Saturday, March 02, 2013

Just the Facts?: America’s Deadly Phenomenon: Sinkholes -- The New Pandemic? -- 3 Ways to Hypnotize...a Chicken


America’s deadly phenomenon: Sinkholes

Police are still investigating what caused a 100-foot-wide sinkhole in Florida that killed a man when the ground disappeared beneath his house.

The fear of looming danger is real and present all over the globe, and pictures of the terrifying holes that appear seemingly unannounced and leave a trail of bodies and damage in their wake.

Officially sink holes are caused by the dissolution of soluble bedrock and the frequency and likelihood of such changes occurring depends on a number of natural factors like the type of rock present and the weather conditions in the area. Continue reading at (several photos) Daily Mail

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'Hair police' in Nepal

Police authorities in Kathmandu are facing flak from residents following a drive targeting young boys and a few girls for keeping long hair and wearing earrings. On Monday police detained 711 persons including three girls as part of a campaign to bring down incidents of theft, loot and other criminal activities.

But instead of taking action based on past records of those detained, the main criterion behind the action was the length of their hair and their appearance.

After rounding them up from all corners of the city the police took down names, fingerprints and photos of the detainees before handing them over to their parents and guardians.

Some unlucky ones also had their hair cut by the police in presence of their guardians and were warned not sport long hair in future.

“Is it against the law that I want to keep my hair long? Are we being ruled by the Taliban,” nepalnews.com quoted an unidentified youth who was forced to cut his hair short.

The police action has sparked an online outrage with many accusing the authorities of trampling on personal liberty of residents and some demanding an apology from IGP Kuber Singh Rana.

“Who in Nepal Police comes up with idiotic ideas occasionally? What right (do they) have to arrest people for looks,” wrote senior journalist Damakant Jayshi on Twitter.

“Nepal Police has gone into retard mode if you think catching kids with long hair and earrings is going to help you catch the criminals,” wrote Tamu Hoina on Nepal Police’s Facebook page.

“Keep you tweet short or you will be thrown behind bars,” tweeted Sagar Ghimire, another journalist.

Senior police officials could not be contacted for their comments but reports in local media quoted unnamed police officials as defending the move. - Hindustan Times

Nepal - Culture Smart!: the essential guide to customs & culture

Nepal in Transition: From People's War to Fragile Peace


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3 Ways to Hypnotize...a Chicken

By Linda Riggins, The Old Farmer's Almanac
Source: MindTrip Magazine

"I've been hypnotizing chickens since I was nine, when the county 4-H agent in Milwaukee showed me how," says Dr. Doris White, a Bernardsville, New Jersey, chicken farmer who is also professor of elementary education at William Paterson College and a chicken hypnotism instructor.

"When he taught me, I thought everyone knew how to hypnotize chickens." She was wrong. She points out that "some farmers are still surprised that a person can hypnotize chickens. But after they see me demonstrate how it's done, they go home and try it themselves"

The Oscillating Finger Method
Dr. White shows her audiences two methods of hypnotizing chickens. The Oscillating Finger Method is probably the easier of the two. Place the bird on its side with a wing under its body and hold it down gently. Make sure its head is flat on the table. To hypnotize the bird, use one finger of the free hand, moving the finger back and forth in front of the bird's beak from its tip (without touching it) to a point that is about four inches from the beak. Keep the finger in a line parallel to the beak.

The Sternum Stroke Method
The second technique is the Sternum Stroke Method. Gently put the bird on its back. It may be necessary to use a book, purse, or other item to keep the bird from rolling onto its side. Hold the bird down. Lightly massage the bird's sternum, using the slightly spread thumb and index finger of one hand to do the stroking.

The Chalk Line Method
(Editor's Note: A third technique, discovered buried in the files of The Old Farmer's Almanac, is the Chalk Line Method. Draw a straight chalk mark about a foot long. Hold the chicken with its beak on one end of the line, staring straight out at the chalk mark. In a few seconds, the chicken will be hypnotized.)

"A bird will stay hypnotized for a couple of seconds, minutes, or hours," says White, although in her demonstrations they're "out" for only minutes. Regardless of the method used, a sudden movement or loud noise will bring the chicken out of the hypnotic trance.

White adds, "Pheasants go out faster than any other bird. Wild pheasants are very nervous and high-strung, and usually very easy to hypnotize." In her demonstrations, she is protective of pheasants, because after they come out of hypnosis, they are likely to hurt themselves unless they are carefully monitored.

Noting that domestic birds are more difficult to hypnotize than wild ones, she suggests that one reason may be that wild birds are using a survival skill when they submit to hypnosis.

White has reported the results of her experiments at several New Jersey science conferences and fairs. In one of her studies of 11 birds, the heart and respiration rates, when measured five minutes after hypnosis, were significantly lower than in the prehypnotic state. For example, in a Bantam White Cochin cock, the heart rate before hypnosis was 457 beats per minute and after hypnosis 372. The rates for this bird's respiration were 22 and 20 breaths per minute, respectively. The temperatures of nine of these birds went down or were unchanged in the posthypnotic state.

NOTE: makes it easier when you wring it's neck. Just saying...Lon

The Everything Hypnosis Book: Safe, Effective Ways to Lose Weight, Improve Your Health, Overcome Bad Habits, and Boost Creativity (Everything (Health))

Dictionary of Animal Behaviour (Oxford Paperback Reference)


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Psychic called to help find stolen plant containing human ashes

A psychic has been called in to help find a bonsai plant containing human ashes stolen from a Gold Coast nursery.

The valuable Queensland small leaf fig tree was stolen from a Mudgeeraba nursery last week along with several other bonsais.

Nursery owner Carole Waller discovered the theft on Saturday morning. Some of the bonsais were more than 40 years old, including one nurtured by her late husband for more than 20 years.

However, it is the small leaf fig, containing the ashes of a client's best friends, that hurt most.

He had brought the plant to Mrs Waller for maintenance.

"I was just devastated," she said.

"I knew it had ashes in there and how important it was to my client."

The man wanted to remain anonymous, but Mrs Waller said she was so desperate to find the plant, she had engaged a psychic.

"Police are investigating, but I've also spoken to a leading psychic," she said. "You probably think I'm mad, but I thought there's a link to the afterworld in that plant so it was worth asking for some help."

She appealed to the thieves' consciences to return the plant.

"They don't have to turn themselves in," she said. "They can just put the plant back on the property and we would leave it at that. We'd be so grateful." - Daily Telegraph

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The New Pandemic?

The emergence of a deadly virus previously unseen in humans that has already killed half those known to be infected requires speedy scientific detective work to figure out its potential.

Experts in virology and infectious diseases say that while they already have unprecedented detail about the genetics and capabilities of the novel coronavirus, or NCoV, what worries them more is what they don't know.

The virus, which belongs to the same family as viruses that cause the common cold and the one that caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), emerged in the Middle East last year and has so far killed seven of the 13 people it is known to have infected worldwide.

Of those, six have been in Saudi Arabia, two in Jordan, and others in Britain and Germany linked to travel in the Middle East or to family clusters.

"What we know really concerns me, but what we don't know really scares me," said Michael Osterholm, director of the U.S.-based Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and a professor at the University of Minnesota.

Less than a week after identifying NCoV in September last year in a Qatari patient at a London hospital, scientists at Britain's Health Protection Agency had sequenced part of its genome and mapped out a so-called "phylogenetic tree" - a kind of family tree - of its links.

Swiftly conducted scientific studies by teams in Switzerland, Germany and elsewhere have found that NCoV is well adapted to infecting humans and may be treatable medicines similar to the ones used for SARS, which emerged in China in 2002 and killed a tenth of the 8,000 people it infected.

"Partly because of the way the field has developed post-SARS, we've been able to get onto this virus very early," said Mike Skinner, an expert on coronaviruses from Imperial College London. "We know what it looks like, we know what family it's from and we have its complete gene sequence."

Yet there are many unanswered questions.

SPOTLIGHT ON SAUDI ARABIA, JORDAN

"At the moment we just don't know whether the virus might actually be quite widespread and it's just a tiny proportion of people who get really sick, or whether it's a brand new virus carrying a much greater virulence potential," said Wendy Barclay, a flu virologist, also at Imperial College London.

To have any success in answering those questions, scientists and health officials in affected countries such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan need to conduct swift and robust epidemiological studies to find out whether the virus is circulating more widely in people but causing milder symptoms.

This would help establish whether the 13 cases seen so far are the most severe and represent "the tip the iceberg", said Volker Thiel of the Institute of Immunobiology at Kantonal Hospital in Switzerland, who published research this month showing NCoV grows efficiently in human cells.

Scientists and health officials in the Middle East and Arab Peninsular also need to collaborate with colleagues in Europe, where some NCoV cases have been treated and where samples have gone to specialist labs, to try to pin down the virus' source.

"ONE BIG VIROLOGICAL BLENDER"

Initial scientific analysis by laboratory scientists at Britain's Health Protection Agency (HPA) - which helped identify the virus in a Qatari patient in September last year - found that NCoV's closest relatives are most probably bat viruses.

It is not unusual for viruses to jump from animals to humans and mutate in the process - high profile examples include the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS and the H1N1 swine flu which caused a pandemic in 2009 and 2010.

Yet further work by a research team at the Robert Koch Institute at Germany's University of Bonn now suggests it may have come through an intermediary - possibly goats.

In a detailed case study of a patient from Qatar who was infected with NCoV and treated in Germany, researchers said the man reported owning a camel and a goat farm on which several goats had been ill with fevers before he himself got sick.

Osterholm noted this, saying he would "feel more comfortable if we could trace back all the cases to an animal source".

If so, it would mean the infections are just occasional cross-overs from animals, he said - a little like the sporadic cases of bird flu that continue to pop up - and would suggest the virus has not yet established a reservoir in humans.

Yet recent evidence from a cluster of cases in a family in Britain strongly suggests NCoV can be passed from one person to another and may not always come from an animal source.

An infection in a British man who had recently travelled to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, reported on February 11, was swiftly followed by two more British cases in the same family in people who had no recent travel history in the Middle East.

The World Health Organization says the new cases show the virus is "persistent" and HPA scientists said the cluster provided "strong evidence" that NCoV, which like other coronaviruses probably spreads in airborne droplets, can pass from one human to another "in at least some circumstances".

Despite this, Ian Jones, a professor of virology at Britain's University of Reading, said he believes "the most likely outcome for the current infections is a dead end" - with the virus petering out and becoming extinct.

Others say they fear that is unlikely.

"There's nothing in the virology that tells us this thing is going to stop being transmitted," said Osterholm. "Today the world is one big virological blender. And if it's sustaining itself (in humans) in the Middle East then it will show up around the rest of the world. It's just a matter of time." - Reuters

Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic

Little Book of Pandemics: 50 of the World's Most Virulent Plagues and Infectious Diseases