Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Giant rats with poisonous hair, cops try to defuse ‘neck collar’ bomb on teen, and ‘Death star’ debunked

Good Morning Humboldt County!

I see the smell of my fine virtual coffee has got your attention this morning. Good to see you. Have a cup with me as the sun rises and a new day begins. Today we have:

Giant rats that kill predators with poisonous hair

By utilizing the same plants that African tribesmen use to poison their arrows, the furry fury known as the African crested rat can incapacitate and even kill predators many times its size, researchers have found.

"This is the first mammal that is borrowing a deadly poison from a plant and slathering it on itself without dying," said study researcher Jonathan Kingdon, of Oxford University in England. "This is an extraordinary thing to have evolved."

Poison from this tree bark has been used by hunters to take down large prey, like elephants, for thousands of years. "Evolution has mimicked something that hunters do," Kingdon said. "It [the crested rat] is borrowing from the plant just as the hunters are borrowing from the very same plant."

Image: Police gather near the home of an 18-year-old woman who had been forced to wear a "collar bomb"

Cops rush to defuse bomb strapped to teen's neck

UPDATE: It wasn’t a real bomb around the girls neck."The offender went to a lot of trouble for a particular reason, but what that reason was, police are still working to determine," Murdoch said. Story


Australian police were trying to defuse an explosive device strapped to an 18-year-old girl's body in a wealthy neighborhood of Sydney on Wednesday, according to local reports.

Police said they did not know how the "collar bomb" had been strapped to the teen's neck, but it was understood that she did not put it there herself, according to The Daily Telegraph.

The Daily Telegraph reported that police believe a ransom note was attached to the girl, who is part of one of Sydney's richest families.”

2012 Watch: 'Death Star' debunked

Doomsayers have been wringing their hands for years over the possibility that an unseen companion to our sun periodically diverts a hail of comets toward Earth, sparking mass extinctions like cosmic clockwork. Now an astronomer has shown that the evidence for such a cycle in the flux of comets or asteroids doesn't actually exist.

The research is the latest knock against claims that the dark companion, nicknamed Nemesis or the "Death Star," might be out to get us in 2012.

Like many other 2012 myths, the Nemesis hypothesis had a smidgen of scientific research behind it. Back in 1984, paleontologists proposed that there seemed to be a 27 million-year cycle of extinctions that may have had an extraterrestrial cause. The prime suspect was a hypothetical brown dwarf or red dwarf that disrupted the orbits of comets on the solar system's fringe and sent them screaming earthward.

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