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How bizarre
by Thanos Kalamidas
2011-09-09 07:13:29
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Waving robotic crab arm attracts females

bizarre01_400_12A vigorous wave of the claw can be the key to mating success for male fiddler crabs, report researchers at the 13th Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology. Male crabs advertise their quality as a potential mate to passing females by waving their large yellow claws.

Using robotic arms, researchers evaluated how the size and speed of the waving claw affected mating success. The results may help explain why males protect their smaller neighbours. To the fiddler crab Uca mjoebergi, the Australian mudflats in the north of the country are a heaving dance floor, where a male must rely on his moves to attract a mate.

Males stand outside their burrows and use their enlarged claw to attract females by moving it in circles. If a female likes the look of a male, she will come closer and disappear down his burrow in the sand, possibly staying to mate.
When a female wanders through a neighbourhood, "you see part of the mudflat light up" with waving yellow claws, said ecologist Sophie Callander from the Australian National University in Canberra. Dr Callander and her colleagues used a fully adjustable robotic arm - called Robocrab - to determine what female crabs are looking for in a mate.


Mouse on Nepal Airlines jet delays Hong Kong flight

bizarre02_20A Nepal Airlines Boeing 757 has been grounded at Hong Kong's airport after a mouse was seen in the cockpit, an airline official said. Passengers face a second night in a hotel as efforts continue to trap the stowaway rodent. Nepal Airlines General Manager Sita Gurung said that the plane would have to remain in Hong Kong until the mouse was caught.

The airline said that the mouse posed a potential safety risk. Ms Gurung said that it was capable of chewing the aircraft's cables and could unsettle some passengers. The incident is the second embarrassment for the Nepalese airline this week, after the same plane was reportedly grounded for more than 11 hours at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport on Monday - also because of a mouse.
A similar incident happened in August in the Swedish capital Stockholm, when a mouse on board an SAS Airbus meant that 250 passengers were left stranded. Two Delta Airlines flights from New York to London were cancelled in November 2009 after mouse sightings.


Walgreens fires pharmacist who stopped robbery with handgun

A pharmacist who thwarted an attempted armed robbery inside a south-western Michigan drug store where he was working by shooting his own gun is suing after being fired from his job.
Attorneys for 36-year-old Jeremy Hoven on Wednesday released surveillance footage of the robbery attempt, which happened about 4:30 a.m. May 8 at a Walgreens in Benton Harbour. He sued last month in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, claiming wrongful termination.

Deerfield-based drugstore chain Walgreen Co. denies many of Hoven's claims, including his assertion that he was fired over a company “non-escalation” policy.  Hoven had permit to carry a concealed weapon but apparently didn't notify his employer he was carrying a gun.


Man gets probation for fake orgy ad on Craigslist

A Connecticut man has been sentenced to probation for posting a bogus ad about an orgy at the house of a neighbour with whom he had been feuding. Court records show 44-year-old Philip Conran pleaded guilty to risk of injury to a child last week in Hartford Superior Court.

He has been sentenced to three years of probation and 200 hours of community service. He also has been ordered to pay for the West Hartford neighbour’s house alarm system. Police say Conran posted the Craigslist ad in April 2010 and that several strangers knocked on the neighbour’s door. One man went to the wrong home, groped a teenage girl and was arrested. Conran's attorney, Michael Georgetti, says his client regrets his actions.

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