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How bizarre How bizarre
by Thanos Kalamidas
2011-03-20 09:37:01
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Utah designates Browning M1911 official state firearm

bizarre01_19Utah has become the first US state to designate an official state firearm. The Browning M1911 joins the state fossil (allosaurus), fruit (cherry), gem (topaz), bird (sea gull) and other symbols with official designation.

The gun was designed by Utah native John Browning. The law's sponsor said it symbolised freedom and empowerment. Opponents said it was inappropriate to glorify a firearm, citing the January mass shooting at a congresswoman's constituent event in nearby Arizona.

The .45-calibre semi-automatic pistol was designed by Browning, who was born in Utah in 1855, to fill the US military's need for a pistol with stopping power - the ability to fell an enemy with a single shot. It was adopted by the US Army in 1911, and first saw action in combat with Mexican rebel leader Pancho Villa in 1916, according to the Browning Arms Company. It was later used in World War I and beyond.

Democratic Utah State Representative Brian King opposed the bill. "When we are talking about a state symbol we would do well to come up with one that is more unifying than divisive and this is a very divisive symbol for obvious reasons," he told Reuters. "This is just a poor choice for a state symbol."

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Hygienic sharks go to cleaner stations


Thresher sharks visit cleaning stations to rid themselves of nasty parasites, say researchers. Scientists filmed sharks off the coast of the Philippines visiting a tropical seamount - or undersea mountain. This is a habitat for cleaner fish, wbizarre02_12hich nibble off parasites and dead skin. The sharks repeatedly visited the station and swam slowly around, giving the fish time to delouse them. The findings were recently published in the journal PLoS One.

This is the first time the behaviour has been seen in this species and the researchers say it shows how vital these shallow reef habitats are for the large, threatened predators. The lead researcher, Simon Oliver from Bangor University in the UK, has been studying thresher sharks for more than five years and founded the Thresher Shark Research and Conservation Project.  For the PLoS One study , he filmed over 1,000 hours of footage of the sharks at a seamount off the northern tip of Cebu in the Philippines. "They visit the site very regularly," Mr Oliver told BBC News. "A huge dive tourism site has evolved around them." The sharks' behaviour suggests that they go there specifically to be cleaned.

"They pose, lowering their tails to make themselves more attractive to the cleaners," he explained. "And they systematically circle for about 45 minutes at speeds lower than one metre per second." This is about half the speed at which the sharks usually swim. These reefs, which are habitats for cleaner wrasses - as the industrious little fish are known - are probably vital for the sharks' health. "It's like us going to our local GP if we had a head full of lice," said Mr Oliver. "If we weren't able to get them treated, they could cause infections and other complications.

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Experts unravel 'churkey' appearance mystery


bizarre03_400_16The "churkey" owes its distinctive look to a complex genetic mutation, according to scientists. Experts at Edinburgh University set out to discover how the Transylvanian naked neck chicken came by its appearance. The bird, which has also been dubbed the turken, has the neck of a turkey and the body of a chicken. The scientists said the effects of the genetic mutation were enhanced by a vitamin A-derived substance produced around the bird's neck. This causes a protein, BMP12, to be produced, suppressing feather growth and causing the bird to have its bald neck, according to researchers at the Roslin Institute at Edinburgh University.

The team said the findings could help poultry production in hot countries because chickens with naked necks were better equipped to withstand the heat. They also have implications for understanding how birds, including vultures, evolved to have featherless necks. Transylvanian naked neck chickens, which are thought to have originated from the north of Romania, were introduced to Britain in the 1920s.

Researchers analysed DNA samples from naked neck chickens in Mexico, France and Hungary to find the genetic mutation. Skin samples from embryonic chickens were also analysed using complex mathematical modelling. Dr Denis Headon, who led the research, said: "Not only does this help our understanding of developmental biology and give insight into how different breeds have evolved, but it could have practical implications for helping poultry production in hot countries, including those in the developing world." The research, published in the journal PLoS, was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

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Three men formally charged with trashing auto show cars


Three southwest suburban men were indicted on Friday after being charged last month with allegedly trashing seven vehicles at the Chicago Auto Show because they were angry at U.S. jobs going overseas. Bryan Kjellman, 22, of the 10800 bizarre04_400_06block of Deer Point Drive; Richard Data, 20, of the 15500 block of Helen Lane; and Edmund Grzeszkiewicz, 27, of the 15400 block of Cherrywood Circle -- all of Orland Park -- were arrested Feb. 16 at the annual show at McCormick Place, Chicago police said.

They were charged with one count each of criminal damage to property for allegedly doing thousands of dollars in damage to the interior of seven 2011 Toyota vehicles, police said. On Friday, the men were indicted with the felony charge and an arraignment date was set for April 5, Cook County State's Attorney's office spokesman Andy Conklin said. Bond was set at $30,000 each on Feb. 18. The men were caught in a blue Toyota Camry, damaging the interior with razor knives and flathead screwdrivers, according to a police report. A security camera caught footage of them inside the car.

Besides the Camry, a RAV4, a Prius, a Land Cruiser, two Tundras and a Lexus ES350 were damaged, the latter having its back seat punctured and a turn indicator broken, according to the report. The men allegedly told police they were angry about American jobs going overseas. But they may have picked the wrong cars to knife, according to Toyota Motor Sales USA spokesman Curt McAllister. While three of the makes they targeted – the Prius, Lexus and Land Cruiser – are made in Japan, the others are assembled in the United States or Canada. The Camry is assembled in Georgetown, Ky., and the RAV4 in Canada, McAllister said. The Tundra, “in terms of U.S. content, is the most American-made truck in the U.S,” he said. It is manufactured in San Antonio, Texas.

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Speeder Tells Deputy Dr. Phil Warned Him of Alien Invasion


A North Carolina man who led deputies on a high-speed chase across Rowan County late Wednesday told authorities he was driving over 120 mph and eluding police because Dr. Phil told him America was under an alien invasion. Richard bizarre05Donald Blanscet, 21, of Salisbury, admitted to police he was smoking a synthetic marijuana called 'Mr. Nice Guy Herbal Smoke Blend' before the chase.

Authorities originally responded to Blanscet's home around 7:45 p.m. after receiving a report of a combative patient. While Deputy McHone was en route, Blanscet left the home in a burgundy Jaguar and nearly collided with EMS who were on their way to the home. The deputy spotted the car and followed it through a church parking lot. Blanscet then drove through a ditch before turning on Bringle Ferry Road. Deputies said Blanscet then sped off, leading deputies on a chase that exceeded 120 mph.

Later in the chase, Blanscet slowed to about 10 mph before coming to a stop. The deputy attempted to approach the vehicle, but Blanscet yelled something at the deputy before speeding off again. The chase ended when Blanscet crashed near Earnhardt Road. The suspect was given standard field sobriety tests and then taken into custody. When asked, Blanscet told authorities he didn't stop for the blue lights because "he realized the invasion was real and the cops were on it." He also told authorities he saw a UFO when he left his home that was circling above him and he needed to save his girlfriend, according to the report.


     
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