Monday, March 30, 2015

Meet the small mammal that is one of the world’s most endangered species

by Morgan Meaker

Only discovered in 1983, the population of the Ili Pika is thought to have declined by nearly 70 per cent.
An endangered tiny mammal only 20cm long has been spotted in China for the first time in 20 years. Since it was discovered in 1983, the Ili Pika population is thought to have declined by nearly 70 per cent. With only 1,000 left, the small mammal is now thought to be one of the world’s most endangered species. The species is a native to the remote Tianshan mountain range in the Xinjiang region of northwestern China. Discovered by conservationist Li Weidong, the creature was named after his home town of Ili and is not known to exist anywhere else. Mr Li spotted an Ili Pika for the first time in 1983 and did not know what it was. Two years later, he saw two more and it was declared a new species. Over the next 10 years, he monitored the Ili Pika with colleagues. However in 1992 he was offered a new job in at the Xinjiang Academy of Environmental Protection. He moved to the regional capital Urumqi but nobody continued his research while he was away. Mr Li returned to study the animal in seven times between 2002 and 2003. This research made it clear to him the species was in drastic decline. In 2005, assisted by a team of volunteers, he produced a census saying the animal should be listed as endangered. In 2007, he retired early so he could spend more time on his Ili Pika research. Mr Li told CNN: “I discovered the species, and I watched as it became endangered”. He believes there is no official studies on the Ili Pika even though in 2008, the animal was listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. However the creature has been excluded from China’s List of Wildlife under Special State Protection. This means there is a lack of funding to monitor the population. Although Mr Li receives occasional donations and grants, he mostly funds the research himself. He said he has spent over £20,000 of his own money on the project over the last 30 years. Mr Li believes global warming is the reason behind the decline in numbers of the Ili Pika population. Because glaciers have receded, Ili Pikas have been forced to live higher up the mountains. Disease could also be a factor. Mr Li, who is almost 60, is worried that soon he will not be able to monitor the Ili Pika population because he will be too old to climb the mountains. The volunteers have affectionately labelled the Ili Pika, a “magic rabbit” and the creature may have inspired the famous Pokemon character, Pikachu.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

DNA Reveals a Surprise in Mario Lopez’s Past

This one’s a no brainer: Guess Extra! host Mario Lopez’s ethnic ancestry. That was family historian Michelle Ercanbrack’s challenge to Mario himself when she appeared on Extra! to announce the results of Mario’s AncestryDNA test. Two cultures in Lopez’s past were no surprise. His test results came back with high percentages of Native American and Spanish markers. But Mario had a third prominent ethnicity in his past. Ercanbrack brought along samples of three ethnic cuisines as clues: a French baguette, some Turkish hummus, and a very British plate of fish and chips. Have you made your guess? Mario went with Turkish. His genes say otherwise. Mario’s British ancestry was discovered by an ethnicity analysis that compared his DNA to various ethnic “reference panels.” These reference panels are samples of genetic data taken from families with a long history in an area—generations in England, for example. By comparing your DNA to these reference panels, tests like AncestryDNA make estimates about your ethic makeup. So you might be 53 percent Central European, 20 percent West African, 15 percent Scandinavian—and 12 percent British Isles. Figuring out where the mysterious percentage that surprises you came from is part of the fun that keeps family history hobbyists up late into the night. And it can be a great conversation—or argument—starter during the summer family reunion season.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Caring uncle dresses in princess costume to help shy niece become Cinderella for the day

A thoughtful uncle wore a dress to encourage his shy niece to wear a Cinderella gown to the cinema. By Mark Molloy He wore flip-flops instead of glass slippers, but that didn’t stop this caring uncle from making his niece’s Cinderella dreams come true. Jesse Nagy donned a strapless gown, diamante handbag and tiara to help his young niece feel more comfortable wearing her own princess outfit in public. The 25-year-old actor, from the town of Detroit, Alabama, posted the photo with his four-year-old niece Izzy on Facebook. The pair went to watch Cinderella at the cinema before the adorable photo racked up millions of hits.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Hundreds of free £10 notes hidden on the streets of London

Free £10 notes were hidden across London to brighten up some lucky finders day. Hundreds of origami dogs made with £10 notes were released on the streets of the capital of England on March 25. With payday still a few days away for many, a few lucky people who came across the paper canines received a welcome pocket money boost.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Man finds whole potato in packet of crisps

An Aldi customer was rather taken aback when he opened his packet of crisps to find a single, whole potato. A customer of discount supermarket chain Aldi had quite the surprise when he opened a packet of crisps. Richard Bootman, 25, ripped open a packet of Snackrite steak and onion crisps only to find a whole potato – and nothing else – inside. Speaking with, the architectural designer from Mildenhall, Suffolk explained: “I picked it up and it was airtight so I didn’t question it. At first I thought it was a ball of soggy crisps. When I realised what it was, everyone in the office laughed.” Bootman posted images of the potato-filled packet on Twitter, and has ended up seeing his story reach the likes of Russia, India and Taiwan. “We couldn’t believe it. It is likely I will buy them again - brand doesn’t bother me with crisps. But I will feel up the pack before I open them," he said. Aldi later apologised and offered Bootman a full refund.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Baby saved in Utah Car Crash may have had Divine help

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 SPANISH FORK, Utah -- Police who came to the rescue of an 18-month-old trapped in a submerged car hours can't explain a mystery voice they heard calling for help. "It felt like I could hear somebody telling me, 'I need help.' It was very surreal," one officer told KSL. The officers were on the scene hours after 25-year-old Lynn Groesbeck, the baby's mother, had died. The baby, Lily Groesbeck, survived but was unconscious when officers arrived. Police believe that the baby was dangling upside down but above the water in the submerged car for as many as 14 hours. She had survived without food or water in frigid temperatures. Police saved the baby by forming a line and passing her from hand-to-hand after cutting her out of her car seat. There's one thing that continues to puzzle those who were near the car: They all heard someone calling to them. "We've gotten together and just talkin' about it, and all four of us can swear that we heard somebody inside the car saying, 'Help,'" Officer Jared Warner told KSL. "We're not exactly sure where that voice came from." Hospital officials said Lily was in stable condition and improving Monday, according to the Associated Press. Police aren't yet sure what caused the crash. They do not suspect alcohol or drugs, but they aren't ruling anything out yet.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Cat tries to beat up woman after she insults him using the cat translator app by Oliver Wheaton

Over the years human beings have perfected the art of winding each other up, so it only makes sense that we move on to annoying our friends in the animal kingdom as well. Leading the charge on this front is Penny Adams, who used an app on her smartphone to converse with her cat, named Flam. Clearly her innocent words mean something far more offensive in cat language, because the moggy instantly squares up to her. Penny, who volunteers at a the Cat Shoppe Rescue centre in Nashville Tennessee, doesn’t do a good job of apologising for her incredibly rude words, and Flan is forced to take drastic action. He lands the standard ‘scratch and snarl’ cat attack, before backing off, ready to make his next move. Of course a secondary attack is unnecessary, as that cheeky human has been put in her place. Penny said of the little tussle: ‘Who knows what the app was really saying in cat voice, but he sure didn’t like it.’ At least we know the app works, but we have also confirmed our long held suspicions that cats really don’t enjoy our company – just our food. Cats – 1, humans – 0.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Two men jump out of a plane, then decide to set their parachutes on fire

BY Oliver Wheaton for You would be correct in thinking one of the key ingredients necessary for a successful skydive would be a functioning parachute. So seeing two daredevils setting theirs on fire mid-jump is somewhat puzzling (and terrifying). Alex Aimard and Petter Jonsson performed this ridiculous stunt over the planes of Eloy, Arizona – which, by the way, is not one giant safety net. They released their first parachutes immediately after exiting the plane, before using flare guns to set ablaze the one thing stopping them from plummeting to the ground. Of course they had packed a second parachute each, which is why we are watching this awesome video instead of reading about two men who died in very weird circumstances. Petter, from Sweden, said: ‘I was so focused on my task that I didn’t have time to be scared or think about what could have gone wrong.’

Friday, March 13, 2015

A man found a terrifying python inside a box of Corn Flakes

Earlier today, we told you about the man who was horrified when he found a rat in his shopping. But just when you thought it was safe to go back in the kitchen, we give you this bloke in Australia – who discovered a giant python in a box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. Jared Smith, 22, was making lunch in his Sydney apartment when he saw the terrifying diamond python nestled in the cereal box. He told The Daily Telegraph: ‘I peeked in the box, saw its head pop out, and that’s when I dropped my food on the counter and bolted for the door.’ ‘The python was over two metres long and I couldn’t believe it was jammed into this small cereal box. ‘When I got there I actually had to tear the box to get it out, that’s how tightly squeezed in it was. ‘It’s likely it was hiding in there to feel secure’. After Jared enlisted the help of his dad to deal with the creature, the pair called the New South Wales Wildlife, Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES). A rescuer tore the cereal box open, allowing the snake to wriggle out before it was returned to nearby bush land. A WIRES spokesman added that the snake was probably hiding in the book in a bid to feel safe.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Trailer With Tons of Mozzarella Stolen From Truck Stop SUMMERFIELD, Fla.

Hold the cheese. Thieves made off with a refrigerated tractor-trailer filled with $85,000 worth of shredded mozzarella cheese bound for a Hungry Howies Pizza distribution center in central Florida. The truck was reported stolen Sunday. The Ocala Star-Banner ( reports the driver and his girlfriend left the trailer at a truck stop in Summerfield on Saturday evening while having a mechanic check the truck. Marion County Sheriff's officials say the woman reported the truck was missing Sunday. Deputies say a hauler was also reported missing from the lot Saturday, presumably to take the trailer. The missing trailer has white mud flaps with "Hudsonville Trailer Sales" on them. It also has a Michigan license plate. The trailer is valued at $62,000. ——— Information from: Ocala (Fla.) Star-Banner

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Police: Woman Got Naked at Dunkin' Donuts on a Dare GREENACRES, Fla

from ASSOCIATED PRESS A 32-year-old woman told police in Florida she got naked and sat outside a Dunkin' Donuts as a dare. The Palm Beach Post ( reports Shakara Monik Martin was arrested Sunday in Greenacres near West Palm Beach. According to a police report, Martin told authorities the dare was part of a pledge to a dance troop, which wasn't identified. Witnesses told police Martin was offered clothes several times, but she refused to take them. She began apologizing when police arrived. She faces a charge of indecent exposure. Martin appeared in court Monday and was released on her own recognizance. It was not clear whether she's retained an attorney and a phone number wasn't available for her.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

'The Bachelorette' 2015 Will Star Kaitlyn Bristowe and Britt Nilsson

Throughout "The Bachelor" and "After the Final Rose," Chris Harrison promised viewers that a big announcement would be made. In the end, it was that Kaitlyn Bristowe and Britt Nilsson, two women who competed for Chris Soules's affections on "The Bachelor," will star on the next season of "The Bachelorette." "A lot of opinions going back and forth, so here's the thing, we actually decided not to decide," Harrison said. "For the first time in Bachelorette history, we're gonna have two bachelorettes. ... The 25 men on night one will have the ultimate say on who they think will make the best wife." 'The Bachelor' 2015 Finale Recap: Chris Soules Is Engaged to Whitney Bischoff 'The Bachelor' Finale Preview: Watch Chris Soules Choose an Engagement Ring 'Bachelor' Star Becca Reveals 'It's Gonna Take a Lot More Than a Fantasy Suite!' With that, he brought out Bristowe and Nilsson, who appeared on stage holding hands. "I'm super grateful... It's more than I can comprehend," Nilsson said. "We'll just see how it goes!" Bristowe admitted that she wasn't thrilled when she heard about the plan. "What went through my mind was, that's not ideal!" she said with a smile. "Nothing against you [Britt] but... if that's what it takes to find somebody, [I'm in]."

Owner of Maine Inn Holds Essay Contest to Select New Owner LOVELL, Maine

A woman who won a Maine country inn in an essay writing contest more than two decades ago wants to give it away in the same manner. Janice Sage is asking prospective owners of the Center Lovell Inn and Restaurant to persuade her why they should have the opportunity take over the facility in 200 words or less. Sage tells The Boston Globe ( ) she wants to retire after 22 years of 17-hour days of pleasing guests, cooking, cleaning and just maintaining the 210-year-old building. Sage expects more than 7,500 entries. At $125 per entry, the total could end up surpassing the inn's estimated $900,000 value. She will pick the best 20 entries by May 17 and pass them to two anonymous judges, who will select a winner by May 21.