Monday, March 31, 2008

Mother rescues son from a foreign land...

The NY Post reports that "It began with an e-mail on her MySpace page: "He is fine. He is healthy. I will try to get him back for you."
Queens schoolteacher Tiffany Rubin's heart leapt. After months of searching, it was the first real lead that her 7-year-old son, kidnapped by his father and taken to South Korea, could be found.
"I was like, 'Oh, my God,' " she told The Post, recalling how she felt the first time she read the e-mail.
But it would take an ex-CIA agent, a Christian charity, bottles of makeup to conceal her black skin and some cash at the airport to get him back.
The boy wept for his mother while he was held by his father - begging to come home and be reunited with her.
The relationship between Rubin and her boyfriend, Jeffrey Salko, was never storybook. The unmarried couple broke up when their son, Kobe Lee, was 4 months old. They spent the next six years in court fighting over custody.
It wasn't until Salko, who Rubin says wasn't paying child support, was in danger of losing visitation rights that he took a drastic, illegal step. Salko disappeared with the boy last August, when Kobe was on a two-week visit at his Brooklyn home.
Rubin jumped on the Web to try to locate her son.
For weeks, she joined chat groups and pleaded her case to MySpace members in Seoul, where Salko, 37, also known as Kang-Shik Lee, has family. In late November, the MySpace tipster said the boy had been located.
As promised, the tipster contacted the US Embassy. But absent some sign of abuse, the Foreign Service staff and Korean police who visited Salko in December had no authority to remove Kobe.
Rubin, 30, decided to take matters into her own hands. She couldn't afford the five-figure cost of a bounty hunter, so she turned to Michael Miller and his American Association for Lost Children..."

Friday, March 28, 2008

Zoo Welcomes Baby Elephant

CNN reports that "A baby elephant born this month at the Maryland Zoo walks with his mom."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Landmine Beauty Pageant...

Our friends at the BBC report that "Landmine victims are to take part in a beauty contest in Angola, where tens of thousands have been injured by mines.
The pageant has been organised by Angola's de-mining commission, and aims to restore the confidence of victims and raise awareness of their plight.
Millions of mines were planted in Angola during a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002.
The "Miss Landmine Survivor" contest will be held on 2 April in a luxury hotel in the Angolan capital, Luanda.
Eighteen women will take part, one from every province in the country.
All of the contestants have been maimed by landmines.
The co-ordinator of Angola's de-mining commission, Madalena Neto, says the aim of the competition is to restore self-esteem in women injured in mine explosions, and to show that there is beauty in all people.
She says she wants the contestants to become ambassadors for victims of landmines.
Tens of thousands of Angolans have lost limbs or suffered other injuries in mine explosions.
And they continue to do so, even though the war ended six years ago.
It is rare to visit an Angolan town or village without seeing people struggling to cook, care for children or otherwise get on with their lives whilst struggling with a stick or, if they are lucky, a pair of crutches or an artificial limb.
The UN says that, despite an extensive de-mining programme, millions of landmines remain littered across Angola - and this means great stretches of the country are still out of bounds, too dangerous to farm or to travel through.
Perhaps the "Miss Landmine Survivor" contest will remind the rich and powerful in central Luanda that there is still a lot of work to be done, both in terms of ridding the country of landmines and of improving the lives of their victims."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"Man fatally shoots wife while installing satellite TV system"

The Kansas City Star reports that "Officials are trying to determine whether to file charges against a man who fatally shot his wife while trying to install a satellite television system in their home.
Patsy D. Long, 34, of Deepwater, MO, was pronounced dead early Saturday evening after being shot in the chest with a .22-caliber handgun. Her husband, Ronald Long, fired the shot from the inside of their home after several unsuccessful efforts to punch a hole through the exterior wall using other means.
The woman, who was outside the house, was hit by the second of two shots fired by Ronald Long, the Henry County Sheriff’s Department said.
Sheriff’s Department spokesman Maj. Robert Hills said a person involved in such a case normally would be charged with manslaughter, but that was up to the prosecutor.
“Once we complete a diagram of the incident, we will be submitting everything to the prosecuting attorney and let him decide if he wants to press criminal charges,” Hills said.
Henry County Coroner Scott Largent declined to release details about Patsy Long’s death until the Sheriff’s Department completes its investigation."

"'Miss Bimbo' Web Site Sparks Outrage in Britain"

This is ridiculous...
FoxNews reports that "
A Web site that encourages girls as young as 9 to embrace plastic surgery and extreme dieting in the search for the perfect figure was condemned as lethal by British parents' groups and health-care experts Monday.
The "Miss Bimbo" Internet game has attracted prepubescent girls who are told to buy their virtual characters breast-enlargement surgery and to keep them "waif thin" with diet pills.
Health-care professionals, a parents' group and an organization representing people suffering from anorexia and bulimia criticized the Web site for sending a dangerous message to impressionable children.
In the month since it opened the site, which is aimed at girls aged from 9 to 16, has attracted 200,000 members.
Players keep a constant watch on the weight, wardrobe, wealth and happiness of their character to create "the coolest, richest and most famous bimbo in the world."
Competing against other children, they earn "bimbo dollars" to buy plastic surgery, diet pills, facelifts, lingerie and fashionable nightclub outfits.
The Web site sparked controversy when it was introduced in France last year, where it attracted 1.2 million players...
Susan Ringwood, the chief executive of Beat, a Norwich, England-based organization that supports those suffering from eating disorders, said that the Web site could make girls believe that weight and body size manipulation were acceptable.
The Miss Bimbo site was set up by Nicholas Jacquart, a French entrepreneur. He moved to Tooting, South London, recently and with a 30-year-old businessman called Chris Evans set up Ouza Ltd to promote the Web site in Britain.
Its introduction came as research showed that British children as young as 6 were developing acute eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. On Monday it emerged that increasing numbers of British teenagers were undergoing breast enlargement surgery.
Registration on the Miss Bimbo site is free but it makes money by charging £1.50 (about $3.00) per text message to buy "dollars" to spend on the characters.
On the rules section it states that despite contestants wanting "to keep your bimbo waif thin ... every girl needs to eat, every now and again."
It suggests feeding the character to prevent her dying of starvation...
Jacquart claims the game teaches children about the real world and is simply harmless fun.
"The game is structured in such a way that it simply mirrors real life in a tongue-in-cheek way," he said. "It is not a bad influence for young children. They learn to take care of their bimbos. The missions and goals for the bimbos are morally sound and teach children about the real world.
"If they eat too much chocolate in the game, it is bad for their bimbos' bodies and their happiness levels compared to if they eat fruit and vegetables, which reinforces positive healthy eating messages," Jacquart added. "The breast operations are just one part of the game and we are not encouraging young girls to have them."
Evans admitted that the story in the script had been created by "lads" and no professional advice was sought about how girls may interpret issues surrounding weight loss and gain.
Nick Williams, from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, said that he was appalled when he saw his daughters Katie, 9, and Sarah, 14, on the site pondering whether to buy their character breast operations and facelifts...
Users are set targets:
Level 7After you broke up with your boyfriend you went on an eating binge! Now it's time to diet ... Your target weight is less than 132 lbs
Level 9Have a nip-and-tuck operation for a brand new face. You've found work as a plus-size model. To gain those vivacious curves, you need to weigh more than 154 lbs
Level 10Summertime is coming up and bikini weather is upon us. You want to turn heads on the beach don't you?
Level 11Bigger is better! Have a breast operation
Level 17There is a billionaire on vacation ... You must catch his eye and his love! Good luck"

Here is the entire story.

Here is the web site. So what do you think?

"Dolphin woos with wood and grass"

The BBC reports that "A South American river dolphin uses branches, weeds and lumps of clay to woo the opposite sex and frighten off rivals, scientists have discovered.
Researchers observed adult male botos carrying these objects while surrounded by females, and thrashing them on the water surface aggressively.
Writing in the journal Biology Letters, they say such behaviour has never before been seen in any marine mammal.
The boto lives in only two rivers, and numbers are thought to be declining.
A group of British and Brazilian researchers studied the dolphin's unique courtship behaviour over three years in the Mamiraua Reserve, a flooded rainforest area on the Amazon.
"You see them coming up with bits of wood or lumps of rock in a very ritualised manner," recalled Tony Martin from the Sea Mammal Research Unit at St Andrews University.
"Quite often they'd slowly come up above the surface in a vertical posture holding this stuff in their mouths, then sink down rotating on their own axis.
"They would also throw it or smash it against the surface, and it does appear that the waving around and bashing is to impress the ladies; but at the same time there's a lot of aggression between adult males, and we have to infer that's part of it."
Professor Martin's group established that rock carrying and branch thrashing were almost exclusively the preserve of adult males, and that they did it more when lots of adult females were present.
Although the males were more aggressive towards each other at these times, they were never seen to hit each other with the rocks or plants...
This research stemmed from a larger project, Projeto Boto, aimed at conserving the Amazon dolphin and its habitat.
River dolphins are among the most threatened of all cetaceans; the baiji, a native of the Yangtze in China, may already have gone extinct in the last two years, while numbers of the Indus or blind river dolphin of South Asia are believed to be down to around the 3,000 mark.
Compared to these species, the South American dolphin is in good health in its traditional haunts along the Amazon and Orinico rivers. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species suggests "there are probably tens of thousands of botos in total".
But the future does not appear secure. The Red List concludes that the boto is threatened by dams (causing fragmentation of their habitat) and pollution, such as from mercury used in gold mining..."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Tiger Woods: The Next Picasso?

ABC News reports "The top golfer takes a swing at creating art that'll be auctioned for charity."

Hospital bridles at horse in elevator...

The BBC reports that "A Hawaiian hospital has restated its rules on pets after a man took a horse up in a lift (elevator) in a bid to cheer up a sick relative with his favourite steed.
Man and beast were stopped by security guards only after reaching the third floor, after apparently passing through the lobby unchallenged.
The patient was allowed to see them but it turned out to be the wrong horse.
A hospital spokeswoman said there was a visitation policy for dogs and cats, but not for horses.
"We just hope people understand this is not a place for a horse," said Lani Yukimura at Wilcox Memorial Hospital.
"It's a very dangerous thing. Our greatest concern is patient care."
Security managed to remove the visitor and the horse with "just a few scuff marks", she added.
According to the Star Bulletin newspaper, the man had arrived after staff at the front desk went home, and called from the lobby to announce his arrival.
After he and the horse were escorted out, he put the animal in a trailer in the car park and left, the paper adds."

Buddhist dog praying...

The Agence France-Presse reports that "Buddhists clasp their palms together to pray for enlightenment, but Conan, a chihuahua, appears to have more worldly motivations.
The dog has become a popular attraction at a Japanese temple after learning to imitate the worshippers around him.
"Conan started to pose in prayer like us whenever he wanted treats," said Joei Yoshikuni, a priest at Jigenin temple on the southern island of Okinawa.
"Clasping hands is a basic action of Buddhist prayer to show appreciation. He may be showing his thanks for treats and walks," he said.
Conan, a two-year-old male with long, black hair and a brown collar, sits next to Yoshikuni in front of the altar and looks right up at the statue of a Buddhist deity.
When the priest starts chanting and raises his clasped hands, Conan also raises his paws and joins them at the tip of his nose.
Visitors to the temple look on with curiosity.
"It's so funny that he does it," said Kazuko Oshiro, 71, who has frequented the temple for more than 25 years.
"He gets angry when somebody else sits on his favourite spot. He must be thinking that it's his special place," Oshiro said.
Conan, originally a temple pet, has become so popular that people come in to take pictures almost every week, the priest said.
Yoshikuni estimated that the temple receives 30 percent more visitors, especially young tourists, than it would otherwise.
"I'm glad that people feel more comfortable visiting the temple because of Conan," he said as he jokingly joined his hands and bowed to the dog."

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Wild Steer Take Over Town

ABC News reports that "A transport truck accident unleashes four steer in an Ontario neighborhood."

Friday, March 21, 2008

Pool tragedy claims little girl...

FoxNews reports that "The family of a 6-year-old girl whose intestines were partially sucked out by a Minnesota swimming pool drain last year says the child has died.
Family attorney Bob Bennett says Abigail Taylor's parents were with her when she died Thursday evening at a Nebraska hospital.
Abigail was injured on June 29 when she sat on a pool drain and its powerful suction ripped out part of her intestinal tract. She had small bowel, liver and pancreas transplants at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in December but suffered complications.
The child's injury led to federal legislation to make pools safer.
"The world's less better off without Abigail Taylor," Bennett said.
Kara Haworth, spokeswoman for the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, confirmed that Abigail had died. She said she could not comment further. She said Abigail's doctors were not available on Friday.
Abigail, of Edina, was injured June 29 when she sat on a wading pool drain at the Minneapolis Golf Club in St. Louis Park and its powerful suction ripped out part of her intestinal tract. She underwent transplant surgery at the Nebraska hospital to receive a new small bowel, liver and pancreas.
She later suffered setbacks, including a cancerous condition sometimes triggered by organ transplants.
After she was injured, her parents, Scott and Katey Taylor, campaigned for legislation that could help prevent similar accidents. In December, Congress approved legislation to ban the manufacture, sale or distribution of drain covers that don't meet anti-entrapment safety standards.
The legislation, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, is named for another victim, the 7-year-old granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker. She drowned at a graduation party in 2002, when the suction from a drain pinned her..."

Here is the entire story.


The BBC reports that "The chicken poo catapult, hamsterballing and a play in a toilet.
It can only be the week's weird and wonderful video stories in Newsbeat's Odd Box with Dominic Byrne."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Instead of a leg operation, she gets a new ass...

The Daily Telegraph from Australia reports that "A GERMAN pensioner is taking a hospital to court after she turned up for a leg operation - and got a new anus instead. The woman woke up to find she had been mixed up with another patient suffering from incontinence who was to have surgery on her sphincter.
The clinic in Hochfranken, Bavaria, has since suspended the surgical team.
Now the woman is planning to sue the hospital - although she still needs the leg operation and is searching for another hospital to do it."

Unusual Way Of Keeping Your Dead Pet's Memory

The BBC reports that "A Newcastle couple have found a unique way of keeping their beloved dead pets close to their hearts - by having the dog hair made into woolly jumpers.
Beth and Brian Willis lost their white Samoyed, called Kara, 12 years ago and Swedish Lapphund, Penny, in 2002.
After seeing a picture of Princess Diana wearing a dog fur stole at Crufts, they collected thousands of dog hairs from brushes and carpets.
The pair said the his and hers dog memorials were "warm and waterproof".
Mr Willis, who worked for Pickfords Removals for 27 years, wears his doggy jumper into town every Saturday to do the weekly shop. The 73-year-old said: "They are extremely warm and pretty much waterproof. I've always got a sweat on by the time I get from the bus to the shops."
Mother-of-three Mrs Willis first used the fur of Kara, to knit her husband's sweater in 1990.
Mrs Willis, 71, said she had the idea after seeing a picture of Princess Diana wearing a dog fur stole at Crufts.
She said: "Kara was a pedigree Samoyed. She was so posh, if she could have talked she'd not have spoken to the likes of us.
"We found out from the breeders we got the pups from that it was possible to use their coat for clothes.
"It is the most amazing stuff. It's like mohair but more lightweight and more soft, and the more you wash it, the more soft and fluffy it gets."
Mrs Willis added: "People are surprised when they find out we're wearing dog wool clothes. Some think it's disgusting and ask how we can do it, but it seems very normal to us."
Even now, Mrs Willis has enough hair left over to make a new jumper, and it has been sent to a friend in Derby to be spun."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

On the rocks?... Not this drink

FoxNews reports that "Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission officials were rattled last Thursday by the discovery of over 400 bottles of illegal booze, each containing a 10-inch rattlesnake in the bottle, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
After receiving a tip several weeks ago, TABC agents raided Bayou Bob’s Brazos River Rattlesnake Ranch in Palo Pinto County after the reptile-infused vodka was sold to undercover agents, the paper reported. 411 bottles of the serpent sauce were seized.
“In my 20 years with the TABC, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Sgt. Charlie Cloud told the Star-Telegram.
TABC officials told the Star-Telegram that they plan to file charges this week for the sale of alcohol without a permit and possession of alcohol with the intent to sell. Penalties for those charges include up to a year in the county jail and fines up to $1,000 upon conviction.
Infusing alcohol with snakes or scorpions is believed to possess aphrodisiac properties, TABC officials told the paper. The practice, in which alcohol is poured over the body of a snake or scorpion, is popular in Asian cultures."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Go to Phuket... Get a whistle

The Associated Press reports that "Female tourists visiting the Thai island of Phuket will be given whistles to sound in case of an emergency, the Tourism Ministry said Monday, two days after the murder of a Swedish woman in broad daylight.
The whistles are part of a campaign to increase security on Phuket, one of Thailand's most popular tourist destinations, after the shocking killing of 27-year-old Hanna Charlotta Backlund of Sweden, said Tourism Minister Weerasak Kohsurat.
Backlund was stabbed to death Saturday while taking a walk on Mai Khao beach, on the northern tip of Phuket. Her attacker remains at large.
The safety whistles will be shaped like the symbol commonly used to designate women — a circle above a cross — and can be worn around the neck, said Phuket police Maj. Sathabhorn Sangaunsuk, who will be overseeing the project.
The ministry also plans to increase the presence of security guards around the island and publish safety manuals that will be distributed to tourists, the minister said in a statement.
Authorities said the plan was just devised and they did not immediately know when distribution of whistles would begin."

Caught trying to rob from cops

ABC News reports that "two minors attempted to hold up a police station in Florida."

Sledder almost gets hit by car

ABC News reports that "a 20-year-old narrowly avoids being hit by a car during downhill snow ride." It sure looks to me in the video that he was taking a huge chance in trying to beat the car. You can see the car approaching in the top right of the video before he begins his run.

Playing a burning piano

The BBC reports "A Japanese musician has recreated an old performance by playing an improvised jazz piece on a burning piano.
Yosuke Yamashita was reproducing the stunt he performed for a short film in 1973."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

She was on the toilet for 2 years?!

FoxNews reports that "Deputies say a woman in western Kansas became stuck on her boyfriend's toilet after sitting on it for two years.
Ness County Sheriff Bryan Whipple said it appeared the 35-year-old Ness City woman's skin had grown around the seat. She initially refused emergency medical services but was finally convinced by responders and her boyfriend that she needed to be checked out at a hospital.
"We pried the toilet seat off with a pry bar and the seat went with her to the hospital," Whipple said. "The hospital removed it."
Whipple said investigators planned to present their report Wednesday to the county attorney, who will determine whether any charges should be filed against the woman's 36-year-old boyfriend.
"She was not glued. She was not tied. She was just physically stuck by her body," Whipple said. "It is hard to imagine. ... I still have a hard time imagining it myself."
He told investigators he brought his girlfriend food and water, and asked her every day to come out of the bathroom.
"And her reply would be, `Maybe tomorrow,"' Whipple said. "According to him, she did not want to leave the bathroom."

The boyfriend called police on Feb. 27 to report that "there was something wrong with his girlfriend," Whipple said, adding that he never explained why it took him two years to call.
Police found the clothed woman sitting on the toilet, her sweat pants down to her mid-thigh. She was "somewhat disoriented," and her legs looked like they had atrophied, Whipple said.
"She said that she didn't need any help, that she was OK and did not want to leave," he said.
She was taken to a hospital in Wichita, about 150 miles southeast of Ness City. Whipple said she has refused to cooperate with medical providers or law enforcement investigators.
Authorities said they did not know if she was mentally or physically disabled.
Police have declined to release the couple's names, but the house where authorities say the incident happened is listed in public records as the residence of Kory McFarren. No one answered his home phone number.
The case has been the buzz Ness City, said James Ellis, a neighbor.
"I don't think anybody can make any sense out of it," he said. Ellis said he had known the woman since she was a child but that he had not seen her for at least six years.
He said she had a tough childhood after her mother died at a young age and apparently was usually kept inside the house as she grew up. At one time the woman worked for a long-term care facility, he said, but he did not know what kind of work she did there.
"It really doesn't surprise me," Ellis said of the bathroom incident. "What surprises me is somebody wasn't called in a bit earlier.""

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

'Creepy gnome' terrorises town

The Sun reports that "A TOWN in South America is living in fear after several sightings of a 'creepy gnome' that locals claim stalks the streets at night.
The midget - which wears a pointy hat and has a distinctive sideways walk - was caught on video last week by a terrified group of youngsters.
Teenager Jose Alvarez - who filmed the gnome - yesterday told national newspaper El Tribuno that they caught the creature while larking about in their hometown of General Guemes, in the province of Salta, Argentina.
He said: “We were chatting about our last fishing trip. It was one in the morning.
“I began to film a bit with my mobile phone while the others were chatting and joking.
"Suddenly we heard something - a weird noise as if someone was throwing stones.
"We looked to one side and saw that the grass was moving. To begin with we thought it was a dog but when we saw this gnome-like figure begin to emerge we were really afraid."
Jose added that other locals had come forward to say they had spotted the gnome.
He said: “This is no joke. We are still afraid to go out - just like everyone else in the neighbourhood now.
"One of my friends was so scared after seeing that thing that we had to take him to the hospital.”"

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Hillary Clinton is "a wee bit silly"

The London Telegraph reports that "Hillary Clinton had no direct role in bringing peace to Northern Ireland and is a "wee bit silly" for exaggerating the part she played, according to Lord Trimble of Lisnagarvey, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and former First Minister of the province.
"I don’t know there was much she did apart from accompanying Bill [Clinton] going around," he said. Her recent statements about being deeply involved were merely "the sort of thing people put in their canvassing leaflets" during elections. "She visited when things were happening, saw what was going on, she can certainly say it was part of her experience. I don’t want to rain on the thing for her but being a cheerleader for something is slightly different from being a principal player."
Mrs Clinton has made Northern Ireland key to her claims of having extensive foreign policy experience, which helped her defeat Barack Obama in Ohio and Texas on Tuesday after she presented herself as being ready to tackle foreign policy crises at 3am.
"I helped to bring peace to Northern Ireland," she told CNN on Wednesday. But negotiators from the parties that helped broker the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 told The Daily Telegraph that her role was peripheral and that she played no part in the gruelling political talks over the years..."
This sure does sound like when Al Gore claimed he invented the internet...

Inside Beijing's shocking death camp for cats

The London Daily Mail reports that "Thousands of pet cats in Beijing are being abandoned by their owners and sent to die in secretive government pounds as China mounts an aggressive drive to clean up the capital in preparation for the Olympic Games.
Hundreds of cats a day are being rounded and crammed into cages so small they cannot even turn around.
Then they are trucked to what animal welfare groups describe as death camps on the edges of the city.
The cull comes in the wake of a government campaign warning of the diseases cats carry and ordering residents to help clear the streets of them.
Cat owners, terrified by the disease warning, are dumping their pets in the streets to be picked up by special collection teams.
Paranoia is so intense that six stray cats -including two pregnant females - were beaten to death with sticks by teachers at a Beijing kindergarten, who feared they might pass illnesses to the children.
China's leaders are convinced that animals pose a serious urban health risk and may have contributed to the outbreak of SARS - a deadly respiratory virus - in 2003.
But the crackdown on cats is seen by animal campaigners as just one of a number of extreme measures being taken by communist leaders to ensure that its capital appears clean, green and welcoming during the Olympics...
The cull of Beijing's estimated 500,000 cat population is certain to provoke international outrage as it comes just over a year after the Chinese were criticised for rounding up and killing stray dogs across the country.
Animal welfare groups in China are already protesting, but their members fear punishment from the authorities.
Officials say people can adopt animals from the 12 cat pounds set up around the city, but welfare groups say they are almost impossible to get inside and believe few cats survive.
One cat lovers' group negotiated the release of 30 pets from one of the compounds in Shahe, north-west Beijing, but said they were in such a pitiful condition that half of them died within days of their release.
"These cats are being left to die. It is very inhumane," said the group's founder Yan Qi, who runs a sanctuary for cats."

The highs and lows of Hawaii

FoxNews reports that "Hawaii adults have among the lowest rates for depression in the country, but island young people are ranked among the highest.
A new federal health study shows Hawaii adults suffering relatively little serious psychological distress. But children aged 12 to 17 are the second-highest in the nation for depressive episodes.
State mental health division chief Dr. Thomas Hester says the study by the Department of Health and Human Services is in line with other reports that show Hawaii has a low suicide rate overall, but a high rate for young people.
Mental Health America of Hawaii's director, Marya Grambs, says one factor might be that in Hawaii's strong Asian cultures some adults may hide their problems, while young people tend to express their feelings."

Not everyone agrees with paradise.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Man Puts Ding Dongs in Dryers

"A man in Salem, Arkansas has been charged with vandalism, after being caught on surveillance video putting Ding Dong treats into people's clothes at a laundromat."

Professional Pooper Scoopers Vie for Title

"Dog poop is nothing to sniff at -- a huge growth in the business has prompted the explosion of professional pooper scoopers around the country. Many are competing to be Top Dog. WSJ's Raymund Flandez reports."

Election '08

It snowed Thursday in Dallas/Ft. Worth

I grabbed these photos from WFAA-TV in Dallas. Plenty of snow w/not much ice...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Naked Knockout at Sporting Match

ABC News reports that "A streaker is floored by a [Australian cricket] player after running onto the field." Talk about your "bat and balls"...

He put her kids in a dryer?...

FoxNews reports that "Dad Who Burned Kids in Dryer: Thought They Could Have a Good Time Without Money
A Hutchinson [Kansas] man is on trial this week on charges he put his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son in a hot clothes dryer.
In a videotaped interview with detectives shown in court Wednesday, Aron Pritchard said he put the children in the dryer to show them they could have a good time without much money. An hour later, the dryer had become hot and the boy had second-degree burns.
Pritchard told the detective that he didn't mean for the boy to get hurt.
Jurors also heard from a pediatrician who testified that the burns, combined with prior injuries including a twice-broken clavicle, could indicate an abusive environment.
Pritchard is charged with aggravated child endangerment and child abuse in the Nov. 28, 2006, incident."

What are you willing to do for money?

FoxNews reports "Within the next 18 months, medical researchers will be asking people in Seattle to volunteer to be exposed to the deadliest form of malaria to help them test the effectiveness of vaccine candidates.
The Seattle Biomedical Research Institute is collaborating with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative to accelerate malaria vaccine research by opening a new vaccine testing center in Seattle's south Lake Union neighborhood.
Scientists at the center will use early testing of vaccines to weed out those that don't work so they can speed up research on the ones that are effective. Malaria vaccine testing has already begun at a second site in the United States, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Maryland, and is also being conducted at labs in England and the Netherlands.
"We're particularly excited by the center's location in Seattle, a community where many people have an interest in global health issues and, as a result, are willing to volunteer for such an important cause -- to help save the lives of young children in some of the world's poorest countries," said Dr. Christian Loucq, Malaria Vaccine Initiative director.
Malaria, which is spread by mosquitoes, kills more than a million people each year, most of them children. Deaths doubled in Africa over the past 20 years due to resistance to existing drugs and insecticides.
Seattle volunteers will be paid an estimated $2,000 or more to hold a paper cup containing infected mosquitoes against their arm, waiting for the insects to bite. Symptoms usually develop within nine to 11 days, and volunteers will be treated for malaria when the first parasites show up in their blood. The treatments last three days.
In the related project at Walter Reed, where hundreds of people have been exposed to the malaria virus, not one person has gotten seriously ill, said Dr. Patrick Duffy, head of the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute's malaria research programs.
The compensation is for time and inconvenience and the amount must be approved by an independent panel before the study begins.
"It's a sensitive issue. They want to make sure it's fair ... but not so much that somebody would say, 'I can't turn down this opportunity'," Duffy said.
Testing subjects will get no sicker than someone with the flu and most won't even miss a day of work after being exposed to malaria and then treated, he said. They will need to stay in a downtown hotel for a few days and get daily medical tests, but can leave their room during the day because treatment for the virus would begin before it becomes contagious.
"The parasite has an incredibly complex lifecycle. It takes on many different forms during its different lifecycle stages. One form infects the mosquito. That form develops late. The form that makes people sick develops early. We'll be treating this early before the form that can be transmitted is developed," Duffy said.
After a story about the vaccine center ran in The Seattle Times on Wednesday, the project's e-mail box was filled with hundreds of inquiries from people who wanted to participate in the vaccine trials, Duffy said.
He said people in Seattle have a strong sense of altruism.
"I don't think most people would volunteer for this unless they felt like they were doing it for a larger purpose," Duffy said.
The Seattle vaccine testing center will be built this year and the first trial with just six volunteers is expected to be conducted in the summer of 2009, paid for with between $4 million and $5 million from the Malaria Vaccine Initiative, which was created with a grant of $50 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Additional trials are expected to cost between $1 million and $2 million and each one would require about 26 volunteers.
The Seattle Biomedical Research Institute has been working on tropical diseases for about 30 years and is home to one of the largest malaria research programs in the United States.
Although the institute has been developing malaria vaccines of its own, the testing program will be open to vaccine candidates from around the world.
Duffy said the project at Walter Reed, where he worked before coming to the institute in Seattle, has helped one promising vaccine candidate get to the point where it is about 50 percent effective at preventing malaria.
He said that vaccine is an inspiration to everyone who is working to find a way to save people from malaria.
"We have a partially effective vaccine now and there's no reason why we can't get a fully effective vaccine," Duffy said.
Bill and Melinda Gates announced in October they would seek worldwide eradication of the disease rather than just control. Their foundation has committed $860 million to malaria programs and another $650 million to support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria."

"Fireball at the gas pump"

ABC News reports "Static electricity is blamed for blaze that occurred at a Virginia gas station. " Be careful out there...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tea 'healthier' drink than water?

The BBC reports that "Drinking three or more cups of tea a day is as good for you as drinking plenty of water and may even have extra health benefits, say researchers.
The work in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition dispels the common belief that tea dehydrates.
Tea not only rehydrates as well as water does, but it can also protect against heart disease and some cancers, UK nutritionists found.
Experts believe flavonoids are the key ingredient in tea that promote health.
These polyphenol antioxidants are found in many foods and plants, including tea leaves, and have been shown to help prevent cell damage.
Public health nutritionist Dr Carrie Ruxton, and colleagues at Kings College London, looked at published studies on the health effects of tea consumption.
They found clear evidence that drinking three to four cups of tea a day can cut the chances of having a heart attack.
Some studies suggested tea consumption protected against cancer, although this effect was less clear-cut.
Other health benefits seen included protection against tooth plaque and potentially tooth decay, plus bone strengthening.
Dr Ruxton said: "Drinking tea is actually better for you than drinking water. Water is essentially replacing fluid. Tea replaces fluids and contains antioxidants so it's got two things going for it."
She said it was an urban myth that tea is dehydrating.
"Studies on caffeine have found very high doses dehydrate and everyone assumes that caffeine-containing beverages dehydrate. But even if you had a really, really strong cup of tea or coffee, which is quite hard to make, you would still have a net gain of fluid.
"Also, a cup of tea contains fluoride, which is good for the teeth," she added.
There was no evidence that tea consumption was harmful to health. However, research suggests that tea can impair the body's ability to absorb iron from food, meaning people at risk of anaemia should avoid drinking tea around mealtimes.
Dr Ruxton's team found average tea consumption was just under three cups per day.
She said the increasing popularity of soft drinks meant many people were not drinking as much tea as before.
"Tea drinking is most common in older people, the 40 plus age range. In older people, tea sometimes made up about 70% of fluid intake so it is a really important contributor," she said.
Claire Williamson of the British Nutrition Foundation said: "Studies in the laboratory have shown potential health benefits.
"The evidence in humans is not as strong and more studies need to be done. But there are definite potential health benefits from the polyphenols in terms of reducing the risk of diseases such as heart disease and cancers.
"In terms of fluid intake, we recommend 1.5-2 litres per day and that can include tea. Tea is not dehydrating. It is a healthy drink."
The Tea Council provided funding for the work. Dr Ruxton stressed that the work was independent."

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Wild Party At Chuck E. Cheese

FoxNews reports that a "child's birthday party at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in Massachusetts was cut short when a fight broke out between two mothers.
The mother of the 9-year-old birthday boy apparently became enraged because the other woman's son was "hogging" an arcade game, Natick, Mass., police said.
Catherine Aliaga, 38, and Tarsha Williams, 33, both of Boston, will be summoned into court to answer charges of simple assault and battery stemming from the scuffle, Sgt. Paul Thompson said.
Thompson told the MetroWest Daily News that police received a number of 911 calls about the fight Saturday night.
He said what started as a birthday celebration turned into a "birthday melee.""

Inspirational High School Basketball Player

ABC News reports on an one-armed high school athlete. "High school basketball player Porter Ellett leads his team to the playoffs." Here is the news story on this guy who lives life to the fullest.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Free Breast Implants?...

What the?! FoxNews reports that "For those women whose cups do not runneth over, there is a Web site that promises to pay for a new pair, free of charge.
Women who sign up on earn the money for their breast augmentation surgery through donations from men who peruse their MySpace-like profiles.
"I figured why not," said Lindsay, a 22-year-old from Columbus, Ohio. "I honestly didn't think it was real at first. It took me a good day of really being on the site and researching it before I really was like 'OK, I'm going to make this work for me.' It totally seems too good to be true, but it works."
Jason Grunstra, a Web developer in Los Angeles, founded the site in July 2005 after brainstorming the idea during a bachelor party in Las Vegas. A small-breasted friend was the site's test subject.
"She agreed to try it out, just to see what would happen, and sure enough, in about 4 1/2 months, she raised about $5,000," Grunstra said.
"So at that point I decided, 'Well if it works for one, let's bring it to a wider audience and expand it and see if it works for many ladies, and sure enough it did." operates much like a social-networking site. Women 18 and over can sign up for free and create a profile with photos and the type of implant they desire: silicone or saline. Men — they're called "benefactors" — can also sign up for free, but then they must purchase credits, which can be used to send messages to the women.
For each message a woman receives, she gets a dollar toward her new chest.
Lindsay, who declined to give her last name, signed up in February 2007, and by June she had the $4,000 she needed to transform from a 34A to a 34D-DD. She is one of 103 women who have had new implants courtesy of the site's benefactors.
Jessica Levine, a 27-year-old marketer from Tampa, Fla., got her new silicone breasts on Nov. 13, 2007 after raising $7,500 online.
"It's free, but you do have to put a lot of time and energy into the Web site — contacting friends, writing the people on the site," she said.
Grunstra estimates that thousands of women have signed up for the site and tens of thousands of men have contributed.
"The guys and girls love it," Grunstra said. "Occasionally, we'll get a feminist here or there that is outraged by the idea and can't believe that sex sells. We tell her to wake up and join reality. It's 2008."
Grunstra said raised more than a million dollars toward surgeries in 2007, and he expects that figure to double in 2008.
He said the Web site takes a percentage of the money raised by the sale of credits to run its operations; it also earns money from advertisers. Grunstra said he doesn't earn money from the endeavor.
And the site pays surgeons directly for the procedures.
"We pay the doctors directly to make sure that the surgery actually happens and the girls don't go on some shopping spree," he said.
At first the site offered to pay for other surgeries, but they found men weren't interested in paying for anything but breasts.
"Guys aren't really interested in paying for liposuction or a nose job," Grunstra said, adding "it's kind of like you're creating the perfect woman in your eyes and at the same time you're making pretty good friends."
Dr. Theodore Diktaban, a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York, said the site seems like a novelty.
"It's an interesting twist," Diktaban said. "It's not the way I think most people would do it."
Diktaban said there are other ways to finance breast augmentation surgery, including a service called CareCredit, which offers loans for procedures not covered by medical insurance.
Finding a doctor to perform the surgery should start by word of mouth, he said.
"The best way to go is speak to friends of yours that have had it done. Are they happy? And who was the doctor that did that," Diktaban said. "You want to get a board certified plastic surgeon. You can always go to the American Society of Plastic Surgery and get a list of doctors in your area."
Though it's been months since Levine has had the surgery to make her chest a 36D, she still chats online with the benefactors who helped her get her new breasts.
"We keep in touch," she said, adding they "talk about things that have nothing to do with implants.""

Saturday, March 1, 2008

"There will be milkshakes for old men"

Clip is courtesy of

Moron Asks Friend to Shoot Him So He Could Skip Work

FoxNews reports that in Pasco, WA, people are asking "What happened to faking a cough?
Sheriff's detectives in Washington state say a man had his friend shoot him in the shoulder so he wouldn't have to go to work.
When he first spoke with deputies, Daniel Kuch told them he'd been the victim of a drive-by shooting while he was jogging Thursday.
But detectives told KONA radio that Kuch later acknowledged that he asked his friend to shoot him so he could get some time off work and avoid a drug test.
The friend has been arrested for investigation of reckless endangerment. Kuch is expected to be charged with false reporting.
Detectives declined to say where Kuch works, or whether he still has a job. It wasn't known if he had obtained a lawyer."