Oldster's View

Fight Against Maturity

Robot rally cars

Lots More at BBC NEWS
Twenty-three cars are setting off on a remarkable race across the desert.

From a distance, the cars look like any other rally cars tearing down the dusty roads. But closer inspection reveals that something odd is going on. There’s no-one sitting in the driving seat of any of the cars. Nor are they being steered by remote control.

This is the Grand Challenge, the worlds toughest race for robot vehicles – cars that drive themselves. There is $2m £1m on offer to the car that completes the 135 mile course in the fastest time. To win it the cars will have to drive 20 times further than any robot car has ever driven itself before.

October 31, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off

Crows: Bird brains, but not stupid

More at MSNBC.com
crow1.jpg Bird brained they might be, but crows are the MacGyvers of the avian world, able to turn twigs and even their own feathers into tools for getting at hard-to-reach food. But while young crows are born with a propensity for crafting tools, it’s only after watching their elders make and use tools that they become truly proficient, a new study suggests.

Compared to other crows, those from the Pacific island of New Caledonia, located east of Australia, are master tool makers and users, second only to humans and on level with chimps when it comes to finding novel uses for everyday objects. In their natural forest environment, the midnight-black birds fashion twigs, leaves and even their own feathers into tools for rooting out insects in dead wood.

October 31, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off

It’s a crappy job but someone has to do it

More at The Herald – Life
batman.jpgSo many bats have infested the town’s historic district that the sky turns black with each sunset and the neighborhood is calling on Batman to come to the rescue.

That’s what the local bat remover goes by. George Perkins often makes public appearances in the caped crusader’s costume and drives his own Batmobile – a retro-styled Chrysler Prowler with bat emblems. Callers to his office in Eufaula, Ala., known as Bat Cave 1, or Union Springs, Ala., known as Bat Cave 2, hear the “Batman” TV show theme while on hold.

The bat-weary residents of Americus aren’t laughing. The problem is even too big for Batman, and now the state has promised to help. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has proposed a long-term plan that includes surveying the bat population, possibly training city workers to do bat removals for needy homeowners and building bat houses in safe areas where the flying mammals can continue providing environmental benefits without being a nuisance.

“They’re perpetual crap machines,” said Tripp Pomeroy, who moved to the town of 17,000 in 1989 to work for Habitat for Humanity, which has its global headquarters here.

October 31, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off

Theresa, the peg-leg cow

More at NEWS.com.au
peglegcow.jpg A prized dairy cow is putting her best foot forward again after an Australian-first effort to fit a prosthetic limb. Latrobe dairy farmer Geoff Heazlewood admits it was just a whim when he suggested Theresa, a two-year-old heifer, get an artificial leg. But the response to the throw-away line on ABC Radio’s Country Hour has amazed Mr Heazlewood and his wife Anne.

Last weekend Theresa was fitted with a new leg, just three months after one of her rear legs was amputated after a fall down an embankment. It followed offers from four people with experience in making prosthetics, including Launceston’s Charmaine Gooding who made and fitted the limb.

“She volunteered her time but gave us no guarantees, did some work and that’s where we are at now,” Mr Heazlewood said.

A week after fitting the artificial leg, made of timber and fibreglass, everything is going well.

Mr Heazlewood said the cow seemed to take a few minutes to get used to the new leg, but had adjusted fairly well.

October 31, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off

Whats Romanian for “Abracadabra”?

Ananova
Romanian witches are hiring English teachers so they can cash in on the country’s EU entry by targeting new clients.

Local ‘celebrity’ white witch Ioana Sidonia is the latest witch to start having English lessons so she can cast spells for new English-speaking clients when Romania joins the EU in January. She said: “My magic powers told me that not only would Romania prosper from joining the EU, but that it would bring me lots of English-speaking clients. There will be lots more foreigners around and by learning English I can help them. Until now the only words of English I could speak were the names of different whiskies. I thought I should expand my vocabulary.”

October 31, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off

Doesn’t sound like Casper

More at Ananova
The M6 has been named Britain’s most haunted road in a new Halloween survey.

The M6’s spooky reputation follows with reports of phantom Roman soldiers, a ghostly woman and a lorry driving against the flow of traffic. Motorists have also reported eyes looking out from bushes in Platt Lane, Leigh, Manchester – the scene of a mining disaster years previously.

The A9 in the Highlands was the second most haunted after a family reported seeing an ornate coach and horses, along with bewigged footmen.

October 31, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off

Taking DIY a little too far?

oldtrain2.jpg
Ananova
Passengers on a broken-down train were shocked when they were asked if they could fix it.

The London to Manchester Virgin train was halted at Rugby station in Warwickshire when a windscreen wiper broke. The train manageress pleaded over the tannoy [intercom, Yank] for any passengers with nuts, bolts or cable ties to go to the front of the carriage.

Four men stepped forward to help, reports The Sun. One of them, Damian Gaskin said: “It was unbelievable. I had a few basic tools with me so I went to help. One man had a foot on the platform with his other stretched across the windscreen. He was straddling the train. he told me he was a passenger and fixed the electrics on a service the week before.”

A Virgin spokesman said: “After several repair attempts passengers got off the train and boarded a later service.”

October 31, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off

Not quite bread and water but close

Ananova
A Cornwall man has lost [224 pounds] in a year on a diet of Oxo cubes. Stephen Kay, 39, swapped fry-ups, pies, pasties and pints of lager for three bowls of hot broth a day. The dad-of-three, who is 6ft 2ins, weighed [441 pounds], reports the Daily Mirror.

He devised his own diet made up of Oxo stock cubes, topped up with fruit and vegetables. Within 12 months he had slimmed down to [213 pounds] and lost two [feet] off his waist as his belt size shrank from 60 to 36.

Stonemason Stephen said: “I’d read all the weight loss magazines and watched all the TV programmes – but I hate salads. I remember my grandfather eating hot Oxo broth soaked up by wholemeal bread so I went for that.”

Stephen decided to fight the fat after constant pestering from wife Caroline and children Gary, 21, Claire, 14 and Jack, 11. Caroline makes her husband’s filling broths three times a day using two stock cubes, hot water and pepper. She also gives him three slices of wholemeal bread. The 42-year-old part-time cleaner said: “This diet has totally transformed him. He used to get tired easily and spend all his time on the sofa. Now he is out playing badminton.”

October 30, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off

Name gaffe on spelling DVD

Ananova
Eamonn Holmes is fuming after makers of his new spelling game DVD spelt his name wrong on the cover. Makers DDS Media had to scrap 10,000 games after they called him ‘Eamon’ – with one ‘n’.

According to The Sun, an insider said: “There are a lot of red faces with everyone blaming each other.” The blunder was spotted by the star when he was sent one of the first DVDs to be pressed. The insider added: “He said, ‘How can you expect people to buy this game when you’ve misspelt my name on the front!’ We had to destroy the whole first run of 10,000 games and delay the launch.”

The game, Eamonn Holmes’ Spell, with its correct cover is due to go on sale later this week.

October 30, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off

Oops!

LiveScience.com
In October 2005, three ghost hunters in Salem, Massachusetts, were arrested for trespassing on private property in search of ghosts. They had entered an abandoned hospital reputed to be haunted. The group was so busy looking for spirits they failed to notice the police station across the street; all three were arrested, fined, and sent home.

October 30, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off

Houdini: Spy?

More at wcnc.com
houdini.jpgEighty years after his death, the name Harry Houdini remains synonymous with escape under the most dire circumstances. But Houdini, the immigrants’ son whose death-defying career made him one of the world’s biggest stars, was more than a mere entertainer.

A new biography of the legendary performer suggests that Houdini worked as a spy for Scotland Yard, monitored Russian anarchists and chased counterfeiters for the U.S. Secret Service – all before he was possibly murdered.

October 30, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off

Dumb Crook Tip: Don’t shoot a shotgun in a fireworks store

al.com:
A man attempting to rob a fireworks shop fired his shotgun, igniting fireworks and starting a blaze that destroyed the business, authorities said.

No injuries were reported at North American Fireworks, the Vilas County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement Saturday. A 20-year-old man was being held in jail after being tracked to a home about 10 miles away.

October 29, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off

UK Pagan inmates are get Halloween off

This is London
Hundreds of Pagans serving prison sentences are to be given the day off work for Halloween out of respect for their religious beliefs. Prison Service bosses have instructed staff to grant the convicts, who include Devil worshippers and Satanists, special privileges on Tuesday.

While fellow prisoners sew mail bags and undertake other jail work, the Pagans will be allowed to celebrate their ‘holiday’. They can use certain artefacts, including rune stones, flexible twigs and hoodless robes, provided they are kept in their cells or worn during communal worship. Robes with hoods are banned for ‘security reasons’, however.

October 29, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off

Thai funeral home offers quiet lodging – Yahoo! News

Yahoo! News
flower.jpg Cheap and quiet accommodation is available for visitors to Thailand’s upcoming international horticultural show, but some may find it too quiet, the lodgings are in the funeral hall of a Buddhist temple.

Three million visitors are expected at the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2006 which opens Wednesday in the northern city of Chiang Mai and lasts until Jan. 31, the Bangkok Post reported Saturday.

The yellow, five-petaled Ratchaphruek is Thailand’s national flower. The event, being held in honor of the country’s revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej, is expected to strain the capacity of the area’s numerous hotels and guest houses, so local temples are also throwing their gates open to visitors, the newspaper reported.

At least one temple, Wat Jet Yod, will allow guests to sleep in its funeral hall, where religious rites for the dead are held before the departed is cremated, also on the temple grounds.

The price is a bargain 20 baht ($0.54) per person per night.

………………

No alcohol or noise allowed.

October 28, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Romulan Navy

More at Miami Herald
boat.jpgSurveying the crowded docks of the Las Olas Municipal Marina at today’s opening of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, your eyes wander over a sea of gleaming-white megayachts, each more expensive and tricked out than the one next to it.

But then your gaze falls on the weird-looking, gun-metal-gray contraption docked in Slip 226, and you utter an involuntary expletive. It’s the 78-foot Earthrace boat — a cross between Jules Verne and Star Trek. As one observer put it, “It looks like something the Romulans would travel in.”

October 28, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off

Sad. “Where the living share space with the dead”

More at Reuters
In the crowded sprawl of Manila, the living must compete for space with the dead. Fortunately for Virginia Bernardino and hundreds of other slum dwellers who have moved into the largest cemetery in the Philippines, the deceased don’t seem to mind.

“So far we have not seen any ghosts here,” the soft-spoken Bernardino, 59, said with a chuckle. “I think that only happens in the movies. As the saying goes, we should fear not the dead but the living.”

For years, Manila North Cemetery, a public graveyard in the center of the capital of 12 million people, has been a thriving community for those evicted from their homes or flocking from the provinces for better opportunities in the big city. After being forced from their state lot beside the cemetery to make way for a new graveyard, Bernardino and her husband have converted her mother-in-law’s mausoleum into a home for their two sons, their wives and children.

Living conditions are basic but the residents manage some creature comforts. Clothes hang from lines strung among the makeshift shacks and television sets flicker in a few homes with electricity stolen from nearby power lines.

October 28, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off

Oops!

LiveScience.com
In October 2005, three ghost hunters in Salem, Massachusetts, were arrested for trespassing on private property in search of ghosts. They had entered an abandoned hospital reputed to be haunted. The group was so busy looking for spirits they failed to notice the police station across the street; all three were arrested, fined, and sent home.

October 27, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off

Need a Halloween costume?

Link

wompus-phantom.jpg

October 27, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off

Once more. Now pay attention. DON’T MESS with oldtimers.

oldsterdouglas.jpg All the details at Daily Mail
A 70-year-old former British soldier who fought guerillas in Aden and Triad gangs in Hong Kong showed four muggers how it doesn’t pay to mess with the SAS.

Douglas O’Dell is past retirement age but the moves he learned as a volunteer in Britain’s toughest regiment half-a-century ago stood him in good stead when he was ambushed near his home in Bielefeld, Germany, by four local toughs.

The former Provost Sergeant put paid to the danger on the street like he once took out bandits in hotspots across the globe.

THWACK! The first mistake came when one of the teenagers grabbed him around the throat and said in German: “Give my your money, grandad, if you don’t want to get hurt.”

………….

Oh, there’s more. Lots more.

October 27, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off

Bring your own spoon

The Daily Record
Fireman were called to mop up a trailer-load of 48 tons of chicken korma sauce after plastic packs melted when another trailer caught fire alongside the vehicle in Saltney, Flintshire.

October 27, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off

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