Thursday, September 04, 2014

Daily 2 Cents: Human Skull Found in Charity Store Donations -- My Doppelganger -- Lloyds of London Insured Nessie


Human Skull Found in Charity Store Donations

Police are investigating after a human skull was found among donations to a charity store.

Medical examiners say the skull is from an adult who died within the last two years.

The cause of death is unknown, and medics don't know if the skull is from a man or woman.

Goodwill store staff discovered the skull as they were sorting through donations to the outlet in Austin, Texas.

Austin police say they don't believe foul play was involved, and think the skull may be from a private collection.

Detective Derek Israel said: "We think it was probably something that belonged to the person who donated it, and it was part of a collection or an anatomical model or something like that.

"It could have been something that was kept by someone who was a student of medicine, dentistry, any of those things."

Goodwill has 31 stores in Austin and 40 donation centres, and has had other unusual gifts in the past.

A spokeswoman said: "We have gotten prosthetic limbs. We have gotten Rolex watches. We have gotten Krugerrands. Our donations run the gamut." - Mirror

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My Doppelganger

I'm ready to share something quite unnerving that just happened to me last Sunday. So, some background. I drive a '98 Toyota Rav4 which has certainly seen better days, my grandfather was the one that used to drive the SUV before it was handed down to me. So, it got into his head that we should maybe give the Rav some love, give it a fresh coat of paint on the front and rear bumpers.

Here we are then, my grandpa just getting the finishing touches on the Rav while I just idly watch him work when something at the distance catches my attention ( I live in a closed neighborhood, my house being at the end of the street so any car that enter must turn right in front of the house ) another Rav4 identical to mine comes driving down the street, what a coincidence I think, it just so happens that when it passed in front of me I caught a glimpse of the driver, it was, well me, driving a Rav that was already painted; the driver just looked back at me, our gazes crossed, he didn't give me a nod of acknowledgment or something, he just stared at me for a few seconds, made a u-turn and left.

I was left astounded to say the least, this guy, which I could swear looked just like me, driving the same car at me, just drove past my house, stared at me for a few seconds at leaved. I didn't tell my grandpa of the other guy, seeing as how he didn't even notice the car because he was to busy painting.

Do you guys have any idea as to what this may mean? Is he like a doppelganger or something, my mind playing me some sick joke? - Reddit.com

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​That Time Lloyds of London Insured The Loch Ness Monster

In 1971, Cutty Sark offered an award of one million pounds ($2.4 million) to anyone who could capture the Loch Ness Monster. But, the whiskey manufacturer began to get cold feet, so it asked Lloyds of London to underwrite the contest. The insurance company agreed, with the condition that it would get to keep Nessie.

To this day, nobody is certain why Cutty Sark came to believe that someone might actually reel in the mythical, Scottish sea creature. Still, this was the 1970s, when Nessie-mania was reaching a peak and scientific expeditions were searching the dark depths of the 22-square-mile, freshwater loch. (The late monster-hunter, Robert Rines, took an underwater photo deemed so convincing that scientists at Harvard and the Smithsonian Institution expressed serious interest.)

Perhaps that's also why Lloyds of London initially turned down the request to accept Cutty Sark as a client. A spokesperson for the firm stated that, "The Risk is too great."

But, after a barrage of news reports that the unflappable Lloyds had "chickened out," the insurance company reversed its decision.

"Everybody was saying that our underwriters were refusing to insure and that got our backs up," the spokesperson said a week later.

The contract between Lloyds and Cutty Sark stated:

"As far as this insurance is concerned, the Loch Ness Monster shall be deemed to be:

In excess of 20 feet in length.

Acceptable as the Loch Ness Monster to the curators of the Natural History Museum, London.

In the event of loss hereunder, the monster shall become the property of the underwriters hereon."

Since Lloyds had no way to calculate the probability that Nessie would be captured, it charged an outrageous premium that far exceeded the reasonable probability of loss.

Still, Cutty Sark signed. And Lloyd's made a nice profit, since the Loch Ness Monster was never caught. Or, so we've been led to believe - io9

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Execution by Elephant: Ancient Capital Punishment in India

The death penalty is one of the oldest methods of criminal sentencing. Although different countries have had equally gruesome methods of inflicting the highest form of punishment, India had one of the most brutal methods of criminal torture: execution by elephant.

Designed to demonstrate to the people that even the awe-inspiring power of nature was under the iron grip of the emperor, execution by elephant — or gunga rao, as it’s called in India – became a choice method for capital punishment during the Middle Ages and continued well into the 19th century. Although the execution method was thought to have originated in ancient Rome, the practice of stomping the punished via elephant became popular in both western and Southeast Asia and in India. However, this method of execution declined as the British Empire grew in power.

Sources say that Hindu and Muslim leaders executed citizens for tax evasion, rebellion, and being enemy soldiers alike. Thieves and Mongol prisoners were also punished by death.

As for the elephants, they were often trained to “instantly crush [the offender] to atoms … but if it was desired to torture him, the elephant would break his limbs successively, as men are broken on the wheel,” observed Robert Kerr, a writer from the 19th century.

Crushing the victim, however, was not the only method of elephant-inflicted torture. According to Fran├žois Bernier, a French traveler who witnessed such executions in the Mughal sultanate of Delhi, the elephants were also capable of slicing the prisoners to pieces “with pointed blades fitted to their tusks.”

Another traveler who visited Delhi in the year 1330, Ibn Mattuta, witnessed and recorded his account of the event, stating: “If the order was to cut him to pieces, the elephant would do so with his irons, and then throw the pieces among the assembled multitude. But if the order was to leave him, he would be left lying before the emperor, until the skin should be taken off, and stuffed with hay, and the flesh given to the dogs.” - weirdasianews

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Hornets' nest falls through couple's ceiling

Firefighters were called in to rescue two people after their home was invaded by giant hornets.

The couple were forced to barricade themselves in their bedroom after a large nest, which was filled with hundreds of the enormous flying insects, fell through the ceiling from the attic above.

The terrified pair ended up calling the fire brigade and had to be rescued by ladder through their bedroom window.

The incident took place in the UK where this particular species of hornet, which is from Asia, has only recently started to appear.

Measuring up to 6cm in length and with a stinger 6mm long, these giant wasp-like creatures are responsible for killing dozens of people every year and have been gradually making their way westwards since hitching a ride to France in a shipment of pottery from China back in 2004.

Last year 1,600 people were injured and 41 were killed by the insects in China's Shaanxi province with similar figures reported in other parts of the country as well as in Japan. - maidenhead-advertisor

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