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Astronomy Picture of the Day


Monday, December 15, 2008

Horse and carnage - bride's dream ends in terror as animal bolts and leaves her in the road

By Luke Salkeld

It was the biggest day of her life and everything was poised for perfection.

The £2,000 dress fitted Sophie Clarke just so, her father was sitting next to her in a beautiful horse-drawn carriage, and she was heading for the church to marry the man of her dreams.

Then the horse bolted – and instead of looking forward to the wedding that was three years in the planning, the 29-year-old began to fear she would never see her husband again.

Bride Sophie planned to travel to church in a horse-drawn carriage

Bride Sophie planned to travel to church in a horse-drawn carriage

The jolt had thrown the driver and his assistant from the carriage. With no one at the reins, the terrified animal hit a car and Miss Clarke was pitched over the edge, where she hung dangerously close to a wheel.

As the carriage careered down the busy road, towards a railway crossing, Miss Clarke's father Bob, 56, managed to pull her back into the carriage.

But the horse galloped on, and fearing they would both be killed as it veered into the path of a lorry, he pushed his daughter from the carriage, speeding at up to 35mph, and threw himself out after her. He may have saved her life, but Miss Clarke hit the ground so hard she was concussed. Her big day was over – and it had not even started.

Sophie Clarke

Sophie was rushed to hospital on a stretcher with fiance Karl Woods by her side after being thrown from her bridal carriage

Crash, bang, wallop: A van damaged after the horse bolted

Crash, bang, wallop: A van damaged after the horse bolted

Paramedics arrived and the bride's fiance, Karl Woods, was summoned from St Leonard's Church, in Bretforton, Worcestershire.

'I was waiting at the church when one of my friends came running up and said something terrible had happened to Sophie,' said Mr Woods, 36, who runs a clothes shop in Evesham.

'When we got there she was lying in the road covered in blood with a paramedic telling her not to move.' Miss Clarke, an accountant from South Littleton, was taken to hospital in a neck brace.

The £15,000 ceremony and reception for which she had spent years preparing, was cancelled. Reliving the experience, she said: 'Something spooked the horse. We thought we were going to die because we were heading for the railway crossing.

Sophie Clarke

Pretty: Sophie Clarke, 29, prepares for her big day, which turned into a disaster

'Dad and I embraced each other because we thought it would be for the last time.

'One car did its best to stop the horse and pulled in front to slow it down – but it didn't work.

'Instead the horse just slammed into the car, throwing me right over. I opened my eyes to see the wheel of the carriage just inches away from my face. I was hanging out of the carriage, but luckily Dad had his hand on me.

'Somehow Dad pulled me back in, but when he saw a bend coming up in the road he knew we wouldn't make it and decided to push me out. I hit the ground and it's a bit of a blur from then.'


Radiant: Sophie leaves home for her dream wedding

She added: 'I had spent three years planning the ceremony and had even made handmade invitations. But none of that seems important any more. I am just so glad to be alive.'

The driver and his assistant both received medical attention, but were not badly hurt in the accident, while the horse was found grazing in a field nearby.

And there should be a happy-ever-after for Miss Clarke too. The couple have rescheduled their wedding for January, and are planning a smaller, more intimate ceremony.

She explained: 'I had a life-changing experience. It put into perspective for me that all of the fancy things, the posh invites and parties are not important.

'The only important thing is becoming Karl's wife.'

Original here

Faith Healing Parents Assert Religious Rights


A Clackamas County, Ore., couple accused of letting their infant daughter die by relying on prayer, rather than medicine, today asked that the charges be dropped, arguing that they infringe on their freedom of religion and their right to raise their children in their own way.

faith healing
Carl Worthington, left, and Raylene Worthington of Clackamas County, Ore., were charged with second... Expand

Carl Worthington, 28, and his wife, Raylene, 25, belong to a church that believes in faith healing, and police said that, instead of going to a doctor when their 15-month-old daughter Ava got sick, they turned to prayer.

The infant girl died March 2 from bacterial bronchial pneumonia and an infection, both of which could have been cured with common antibiotics, the medical examiner said.

The Worthingtons face charges of second degree manslaughter and criminal mistreatment charges. They surrendered to police in March, but were subsequently released after each posted $25,000 bail.

The motion filed in Clackamas County Circuit Court by the Worthingtons' lawyer today claims that their prosecution is a violation of the rights guaranteed them under both the state and federal constitutions.

"Mr. and Mrs. Worthington maintain that their prosecution contravenes their right 'to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences,' as guaranteed by the Constitution of the State of Oregon and the Constitution of the United States," the motion said. "Further, Mr. and Mrs. Worthington urge that this prosecution contravenes their fundamental right to raise their children without interference by the State." A hearing on the motion is scheduled for Jan. 7, 2009.

The Worthingtons are members of the Followers of Christ Church in Oregon City, that has a history of shunning medical care in favor of faith healing.

Another Oregon City couple who belong to the same church face similar charges, after their son -- who was Ava Worthington's uncle -- died in June.

Jeffrey Dean Beagley, 50, and Marci Rae Beagley, 46, pleaded not guilty Oct. 3 to criminally negligent homicide charges in the death of their son, 16-year-old Neil Jeffrey Beagley.

Neil died June 17 from complications of a urinary tract blockage, according to medical examiners. The condition, which doctors say is easily treatable, caused kidney and heart failure.

A decade ago, the church received national attention after ABC News affiliate KATU-TV in Portland, Ore., reported that the state medical examiner believed approximately 20 children, whose parents belonged to the church, had died from untreated illnesses that were curable.

For more of KATU's coverage of the case, click here.

After that story broke, the Oregon state legislature changed the law to bar defendants, in most cases, from claiming their religious beliefs prevented them from seeking medical help.

According to the Worthingtons' motion filed today, their case is the first application of that revised statute.

Though the revised law removed the so-called "spiritual healing defense," there is still a provision that allows judges to give parents a lighter sentence, based on their beliefs.

Original here

Chuck E. Cheese Arcade: A Place Where Moms Punch Dads In the Face

By Brian Lam

Chuck E. Cheese, the arcade with robot band, is a violent place. An uninvited kid joined a birthday party. And when the cops showed up, they found a rumble between 40 bloodthirsty parents.

That's what the chain gets for serving beer to parents already trying to cope with brats and arcade machine sound effects for hours on end. Not to mention the 30 minute performance of the Rocka-fire explosion animatronic band, playing on a 30 minute loop. Also, throw in the parental insincts to protect your kid from being sat on by the fat kid in the ball pit, and you've basically tossed a match to the powder keg.

The environment also brings out what security experts call the "mama-bear instinct." A Chuck E. Cheese's can take on some of the dynamics of the animal kingdom, where beasts rush to protect their young when they sense a threat.

Parents aren't able to contain their blood lust anymore, put under the pressure of this scenario, and it is happening in Chuck E. Cheeses all over the country, in statistically significant numbers, according to various local police officers. Finally, a mainstream paper, the WSJ, reports what I've known since I worked there as a teen: Chuck E Cheese is pure evil. Here's are the blow by blows of a few particularly gruesome fights, including one involving 85 people:

Chuck E. Cheese's Blotter

Brookfield, Wisc.: April 5, 2008

Seven Brookfield Police officers broke up a fight that involved as many as 40 people, according to police reports. The altercation broke out after an uninvited guest showed up at a child's birthday party. No one was arrested. (See police report.)

Flint, Mich.: Jan. 26, 2008

Flint Township police responded to a call about a large fight at Chuck E. Cheese's that involved as many as 85 people, according to police reports. A fight inside the restaurant between three females erupted, pepper gas was sprayed and people flooded outside the restaurant into the back parking lot. (See police report.)

Toledo, Ohio: Feb. 4, 2007

Police responded to the scene after a fight broke out. Several parents complained about children who were having their picture drawn at one of the machines and then continued to sit there after the drawings were complete. Parents began calling names and then throwing punches. Several people were injured and several cited for disorderly conduct. (See police report.)

Matteson, Ill.: 2007-2008

Police have responded to 12 disturbance calls at Chuck E. Cheese in the last year, said a local law enforcement official. The disturbances ranged in seriousness and included one in which two men attacked another man at a birthday party.

Milwaukee, Wisc.: Aug. 11, 2006

Upon officers' arrival at a south side Chuck E. Cheese's, they spoke with a male who stated that during a verbal argument, an elderly female threw a shoe at him, according to police reports. He stated the fight started over someone calling his child "ugly." He stated he was not injured, his pride was just hurt.

Topeka, Kan.: Jan. 17, 2005

Topeka Police responded to a disturbance call around 5:30 p.m., according to a department spokeswoman. Two adult females were involved in an altercation prior to police arrival. It was reported that one small child was either bumped or stuck by another child. The mothers of the girls began to argue and an altercation ensued. No one was charged.

In Pennsylvania, Susquehanna Township police are searching for suspects involved in a Nov. 9 altercation at a Chuck E. Cheese's outside Harrisburg. The police department gets called to respond to disputes at the restaurant as many as 15 times a year, Police Chief Robert Martin says.

This most recent assault, described in police reports, occurred after a woman in her 30s approached a 6-year-old boy who was playing a videogame. When the boy went to insert more tokens to continue playing, the woman grabbed the tokens out of his hand and told him to stop hogging the game. The boy went and got his 26-year-old mother, who walked over to the woman. The woman began screaming at the boy's mother, and another suspect, a man in his 30s, grabbed the mother by the throat and pushed her against the videogame machine. CEC employees had to pull the man off the mother. Both the man and the woman fled the scene.

How they plan on fixing it:

In Milwaukee, the store posted a sign outlining a dress code that prohibits what it calls "gang-style apparel." That location also implemented a code of conduct that prohibits knives, chains, screwdrivers and glass cutters.

While the chain is a breeding ground for these fights, this police captain says it best:

"The biggest problem is you have a bunch of adults acting like juveniles," says Town of Brookfield Police Capt. Timothy Imler. "There's a biker bar down the street, and we rarely get calls there."

Here's another fight I found on youtube:
[UPDATE: video removed because it was posted by some white supremacy group, and screw that!]

Original here

Spirit Detains Burglar for 3 Days in Home

A Malaysian couple, who were on vacation, returned home to find a 26 year-old man passed out on the floor from fatigue and dehydration. They quickly called an ambulance and then filed a report with the police.

ghost Spirit Detains Burglar for 3 Days in Home picture

The burglar told the Police that after he entered through the back door, he was blinded and felt as though he was in a cave. “Each time I wanted to flee, I felt a ’supernatural figure’ shoving me to the ground.”

He was held captive by the spirit for 3 days without food or water.

Abdul Marlik Hakim Johar, a Police official, said the burglar was in stable condition at the Kemaman Hospital.

Original here

Primary school teacher who told children: 'Santa does not exist' is fired

By Daily Mail Reporter

A primary school teacher who left a class of 25 pupils in tears after she told told them Santa Claus did not exist has been fired..

When excited youngsters became rowdy as they talked about Santa, the supply teacher blurted out: 'It's your parents who leave out presents on Christmas Day.'

The class of seven-year-olds at Blackshaw Lane Primary School, Royton, near Oldham, Greater Manchester burst into tears and told their parents when they arrived home.


Santa sacked: A teacher has been told not to return to work after she told her primary school pupils that Santa Claus is not real

Mothers and fathers then complained about the incident and were sent a letter by the school saying the substitute teacher, who only worked at the school for one day last week, has been disciplined.

The school has now said it will not hire her again.

One father said: 'My son came home and said that his substitute teacher had told the class that Santa doesn't exist and it's your mum and dad that put out presents for them.

'Apparently, they were all talking about Christmas and being a bit rowdy. She just came straight out with it.

'My lad was in tears and so was everyone else in the class - especially as it was so close to Christmas.

'I thought it was wrong. He was distraught about it. He's only seven-years-old and it's part of the magic of Christmas to him.

'We told him that she did not believe in Father Christmas because of her religion and he's fine now.'

The father described the incident as 'shocking' and believed it was done with malicious intent.

'A lot of parents were disgusted and complained to the school.'

The teacher, who was supplied by Rochdale and Oldham Supply Agency, is still registered and will work with other schools, the agency said.

Headteacher Angela McCormick refused to comment on the incident.

Original here

The 6 Deadliest Creatures (That Can Fit In Your Shoe)

By Fitzgerald Smith

They say good things come in small packages. You know what else comes in small packages? Unrelenting pain and horror.

You can thank Mother Nature for that, as she has seen fit to equip some of the tiniest creatures with the most crippling--and deadly--venom. So read this and remember to give your boot a good shake before shoving your foot in there.

Golden Dart Frog

What the Fuck is That?

If you're planning any hikes in the jungle in the near future, you might come across this cute little fella. Weighing about an ounce and reaching the impressive size of one inch, the Golden Dart Frog is indigenous to the rain forests in Colombia. Look at the little guy! It makes you want to take one home, doesn't it?

What's this Funny Feeling?

If you missed your high school biology class on brightly colored animals, then chances are you did pick up the frog. Unfortunately for you, their skin is covered in enough poison to kill ten fully grown human beings. That's right, a frog that is potentially smaller than your wang (we can't stress potentially enough) will kill you and your nine best friends if you fuck with it.

The Golden Dart Frog's poisonous skin is nothing new to the people of Colombia. Tribesmen have been wiping the tips of their darts on these amphibians for centuries, utilizing the toxins as a weapon and, thus, providing the modern name for these little bastards.

Wouldn't this be more effective? Just saying.

Scientists speculate that these frogs amass their toxins through the prey they eat, who spend time ingesting toxins from the various vegetation in their environment. This speculation came from the fact that frogs raised away from the rain forest aren't poisonous at all. How does that help you when you're dying thousands of miles away from the non-poisonous frog? It doesn't.

Will I Be Alright?

Probably not. Extensive research via wikipedia yielded this result:

"Currently no effective antidote exists for the treatment of batrachotoxin poisoning."

So unless you're leimadophis epinephelus, a breed of snake that can consume the frogs (if you're reading this, you're probably not), stay the fuck away.

Geographic Cone Snail

What the Fuck is That?

So you're on vacation in Australia, drinking a Fosters, chasing dingos away from your babies and arguing about what things are and are not knives. You sign up to go on a scuba tour of the Great Barrier Reef. After a quick tutorial on what you can and cannot touch that you didn't even understand (they are speaking Australian after all), you're down in the ocean exploring the reef. One small and particularly beautiful shell grabs your attention and you pick it up out of curiosity. That's when you feel a pinch on your palm.

Congratulations, you've just been stung by one of Australia's deathly toxic residents.

What's this Funny Feeling?

That funny feeling is cocktail of toxins that were just lanced into your hand by a harpoon. Cone snails can fire off those harpoons in any direction and they use them to paralyze fish (at which point they then eat them--alive). Fortunately, you're too big for the cone snail to eat. Unfortunately, the toxins still affect you in a terrible way. Depending on which species of cone snail you picked up, you're either feeling the effects of your nervous system being fucked to hell or you're suffering this delightful symphony of shit, per Wikipedia:

You'll need both of these. And a bucket. And several small miracles.

"Paresthesias of the lips and tongue are followed by sialorrhea, sweating, headache, weakness, lethargy, ataxia, incoordination, tremor, paralysis, cyanosis, aphonia, dysphagia, seizures, dyspnea, bronchorrhea, bronchospasm, respiratory failure, coma, and hypotension. Gastroenteric symptoms are often severe and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Cardiac arrhythmias may precede complete respiratory failure and cardiovascular collapse."

And you probably haven't even made it to dry land yet.

Will I Be Alright?

That depends on how competent the people around you are. There is no cure for the cone snail's venom, and treatment is simply based on how long your rescuers can keep you alive while your body pisses, shits and vomits the toxins out. If the people saving you haven't already fled the scene of your body exploding from every orifice, their CPR is simply meant to keep you breathing until you've shat the last little bit of venom out.

Blue-Ringed Octopus

What the Fuck is That?

After that pants-shitting near-death experience with the cone snail, you opt to explore the shallow tidal pools on shore. After scavenging through all the dully colored shells, you come upon a tiny octopus. As you approach, bright blue rings appear on the its skin. Curious, you pick the magical creature up.

Luck is not on your side today. The appearance of those bright rings is the warning sign of the blue-ringed octopus.

What's this Funny Feeling?

Or no feeling, as it turns out. The beak of the golf ball-sized bottom feeder is strong enough to pierce through wetsuit gloves and give the handler a fatal dose of venom. You probably won't feel the toxins, at first. That's only because you'll be completely paralyzed. But believe us when we tell you that you'll begin to feel pain when you realize you can't breathe.

You don't need to point. We see it.

The venom from these tiny sea creatures is created by the bacteria that live in their air sacs. The deadly cocktail contains ten toxins in all, designed to leave you paralyzed and yet completely aware of your surroundings.

Will I Be Alright?

Like the cone snail attack, it all depends on how much the people around you know about what's happened. If they realize that you've been bitten by a blue-ringed octopus (whose venom is powerful enough to kill 26 human beings within a couple of minutes), rescue breathing may keep you alive.

But if no one is aware of what happened, you'll probably just appear dead to the world. Nobody will know that you're paralyzed and can't breathe. As they pack you into a body bag, your body reflexively shitting itself, your one final thought will be: "Man, fuck Australia."


What the Fuck is That?

We'll tell you what it isn't: The 80s B-movie featuring Lana Clarkson's immaculate breasts.

No, this is much worse. The deathstalker scorpion blends into the desert sands of Africa and is half the size of your foot. Deathstalker's are aggressive and very nervous about intruders. Since you're likely to not see them when you start fucking around in their habitat, you'll probably end up getting stung several times.

What's this Funny Feeling?

It's six different fast-acting neurotoxins that are about to make you drop into the fetal position. The venom from a deathstalker is meant to completely immobilize its prey so that--you guessed it--it can eat it alive.

Thankfully, you're much bigger than anything a deathstalker eats. Or are you?

Here it is, deathstalking. Or stalking death. Whatever. Something horrifying.

Will I Be Alright?

It's called the fucking deathstalker. What do you think?

It causes several deaths annually. If you're a healthy, strapping adult you can probably make it out alive. Kids, the elderly and geek types whose bodies have atrophied from years of video games, won't be so lucky.

Brazilian Wandering Spider

What the Fuck is That?

While vacationing in Brazil, you decide you want the full experience and venture off to pick bananas with the locals. As you wrestle bundles out of the tree, you feel something fall on you. And that something looks like the Devil incarnate.

The Brazilian wandering spider, or Spawn of Satan from here on out, can get to be a whopping ten-inches long (that's leg to leg). It's one of the most aggressive spiders in the world, no doubt emboldened by generations of much larger creatures running and screaming at the sight of it.

They like to rest wherever it is cool and dark (like your bed, at night!) and nothing pisses them off more than having their resting place disturbed.

What's this Funny Feeling?

Every bite from the Spawn of Satan--twice as potent as the black widow's--will result in excruciating pain. This is due to the fact that, aside from the neurotoxin, their bites contain high levels of serotonin. While the neurotoxin is busy shutting down your primary functions, that serotonin is heading straight for your brain. Once there, it'll cause intense tremors throughout your body and incredible pain.

Source: Science.

While not every bite has enough hellfire to take down a fully-grown man, it should be noted that another effect of the spider's bite is priapism (named after the Greek god with wooden balls). "What's that?" you ask. Well friends, imagine taking viagra and achieving that rock-hard boner you've been looking for, but instead of a little blue pill helping you achieve it, it's that thing up there. And instead of it being a pleasurable experience to your loins, it's extremely painful and lasts for hours. And fixing it may involve the doctor puncturing your dick with a sharp object to release the blood.

Will I Be Alright?

Remember that "most aggressive spider" thing we mentioned? Well the Spawn of Satan also has another common title: "World's Deadliest Spider." If that dose of neurotoxin and serotonin goes unchecked, it will shut down your body. Permanently. Luckily these nightmare-inducing monsters reside in the warm climates of South America. After all, when are you ever going to be in South America?

Oh hey, and remember when we said they like to hide in dark corners? One of their favorite spots is in shipping containers, such as boxes of bananas. Oh, and you might also run into one at the hospital.

"I- Wait a minute, you're not my doctor. You're not my doctor!

Box Jellyfish

What the Fuck is That?

Imagine that the stresses of life finally get to you and, after months of depression you snap. You make that final decision: You're going back to Australia again.

Having left a note behind for your loved ones and doling out your worldly possessions to your heirs, you go swimming in the oceans around northern Australia. You catch glimpse of something glimmering in the water. It's moving.

It's chironex fleckeri, an extremely venomous species of box jellyfish. You are about to get what you came for.

What's this Funny Feeling?

The chironex's venom is fast-acting and multi-purposed. It goes after the nervous system, heart and skin at the same time, in a multi-pronged attack of horror.

Will I Be Alright?

There is an antidote to the chironex venom. Do you happen to have it in your hand, there in the middle of the ocean? No? That's too bad, because a person can be killed within four minutes of the sting.

Congratulations, you can await the sweet, sweet embrace of death.

Original here