Offbeat news: Dec 6 - Dec 12, 2010

Offbeat news: Dec 6 - Dec 12, 2010
Conservationists in China are resorting to bizarre measures in their ongoing effort to increase the number of giant pandas in the wild. They are dressing up in costumes of the endangered animals to make sure cubs bred in captivity do not get used to human contact before they are released. The approach was used to take a four-month-old cub to the Hetaoping Research and Conservation Centre in Sichuan Province, south-west China. The cub is living in a fenced off part of the forest where it is monitored by CCTV 24 hours a day. It will eventually be released into the wild to fend for itself.Image Credit: AP

Offbeat news: Dec 6 - Dec 12, 2010
Wearing a battered doll's face mask, Bona rides his wooden bike along the streets of Jakarta. Wherever he passes his appearance is greeted with pointing fingers and shrieks of delight from children. The three-year-old monkey is led everywhere he goes by a chain attached to a collar around his neck. When owner Darto has paraded Bona on his miniature wooden motorcycle through the streets - and attracted enough attention - it's time for some other tricks. Since buying Bona as a three-month-old Darto has taught him how to do a number of crowd pleasing stunts. Topeng Monyet (Monkey Mask or Monkey Show) is a tradition in Indonesia. These one man, one monkey shows travel the cities performing door-to-door and in the streets for crowds of locals. In recent years the practice has come under fire for being cruel to animals and is becoming less common.Image Credit: Rex Features

Offbeat news: Dec 6 - Dec 12, 2010
England batsman Kevin Pietersen has been fined for speeding in a Lamborghini arranged by his friend, Australian cricketer Shane Warne, while driving back from a beach resort near Melbourne, Australia. Pietersen, man-of-the-match in England's crushing win over Australia in the second Ashes test in Adelaide this week, was clocked by a patrol car near the port city of Geelong and booked. The England team declined to comment but said no disciplinary action would be taken aganist Pietersen. Man of the moment Pietersen said nothing of the fine, but clearly enjoyed his drive down the scenic Great Ocean Road behind the wheel of a car former leg spinning great Warne had borrowed for him. "Massive thanks to Lamborghini Melbourne & @warne888 for letting me play with this for a few days," Pietersen posted on his Twitter account.Image Credit: Rex Features

Offbeat news: Dec 6 - Dec 12, 2010
It looks like the secret underground bunker of a James Bond villain, instead this is the home of the central server of the most controversial website in the world - Wikileaks. The internet activist site is hosted in a nuclear-proof former Cold War bunker buried 30 metres beneath the earth. The Pionen facility of hosting firm Bahnhof AB is a dramatic facility drilled into the White Mountains of Sweden.What would at first glance appear to be a stylised film set from a 60s action movie offers a 1,200 square metre area for servers. Wikileaks was hosted by Bahnhof when it began publishing the 250,000 leaked US cables, before moving to Amazon's cloud servers following a denial of service attack; an attempt to make a computer resource unavailable by bombarding it with requests. When US-based Amazon blocked them for alleged breach of terms of service Wikileaks returned to Bahnhof's servers based in Stockholm. Wikileaks has a number of domain names registered in different countries, which allows it to set up mirror sites, but Sweden offers the ideal location for the central server as authorities there are prohibited from enquiries about story sources.Image Credit: AFP

Offbeat news: Dec 6 - Dec 12, 2010
Fancy wearing Facebook on your feet? How about Twitter on your toes? Designer Gerry McKay has created a range of footwear for fans of social networking websites. His concept designs see the iconic logos of the two social media websites on a pair of Adidas Superstar sneakers. Gerry, from Glasgow, explains, "This is a small project I was recently working on which brings together Adidas, Facebook and Twitter. To coincide with the anniversary of Adidas Superstars, the company released a collection of limited edition trainers. I thought it would be interesting to see what it would look like if Adidas also released a limited edition of Facebook and Twitter Superstars, as they are brands increasingly on the rise." Although just a concept, a Facebook fan page has been created to convince Adidas to actually produce the range.Image Credit: Rex Features

Offbeat news: Dec 6 - Dec 12, 2010
A group of scientists has rediscovered the world's rarest and strangest fly in a cave in Kenya, collecting the first "terrible hairy fly" specimen since 1948. Dr Robert Copeland and fellow dipterist Dr Ashley Kirk-Spriggs found the fly, known as Mormotomyia Hirsuta, in its only known habitat, a cave-like rock cleft in Ukazi Hill east of Nairobi. "The re-discovery of the species, which has been collected on only two occasions before, in 1933 and 1948, has caused excitement in insect museums world-wide," said the statement. The spider-like fly is described as "strange, due to its relatively large size, the males of which can stretch over one centimetre its long legs and covering of yellow hairs, reduced eyes and its non-functional wings."Image Credit: AFP

Offbeat news: Dec 6 - Dec 12, 2010
By Agency -A Craigslist couple finally got together after a 12-year internet courtship involving 45,000 emails.Scott and Nicole McIntyre first made contact in 1998 while chatting on Yahoo Chat. They were both living in the US at the time, relatively close to one another, but they never met or spoke on the phone. The pair exchanged emails and online conversations on and off for years. But they eventually lost contact until December last year when Nicole posted an ad in the "Lost Connections" section of Craigslist looking for Scott.

Offbeat news: Dec 6 - Dec 12, 2010
A man in Oregon, US has had an Awesome name change. Douglas Allen Smith Jr. says he changed his name to Captain Awesome last month because he was inspired by the nickname of a character on the NBC television show Chuck — Dr. Devon "Captain Awesome" Woodcomb. The unemployed Eugene cabinet installer says he found it funny Woodcomb's father gave him that nickname because a "poor nickname builds good character." The former Mr Smith said he faced a Lane County judge who questioned his seriousness. The judge that granted the request made him swear he wasn't changing his name for fraudulent reasons. Awesome says that judge also allowed him to sign his name as a right arrow, a smiley face and a left arrow. He says his bank, however, has refused to accept the signature because it could be forged too easily.Image Credit: AP

Offbeat news: Dec 6 - Dec 12, 2010
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has turned a mugging into advertising by showing off his black eye in a newspaper advert for a Swiss watchmaker. Ecclestone suffered a head injury after being mugged in central London, his attackers making off with jewellery including his watch. "See what people will do for a Hublot," declared the strapline under a photograph of the bruised 80-year-old billionaire in publicity in the Financial Times and International Herald Tribune. The Swiss watchmaker said in a statement that Ecclestone had sent the picture to chief executive Jean-Claude Biver with the remark after he was assaulted in London on November 25. "Since the two have a certain sense of humour, they agreed to make an advert," said Hublot, who are Formula One's official watchmakers.Image Credit: AP

A camel and its rider are unhurt after toppling onto audience members during a rehearsal for a costumed Christmas pageant at a South Florida church. The camel named Lula Bell walked down the aisle and was supposed to stop and kneel. Instead, the animal balked and then stumbled sideways. It fell onto several pews and the rider was also tossed into the audience. No one was injured during the rehearsal at the First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach. But the pastor organizing the pageant says the camel won't be in any shows. The camel was on loan from Animals in Motion, a Florida company that trains and transports animals for movies, shows and parties.



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