Escaped kangaroo goes on underwear stealing binge!

I’ll just stay quite still and no one will notice me

A kangaroo is for the high jump after escaping from its owner and going on a knicker-nicking spree.

Benji bounced from garden to garden collecting ladies’ lingerie as it went. The two-year-old marsupial was only caught when one victim looked out of her kitchen window and saw it hopping it with her undies.

A spokesman for the police in Prague, Czech Republic, explained: “We had a call from the kangaroo’s owner saying it had escaped. At the same time, we started getting reports of a number of thefts from washing lines.”

He added: “We didn’t think they could possibly be related until the animal was caught red-handed.”

Benji’s owner Petr Hlabovic, 35, said: “I’m very relieved to have him back. I’ve got no idea what he thought he was up to – he certainly didn’t pick up the habit from me.”

That’s what they all say.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

An illegal marriage in Israel – between a Jewish man and woman

The wedding of Inna Zyskind and Pavel Kogan last week was one of the happiest days of their lives.

Friends and family watched as they exchanged vows and rings under a canopy in their quirky designer outfits. Then more than 1,000 guests attended an open-air festival in Tel Aviv, with street performers and musicians, partying long into the night.

The couple’s only regret is that their marriage is not legally recognised in Israel. In fact, it was organised by activist groups as part of a colourful protest against religious restrictions on who can marry.

Inna, who was born in Russia, was able to move here and become an Israeli citizen under the state’s law of return for Jews. But she is not recognised as truly Jewish by Israel’s orthodox rabbinical establishment. And in Israel, only religious marriages, not civil ones, are allowed…

This was our demonstration,” says Pavel. “We’re secular people. We want to break the religious monopoly over this part of our life in Israel. We should be allowed a civil wedding…”

RTFA for detail, anecdotes, none of which should come as a surprise. Celebrating love and marriage, trying to live a civilized life in the 21st Century – in a nation that tries to cram people’s lives into tiny ideological boxes leftover from the Talmud – can be an exercise in futility.

To be expected in any land legally ruled by a culture which rejects history, science, secular knowledge.

Mexican gangsters set casino on fire – dozens killed

Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

At least 53 people were killed in a fiery attack at a casino in an upscale area of Monterrey, Mexico, government and emergency officials said…

Witnesses have told investigators that up to six people entered the Casino Royale and asked for the manager, according Adrian de la Garza, the state attorney general for Nuevo Leon.

When the manager refused, they set the building on fire, he said. It’s believed a solvent was used to start the blaze, possibly gasoline, de la Garza said…

Between 20 and 30 people were trapped in the casino by debris, said Cmdr. Angel Flores with the Green Cross…

Monterrey is the capital of Nuevo Leon…Nuevo Leon and the neighboring states of Coahuila and Tamaulipas have been the scene of clashes between organized crime groups. The Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas are vying for control of trafficking routes into the United States.

In November 2010, the federal government launched the Coordinated Operation Northeast, which involves sending more security forces to the area to tackle crime.

A tactic which obviously hasn’t had the effect of diminishing violence.

Brits become the first to row to the North Pole

The final 2 miles held their only encounter with ice

An explorer on Friday said he was “exhilarated” after he and his crew became the first people to row to the magnetic north pole.

Jock Wishart and his five-man team took just under four weeks to complete the 450-mile route. They encountered polar bears and collided with icebergs as they travelled through the Arctic waters in their specially designed vessel.

The trip has only recently become possible because of an increase in seasonal ice melt in the Arctic, which has opened up the waters.

Wishart, who was born in Dumfries, organised the Old Pulteney Row to the pole to highlight the effects of climate change on the ice in the region.

He said: “I think this is one of my greatest achievements. It was a dream four years ago but now it’s reality. Up until last night we still could not say with certainty that we would reach our destination, so we are all exhilarated and relieved that weather conditions were in our favour and we have completed our row to the magnetic north pole while it was still possible.

It is an enormous achievement, and a privilege for our team to have been part of what is one of the world’s last great firsts…”

Throughout the journey, the rowing crew worked with scientific research partners to provide environmental data on the impact of arctic deterioration on the polar landscape.

RTFA for more of the details. One of the explorers is a cinematographer – so, sooner or later, we’ll get to see a documentary about the expedition.

Endurance challenges send a spark to unique human beings. Perhaps these require skills and talents leftover from earlier days in our evolution. Combined with modern training and nutrition knowledge, human beings are capable of amazing efforts.

During the record attempt, the crew consumed 7,000 calories a day. Each.

Review confirms few health problems ever caused by vaccines

The “traditional” alternative

An analysis of more than 1,000 research articles concluded that few health problems are caused by or clearly associated with vaccines. A committee of experts convened by the Institute of Medicine to review the scientific literature on possible adverse effects of vaccines found convincing evidence of 14 health outcomes — including seizures, inflammation of the brain, and fainting — that can be caused by certain vaccines, although these outcomes occur rarely. It also found indicative though less clear data on associations between specific vaccines and four other effects, such as allergic reactions and temporary joint pain. In addition, the evidence shows there are no links between immunization and some serious conditions that have raised concerns, including Type 1 diabetes and autism…

The majority of these problems have occurred in individuals with immunodeficiencies, which increase individuals’ susceptibility to the live viruses used in MMR and varicella. Six vaccines — MMR, varicella, influenza, hepatitis B, meningococcal, and the tetanus-containing vaccines — can trigger anaphylaxis, an allergic reaction that appears shortly after injection. And, in general, the injection of vaccines can trigger fainting and inflammation of the shoulder, the committee noted.

The evidence suggests that certain vaccines can lead to four other adverse effects, although the data on these links are not as convincing, the report says. The MMR vaccine appears to trigger short-term joint pain in some women and children. Some people can experience anaphylaxis after receiving the HPV vaccine…

The committee’s review also concluded that certain vaccines are not linked to four specific conditions. The MMR vaccine and diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis (DTaP) do not cause Type 1 diabetes, and the MMR vaccine does not cause autism, according to the results of several studies. The evidence shows that the flu shot does not cause Bell’s palsy or exacerbate asthma. Suggestions that vaccines can lead to these serious health problems have contributed to parental concerns about immunization for their children.

Establishing a cause-and-effect relationship between an agent and a health outcome requires solid evidence. The committee’s conclusions are based on the strengths and weaknesses of several types of evidence, including biological, clinical, and epidemiological research. In many cases of suggested vaccine-related adverse outcomes, there is too little evidence, or the available evidence offers conflicting results or is otherwise inadequate to draw conclusions…

Which won’t mean much to those suffering from the most notable American disease – irrational, spooky conspiracy theories relying on gossip for decision-making.

Computational analysis comes to the aid of modern medicine once again. I know it won’t touch the fears of the conspiracy crowd – but, it’s a delight to have a sufficient level of readily-available computing horsepower at hand nowadays to throw at a task like this one.

Thousands were swimming with sharks in Oz – without knowing it!

An unnerving study has shown that at least seven bull sharks were circling silent and unseen as tens of thousands of people took to Sydney Harbour on Australia Day.

Researchers are hailing it as proof that sharks and humans can co-exist – but for swimmers in Sydney Harbour the news is bound to be very unnerving…

On January 26, the Australia Day public holiday when temperatures reached 30C, tens of thousands of swimmers took to the harbour to cool off during celebratory barbecues and picnics.

They would have been unaware that the cool, dark waters were also host to seven mature male bull sharks. The bull sharks, a species which has been known to attack swimmers in Sydney Harbour, were among 16 fitted with monitoring devices by government scientists in an attempt to find out which parts of the popular waterway they like to congregate in.

The bad news is that they were mapped throughout the harbour…All of the sharks tagged by the government measured more than 6.5ft long. But despite their size, and number, no members of public reported shark sightings on that day.

Government scientists say the study proves that sharks and humans can co-exist safely in the harbour.

Or it proves that many of those swimmers weren’t paying any attention to what else was in the water with them – or that they were consuming a sizable quantity of perception-altering substances while they were swimming.