2008年8月29日 星期五

Lego launch Taj Mahal 樂高推出泰姬瑪哈陵模型積木

Lego has launched the biggest model in its 74-year history - a 5,922-piece replica of the Taj Mahal.

Priced at £200 the model will be on sale from September and is considered to be so tricky that only those over the age of 14 are recommended to tackle it.

When finished the model measures 3ft wide and 2ft tall and uses a whopping 800 more Lego bricks than the company's next biggest model - the Star Wars Millennium Falcon.

Lego spokeswoman Jenny Brown said the Taj Mahal model was designed only for very experienced enthusiasts, adding: "It will certainly present a worthy challenge to most Lego fans - but a fun one".

The original Taj Mahal, in northern India, was built in the 17th century in memory of an emperor's wife. It took 22 years and 20,000 workers.

It won't take Lego fans quite as long; they can build their own replica, complete with domes, minarets, arches and stairs, in a little under 40 hours. (Roundup)

2008年8月27日 星期三

World's most prolific bike thief 全球最多產的腳踏車竊賊

Canadian police say they have caught the world's most prolific bike thief.

Officers recovered 2,865 stolen bicycles from the owner of a Toronto bike shop, reports The Guardian.

Igor Kenk, 49, is awaiting trial on 58 charges of theft, attempted theft, possession of stolen goods and possession of burglary tools.

He was arrested after Toronto police, noticing that bike theft had spiked sharply in June, planted bicycles on the streets and watched to see who stole them.

As plain clothes officers hid in wait, Kenk and another man walked past. Kenk seemed to tell his companion to cut the locks on two bikes, which he did, before the pair attempted to pedal away.

When police raided the Bicycle Clinic, the shop was so jam-packed that the fire service had to remove the upper-floor windows and lower the bikes out by rope.

Later, 200 more bikes were seized in Kenk's home, along with large quantities of drugs, in a smart neighbourhood in Toronto.

Ten landlords around the city also reported that they had rented garages to Kenk, which were chock-full of bikes.

Some 15,000 people have visited the police station garage where the vast collection was taken, hoping to pick out their own lost bikes.

Toronto police officers said about 500 people had so far been reunited with their bicycles. (The Guardian)

2008年8月25日 星期一

Record fish caught on toy rod 玩具釣竿釣到重量破紀錄的鯰魚

A man in the US has managed to catch and land a record-breaking catfish on a Barbie fishing rod just 2-and-a-half feet long.

David Hayes and his 3-year-old granddaughter Alyssa were angling in the pond behind his Wilkes County home when she asked him to hold her rod while she nipped to the loo.

"They hadn't no more than closed the door than the cat hit the cricket and took off," Mr Hayes told the Hickory Daily Record.

"He turned the water over and I saw his tail was about as wide as my two hands."

Alyssa returned to find her grandad battling with the monster fish.

"She said, 'Papa, you're going to break my rod,' because it was bent double," said Mr Hayes.

After 25 minutes, the pink plastic toy prevailed and Mr Hayes landed the 21 lbs,1oz catfish on the 6 lbs test line.

At 32 inches long, it was 2 inches longer than the rod.

A state fisheries biologist from North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has certified the record, which was nearly three pounds over the previous mark. (AP)

2008年8月23日 星期六

Indian woman, 55, has quadruplets in Italy 55歲印婦在義大利產下4胞胎

A 55-year-old Indian woman has given birth to quadruplets in the northern Italian city of Mantua, a local newspaper there reported Thursday.

The woman, who has lived in nearby Suzzara for 15 years, had gone home to India to be artificially inseminated after trying unsuccessfully in Italy, La Gazzetta di Mantova said.

"We have been waiting for this moment for 15 years," the babies' 38-year-old father Pabla Maghar Singh said. "We are really very happy."

The four boys, born a week ago, were named Manav, Manmeet, Roshan and Radveer.

They were born two months premature, weighing between 750 and 980 grammes (one pound, 10 ounces and two pounds, two ounces), and are in incubators at the hospital, but are doing well, the report said.

The mother works for a cleaning business, while the father is a metal worker.

Italy has the greyest population in the European Union, and a slight increase in birthrate from 1.19 child per woman in 1995 to 1.32 in 2005 is attributed mainly to births among immigrants. (AFP)

2008年8月20日 星期三

A wheelchaired tortoise has found her love 坐輪椅陸龜找到她的愛

A disabled tortoise has found love after being given her own set of wheels.

Arava arrived as a new resident at Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo a few months ago, but staff quickly realised her rear legs were paralysed.

Weighing 25 kilograms, the ten-year-old spurred tortoise wasn't strong enough to move herself using just her front legs.

So, staff built Arava a unique skateboard-cum-wheelchair by strapping a metal board to her stomach with two wheels attached.

Zookeepers reckon Arava's renewed mobility has improved her quality of life no end.

She has even attracted the attention of an amorous male tortoise and the pair have begun mating. (roundup)

2008年8月17日 星期日

World's first sat nav - from 1920 世界第一具衛星導航裝置

It doesn't speak to you or give live traffic updates, but this is the world's first sat nav - invented in the 1920s.

The Plus Fours Routefinder was designed to be worn on the wrist - relying on good old-fashioned paper maps wound around wooden rollers, which the driver turned en route.

The tiny scrolls also showed the mileage and gave a "stop" instruction at the journey's end.

The device was intended to allow drivers to navigate around the UK, but with so few cars on the roads it never really took off.

Now consigned to the scrap heap of history, the Routefinder is one of many gadgets patented by inventors who were hoping to strike it rich with their bizarre contraptions.

It's part of a collection of weird and wonderful inventions, all conceived between 1851 and 1951, which have gone on display at the British Library in London.

Other gadgets include a clockwork burglar alarm, a candle "blower-outer", a mechanical page turner and a skirt lifter - tongs that fitted to women's waistbands to lift their skirts clear of puddles. (Ananova.com)

2008年8月15日 星期五

Man banned from girlfriend's home after noisy sex 英男子被禁止到女友家,因為他們的嘿咻聲太吵了

A British man has been banned from visiting his girlfriend's home after neighbors complained about noisy sex, a local official said Thursday.

A court barred Adam Hinton, 32, from being within 110 yards of his 29-year-old girlfriend Kerry Norris' apartment, Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman Mike Taggart said.

Residents of Norris's publicly owned home had been complaining since 2006 about thumping music, banging headboards and screamed obscenities, Taggart said.

Neighbors also complained about Norris sunbathing naked in her yard, and were upset that a 6-year-old child in the building had been "subjected to the sort of obscenities you wouldn't want a 6-year-old to hear," the spokesman said.

"She is a classic nightmare neighbor," Taggart said, insisting the case was not about sex. "It's about allowing your neighbors to have a normal decent life without being disturbed."

The court granted the city council's request for an injunction banning Hinton from the apartment because Norris had ignored a previous court order demanding that she be more quiet, Taggart said.

Norris last week was forced to pay $560 in fines and court costs for breaking the "noise abatement order," Taggart said.

Neither Norris or Hinton could be immediately located for comment. Brighton and Hove is located in southern England. (AP)

2008年8月14日 星期四

Man lives in train locker 德男子在火車站置物櫃生活了9年

A pint-size down and out had made his home in a left luggage locker in a railway station.

Every evening, former art student Mike Kirsch, 29, slips into locker 501 at Dusseldorf station and beds down for the night.

At just 24 by 20 inches his railway residence may be handy for commuting but it's certainly more bijou than palatial.

And even though he's just eight stone, nine pounds and 5ft 6 inches, it's still a squeeze for its occupant.

Mike hit the road after breaking up with his student girlfriend 10 years ago and quickly settled on the locker as a secure, dry bed for the night.

But now efficient German railway authorities are trying to remove him and have accused him of a breach of the peace.

Now Kirsch is facing nine months in prison but said: "Who knows. Maybe I will get another chance."(Ananova.com)

2008年8月12日 星期二

Lucky eights for newborn babies 美國鄰州兩嬰兒同時在2008年8月8日早上8時8分出生,也都重8磅8盎司

Meet Hailey Jo Hauer and Xander Jace Riniker - who were both born at 8:08 a.m. on 8/8/08, weighing 8 pounds, 8 ounces, in neighboring states in America.

Xander, born at St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is the eighth grandchild for his mother's parents. And he is not the only one in his family with an unusual birthday: His 2-year-old brother, Kael, was born on 4/5/06.

Lindsey Hauer thought staff at Lake Region Hospital in Minnesota were joking when they told her the time of her daughter's birth. And then she got a call from the birthing suite noting Hailey's weight.

Nurse Jenny Harstad joked that she tried to shrink the baby to 18 inches from her actual 19.5 inches.

Several hospital staff members in Minnesota pledged to buy lottery tickets. And Chad Riniker, Xander's father, said that eight had not been his lucky number before, but that now he was thinking about buying a lottery ticket.

'I just might,' he said. 'If nothing else, with four children I should probably play the lottery.' (AP/Metro.co.uk)

2008年8月11日 星期一

Upside down goldfish 倒過來游的金魚

Meet the pub goldfish which has spent the past four years swimming upside down.

Aussie floats with its belly pointing up and its eyes staring down because of a problem with its swim bladder.

Regulars at the Globe Inn, in Lympstone, near Exeter, joke that the fish must be drunk. Pub landlord Liam Matthews, 53, bought the goldfish from a pet shop in 2004 but it began swimming upside down six months later.

He said: 'She seems happy enough - as far as you can tell with a fish.' (Metro.uk.co)

2008年8月8日 星期五

Dogs can 'catch' yawns too 狗打哈欠也會傳染

Scientists have discovered that, just like humans, pet dogs find yawns 'catching' too.

Until now, only humans and our close primate relatives were thought to find yawning contagious.

A team from Birkbeck College at the University of London wanted to know whether canines - known to be highly skilled at reading human social cues - could read the human yawn signal, reports the BBC.

The team tested 29 dogs by creating two conditions, each five minutes long, in which a person - a stranger to the dog - was sat in front of the animal and asked to call its name.

Under the first condition, the stranger yawned once the dogs had made eye contact with them.

"We gave the dogs everything: visual and auditory stimulus to induce them to yawn," explained Birkbeck's Dr Atsushi Senju.

The same procedure was followed in the second test, but this time the stranger opened and closed their mouth but did not yawn.

This was a precaution to ensure that dogs weren't just responding to an open mouth.

The team found that 21 out of 29 dogs yawned when the stranger in front of them had first. By contrast, no dogs yawned during the test where the person did not yawn.

The researchers believe that these results are the first evidence that dogs have the capacity to empathise with humans.(BBC)

Graduate shuns £100k a year job 英女碩士棄年薪10萬英鎊工作 寧願當泥水匠

A student has turned down a £100,000-a-year job offer so she can train as a plasterer.

Gemma McCoyd recently graduated with a first-class masters degree in maths, but has shunned a lucrative offer to become an actuary for a top London firm.

Instead, the 24-year-old has enrolled on an advanced plastering course.

Gemma, from Halstead in Essex, got interested in plastering on an art course while studying for her degree in the US.

She told The Sun: "If I was an actuary I could earn £100,000 a year. Instead I earn less than £6,000.

"Some people say I'm crazy but I have to do what I love or I'll always regret it. I didn't want to sit in an office bored out of my mind. This is what I'm passionate about."

Ms McCoyd is the only female in her 30-strong class at Leicester College.

She told The Times: "I'm still not the fastest, but I've actually become the best. When I do a job I charge by square metre rather than by the day, so the customer knows they're getting a job well done."

Ms McCoyd, who is dyslexic, plans to specialise in restoration.

"The parts of the course I enjoy the best are intricate things like fibrous plastering, cornices, coving and fireplaces," she told The Times. (Roundup)

2008年8月6日 星期三

Bullet-proof bras for German police 德國女警將穿著防彈胸罩

German police women are to be issued with bullet-resistant bras.

The new underwear was developed as a second barrier of defence after normal bras were found to cause injuries while on duty, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The officers' bullet-proof vests, while stopping the force of gunshots in an attack, pushed the plastic and metal parts of their underwear into their flesh.

Carmen Kibat, a policewoman in Hamburg who tested the new underwear, said: "These can save someone's life so it's not a laughing matter."

She organised "Action Brassiere" across Germany, getting hundreds of policewomen to try the bras out in the line of duty.

They are all emblazoned with the word "police" and made from cotton, polyester, elastic and some other synthetic materials, thickly padded and with no metal or plastic studs or fasteners.

Three thousand front-line women police officers will now be required to wear the bras on duty. Their bosses have decided to allow them to have three each.

Ruediger Carstens, a spokeswoman for the police, said: "This was pioneering work. The safety of our officers is paramount." (Daily Telegraph)

2008年8月4日 星期一

Inventor unveils commuter jet pack 男子發明通勤用噴射背包

A jet pack which could allow commuters to fly to work has been unveiled by an inventor.

Glenn Martin, from New Zealand, described his craft as "the world's first practical jet pack" while unveiling it in front of a crowd of thousands at a Wisconsin air show.

The Daily Telegraph reports how Martin's 16-year-old son, Harrison (pictured) donned a helmet and eased into the contraption - with the help of two people to stop him toppling over.

Revving its engine, Harrison slowly climbed to about three feet off the ground and hovered for 45 seconds before touching back down to Earth.

The crowd at the AirVenture Oshkosh 2008 show cheered.

"Wow, that went better than expected," dad Glenn said afterwards. "People will look back on this as a moment in history."

The Martin Jet Pack is theoretically capable of flying an average-sized pilot 30 miles in 30 minutes on a full tank of fuel - it carries five gallons.

The inventor, 48, who has been working on the pack for almost three decades, plans to start selling them next year for around £50,000.

The device is designed to conform to the Federal Aviation Administration's definition of an ultra light vehicle - one weighing less than 115 kilograms and capable of carrying only one passenger - so it won't require a pilot's licence.

Most previous jet packs have lasted only a few minutes before running out of fuel. But Mr Martin, who gave up his job to concentrate on his design, hopes its superior performance will win over sceptics. (Daily Telegraph)

2008年8月2日 星期六

World's oldest joke traced back to 1900 BC 世界最古老笑話可追溯到西元前1,900年

Members of laughter club participate in a laughing exercise in Mumbai May 4, 2008.

The world's oldest recorded joke has been traced back to 1900 BC and suggests toilet humor was as popular with the ancients as it is today.

It is a saying of the Sumerians, who lived in what is now southern Iraq and goes: "Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband's lap."

It heads the world's oldest top 10 joke list published by the University of Wolverhampton Thursday.

A 1600 BC gag about a pharaoh, said to be King Snofru, comes second -- "How do you entertain a bored pharaoh? You sail a boatload of young women dressed only in fishing nets down the Nile and urge the pharaoh to go catch a fish."

The oldest British joke dates back to the 10th Century and reveals the bawdy face of the Anglo-Saxons -- "What hangs at a man's thigh and wants to poke the hole that it's often poked before? Answer: A key."

"Jokes have varied over the years, with some taking the question and answer format while others are witty proverbs or riddles," said the report's writer Dr Paul McDonald, senior lecturer at the university.

"What they all share however, is a willingness to deal with taboos and a degree of rebellion. Modern puns, Essex girl jokes and toilet humor can all be traced back to the very earliest jokes identified in this research."

The study was commissioned by television channel Dave. The top 10 oldest jokes can be viewed at www.dave-tv.co.uk. (Reuters)