Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pitt slow down

MOSCOW — Brad Pitt is accustomed to stopping passersby in their tracks. The Hollywood heartthrob's next job is slowing traffic in Siberia — or so Russian traffic police hope.

A Russian newspaper reports that cardboard cutouts of Pitt dressed as a traffic cop have been placed by the most dangerous intersections in the city of Omsk.

It's the latest move by authorities in their endless battle against speeding. Traffic accidents in Russia are among the highest in Europe.

The campaign seems to be working. Omsk officials say accidents are down as star-struck drivers ease off the gas to gaze at the unusual image.

The paper, Argumenty i Fakty, quotes Dmitry Ziryanov, a local official who came up with the idea as saying Pitt is "kind of like a colleague for us."

Where the heart is

If home is where the heart is, a new survey suggests that most people aren't sure exactly where they live. More than half of people cannot pinpoint the exact location of the human heart on a diagram, and nearly 70 percent can't correctly identify the shape of the lungs, according to the survey.

This lack of knowledge isn't just embarrassing -- it could lead to a poorer quality of health care, some experts say.

In the study, published in the journal BMC Family Practice, a research team surveyed 722 Britons -- 589 hospital outpatients and 133 people in the general population. They gave the volunteers four diagrams of human figures and asked them to choose the one that showed the correct size and location of a specific organ. (For example, the heart diagrams showed various size organs on the far left side of the chest, directly in the center, anchored on the center/left chest, and on the right side of the chest.)

Overall, people knew less basic anatomy than the researchers expected -- even those patients being treated for a specific condition involving that organ. Participants generally answered half the questions correctly, including 46.5 percent who knew which drawing represented their heart. In all, 31.4 percent correctly identified the lungs, 38.4 percent the stomach, 41.8 percent the thyroid, and 42.5 percent the kidneys.

The intestines and bladder were the most easily identified, with 85.9 percent and 80.7 percent, respectively, answering the question correctly.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Don't trample the Jellyfish!

A 250m-long (825 ft) crop circle of a jellyfish has appeared on farmland. The owners of the land in Oxfordshire have urged visitors to stay away from the circle, which is also 60m (197ft) wide, to avoid further crop damage.

Sally Ann Spence and husband Bill, who own Berry Croft Farm near Ashbury, said hundreds of visitors have been trampling over their field.

They said it was "beautiful" but the flattened crops were now "useless" and the damage would cost about £600.

"We have not given permission for people to walk on our land," Mrs Spence said. The pattern has already cost a great deal of damage - possibly about £600. People can get a better view from the air."

She said she was not concerned about tracking down the culprits and the incident has not been reported to the police. It is not the first time crop circles have appeared on their land, they said, but the jellyfish is one of the most spectacular.

Penal Tour de France

Nearly 200 French prisoners are preparing to take to their bikes in the first ever penal Tour de France. The 194 inmates, escorted by 124 prison guards and sports instructors, will set off from Lille and cycle about 2,400km (1,500 miles), ending up in Paris.

They will have to cycle in a pack, will not be ranked and, for obvious reasons, breakaway sprints will not be allowed.

Prison authorities say they hope the race will help the inmates learn values such as team work and self esteem. The prisoners, all serving jail terms of between five and 10 years, will make stopovers in 17 different towns, each of which has a jail.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Exploding cows

Seven bulls exploded and caught fire after power lines fell on a dairy farm in New Zealand. The incident happened north of Auckland at Wilks Road farm.

Dave Taylor, who leases the farm, said he got a phone call from his father who was driving along the motorway, telling him his cows were exploding.

'I found seven dead and on fire in the paddock,' he said.

Three bulls were electrocuted after the power lines fell and four were killed when they walked into the live area.

A hedgehog was also killed.

"Licence to chill"

"Del Monte's new "licence to chill" smoothie lolly, which is modelled on 007 Daniel Craig's sculpted torso."

Picture: PA