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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Weird news: Brazilian couple discover that they are siblings

For those who have read classical Greek literature, the story of Oedipus is something that is very stark; inspite of all the efforts to prevent it, the son finally ends up marrying the mother. His family knew of a prophecy that warned of this, and they sent him away when he was a baby so that he could be killed. However, he survived and lived at another king's court; and the prophecy finally came true later when killed his real father in a roadside argument, and then, in another twist of fate, married his mother. When they found out the truth, his mother killed herself and he blinded himself.
In this case, the Brazilian couple were both abandoned at birth. They continued their efforts at individually finding their birth families, When the wife finally found her mother, she also learned to her horror, that her husband had the same mother and hence they were also brother sister. However, in this case, they have accepted their fate and decided to make a success of their marriage (link to article)
Adriana and Leandro, a Brazilian couple, both abandoned by their mothers in childhood, spent their lives anxiously searching for their mothers. They couldn't have imagined in their wildest dreams what their search would lead to. The couple knew that their mothers shared the same name, Maria, but thought it was just a coincidence. When Adriana decided to step up her search, she joined the 'Angel of Meetings', a daily broadcast on Brazilian radio station Radio Globo promoting the reunion of people with relatives and friends who are no longer in contact. Little did she know what was in store for her family.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Weird news - Woman crushed in escalator in China, manages to save child

This is the like a horror story. And yet, it just underscores how so many modern items we deal with on a regular basis can become so dangerous so quickly. And this is not an isolated accident, there have been problems with escalators over the years (why do you think a red emergency stop button was added to escalators for a quick stop of everything). It becomes even more horrifying when you think of how she died (don't watch the video in the attached article if you want to avoid seeing horrifying images). The miracle in this whole episode is how the woman was with her son, and before she died, she was able to hand over her son to 2 employees of the mall, with the son surviving the accident, but seeing his mother dying horribly in front of him.
And why did this accident happen ? Well, seems criminal. A metal plate at the top of the escalator was loose, and as the woman stepped on it, it opened and she was exposed to the machinery. The machinery did not have automatic cut-off to prevent such accidents, and it ground remorselessly on, killing the woman (link to article):
The scene can only be described as horrific: On an otherwise unremarkable morning, a woman is riding up a shopping center escalator in central China with her son. When she reaches the top and begins to disembark, she steps onto a metal footplate covering the machinery. The plate collapses, dropping the woman into the gears. She shoves her child into the arms of two mall employees, and is crushed to death. According to Xiang’s sister-in-law, Xiang apparently was unaware of any problem with the escalator until she and her son had already stepped onto the moving staircase, which was still in motion and not blocked off in any way. People questioned why the escalator was allowed to keep running or was not cordoned off if it posed a danger. Two employees, seen in the closed-circuit video circulated online, were standing at the top of the escalator, apparently trying to talk with Xiang as she and her son rode up.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Weird news: Bees attack aircraft, prevent delays

Well, not in the type shown in horror films where a supposed swarm of killer bees would attack the aircraft and through whatever means, get inside the aircraft and attack the passengers, biting many to death. More of a kind where it was not safe for the plane to take off with so many bees all around. If a bee got into the plane, it would be unsafe, similarly, if a bee got into the wiring or anything like that, it would be unsafe. As a result, the flight had to be delayed until the bees were removed and there was no threat to either the passengers or the flight because of the bees (link to article):
The bees flew from under a wing, some attached themselves to the wing, while others covered windows of the Airbus-319. Two ambulances were called to the plane amid fears that the bees might get inside the cabin. Airport staff then 'efficiently and quickly' removed the bees from the plane's fuselage, '' reported. The flight was delayed by slightly under an hour. It is not the first time bees have caused problems for an aircraft.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Weird news: Thief gets locked inside ATM

An ATM seems such an effective way to get money. You go to an ATM, put in your card, enter a password, and can get your money easily. This also makes it attractive to thieves. Some try to waylay people who are trying to withdraw their money (typically at isolated locations, or when it is darker), although in recent times there have been cases when people just try to steal the ATM machine itself. After all, the machine contains the money inside it, and when there is money inside a box, no matter how strong the box is, one can finally break it open and take the money. One bi variable in the business is about when the ATM is full of money or when it is almost empty.
Given this recent trend, ATM manufacturers and banks try to beat these thieves; some of these include ensuring a CCTV in the ATM room, having any attempts to tamper with the ATM's triggering an alarm, and some automation. This thief below would never have figured out that his attempt to steal from the ATM would ensure that he gets stuck in a dark room unless he was let out by the police (link to article):
"The accused has been identified as Zakhir, a 26-year-old carpenter. He entered the ATM when the guard was not there and tried to break open the machine using his carpentry tools. Failing in opening the machine he entered a small room built inside ATM to which the machine is attached, and tried to open the cash box of the machine from there," police said. "The intrusion detection system installed inside the automated teller machine got triggered by his efforts and the small cabin got jammed. The doors got locked and the lights went off. Zakhir got trapped inside the cabin, and an automatic message was generated by the system to its head office in Mumbai. The branch then informed its Delhi office which contacted the guard to locate his position," said a senior police officer.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Weird news: How many times can you fail a citizenship test ?

If you want to take citizenship of a country, a lot of countries insist on a test where you can show that you have the learnt the culture and the ethos of the country, know its history to some degree, and so on. This is because this would show that you are willing to assimilate in the culture of the country. One would expect that you would pass this test mostly the first time, since you would have done some preparation for this, but even if you were to fail it once, you would understand that there is a lot more needed to be done, and you would be allowed to give the test again, so that you could prepare more and be ready the next time.
The idea being, that if you fail this test multiple times, it shows that either you don't know enough about the country, or you could not be bothered with trying to learn more about the country. But no limits for how many times you can give this test ? That seems a bit strange. 60+ times, something is weird. And for 50 pounds per test, it is not such a small amount. (link to article):
Woman has spent more than £3,000 repeatedly sitting the £50-a-time exam Citizenship test asks 24 questions about British traditions and customs Individual case reveals that questionnaire can be completed infinite times Tory MP blasted situation, insisting that it just cannot be justified

Monday, July 6, 2015

Weird news: Mayor of Mexican town marries a crocodile for more fish

And this is not the first time he has done it, this being the second time (one does not know whether he got a divorce the first time). In a number of places around the world, there are some customs that seem weird, but which have been going on for so much time that they seem natural. For example, in the Philippines, during festival times, a person gets nailed to the cross to reenact the scene of Christ's Crucifixion, in some places in India brides are first married to some inanimate object so that a curse is transferred before they get married to the groom, and so on.
In this case, the custom is that for trying to ensure a good fishing season, the mayor of the place gets married to a crocodile in a proper marriage ceremony, including the crocodile being put in proper bridal gear and going through all the rituals. After the ceremony, the groom even dances with the bride (the crocodile) (link to article):
The mayor of a Mexican fishing town 'married' a crocodile dressed in a white gown yesterday, in a symbolic ceremony that's part of a local tradition. Before the union, the wedding party walked with the crocodile bride through the town of San Pedro Huamelula, in the south of the country. Town mayor Joel Vasquez Rojas married the reptile at the city hall then danced with it in his arms during a colorful party packed with local residents.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Weird news - World war 2 bomb kills digger operator

The amount of bombs that were dropped in various parts of Europe during the Second World War was incredible. During the bombing campaigns over Germany and Britain, and in other countries as well, there were a large number of casualties caused by these bombs. During days of the Blitz, when the German Air Force attacked Britain, a single night raid could cause thousands of dead; similarly, the aircraft raids on Berlin and other cities were mass killers, with the most powerful of these raids killing 10,000's of thousands of people in a single night. And this was not the only such event; the movement of the allies from both the east and west into Germany to defeat the Nazis were incredibly violent actions, and the amount of bombs used were massive.
These bombs did a lot of damage then, but many of them remained unexploded, and still cause a nuisance now and then. They would burrow down into the ground, and would remain there, a threat to the whole area around them for hundreds of yards, liable to go off if some kind of disturbance caused them to trigger. In many cases, with digging of areas for buildings or other such kind of construction, these bombs would be exposed and all work would stop until the bomb had been retrieved and then only the work would resume. The threat of such bombs is exposed in events such as these (link to article):
A second world war bomb exploded in a western German town on Friday, killing the driver of an excavator and wounding 13 other people, police have said. The explosion happened in an industrial area of Euskirchen, near Bonn, at a property used by a construction firm to sort and dispose of rubble. It wasn't immediately clear whether the explosives had long been buried in the ground or had inadvertently been brought to the site in a delivery of demolition waste. The driver of the mechanical digger was fatally injured after it hit the device, and two people nearby were seriously hurt. Another 11 people who were in the area suffered minor injuries. Windows, roofs and doors up to 400 metres away were damaged in the blast, police said.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Weird news: Man killed by automobile plant robot in Germany

Modern factories have a lot of automation that needs to happen. If you consider the assembly line of a modern automobile plant, there are a number of steps that need to happen again, which would include assembling various metal plates, bolting and welding them together, spray painting, etc. These used to be done by people earlier, but mostly these are repetitive operations that can be done by automation. Over the years, these assembly line operations have been taken over by robots; machines which do not look anything like the robots shown in movies, but essentially machines that have been built for such custom operations. These machines are expensive, but can work much faster than humans, have lower amount of errors and can easily earn back the amount invested in them.
One of the problems with robots or machines such as these is that they have been designed for a customer purpose which they do very well, but are not really designed for sudden or unusual events that happen, in which case their response would be nothing like how a human reacts. And the power that these machines have is pretty huge, being powered by machinery and being able to lift large weights easily and manipulate them. In this particular case, a contractor was killed in a mishap involving such a robot, where the robot grabbed the human and pushed him against a metal plate, killing in the process. And no, the robot is not being sent for a murder charge, but they would do well to investigate as to how the robot came to be in such a process (link to article):
A robot has killed a contractor at one of Volkswagen’s production plants in Germany, the automaker has said. The man died on Monday at the plant in Baunatal, about 100km (62 miles) north of Frankfurt, VW spokesman Heiko Hillwig said. The 22-year-old was part of a team that was setting up the stationary robot when it grabbed and crushed him against a metal plate, Hillwig said. He said initial conclusions indicate that human error was to blame, rather than a problem with the robot, which can be programmed to perform various tasks in the assembly process. He said it normally operates within a confined area at the plant, grabbing auto parts and manipulating them.

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