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Thu, 11 Feb 2016
The World for People who Think

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Wine

Taxi panel won't retire 666

The devil gets to keep riding around in a San Francisco cab, the San Francisco taxi commission decreed on Tuesday.

After nearly half an hour of discussion and debate, the commission brought the weight of government to the question of whether to grant a request by a San Francisco cab driver seeking to retire Medallion No. 666 because of the number's association with Satan.

Telescope

Spying Squirrels

Also in the animal world . . . From the BBC translators, an editorial by Saleh Eskandari headlined "spying squirrels," published July 10 by the Iranian newspaper Resalat.

"A few weeks ago, 14 squirrels equipped with espionage systems of foreign intelligence services were captured by [Iranian] intelligence forces along the country's borders. These trained squirrels, each of which weighed just over 700 grams, were released on the borders of the country for intelligence and espionage purposes. According to the announcement made by Iranian intelligence officials, alert police officials caught these squirrels before they could carry out any task.

Comment: According to various reports, the camera-wielding squirrels turned out to be American tourists. Iranians admit it was an honest mistake.


Black Cat

Oscar the cat predicts patients' deaths

Providence, Rhode Island - Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours. His accuracy, observed in 25 cases, has led the staff to call family members once he has chosen someone. It usually means they have less than four hours to live.


©AP
Oscar, the furry reaper.

Wolf

Is this the proof that spirits DO exist?

At first, it seemed no more than a curious coincidence. Professor Klaus Heinemann, a researcher for NASA, the U.S. space agency, was studying a collection of photographs his wife had taken at a gathering of spiritual healers when he noticed that many of them featured the same pale but clearly defined circle of light, like a miniature moon, hovering above some of the subjects.

Question

Vivoleum - It's new, it's disgusting! And it fooled an oil industry group

Sometimes you can't make it up any weirder than it actually is. That definitely was the case on June 14, when a pair of environmental pranksters managed to promote themselves as keynote speakers at the Gas and Oil Exposition - aka GO-EXPO 2007 - in Calgary.

Better Earth

Search for Britain's most remarkable epitaph

Some choose their own. Others think it too morbid. Some boast of achievement. Others want to be modest.

They can be witty or doom-laden, long or short, informative or tell you very little that's useful. Epitaphs, from the ancient Greek literally meaning "on the gravestone" and the text that honours the deceased commonly inscribed on a tombstone, come in many forms.

But in Britain they have one thing in common - they are in danger of being lost for ever. So serious is the situation that today a campaign is being launched to try to record as many as possible before it is too late.

Each year in England 25,000 gravestones are lost and with them the important historical information they contain.

©waterlooogs.ca

"People want nice tidy churchyards and don't want to mow around higgledy, piggledy gravestones so they move them and they break, or they lay them face down and they get forgotten then broken up for paving stones," said Richard Stuart, the director of the National Archive of Memorial Inscriptions who has made it his mission to record details of as many as possible.

Better Earth

Hungary approves referendum on introducing siesta, but struck down referendum on serving free beer

"Do you agree that the Parliament of the Republic of Hungary should make a law about introducing the siesta?"

Hungary's eight million voters may soon be asked to answer that question after the National Election Committee ruled late on Monday that it was fit for a referendum.

Citizens suffering in the record heat this month will however have to keep paying for their refreshments as the committee earlier struck down a referendum proposal about making beer free in restaurants, saying it would have distorted the market.

Stormtrooper

Shocking! Teacher punishes girls with pond squats

Malaysia - A Malaysian teacher has defended her move to punish 170 teenage girls by making them squat neck-deep in a fish pond, in a case that has sparked concerns about abuse in schools, a report said Monday.


Magic Wand

Victim and Thief Meet Again at Bookstore

PRESCOTT, Ariz. - A woman whose purse was stolen and the thief who took it inadvertently stood next to each other at a Prescott bookstore _ she to complain about the unauthorized use of her credit card, he to get some cash.

Bizarro Earth

270 Smuggled Crocodiles Seized in China

Chinese police tracking a suspicious vessel on a border river in southwest China got a shock when they found 270 crocodiles, a state news agency reported Monday.

Xinhua News Agency said the seizure was the largest this year in Guangxi region, where 25 illegally captured crocodiles were discovered in the first six months.

Border police noticed the boat trying to land on the Chinese side of the Beilun River, which marks the border with Vietnam, early on Sunday.

Xinhua said four people carried bags off the boat, but jumped into the river and swam away when they saw the police.