Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Archive for February 8th, 2012

Chicago Man Gets Stuck In Elevator Twice In One Day

Posted by Anonymous on February 8, 2012

ElevatorFirefighters rescued a man from a trapped elevator early Monday morning — only to see him get stuck in a second elevator just moments later, CBS Chicago reports.

Around 9:15 p.m. Sunday night, the man notified authorities that he was stuck inside the 21st floor elevator of the Mid-Continental Plaza in Downtown Chicago, according to WLS. After roughly three hours, firefighters managed to free the man from his suspended prison, but when he took another elevator down, that ride became stuck as well.

At least the had company the second time around — when rescue workers worked to free both the man and another firefighter who got stuck with him.

Everyone eventually safely left the building, reports said.

via Chicago Man Gets Stuck In Elevator Twice In One Day (VIDEO).

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Earliest Human Paintings Ever: Not made by our Homo Sapiens

Posted by Anonymous on February 8, 2012


According to new dating tests, these are the first paintings ever made by humans. They are seals painted more than 42,000 years ago, located in the Cave of Nerja, in Málaga, Spain. And they may change our ideas about humanity’s evolution.
Until now, archeologists thought that the oldest art was created during the Aurignacian period, by modern humans. But these are way older, way more primitive than the ones in Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave, the 32,000-year-old paintings featured in Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams.

According to the latest dating of the charcoal found next to the paintings—used either to make the paintings or illuminate them—these seals may have been made more than 42,300 years ago. In fact, they may be as old as 43,500 years.

It’s a mindblowing academic discovery, according to project leader José Luis Sanchidrián, professor at the University of Córdoba, one that can revolutionize our understanding of our history, culture and evolution:

Our latest discoveries show that neanderthals decorated their bodies with paint and had an aesthetic sense, and that’s a scientific revolutions because, until now, [we] homo sapiens have attributed our selves every achievement, showing [the neanderthals] almost like monkeys.

We thought art history was exclusive to evolved humans, that our sensibility was “an intimate part of ourselves, the sapiens, because we think we are the thinkers.” This discovery, if confirmed with further testing, proves this sapiens-centric idea wrong.

According to Sanchidrían, all the available scientific data shows that these pictures could only have been made by Homo Neanderthalensis instead of Homo Sapiens Sapiens, something completely unthinkable until this finding. “The charcoals were next to the seals, which doesn’t have any parallelism in paleolithic art” said the professor, “and we knew that neanderthals ate seals.” And there is no proof of homo sapiens in this part of the Iberian Peninsula.

Researchers think that this cave was one of the last points in Europe in which neanderthals—who lived from 120,000 to 35,000 years ago—sought refuge, escaping the push of the Cro-Magnon, the first earliest homo sapiens to reach Europe. [Cueva de Nerja via Diario de Córdoba—In Spanish]

via These Are the Earliest Human Paintings Ever.

Posted in Archaeology, Biology, History, Mind | Leave a Comment »

World’s Oldest Twins Are 102-Year-Old Scottish Sisters Edith Ritchie and Evelyn Middleton

Posted by Anonymous on February 8, 2012

http://i.huffpost.com/gen/491926/thumbs/r-102-YEAR-OLD-TWINS-large570.jpgEdith Ritchie and Evelyn Middleton turned 102 on November 15, but they had to wait until this week for the real present.

Guinness World Records has named the centenarian sisters, who hail from Aberdeenshire, Scotland,the world’s oldest twins.

“Edith and Evelyn are a remarkable pair,” said Guinness World Records Editor-in-Chief Craig Glenday in a press release.

“When they were born, the likes of Mark Twain and Florence Nightingale were still alive, and we had yet to conquer the South Pole. They’re not just the oldest in the UK, they hold the world title. They’ve clearly benefitted from good genes, and a solid life-long friendship that only twins can truly understand.”

The sisters just edged out the previous record holders Ena Pugh and Lily Millward, who are still alive and kicking, just six weeks younger.

Although there are claims of 107-year-old twins living in the Ukraine, the Scottish sisters’ claim remains the only record verified by Guinness officials, reported the Metro.co.uk.

The twins are not identical, but their mother always dressed them exactly the same, with bows in their matching long brown plaits, according to the Daily Mail.

After leaving school, the sisters worked on farms before leaving to start their own families.

Evelyn married William Middleton and had four children, 12 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.

via World’s Oldest Twins Are 102-Year-Old Scottish Sisters Edith Ritchie and Evelyn Middleton.

Posted in Biology, Survival | Leave a Comment »

Purple Squirrel Found in Pennsylvania

Posted by Anonymous on February 8, 2012

http://vortex.accuweather.com/adc2004/pub/includes/columns/newsstory/2012/590x411_02072112_purplesquirrel3.jpghttp://vortex.accuweather.com/adc2004/pub/includes/columns/newsstory/2012/300x140_02072115_purplesquirrel1.jpg02/07/2012, 09:19am

According to Connie Emert, her husband released the purple squirrel back into the wild Tuesday night.

A purple squirrel was found in Jersey Shore, Pa., on Sunday, by Percy and Connie Emert.

“We have bird feeders out in our yard, and the squirrels are constantly into them,” said Jersey Shore resident Connie Emert. “My husband traps them and then sets them free elsewhere so they don’t get into your bird feeders.”

Emert said she had spotted a purple squirrel on her property but no one believed her.

“I kept telling my husband I saw a purple one out in the yard. ‘Oh sure you did’ he kept telling me,” said Emert. “Well, he checked the trap around noon on Sunday and sure enough, there it was.”

It was a warm and sunny day in Jersey Shore, Pa., on Sunday.

“The squirrel’s been eating peanuts. That’s what we used in the trap,” she continued.

The Emerts currently do not know why the squirrel is purple.

“We have no idea whatsoever. It’s really purple. People think we dyed it, but honestly, we just found it and it was purple.”

The Emerts plan to release the squirrel back into the wild in the next few days.

via Purple Squirrel Found in Pennsylvania.

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Chimp genius can complete computer memory test much faster than any human rival

Posted by Anonymous on February 8, 2012

Ayumu the chimp completes a computer game (c) BBC/Professor Tetsuro MatsuzawaA chimp genius can complete a computer memory test in less time than it takes the average person to blink – and much faster than any human rival. But do the world’s cleverest animals enjoy these cognitive tasks?Ayumu, who was born and raised in Japan’s Kyoto University, can remember the location and order of a set of numbers in record time. Sixty milliseconds to be precise.

Of course, it is not “natural” behaviour for a chimp to interact with a computer screen, but scientists suggest this type of task could be good for captive apes.

“Unfortunately, captive great apes often exhibit behavioural signs of boredom, frustration and stress,” says Fay Clark from the Royal Veterinary College’s Centre for Animal Welfare. Working with the Zoological Society of London, Ms Clark has recently published a review of research investigating whether challenges that get captive apes thinking can enhance their well-being. “If an ape does not receive enough cognitive challenge in life, this can lead to abnormal behaviours or a lack of interest in the environment,” she tells BBC Nature.

“The key is for scientists to develop challenges which are relevant, motivating, and ultimately solvable if they are going to be used as enrichment.”As one of the world’s longest-running laboratory-based studies of chimpanzees, the Ai Project has been investigating chimp intelligence for over 30 years.

Professor Tetsuro Matsuzawa began his research with a one-year-old female chimp Ai, the namesake of the project, in 1977. Over the years the team investigated Ai’s brain power by observing her as she learned to complete tasks including number and object recognition.In 2000, Ai gave birth to a son, Ayumu, who has since become the number-crunching star of the study, and features in the series Super Smart Animals, for BBC One and the Discovery Channel.

Ayumu’s daily routine resembles that of many 11-year-olds: sleep, eat, play and learn.During his “study sessions” he receives a treat every time he correctly remembers the location of the numbers on screen and selects them in order.”

Ayumu and others can do the task with social praise. Food reward is not the essential matter,” Prof Matsuzawa says. He says the chimps all go to the testing room of their own free will, and “they love to do so”.”It is not only Ayumu but also the other young ones who have the better memory than naive human adults,” he says. …

via BBC Nature – Ape versus machine: Do primates enjoy computer games?.

Posted in Biology, Mind | 1 Comment »

Cop chases himself on CCTV

Posted by Anonymous on February 8, 2012

AN undercover cop “chased” HIMSELF round streets for more than 20 minutes after a bungling CCTV operator mistook him for a suspect.

The rookie policeman was staking out a burglary-hit area when the operator radioed in that he’d seen someone acting suspiciously.

He directed the cop, who works for Sussex Police, as he followed the “suspect” on camera — assuring the pursuing officer he was “hot on his heels”.

But the operator had not realised the “burglar” he was watching was actually the cop himself. And the daft one-man chase continued until a sergeant entered the CCTV control room and pointed out the operator’s mistake.

The blunder, which happened last month, was revealed in Police Federation magazine Police this week after a senior cop relayed the story to the mag. He said: “The operator had the suspect on camera and everywhere he saw him the keen PC was on his heels.

“Then the sergeant pointed out that the CCTV operator was unaware he was a plain-clothed police officer — thus the PC had been chasing himself.”

Sussex Police said yesterday they were made aware of the incident by reading the mag. A spokesman said they “had a laugh”, but could give no further details.

via Cop chases himself on CCTV | The Sun |News.

Has having cameras everywhere reduced crime? Why not just fit everyone in the UK with a remote controlled bomb? Then the police there could just explode any criminals without having to chase them.

Posted in human rights, Technology | Leave a Comment »

The raven which inspired Edgar Allan Poe’s most haunting poem goes on display

Posted by Anonymous on February 8, 2012

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/02/06/article-2097090-119B67C9000005DC-237_634x446.jpgEach line of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven still has the power to send a chill down the spine.

Now Charles Dickens’ pet raven called Grip – the little known, real-life inspiration behind one of literature’s most terrifying poems – has been has been put on display to commemorate the author’s 200th birthday.

The bird, which Dickens has a taxidermist preserve, has been given pride of place in a new exhibition in Philadelphia’s public library.

The raven appeared as a minor character in Dickens’ book Barnaby Rudge, which Poe reviewed and criticised for the bird’s small role.

Four years later, in 1845, he penned his immortal and haunting poem The Raven.

It told of a talking raven visiting a distraught man whose lover had just died, arriving ‘as of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door’. The paragraphs then trace the man’s slow descent into madness.

via The raven which inspired Edgar Allan Poe’s most haunting poem goes on display | Mail Online.

Somewhere around here I have an MP3 of me reading the Raven while I was sick and had a raspy voice …

Posted in History, Strange | Leave a Comment »

Iran training an army of female Ninjas?

Posted by Anonymous on February 8, 2012

Iranian Ninjas-Iran-01-29-2012 – YouTube.

There are over a billion American female Ninjas but they hide so well that no one knows they even exist. They don’t even get counted by the Census. There is one hiding in your sofa right now. Wanna bet?

Posted in Sports, Strange, War | Leave a Comment »

Mysterious two minute booming sound in Milford Haven

Posted by Anonymous on February 8, 2012

The source of a strange booming noise heard in the Milford Haven area last night (Thursday) remains a mystery.

The noise started at around 10.30pm and lasted for two minutes.

“It was unlike anything I have ever heard,” said one resident.

Pembrokeshire County Council confirmed that it received three complaints about the booming noise.

Environment Agency Wales said that they had investigated the incident and had not discovered anything untoward.

Locals speculated that the noise may have come from the Castlemartin Range which is currently conducting night firing exercises.

However a spokesman for the MoD said that the exercises on the range last night were straightforward section attacks with live firing and would not have caused a large booming noise.

via Milford noise is a booming mystery (From Western Telegraph).

Boom explained: It was an absorbent boom, laid across, innit? I’m not placing the boom on anyone in particular…

Boom placed across Milford docks after boat sinks

5:10pm Thursday 2nd February 2012 in

An absorbent boom has been laid across Milford Haven Docks after a fishing boat sank.

Milford Haven Port Authority said the absorbent retaining boom had been set up as a precautionary measure after a “minimal amount” of bilge water was recovered.

The wooden fishing vessel Accordance sank early on January 18th, but as it was not in use, all fuel oil had been removed and weekly inspections were carried out, the Port Authority said.

Harbourmaster Mark Andrews said: “Divers have made an underwater inspection and plans are in hand to identify the best way to remove the vessel, which is well clear of any operational area.

“No other vessels are being affected by this incident,” he added.

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Somali pirate ‘Six Toe Joe’ captured by Royal Navy sailors

Posted by Anonymous on February 8, 2012

Captured: Royal Navy sailors have detained a Somali pirate dubbed Six Toe Joe because he has an extra digit on each footA Somali pirate dubbed Six Toe Joe because he has an extra digit on each foot has been captured by Royal Navy sailors.

The notorious gangster, who also has an extra finger on each hand due to the rare condition polydactyly, was detained with 13 others last month.

A stash of weapons including rocket launchers and hand grenades were found in the Indian Ocean raid on a hijacked Yemeni fishing boat, and the group now face years in jail for piracy.

A jubilant source told the Sun: ‘We have finally captured the pirate with 12 toes and 12 fingers. This is a massive scalp for the Royal Navy.

‘He’s the modern day Long John Silver. When you think of pirates you think of peg-legs, not excessive fingers and toes, but the rumours proved to be true.’

Had the pirate, who was handed to Seychelles police last week, lived in the West then he could have undergone a simple operation to remove his four extra digits.

But war-torn Somalia’s healthcare system is believed not to cater for such medical issues.

via Somali pirate ‘Six Toe Joe’ captured by Royal Navy sailors | Mail Online.

Notorious though he may be, I hope he is not abused by his captors.

Posted in Crime, Strange | Leave a Comment »


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