90 Miles From Tyranny : 10 Offbeat Stories You Might Have Missed This Week (4/13/19)

Saturday, April 13, 2019

10 Offbeat Stories You Might Have Missed This Week (4/13/19)

As another week nears its end, it is time to take a look at some of the noteworthy news items you might have missed. From the animal kingdom, we have stories on feline names, sacrificial guinea pigs, and dolphin clitorises. We also have two medical marvel tales, and we find out what happens when Roombas turn to crime.

There have also been quite a few notable science stories to digest. First, there is that black hole picture everyone is talking about. But there is also a new species of humans and the discovery of an incredible tome of knowledge from 500 years ago.

10Breakthrough In Cat Studies

A new study published in Scientific Reports confirms something that most cat owners probably already suspected. Their pets can recognize when people call their names, but usually, they don’t care.Scientists from the University of Tokyo performed experiments on a few dozen cats. Recordings of human voices repeated common Japanese words as well as the names of the felines. The cats ignored most words but turned their heads or ears at the sound of their names.[1]That being said, the animals did not communicate back in most cases. The Japanese scientists concluded that the felines were able to distinguish their names, but that alone did not make them want to interact.Results were somewhat different in a “cat cafe.” This is a place where customers can interact with a large number of felines. The animals were able to distinguish their names from common words but not from the names of other cats. Scientists believe this is because they hear all the names too often, and customers are likely to pet any cat regardless of which name they call.

9Story For Sale

Photo credit: thisisinsider.com
People who have a few million dollars to spend now have the option of buying their own little haunted town in Indiana.Story, Indiana, was settled in 1851 by Dr. George P. Story who had left Ohio. The community kept growing until the Great Depression when most people left the town in search of greener pastures. In 1999, lawyer Rick Hofstetter from Indianapolis purchased the settlement because he thought it would be an interesting experience to buy your own town. Now he is ready to sell it for $3.8 million.[2]Story is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has a functioning bed-and-breakfast called the Story Inn. The town only has three residents, although there are four if you also count the local ghost. Staff at the inn claim that an apparition they call the “Blue Lady” has been around for decades. Allegedly, she is Jane Story, wife of the town’s founder.

8Roomba 911

Officers responded to a burglary call in Washington County, Oregon, only to discover that the culprit was a Roomba trapped in the bathroom.On Monday, a woman called 911 because she feared that someone had broken into her house. She believed that the criminal was still inside and had locked himself in the bathroom because she noticed noises and shadows moving under the door.Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene with a K-9 unit. The burglar did not respond to their commands to come out with his hands up, so officers drew their firearms and burst into the bathroom. There, they discovered that their suspect was a Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner. In a Facebook post, the sheriff’s department released a photo of the criminal and confirmed that they had “breached the bathroom and encountered a very thorough vacuuming job.”[3]

7The Sweet Taste Of Tears

Doctors in Taiwan were shocked to find four bees living in a woman’s eye and feeding off her tears.Earlier this week, a 28-year-old woman identified as Ms. He went to the Fooyin University Hospital with a swollen eye. The previous day, she had visited the cemetery and tended to the graves of her relatives when a gust of wind blew something into her face. She assumed it had been only dust or dirt, so she carried on with her day. By night, however, her eye was swollen and painful, so she sought medical assistance.Both she and the doctor were expecting some kind of infection to be the cause, but the microscope revealed something much more surprising: Four tiny insects were living beneath her eyelid. They were Halictidae, also called sweat bees.[4]As their name implies, these insects feast on our perspiration, but they like tears, too. The doctor managed to pull all four of them out of the eye intact and still alive. Meanwhile, Ms. He is expected to make a full recovery.Doctors say that all parties involved were fortunate that Ms. He did not rub her eyes because she was wearing contacts. If she had, the bees would probably have released venom which could have blinded her.

6Do Dolphins Have Sex For Pleasure?

Photo credit: phys.org
Scientists have been studying the dolphin clitoris and have concluded that the marine mammal likely belongs to a small group of animals which is capable of experiencing sexual pleasure. The research was led by Dr. Dara Orbach from Mount Holyoke College. She and her team dissected and examined 11 female bottlenose dolphins that had died of natural causes. They discovered that the animals had large and well-developed clitorises somewhat similar to those of humans. Bundles of nerves under the clitoral hood increased sensitivity and the potential for sexual pleasure.This study presents new information, but researchers are not entirely surprised by it. We already knew that dolphins, like many other social animals, engage in sex throughout the year, even when they cannot conceive.[5]Although these extracurricular activities could simply be a good way to bond with other members of the pod, it is also likely that the dolphins are capable of deriving some kind of enjoyment from them.

5A New Branch On Our Evolutionary Tree

Photo credit: BBC
There is a new twist in the story of human evolution as scientists announced the discovery of a species of hominin named Homo luzonensis after the island of Luzon where they were found. The discovery was based on fossils recovered from Callao Cave in the Philippines.Researchers have uncovered 13 remains since 2007. Belonging to at least three distinct individuals, they include teeth, hand and foot bones, and parts of a femur. They have been dated to 50,000–67,000 years ago. The fossils suggest that Homo luzonensis was under 1.2 meters (4 ft) tall. This is similar to another species from the area: Homo floresiensis, or the so-called “Hobbit,” which was found on...

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