Kitten saved from luggage, TSA success

One way to get out of paying airline pet fees is to stuff your beloved pet inside your checked baggage right between the multiple sweatshirts you’re never going to wear. The downside is you’ll have to spend the rest of your life being a complete piece of shit.

Pennsylvania TSA agents foiled such an attempt when workers discovered a 6-month-old kitten being stowed away in a bag at Erie International Airport, according to SFGATE.

A couple is accused of storing the kitten, named Slim, inside a checked bag earlier this month while returning home from traveling for the holidays. Slim is currently in the custody of the local Humane Society.

Even more surprising is the TSA was actually able to stop a restricted item from getting past security.

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Trains in Japan may be disguised as barking dogs to ward off deer

Those pesky deer loitering around Japanese railroad tracks are certain to be no match for expected train technology featuring the sound of barking dogs.

Tokyo railway researchers say the “dog yaps” are effective at disbanding deer and saving them from being struck by trains, which often lead to delays, according to the Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun. Besides the woof mechanisms, the Railway Technical Research Institute is hoping to outfit trains this year with “deer snorts” used to warn fellow deer of potential danger.

The likely unintended consequence is all the undelivered mail to homes built next to the train track.

Via The Asahi Shimbun:

In tests, a 3-second-long recording of a deer’s snort and 20 seconds of a yapping dog were aired from aboard a running train car between evening and late at night, the time of the day when deer typically make frequent appearances. Deer were sighted only 7.5 times per 100 kilometers from aboard the trains, about 45 percent less than when no measures were in place.

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Watch: Bread maker flings dough across restaurant with astonishing accuracy

Incredible skill mixed with this paratha maker’s nonchalant demeanor of tossing dough disks across a room full of people may put him in the running for the world’s most efficient worker.

At what point did this man decide he would save more time by throwing flatbread dough to the other end of the kitchen, potentially striking patrons in the face? It must have been a risky business decision, but surely production increased.

Viewers of the nearly 5-year-old video note how the paratha pitcher bangs his rolling pin to notify the paratha catcher to expect some incoming dough. No sustained eye contact between the two needed.

The graceful art form is said to be taking place at a hotel’s restaurant in Tamil Nadu, India, according to the video’s title. Read the rest

Blind backpacker and travel writer has visited over 120 countries

I initially felt bad for Tony Giles when I watched his story on the BBC Travel Show. I caught the episode part way through and saw him walk right into a turnstile while crossing a security checkpoint into Palestinian territories. Giles, from England, is completely blind and severely deaf, but he travels all over the world by himself and occasionally stumbles into people willing to guide him a bit.

When I found out he’s visited over 120 countries, including all seven continents and every state in the US, I realized I don’t feel sorry for Giles. I’m jealous of him and I’ll continue to feel sorry for myself. Giles can make any argument his disabilities limit him from traveling or excuse himself from any barrier at all. We’d all understand. Yet, he’s experienced things people probably don’t even waste time dreaming about.

Photos on Giles’ personal website show him taking a mud bath near the side of the Dalyan River in Turkey and playing the kora in Senegal. I assume many of us, disabled or non-disabled, would come up with hundreds of reasons why we couldn’t travel and explore the world. Giles just does it. Read the rest

Hold back those tears and start eating “sunions”

Crying won’t be needed to fill that bowl of French onion soup as grocery stores begin carrying a cross-bred, non-tear-provoking version of the traditional onion.

The “sunion” has been propagated for the last 30 years to reduce onion compounds that create sulphuric acid when they react with eye fluid, according to the Independent. Bayer Crop Science seemingly figured the onion’s natural defense for keeping hungry critters away just wasn’t in line with our mediocre standards for simple living.

Following a March release date, only one’s own internal pain and suffering will be the reason for crying in the kitchen, or of course chili-hand-to-eye contamination.

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Leaked Mormon Church booklet for leaders claims masturbation turns you gay

Remember when the fear of going blind or growing hair on your palms was enough to make you stop masturbating? Neither do I, but apparently The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been spreading a much more “terrifying” myth since the eighties that self pleasure makes you gay.

A recently leaked booklet on homosexuality (second edition) for church leaders suggests “early” masturbation could cause adolescents to become gay, according to Newsweek. “Early masturbation experiences introduce the individual to sexual thoughts which may become habit forming and reinforcing to homosexual interests,” according to the booklet.

Other absurd declarations about homosexuality included moms coddling their sons could turn them gay, and that it “may involve violent or criminal behavior.”

The church has since shifted a bit by allowing people with “same sex attraction” to at least be able to participate in the church, but homosexual acts “violate” Mormon law, according to its website. Masturbation also still seems out of the question.

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Streaming porn might not be helping the environment

If the guilt of sneaking off into the basement bathroom to watch a few porn videos on your smartphone wasn’t enough, now avid smut viewers can carry the potential concern of harming the environment.

Long gone are the days of high-grossing pornographic DVDs, and The Atlantic raises an interesting possibility that the energy required to stream such vast amounts of porn takes a larger environmental toll than pre-digital consumption.

Via the Atlantic:

Using a formula that Netflix published on its blog in 2015, Nathan Ensmenger, a professor at Indiana University who is writing a book about the environmental history of the computer, calculates that if Pornhub streams video as efficiently as Netflix (0.0013 kWh per streaming hour), it used 5.967 million kWh in 2016. For comparison, that’s about the same amount of energy 11,000 light bulbs would use if left on for a year. And operating with Netflix’s efficiency would be a best-case scenario for the porn site, Ensmenger believes.

Adult film companies suggest porn clips are being viewed at much higher rates when compared to peak DVD sales, although sales of pornography have not been typically archived as a whole in the industry, and the same goes for “accurate” streaming data.

It’s an unusual thought that an industry forced to move to the digital age might be more damaging to the environment than its previous manufacturing and distribution methods.

Ensmenger "agrees that the numbers are nebulous at best," according to The Atlantic. "But like Dines, he still thinks these questions are worth asking, even if only to raise awareness that internet porn does take an environmental toll."

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Surgeon admits to branding initials onto patients’ livers

Patients of Dr. Simon Bramhall probably weren’t expecting an autograph on their transplanted organs. That didn’t stop the surgeon from signing their livers like Roy Moore on high school yearbook day.

Bramhall pleaded guilty to two counts of assault for using an argon beam to burn his initials on two patients’ livers at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 2013, according to the BBC. The beam can be used to sketch a non-harmful outline for operation on the livers surface.

Bramhall pleaded not guilty to assault causing bodily harm. His initials were originally discovered by another surgeon.

Via the BBC:

"It was done in the presence of colleagues," he said.

His actions were carried out "with a disregard for the feelings of unconscious patients", the prosecutor added.

Bramhall resigned after a disciplinary hearing with University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust in May 2014.

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State trooper finds nothing funny about pulling over DeLorean going 88mph

The driver of a DeLorean modded to resemble the version from Back to the Future didn’t impress a Texas state trooper for hitting 88 mph.

Mark Shields, who was driving his car to an event, told KHOU he thought the officer was joking when he pulled him over for the time-traveling speed. Shields said the trooper responded by saying he doesn’t “joke” about his job.

Shields said the trooper continued to ask about the car and questions related to the movie, but ultimately handed the butthead a ticket.

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Japan has way more interesting Kit Kat flavors than rest of world

Jonathan Kaiman, the Beijing Bureau chief of The Los Angeles Times, reported on the history of how different flavor Kit Kat bars infiltrated Japan.

The country is home to an estimated 300 flavors (sake, cherry blossom, French salt, melon, "college tater," wasabi...) that began to transform the traditional chocolate covered wafer into unusual, yet supposedly satisfying snacks in the 1990s. Thanks to a marketing campaign to diversify souvenir shops in Hokkaido, the candy bar has been released in limited edition flavors throughout the past few decades.

Like other product launches, Nestle has created some flops, like the Kit Kat cough drop flavor. Regardless, the Kit Kat has maintained its interesting level of innovation in the country.

Via the Los Angeles Times:

The candy with the European pedigree went on to conquer Japan thanks to constant invention — blueberry cheesecake, cherry blossom and melon — and a linguistic coincidence that makes Kit Kats here a harbinger of good luck.

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Watch: Cigarette addict caught smoking in plane bathroom threatens to kill everyone on board

Video taken during a Southwest Airlines flight Saturday shows a woman screaming and making threats toward passengers' lives.

The airline said the woman was found smoking in the plane’s lavatory after tampering with the smoke detector, according to the Washington Post. Accused of subsequently pulling out an oxygen mask, the woman can be seen and heard demanding the plane be stopped or else she would kill all passengers and crew.

“I swear, if you don’t f---ing land, I will f---ing kill everybody on this f---ing plane,” the woman says to a flight attendant. More chaos ensued.

The crew eventually complied and landed in Sacramento, where deputies were waiting on the ground to make their arrest. Read the rest

Catch a movie in Saudi Arabia for the first time in 35 years

Saudi Arabia is planning to open up movie theaters by March, ending a 35-year ban on cinemas. The goal will be to have 2,000 movie screens over the next 12 years, according to the Guardian.

Saudi Arabia isn’t undergoing a full westernization, even as women are preparing to drive in 2018. Walls dividing men and women are expected to be built in the theaters.

Eager Saudis have been able to stream movies by bypassing government censors, along with viewing flicks on satellite TV. But an increase in Saudi movie makers can lead to an incredible exchange of differing ideas...I hope.

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I could have potentially destroyed our moon base and still had time to eat astronaut ice cream

Our space camp instructor promoted me to Chief Research Scientist during our Mars mission for what I like to think was my competency and professionalism as Capsule Communicator during the previous day’s mission.

I brought absolutely none of those qualities to our “base” on Phobos in a mock set-up designed for 9 to 11 year olds. After detailing rocks from the Mars' moon’s “surface,” I was tasked with conducting an experiment involving a chemical reaction inside a Ziploc baggie. Having spent most of my education nodding off through chemistry class, I was completely unfamiliar with my task.

So I should have expected I would mix the wrong chemicals after carelessly picking up a different bottle. No explosion on our end, but instead of causing a reaction that would cool the bag and make it inflate, I created a substance now known as “space gravy.” It’s unfortunate Sodium Bicarbonate and Sodium Polyacrylate look so similar.

Slightly less unfortunate was meeting my first astronaut. The final night of camp happened to feature a dinner to honor Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison “Jack” Schmitt 45 years after his mission.

Dr. Schmitt, 82, a former U.S. senator from New Mexico and a geologist, is the only scientist to add his footsteps to the surface of the moon. He also happens to be a climate change denier.

“Unfortunately, science at least in the United States has become biased to what governments want to do and that’s not objective science,” Schmitt said during a press conference before his dinner. Read the rest

I was sent to space camp and survived the Multi Axis Trainer

Gearing up in a flight suit inside a bathroom stall at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama may not be the most authentic way to prepare for the perils of space, but it’s the closest chance I’ll ever get to living my dream of becoming a cosmonaut.

And since everyone’s dream is leaving Earth’s atmosphere and exploring, walking around in a blue onesie like you’re part of a cult doesn’t make you feel as stupid as I looked.

I actually found myself getting strangely overinvested in my role as a Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM), making sure our virtual space shuttle completed its mission and landed safely while part of the camp group conducted space missions and flew a mock shuttle.

Mission control was responsible for sifting through binder-filled specs to solve “anomalies” that would sporadically appear on our consoles while guiding the crew.

The camp offers different difficulty levels with more math-involved scenarios for advanced admirers of space, but for a camp group of journalists and bloggers, the lower level, “kid’s” missions suited us perfectly. It may even be a little embarrassing the number of times the camp instructors had to step in with some hints.

I also said “roger that” enough times to be committed to an insane asylum, but it was worth it to bring our crew safely back home.

We were just able to land our shuttle a little sideways on the runway after our low orbit missions were completed. Today we do it again for a Mars simulation. Read the rest

Chinese zoo-goers bamboozled into seeing inflatable penguins

Yulin residents in China’s Guangxi province were said to be excited last weekend about going to the city’s first zoo, which was advertised as having “rare” animals. Instead, attendees discovered blow-up penguins in areas that should have been designated for authentic flightless birds, according to the South China Morning Post.

Guishan Zoo, which has since been closed, also included breathing monkeys, geese, roosters and turtles.

For an admission costing approximately $2.25, inflatable penguins probably should have been expected.

Via the South China Morning Post:

It also claimed to host educational programmes about nature and wild animals.

Posters promoting the attraction also promised a “special display” at weekends on a poster that featured images of penguins, an ostrich and peacocks...

The unnamed owner told the Nanguo Morning Post it had been set up by a contractor and she did not know there would be inflatable animals until the day they went on display.

Read the rest

Doctors follow man's tattoo’s instructions that say "Do Not Resuscitate"

A Florida ICU staff faced a difficult ethical dilemma concerning a 70-year-old patient and a tattoo on his chest — ultimately reaching a decision that still doesn’t set a precedent for similar situations.

The patient was brought by paramedics to the hospital unconscious with a high blood alcohol level, along with a history of medical issues, according to a newly published article in The New England Journal of Medicine.

When the patient's health began to further decline, the staff was forced to consider the man’s “Do Not Resuscitate” tattoo along with what was believed to be a tattoo of his signature underneath. The staff originally decided against following the tattoo's orders saying it was an “irreversible” decision that shouldn’t be left to potential body art or a drunken mistake.

Due to his inability to verbally communicate his wishes, the staff called for an ethics consultation, and in the end they decided to follow the tattooed request.

After the order was given, the hospital was able to locate the man’s out-of-hospital Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order from the Florida Department of Health, which matched his tattoo. The patient later died without undergoing CPR or anymore life-saving efforts.

The doctors considered it a “relief” to find the written DNR order.

Via New England Journal of Medicine.

Despite the well-known difficulties that patients have in making their end-of-life wishes known, this case report neither supports nor opposes the use of tattoos to express end-of-life wishes when the person is incapacitated.

Read the rest

Fox News “accidently” claims President Jimmy Carter is dead

An article published on Fox News’ website incorrectly stated former President Jimmy Carter died at the age of 93 in a story about George H.W. Bush becoming the longest living president in U.S. history.

The article originally claimed Carter and Ronald Reagan died at the same age, according to Snopes. As much as some Fox News fans might wish that alternative history were the case, Carter is still alive and celebrated his 93rd birthday Oct. 1.

To be fair, gross factual errors are an inexcusable and unfortunate part of reporting and handling multiple facts — I’ve probably already made several of them in this article — but this particular gem seems to suggest a more over-eager attitude from Fox News. The Fox News article wasn’t even an inaccurate death story about Carter, but a casual error that someone should have easily avoided when looking up his age. No one knows how old Jimmy Carter is off the top of their head.

These strange slips aren’t uncommon to Fox News' cable channel either. Sean Hannity referred to Hillary as “President Clinton” during a monologue on his show in October.

Fox News has since corrected the article and apologized for the error.

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