July 23, 2004

LinkNews Digest [7/23/2004]

Meathead Teens Swing From Hooks

MIAMI (Reuters) - Law enforcement officials in the Florida Keys are mystified by a bizarre new pastime -- young people dangling themselves from meat hooks on a popular sandbar.

They found that five young people had erected a bamboo tripod and hung meat hooks from it. A young woman, her feet brushing the surface of the shallow water, dangled from the frame, hooks embedded firmly in her shoulders.

"It looked like a daily routine for them," she said, adding that the hooks had been inserted in the skin in a professional manner and had drawn very little blood. "As long as they weren't creating any kind of ruckus or riot within a crowd they really weren't breaking any laws."


For the Army "On the Go"

Would you eat food cooked in your own urine? Food scientists working for the US military have developed a dried food ration that troops can hydrate by adding the filthiest of muddy swamp water or even peeing on it.

The ration comes in a pouch containing a filter that removes 99.9 per cent of bacteria and most toxic chemicals from the water used to rehydrate it, according to the Combat Feeding Directorate, part of the US Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Massachusetts. This is the same organisation that created the "indestructible sandwich" that will stay fresh for three years (New Scientist print edition, 10 April 2002).

LINK(New Scientist)

The Underground Drive-In Movie

Thanks to new technology, the drive-in movie has taken a cue from Raves and gone underground. Handbills are circulated, advertising the location, usually a vacant lot, and the film to be shown. Then as soon as the film ends, the movie packs up and leaves no trace.
It's called The Santa Cruz Guerilla Drive-In

Great Balls of Fire

CAIRO (Reuters) - A series of fires in the southern Egyptian province of Sohag has destroyed some 160 houses, giving rise to rumors that spirits are at work or mysterious balls of fire are falling from the sky, a local official said Sunday.

But the causes are mundane -- kerosene stoves, cigarette butts and electrical short circuits, Brigadier Ezzat Aboul Kassem told Reuters. Flaming pigeons, their feathers set alight in the blazes, may explain talk of balls of fire, he added.

Two children have died in the fires, which started last month, and about 30 people have been injured, either from burns or from smoke inhalation, security officials said.

"Investigations have shown that there are burned pigeons on top of some of the burned houses and it's probable that they fell there after catching fire at other houses," he said. "Maybe that explains the rumors of balls of fire falling from the sky."

Robber Foiled by Granny's Photo Albums

A man who tried to rob an elderly grandmother in her own home, fell asleep on a couch after she began showing him family pictures.

Juan Garcia Vasquez tried to break into the 73-year-old woman's home in San Francisco, but woke her up when he smashed a window. She opened her front door to see what was going on and Vasquez put a cloth over her mouth to muffle her screams. But she managed to calm the man down and offered him something to eat.

Police officer Paul Zill said: "He didn't speak English that well and she didn't speak Spanish so they used the international language of pointing and nodding.''

The woman then showed Vasquez pictures of Saint Theresa and began praying next to him. She also showed him pictures of her grandchildren and shared stories about them, said police.

When Vasquez returned from using the bathroom he indicated he'd used the last of her toilet paper. When he nodded off, his intended victim locked herself in the bathroom from where she called her daughter.

Mystery Creature Lurks in Maryland

GLYNDON, Md. -- A mystery animal is on the loose in Baltimore County and not even the experts can pin down what it is.

More than a month after the first sighting, the creature has become a neighborhood regular and showing up often.

Kim Carlsen: "It comes to our house. It's been up in the woods for a while and it comes up through the bottom of our yard and eats our cat food."

Even the other neighborhood animals like Bullwinkle the dog next door seem okay with the beast.

Kim Carlsen: "It's not afraid of the cats and the cats seem to get along with it fine."

The beast is not shy, and visits most often under bright sun. While no one here knows what it is, they do have a name for it -- the hyote, a combination of a hyena and a coyote.

"Charlie & the Chocolate Factory" Filming Hits Sticky End

THE new Willy Wonka film was in the goo last night — after a £300,000 camera was dropped into a giant vat of “chocolate”.

It plunged in after a technician failed to secure the wire-held camera. And the crew watched in horror as it plunged into the 3ft-deep tank. The disaster has delayed filming of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, which stars Johnny Depp as sweet factory boss Willy Wonka.

Insiders say the bill, including paying staff to stand idle, could top £500,000.
LINK(The Sun)

Duke Freshman Given iPods

Duke University freshmen will get something even more trendy than a Blue Devils T-shirt when they arrive next month: a free Apple iPod digital music player.
On Monday, the university announced a deal with Apple to distribute 1,650 of the hand-held gizmos to first-year students. Duke will get a discount and give them free to freshmen -- for keeps.

The iPods generally are used to store and play music; the 20-GB model, which the students will get, can hold up to 5,000 tunes. But the Duke students, being brainy and all, will use the iPods mostly for academics.

Or so Duke hopes.

"Whoa!" said rising Duke freshman Mollie Tucker of Raleigh when she learned she'd pocket an iPod. "It sounds like a good idea. It sounds really cool."

When she arrives Aug. 19, her iPod will be loaded with all kinds of useful information, including orientation schedules, calendars, campus tours, even the Duke fight song.

Students also can use them for course content, such as recorded lectures, music, language lessons and audio books. Throughout the year, they will be able to download information through a Duke Web site modeled after Apple's iTunes site, where people can download songs legally.


iPod Speakers by MacGyver

And speaking of iPods, some smart guy has built some iPod Peakers from a pair of Headphones and an Altoids tin. Link

The Miami Parkimg Meter Fairy

A Miami man has donned a wig, tutu and fake wings to become the city's parking meter fairy.

Xavier Cortes rollerskates around the trendy Coconut Grove area putting change into meters about to run out. He wears a pink curly wig, a lavender tutu and diaphanous angel wings, reports the Sun-Sentinel.

Mr Cortes is employed by local retailers and restaurateurs who feared visitors were being discouraged by parking tickets.

Cynthia Bettner, publisher of Best Tourist Publications Inc, advertised in the Miami New Times for a "colourful one-of-a-kind extrovert who looks good in tulle".

She said: "Xavier was perfect. He's an artist, someone who likes to be dressed in this bizarre outfit to help educate people about the parking tickets."

Mr Cortes, an artist with a theatre background whose works have been featured in galleries and on music album covers, said he loved his new job.

"I've done Che Guevara, who is a communist, so this is just another performance," he said. "I'm out skating, and I'm getting paid for doing somebody a favour."

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