Archive for February, 2014

Report: Parrot solves owner’s murder

Animals have been helping humans for thousands of years, but can a parrot solve a murder?

According to multiple media reports, the answer is yes.

The Times of India reports newspaper editor Vijay Sharma returned to his home Feb. 20 and found his wife dead. The family dog had also been killed.

Police struggled for a week to get any leads but the husband noticed his wife’s parrot, Hercule, went nuts when his nephew visited the home. The talking bird also began screeching any time someone mentioned the nephew’s name.

Sharma told police in Agra about Hercule’s strange behavior and police picked up the nephew for questioning.

The nephew admitted the crime, telling police he and an accomplice had intended to burglarize the home but he stabbed his aunt and the barking dog to death after they spotted him.

Hercule, the Times of India reports, “watched silently.”

That’s a lovely story, but is it true?

A reader in the comments points out the bird’s name and species is a little too close …

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John Rocker strikes out in Twitter war

When trolls feed trolls. (Images from Twitter)

When trolls feed trolls. (Images from Twitter)

Once upon a time, John Rocker was a great pitcher.

Unfortunately, for the former Braves closer and readers of this blog, there’s no such thing as Humor Enhancing Drugs.

A Sports Illustrated blog reports the verbal flamethrower recently got into a war of words on Twitter with a parody account. If you’ve never used Twitter, let me assure you there are plenty of people out there pretending to be something they’re not.

Wednesday, Rocker tweeted a rape joke he thought was funny: “I have a question: if u have sex with a prostitute and refuse to pay is that considered rape or theft?”

The parody account PFTCommenter, which pokes fun at the bad grammar used by commenters on the Pro Football Talk website, picked up the challenge.

“What did ur lawyer say?” PFTCommenter replied.

In the long, unprintable by a family newspaper exchange that followed, “humanity in general” was the biggest loser, writes Sports Illustrated writer Dan Treadway.

Continue reading John Rocker strikes out in Twitter war »

Judges paid millions to sentence teens

Sandy Fonzo, the mother of suicide victim Edward R. Kenzakoski III, confronts former Luzerne County Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., as he leaves the federal courthouse in Scranton, Pa. (AP Photo)

Sandy Fonzo, the mother of suicide victim Edward R. Kenzakoski III, confronts former Luzerne County Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., as he leaves the federal courthouse in Scranton, Pa. (AP Photo)

Love of money is the root of all evil, the Bible and a documentary debuting nationwide Friday tell us.

The film, “Kids for Cash,” details the lives of three teens sentenced by Pennsylvania Judge Mark Ciavarella, who was paid by a private juvenile detention company to keep facilities full.

If parents living in the poor area of Pennsylvania didn’t have the cash to pay for the detention, the kids were held longer — some for years — for “crimes” as trivial as stealing a single jar of nutmeg or writing “Vote for Michael Jackson” on stop signs.

For about seven years during the 2000s, Ciavarella sentenced thousands of kids to jail time for petty crimes, but one story from the film is particularly troubling.

Teenager Edward R. Kenzakoski III got in trouble after police “found” a bong in his …

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Teacher ’sexting’ protected under right to free speech

Teachers are caught having inappropriate relationships with students almost daily, it seems.

Some teachers accused of sending sexual text messages to students may be protected by “the right to free speech,” reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“It’s OK for adults to talk dirty to children,” said Houston defense attorney Mark Bennett, who successfully defended a choir director who sent sexually explicit messages to a minor.

Bennett seems to be confusing the term “OK” with “not illegal.”

In court, Bennett argued Texas’ “sexting” law is too broad because “simple profanity or vulgarity — not rising to the level of obscenity — is constitutionally protected speech.”

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled sexual expression that is indecent but not obscene is protected by the First Amendment, and includes sexually explicit literature such as 50 Shades of Grey and Lady Chatterley’s Lover, as well as Miley Cyrus’ “twerking” during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, writes the …

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Many in U.S. think Earth the center of solar system

The Earth, seen here in a Christmas Eve 1968 photo from the moon, is not center of the universe or even the solar system, experts say. (NASA image)

The Earth, seen here in a Christmas Eve 1968 photo taken from the orbit of the moon, is not the center of the universe or even the solar system, experts say. (NASA image)

Copernicus’ grave would be revolving around the 16th Century astronomer if he read the results of a new report on Americans’ understanding of basic science.

NPR has a few lowlights from the National Science Foundation report (PDF):

  • 26 percent of Americans believe the sun revolves around the Earth.
  • Only 39 percent believe “The universe began with a huge explosion,” despite the popularity of “The Big Bang Theory” sitcom.
  • Less than half (48 percent) believe “Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals.”
  • Slightly more than half knew antibiotics are useless against viruses.

More intel I dug out of the report:

  • Slightly more than half of Americans think astrology is unscientific.
  • Men answered correctly more often than women on physical science questions. Women performed the same …

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Study: Obese women exercise one hour per year

The fat of the land began moving to America’s waistline at about the same time people started using microwaves as feeding troughs.

Soon afterwards, other technological advances made it possible to earn a living without breaking a sweat.

How sedentary have Americans become? A new study suggests obese women get about an hour of vigorous exercise a year. Obese men get 3.6 hours per year, according to the study conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Nutrition Obesity Research Center.

Researchers, who used data from motion-sensing devices slapped to 2,600 adults, seemed as shocked as you are by their findings.

“They’re living their lives from one chair to another,” said researcher Edward Archer in a HealthDay article on Fox News. “We didn’t realize we were that sedentary. There are some people who are vigorously active, but it’s offset by the huge number of individuals who are inactive.”

What does a typical day look like for the 35.7 percent of U.S. adults …

Continue reading Study: Obese women exercise one hour per year »

Study: Georgians really fast at sex

If Georgia had a sex coach, she would be making this face. (Nick Dolding/Getty Images)

If Georgia had a sex coach, she would be making this face. (Nick Dolding/Getty Images)

Is sex a marathon or a sprint?

Georgians seem to be short track specialists according to a new compilation of copulation chronology, which suggests the average roll in the hay here takes a mere 2 minutes and 7 seconds.

Yes, Billy Bragg, it is still possible to make a baby in less time than it takes to make a cup of tea.

How did researchers get their numbers?

According to Nerve.com, a website that may not be safe for work according to the content filter I just bypassed, the info came from “early adopters” of a mobile app that uses your phones accelerometer, microphone and hopefully not camera to monitor “duration, thrusts, and decibel peak.”

Is it just me, or does everything seem way more complicated and less private than it used to be?

Anyway, 10,000 people apparently wanted to share that sort of info with the public and we now know New Mexico, with an average time of 7 minutes and 1 second, …

Continue reading Study: Georgians really fast at sex »

Chevron offers free pizza after fracking explosion

It’s been a busy news cycle for lovers of pizza news.

In Pennsylvania, Chevron is offering a free large pizza and a 2-liter drink to residents of Bobtown after a fracking well exploded Feb. 11 and injured one worker and presumably killed another, who is still missing.

The cause of the explosion is unknown.

Chevron sent 100 pizza coupons to residents of the unincorporated community, apologizing for the blast and saying it “will continue to strive to achieve incident-free operations. We are committed to taking action to safeguard our neighbors, our employees, our contractors and the environment.”

Opinions on fracking, which seems to create permanent environmental hazards but also creates jobs and fuel, are mixed. But I think most would agree a free pizza is not very good “community outreach” by Chevron.

CNN reports on some complaints.

“Worst apology ever: Sorry our fracking well exploded. Here’s a free pizza,” was one tweet.

“Nice community relations: if you are frightened by …

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Georgia’s newest cities among the ’safest’

We don't have many pictures of Auburn that does not involve football, but this is one of them. (AJC file photo)

We don't have many pictures of Auburn that do not involve football, but this is one of them. (AJC file photo)

Residents of Georgia’s newest cities are among its safest, according to a new study.

Security analysts SafeWise looked at FBI crime data from Georgia towns with more than 5,000 residents to create a list of “Georgia’s 50 Safest Cities.”

Two of the top three cities didn’t exist a few years go, and overall the list seems to be biased towards north Atlanta suburbs.

SafeWise said it favored cities with “unique safety initiatives and security programs implemented within the past few years,” and maybe only wealthier communities can afford such things.

Let’s give the list a gander:

1) Auburn: No, this isn’t an SEC season preview. The tiny town of Auburn is located in Barrow and Gwinnett counties and didn’t report “a single murder, arson, rape, or robbery” in 2012. Less than 80 total crimes were committed and one of them was probably an “out of control quilting bee.” My theory …

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U.S. clown shortage no laughing matter

Reddit users will have posted 100 hilarious Internet memes by the time his nose glue dries. (AP Photo)

Reddit users will have posted 100 hilarious Internet memes by the time his nose glue dries. (AP Photo)

Despite the headlines out of Washington, D.C., the world is running out of clowns.

The sad news emanates from a New York Daily News “EXCLUSIVE”, which says interest in professional clowning “has plummeted.”

In the last 10 years, membership in the World Clown Association has dropped from 3,500 to 2,500 and most of the remaining clowns are old, but I’m not sure we can take those numbers seriously.

“Clowning isn’t cool anymore,” said one clown, who may or may not have had a fake tear running down his cheek.

“American kids these days are thinking about different careers altogether,” said a dispirited clown named Cido. “[Young people] are thinking about everything other than clowning.”

This clown speaks the truth.

Young people are likely pondering crushing student debt, a lack of real job opportunities and the latest YouTube video featuring cute animals instead of smearing gobs of …

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