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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26

They’ve Got Gull

Roland Sweet
Published Tuesday August 19, 11:12 pm
Nest-defending birds spoil a hospital’s charity event

Photo Credit: Illustration by Myron Campbell

A British hospital charity canceled a rappelling fundraiser over concerns seagulls would dive-bomb the participants as they did health and safety inspectors checking out the Somerset site before the event. Organizers for the Flying Colours campaign explained that the inspectors discovered a seagull’s nest, with chicks inside, and were attacked by the “fiercely protective” parents. “We are raising money for small babies, yet it is baby chicks that are stopping the fundraising from happening,” said a spokesperson. (Britain’s Metro)


How the Great Unwashed Live

A San Francisco non-profit group equipped a former public transit bus to offer free showers to homeless people. The Lava Mae mobile shower bus features two full private bathrooms with clean toilets, shampoo, soap and towels. Founder Doniece Sandoval explained that the bus can reach homeless people scattered throughout the city, plus it avoids the high rents that a fixed location would entail. (Associated Press)


Shocking Discovery

People would rather be doing something, even if that’s hurting themselves, than doing nothing or being alone with their thoughts, according to researchers at the University of Virginia. When they gave 18 men a 15-minute “thinking” session, with the option of administering a mild electric shock, 12 of them gave themselves at least one electric shock. By comparison, six of 24 women shocked themselves. Prior to the sessions, all of the participants had received a sample of the shock and indicated they would pay not to be shocked again. “Simply being alone with their own thoughts for 15 minutes,” the investigators reported in the journal Science, “was apparently so aversive that it drove many participants to self-administer an electric shock that they had earlier said they would pay to avoid.” (University of Virginia press release)


It Happens

More than a billion people defecate in the open, according to a United Nations survey. India has the largest number of public defecators: 600 million, despite the government’s “Take the poo to the loo” campaign. Lack of toilets isn’t the problem, the study concluded; it’s people’s attitudes. “There are so many latrines that have been abandoned, or were not used, or got used as storage sheds,” said UNICEF statistician Rolf Luyendijk. “If people are not convinced that it’s a good idea to use a latrine, they have an extra room.” (Reuters)


When Miniskirts Stampede

British authorities reported that a 54-year-old man was trying to force open a toilet door on a train in Essex when the door opened and six women in miniskirts emerged, shouting. Police Sgt. Emma Weir said one of the women punched and kicked him onto the station platform, where he fell on another woman, who accused him of trying to steal her purse and punched him in the face. The man suffered a broken nose and two black eyes, according to Weir, who offered no explanation why six women were in the same toilet. (BBC)


Deadly Devices

Smartphones emit low-level electromagnetic radiation that lowers sperm mobility and viability, according to British researchers. They found that magnetic fields from the phones could be generating DNA damage because men carry their phones in their pants pockets, causing the temperature of the testes to rise enough to suppress and interfere with normal sperm production. (Time)


And The Emily Litella Award Goes To...

Answering a reporter’s question, District of Columbia Councilmember Marion Barry, 78, blasted the council’s proposed “yogurt tax,” calling it “crazy” and insisting that yogurt is “more healthy than some other things” and shouldn’t be taxed. The proposal to which the former mayor objected was a tax on gym memberships and yoga classes, labeled the “yoga tax.” Barry representative LaToya Foster explained that Barry didn’t mean “yogurt tax” and “was just misheard.” (Washington City Paper)


Wrong Place, Wrong Time

To honour American troops, Jeffery Smith painted his minivan in camouflage colors and outfitted it with dummy weapons. While driving past Nashville International Airport, the van broke down. Observing a camouflaged vehicle with four missiles and a cannon on top, two machine guns on the front hood and a .50-caliber machine gun inside, city and airport police rushed to the scene. “Of all the places to break down, I had to break down in front of the airport,” Smith said after police discovered the weapons were made of plywood or PVC pipe. No charges were filed, but airport official Shannon Sumrall suggested Smith take a different route next time. (The Tennessean)


Lesson Learned

Danielle Shea, 22, admitted phoning bomb threats to cancel Quinnipiac University’s spring graduation ceremony because she didn’t want her family to discover that she wasn’t graduating. She had accepted money from her mother for tuition but never enrolled. Police identified her because she used her cellphone for the calls, which prompted the Hamden, Connecticut, school to delay graduation ceremonies and move them indoors. (New Haven Register)


Bobbleheads Aren’t Enough

Minor league baseball’s Syracuse Chiefs announced they are awarding a free funeral to the fan who submits the winning essay for the team’s “Celebration of Life” night. The prize includes a casket and professional services valued at $7,500. (Syracuse Chiefs press release)


Fatal Facebook

Oscar Otero Aguilar, 21, whom Mexican authorities described as obsessed with taking impressive photos of himself to post on social media, borrowed a gun and was waving it around while he took pictures with his cellphone when he accidentally shot himself in the head. (The Mirror)

Compiled from mainstream news sources by Roland Sweet. 

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