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Big News of the Day

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2006 7:06 pm
by Nefer
Caught this on ye olde BBC:

Sudan man forced to 'marry' goat

A Sudanese man has been forced to take a goat as his "wife", after he was caught having sex with the animal.
The goat's owner, Mr Alifi, said he surprised the man with his goat and took him to a council of elders.

They ordered the man, Mr Tombe, to pay a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars ($50) to Mr Alifi.

"We have given him the goat, and as far as we know they are still together," Mr Alifi said.

Mr Alifi, Hai Malakal in Upper Nile State, told the Juba Post newspaper that he heard a loud noise around midnight on 13 February and immediately rushed outside to find Mr Tombe with his goat.

"When I asked him: 'What are you doing there?', he fell off the back of the goat, so I captured and tied him up".

Mr Alifi then called elders to decide how to deal with the case.

"They said I should not take him to the police, but rather let him pay a dowry for my goat because he used it as his wife," Mr Alifi told the newspaper.

Why in the name of sanity would a man want to make it with a goat?!?! My God, it boggles the mind. I'm not even going to wonder about how that's even physically possible.

It's one thing to read of olden day royalty making it with horses - Irish kings and Indian queens... apparently for fertility. Whose, I always wondered?!?! Don't have my old mythology text book with me (I lent it to Bee) but I really don't think what one reads in myth texts can be applicable to life nowadays!

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 6:23 am
by John R
What a great, if rather unsettling story! :eek:

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 1:05 pm
by Nefer
I think I forgot to say that everyone should feel free to go ahead and post any kind of new story they find funny, interesting, or worthy of debate here :)

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 3:18 pm
by Monsoon
That story really got my goat up! :shock:

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 3:48 pm
by Matbow

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 7:56 pm
by Nefer
I'm a scientist at heart, and in training, so this article really sparked my interest:

'Jurassic beaver' found in China

The discovery of a fossil beaver that lived when the dinosaurs ruled the Earth could challenge some currently accepted ideas on mammal evolution.

Castorocauda lutrasimilis, which was unearthed in China, is a species previously unknown to science.

It dates back to 164 million years ago, a time when mammals were thought to be primitive creatures confined to land.

But this animal was adapted to life in water, meaning scientists may now have to rethink their theories.

The fossil was found in the Middle Jurassic Jiulongshan Formation, a deposit rich in the remains of dinosaurs, early insects and other organisms.

Like modern beavers, the creature had fur, a broad scaly tail, and webbed feet for swimming. It was about the size of a small female platypus and had seal-like teeth for eating fish.

Aquatic mammal

Such advanced features have surprised many scientists, suggesting mammals that lived during the hey-day of the dinosaurs had already conquered a variety of environments.

The mammals of the time were once thought to be largely primitive shrew-like creatures, scuttling at the feet of dinosaurs, and only flourishing when the dinosaurs died out some 65 million years ago.

Commenting on the find, revealed in the journal Science, Thomas Martin of the Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg in Frankfurt, Germany, said it showed mammals had conquered the water 100 million years earlier than previously thought.

"This exciting fossil is a further jigsaw-puzzle piece in a series of recent discoveries, demonstrating that the diversity and early evolutionary history of mammals were much more complex than perceived less than a decade ago," he wrote.

Image courtesy of Mark A Klinger/CMNH.

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 9:43 am
by Monsoon
Matbow wrote:](*,)

I loved your impression of a Ram Mat :)
Very clever that! and also subtle, but i saw what you were doing. :)

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:58 am
by Nefer

PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 11:29 am
by Nefer
Hunting for Malaysia's 'Bigfoot'
By Jonathan Kent
BBC correspondent in Kuala Lumpur

Footprints were found on a local road
The village of Mawai Lama in the Malaysian state of Johor is a sleepy row of wooden fronted shop-houses set back from the Sedili River.

Yet Mawai is one of the most intriguing places in Malaysia.

According to local historians, Mawai's original name was Mawas, and Mawas is the name locals give to a legendary creature known the world over as Bigfoot.

The people of Mawas certainly seem to believe in the creature from which their village takes its name.

Some, like Aji the boatman, say they have seen it.

"It was about 10 or 11 at night. I saw something, but I didn't know what sort of creature it was. But I can definitely see the eyes were red. And it made a noise, Woooooo!" Aji said.

"Maybe it was scared off by my headlight and I was scared by him so we both rushed off in different directions and later I came back and found the footprints," he said.

Hunt for food

Mawai lies at one end of the Panti mountains, a densely forested and steep-sloped ridge at the southern end of the Malay peninsular.

On the other side of the range is Kampung Batu Empat. A few weeks ago some unusual muddy footprints were found on the road nearby.

Vincent Chow, of the Malaysian Nature Society, had some photos.

"Based on what we've learned, this is the southern end of their migratory route and because the forests have become fragmented they're rather confined now," Mr Chow said.

Traces of the muddy prints were still on the road.

"They move around looking for fruits, sometimes they go looking for them in villages. They're also looking for a mate and for salt."

Prompted by the footprints and a recent spate of sightings, the Johor state government is planning a team to start looking for Bigfoot.

The reports of sightings are nothing new. Five years ago, while driving up Malaysia's main North-South highway, public relations consultant Eva Hawa says she saw a creature fitting Bigfoot's description crossing the road in broad daylight

"It was hairy, it was big, it was about six to seven feet tall. He moved right across in front of my car. He has a hunch and walked like a very old man," she said.

Four days ago my [workers] heard Bigfoot calling in the jungle. They've found footprints

Abdul Rahman Ahmad

Factors which can be argued in favour of Bigfoot's existence include the legends from different parts of the world which seem to bear a degree of similarity to one another, despite having emerged separately. There are the sightings. And there is the fact that a giant ape, Gigantopithecus blacki, is known to have lived in Asia until around 300,000 years ago.

And there is the discovery, on the Indonesian island of Flores in late 2004, of skeletons interpreted by some anthropologists as belonging to a hominid population dubbed hobbits. There are still natural wonders to be discovered, even in this day and age, not least in the forests of South East Asia.

The primatologist Jane Goodall is one of those who expect Bigfoot to be found.

"People from very different backgrounds and different parts of the world have described very similar creatures behaving in similar ways and uttering some strikingly similar sounds," she said in a newspaper interview three years ago. "As far as I am concerned, the existence of hominids of this sort is a very real probability."


However, the doubters - and they are legion - ask why no giant ape remains more recent than a quarter of a million years old have been found. And as the forests and wilderness shrink, why has Bigfoot not broken cover and been definitively recorded?

The footprints were perhaps 45cm long

One man who has no doubts is Abdul Rahman Ahmad, a former factory manager. His late brother was Johor's Chief Game Warden and had seen Bigfoot footprints 30 years ago.

When we arrived to visit him, Abdul Rahman was very excited.

"Four days ago my [workers] heard Bigfoot calling in the jungle. They've found footprints."

Early the next morning, accompanied by four of Abdul Rahman's Indonesian workers, we set off to find the site where the prints were spotted. As we trekked through the forest there was a crashing in the trees. We had disturbed a herd of wild water buffalo.

But when we got to the riverside where the workers said they had seen Bigfoot tracks, all we found was buffalo hoof marks. There was nothing. We pressed on. I was shown a branch "broken by Bigfoot", another stripped of leaves "by the ape man".

For almost three hours the Indonesians led us through the trees, through rivers and for all I know around in circles.

Finally we reached the first river at a point higher up than we had originally explored.

And there, beside the river, in the soft sand, were footprints.

They were distinctive, perhaps 20cm across and 40, perhaps 45cm long.

There was a bulge where a human corn might be, as though the foot had an opposable thumb rather than a big toe. There were three of them, some better defined, some more complete, than others.

All I can tell you is they were big, they were foot shaped and they were there.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 11:24 pm
by Nefer
This is just really making me sick.

US 'plans stealth shark spies'

Sharks with implants are planned to be released off Florida
Pentagon scientists are planning to turn sharks into "stealth spies" capable of tracking vessels undetected, a British magazine has reported.
They want to remotely control the sharks by implanting electrodes in their brains, The New Scientist says.

It says the aim is "to exploit sharks' natural ability to glide through the water, sense delicate electrical gradients and follow chemical trails".

The unusual project was unveiled last week in Hawaii, it says.

'Steering' sharks

The research is being funded by the Pentagon's Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), according to the magazine.

Remote-controlled sharks do have advantages that robotic underwater surveillance vehicles just cannot match: they are silent, and they power themselves

The New Scientist

It aims to build on latest developments in brain implant technology which has already seen scientists controlling the movements of fish, rats and monkeys.

"Neural implants consists of a series of electrodes that are embedded into the animal's brain, which can then be used to stimulate various functional areas," the magazine says.

It says such devices are already being used by scientists at Boston University to "steer" a spiny dogfish in a fish tank.

The next step for the Pentagon scientists will be the release of blue sharks with similar devices into the ocean off the coast of Florida.

As radio signals will not penetrate the sea, communications with the animals will be made by sonar.

The US navy has acoustic signalling towers capable of sending sonar signals to a shark up to 300km (187 miles) away, the magazine says.

It says the scientists will be particularly interested in the animals' health during the tests.

"As wild predators, it is very easy to exhaust them, and this will place strict limits on how long the researchers can control their movements in any one session without harming them.

"Despite this limitation, though, remote-controlled sharks do have advantages that robotic underwater surveillance vehicles just cannot match: they are silent, and they power themselves," the magazine says.

The project was discussed at the 2006 Ocean Sciences Meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Honolulu, Hawaii.

I'm way to angry to post my opnion without descending into an abyss of foul language. Just how did these people get their project past the ethics commitee?!

Today it's monkeys and sharks. Who'se to stop them trying their fancies on humans next?


PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 3:08 pm
by Yakumo
Typically US I would say!

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 3:54 pm
by Nefer
Yup, and I have to agree with you 100%.

Thanks for posting your opinion :)

What do others think?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 4:36 pm
by Monsoon
As much as i have a slight fear of sharks from spending so much time in the sea, i think this is absolutely disgraceful. And no doubt these jerks will come up with some sort of 'humanitarian' excuse as usual for the manipulation of the animal kindom.

PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 5:33 am
by John R
It's horrible and wrong. But stuff like this doesn't surprise me anymore. Humans!

Oh dearie me

PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:58 pm
by Nefer
I think we may have some ex-Zimbabweans on the Board. This news item makes me incredibly sad, as Zimbabwe has one of the best climates in Africa and also some of the most arable land. How is it that one bloody stupid man has managed to turn this beautiful and productive country into the continent's next Ethiopia? They can't even claim lack of rain as an excuse.


Zimbabwe 'running out of wheat'

The price of bread rose by 30% in one week
Zimbabwe has only two weeks of wheat supply left, while citizens are faced with soaring bread prices, Zimbabwe's main milling organisation has said.

The cost of bread has risen by 30%, pushing Zimbabwe's inflation rate to more than 600%.

Zimbabwe has been in economic decline since President Robert Mugabe began seizing white-owned farms in 2000.

The government is reported to have put its security forces on alert in the rising discontent leads to protests.

David Govere, deputy chairman of the Millers Association, told AFP news agency the scarcity of wheat has meant a reduction in supplies to bakeries.

"Due to depleted stocks, GMB [state-run food distributor Grain Marketing Board] is now giving us 400 tons of wheat a week, down from 600 tons," he is quoted as saying.

Shortages of wheat could force bakers to import flour from South Africa, which could lead to more price rises.

A loaf of bread in Zimbabwe currently costs $66,000 Zimbabwean (66 US cents), having risen 30% in just one week.

President Mugabe denies that his land reform programme has contributed to the crisis, blaming the effects of drought instead.

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says the situation is becoming unbearable.

"It's terrible right now because of shortages," Arthur Mutambara, leader of one of two factions of the MDC.

"Fuel is not available, commodities are unaffordable, unemployment 80%, inflation above 600%.

"It's a travesty of justice that the country has been so run down by Robert Mugabe's regime."

Food aid

Zimbabwe's leading millers - National Foods, Blue Ribbon and Victoria Foods - have shut production at most of their mills because of the wheat shortage, according to AFP.

International aid agencies say about 4.3m out of Zimbabwe's 13m people will require food aid until the next harvest in May.

The country has suffered increasing food shortages, rising unemployment and runaway inflation since the government began redistributing seized white-owned farms six years ago.

Economists say the rate of inflation could reach 1,000% by April.

PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 7:04 pm
by Yakumo
Knowing an exiled Zimbabwe Farmer and Family I am totally appalled by the activities of Mugabe.

We were so incensed we even wrote to Tony Blair to ask what if anything the UK government was going to do about this Tyrant. Typically the foreign office replied with a statement about the millions of pounds in aid being sent to Africa and a close monitoring of the situation.

In other words line the pockets of the Tyrant and watch the Africans starve.

A poignant reminder of the words of some of the local farmworkers as Wayne was hounded off the land.

"we are sorry to see you go, we know the land will no longer be farmed in a way to feed the country"

"We are sorry there is nothing we can do against the Zanu Pf for fear of our own families lives."

The farmworkers were put out of work and there land taken from them too as they had worked for a white farmer.

A horrendous time that is still being lived out creating a new vacuum of dissent in another African state.

God help the African.

Furry hairy lobster for dinner?

PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:29 am
by Nefer
'Furry lobster' found in Pacific
The animal's pincers are covered in sinuous hair-like strands

Kiwa hirsuta is so distinct from other species that scientists have created a new taxonomic family for it.

A US-led team found the animal last year in waters 2,300m (7,540ft) deep at a site 1,500km (900 miles) south of Easter Island, an expert has claimed.

Details appear in the journal of Paris' National Museum of Natural History.

The animal is white and 15cm (5.9 ins) long, according to Michel Segonzac of the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer).

In what he has described as a "surprising characteristic", the animal's pincers are covered with sinuous, hair-like strands. It seems to reside around some Pacific deep sea hydrothermal vents, which spew out fluids that are toxic to many animals.

Dr Segonzac told the BBC News website that the "hairy" pincers contained lots of filamentous bacteria.

Some scientists think the bacteria detoxify poisonous minerals from the water, allowing K. hirsuta to survive around the vents.

Alternatively, the animal may actually feed on the bacteria that live in the hair-like strands.

But observations of its behaviour suggest it may be a general carnivore. Dr Segonzac said he and his colleagues saw the animal fighting with two crabs over a piece of shrimp.

K. hirsuta is blind; the researchers found it had only "the vestige of a membrane" in place of eyes, the Ifremer researcher said.

The researchers said that while legions of new ocean species are discovered each year, it is quite rare to find one that merits a new family.

The family was named Kiwaida, from Kiwa, the goddess of crustaceans in Polynesian mythology.

The diving expedition was organized by Robert Vrijenhoek of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California.

ImageMarine biologists have discovered a crustacean in the South Pacific that resembles a lobster or crab covered in what looks like silky fur.

This so cool! I did a research project back in the day on hyrdothermal vents & the species found there, and how they survive. I could never get any info. on predators, just the giant tube worms. Wish I could re-do the project now!

CIA not so Intelligent anymore, haha!

PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2006 5:08 pm
by Nefer
This was bound to happen. I mean come on, if you can find porn on the net you should be able to find your local friendly CIA agent!

America is so on the fast track to the bottom of a very smelly toilet.

Don't see MI6 or Mossad or... well... others on the net!

Internet blows CIA agents' cover

The CIA, based in Langley, Virginia, may have to update its methods
The Chicago Tribune says it has compiled a list of 2,653 CIA employees, just by searching the internet.
The newspaper said it gathered the information from online services that compile public data, that any fee-paying subscriber can access.

It did not publish the names, at the CIA's request. Many of the agents are believed to be covert. The paper also located two dozen "secret" facilities.

A CIA spokeswoman admitted the internet had scuppered some of its methods.

"Cover is a complex issue that is more complex in the internet age," said Jennifer Dyck.

"There are things that worked previously that no longer work. [CIA Director Porter] Goss is committed to modernising the way the agency does cover in order to protect our officers who are doing dangerous work."

Ms Dyck declined to detail the remedies "since we don't want the bad guys to know what we're fixing".

Terror targets?

The Chicago Tribune article was headlined: "Internet blows CIA cover."

It began: "She is 52 years old, married, grew up in the Kansas City suburbs and now lives in Virginia, in a new three-bedroom house."

It went on to explain that the online service describes the woman in question as a CIA employee who has been assigned to several American embassies in Europe.

The CIA confirmed that she was a covert operative.

The paper also identified facilities in Chicago, northern Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah and Washington state. It said some were heavily guarded, but others appeared outwardly to be private residences.

Asked how so many personal details of CIA employees had found their way into the public domain, a senior US intelligence official told the Tribune "I don't have a great explanation, quite frankly".

Asked about fears that the details might be accessed by terrorist groups, he replied: "I don't know whether al-Qaeda could do this, but the Chinese could."

The disclosure comes as the US justice department continues an investigation into whether members of the Bush administration deliberately exposed the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

And on a totally unrelated note, since this thread has like 149 views & much less posts, I'm going to assume that there are lurkers who refuse to post opnions. And if there are that many views, I'll go ahead and assume y'all enjoy reading what I find amusing, so I'll keep scouring the BBC for more of the same!

And then beer flowed like water

PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 9:36 pm
by Nefer
Quite literally!

Kinda gross, IMO, but then I've never even drunk the stuff :razz: Disgusting swill...

'Creative plumbing' delivers beer

A woman said she thought she was in heaven when she turned on the i am a spammer tap to find a plentiful supply of beer.
Haldis Gundersen was planning to do the washing up when she made the unusual discovery at her apartment in Kristiansund, west Norway.

But two flights below, workers in a bar faced the more disappointing realisation that water was flowing from their beer taps.

A worker had connected a beer barrel to the apartment water pipe by mistake.

"I turned on the tap to clean some knives and forks, and beer came out," Ms Gundersen told Reuters news agency. "We thought we were in heaven."

But the beer was flat and tasted odd, she said.

'Really creative'

Downstairs at the Big Tower Bar, workers realised what the problem was - a new barrel had been misconnected to Ms Gundersen's water supply.

"The water and beer pipes do touch each other, but you have to be really creative to connect them together," said Per Egil Myrvang from the local beer distributor. He helped employees to rectify the problem over the telephone.

Ms Gundersen bore no grudge. "If it happens again, I'm going to order Baileys," she said.

In Norway, the sale of alcohol is controlled through a state monopoly and beer prices are some of the highest in the world.

Born of fire and ice - who woulda thunk?

PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 9:43 pm
by Nefer
Bumper crop of news today!

Comets 'are born of fire and ice'
By Paul Rincon
BBC News science reporter, Houston, Texas

Comets are born of fire as well as ice, the first results from the US space agency Nasa's Stardust mission show.

In January, Stardust's sample return capsule landed in Utah, carrying over a million tiny comet grains inside.

Some of these grains contain material that formed at extremely high temperatures, scientists have found.

This is a surprise. Comets formed in the cold, outer-reaches of the early Solar System, and were never exposed to such extreme heating.

The Sun and the planets began forming out of a gaseous cloud called the solar nebula about 4.6 billion years ago.

This so-called "accretion disc" consisted of a hot inner region and a cold outer region where ice was able to survive.

The high-temperature minerals found in the Stardust samples may have formed in the inner part, where temperatures exceeded 1,000C.

But something must then have transported them out to the cold, comet-forming region known as the Kuiper Belt.

"These are the hottest minerals found in the coldest place, in the Siberia of the Solar System," said Donald Brownlee, chief scientist on the Stardust mission.

"When these grains formed, they were incandescent - they were red or white hot."

Abundant samples

Details of the analysis were presented at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas.

The Stardust spacecraft encountered Comet Wild-2 in January 2004. It swept up particles from the frozen body of ice and dust, flying to within 240km (149 miles) of the comet's core, or nucleus.

It then released its sample return capsule as it flew back to Earth at the beginning of this year. The US-built capsule touched down in the Utah desert on 15 January. They are the first cometary dust samples ever returned to Earth.

The high-temperature minerals discovered in the Stardust samples are not oddities.

They appear to be abundant, having been found in about one in four of the particles examined so far.

One of these minerals known as forsterite, which melts at 2,000C and condenses at 1,127C, has been detected in a comet before.

But other minerals found in the Stardust samples resemble so-called calcium-aluminium inclusions (CAIs), which form at even higher temperatures.

"This raises as many questions as answers. We can't answer them all just yet," said Stardust co-investigator Dr Mike Zolensky.

Longer distances

There are two main possibilities currently being considered to explain the finding.

If the high-temperature minerals formed at the centre of our solar nebula, the molten droplets could have been blasted out to the cold outer region by powerful gaseous jets called the X-wind.

"It's perhaps indicative that the X-wind model is a good one," Caroline Smith, meteorite curator at the Natural History Museum in London, told the BBC News website.

But it means that these bursts must have carried the minerals much farther distances than has previously been suggested.

Alternatively, the minerals may have been formed in the hot regions of other stars before finding their way into the solar nebula, where they were incorporated into comets.

"These are fascinating possibilities," said Dr Brownlee.

"In the lab, we can study these at atomic-level resolution and use the chemical, mineralogical and isotopic properties."

He said that analysis of the different isotopes, or forms, of elements in the mineral should resolve where they originated.