for an illness which leaves them paralysed by sunset each day might be suffering from a neuro transmitter deficiency, said vice chancellor of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) Dr Javed Akram, who also chaired a meeting of a medical board called to discuss the children’s case. “In simple words, neuro transmitters in the brain have been disturbed. A similar case was reported in Japan and was named JPA, but that disease occurs in both male and female children. However, our experiences in Pakistan indicate that this case only occurs in male children and we are considering giving the disease a new name,” he added.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Weird news - Solar power plant zaps birds

Solar power plants are growing in number all over the world, and are seen as an important component of the renewable energy matrix, necessary if we are to move away from coal and nuclear fired plants and onto clean energy. However, as somebody who has experienced hot summers know, the energy of the sun can be quite harsh and impact the human body (heat waves are known for killing people who are not prepared to face the heat).
However, an example in London shows the world the problems that such solar energy can also cause. A new skyscraper over there is constructed in such a way that at specific times of the day, it can act as a concave lens and focus light onto the road and people on the road, burning the tarmac and injuring people. An even greater example is this massive solar power station in the desert near Las Vegas, an advanced type that depends on a number of mirrors focusing their reflected sunlight onto a central tower where the temperature gets very high, in order to boil water and run turbines.
However, one problem is that no one told birds that they should not go near. Birds and insects that get near the tower face incredible heat and literally burn in a flash, dropping from the sky. This impacts a large number of birds, and the solar energy company is doing their bit to stop this from happening without impeding their work, and so far, it does not seem to be working (article):
A macabre fireworks show unfolds each day along I-15 west of Las Vegas, as birds fly into concentrated beams of sunlight and are instantly incinerated, leaving wisps of white smoke against the blue desert sky. Workers at the Ivanpah Solar Plant have a name for the spectacle: "Streamers." And the image-conscious owners of the 390-megawatt plant say they are trying everything they can think of to stop the slaughter. Federal biologists say about 6,000 birds die from collisions or immolation annually while chasing flying insects around the facility's three 40-story towers, which catch sunlight from five square miles of garage-door-size mirrors to drive the plant's power-producing turbines.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Weird news - Keeping a crocodile in the basement

People have a fascination with wild animals, especially those who can pose a risk to the life of human beings, there is a certain kind of fatalistic attraction to such kind of animals. So you find people rearing snakes (even large ones such as Burmese pythons which can be incredibly powerful), or even large cats such lions or tigers or leopards (although the number of these have reduced significantly with more laws against domestic possession of such animals). However, once in a while you find stories of people who keep dangerous animals at home, even though it is totally prohibited in most countries.
In this case, when police officers were looking for a person who was suspected of illegal arms trafficking and searched his home, they found, surprisingly a large crocodile in the basement. Such a crocodile can be very unpredictable and dangerous, not only for the owner but for others in the vicinity as well (link to article):
Pictures released by police showed the animal sitting in the dark, in a shallow muddy pool. Daytime temperatures in Saint Petersburg hovered around minus seven degrees Celsius (19 Fahrenheit), far below the preferred climate for the species. Pictures released by police showed the animal sitting in the dark, in a shallow muddy pool. Daytime temperatures in Saint Petersburg hovered around minus seven degrees Celsius (19 Fahrenheit), far below the preferred climate for the species.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Weird news - Man dies after hitting a manhole

When people die tragically or in an accident, sometimes the way that they go is very strange (or weird). Consider this case, which is also a prime example of the incompetence of the local municipal authorities who left the road in a state of disrepair during a pipeline laying process. Accidents are known to have a high rate of severe injuries, or even fatalities because of the speeds involved, and because of the impact on frail human bodies. However, when you combine this with the shock caused due to the vehicle hitting a manhole, the driver being apparently drunk, and the vehicle catching fire after falling in a manhole which caused the driver to burn to death (and if he was drunk, the ability to respond quickly would have been also lost) (link to article):
As per the police the victim, a resident of Ulwe, was drunk at the time of the accident. The incident occurred when he was crossing sector 20 around 12.30am as per reports by Hindustan Times. The man lost control of his vehicle, which then jumped on to a sewage pipeline along the road. Smita Jadhav, senior inspector of NRI police station said, "The manholes along the stretch are uncovered as the construction work of a pipeline and road is going on. The victim and his two-wheeler fell into a manhole. After the accident, the two-wheeler caught fire and exploded inside the pipeline. The victim suffered severe burns and died on the spot."

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Weird - Man in California buries son, learns son alive later

It's like a horror story, although the horror is more in terms of the psychological impact it has on the people. One of the worst experiences that they say that a parent can have is to witness or be told about the death of their children, and this is what this father had to experience.
One of their children (a man aged 57) had been suffering from mental illness and was living on the streets. Then his father got a call that their son had been found dead and that the police department had done verification of identity using fingerprints. In their shock, the family gathered together and did the burial for their son, and went through their grief. However, to their shock and relief, 11 days later, they got a call in which his son told the father that he was indeed alive, and the family learnt that the coroner had made a mistake in identification and that the son was alive (link to article):
Eleven days after laying his son to rest, Frank J. Kerrigan got a call from a friend. "Your son is alive," he said. "Bill (Shinker) put my son on the phone," Kerrigan said. "He said 'Hi Dad.' " Orange County coroner's officials had misidentified the body, the Orange County Register reported Friday. "When somebody tells me my son is dead, when they have fingerprints, I believe them," Kerrigan said. "If he wasn't identified by fingerprints I would been there in heartbeat."

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Weird news - Boys wearing skirts to school in Britain

Seems a bit strange to call this out - school going boys wearing skirts to school (somebody might even call this statement out to be sexist and not politically correct - after all, why can't boys wear skirts and girls wear trousers). However, there is a definite reason for them wearing skirts - a matter of protest. It is getting hot and the uniform of mandatory trousers (and jackets for senior students) would be making them hot and sweaty. When they asked in the school for being able to wear shorts, the administration refused, but said in jest that they could wear skirts.
So next day a small group of boys came wearing skirts (and even had razors after complaints that their legs were too hairy), and this spread to more students (once they were reconciled with wearing skirts, it was cool and breezy for them as opposed to wearing trousers) (link to article):
Another said it was “quite refreshing”, pointing out that if even Royal Ascot had allowed racegoers in the royal enclosure to remove their jackets then the school ought to relax its dress code. One mother said: “My 14-year-old son wanted to wear shorts. The headteacher told them: ‘Well, you can wear a skirt if you like’ – but I think she was being sarcastic. “However, children tend to take you literally, and because she told them it was OK, there was nothing she could do as long as they are school skirts.” Another mother said: “Children also don’t like injustice. The boys see the women teachers in sandals and nice cool skirts and tops while they are wearing long trousers and shoes and the older boys have to wear blazers. They just think it’s unfair that they can’t wear shorts in this heat.”

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Weird news - Man dangles baby from window for Facebook likes

Fun and games for somebody can seem like endangering the life of somebody else. Especially when a baby is involved. It may seem like a prank, but can lead to massive outrage by others when they see somebody apparently being uncaring for the life of a baby (who after all, is incapable of taking care of itself and only survives due to the care of others around it, mostly parents). And when it seems that such a prank is being done to become popular or 'viral' on social media, it can become even more problematic and lead to more outrage.
In this case, a photo showing a man holding a toddler by the T-shirt and dangling the baby out of the window, apparently demanding 1000 Facebook likes to let the baby back into safety cost the man dearly. It may have been a prank, it may have been a Photoshopped image, but the image cost the man dearly. He was sentenced to 2 years in jail for endangering a child (link to article):
An Algerian man has been sent to prison for two years for dangling a toddler out of a window of a high-rise building in the capital Algiers while asking for 1000 Facebook likes. The unnamed man shared a picture of himself holding the baby by his t-shirt with a caption ‘1000 Fb likes or I will drop him’, according to news site Al Arabiya. Social media erupted with anger and shock after the post went viral, leading to his arrest on Sunday. He has, however, defended himself, saying the image was photoshopped by Facebook users, reports said.

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