November 21, 2013
Beagle’s Nose Predicts Few US Polar Bear Cubs
Cincinnati (AP) A specially trained beagle’s smell test for polar bear pregnancies predicts there will be few new cubs for U.S. zoos this year.
Animal conservation scientists at the Cincinnati Zoo worked with a dog trainer in Kansas, to devise the test being tried out this year. Zoos around the country provided fecal samples that the 2-year-old dog named Elvis had been trained to sniff for proteins that scientists say are found only from pregnant polar bears.
Cincinnati Zoo scientist Erin Curry says that with nearly all samples from 14 zoos checked, the Elvis test indicates this year’s cub class will be similar to last year’s.
Only three cubs were born in U.S. zoos. She declined to provide the results for other zoos but says the one for Cincinnati’s ``Berit’’ was negative.
Note To Self: Don’t Use Eating Utensils Next Time
Mountain Home, AZ (AP) Authorities say DNA evidence found on a spoon led to the arrest of an Arkansas man accused of breaking into a restaurant, stealing money and sampling some pie. Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery says the December 2012 burglary at Bobbie Sue’s Restaurant remained unsolved for nearly a year until authorities received DNA results from the state crime lab.
Montgomery says the burglar emptied two donation jars intended for charity then ate a pie, a ham sandwich and English muffins. Investigators found a dirty spoon, and Montgomery says DNA matched 29-year-old Justin Studdard, who was arrested this week on suspicion of commercial burglary, theft and criminal mischief. He remains in the Baxter County jail and is due in court next week. Authorities did not know if Studdard had an attorney.
Pennsylvania Paper: Sorry For Panning Gettysburg Address
Harrisburg, PA (AP) It took 150 years, but a Pennsylvania newspaper said Thursday it should have recognized the greatness of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address at the time it was delivered.
The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, about 35 miles northeast of Gettysburg, retracted a dismissive editorial penned by its Civil War-era predecessor, The Harrisburg Patriot & Union.
The president’s speech is now considered a triumph of American oratory.
The retraction, which echoes Lincoln’s now-familiar language, said the newspaper’s November 1863 coverage was wrong when it described the speech as ``silly remarks’’ that deserved a ``veil of oblivion.’’
The paper now says it regrets the error of not seeing its ``momentous importance, timeless eloquence and lasting significance.’’
``By today’s words alone, we cannot exalt, we cannot hallow, we cannot venerate this sacred text, for a grateful nation long ago came to view those words with reverence, without guidance from this chagrined member of the mainstream media,’’ the paper wrote, echoing the words of the address.
During the Civil War, the Patriot & Union was a Democratic newspaper that was staunchly opposed to Lincoln. An event to remember the 150th anniversary of the speech was held last Tuesday in Gettysburg.
Pong Played On Philly Skyscraper Nets World Record
Philadelphia (AP) A college professor who played a supersized video game on the side of a Philadelphia skyscraper now holds a Guinness world record for the feat.
Drexel University professor Frank Lee recreated the classic Atari game Pong on the 29-story Cira (SEHR’-ah) Centre last spring.
The building essentially became a 60,000-square-foot screen as hundreds of embedded LED lights replicated the familiar ball and paddles, which were controlled by a joystick about a mile away.
Drexel officials learned on Friday the project earned Lee the Guinness World Records mark for largest architectural video game display.
Other gaming enthusiasts got to share in the fun in April. Players also tried out giant versions of Space Invaders and Tetris.
Wedding Rings Swapped For Chiefs Tickets
Kansas City, MO (AP) A longtime Kansas City Chiefs fan says he swapped six game tickets for a wedding ring set advertised on Craigslist.
The buyer, 49-year-old Kansas City resident Rusty Jones, said he first learned of the ring offer last week through a story in The Kansas City Star. He contacted the seller, who wanted to swap the rings and surprise a loved one with tickets to the Dec. 1 game at Arrowhead Stadium, The Kansas City Star reported Friday.
A season ticket holder since 1993, Jones said he and his girlfriend had started talking about engagement rings a month ago. He had tickets to offer, though not the club-level seats the seller was seeking. Nonetheless, his offer worked: Four tickets to the Broncos game and two tickets to the Nov. 24 Chargers game, all in section 123 near the end zone.
The rings, which the newspaper said were from the seller’s previous marriage, were appraised at $2,800.
The seller has asked to remain anonymous to avoid spoiling the surprise.
Man With Guilty Conscience Confesses On Job Application
Everett, WA (AP) A Marysville man trying to become a police officer is now facing charges after he reportedly confessed to theft during a police ride-along.
The Daily Herald, citing records, says the 26-year-old man also admitted to the theft on his application to become a police officer in Lake Stevens, north of Seattle.
The man was arrested Thursday for investigation of first-degree theft, a felony. He appeared in Everett District Court Friday and was ordered released without bail.
The man reportedly told a Lake Stevens police officer last month that he paid a friend to steal his vehicle three years ago.
He then collected nearly $12,000 in insurance money.
In court papers, police said prosecutors determined that the statute of limitations for theft had not expired.
US Woman Discusses Forced Exorcism Allegations
Stockton, CA (AP) A California woman whose husband and son are accused of kidnapping her to perform an exorcism says they made her drink oil and told her she had devils inside her.
Forty-one-year-old Blanca Farias told News10 in Sacramento that she was held down in the backseat of a pickup truck Saturday after being picked up in Stockton. ``They were saying I had three devils inside of me,’’ Blanca Farias said.
She said her husband, Jose Magana-Farias, 42, and son, Victor Farias, 20, convinced her to meet them Saturday at a Walmart in north Stockton. She has been separated from Magana-Farias since January.
She told News10 that they told her they wanted to talk about the failing marriage at a nearby coffee shop, but coaxed her into the back of a pickup truck and held her down in the back seat while a pastor whom she knew drove.
An hour and half later, she said, they arrived at a church in Bay Point, where she was forced inside and bathed in oil.
``They made me swallow some of that oil,’’ Blanca Farias said. ``I started throwing up and this pastor was just saying, `You’ve got the devil. Get off of her, get off of her, get off of her,’ until I fainted.’’
She said she believes that the incident was motivated in part by her choice to see another man since the separation.
She said she was able to text her current boyfriend, and authorities were waiting when she returned home. Magana-Farias and his son were immediately arrested. The father and son are accused of kidnapping, false imprisonment and conspiracy to commit a crime. The pastor is not expected to face charges.