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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Weird news - Apple Maps sending people to a desert in Australia

Earlier this year, the confrontation between Google and Apple only got worse when Apple removed Google Maps as the default maps application and replaced it with Apple Maps (this shows how bad the relationship has got; at one point the Google head was also on the board of Apple before they started competing with each head on after the release of Android). Soon enough, it became clear that the release of Apple Maps was a rushed affair, primarily because the database for the maps was not yet complete. So forget the quality of details in Google Maps, but the Apple Maps application even had some parts of cities being missed, and in one case, even a bridge was not there on the application. So there was a lot of ridicule for the Apple application, and eventually even though Apple rectified some of the problems, they had to do a public apology and fired the head of the Maps application development unit.
In the recent past, the spread of GPS based navigation has been impressive, with a number of drivers using these apps to navigate their way around unknown parts. They are mostly accurate, but every once in a while there is a situation where it shows that people are starting to depend on GPS almost entirely, and end up in strange situations. There have been cases where people have been sent down one-way streets, once a large load was sent down a street where it was difficult to get out of, but even these were seen as somewhat funny situation (although the people directly involved would not see them as funny).
But this particular situation in Australia is pretty bad. Most of Australia is barren land, a sort of desert with very few people and large sections without telecom coverage. So when the Apple Maps started sending people through a dirt road and into a desert like area where there was no telecom coverage, no water, and sand that would cause vehicles to get bogged down, it started worrying the police. They had to keep coming in to rescue people and worry about whether people might die in the heat and without water, and so the police have blamed the app for causing people to get off the highway and threatening their lives (link to article):

The Murray-Sunset National Park is in Victoria's far northwest, a relatively untouched semi-arid region accessible only by four-wheel-drive vehicle. Clemence said at least six vehicles had become stuck on the desert park's sandy tracks after being directed by the iOS mapping system to turn off a long and infrequently sign-posted stretch of highway between South Australia state and Victoria. "These people have still been rescuable. But we've just had a 46C day (115 degrees F). If they were out there in that temperature and out of phone range, they would have been in serious trouble," he said.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Weird news - Fight between 2 Chinese on board Swiss flight forces it to turn back

When people book a ticket on a flight, their need can be very critical. They could be going to meet a sick relative on the deathbed, could be going for an important business meeting, or the flight could be part of a vacation. In such cases, the delay or cancellation of such a flight can be very tricky, and cold cause huge effort for the people involved. Such delays and cancellations also have impacts on airlines; it means impact on their customers, it means heavy new logistics including maybe having to arrange for food and lodging for the flying customers, means having to pay charges at the airport (could be the one from where the flight was delayed, or a different airport in case their flight was diverted), and extra fuel that any change in their flight plan can cause. And for these extra costs, they cannot get more from the passengers, and in fact, they face some loss of goodwill for any such thing.
On a flight, any nuisance is treated very severely (the captain of the flight has responsibility and authority over whoever is on the flight) and in many cases, disturbances creators can face trial and jail terms depending on what they had done. Given the problems that can happen, it seems strange that a flight had to get diverted because of some quarreling passengers. The quarrel must have been very intense and the crew would not have been able to get the passengers pacified; as a result, the Swiss International flight bound to Beijing had to return to Zurich. The passengers were then taken off and arrested by the police at Zurich after disembarking (link to article):

A mid-air brawl between two Chinese passengers onboard a Swiss International airplane disrupted the Beijing-bound flight and forced it to return to Zurich, where the duo were arrested. According to media reports, a 57-year-old Chinese man travelling on the flight last Sunday felt disturbed while eating his meal when the passenger in front of him , another Chinese citizen, aged 27 reclined his seat. The elderly person who was reportedly drunk, hit the younger passenger when he did not respond to his protests. A fight then broke out between the two, which caused one of the passengers to bleed, state-run China Daily reported.

Weird news - Mom phones police about son's disappearance, charged later with crime

It is always scary for a parent when they lose sight of their child or the child goes missing, especially when the child is of such a young age that he or she cannot take of themselves. A 3 year old child certainly cannot take care of themselves, and it is incumbent upon parents and guardians to take care of them, and if this does not happen and the child seems to be mis-treated, then the government steps and can take over the maintenance of the child. However, even this does not happen in some cases, after all the Government is not all knowing, with a dependence that the parents of the child will take care of their responsibility. The Government more depends on law and the fear of the law to ensure that parents take care of their responsibility, and when they find cases where a parent is responsible for a child suffering, or in tragic cases, where the parent is responsible for the death of the child.
In a recent case, the parent of a child (where the parents are separated) filed a complaint that the child was lost in a park and appeared distraught. The mother came to the police looking very distressed and got the police in action to look for the child and more people including volunteers got into the action. However, this is where things get stupid and tragic. When they were looking near the child's home, they saw a garbage truck leaving the home and followed the truck to the garbage handling facility where they found the child's body. As a result, the mother of the child was held, although there is no admission from her of guilt as yet (link to article):

A Cleveland woman has been arrested in the death of her 3-year-old son after police found what they believe is the body of the young boy at a waste-treatment plant, according to authorities. Cleveland police said Monday they're holding Camilia Terry, 20, at Cuyahoga County Jail to await charges in the death of her son, Emilliano Terry. "We come here with heavy hearts, I'm sure you understand. Today, at approximately 4 o'clock, a body of a small child matching the description of Emilliano Terry was discovered at a waste treatment plant in Oakwood Village," Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath said, according to ABC News affiliate WEWS-TV.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Weird science history - Scientists who died as a result of their research

When you see some of the marvels of the modern world, you must be wondering about where these came from. But have you thought about all the people who did all the work that caused these marvels, these inventions, etc. Consider the more hazardous stuff that people have had to endure when you consider the nature of the more dangerous stuff that we now use under a lot of safeguards - such as radioactive stuff, poisons, acids, the invention of flying or of submarines. Now, we have a lot of warnings and safety when these are in use, but earlier people did not even know about the dangers, or discovered the dangers when it was too late. It was the path-breaking efforts of these people who actually showed us this stuff. 
This article has a list of scientists who did a lot of work in areas that are now classified as dangerous but which are also very critical for us now (for example, radioactive substances are used not only in the power generation industry, but also in medicine for diagnosis, and for destructive purposes in the form of nuclear bombs). 

1. Carl Scheele (1742-1786) - Died due to heavy metal toxicity caused due to his experiments
2. Elizabeth Fleischman Ascheim (1859-1905) - Heavy exposure to X-rays as part of experimentation, died due to radioactive poisoning
3. Alexander Bogdanov (1873-1928) - Lots of experiments in terms of blood transfusions, but his last one was infected and died as a result
4. Marie Curie (1867-1934) - One of the most famous scientists of her time, and a heavy exposure to radiation caused leukemia
5. Haroutune (Harry) K. Daghlian Jr. (1921-1945) - Died as a result of the action he took during an experiment to prevent a danger, died due to massive amounts of radiation
6. Malcolm Casadaban (1949-2009) - Died due to a bacterium that he got exposed to in his lab
7. Richard Din (1987-2012) - Died due to exposure to a bacterium that he was working on
Out of these deaths, the last 2 happened in modern times when people knew about the dangers due to what they were working on, and yet any accident or slip can cause such accidents.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Weird news - Shark drops from the sky onto a golf course

Imagine that you are on a golf course, enjoying a quiet game of golf on a beautiful green course, concentrating on making the next shot that could give you a good score. And then suddenly you see an obstacle that you would never have predicted, a shark falls from the sky nearby. Now, a shark can be a very scary animal for most people (except for those who work with the shark as part of their work) and even though this is a 2 foot long shark, it is still a shark. The only solace for you is that the shark is not in water and is only 2 foot long.
However, since the shark was still alive, a concerted effort was made to save its life, first by placing it into a bucket that contained salt water (prepared for trying to keep the shark alive) and then a worker at the golf course took the shark to the ocean that was about 4 miles away. And there it seemed that all the effort made to save the shark was in vain, since the shark did not make any movement initially when the shark was placed in the water, but within a few seconds, the shark recovered and swam away, making all the efforts worth while.
So how can a shark drop out of the sky ? Well, there are birds who are capable of picking up the shark from the ocean and taking it for a meal, and small wounds on the shark seemed to suggest the same, although no one actually saw the bird carrying the shark. Refer this article (link to article):

"I thought he was dead," Stizer told the Dispatch. "When I dropped him into the water, he just lied there for a few seconds, but then he did a twist and shot off into the water." The shark, which reportedly had two bleeding wounds near its dorsal fin, is thought to have been dropped over the golf course by a predatory bird, though no one is known to have actually seen the shark fall. Julianne Steers, chief aquarist at the Ocean Institute near the golf course, told the Dispatch that there are ospreys and peregrine falcons in the area that could have snatched the shark from shallow waters before losing hold of it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Weird news - Man cooks his wife's body for 4 days

Sometimes you run into cases where you wonder what a person is really like; how could the person do such a thing ? Was this the behavior of a sane person ? I mean, you can commit a crime in a moment of passion, but then to try to cover it up in an elaborate measure such as this guy took totally takes it out of the ordinary. For normal people, just spending time with a dead body can seem creepy, and he was this guy who did some much to get rid of a dead body and to cover up his crime. The interesting thing is that he was finally caught, going to show that more often than not, your crimes are detected and you can be caught (link to article):
A 49-year-old chef from Los Angeles faces life in prison for murder after he told police he boiled his wife's body for four days to hide the evidence, a media report said. According to the Daily Mirror, David Viens stuffed his wife's body in a 55-gallon drum of boiling water and kept it submerged with weights. In a recorded interrogation presented by prosecutors at the trial in Los Angeles, Viens was heard saying he cooked the body of his 39-year-old wife, Dawn, in 2009 until little was left but her skull.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Weird news - Eating a diamond to try to steal it

There are many different ways to steal diamond. You would have seen in movies where there are elaborate plots to steal diamonds when they are on display, or when they are in transit, or in the case of gold - there can be heists that get into bank vaults to steal the gold (look at the elaborate method used in the Bruce Willis movie, Die Hard 3).
A common way for people with less brains and the need to take more risks is to try smuggle drugs into a country by packing them into small packets and then eating them. The idea is that these drugs will remain hidden during security checks and can be excreted later. But to do something like that when trying to steal a diamond in plain sight can be a lot more difficult, particularly in the era of CCTV everywhere (link to article):

Sri Lankan police arrested a Chinese tourist suspected of swallowing a diamond worth 1.8 million rupees ($13,600) on Wednesday at the island nation's biggest international gem and jewellery exhibition. Chow Cheng, 32, is believed to have swallowed the diamond as he inspected it at the exhibition, attended by buyers from China, Hong Kong, Thailand, India and Europe, police said.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Weird news - Man drunk, takes a trip on an airport conveyor belt

Most people have seen the conveyor belt at airports, the belt located behind the counter where your luggage is placed after you drop it at the desk. The conveyor belt is also where the luggage is picked up after you have completed your flight and want to get on your way. However, most people have no idea about where the luggage placed on the conveyor belt goes, with the presumption that the luggage passes through security and X-ray scanners before it gets sorted to the relevant flight.
Secondly, most people who get drunk during the flight actually get drunk by drinking too much during the flight, with very few people actually reaching the airport drunk. Also, airlines have got far more strict in terms of what they allow and what they do not, so if somebody is already drunk when boarding, an airline may actually restrict the person from boarding. But very few people take a trip like this person did (link to article):

A drunk Norwegian tourist raised a security alarm at Rome's Fiumicino airport after he fell asleep on a baggage belt and travelled 160 feet before being spotted by an X-ray scanner. The 36-year-old arrived at the international terminal of Italy's busiest airport at the end of last month with a backpack and a can of beer in his hand. The Norwegian was due to check in for a flight to Oslo and when he found no one on duty at the airline desk he leapt across the counter and fell into a deep asleep on the baggage belt with his bag beside him, the Daily Mail reported.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Weird news - Man kills his daughter because she did not smile at him

Sometimes it is difficult to write about something, something so weird that you cannot even imagine how somebody could do this. A parent is somebody who is supposed to protect their children, especially when the child is unable to protect themselves. In nature, the protective nature of parents is incredible, and they say that the biggest danger is standing between a mother bear and its children, since that would make you a threat to the young bears and the bear would act to remove all such dangers. In the case of humans, children need the support of their parents for many many years, till the time that they are in their late tears, and parents put in a lot of effort to ensure that their children get a better future.
In this case, a father felt that he was not able to make a bonding with his daughter, maybe due to the fact that she was living with her grandparents for some time; and given that he had an anger and attitude bad enough that he killed her for something that was not so important, it could be that his behavior towards her was never loving; but killing your own daughter could not be forgiven (link to article):

The man threw his daughter against a wall and then stomped on her because she never smiled at him, the prosecutor told the court. The girl died of fatal injuries in March 2010, 21 days before her third birthday. She was affected with pneumonia, which the court heard had been caused by the injury to her brain. The court heard the accused was not able to form a close bond with his daughter, and became "frustrated and angry" with what he thought was the spoilt behaviour of his child.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Weird news - Man bites and kills snakes in revenge after snake bit him

In areas that have forests or green land nearby and the temperature is more tropical, there are snakes to be found. And given the increased presence of humans in such areas (and especially with activities such as agriculture where there is a lot of disturbance of the ground), there is bound to be more interaction between humans and snake. And when these snakes are poisonous, when the snake feels threatened by some activity of the human, snake bites happen, which in turn can be dangerous. These cause a large number of people to die by snake bite in such regions, especially when these regions can be away from medical facilities that can provide the anti-venom.
But there are far fewer cases of humans attacking the snake after the snake has bit, such as in this case where the farmer who was bit by the snake (a non-poisonous one) got angry and got after the snake, biting it to death (which is not at all a common reaction after being bit by a snake) (link to article):

A Nepalese farmer who was bitten by a venomous snake took revenge by sinking his teeth into the reptile and killing it, police said on Thursday. Mohamed Salmo Miya was farming near his village 200 kilometres (125 miles) southeast of Kathmandu when he encountered the deadly common cobra, district police chief Uma Prasad Chatrubedi told AFP. "A farmer in Bardanga village has killed a white cobra with his teeth out of anger," he said. "The snake bit him while he was working in his paddy field on Tuesday evening and the man chased it and killed it."

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Weird news - Traveling long distances to get the perfect haircut

If you find a shop that seems to appeal to you, which provides you the right amount of service or the materials that you are buying (say a favorite brand), then it is possible that you would go some amount of extra distance to get to that shop. But at some point, when the distance becomes large, you would probably decide that the extra effort and time would not be worth it, and you would select some shop nearby. However, from time to time, you will find people who are willing to spend time and effort to go the extra distance just because they cannot bear to move away from whatever they are getting. Suppose that you had a favorite baker, and then the baker moved to another part of the town, you might just time your visits to that part of time such that you get your favorite supplies on a regular interval.
But what would you say when somebody is so much in love with the quality of haircut and the type of attention that you would travel hundreds of kilometers multiple times a year, just to get to a hair stylist who moved away from near your neighborhood (link to article):

A good haircut can be hard to find! A loyal British customer has clocked up a phenomenal 38624 kilometres, equivalent of the Earth's circumference, visiting the same hairdresser for the past 37 years. Susan Parker-Jones from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, travels 644 kilometres six times a year for a haircut, to a stylist she trusts with her locks. The guest house owner embarks upon her trip at least six times a year to get her hair-styled by Jo Sparks, who has been cutting her hair since 1975, the 'Daily Mail' reported. Parker-Jones has been making the journey for the past two decades since Sparks moved from Shrewsbury to Kettering in Northamptonshire.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Weird news - Man jumps into tiger enclosure in zoo, escapes with injuries

If you see programs about wildlife or see movies where wild animals are involved, you will understand the sheer power of these animals. They can be very dangerous, and their instincts are not the same as that of humans - which means that they can attack you for reasons that seem natural to them, but which may be dangerous to you. Which is why people are advised to be careful when they are near wild animals, and when they are in the zoo, there are enough protection measures to prevent people from getting close to these wild animals.
However, you cannot make everything fail safe, and there have been cases where people have climbed over protective measures and entered the cages of animals such as bears, tigers, lions, etc, and have been mauled, and sometimes have died. So, it is hard to understand the motives of this person who made an effort to jump into the enclosure from a monorail that moves over the zoo at tree height (link to article):

A man was mauled by a 400-pound tiger after leaping from a moving monorail train and plummeting over a protective fence at the Bronx Zoo, authorities said. The man was alone with the tiger for about 10 minutes Friday before he was rescued by zoo officials, who used a fire extinguisher to chase it away. He suffered bites and punctures on his arms, legs, shoulders and back and broke an arm and a leg. The tiger mauling happened at around 3 p.m. in the Wild Asia exhibit, where a train with open sides takes visitors over the Bronx River and through a forest, where they glide along the top edge of a fence past elephants, deer and a tiger enclosure.
The man was lucky to have escaped with whatever injuries he suffered.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Weird news - Man wins jury award for eating too much popcorn

You would keep on reading stories about how some of the ingredients in modern food can cause health problems, about how artificial additives to food can cause issues to the body depending upon the quantity that one is exposed to, and so on. Over a period of time, the food industry has invented a number of items that makes food look better, maybe even taste better and last for longer periods of time. From time to time, these inventions also end up causing problems to a section of consumers, and then there are the cases where people don't know that stuff that they can eat has the potential to cause them to fall ill.
Consider the case where popcorn has been treated with a chemical to make it more buttery and is found in microwave popcorn. People working in popcorn factories are exposed to such chemicals in high enough conditions that it can cause problems, but bet you did not know that. What could you further unease is that a person who ate this popcorn in high enough quantities was also affected and filed a case claiming impact to health and won millions in damages (link to article):

A Denver man has just won $7.2 million in damages from the makers and sellers of his favorite snack — microwave popcorn. Wayne Watson, 59, ate bags of the stuff every day for years, and developed a potentially fatal condition known as "popcorn lung." What is this odd-sounding ailment, and is the company that made the treat really to blame? It's relatively common in people who have been exposed to high levels of diacetyl, an artificial flavoring used to give popcorn a buttery taste. Workers in factories that make microwave popcorn are the ones who usually suffer from it. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that anyone subjected regularly to the chemical wear a respirator and get regular breathing tests. Hundreds of popcorn-factory workers have sued over diacetyl exposure — winning settlements as high as $34 million — but Watson was the first consumer to go to court.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weird news - Man spent money received accidentally from bank

Suppose a person is living a middle class life, and then suddenly gets a large amount of money deposited into his account. The next steps depend on the amount of money. Some months back, there was a case where an ATM in Britain was loaded with 20 pounds bills rather than 10 pound bills, and a number of people benefited before the bank realized. However, the bank decided not to pursue cases with the people who had benefited, letting them take the extra money. But when the money involved is much higher, the bank will take decisive action.
So it was in this case where a man received a huge amount of money in his account, and over a period of time, withdrew the money before the bank realized. And before the bank could take back the money from him, he went on the run along with his girl-friend, with the bank getting him declared as an international fugitive, spending more than 2 months on the run before he was arrested in Hong Kong where he had run away from New Zealand. Now he is back on trial (link to article):
A New Zealand gas station owner turned international fugitive has been sentenced to four years and seven months in prison after stealing millions of dollars accidentally deposited into his bank account. Hui "Leo" Gao, dubbed the "accidental millionaire," sparked a global manhunt after fleeing New Zealand with his girlfriend Kara Hurring in April 2009. Gao had applied for overdraft financing for the gas station he co-owned with his mother in Rotorua, New Zealand, court documents said. The bank approved his application with a $100,000 limit, however while inputting the figure a bank employee made a clerical error and gave him access to 100 times the intended amount.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Weird news - Things that are found in people's stomach

Once in a while, you would read about strange stuff that is found in the stomach's of people. There are those performers who eat glass, there are others who chew chalk and paper, but what do you say to someone who eats their own hair, others who eat cutlery from wherever they have gone for a meal. Most people cannot even contemplate eating anything other than proper food, since their stomachs would revolt against eating something different. In addition, when people eat food that has gone a bit bad or similar, their stomach can go bad and they can fall sick.
Here is an article that talks about the various items that people have in their stomachs, and some of the would be surprising to you even when you would have read similar articles in the past (link to article):

The baby recently ate what her great grandmother and guardian, Freida Deweese, thought was "a piece of candy," and wound up in emergency surgery at Texas Children's Hospital. That's because the child hadn't eaten sweets — she had swallowed a Water Balz toy, which begins around the size of a marble and grows to up to 400 times its original size when placed in water. A felt-tipped pen 78 pieces of cutlery A 10-pound hairball An entire magnet set More than 400 coins A man's twin brother

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Weird news - Hacking into a bank without any special skills

Banks routinely tout their extra high security, with most instances talking about bit length (256 and above) encryption keys. Given the nature of business that banks are involved in, ensuring that there is a high amount of security is also critical. Also, given today's fast paced world, there is a need for banks to ensure that they remain on all the time, with no delays. A downtime can cause problems to many customers of the bank, and can cause them to take their business to other banks along with penalties to the bank concerned, especially if their security measures are not as strong as they should be.
So what do you do when it seems that a person can stop a bank's operations or trigger a stoppage on the operations of the bank, such as in this case when a person called into a number that was tied to a back end service machine in the bank and entered some codes that caused the software to trigger an alarm and stoppage of services. The person was arrested by the police, but finally exonerated by the court after there was no malice detected in the 'hack' (link to article):

A Frenchman has been cleared of wrongdoing after a court accepted he accessed the Bank of France's internal telephone systems by accident. An unnamed 37-year-old Breton longed to avoid premium-rate calls while using Skype back in 2008, and set about hunting for a cheap-rate gateway number to the public networks. Judges sitting in a criminal court of Rennes, northwest France, dismissed the case against the man on Thursday, citing the prosecution team's failure to demonstrate any criminal intent in his actions.

Weird news - Debate about taxpayers paying for a sex change operation

This is the season where there is a lot of pressure to control costs, not to spend in ways that seems excessive and out of control. So when there are cases which show taxpayers money being spent on something that seems outrageous, there can be a lot of resentment about such expenses. Further, there is a section of the population that believes that Governments really do not make too much effort to cut expenses and watch their spending, and that it is only public outrage that causes politicians to make efforts to check the flab in Government spending.
This gets more interesting when this relates to expenses on people who are in jail, since a section of the population would not want excessive money to be spent on such people; after all they have committed some crime or the other and that is why they are in jail. If then there is un-necessary money being spent on them, it is just an example of how Governments do not try to control money. This would be all the more true when you consider the following case where a convict is asking for state money for a sex change operation (link to article):

In a potentially groundbreaking ruling, a federal judge has ordered Massachusetts to let a transgender prisoner undergo a sex-change operation — and make taxpayers foot the bill. In 1993, Kosilek, who then went by Robert, was convicted in the 1990 murder of his wife, Cheryl Kosilek. Also in 1993, Kosilek officially changed his name to Michelle. Diagnosed with severe gender identity disorder, Kosilek has been living as a woman in an otherwise all-male prison in Norfolk, Mass., for the last two decades. Wolf now says that even though his ruling is "unprecedented," the surgery is the only way doctors see to adequately treat Kosilek's condition, and that denying her request would amount to a violation of the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Wolf, who was appointed to the bench in 1985 by Ronald Reagan, writes that the government can't deny an inmate necessary medical treatment just because it is controversial and "unpopular."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Weird news - Using stupid tactics to get step-daughter to have sex

Incest, even with a step-child can be pretty disgusting to a lot of people. And when you combine that with trickery, things can get even worse. And add stupidity to the whole mix, and things get even worse. In this case, a police detective tried to con his step-daughter with a story that she would get blackmailed unless she had sex with him which was video-taped. She took the right decision and called the cops, who refused to believe anything he said and arrested him (link to article):

Robert Glen Levinson, 43, of South Dartmouth, Mass. reportedly told his 37-year-old stepdaughter that someone would mail naked photos of the woman to her boss if they didn't videotape themselves having sex within 24 hours. The stepdaughter, however, didn't believe the story and contacted the police immediately, according to The Standard-Times. Levinson was arrested on Aug. 31 and pleaded not guilty to domestic disorderly conduct on Friday. The judge ordered him to cease all contact with his stepdaughter, who lives in Middletown, R.I., according to the Providence Journal.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Weird news - Man shoots wife so that she can avoid military deployment

Serving in the military means sometimes making tough choices. Armed forces have to deploy in different zones, sometimes far away from their families. For members of the US military, the world wide deployment of the US armed forces (including in war zones) along with rotational deployment means that members of the military, who can be in the country can be deployed in world wide zones, deployed for months altogether. For those members of the military who have been spending many months with their families, these orders of deployment can seem like a shock, and lead a few to wonder how to avoid these deployment orders.
But this lady took it a bit extreme, wanting to avoid deployment at all costs, and she did by getting shot in the legs in an intruder attack. However, on further investigation, it turned out that this attack was actually done by her husband on her request, and after this, criminal charges have been filed against both of them (link to article):

Police said Groomes allegedly claimed an intruder shot her early Friday while her husband and two children slept. Police responded to their home at about 3:30 a.m. She told investigators the alleged intruder fled out a back door on foot. But police said an investigation found that she convinced her husband to shoot her to avoid military service. Christopher Groomes was later arrested on a gun charge and booked into the Bossier City Jail. Judy Groomes was issued a summons on a criminal mischief charge for allegedly filing a false police report.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Weird news - Bride drowned after her dress became wet

When you look at wedding gowns, they seem so elegant, with the most lavish such gowns being very long and with a lot of cloth in them. These dresses are very heavy, but a lot of people don't realize this, and it can get even more problematic if they get wet. So a recent trend where brides want to shoot more sequences after the wedding, with them wearing their dresses in more non-elegant surroundings has caught on, but can have dangerous and disastrous results as in the following case.
In this case,  a bride wanted to shoot a series of photos in more exciting circumstances, near a river. As a part of the shoot, she decided to step into the river to get a better photo. However, with the water making her dress very heavy and with some unpredictable comments, she suddenly started getting pulled into the water and within a very brief period of time, was pulled into the water and unfortunately died. (link to article):

"I can't anymore, it's too heavy." Those were the chilling last words of a beautiful Canadian bride who drowned in a river during a photo shoot last week after her wedding dress became soaked and dragged her under, a friend told a Canadian news agency. Maria Pantazopoulos, 30, was having a photographer take shots for a "trash the dress" photo series when she waded into a river near Dorwin Falls in Rawdon, Quebec, at around 2 p.m. Friday, authorities said.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Weird news - Dog dedicated to master, stays by his grave for 6 years

They say that a dog is devoted to human, called man's best friend. There have been many cases where a dog has put in his best efforts to save the human, and other cases where a dog has senses danger (including a fire in the house) and managed to get his owner to get out of danger. A dog is also the prime leader for many blind people, leading them around safely and acting as their eyes.
This devotion to their human masters is a well deserved reputation, such as when you consider the following case where the devotion of the dog to its master went well beyond the life of the master, and it seems wonderful how the dog could detect where its master was buried, since the death took place in a hospital and the dead body was then taken to the burial ground to be buried. After this, even though the family wanted to take the dog to the house, he came back to the burial ground (link to article):

The dog called Capitan, a German Shepherd, had disappeared from his home in the small town of Villa Carlos Paz in the centre of Argentina following the death of his owner, Miguel Guzman, in March, 2006. Nobody in Guzman’s family noticed the absence of the dog for days, until the members visited Miguel’s grave at a municipal cemetery. “Damian (Guzman’s son) started to shout that it was Capitan and the dog came toward us barking, as if he were crying,” the New York Daily News quoted Guzman’s wife, Veronica Moreno, as telling the La Voz del Interior.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Weird news - Man gets lucky, falls 13,000 feet and survives

From time to time, one hears of stories where people fall from higher levels in high rise buildings and survive, sometime with minor injuries, and yet you can also hear of cases where people fell from a few meters and suffered horrific injuries or died. But, can you imagine that you could fall from a sky-jump, not have your main chute fall and the reserve one only open when you are very close to the ground, and yet survive. Such a person is incredibly lucky, since even some injuries are unprecedented in such a fall, and yet if you fall from a height of 13,000 feet and not have your main parachute not open, the fear of dying is itself bad enough to cause a heart attack.
Consider this case where a skydiver fell from a height of 13,000 feet, reserve chute opened pretty close to the ground but fell in a soft area that caused injuries but prevented the fatality that would normally happen from such a height (link to article):

His reserve parachute opened at the last moment on the horrifying descent at a festival in Moteuko, New Zealand, but it was still too late to prevent him suffering serious injury, the Daily Telegraph reported. Dunne, originally from St Annes, Lancashire, was treated at the scene by medics and taken to a specialist spinal unit in Christchurch where doctors have said he should walk again. Since the accident two weeks ago, he has astonished doctors with his recovery after undergoing surgery to insert metal pins into his shattered spine. Speaking from his hospital bed, Dunne said: "Those last 1,000 feet it was like 'here we go, this is it' . It wasn't nice. But that said, it was a one in a million accident and a one in a million save.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Weird news - Father throws his son out of the window, son dies

Fathers are typically the ones who are expected to ensure that their children are safe. In history, there are literally countless cases where parents have given up their lives to save their children, or dedicated their lives to ensure that their children have a better life. So, it seems very strange to come across cases where you find parents ill-treating their children, or in this specific case, actually causing the death of the defenseless child, one who cannot protect himself and for whom everybody expects that their parents will be the one who take care of them.
In this case, the parents had 4 children, 3 daughters and 1 son (and in these areas, having 1 son and 3 daughters would mean that the son would be very well thought over and loved by his parents), and yet the son was thrown out of a window during an argument and died (link to article):

Police added the couple was married for 11 years and the boy, Hanif, was their fourth child. They had three daughters as well. "The couple was fighting on Thursday and Hafiz, in a fight of rage, picked up the boy and threw him from the balcony of their house situated in Jodhpur's Nai Sadak area," said the officer. Neighbours informed the police and rushed the injured boy to the hospital. "The boy had sustained injuries on his head and other body parts. He was admitted in the Intensive Care Unit," said the officer, adding that Hafiz was arrested on charges of attempt to murder.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Weird news - Cigarettes containing all sorts of stuff, including shit

You might have heard of defective medicines, those which are fakes made by those looking to make some quick money. A lot of these are sold over the internet, and are also sold in countries where the regulatory and law enforcement standards are a bit lax. If this seems horrible, see how this sounds. Imagine smoking cigarettes that contain all sorts of items such as human excrement, mould, or asbestos. Now, the manufacturer of cigarettes are not responsible for the addition of these items, they are only responsible for the normal addition of nicotine and tobacco, which can cause a number of health problems.
These come into cigarettes based on the manufacture of fake cigarettes, as per a study in Great Britain where analysis of cigarettes based on the stubs and packets found in rubbish bins found that as much as 30% of cigarettes are fake, and are more dangerous than normal cigarettes (link to article):

The survey in Birmingham by MS Intelligence, a Swiss-based brand protection company, found that 30.9 per cent of packets were either bogus or purchased abroad. The UK Border Agency has also intercepted items containing asbestos, mould and human excrement. A haul in Derbyshire found cigarettes made from the remains of crushed flies.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Weird news - Airline shuts down leaving passengers in the lurch

An airline, when in operation ferries a number of people to and from different locations in a country our around the world. People book their tickets and plan their leisure time based on these to and fro journeys. So what happens when the airline suddenly comes to a halt (because of lack of money or other such reasons) ? People get really stuck, sometimes in places distant from their home cities and without a way to get back. Buying alternate tickets on other airlines can be expensive at short notices and the entire vacation can get badly ruined because of such cancellations, and lead to monetary losses as well, with the possibility of getting the money back also not possible (refer this case)  
Thousands of travelers have been left in the lurch around the world after the carrier Air Australia went into administration and grounded its fleet Friday.
"It currently appears that there are no funds available to meet operational expenses so flights will be suspended immediately," the company said in joint statement Friday with its newly appointed administrators, KordaMentha.
About 4,000 passengers in total have been left stranded in Hawaii, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia as a result of the suspension, said Michael Smith, a spokesman for KordaMentha.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Weird news - Swedish man discovered after 2 months in a snow isolated car

In many cases, people get lost in the wild outdoors without any form of support. The ability of a person to retain onto their life, even in adverse conditions continues to surprise people all the time. When somebody gets lost in the outdoor without any form of food or drink support, you would expect unfortunately for them to not survive for too much outside, so people feel very good and happy when those stories come out where somebody has survived for a long period of time in the outdoor without any form of support.
Consider the following article where this Swedish man was lost outdoors, in freezing temperatures and without any food or drink, and was then found alive. This was a remarkable story, and you need to admire the fact that the person managed to survive outside for so much time (link to article)

"We received word yesterday (Friday) that a person had been found in a snow-covered car deep in the woods, more than 1.5 kilometres (nearly a mile) from the main road," Ebbe Nyberg, a duty officer in the northern Vaesterbotten county, told AFP. 

A man on a snowscooter had noticed the top of the car on the deserted and snowfilled forest road, not far from the northern town of Umeaa, just south of the Arctic Circle, and after clearing off some of the snow had peered inside. 

"He saw movement and realised there was probably a person in there and called the police," Nyberg said, adding that rescue services and an ambulance that had been belted to drive on the snow had rushed to the scene. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Weird news - Dog saves himself by calling the emergency number

Well, no one is going to say that the dog actually called the emergency number through the phone by intention, but it happened that way. It seems very weird when you read the news, but the actual fact is that the dog somehow got his neck entangled in the long wire of the landline telephone, and through the twisting while trying to get away from the wire, managed to press the emergency number (999) which is the emergency number of the United Kingdom.
This managed to get the emergency services to the home, but they were looking for some human who was injured or in an emergency condition, but it was a neighbor who came to the house and who managed to detect the dog in a choking condition and helped the dog get away from the wire (link to article):

The operator at the other end could only hear heavy breathing and gasping. Sensing an emergency situation, the operator alerted the police, who rushed to the empty home of driving instructor Steve Brown and daughter Lydia. The police team began searching for an aged or injured person in the house, located in South Hiendley, West Yorkshire.
It was only when a neighbour, Paul Walker, walked into the living room that George was found choking — with the phone wound tightly round his neck.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Weird - Businesses being able to know information about people before family members

A couple of years back, there was a story about how a researcher had a challenge; how to identify a person based on their search patterns. After all, what a person searches for reveals to some extent clues to a person, and putting together all the details for a person in terms of their search helped the researcher get details of the person, to the extent that the actual person was identified by the researcher.
There is a lot of hoopla about privacy details, with the amount of details being recorded by search engines, social networks such as Facebook, and online stores that are integrated with these search engines; but the normal citizen is not so worried about such details. Read the details of this story, which worried the giant store Target so much that they tried to stop the details of this story from emerging (link to article):

Every time you go shopping, you share intimate details about your consumption patterns with retailers. And many of those retailers are studying those details to figure out what you like, what you need, and which coupons are most likely to make you happy. Target, for example, has figured out how to data-mine its way into your womb, to figure out whether you have a baby on the way long before you need to start buying diapers.
What Target discovered fairly quickly is that it creeped people out that the company knew about their pregnancies in advance.
One can be sure that it sounds creepy.

Online Privacy (Issues in the Digital Age)Online Privacy: A Reference HandbookPrivacy Lost: How Technology Is Endangering Your Privacy

Monday, February 20, 2012

Weird news - Door to door magazine salesman exhibits shocking behavior

There is an increasing air of insecurity that shows up in today's world. Parents are more scared for their children, for the safety of the children, and so on. Gated communities keep on popping up in more cities, people are warned against strangers. Some of the common stories relate to not letting strangers into the house for any reason, with the fear that once they come into the house, some trouble could happen.
Consider the following weird story, where a door to door magazine seller came into the house and made a sales pitch which was astounding, and liable to get the seller a jail term; you would never think that a normal person would make such demands as the person was making (link to article):

The man, Jerad Michael (pictured at left), who was peddling magazine subscriptions, allegedly forced his way into a woman's home, and refused to leave unless the woman either "submitted to drug use and sexual activity" or bought what he was selling, reports TV Station WCYB in Bristol, Va.
The woman said that she bought the magazines and promptly called the police. Arnold was charged with common law robbery, and was booked under a $20,000 bond.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Weird news - The high price for 2 beers leaves a family shocked

It is a standard refrain that you should ensure that you are responsible for your own finances. Sometimes when we are in a great hurry, we can quickly close financial transactions, doing a cursory look and then proceeding. In most cases, this can be fine, but then comes the case where you need to repent later for the fast work you did in your financial transaction. Consider the following case where a family quickly did a transaction for 2 beers (or maybe 2 beer cases), and then moved on, and later got a bill for an amount they would never have expected (link to article):

The family from Indiana - who asked not to be named - were shocked when their credit card statement displayed the charge for two alcoholic beverages, which were supposed to cost $14 each but ended up being nearly $1,500 a piece.
The credit card owner explained: "We just went up there and grabbed two beers signed it, got our drinks and went on."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Weird news - woman credits her breasts with saving her life in a crash

While driving a car, there are numerous safety measures, such as the use of seat belts, as well as seat bags. The main purpose of all these safety measures is to ensure that the person in the car is not rocked when the accident happens, and stays away from deadly stuff inside the car such as the steering wheel, or the windshield.
But what happens when the air bags don't deploy ? In such cases, the chance of injury is much higher; so can you believe it when the enhanced breasts of a woman apparently saved her by keeping her ribs away from the steering wheel; after all, if you have a record-setting 38KKK bosom, then these can extend for some distance away from the body and save the ribs in the body from getting fractured (link to article):

A woman is crediting her record-setting 38KKK bosom for saving her life after she wrapped her car around a tree. Sheyla Hershey, of Houston, Tx., told Radar Online that she was driving to pick up her husband after a Super Bowl party when she lost control of her car and slammed into a tree.
She said the airbags in her Ford Mustang didn't go off — which could have meant serious injury for most people. But Hershey, who, according to her website, was named as having the largest augmented breasts by her native Brazil's equivalent of the Guiness Book of World Records, says she was saved by her silicone.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Weird news - Prisoners in Kyrgyz stitch up their mouths in jail in a protest

Protest can take many novel forms. The most common form of protest that people in jail employ is the hunger strike, whereby people start indefinite hunger strikes or a group of prisoners go on a relay hunger strikes, with the expectation that such a step would force the authorities to agree to some of their demands. In some cases, this works, and in other cases, people have died with hunger strikes in jail.
In some other cases, the protest by prisoners takes a more violent form, with prisoners going to the extent of a riot in jail, sometimes causing riot police or the army to step in to stop such riots. However, in recent times, protests are taking on more unusual forms, such as this case where the prisoners sewed their mouths shut (link to article):

Over 400 Kyrgyz prisoners stitched up their mouths Tuesday as part of a nationwide hunger strike that has spread throughout the country's pre-trial detention facilities, Kyrgyz human rights ombudsman Tursunbek Akun said.
The protest follows a riot in mid-January during a routine cell check in one of Bishkek's pre-trial detention centres, when inmates started a fire and some slashed their wrists, protesting violence from the prison staff and visitor restrictions.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Weird news - Father kills his own child for making too much noise

When you read news like this one, you wonder as to how somebody could do things like this. The bond between a parent and their children is extremely strong, where a parent could do anything to ensure the safety of the child. If somebody else says anything to the child, the parent can and in most cases, does react against such utterances by other people. Given all this, it seems impossible to believe as to how a parent could be so barbaric to their own children (link to article):

Enraged by the continuous bawling of his infant daughter, a man allegedly flung the two-month-old baby down a drain resulting in her death in West Bengal's Murshidabad district, police said on Monday.
"Mujibur Sheikh, a mason, was at his home and got irritated by the continuous crying of his baby. He asked the mother to calm the baby, but she failed. Enraged, he threw the baby into a drain which killed her instantly," said Jagannath Das, officer of Ragunathgunj police station.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Weird news - 16 kg of cocaine mailed to UN headquarters, now stored there

One hears of all kind of measures that people use for smuggling drugs. There are small submarines that are used, people eat the drugs (put into small plastic vials) - some of which burst inside the person and can kill the courier, there are low flying planes that are used for the same, and numerous other such measures that are used for trying to smuggle drugs. After all, drug smuggling is extremely lucrative, to the extent that if some are caught, and others get through, the amount of money involved still makes the entire deal profitable.
But this method was interesting, trying to use the UN diplomatic route to try and get some cocaine through without inspection (link to article)

The UN is home to its fair share of diplomatic tussles and international scandals, but this was a very different kind of intrigue: more than 35 pounds of cocaine wound up in the mailroom of the United Nations headquarters in New York, authorities say, sent probably by someone who figured the drug would elude detection because of how it was packaged.
New York Police spokesman Paul Browne said the powder, discovered January 16, was in two white bags meant to look like diplomatic pouches, stamped with a bogus U.N. logo and sent from Mexico City through a DHL shipping center in Cincinnati. But a real U.N. diplomatic pouch is blue, has a lock and features the authentic seal of the organization. By international law, those pouches are not normally inspected or opened.
So, the UN finds itself in the position of holding 16 kn of cocaine, which would have an extremely high value if it was ever sold.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Weird news - Man kills his own children after estrangement with his wife

In today's world, marriages are made easily, but can also get broken far more easily. This is a far cry from medieval times where the church refused to let divorces happen, and a bad marriage still meant an existing marriage. With the number of broken marriages increasing, there are more tensions due to children and the issues related to who gets to keep the children as part of divorce proceedings.
However nasty such divorce proceedings go, it is in the very rare case that such proceedings lead to violence, and even less so that the father actually kills his own children and that too in such a brutal manner, by knifing them to death (link to article):

A jilted man in Britain killed his daughter and son by slitting their throats to hurt his estranged wife as he was about to be evicted from their flat. Jean Francis Say, 62, murdered his eight-year-old daughter Regina and son Rolls, ten, when he had custody of them for the weekend, the Sun reported Thursday.
He carried out the killings shortly after receiving a letter confirming that he was being kicked out of the family's three-bedroom property where he lived alone. His estranged wife Adjoua had moved out with the children six months earlier. So, Say wasn't entitled to the flat any longer.
Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce [Paperback]He's History, You're Not: Surviving Divorce After 40 [Paperback]The Breakup Bible: The Smart Woman's Guide to Healing from a Breakup or Divorce [Paperback]

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Weird news - New carnivorous plant found by scientists

The common association of plants is that they grow in their place, taking in sunlight and being easily affected by factors such as weather, the grazing action of animals, or even somebody just starting to cut the plants. The number of people who know that animals can be carnivorous as well (just some selected plants) is very low, with some of these plants being the pitcher plant or the Venus fly trap, which actually catch insects and other small creatures.
But as scientists keep on finding new plants, it always astounds people about the complexity of life in the plant world as well, with plants being able to adapt to different conditions, and also having evolved to not only make energy from sunlight and nutrients, but also be able to eat insects (link to article):

Scientists have discovered a new carnivorous plant which has sticky leaves beneath the ground to help it capture and digest worms. The rare plant Philcoxia minensis is found in Brazil's tropical savannahs region which is rich in biodiversity and highly in need of conservation.
They fed the plant nematodes loaded with the isotope nitrogen-15, atoms of which have one more neutron than regular nitrogen-14. Then, they placed these Caenorhabditis elegans worms on top of underground leaves of plants kept in a lab setting.
Chemical analysis of the leaves that had been covered in nematodes revealed significant amounts of nitrogen-15, suggesting the plant broke down and absorbed the worms.
Spoonleaf Sundew Plant -Drosera spathulata- CarnivorousThe Savage Garden: Cultivating Carnivorous PlantsGrowing Carnivorous Plants [Illustrated]

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Weird news - A traffic fine for a 6 year old boy on a toy motorcycle in Mexico

One normally assumes that traffic fines are given when people break traffic rules, and you normally associate this with people who do speeding, drive when drunk, or jump a red light, or do some other action that violates a rule meant for traffic safety. There is no restriction that such laws are only meant for adults, including teenagers who are more prone to do rule breaking antics on the road.
But, how often have you heard about a young boy being prosecuted for a driving offence, especially a boy as young as 6 years old, fined for a traffic incident, and with his toy vehicle having been impounded. However, after some amount of delay and some amount of controversy, the vehicle was returned and the traffic citation was voided (link to article):

A six-year-old Mexican boy has been fined for riding his toy motorcycle, a Christmas gift, without a licence and for reckless driving, after he crashed it into an SUV.
The incident occurred on December 27 in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez, when the boy, Gael Santiago was riding his bike near his home, and collided with an SUV that had jumped a stop sign, Fox News quoted a Mexican police spokesperson as telling Spanish news agency EFE.
Terming the charges as "ridiculous", the boy's mother , Karla Noriega said it showed lack of judgement on the part of the traffic police who fined the boy and impounded his miniature gasoline-powered bike.
Driving in Europe: Roadsigns & Signals, Traffic rules, Fuel, Parking, Breakdowns & Accidents, Blood alcohol limits for all European countries, Automotive Phrasebook (Mobi Travel Guides)Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)
Trucking Rules and Regulations: Reference Guide to Transportation

Friday, January 6, 2012

Weird news - Train goes on the wrong path, and then backs up

When you see vehicles on the road, there is always a possibility of losing the way, and getting to a wrong place. In fact, this happens often enough when a person is not familiar with the place, and can take wrong directions and end up somewhere else. After all, the way a vehicle can go is constrained only by the road surface available.
But consider the case of a train, the train moves on a track, so it can only go where the track goes; and if it steps off the track, it's mobility is very limited, almost not being able to go anywhere. It is people who move the connections between tracks that decides where the train can go, and so it has to be a human mistake if the train goes elsewhere other than where it was supposed to go.
So it was surprising when the passengers of a train found themselves going backward, and that was because the railways authority found that the train had gone off in a wrong direction and hence needed to be called back (link to article)

It was a good 6-7km before the error was spotted and the 12339 Coalfield Express started backing up slowly. Passengers knew something was wrong when they started going back the way they had come. Red-faced Eastern Railway officials admitted that the mistake could have led to a major accident. Train services have been badly affected in the east since morning due to dense fog.
It was 100 metres from Talit when station staff realized that the Coalfield Express had lost its way. The train was stopped at 7.30pm by "alert railwaymen", an official said. "There was no possibility of a head-on collision. However, had the train moved further ahead, its pantographs could have got entangled as it is a non-electrified section. It seems that those in charge mistook the Coalfield Express for some other train," an official from Burdwan Jn said.

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