Sunday, 13 September 2009

The Sunday Section

Where eagles dare, monkey magic, Taking it with you, Fishy Pollock and Vauxhall victory

Still cold, but the sun is coming up, loads to do today so.

First up:

No not “people” eating an eagle, but an eagle that ate people, or at least that is what the brains think. Sophisticated computer scans of fossils have helped solve a mystery over the nature of a giant, ancient raptor known as the Haast's eagle which became extinct about 500 years ago, researchers said Friday.

The researchers say they have determined that the eagle - which lived in the mountains of New Zealand and weighed about 40 pounds - was a predator and not a mere scavenger as many thought.

Much larger than modern eagles, Haast's eagle would have swooped to prey on flightless birds - and possibly even the rare unlucky human.

Using computed axial tomography, or CAT, the researchers scanned several skulls, a pelvis and a beak in an effort to reconstruct the size of the bird's brain, eyes, ears and spinal cord.

They compared their data on the Haast's eagle to characteristics of modern predator birds and scavenger birds to determine that the bird was a fearsome predator that ate the flightless moa birds and even humans.

The researchers also determined the eagle quickly evolved from a much smaller ancestor, with the body growing much more quickly than the brain. They believe its body grew 10 times bigger during the early to middle Pleistocene period, 700,000 to 1.8 million years ago.

Wonder if it ate Hobbits?

Today’s Numpty comes from across the water;- An Arizona man who has been served 37 speeding tickets in the mail is refusing to pay them because he says the pictures captured by the state's photo-enforcement cameras don't show that it's him driving, reported Tuesday.

The photos on the tickets all show the driver wearing a monkey mask.

"Not one of them there is a picture where you can identify the driver," said Dave Vontesmar, a flight attendant who works at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. "The ball's in their court. I sent back all these ones I got with a copy of my driver's license and said, 'It's not me. I'm not paying them.' "

But police disagree and say they've been watching him closely.

"We watched him four different times put the monkey mask on and put the giraffe-style mask on," Officer Dave Porter told "Based on surveillance, we were positive that Vontesmar was the driver."

Still, Vontesmar is confident that he won't have to pay the fines, which could exceed $6,500.

"It's obviously a revenue grab," he said of the new photo-enforcement program. "They're required by law to ID the driver of the vehicle. If they can't identify the driver or the vehicle by the picture, what are they doing to identify the driver?"

So I presume he has reported his car stolen 37 times?


Lonnie Holloway, who recently died at age 90, skipped the traditional coffin for burial in his green 1973 Pontiac Catalina, which he had bought new, according to WJBF. The former government worker was buried in Saluda, S.C., on Tuesday.

Holloway was buckled into the driver's seat with his hands on the steering wheel. His gun collection accompanied him in the vehicle's trunk. A crane lowered the car, and Holloway, into the ground.

"He said 'they're going to have me with my hat on, driving down the road'," a friend of Holloway's told WLTX.

Waste of a good car if you ask me.

LONDON (AFP) - From the land of fish and chips, beans on toast come fish fingers specially designed to be crispy, not soggy, when they come out of the microwave.

Seafood producer Young's said its Micro Fish Fingers -- which go on sale next month, capitalising on a recession-era upturn in the fish finger market -- is the product of "long overdue" thinking.

"It optimises all the obvious potential for fish fingers to compete in the market for nutritious quick snacks," said Young's marketing controller Charlotte Broughton.

Technically speaking, "a specially formulated crumb coating" over an Alaskan Pollock-based filet combine with "ventilation and susceptor technology" to produce a "crispy rather than soggy fish finger" after just three minutes in a microwave oven.

Until now, fish fingers have been best baked in conventional ovens or fried.

Due in supermarkets next month, Young's Micro Fish Fingers "could be the fast-food breakthrough of the decade," opined the Grocer, the food industry trade journal in Britain.

Less impressed is Birds Eye, whose late founder Clarence Birdseye pioneered modern frozen food in the 1920s. "I don't think it solves a massive consumer problem," its marketing director Ben Pearman said.

With Britain in recession, the fish finger market has grown seven percent in the past year to 131 million pounds (150 million Euros, 220 million dollars), the Grocer reported, citing a Nielsen market study.

Ah, the wonders of modern science.

And finally:

The Vauxhall Victor 101 was lost in the mudflats of Brean Beach, Somerset, in 1973.

Beach wardens Dave Furber and Pete Williams discovered the car, owned by fishermen Terry Hart, half-a-mile from the shore.

Mr Hart said: ''I'm convinced it's my car which I lost in 1973. We were out fishing and the tide caught us. We tried to reverse the car out but the clutch went and it was goodbye car. It's so nice to see it back.''

Mr Furber said: ''We first noticed the vehicle at the weekend and several other parts have emerged nearby during recent days, including a steering wheel and door panels.''

It is thought that the heavily corroded remains of the vehicle have probably been uncovered due to recent rough weather and choppy waters.

Tourists frequently lose cars on the mudflats in what is the world's second largest tide and Burnham Area Rescue Boat is frequently called upon to save people from stranded and sinking vehicles.

The latest visitor to run into trouble was fisherman David Foster whose Honda 4x4 sank into the wet sand last month as he looked on helplessly.

The £25,000 vehicle was later towed free of the mud in a two-hour retrieval operation thought to have cost £3,000.
Every year Burnham Area Rescue Boat, a registered charity, make an estimated average of 25 rescues at a cost of £35,000.

I think it may need a few repairs and an MOT.



CherryPie said...

That has to be the most unusual burial I have ever heard of. I wonder how much that cost!

James Higham said...

I had six fish fingers yesterday.

angus said...

Quite a lot I would think CherryPie, and I wonder how long it will be before someone digs it up for either the car of the guns?

You'll grow gills James:)

James Higham said...

I had none today.