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Thread: Weird But True

  1. #3181
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Just Because Croften VFD Was There

    Welcoming home an unexpected surprise: mom didn't know she was pregnant

    By Ashley Degraaf - Cowichan News Leader Pictorial
    Published: October 21, 2011 12:00 PM

    “I always said three’s a crowd, so why not add one more?”

    That’s the happy-go-lucky, optimistic view of Crofton’s Emily Ratcliffe.

    The 25-year-old gave birth to her fourth child, a seven-pound girl, Oct. 1 from her new pad in Crofton.

    Ratcliffe’s easy-going nature is almost beyond belief considering the circumstances.

    The local nurse didn’t know she was pregnant.

    “We were moving that day and I was moving the last mattress before I just dropped it,” Ratcliffe, who was full-term in her pregnancy at that time, explained. “I just thought ‘I can’t do this anymore.’”

    Ratcliffe’s back was “killing” her so she decided to take a break on the couch.

    “The pain kept getting more and more severe and finally I started thinking ‘This feels kind of like labour pain.’”

    Ratcliffe called her husband Tonnis Martindale, 26, who’d been down at the local pub grabbing some grub for dinner.

    “I said ‘finish your dinner, you need to get home.’”

    After that call is when Ratcliffe’s water broke.

    “It’s all kind of a blur,” she explains. “It really all happened so fast after that.”

    There are many key characters in Ratcliffe’s story.

    One of them is friend Pam Kothlow, who’d lived at the house Ratcliffe and Martindale were moving into. She happened to be at the house gathering the last of her things that day.

    She also happens to be a nurse

    “She took over the phone call with 911 (placed by Tonnis who was back at home) and she pretty much walked through it all with them over the phone,” Ratcliffe explained.

    Soon after, Crofton’s fire squad came to lend a hand.

    Crew member Jeff Funk says assisting with a delivery was a first for most members of the local department.

    “It was kind of unusual for us,” Funk said. “We never usually get a call like that.

    “We showed up, and one of my first responders helped unwrap the umbilical cord and the baby was pretty much born seconds before we got there.”

    The ambulance rolled up a couple minutes later and cut and clamped the cord.

    “Everything was going good with the baby and the baby was crying and the whole neighbourhood was waiting and as soon as we came out of the house, they cheered and clapped for us,” Funk recalled. “It was pretty dramatic, just like in the movies really.”

    Those same curious neighbours have been saviours for Ratcliffe and Martindale.

    “Everyone has been really generous, dropping off food and diapers. The local pastor brought us a gift card too,” Ratcliffe said.

    Looking back to the months after Ratcliffe conceived, the busy mother and nurse blames stress as the reason she didn’t realize she was carrying a child.

    “We had a lot going on around that time,” she explained, noting her two-and-a-half year old daughter Gracie’s battle with neuroblastoma in her abdomen.

    “We had a lot of appointments. We had physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapist appointments, and doctors and visits to the B.C. Children’s Hospital too.”

    Also, add being a mom to two more children, six-year-old son Mason and nine-year-old daughter Ryan.

    Ratcliffe never noticed pregnancy symptoms, including typical morning sickness, nor her stomach changing shape.

    For many women, the list of changes to their bodies while being pregnant goes on and on, but for Ratcliffe, the past nine months was just like any other time in her life, “just much more busier.”

    “I just thought the pain in my lower back was because of my type of work. I’m always lifting heavy things,” she explained, noting she must have carried the baby more in her lower back.

    “My weight has always been up and down too. And I always have had a lot of food sensitiveness,” she added, explaining why she may not have noticed the baby’s kicks, which can often be described as feeling like having a gassy, upset stomach.

    Ratcliffe also admitted she’s watched TLC’s I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant shows and, “I always laughed at the girls. How could they not know,” she said.

    Her and Martindale weren’t planning on having a fourth child but are making due and counting their blessings.

    They’re extremely thankful to everyone who came to their aid Oct. 1 and to those who are continuing to help them financially.

    The couple named their new daughter Mariah Emily Martindale.

    “She’s been doing very well and so far she’s a very good sleeper and not too fussy,” Ratcliffe said.


  2. #3182
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    Ratcliffe called her husband Tonnis Martindale, 26, who’d been down at the local pub grabbing some grub for dinner.
    How exactly do you all prepare grubs for dinner?
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    Forum Member PaladinKnight's Avatar
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    I find that if you boil them at 220 degrees for 30 minutes it brings out the full flavor... Add salt and pepper for the desired taste. My wife likes to add a pinch of garlic.
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    How exactly do you all prepare grubs for dinner?
    They're Islanders man!

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    Forum Member Miller337's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    They're Islanders man!
    I've found stir fry is best for things like this. Nothing ever really looks quite right in a stir fry, but it is always darn tasty.

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    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    {from Rock 95 Radio News, 9 November 2011}


    Masculine Paint Colours?
    A Canadian paint company is changing the names of some of its popular colours, in order to appeal to more men. CIL Paints has re-named 27 of its paint colours, including Bone White, which has been changed to “Beer Foam” and Classic Liberty Red has become “Rust on my Truck “.

    A spokeswoman for CIL Paints told the National Post, ‘‘Studies show that while a larger percentage of women tend to choose paint colors for their home, it’s often men who give the colors a final nod.”

    Here are some of the other new colors:

    5 O’Clock Shadow (Plateau Grey)
    Porcelain Throne (Pillar)
    Wingman (Stormy Seas)
    Bromance (Romance)
    Midlife Crisis (Silver Lace Vine)
    Zombie Apocalypse (Juliet’s Potion)
    Top Gun (Mystery Sound)
    Brute Force (Great Grey)
    Down & Dirty (Twilight Zone)
    Bro Code (Venetian Turquoise)
    Sucker Punch (Plum Escape)
    Rust on my Truck (Classic Liberty Red)

    {at least they did not rename the "Granny-Smith Apple" to "Puke Green"}

  7. #3187
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Long-forgotten Canadian find shakes up understanding of ancient humans

    By Randy Boswell, Postmedia News November 17, 2011

    A Canadian archeologist is being credited — nearly 50 years after the fact — with discovering a prehistoric petroglyph site in southern Egypt that is now being described as a "Lascaux-on-the-Nile" because of its similarity in age and style to France's world-famous, cave-wall gallery of Stone Age cattle, deer and horses.

    The inscribed Egyptian images of extinct wild oxen, hippopotami, fish, gazelle and other animals — now firmly dated to a time in the late Pleistocene era at least 15,000 years ago — are being hailed as the oldest rock art in North Africa and as a pivotal discovery in the evolution of artistic behaviour by ancient humans.

    It has taken nearly a half-century for experts to obtain a reliable age for the animal figures, which number close to 200 and are found etched into a sandstone cliff high above the banks of the Nile River at Qurta, about 600 kilometres southeast of Cairo.

    That's where the young Canadian scientist Philip Smith — a University of Toronto archeologist from Fortune, N.L. — was working in 1962 and 1963 as part of a federally sponsored series of "rescue" digs aimed at preserving traces of ancient Egyptian settlements before their potential destruction from the building of the Aswan Dam.

    Smith, who went on to a distinguished 40-year career at the University of Montreal, was probing an archeological site from thousands of years before the Egyptian pyramids were built when he "accidentally" discovered the carvings at Qurta.

    Now 84 and long retired from archeological field work, Smith told Postmedia News on Thursday that he remembers scrambling up the cliffs to take a photograph of a dig site on the plain below when he suddenly spied scores of animals carved into the rocks.

    "They were everywhere on the rock," Smith said. "But we weren't able to date it directly. At that time there was no way of dating art on the cliffs themselves."

    He recalls, though, that he "speculated that it was certainly pre-pharaohnic — before the pharaohs — and probably pre-neolithic, before the introduction of agriculture. But, of course, I wasn't able to go much further back than that."

    A lengthy article about the work of the Canadian Prehistoric Expedition in Egypt appeared in a 1965 issue of the Canadian Geographical Journal, forerunner of today's Canadian Geographic. Descriptions and pictures of the prehistoric rock art at Qurta were published at the time, but Smith was never able to pin down a solid date for when the carvings were made — and conventional wisdom about the evolution of art in the ancient world held that paleolithic Europe was almost certainly the seedbed of advanced human creativity.

    Years passed. Then decades. No further study of the Qurta animal engravings was carried out, and even knowledge of their whereabouts was lost to a younger generation of scientists.

    Then, about five years ago, Belgian archeologists working on paleolithic sites in Egypt found evidence of prehistoric rock art at a different site and began a broader study that turned up the Canadian research at Qurta from the early 1960s.

    That led to the latest research on the Qurta carvings, to be published in the December edition of the journal Antiquity by a team of scientists from Belgium and the U.S.

    They used a process called "optically stimulated luminescence" to test the wind-blown sediments accumulated on the etchings to determine the last time the most deeply buried grains of sand were exposed to sunlight.

    Their study pegs the creation of the artwork at between 15,000 and 19,000 years ago. That places the Egyptian carvings in roughly the same timeframe as the famous cave paintings of animals at Lascaux and other Ice Age sites in Europe.

    "The paleolithic rock art at Qurta reveals that the well-known cave art of the late Pleistocene in Europe was not an isolated phenomenon," study co-author John Coleman Darnell, a Yale University professor of Egyptology, states in a summary of the study. "Qurta puts North Africa firmly in the world of the earliest surviving artistic tradition, and shows that tradition to have been geographically more widespread than heretofore imagined."

    The paper to be published in Antiquity suggests the fresh understanding of the Egyptian artwork first identified by Smith could force a major rethinking of the origins of art and the connections between Stone Age people in Europe and North Africa.

    "Whereas it would be premature to speculate on any implications of this in terms of long-distance influence and intercultural contacts," the authors conclude, "it is clear that the Pleistocene age of the Qurta petroglyphs — as demonstrated by the present study — along with their degree of sophistication, similar to that of European Ice Age art, introduce a new set of challenges to archeological thought."

    Smith, whose other work at ancient aboriginal digs in the U.S. and at paleolithic sites in Spain and France continues to generate interest among today's archeologists, said he's equally pleased his Egyptian find is still yielding new insights today.

    "It is," he said, "very gratifying."

    rboswell@postmedia.com

    © Copyright (c) Postmedia News

    Read more: http://www.canada.com/technology/Lon...#ixzz1e3nUKQ71

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    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Twenty people hurt as woman pepper sprays fellow Black Friday shoppers in Los Angeles

    Postmedia News November 25, 2011 5:38 AM

    Reuters: Twenty people, including children, were injured after a woman reportedly pepper-sprayed other shoppers at a Los Angeles-area Walmart store on Thursday as late-night Black Friday sales began.

    It's the latest incident of violence on the mega-shopping-sales day in the U.S., which saw a Walmart employee trampled to death by shoppers in Valley Stream, New York, in 2008.

    A fire captain quoted by the Los Angeles Times described Thursday night's incident as an act of "competitive shopping."

    Los Angeles Fire Capt. James Carson told the Times the woman had intentionally armed herself with pepper spray to get the edge on her fellow shoppers at the store in the L.A. neighbourhood of Porter Ranch.

    She used the spray in several areas of the store, he said.

    Twenty customers, including children, were reportedly hurt in the incident. Victims reported irritation of the skin, eye and throat.

    The woman behind the pepper spraying is still being sought by authorities, according to reports.

    In 2008, a 34-year-old employee at a Walmart in Valley Stream, New York, was trampled to death by a crowd of about 2,000 shoppers, some of whom refused to stop their stampede after he was knocked down.

    Last year, on Black Friday, a woman was arrested at a toy store in Wisconsin after threatening to shoot shoppers who reportedly had objected to her cutting in line.

    © Copyright (c) Postmedia News

    Read more: http://www.canada.com/news/Twenty+pe...#ixzz1ejiv415e

  9. #3189
    Forum Member Miller337's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    Twenty people hurt as woman pepper sprays fellow Black Friday shoppers in Los Angeles

    Postmedia News November 25, 2011 5:38 AM

    Reuters: Twenty people, including children, were injured after a woman reportedly pepper-sprayed other shoppers at a Los Angeles-area Walmart store on Thursday as late-night Black Friday sales began.

    It's the latest incident of violence on the mega-shopping-sales day in the U.S., which saw a Walmart employee trampled to death by shoppers in Valley Stream, New York, in 2008.

    A fire captain quoted by the Los Angeles Times described Thursday night's incident as an act of "competitive shopping."

    Los Angeles Fire Capt. James Carson told the Times the woman had intentionally armed herself with pepper spray to get the edge on her fellow shoppers at the store in the L.A. neighbourhood of Porter Ranch.

    She used the spray in several areas of the store, he said.

    Twenty customers, including children, were reportedly hurt in the incident. Victims reported irritation of the skin, eye and throat.

    The woman behind the pepper spraying is still being sought by authorities, according to reports.

    In 2008, a 34-year-old employee at a Walmart in Valley Stream, New York, was trampled to death by a crowd of about 2,000 shoppers, some of whom refused to stop their stampede after he was knocked down.

    Last year, on Black Friday, a woman was arrested at a toy store in Wisconsin after threatening to shoot shoppers who reportedly had objected to her cutting in line.

    © Copyright (c) Postmedia News

    Read more: http://www.canada.com/news/Twenty+pe...#ixzz1ejiv415e
    MERRY CHRISTMAS. Peace and goodwill. Oh and now we are shooting at each other at the stores.
    Last edited by Miller337; 11-25-2011 at 07:49 PM. Reason: X-mas cheer update.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miller337 View Post
    MERRY CHRISTMAS. Peace and goodwill. Oh and now we are shooting at each other at the stores.
    Now ya gotta wear your under armour and a ballistics vest everytime you go shopping. Whuda thunk it?

  11. #3191
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    The final frontier for beer: Lager lovers launch first ever can into space ... then drink it when it falls back to Earth

    By Mike O'brien

    Last updated at 9:17 AM on 29th November 2011

    Comments (13) Share

    Two beer drinkers who always thought Natural Light was out of this world came up with the crazy idea of sending the first beer into space.

    The goal, obviously, was to have the honour to be the first men ever to drink a beer that fell from space ... that's if it ever did and they could find it.

    The drinkers, named only as Danny B and Rich T, went to Natural Light with their idea.

    The pioneer beer: Boldly going where no alcoholic beverage has gone before
    The company loved the idea of calling the product 'The first beer in space' and pledged to support the project on the Natty Light Facebook page.

    First the pair had to build the spacecraft, which was named The Aluminum Fullcan.

    A full can of Natty was placed inside a styrofoam cooler, along a sophisticated GPS that had a camera attached and some hand-warmers to prevent space freeze.

    Ready for lift-off: Beer lovers Danny and Rich have packed with spacecraft, equipped with GPS, high def camera and both a full and empty can

    All in the planning: Every detail was taken care of to ensure the mission was successful

    They then one an empty can on the outside in front of the camera and attached it all to a weather balloon. (All full can would have exploded).
    The result? A stunning video that would tug on the emotions of beer lovers everywhere.

    According to Nattylight's Youtube channel, Danny and Rich launched the craft on November 17 at about 11am.

    Away it goes: The weather balloon swiftly lifts its cargo into the skies

    Still rising: The spacecraft makes it above the cloud line on its way to darkness

    It rose to an altitude of 90,000ft plus with the ascent taking about two hours.

    At about 1.45pm the Fullcan landed back on earth about 60 miles from where it was launched.

    The boys took two hours to track it down by GPS because of the poor reception of the rural area where it landed.

    The duo drank the beer and the following day Natty Light officially became The First Beer In Space, or at least just inside space.
    =====

    see the weblink for the photos and video:

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...#ixzz1fNaNSeGF

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    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    UPDATE: Cougar killed in downtown Sidney
    By Christine van Reeuwyk - Peninsula News Review
    Published: July 08, 2011 10:00 AM
    Updated: July 12, 2011 12:15 PM

    A conservation officer killed a cougar on the Sidney waterfront early Friday morning (July 8).

    The Sidney North Saanich RCMP were called for a cougar spotted near the McTavish Road interchange around 12:30 a.m.

    “They found the cougar and followed it … to the Town of Sidney, right downtown,” said Cpl. Chris Swain of Sidney North Saanich RCMP.

    While police awaited conservation officers, the wildcat made its way down Beacon Avenue to the Beacon pier.

    “We surrounded it and contained it until conservation arrived,” Swain said.

    BC Conservation officers determined that it was unsafe to attempt to tranquilize the animal and it was shot and killed.

    Last week, RCMP and BC Conservation issued a warning to the public about confirmed sightings of an adult cougar in Horth Hill.

    “It is unknown at this time if the cougar shot and killed is the same cougar that has been spotted in the Horth Hill Region of North Saanich, however the proximity of the two events can not be ignored,” Swain said.

    Police are still asking the public to remain vigilant and take the necessary precautions, to ensure they minimize the chance of interaction with a cougar. Closely supervise young children and pets, stay to well travelled routes, and avoid travelling alone.

    Those who spot a cougar should stay calm and keep the cougar in view, according to Conservation literature. Pick up children immediately and back away slowly ensuring that the animal has a clear avenue of escape. Make yourself as large as possible and keep the cougar in front of you at all times; never turn your back on a cougar.

    Sudden movement may provoke an attack. If a cougar shows interest or follows you, respond aggressively. Maintain eye contact with the cougar, show your teeth and make loud noise. Arm yourself with rocks or sticks as weapons. Crouch down as little as possible when bending down to pick up things off of the ground.

    If a cougar attacks, fight back. Convince the cougar you are a threat and not prey. Use anything you can as a weapon. Focus your attack on the cougar’s face and eyes.

    If you see a cougar near an urban area, or have a wildlife safety concern, call the BC Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277. Call 9-1-1 in an emergency situation, where the animal poses an immediate risk to human safety.

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    Black bear hitched a ride in garbage truck to downtown Vancouver

    By Ian Austin, The Province December 12, 2011

    But on Monday that’s exactly what happened, as a black bear was spotted in a garbage bin aboard a truck in the 600-block of Cambie Street.

    Conservation officer Alex Desjardins couldn’t believe his ears when he was dispatched to Cambie Street near Georgia Street, in the heart of the city.

    “Initially I had a hard time believing it,” said Desjardins. “The dispatcher said, ‘It’s not April Fools.’

    “I’ve done a deer at Waterfront Station, but never a bear.”

    So there he was, near the Shark Club — which sees its share of animals — CBC’s downtown studios, and the Vancouver Post Office, searching for bruin.

    “It’s a yearling, probably one or two years old,” said Desjardins, who tranquilized the youngster. “The driver had made a pickup on the North Shore, and he came downtown for another pickup.”

    Desjardins believes the bear was foraging for food like many urban bears, prowling in the dumpster.

    “That’s a common bear diet,” he said. “At this time of year, they know they have to get fat.”

    The dumpster-diving bruin soon became a hitch-hiking bruin, driving across Burrard Inlet in the back of a garbage truck.

    Desjardins said that while many bears are already hibernating, urban bears in mild climates often wait until late winter, fattening up as long as they can before curling up in a den for the remainder of the season.

    “On the North Shore, where the temperature is mild, they’ll stay out, sometimes until late February,” said Desjardins. “If they’re not fat enough, they’ll die in their den.”

    The bear has developed into an almost-instant urban legend status, complete with a Twitter tag — @downtown_bear.

    “I’d like to thank that guy for catching me when I fell down off the truck. Bears don’t bounce that well, y’know?” was one of the first Tweets attributed to the hitch-hiker.

    This is one urban bear that shouldn’t be back to the big city anytime soon.

    “He’s going to be translocated, most likely to the Squamish Valley,” said Desjardins.

    The Conservation Officer service line to call if you run into ‘wildlife conflicts’ is 1-877-952-7277.

    iaustin@theprovince.com

    twitter.com/ianaustin007

    © Copyright (c) The Province

    PHOTOCREDIT:

    Conservation officer Alex Desjardins tranquilized a young bear that climbed into the back of a garbage truck that drove into Vancouver from the North Shore on Monday.Photograph by: ., Postmedia NewsDowntown Vancouver sees some wild characters, but seldom anything as wild as a black bear.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Flying squirrel invades New Jersey emergency room

    Associated Press November 30, 2011 06:15 AM Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    (11-30) 06:15 PST Rahway, N.J. (AP)

    Firefighters were needed stat after a flying squirrel went nuts in a New Jersey hospital's emergency room.

    The squirrel kept launching itself from an 8-foot-high wall-mounted lamp into a glass wall after becoming trapped in a trauma room at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Rahway Tuesday night.

    Fire Department spokesman Capt. Ted Padavano told The Star-Ledger of Newark (http://bit.ly/vxBiL0 ) it would climb up on a light and would jump off and glide.

    A pair of firefighters threw a blanket over the squirrel and released it into a wooded area outside the hospital.

    Padavano believes there may be a nest in the building because it's the second time in two weeks that a flying squirrel got in the ER.
    information from: The Star-Ledger, www.nj.com/starledger

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...#ixzz1hGYTxYvh

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    Forum Member firecat1's Avatar
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    It's just a skwirlie thing!

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    Talking And NOW You Know.

    The enduring mystery of snowflakes

    By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times December 27, 2011

    LOS ANGELES — Who hasn’t caught a snowflake in a mitten and marveled at its starlike detail, and then recalled that no two snowflakes are alike? But these crystals of ice are even more different than one might imagine — there are needle-like snowflakes, hollow-column snowflakes and flakes that look like delicate dumbbells, with two joined together by a column.

    Caltech physicist Kenneth Libbrecht, who studies the crystalline structure of snowflakes and has published seven books of snowflake photographs, talked to the Los Angeles Times about what we do, and don’t, know about them.

    Q: What’s so strange about snowflakes?

    A: If you grow ice crystals — snowflakes — just below freezing, then you get thin plate-like crystals. These include the canonical snowflakes, the star-like crystals. But if you get a little colder, (around 5 degrees C below freezing) then instead of plates, you get long thin columns — which is really almost the opposite of a plate. Think wooden pencils, little hexagonal columns, as opposed to a hexagonal plate. In the star type, the faces grow slowly and the edges grow quickly, and in the pencil type, the edges grow slowly and the faces grow quickly.

    And so in just a few degrees’ temperature change, the growth changes from plate-like to columnar. And as you go colder, to 15 degrees below zero, it changes back to plate-like.

    At even lower temperatures, below 30 degrees below zero, the shape changes back to columnar.

    So there are these transitions as a function of temperature, and that’s really hard to explain. It’s been a puzzle for 75 years, and it’s still really not known what causes this.

    There are also variations in humidity. And the higher the humidity in the clouds, the faster the crystals grow, and the more structure they develop and the bigger they get. So at low humidities, you get simple, small crystals and at high humidities, they’re more complex.

    Q: In your lab experiments, what have you been able to find out?

    A: What I found is that there’s what I call a "sharpening effect." When the edge of an ice crystal gets sharp, actually the molecular structure of its edge changes, and it makes it grow faster, which makes it sharper, which makes it grow faster, and which sharpens it more ... so you end up with a very thin plate as sharp as a razor blade. That sharpening effect is why the crystals are so thin and flat.

    So if you change the temperature, all you’re doing is changing the way the sharpening effect works. If the sharpening effect goes in the edge direction, it’ll make a thin plate. If the sharpening effect goes in the upwards direction, you get a hollow column. A very small temperature change can make it flip directions. The sharpening effect amplifies that small change.

    Q: Why is every snowflake different?

    A: As an ice crystal falls, it will move from one part of the cloud to another, and the temperature and the humidity will be changing as it falls. Every time there are these small changes in the conditions, the growth of the arms changes. So you get all these branches and facets and all these different shapes — and by the time it lands on the ground, it’s had a very complicated history because of all these changes in temperature and humidity. And because no two crystals follow exactly the same path as they fall, they all look a little different.

    Q: So snowflakes come in more shapes than your garden-variety hexagon. Which is your favorite?

    A: One of my favorites is the capped column. That’s a crystal that first forms as a column and later on it changes, and has plates on the ends of a column. So it’s an odd looking thing — like two wheels on an axle.

    When I started reading the literature on the subject, I found pictures of these capped columns and just found them really interesting. I mean, I grew up in North Dakota — how come I’ve never seen one of these before? On a trip to visit family at Christmas time, I took along my magnifying glass and I went outside and looked and the falling snow — and there they were, capped columns all over, and these other shapes, too. You just don’t notice if you don’t pay any attention.

    That’s what got me into popularizing the science of it, because it seemed like if you live in snow country you ought to know a little a bit about what’s falling out of the sky.

    Q: Are there advantages to studying ice crystals rather than other, perhaps more exotic, materials?

    A: Not only is the physics of ice crystals particularly rich, but experiments are pretty cheap and easy. As you can imagine, ice doesn’t have a lot of safety issues. For almost anything else you can think of growing, experiments are confounded by safety issues. Just about any chemical has hazards, so you have to spend a lot of money and time worrying about that.

    I just love the ability to be able to pour your experiment down the drain or just evaporate it into the air without any thought of safety.

    And the fun part is, in the end, it’s not like some esoteric thing that nobody ever sees. Most physicists study black holes or Higgs bosons — things that that never appear in ordinary experience. Whereas this stuff falls out of the sky, literally. So it’s kind of fun to think about the puzzles surrounding it.

    (c)2011 the Los Angeles Times

    Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/life/hol...#ixzz1hpZqGuDd

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    This Day in History: January 3, 1977

    Vancouver Sun January 3, 2012

    Apple Computer Inc. was officially incorporated in Cupertino, Calif., nine months after it was founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

    While the company's initial focus was on personal computers, its focus in the late-1990s and 2000s turned to consumer electronics and it introduced the iPhone, iPod and iPad. Now the world's most valuable company, it reported revenue of $108 billion in the last fiscal year. Co-founder Jobs died on Oct. 5.

    Research by The Sun's news library

    © Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

    Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/technolo...#ixzz1iPZ4T6ug

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    11 Of The Stupidest Employees Of 2011
    By David Schepp , Posted Dec 21st 2011 @ 9:30AM

    Every year is filled with stories of employees who -- to put it diplomatically -- didn't think before acting. And 2011 was no exception.

    Whether it was the Chick-fil-A cashier in Southern California who substituted derogatory words for two Asian customers' real names on their receipts or the Indonesian politician caught watching porn during a session of parliament or the Pennsylvania man who tainted co-workers yogurt with his own semen, there was no lack of shortsightedness on the part of workers.

    Philadelphia JobsTo recognize workers' misdeeds, we offer these 11 stories of employee stupidity, chosen by our editors as some of the worst faux pas of 2011:

    'There Is A Bomb Inside'
    Um, not really. Elementary school gym teacher Jennifer Gomes just didn't want to go to work and opted to instead leave a, ahem, volatile note warning of a bomb at the main entrance of Escuela de Guadalupe school in northwest Denver. As KUSA-TV reported in October, Gomes was suspended from her job and charged with one count of false reporting of explosives, a felony. Perhaps next time, she'll just take a personal day.



    He Couldn't Be Bought With Mere Apples
    Staying with the education theme, we turn to Charlotte County, Fla., where high school teacher Jeff Spires was suspended in October for soliciting money from his students. According to a school investigation, Spires told his class to staple or paperclip cash to the back of their quizzes if they wanted to sweeten their grades, WZVN-TV reported last month. After the investigation, which reportedly revealed one junior paying as much as $70 to boost his grade to a B from a C, Spires resigned. When asked why he did it, Spires reportedly replied, "That's what I don't know, why."



    Flying Isn't The Only Way To Get High
    In one of the year's more noteworthy work-related items, more than three dozen employees at a Boeing Co. plant near Philadelphia were arrested for illegally selling prescription drugs, including oxycodone and Xanax. Federal authorities were tipped off to the unlawful activity by the aircraft maker after an internal investigation, The Associated Press reported in September. For the workers, it appears, making helicopters wasn't their favorite way of getting high.



    Manager Gets It Backward
    A Taco Bell manager in California may have been trying to "think outside the bun," but she got herself into legal hot water after an employee accused her of running a Ponzi scheme at a Taco Bell franchise in Goleta, near Santa Barbara. The plan required employees to surrender $100 each payday, Courthouse News Service reported in October. But assistant manager Jeorgina Cervantes De Gomez grew tired of the scheme, refused to pay up and soon found herself on the unemployment line. So Gomez sued the manager, Doralinda Vargas, seeking back wages and damages. Perhaps someone needs to enlighten Vargas that it's employees who get paid by management, not the other way around.



    Music Hath Charms To Soothe The Savage Thief?
    In one of the year's grimmer examples of stupidity, Wisconsin cemetery worker Steven Conard was accused of stealing a guitar from a casket, Smoking Gun reported in September. Conard, a musician and band member, at first denied stealing the instrument, a prized Fender Telecaster that had been spied by a co-worker "in plain view" in Conard's house. When pressed by police, however, Conard relented and handed the stolen instrument over. "This isn't something I normally do," Conard reportedly said. "I just have a respect for fine musical instruments."



    TSA Agent Gets 'Freaky'
    Air travel for many Americans is a frustrating experience these days, fraught with small infringements on flyers' dignity, with perhaps no better example than what happened to Jill Filipovic, a lawyer and feminist blogger who flew from Newark, N.J., recently. Upon arrival in Dublin, she discovered a standard inspection tag in her luggage left by a Transportation Security Administration agent -- except this tag had scrawled along its side: "GET YOUR FREAK ON GIRL." The agent apparently had discovered the author's vibrator. Filipovic, who blogged about the incident, filed a complaint with the TSA, which responded in a statement that it "takes all allegations of inappropriate conduct seriously and is investigating the claim" and promised "appropriate disciplinary action."



    At Drop-Off, Driver Drops The Ball
    Key to being a successful bus driver is getting your passengers where they need to be. That's why is was particularly alarming last summer when an unidentified school bus driver for suburban Chicago-based Alpha School Bus Co. failed to notice that a 19-year-old student with Down syndrome had fallen asleep on the way to school, the Chicago Tribune reported. Once the company realized the student hadn't been dropped off, "we immediately returned the child to school and contacted school officials," regional manager Caprice Sanfratello said at the time. Sanfratello called the incident unacceptable and noted that state law requires bus operators to inspect the bus to insure that no students remain on board after completing a route to prevent precisely this kind of incident. It perhaps unsurprising then that the bus driver in question was immediately terminated.



    Stupid Is As Stupid Does
    Any fan of courtroom dramas knows that maintaining courtroom decorum is an integral part of a judge's job. So it should have come as little surprise to Matthew Bartlett, a waiter who sat in on the Casey Anthony murder trial last spring, that a judge took exception to Bartlett shooting "the bird" to the prosecutor in the case. Chief Judge Belvin Perry wasn't amused by the profane gesture, and had Bartlett, who worked at a T.G.I. Fridays in Orlando, Fla., immediately arrested for criminal contempt, WESH-TV reported. When asked what a raised middle finger represents Bartlett told the judge, "the F-word." He then apologized, saying, "it was just a stupid thing I did." We agree.



    Urine-Soaked Employee Relieved of Job
    Adherers to urine therapy believe that the byproduct secreted by the kidneys can be used to cure all manner of ailments -- both inside and outside the body. Museum employee Alfred Zoppelt didn't ingest his own urine but he did routinely used it to wash his hands and face. That was a bit much for management at the Belvedere, a castle in Vienna with a major art collection, which employed Zoppelt -- until last summer. That's when Zoppelt was let go, even though his adherance to urine therapy was, as Zoppelt put it, "never a problem." The museum declined to comment on Zoppelt's dismissal except to confirm that he indeed was no longer a Belvedere employee.



    And Now For No. 2
    Many people likely give little thought about where postal delivery workers relieve themselves on their daily routes. But Portland, Ore.,-resident Don Derfler became very aware last spring after he witnessed a postal worker defecating on a neighbor's lawn. Derfler, who said that he noticed the postal worker acting strangely, took photos of the incident. "To come on to our property and to defecate -- it's just wrong," Derfler told KATU-TV. The Postal Service conducted a probe and determined the offending employee could keep his job but would be assigned a different route. We hope it's one with a public toilet along the way.



    All We Can Say Is 'Ouch!'
    Lastly, from our "You Must Be Kidding!" department, we give you Stuart Keen, a 54-year-old carpenter in Wantage, England, who last summer mistook his penis for a piece of wood and accidentally cut it off while working with a saw. "This was an unfortunate accident, but these things happen all the time to people in his profession," Keen's mother, Edna, told The Sunday Telegraph. Fortunately for Keen, surgeons were able to reattach the severed member. No word yet on whether Keen has since changed professions.

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    U.S. man tries to use $1M bill at Walmart
    By QMI AGENCY

    Police say a North Carolina man insisted he could pay for his vacuum cleaner and microwave oven with a $1-million bill.

    The Winston-Salem Journal reports that Michael Anthony Fuller, 53, tried to pay his $476 bill at the Walmart in Lexington, N.C., with a cool million on Nov. 17.

    He insisted the bill was real, but staff called police. In a warrant for Muller, police said of the bill: "There is no such thing."

    The largest bill in circulation in the U.S. is $100 -- there has never been a $1-million bill. In 1969, officials dise $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills.

    Fuller is due in court Tuesday.

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    So, who deserves the wild and wacky awards?

    Make a note of links to a cat, a Batman, some rats and the Bruins - and there's one boob

    By Michael Smyth, The Province December 30, 2011

    The super-secret results of the 15th annual In the House Awards for Dubious Political Distinction have been kept in a sealed Mason jar underneath Kim Jong-il's glass coffin.

    Not even the dearly departed Dear Leader could have predicted this year's winners. The envelopes, please:

    Copy-cat political trickery of the year award:

    When Christy Clark admitted that one of her Liberal-leadership-bid organizers signed up a cat to a party membership, rival George Abbott pounced like a tabby on a toy mouse.

    "Outright fraud!" Abbott hissed, until later admitting one of his own organizers created an anonymous website — kitties4christy.com — mocking the future premier's feline follies and selling souvenir T-shirts. Only the cat had clean hands — er, paws — in this one.

    Superhero super-cop award:

    Former attorney-general Kash Heed, outed by his former campaign manager as a wannabe caped crusader. "Kash thought he was Batman," said Barinder Sall, revealing the former top cop once had a private phone installed in his office that Heed called "the bat phone."

    Pest-control-expert, golden mousetrap award:

    Auditor-General John Doyle, who asked for a budget increase to deal with an infestation of rats in his office.

    "We're running out of names for them," he told a parliamentary committee. "There's lots of them. We just can't get rid of them."

    Rats? That just won't go away? In politics? Shocking.

    Sign-that-kid-up best talent scout award:

    Finance Minister Kevin Falcon for admitting organizers of his Liberal leadership bid signed up most of the Kamloops Blazers hockey team to party memberships. The hockey players became Liberals without their knowledge or consent, even though some of them were left-wingers.

    Tempest-in-a-D-cup silliest complaint award:

    Former NDP MLA David Schreck, for criticizing Clark's "cleavage-revealing attire" in the legislature — the average bent-over plumber flashing more cleavage than the premier's hardly scandalous outfit in question. Most concluded Schreck made a boob of himself.

    Benedict Arnold award:

    Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom, a lifelong Boston Bruins fan, who openly rooted for Beantown over the Canucks in the Stanley Cup final. "The premier has openly questioned my judgment as a cabinet minister," Lekstrom said. He was right about the HST, too.

    Bill Vander Zalm honorary quote of the year award:

    "I thank them for the free advertising!" — John Cummins, leader of the upstart B.C. Tories, after the Libs launched a website attacking his record.

    Not master of the thigh master award:

    NDP MLA Mike Farnworth for packing on the pounds during his unsuccessful NDP leadership bid.

    How did the body-building health nut do it? "A habit of wanting to eat Nanaimo bars at three in the morning certainly doesn't help," he said.

    And there you have it. Just another wild and wacky year in B.C. politics. Meet you here for all the fun in 2012.

    twitter.com/mikesmythnews

    © Copyright (c) The Province

    Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/news/dese...#ixzz1iacDLrtO
    =====================

    Owner finds dog lost in wild after tragic Trans-Canada Highway crash


    By FRANK LUBA, The Province January 4, 2012

    Never give up on finding a lost pet.

    That’s Lisa Hawkins message after finding her lost pup Toffee five days after a tragic car crash in which her best friend and two young children were killed.

    The accident occurred Dec. 21, but Hawkins, 33, didn’t go to the scene until Dec. 26.

    The Merritt woman and her husband Steve found the crash site and split up to search.

    Hawkins was blowing a loud whistle she had trained her dogs to respond to when she spotted Toffee’s head pop up from behind a snowbank about a kilometre from the crash scene.

    At the same time her husband drove up with staff from Glacier National Park, who had earlier received a report about a stray dog in the area.

    It’s “a great miracle story,” says Hawkins. “It’s like a Chicken-Soup-for-the-Soul that I’d like to share with everybody.

    Hawkins said that she had held some hope of finding the dog which had gone missing at the time of the accident.

    Hawkins believed her year-old dog, a pit bull-Rottweiler cross that looks uncannily like a Labrador, was probably injured.

    But Toffee didn’t have a scratch, although she did drop some weight — going down to 68 pounds from a pre-accident 79 pounds.

    “I didn’t want to give up on finding her,” said Hawkins. “And we didn’t.”

    Toffee had been inside an SUV driven by Hawkins’ friend that apparently crossed the centre line of the Trans-Canada Highway and collided with a commercial tractor trailer unit about six kilometres west of the Rogers Pass summit.

    The collision was so severe investigators believe the car’s occupants, which included the 36-year-old driver and her daughters, aged six and four years, died immediately.

    The woman, who was divorced, had driven Hawkins to Calgary to visit with Hawkins’ family. She left early with Toffee for her Burnaby home because the dog was proving a little troublesome for the family.

    “She was like a sister to me,” Hawkins said of the dead woman. “She was my best friend. Her two girls — I was an auntie to them.”

    Toffee had previously belonged to the deceased woman and her family but had adopted by Hawkins, who already had two dogs, including Toffee’s brother.

    The deceased woman left behind a 14-year-old daughter, who is now living with her grandparents.

    The RCMP and the B.C. Coroner’s Service are still investigating the crash.

    fluba@theprovince.com

    twitter.com/frankluba

    © Copyright (c) The Province

    Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/news/Owne...#ixzz1iadYdQhX
    Last edited by MalahatTwo7; 01-05-2012 at 08:27 AM.

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