Thursday, March 31, 2011
An Egyptian cobra that went missing from the reptile house at the Bronx Zoo has apparently turned up on Twitter.
A tongue-in-cheek Twitter user giving "updates" on a missing snake now has nearly 120,000 followers.
The 20in deadly snake escaped from New York City's Bronx Zoo last Friday, and is yet to be found.
"On top of the Empire State Building!" @BronxZoosCobra posted. "All the people look like little mice down there. Delicious little mice."
Listing location as "Not at the Bronx Zoo", it has "visited" tourist attractions including the High Line, the Museum of Natural History and Ray's Pizza.
One of the more recent posts played on New Yorkers' fears of the scaly escapee.
"It's getting pretty cold out. I think it's probably time to crash. Oh look, an apartment window someone left open just a crack. Perfect!"
The only twitter account the snake was following was the one belonging to the Bronx Zoo, @TheBronxZoo.
The zoo's account tweeted one message saying it understands the interest in the story: "Right now, it's the snake's game," it said.
Bronz Zoo keepers believe the young cobra is hiding in a non-public area of the Reptile House, but say it could take weeks to find it.
Posted by Deepa at 9:48 AM
Store bosses ended up looking 24 karat fools when they created a gold-plated car to promote a new sales gimmick - and it was towed away by police.
The motor had been parked on the street to stop shoppers in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, eastern China, in their tracks.
But sharp-eyed police towed the gold-blinger vehicle away when they spotted it had been parked on a public road without a licence plate or road tax.
"The owners have 10 days to pay their fine. If they don't it will be sold or crushed," said a police spokesman.
Police were called when angry motorists complained that the streets around the store were blocked by cars and pedestrians trying to get close to the car.
"I just wanted to get close to touch all that gold," said one shopper.
"They were causing a public nuisance and had no permission for a public show. Then when an officer noticed the car was unlicensed, it had to go," added the police spokesman.
Posted by Deepa at 9:47 AM
The elderly owner of a Swansea terrace house has been left bewildered by an internet joke that his house looks like Hitler.
Hundreds of thousands of people have viewed or shared the link to a photograph of the house after it was published on Twitter, reports the Daily Telegraph.
The slanted roof was said to resemble the Hitler fringe, the door lintel was the moustache and the small top windows were seen as the dictator's piercing eyes.
The joke took off when it was picked up by comedian Jimmy Carr but the owner of the house in Port Tenant, Swansea, a man in his 70s, said he had never even heard of Twitter.
The tweet was first posted by Charli Dickenson, 22, a youth worker, who spotted the bizarre similarity as she drove past.
"I walk past the house all the time, but I had never noticed the Hitler likeness before," said Miss Dickenson.
"But then, at the weekend, I was in the car with my boyfriend and we were stuck in traffic and I just said to him, "That house looks like Hitler." We both laughed. I took a picture and posted it on Twitter.
"It was picked up by Jimmy Carr. Now everyone is talking about it!"
A neighbour, Lyn Thomas, 25, said: "I can see a resemblance now. I've lived here for two years but have never noticed anything before. I don't know why it would be designed in such a way."
Another neighbour said: "People are joking that the house is the third on the Reich and that we live on the Western Front. You have to see the funny side of life sometimes."
Posted by Deepa at 9:46 AM
A property consultant who exchanged rude emails about his ex-girlfriend with a pal is in trouble - after accidentally forwarding the conversation to her.
Harry Fildes, 25, had been contacted by Sebastian Marsh, 24, who wanted to pursue his ex, Jenni Palmer, reports the Daily Telegraph.
Unfortunately for the former public schoolboy, he then accidentally included Miss Palmer in his chauvinistic reply.
Now, not only has she seen his expletive-laden description of her, but so have thousands of workers in the City after the emails went viral.
As if that was not embarrassing enough for the captain of the Old Salopian Football Club first XI, Miss Palmer is still his housemate.
The exchange began after his friend bumped into Miss Palmer, 24, a keen skier and marathon runner, during a night out.
Describing her as "a looker to say the least!!", Mr Marsh inquired, in the course of an email about their next football fixture, as to whether he could "have a go".
In reply, Mr Fildes described his ex in very derogatory terms and claimed that she had "messed" him around. However, he added: "Feel free to pursue, yes, she is HOT!"
But Mr Fildes had accidentally copied Miss Palmer into the conversation. Minutes later he realised his mistake and sent his friend frantic messages asking: "Can you recall emails?!"
He added: "I still live with her and that's why I am in so so so much trouble, we didn't get on before so this will be the final nail in the coffin."
Mr Fildes's bosses at property firm GL Hearn confirmed they were looking into the matter, while Mr Marsh has been suspended by Millers Insurance in London pending a probe.
Posted by Deepa at 9:45 AM
The owners of a cat with a purr so loud that it's been compared to a Boeing 737 landing have made a bid for the record books.
Smokey's owner Ruth Adams borrowed specialist sound equipment from a local college to record the attempt, reports the Daily Mail.
The record bid, at their Northampton home, saw the 12-year-old's purr reach 73 decibels - 16 times louder than the average cat.
Now Mrs Adams is waiting to see if it will be enough to be recognised by Guinness as the world's loudest purring domestic cat.
She said: "Guinness has very strict criteria and the college has been very helpful in supplying the specialist recording equipment needed to measure Smokey's purr and for arranging the official witnesses.
"Smokey is actually quite camera-shy so I was very conscious not to upset her during the record attempt so we kept it all kept very calm and low-key.
"We are very grateful to the college for stepping in to help us attempt the record and now just have to wait patiently to hear the final verdict."
Witnesses on hand for the attempt were Daventry MP Chris Heaton-Harris, veterinary nurse Kaye James, Diana Johnson from Cats Protection, and British Airways captain Alisdair Tait.
Ray Meadham, curriculum manager in music at Northampton College, said: "You don't get asked to help out with a world record attempt every day so of course we jumped at the chance."
Smokey first came to the world's attention last month, when a sound meter measured her purr at an incredible 92 decibels, as loud as a lawnmower or a plane landing.
Posted by Deepa at 9:44 AM
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Pictured: The irritating grains of pollen that look like beautiful works of art under the microscope
They look like beautiful works of abstract art that you could frame and hang on your wall.
But these brightly coloured shapes are the last thing you would want in your house - particularly if you suffer from hay fever.
The stunning forms are in fact microscopic allergy-inducing pollens placed under a Scanning Electron Microscope.
Under the microscope: Two grains of cocksfoot grass pollen, a major cause of hay fever
Anything but plain: A plane tree pollen grain
The images were taken by retired scientific photographer Steve Gschmeissner using an SEM so powerful objects invisible to the naked eye can be brought into sharp relief.
The detailed pictures unlock the hidden 3D patterns of the grains, which individually are not noticed when breathed in, but en-mass are the seasonal bane of millions of sufferers.
Colourful: A chickweed pollen grain from a chickweed flower
Summertime blues: Pollen grains from the Artemisia plant, a type of mugwort
Grass pollens and others like rape seed are well known causers of the allergic reaction as the tiny grains enter the respiratory system and trigger sneezes, itchy throats, running noses and watery eyes.
Allergy UK advises hayfever sufferers to keep windows closed especially in the early mornings and evenings when the pollen count is at its highest.
As many as 32 million Britons could suffer from pollen related allergies - up from the current number of 15 million.
Cool: Believe it or not, cucumber pollen grains, pictured here, can be just as irritating to hay fever sufferers
Alien: An elder tree pollen grain magnified millions of times
Exotic fruit? No, it's nothing more than common ragweed pollen grains
Pain in the grass: These grass pollen grains are a major cause of summer allergies
Posted by Deepa at 5:57 PM
It offers a bird's eye view of one of the most spectacular skylines in the world.
And should the visitor get bored of staring at Hong Kong's glittering towers from the eyrie of their hotel room window, there are always other distractions.
These come in the form of six restaurants, a sky-high spa with floor-to-ceiling windows and an indoor infinity pool overlooking the iconic harbour.
Should those fail to amuse, there's always the 93,000 square metres shopping mall.
Spectacular; The Ritz Carlton Hong Kong (centre) became the tallest hotel in the world when it opened today
Eye-catching: A hallway at the hotel which occupies the 102nd to 118st floors of the fourth tallest building in the world
Delicacies: Chefs prepare food at the Chinese restaurant at the Ritz Carlton
Plush: One of the bedrooms which all have views over the city or the harbour
Warm welcome: It has taken years to build the hotel which also has a shopping mall
Iconic: The building towers over other skyscrapers nearby
Glittering ceiling: Chefs at work in one of the restaurants which all have views over Hong Kong
Posted by Deepa at 1:58 PM
Eclipsing winter, spring takes a bough: Cherry blossom puts on a glorious show following run of warm weather
By rights she should still be hurrying about her business, wrapped up in a thick coat and hat.
But the first blush of cherry blossom, coaxed out of its buds by the warmth of the sun, proved too alluring for 23-year-old Viktorija Ruskyte.
Resting for a moment under the magnificent boughs on the banks of the river in Cambridge, the law student, from Lithuania, gazed at the view – surprised, perhaps, to have come across this sign of spring so early in the year.
Reflect a while: Viktorija Ruskyte on the banks of the Cam, surprised to have come across this sign of spring so early in the year
Spring colours: Punting enthusiasts glide past a row of cherry blossoms on the River Cam in Cambridge
Loved around the world: People admire cherry blossoms as they stroll in Ueno Park in Tokyo. Japanese authorities today declared the cherry blossom season open
Posted by Deepa at 9:21 AM
Definitely NOT low-key: Royal Wedding guests to sample best of British food in 19 splendid rooms
It has been billed as a low-key royal wedding – but when the couple in question are hosting their reception at , the reality is anything but.
Yesterday, just a month before Kate Middleton, palace officials offered a glimpse of the venue and the team working round the clock to ensure their big day goes without a hitch. marries
Those lucky enough to have been invited, will have access to 19 state rooms, decorated in opulent style, following the Westminster Abbey ceremony on April 29.
Feast your eyes: Exquisitely decorated with red silk damask, the walls of the make a fitting background for the portraits of sovereigns from throughout history. Countless dignitaries, including presidents and prime ministers, have dined here
Grandeur: Prince William and Kate Middleton's guests will be drinking and dining in opulence. The Blue Drawing Room was the venue for the first State Ball held at the Palace in 1838 before Queen Victoria's coronation. It has 30 fake onyx columns and a table made for Napoleon
Fit for a queen: A portrait of Edward VII's wife Queen Alexandra hangs in the White Drawing Room, the grandest of the state rooms overlooking the gardens. A secret door leading to private rooms allows for a discreet Royal entrance
On the walls will be Old Masters brought out from the vaults of the Royal Collection in honour of the couple, who will no doubt appreciate their finer points as they met studying history of art at St Andrews University.
The focus of the reception will be the picture gallery, where the wedding cake – a traditional multi-tiered fruit cake – will be on display surrounded with works by Canaletto, Rembrandt and Rubens.
Guests will also be able to wander through areas normally reserved for heads of state and other dignitaries in the palace’s west wing, including the White and Blue , the Music Room and State Dining Room, all of which date back to the 1820s.
Remarkably, just 60 staff, from chefs and footmen to housekeepers, will be on duty catering for up to 900 guests.
But Edward Griffiths, deputy master of the household, whose department is responsible for all hospitality, says his staff are well drilled. Guests will be offered champagne and canapes ‘from the moment they arrive’, he explained.
Their glasses will be topped up throughout the day – although the Prince and his new wife plan to stick to soft drinks (bar a glass of champagne for the toasts) until later, it is understood.
The Queen’s head chef Mark Flanagan admitted his team would be under pressure but was confident his 21-strong staff – who produce 550 meals a day when the Queen is in residence – were up to the task.
The cooks will be using copper pots to create the , some of which were first used 190 years ago during the reign of George IV.
Mr Flanagan would not reveal details about what they planned to serve but promised to use ‘the best of British’ and source much of it from the Queen’s gardens and estates.
Each canape is made to be consumed in just ‘two bites’.
A taste of things to come? Could guests be munching on quails' eggs served with celery salt (seen left)? Meanwhile, demi chef de partie Shaun Mason is hard at work preparing thousands of intricately designed sweets
Delicious treats: A chef of the at Buckingham Palace, London, holds a tray of canapes, like those that may be served at the
Collection: Wine glasses used during royal receptions are lined up at Buckingham Palace, and right, a copper cooking pot that is still in use today and bears the markings of King George IV sits on a rack in the kitchens at Buckingham Palace
Opulent: The lavishly decorated White Drawing Room will be one of the rooms used during the wedding reception of Prince William and Kate Middleton
Fine art: Jennifer Scott, Assistant Curator of Paintings, looks up at a Canaletto from 1723 in the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace, which will be one of the rooms used during the wedding reception and right, a Rubens self portrait from 1623 in the Picture Gallery
Decadent: Jennifer Scott sits underneath the Peter Paul Rubens painting Winter (bottom centre) in the Picture Gallery, which will be used during the wedding reception
Song and dance: Palace Steward Nigel McEvoy walks through the Music Room, which has seen some of the history's finest pianists play their music on the ornate grand piano and which will be used during the wedding reception
Splendour: The White Drawing Room includes a stunning chandelier and furniture lined with gold upholster. The room will be one of many others used in the wedding reception, while right, Edward Griffiths, Deputy Master of the Household, stands in the room, recognisable by its intricate carpet
Magnificent: The finest crystal chandeliers hang from the ornate ceiling of the Blue Drawing Room, which will see dozens of guests mingle during the reception
Posted by Deepa at 9:17 AM