Don't Panic! Lighten Up!


Your dog probably recognizes your face - even in photos!

© Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
Your dog may be able to recognize your face in a photo.

That's the latest from the University of Helsinki, which published the results of its study in the journal Animal Cognition this December.

According to Science News Daily, the researchers had dogs look at facial images of familiar humans (such as their owner) and other dogs in the family, as well as unfamiliar humans and dogs they'd never encountered. Then the researchers measured the dogs' eye movements as they viewed the photos.

Scientists say that while the dogs viewed the faces of other dogs for longer than the human faces (backing up findings from previous studies), the canines studied also studied the faces of familiar humans for longer than unfamiliar ones.

Maryland, U.S.: Santa Rides Through Silver Spring on Armored Vehicle

armoured Santa
© Montgomery County Police Department
Santa will ride through the county on Dec. 18, 2013.
When Santa Claus rides through Silver Spring on Wednesday, Dec. 18, he'll be on a BearCat.

The BearCat - an acronym for Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck - is an armored police tactical vehicle. It's not commonly driven around Montgomery County, so when Santa rides the BearCat from Germantown to Bethesda, he'll be sure to be spotted.

Santa will be escorted on Wednesday by county police officers, according to a police department news release, and Santa and the officers will transport gift bags and donations raised by the police department to a party for children whose families are residents of The Children's Inn at NIH, according to the news release.

"This is a very special night for the children and families at The Inn," Laura King, director of volunteers and community outreach, said in a statement.

"Santa's visit allows kids to forget about the hospital and their illness - at least for the night," she added.

Comment: (sung to the tune of Santa Claus is Coming to Town)

You better not laugh
You better not cry
The irony of this story is incredibly high
Santa Claus brainwashes children to accept fascism!


2013: The year in bacon

© UPI/Bill Greenblatt
Chef John Johnson checks the status of the hoglog, the world's Largest hunk of bacon with a world record weight of 500 pounds cooked in a custom-built smoker at Baconfest in St. Louis on March 23, 2013.
Bacon may extend life expectancy

Researchers at ETH Zurich have found that foods rich in niacin -- including bacon -- can help you live longer, therefore making it advantageous to eat foods that are rich in the vitamin.

Professor Michael Ristow and his team fed a group of roundworms a niacin-rich diet and found they lived one-tenth longer than their niacin-free peers -- a surprise, as scientists have long thought niacin promotes the formation of free radicals.

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Men who eat bacon, may have less normal sperm

New research suggests eating bacon tends to lower sperm count. The data was presented at the American Society of Reproductive Medicine's 2013 Annual Meeting in Boston where researchers advised men to stay away from bacon and other forms of red meat if they are trying to conceive. "We found the effect of processed meat intake lowered quality and fish raised quality," said Dr. Myriam Afeiche from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).

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Kansas State gives out free bacon at women's basketball game

In order to promote the women's basketball team's home opener against Tennessee State on Friday evening, Kansas State University handed out free bacon beginning an hour before tipoff.

The school made an announcement the Tuesday before the game, and K-State officials were only planning to cook up about 75 pounds of pork. After there was a full-scale bacon blitz on social media, they upped the amount on frying up 300 pounds of thick-sliced bacon, served in "bacon boats," the containers usually used for nachos.
Santa Hat

Danish priest hangs 'elf' from gallows outside his church, saying they must not be associated with Christmas as they serve Satan

  • Priest from Lxkken, Denmark, says children should not be taught elves are linked to Jesus
  • He also offers to exorcise elves from people's homes
A priest sick of 'mixed' Christmas messages has declared war on Santa's elves by hanging one from a noose attached to the front of his church.

Jon Knudsen, 45, from Lxkken, Denmark, believes elves are historically minions of Satan and they should not be associated with the Christian festival.

Jon claims there is a Trojan horse effect associating previously bad cultural creatures such as elves with the birth of Jesus.

Hanged: The elf swings from a rope attached to the church's gallows
Black Magic

Lovely Victorian house for sale in Pennsylvania: "Slightly haunted"

Haunted house

Comes with permanent residents
A lovely home for sale in Dunmore, near Scranton, PA. Comes with special features.

1217 Marion St, Dunmore, PA 18509 is For Sale - Zillow.
Built in 1901, this Victorian home in the Hollywood section of Dunmore features 1850 sf of living space with an additional 1350 sf of partially finished space. Original hardwood floors throughout entire home. 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms. Off-street parking. Freshly painted. New moulding throughout entire first floor. Slightly haunted. Nothing serious, though. e.g. The sounds of phantom footsteps. A strange knocking sound followed by a very quiet (hardly noticeable, even) scream at 3:13am, maybe once a week. Twice a week, tops. And the occasional ghastly visage lurking behind you in the bathroom mirror. Even still, this occurs very rarely and only in the second floor bathroom.
$144,000 sales price.

I'd be interested but it sounds like not enough things moving around. And, not much for mirror creepers.

Maybe a family can move in and apply for this TV show.

Sharon Hill is the Editor and owner of Doubtful News. Writer, specializing in science and society, science policy and education.

Four black swans spotted surfing in Australia

A group of black swans have been filmed surfing off a beach on Australia's Gold Coast, to the astonishment swimmers.

The birds were spotted paddling near the shore at Kirra, one of Queensland's prime surfing beaches, when one caught a rolling wave and was carried into the surf.

Far from appearing put out by the experience, the bird flew back to sea and rode another wave to the shore, followed by its companions.

The sporty flock appeared to be having fun, catching several waves each, sometimes riding them to the beach, before flying away to another surf break.

"I took a little bit of video, and with the second video I took, the swans were surfing. We see (surfers like) Mick Fanning and others and Kelly Slater, but not four black swans", says Kelvin Mill, the local resident who captured the unusal sight.

Saudi Arabian man has the best reaction to seeing snow for the first time

It's hard to guess how people will react to encountering new, strange and foreign things.

We already saw this year a toddler cross paths with ice for the first time, and now this Saudi Arabian man's reaction to encountering never-before-seen snow just proves that this truly is the most wonderful time of the year.


Press release: The New Age goes into retirement

old hippies

People all over the world are reacting with shock, disbelief and also relief at last week's announcement that the New Age has decided to go into retirement.

"Was it something we did?" sobbed Rainbowchild Dewdrop Flower into her organic coconut milk chai, outside her tipi here in Nevada County, California. "Did we not chant fervently enough? Were our prayer flags not plentiful enough? Were our affirmations too predictable and clichéd?"

In fact, the New Age came of age in the late '60s, and, just like many other baby boomers, is ready to collect Social Security and to retire to Key West, Florida. The New Age has just gotten old, that's all. Ol' New Age plans to live out the rest of its years hanging out in all-you-can-eat steak and shrimp bars, and drinking margaritas during Happy Hour. "I've been in this gig way too long, bro," said New Age recently to a close confidante. "Heck, even my inner child is married with kids and a dog and shit now. I tell ya, I've eaten enough tofu and sprouts, and worn enough tie-dye for one life time. I deserve to live out the rest of my days in peace. Nah, forget peace. I'm ready to be loud and gross."

So how does the announcement of New Age's retirement affect the average recovering hippie, like you or me?

Here is a handy quick-tip guide to how last week's announcement might affect your daily routine.
Post-It Note

This Playboy model is auctioning off her virginity...again

Catarina Migliorini

Catarina Migliorini
Cuz that whole thing worked out so well the first time.

Last year, Brazilian Playboy model Catarina Migliorini briefly caught the media's attention with the news that she planned to sell her virginity to the highest bidder. She ended up getting $780,000 to lose her virginity to a millionaire from Japan, but apparently the arrangement fell through when Migliorini met him and realized he looked nothing like his picture. (The dangers of online dating!)
Gold Bar

Gold on airplanes: Over a million bucks found for second time in month

gold bars
© Getty Images
Of all the strange and unexpected things people brace themselves to find in airplane bathrooms, over a million dollars in gold isn't one of them. But for the second time in a month, an airline cleaning crew found stashes of gold hidden by plane toilets.

This is the best thing to happen to airplane bathrooms since the invention of the mile-high club.