Friday, February 20, 2009
In this Oct. 20, 2003 photo, Travis, then a 10-year-old chimpanzee, sits in the corner of his playroom at the home of Sandy and Jerome Herold in Stamford, Conn.
The ferocious attack by a chimpanzee of a woman in Stamford, Conn., on Feb. 16 wasn't a question of if but of when.
The 200-lb. chimp named Travis, whose owner, Sandra Herold, 70, raised him as part of her own family, had no history of violence — aside from one incident in 2003, when he escaped and stopped traffic in Stamford for hours. But when Charla Nash, 55, a friend of Herold's, visited on Monday afternoon, Travis suddenly lashed out at her. The 14-year-old chimpanzee latched onto Nash's face and tore it apart. (See pictures of animals facing extinction.)
The victim's injuries were reportedly gruesome; the head paramedic who treated Nash on the scene told the New York Times that he had "never seen anything this dramatic on a living patient." Nash remains in extremely critical condition. The chimp was shot dead by a police officer, who was also attacked.
But even as investigators try to figure out exactly what triggered Travis's attack (he had been suffering from Lyme disease, which in rare cases is linked to psychotic behavior), the reality is that a chimpanzee living among people is simply a ticking time bomb. No matter how many years it has lived peacefully as a pet, a chimpanzee is not a domesticated animal and can snap without warning. "They are wild animals, and all wild animals are potentially dangerous," says Colleen McCann, a primatologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and New York's Bronx Zoo. "They are not pets. This is tragic, but it's not surprising." (See pictures of animals in space.)
It might be hard to imagine that a chimpanzee — familiar from zoos, animal shows and slapstick comedies like Cannonball Run — could be capable of the kind of savage violence inflicted on Nash. Travis himself was reportedly a beloved figure around Stamford; he was recognizable from television commercials, could bathe and dress himself and use a computer — qualities that made him seem dangerously close to human.
But adult chimpanzees might be better described as superhuman — a 200-lb. chimpanzee is five to seven times stronger than a person of the same size, especially in the upper body. "They are incredibly powerful, and people underestimate that," says McCann. "An adult male chimpanzee is a formidable animal. I would not want to be standing next to one." (See pictures of animals with prosthetic limbs.)
Nor are wild chimpanzees the docile, childlike creatures portrayed on TV. Highly territorial, chimpanzees will attack and kill other chimps. Though mostly vegetarian, they will also hunt and kill other animals for food; young male chimpanzees in Africa have been known to fashion crude weapons and use them to hunt bushbabies for meat. Attacks on human beings are rare, but they do happen — and the results are often catastrophic. The former NASCAR driver St. James Davis, who raised a chimpanzee as a pet, was attacked by escaped chimps at an animal sanctuary in 2005; he was left with injuries and disfigurement so severe that doctors kept him in a medically induced coma for three months. (See pictures of the 50th running of the Daytona 500.)
Pet chimpanzees are also reservoirs of disease and can pass along infections like yellow fever, monkey pox and the Marburg virus to their human keepers.
Despite the potential threat chimpanzees pose, many U.S. states, including Connecticut, legally allow people to raise them as pets. Primatologists like McCann argue that chimpanzees should never be kept privately, and the WCS supports the Captive Primate Safety Act, a bill pending in Congress that would ban the private selling of primates as pets. The bill has stalled since it was introduced in 2005, but the Stamford assault may well renew its debate. "This is a tragedy for the families involved, for the animal and for the community — but it's not a unique story," says McCann. "When humans keep wild animals as pets, they pose a danger, and more times than not it will end in tragedy."
In Travis's case, his owner was forced to call 911, then attack and repeatedly stab him — a cherished pet she had reared for years — with a butcher knife in a desperate attempt to save her friend.
It may be a pussycat at home, but behind your back your pet moggy is a ruthless assassin.
Millions of other small animals fall victim to our feline friends, with researchers claiming that each cat takes about five lives every year.
Now some of these soft-pawed mass murderers are to be electronically tagged to discover exactly how many wildlife deaths they are responsible for.
Researchers will attempt to calculate the number of prey that fall foul of each cat, along with hunting movements and home ranges
Some experts believe Britain's nine million cats could be killing nearly 150 million birds, mice, rabbits and other creatures every year.
A total of 241 cats from nine different urban areas around Reading are part of the project
And for some small creatures such as the house sparrow - whose numbers are already in decline - cat predation could be a serious threat.
So now scientists are looking at 241 cats to investigate what they get up to when they are not at home.
The research is being led by PhD student Rebecca Dulieu, a biologist at the Centre for Wildlife Assessment and Conservation at Reading University.
The project will attempt to calculate the number of prey for each cat, along with their hunting movements and home ranges.
The total number of prey for cats from nine urban areas around Reading will be recorded.
Miss Dulieu said: 'We have found that our cats are bringing back, on average, 4.8 dead animals a year, mostly mice, but some rats, shrews and bank voles, and we've even had a weasel and a mole.'
Previous research has shown cats bring only about 30 per cent of their prey home, with large kills such as rabbits too heavy to carry and some creatures eaten on the spot.
Tags will log a cats movements, and allow researchers to identify when the cat is carrying gout different activities such as eating, hunting or sleeping
That means the average annual kill rate of the urban moggy is more like 16, suggesting around 145million animals are being killed by the nation's felines.
Now some of the cats will be fitted with electronic tags - data loggers known as 'daily diaries' - to allow researchers to identify when they are carrying out activities such as eating, hunting or sleeping.Original here
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Ameneh Bahrami is certain that one day she'll meet someone, fall in love and get married. But when her wedding day comes, her husband won't see her eyes, and she won't see her husband. Bahrami is blind, the victim of an acid attack by a spurned suitor.
If she gets her way, her attacker will suffer the same fate. The 31-year-old Iranian is demanding the ancient punishment of "an eye for an eye," and, in accordance with Islamic law, she wants to blind Majid Movahedi, the man who blinded her.
"I don't want to blind him for revenge," Bahrami said in her parents' Tehran apartment. "I'm doing this to prevent it from happening to someone else."
Bahrami says she first crossed paths with Movahedi in 2002, when they attended the same university.
She was a 24-year-old electronics student. He was 19. She never noticed him until they shared a class. He sat next to her one day and brushed up against her. Bahrami says she knew it wasn't an accident."I moved away from him," she said, "but he brushed up against me again."
When Bahrami stood up in class and screamed for him to stop, Movahedi just looked at her in stunned silence. He wouldn't stay silent for long.
Bahrami said that over the next two years, Movahedi kept harassing her and making threats, even as he asked her to marry him. "He told me he would kill me. He said, 'You have to say yes.' "
On a November afternoon in 2004, Movahedi's threats turned to violence.
That day at 4:30 p.m., Bahrami left the medical engineering company where she worked. As she walked to the bus stop, she remembers sensing someone behind her.
She turned around and was startled to see Movahedi. A moment later came the agonizing pain. Movahedi had thrown something over her. What felt like fire on her face was acid searing through her skin.
"I was just yelling, 'I'm burning! I'm burning! For God's sake, somebody help me!' "The acid seeped into Bahrami's eyes and streamed down her face and into her mouth. When she covered her face with her hands, streaks of acid ran down her fingers and onto her forearms.
Two weeks after the attack, Movahedi turned himself in to police and confessed in court. He was convicted in 2005 and has been behind bars all along.
Bahrami's lawyer, Ali Sarrafi, said Movahedi had never shown any remorse. "He says he did it because he loved her," Sarrafi said.
Attack victims in Iran usually accept "blood money": a fine in lieu of harsh punishment. With no insurance and mounting medical bills, Bahrami could've used the cash, but she said no."I told the judge I want an eye for an eye," Bahrami said. "People like him should be made to feel my suffering."
Bahrami's demand has outraged some human rights activists. Criticizing acid-attack victims is almost unheard of, but some Internet bloggers have condemned Bahrami's decision.
"We cannot condone such cruel punishment," wrote one blogger. "To willingly inflict the same treatment on a person under court order is a violation of human rights."
Late last year, an Iranian court gave Bahrami what she asked for. It sentenced Movahedi to be blinded with drops of acid in each eye. This month, the courts rejected Movahedi's appeal.
Bahrami's lawyer, Sarrafi, said the sentencing might be carried out in a matter of weeks. He said he doesn't think Bahrami will change her mind. Neither does Bahrami.
"If I don't do this and there is another acid attack, I will never forgive myself for as long as I live," she said.
Bahrami is largely self-sufficient despite not being able to see. She can make a salad, prepare tea and walk up the five flights of stairs that lead to her parents' apartment.
She has undergone more than a dozen surgeries on her badly scarred face, but she says there are many more to come. She can't afford to pay for her medical care, so she's using the Internet to raise money.
She's lost her big brown eyes, but she likes to smile, especially when she imagines her wedding day."I always see myself as someone who can see and sometimes see myself in a beautiful wedding gown, and why not?"
Author Terry Pratchett has been knighted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace for services to literature.
Sir Terry, 60, was named in the New Year Honours list.
Best known for his hugely popular Discworld series of comic fantasy novels, he has sold more than 55 million books worldwide.
In 2007 Sir Terry was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease and has since campaigned to raise awareness of the condition.
A schoolgirl who killed herself after having sex with her 39-year-old flying instructor saw the encounter as rape, a court heard.
Cherrell Evans, 13, was found hanged in her bedroom within months of being preyed on by Paul Nicholls, a jury was told.
Today another alleged teenage victim of the Air Training Corps leader said that the abuse was directly to blame for Cherrell's death.
Suicide: Cherrell Evans, 13, committed suicide after an alleged sexual affair with 39-year-old Nicholls
The 15-year-old girl, who said Nicholls also had sex with her several times, reported him to police after her friend and fellow cadet killed herself.
She said: 'As time progressed I realised it wasn't normal for a man triple your age to do something like that.'
The court heard that during police interviews after Cherrell's death in December 2007, the girl told officers: 'Cherrell did this because of what he was doing. It's his fault she's dead and nobody else's.
'He was there as a father figure but became something else. She didn't refer to it as sex. She referred to it as rape. Cherrell is gone because of him.
'The teenager had already told the court that Cherrell became scared when Nicholls sent a text message apparently suggesting he wanted both girls to engage in a threesome.
Accused: Air Training Corps leader Paul Nicholls denies having sexual relationships with underage girls
And yesterday his alleged victim said that when things did not go his way, Nicholls would become a ' horrible' person.
The girl, who is now 16, said: 'That's why she was scared. She saw what he was being like with me because I wouldn't go back to him. We were both scared when it came to the point he wanted the two of us.'
The girl, who cannot be identified, denied that her friend had been upset about anything else before her death.
She said: 'She talked to me about suicide the last time I saw her.'
Cross-examining, Tracy Lloyd-Nesling asked the girl if she was making up the allegations as 'revenge' for what had happened to Cherrell.
The girl replied: 'I'm telling the truth. There are bits I can't remember but that's because I was a 15-year-old child being raped by the man I saw as a father.
'I believe he raped Cherrell, she told me he raped her. I believe he was the reason she took her life.'
Asked about her relationship with Nicholls, the teenager said: 'I didn't have sex with Paul, he had sex with me.
'He made me feel like no one else cared, like no one else would believe me and no one else would listen.'
She added: 'I came forward, I told everyone what he did to me because I'd lost my 13-year-old friend. I didn't want anyone else to get hurt.'
The girl said she had slept with Nicholls ten times between June and August 2007 before he moved on to Cherrell.
The younger girl killed herself in December that year at her home in Rhondda, South Wales.
The witness added: 'Cherrell wanted to go to the police but I wasn't ready. She started to say she couldn't live life like this.'
Nicholls, of Pontygwaith, Rhondda, denies three charges of sexual activity and one charge of attempting sexual activity with a 15-year-old.
The trial at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court continues.Original here
The mother of underage father Alfie Patten is due to appear in court next week for failing to ensure the 13-year-old attends school, it has emerged.
Nicola Patten, 43, is facing charges relating to a five-month period last year when he failed to attend regularly Willingdon Community School.
A source close to the school said: 'We don't see Alfie at school that often. He plays truant a lot.'
The council started court proceedings against Mrs Patten under the Education Act and as a result she could be fined.
The news came as the baby's mother Chantelle Stedman, her newborn child, her parents and five brothers and sisters fled from their council house in Eastbourne yesterday.
Alfie is bundled out of the house by an unidentified woman today while a man, believed to be his father Dennis, hides his face with a Star Wars mask
A neighbour said the family had 'done a bunk' under cover of darkness.
Alfie, at home with his mother, kept in contact with Chantelle by phone.
Both Alfie and Chantelle and their week-old baby could face DNA tests to determine who the father really is.
Alfie, who was just 12 when Maisie Roxanne was conceived, said he wants a definitive answer to put his mind at rest after allegations surfaced that at least two other teenagers could be the baby's father.
Both Richard Goodsell, 16, and 14-year-old Tyler Barker who live close to the Stedmans in Eastbourne, East Sussex, have claimed paternity.
Today sources claimed that the paternity test would not be paid for by his local authority or the NHS.
Eye of the storm: Alfie Patten, now 13, cradles Maisie
East Sussex County Council today refused to comments on claims that its social services department would pay for the paternity test, but sources said that such tests would be up to the individuals to pay for, and not the local authority.
A spokesman for East Sussex Downs and Weald Primary Care Trust said the NHS also did not pay for DNA tests..
It has been suggested that there are another six potential fathers - although Chantelle, 15, is said to be distraught at the allegations.
As Alfie, 13, and Chantelle are both under 18, their parents must give consent to their children being DNA tested.
Penny and Steve Stedman and Nicola and Dennis Patten are thought to be keen to discover the truth.
They have asked social services to help to determine the paternity.
Alfie Patten makes a rude gesture as he is pictured leaving his family home
The test, which is 99.9 per cent accurate, will be carried out on saliva samples from all three. The results should be known within a week.
Alfie's spokesman, Max Clifford, said last night: 'They are planning to do a DNA test.
'Alfie believed he was the father but due to reports in the News of the World at the weekend, he wants to make sure by having a DNA test as soon as possible.'
Trainee chef Richard has said he had sex at least three times with Chantelle around the time she became pregnant.
'I know I could be the father, he said. 'Everyone thinks I am. My friends all tell me that baby has my eyes - even my mum thinks so.'
Meanwhile, Tyler said: 'I slept with Chantelle about nine months ago and I'm really worried I could be the father. I hope it's not me. All my mates have been teasing me about it but this isn't funny, it's serious.'
East Sussex County Council said it was not involved in plans to test the children, but that supervision of both families will intensify.
It issued a statement responding to criticism that the authority had not been sufficiently involved with the children and Maisie, since her birth last week.
Matt Dunkley, director of children's services, said: 'It is completely wrong to suggest social workers are doing nothing to support the families and young people involved in this case.
'In cases like this it is normal practice to assess the needs of the parents and the unborn child before the birth and to revisit those assessments once the child has been born.
Father figure? Tyler Barker, 14 (right), and Richard Goodsell, 16 (left), both say they could be Maisie's father
'In this case a package of support was agreed before the birth including enhanced involvement from health visitors and family outreach workers.'
Social workers and health visitors were due to visit both families again to carry out further assessments of the three children, he added.
'These will further examine issues such as the parenting of Maisie and the support from the wider family, the education of these young parents, and other issues, including the impact of the huge amount of public interest.
'For each of the young people concerned we will provide the necessary support identified.'
Chantelle gave birth to baby Maisie Roxanne last Monday and both families are being accused of trying to cash in.
Alfie's father has instructed PR guru Clifford to broker deals on his son's behalf - he is already being tailed by a TV documentary team - while Chantelle and her newborn daughter spent much of the weekend with a newspaper.
Clifford's appointment comes amid growing speculation over how much money Alfie and his family would make by selling their story.
Both the Pattens and the Stedmans have been accused of courting the media with rumours of newspaper and TV deals worth thousands of pounds.
Yesterday there were farcical scenes at the home Alfie shares with his mother Nicola in Hailsham, East Sussex, when his estranged father Dennis Patten arrived.
Unmasked: Alfie with father Dennis
The father-of-nine vehicle fitter was wearing a devil mask and carrying a fluorescent yellow placard saying 'No comment. Call Max' - a reference to publicist Mr Clifford.
A TV crew from Channel 4's Cutting Edge team followed close behind.
Clifford said reported claims that they would make 'millions' were greatly exaggerated and that the figure was more likely to be in 'the thousands.'
He confirmed a deal had been made with The People and Channel 4 on Sunday but could not say how much either was worth.
One source said the Channel 4 documentary would earn the family about £50,000, but Clifford said the real figure was 'much below that'.
He added that the documentary would provide 'a realistic insight into a major issue of our time'.
Asked how the 13-year-old was handling life as a father he said: 'It hasn't really hit him yet, he's still a boy himself - he's still trying to come to terms with everything.'
Publicist Phil Hall agreed the family were unlikely to gain millions from selling their story - unless it had a happy ending.
He said a lot of the media are becoming wary of paying huge amounts for the story when there was public concern about where the money was going.
'If by some miracle he (Alfie) becomes an incredible father, then he has the potential to earn a lot of money - but the story has to have a happy ending,' he said.
He also said one TV company had made a bid for £80,000 but that most media would choose to refrain from paying for the story 'on moral grounds'.
The comments come as the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) confirmed it had launched an inquiry into payments by The Sun and the People newspapers to Alfie's parents.
Announcing the inquiry, a PCC spokesman quoted clause 6(iv) of the Editors' Code of Practice which says: 'Minors must not be paid for material involving children's welfare, nor parents or guardians for material about their children or wards, unless it is clearly in the child's interests.'
Similar: Baby Alfie at four months old and little Maisie Roxanne
The PCC statement said: 'Newspapers are allowed to breach this rule if there is a demonstrable public interest.
'The PCC will make a public ruling on the matter when it has completed its investigation.
A convicted killer has boasted on Facebook that being in jail is like being on holiday.
Ashley Graham even put up a picture of himself on the social networking website ‘relaxing’ in his cell.
The 27-year-old is serving life at HMP Lindholme in South Yorkshire for stabbing a man through the heart.
But he manages to access Facebook every day by using a mobile phone that was smuggled in to the jail.
The killer's boasts are likely to reignite claims that prisoners enjoy an easy life in Britain's jails.
Relaxing: Convicted killer Ashley Graham put this picture of him in jail on Facebook. He claims being in prison is like being on holiday
In one update Graham wrote: ‘HMP Holiday’s a place where men can come for a nice relaxin break from their moanin women and crying kids. No stress just rest.’
Astonishingly his friends on the social networking site agreed.
Graeme Crockett replied: ‘Loving the status. Could do wid a nice relaxing break in HMP Ranby or Sunbury again.’
Graham even got messages from a woman claiming to be his wife.
On January 25, Emma Campbell Graham, wrote: ‘Hi hubbi. Been a while since I put some loving on your wall. Wifee is missing you. Not to long til I am in your arms baby. Love you x.’
Graham was jailed after killing Roy Henry in February 2001 when he tried to stop him and an accomplice entering a café to attack another man.
HMP Lindholme has a games room, TV room with DVDs and an activities centre for computer classes.
The Prison Service said measures would be introduced this Spring which would stop prisoners using mobile phones in prisons.
A Prison Service spokesperson said: 'Prisoners are not allowed access to mobile phones or the Internet – an investigation is underway and appropriate action is being taken.
'During Spring 2009 Body Orifice Security Scanners ('BOSS chairs') will be introduced estate wide. These will be supported by high sensitivity metal detectors and mobile phone signal detectors.'
Earlier this year certain prisons in London launched a scheme to allow prisoners limited access to websites in order to let them resettle in their community and apply for jobs.
The scheme allowed prisoners to visit pre-approved websites to take part in online learning and job hunting.
Prisoners were blocked from browsing beyond a list of approved sites and access to 'uncontrolled email' was stopped.
But security fears marred the scheme's initial launch in 2007 after Home Office ministers raised concerns that the proper safeguards were not in place.
It is not the first time that criminals have been caught using Facebook, which is supposed to be family friendly.
Last month the family of murder victim Tony Harrington were outraged after discovering his killer ran a Facebook page from Ford Open Prison in
Andrew McVicar, 25, was serving a life sentence for ramming a broken bottle in the 19-year-old’s jugular vein on Christmas Eve 1998.
And earlier this month it was revealed that hundreds of British drug dealers had infiltrated the site in a bid to attract new victims.
Gangs have set up special groups aimed at encouraging people who join to start smoking super-strong ‘skunk’ cannabis.One was labelled Smoke Weed Everyday and included several messages by users interested in buying the drug.
Sexy calendars and pictures of topless models in tabloid newspapers really do lead men to think of women as objects, research shows.
When men are shown images of women in bikinis, the part of the brain they use when thinking about DIY tools and other objects lights up.
At the same time, the region they use to try to tune into another person's thoughts and feelings tunes down, brain scans showed.
You don't say: Sexy calendars in the workplace make it more likely that men look at women as objects
Researcher Susan Fiske said: 'The only other time we have seen this is when people look at pictures of the homeless or of drug addicts because they really don't want to think about what is going on in their minds.'
Her experiments also found, perhaps not surprisingly, that men remember the images of scantily-clad women better than those of fully-clothed women.
Overall, the experiments showed that sexy images lead men to think of women as 'less than human', the American Association for the Advancement of Science's annual conference heard.
Professor Fiske, of Princeton University in the U.S., said the effect could spill over into the workplace, with girlie calendars leading men to sexualise their colleagues.
She said: 'I am not saying there should be censorship but people need to know of the associations people have in their minds.'
Asked if women were likely to view half-dressed men in the same way, she said that women tended to rate age and bank balance over looks.Original here
Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew, also known as Wat Lan Kuad or 'the Temple of a Million Bottles', is in Sisaket province near the Cambodian border, 400 miles from the capital Bangkok.
The Buddhist monks began collecting bottles in 1984 and they collected so many that they decided to use them as a building material.
They encouraged the local authorities to send them more and they have now created a complex of around 20 buildings using the beer bottles, comprising the main temple over a lake, crematorium, prayer rooms, a hall, water tower, tourist bathrooms and several small bungalows raised off the ground which serve as monks quarters.
The bottles do not lose their colour, provide good lighting and are easy to clean, the men say.
A concrete core is used to strengthen the building and the green bottles are Heineken and the brown ones are the Thai beer Chang.
The monks are so eco-friendly that the mosaics of Buddha are created with recycled beer bottle caps.
Altogether there are about 1.5 million recycled bottles in the temple, and the monks at the temple are intending to reuse even more.
Abbot San Kataboonyo said: "The more bottles we get, the more buildings we make."
The beer bottle temple is now on an approved list of eco-friendly sight-seeing tours in southeast Asia.
Ladies, man your urinals.
Ladies can now boldly go how no lady has gone before - standing up.
The "Go-Girl" is a new device that lets women use the bathroom just like the guys - on their feet.
The product is targeted for "on-the-go" women who don't have time to waste in the bathroom or on the porcelain throne.
Creator Sarah Dillon quickly realized that it could be marketed to active women who needed to go, and fast.
"It's an edgy product," Dillon said.
She encouraged women to "have fun with" the product, which comes with a funnel attachment for mess-free relief.
The Go-Girls retail on http://www.go-girl.com/ for $4.99 per device, or $11.99 for three.We're just sad Valentine's Day is over - we think it's the most romantic gift money can buy.
Growing up we all have encountered fashion trends that we have been less than proud of for participating in. While it is easy to pick on leg warmers, jelly shoes, and other ill-conceived fashion trends the one that gets left alone are t-shirts. Today I want to look at five different types of t-shirts that people regret owning. While I might not have owned all of these five I had “friends” that did. Here is a look back at some vintage t-shirts.
CoEd Naked- Nothing says sexy like double entendre based around a common activity. The CoEd naked shirts have covered sports, programs, and activities. The question I have is has any guy ever picked up a woman wearing one. Is there an additional degree of difficulty in doing that if you are wearing a shirt that says, ”CoEd Naked Law Enforcement: Against the wall and Spread Em”?
Hyperpcolor- Hypercolor was a line of t-shirts that changed color when you touched them with something really warm or cold. The debuted in the late 80s and were semi popular in the early 90s. My friend Jeff had one and I had to say the thing never worked. Although I am sure there were a lot of females that had their breast groped in order to see if those shirts really worked.
You know… they made shorts maybe I should invest in a pair or two.
The regrettable band shirt- Just about everyone I that I know that has been to a concert owns a regrettable band t-shirt. This is a t-shirt that you just can’t throw away because of the memories it holds but will probably never wear it again. Well unless it becomes a cool retro t-shirt to wear than you will be trying to sell it on e-bay and saying that the hole in the armpit adds to it’s authenticity.
Big Johnson T-Shirts- If you think the CoEd Naked line was tacky just wait until you see it’s competitor Big Johnson. I really think the whole creative meeting went like this.
Executive 1- We need a new t-shirt design.
Executive 2- How ‘bout a shirt with women with big ole titties and a dorky guy talking about a business but he really means his cock.
Executive 1- It is better than those happy face t-shirts we haven’t been selling since 1981. Let’s run with it.
No Fear- I am going to come clean right now and admit that I owned two No Fear T-shirts. One of them said, “Second Place is the First Loser…. NO FEAR.”
This probably explains why I didn’t have a real girlfriend until my junior year of high school.
Are we too hard on mad scientists? After all, many of the world's greatest discoveries were made using experiments that would make the average citizen run screaming from the room.
So really, is there such a thing as a "mad" scientist at all? A man whose methods go so far above and beyond, that you doubt his very sanity?
Yes. Yes there is. Here are nine of them.
What is love? American psychologist Harry Harlow decided to find out. And what stronger bond is there than that of a child and mother? So he did studies on rhesus monkey babies and their mothers, to find the nature of love itself. What could be more noble?
Wait, what's the title of this article again? Oh, shit.
Harlow had a "Rape Rack" in his lab.
That's what he called the forced mating machine he used for the monkeys. See, it turns out Harlow wasn't big on using euphemisms to make people feel better about his experiments. And that's a problem, because he decided early that the best way to find out the nature of love was by torturing baby monkeys.
If you think "torturing" is too strong a word, you should know that he called another of his devices the Iron Maiden.
"To be honest, I don't even know why I'm doing this."
Wait, it Gets Weirder:
His most controversial experiment, however, involved a device affectionately dubbed the pit of despair, where a baby monkey would be placed in a small isolated chamber for periods of up to a year, without any contact with any living creature. As a result, the baby monkeys became psychotic and never recovered.
"You mean you don't like being tortured? Fascinating!"
So when it came time for Harlow to present his findings, we're guessing he just summed it up as, "What is love? Well, you know that feeling you get when you've been locked in a tiny dark space alone for a year? It's the opposite of that."
As a rocket propulsion researcher at the California Institute of Technology and co-founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, chemist Jack Parsons was destined to be immortalized in history as "the guy who knew a lot about rockets." Though, we assume history would have a better handle on coming up with nicknames than we do.
Here's Jack Parsons:
Well, we certainly don't see anything odd there. But as it turns out, Parsons was into the occult. Really into it.
Which would be cool if he kept it to himself, like getting a couple of weird tattoos or holding the occasional orgy in a circle of black candles (thus making him the greatest scientist in history). But no, Parsons didn't believe in moderation in his craziness. He was a strict follower of the Thelema, a sort of spiritual philosophy on life lead by this man, Aleister Crowley:
He was one of Crowley's most devoted students and was even chosen to lead a Masonic/Religious/Quasi-secret organization in California.
Eventually Parsons started invoking the name of the Greek god Pan before every rocket test, because half-goat/half-man, forest creatures are known for their technological aptitude.
Wait, it Gets Weirder:
The infamous publically discredited super fraud L. Ron Hubbard was often Parsons's "magical" buddy. Together they did many cool things, like participating in a ritual known as the Babalon Working, an attempt to summon a living goddess. They didn't succeed, as far as we know. Later, Hubbard defrauded a large sum of money from Parsons and used it to publish his book Dianetics, the basis for the Scientology movement.
Parsons didn't live to see Scientology bloom, as he died shortly after when science exploded in his face. And we mean that literally: He died in an explosion of volatile chemicals he kept laying around. Thanks a lot, Pan.
Sidney Gottlieb was an American military psychiatrist with a Ph.D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology. He worked with the CIA during the Cold War, using all of his scientific know-how in the field of biochemistry to help America get a leg up over the evil Ruskies.
Unfortunately, Gottlieb's scientific know-how came down basically to "let's poison everyone." For example, he was the man behind the idea to saturate Castro's shoes with thallium and thus make the hair of his beard fall out, further proving to us that the CIA had some very liberal theories about the source of Castro's power.
Not that we blame them. This thing looks like it will jump up and eat us any second.
Gottlieb also proposed killing Castro with a poisoned cigar, a poisoned wetsuit and a poisoned fountain pen. His later idea for a batch of poisoned poison was unfortunately rejected by the agency.
To prove he wasn't just a one note guy, Gottlieb later on tried to assassinate an Iraqi general and the prime minister of Congo with neurotoxins. Which are different than poison. Somehow.
Wait, it Gets Weirder:
Gottlieb was also the head of the MKULTRA project, which studied the possibilities of mind control in espionage... using LSD. The Agency wanted to know if the drug we now associate with hippies could help break a man's mind for interrogation purposes. So Sidney and his colleagues did what they had to in the name of science: They tripped like crazy, day and night.However, they soon grew lonely and invited more and more people on their acid trips. Too bad they didn't have the decency to tell them about it. That's right, the kindly old Sidney spent some time going around America slipping LSD into people's drinks and observing the effects. He mostly chose hookers and drug addicts for his experiments because he gathered no one would care or believe what they had to say about the crazy old man drugging random citizens.
It's a tough job, but someone has to fluffy cloud. I am made entirely of light.
An early 19th century Italian physicist, Giovanni Aldini was the nephew of Luigi Galvani, the man who pioneered galvanism, or "hooking up shit to batteries," as our wise janitor explained to us.
Aldini spent most of his life testing the medical applications of this discovery and wound up becoming the 19th century science equivalent of Elvis Presley. In the end, for his contributions to science, the emperor of Austria made him a Knight of the Iron Crown, a title which could only have been cooler if they fit the words "lightning" or "dragon" into it.
We're just saying.
We were serious about the Elvis thing. Aldini traveled Europe with what can only be described as a science circus. His little big top of horror and science was a magnificent theatrical spectacle in which Aldini electrocuted human corpses and animal carcasses. And, of course, it always gathered huge crowds, because 19th century Europe simply did not have enough horror and violence in its everyday life.
During one show in London in 1802, Aldini electrically stimulated the heads and trunks of cows, horses, sheep and dogs with high powered batteries. The people witnessing this reported that the animals' jaws and eyes started moving almost as if they were alive. It was pretty much Satan's puppet show.
Wait, it Gets Weirder:
In January 1803, Aldini presented his most famous experiment. He was given the body of a hanged criminal, George Forster, who had been executed for the murder of his wife and child. Aldini created quite possibly one of the inspirations for Mary Shelley's famous work.
Displaying Forster's body for the public to see, he electrocuted his face, which started to twitch and move; his mouth and eyes opening and, according to all accounts, he looked very much alive.
But believing he did not freak out the people and humiliated Forster enough, Aldini stuck an electrified rod straight up the corpse's ass, after which the body started to kick and punch around so much, most people were sure he came back to life and started screaming about hanging him again. But how do you kill something... that has already died?
Illya Ivanovich Ivanov was a Russian and Soviet biologist famous for creating animal hybrids. This was a man who could take a zebra, a donkey and a turkey baster and pull a Zonkey out of his ass. He also created a hybrid of an antelope and cow (with the milk-giving properties of an antelope and the swiftness of a cow).
Well, how can this possibly go wrong?
Ivanov was also an insane old kook, ordered by Stalin to create a super race of slave ape-man hybrids who would serve the Communistic Russia in taking over the free world. That is, if you believe certain Scottish newspapers.
How much of that is true? Well, we do know the man did inseminate a few chimpanzees with human baby goo to create said hybrid. Mainly for the typical mad scientist motive: "Why the hell not?"
So in 1926, in Conakry (Africa), aided by the French and Soviet government (who expressed more interest in knocking up apes than is acceptable), Ivanov managed to inseminate three chimpanzees. Not one of them became pregnant. That we know of.
Wait, it Gets Weirder:
Concluding that his experiment failed due to doing the whole thing backwards, Ivanov attempted to knock up a human female with liquid monkey juice. In 1929, he obtained the support of the Society of Materialist Biologists, a group associated with the Communist Academy ("Monkey on girl action? Count us in!"), and actually found willing female volunteers for the project.
Now all they needed was the gravy for Ivanov's baster. The good doctor wrote a Cuban heiress, Rosalia Abreu, who had a large chimpanzee menagerie outside Havana, asking if she could provide him with some nice monkey semen.
Word got out about this and the project was shut down by... the Ku Klux Klan.
There is not one bit of this that makes any sense.
They threatened the lady who owned the chimps and got her to back down. The Klan apparently figured that chimps breeding with white women was actually way worse than what they had been fighting up to then.
Congratulations, Ivanov. You found a way to get the whole world agreeing with the Klan.
Guy Ben-Ary is a Los Angeles born scientist-slash-artist now working in Australia. He specializes in microscopy; biological and digital imaging; tissue culture and engineering; and artistic visualization of biological data.
Isn't it interesting how you can strip the horror out of anything with enough technical language?
Let's start with his involvement in the Tissue Sculpture Program, which creates partially organic and partially manufactured objects that blur the boundaries between art and science, not to mention the boundaries between creepy ass horror and a slap to God's bearded face.
We don't know what this is but it's gross.
But that is small stuff as compared to Guy's other projects. He is part of the team developing the so-called Living Screen, a freak show endeavor (hey, their words, not ours) where you can observe "Nano Movies" being projected on living screens made from such lovable materials as mice cornea, blood or skin.
These living screens, which actually have the ability to age and die, react differently to each showing of the movies, which are observed through a projector shaped like a coffin, in case you thought these guys weren't doing this on purpose.
Wait, it Gets Weirder:
Guy Ben-Ary is also part of the core group behind the MEART project, which built the first possibly sentient biomechanical entity. By cultivating nerve cells in a laboratory in Atlanta, the MEART team established a connection between their do-it-yourself brain and a mechanical robotic arm in Australia.
The cultivated brain is expanding all the time, learning new things everyday the same as a real brain would. Lately, it actually learned how to draw, and is starting to depict its own unique imagery the artists are calling "art."
Is the MEART entity "alive"? Is it sentient? When will it realize it's just an intelligence using the Internet to occupy a mechanical hardware arm? When will it learn to take over other machines? And most importantly, how in the fuck do we kill it?!
Dr. Delgado was also a Spanish professor of physiology who actually had to take his MD degree course twice due to the Spanish Civil War, where he served in the medical corps on the Republican side. In 1946, he began a fellowship at Yale University where he joined the department of physiology, studying electrical brain stimulation.
Electrical brain stimulation is just nerd talk for mind control, baby!
Delgado was the man behind the invention of the Stimoceiver, which will be referred to from this point on as the "Brain Fuck Switch." The Brain Fuck Switch was basically a wireless brain stimulator/monitor which worked with a transmitter planted in the head of the "patient." Its job was to send electrical signals to evoke responses in the brain. Dr. Delgado first started with cats, but later moved on to monkeys and even human beings, including mental patients.
The Brain Fuck Switch could basically control behavior and stimulate any emotion the good doctor wanted, be it pleasant sensations, odd feelings or even visions. Yes, he was an aspiring Batman villain.
Wait, it Gets Weirder:
To truly prove he was mad scientist material, Delgado went to a Cordoba and stood in front of a charging angry bull. Well, that took care of the madness part, but he was also smart enough to previously install the transmitter in the animal's head. In mid-charge, the Brain Fuck Switch was activated and the ferocious animal simply stopped in its tracks and mellowed out.
You may be asking, why didn't Dr. Delgado retire to a private island, build a fortress shaped like a skull and construct a massive transmitter that would have the whole world doing his bidding? He could put all of our brains under his control and we wouldn't even know it.
The answer to that question is, of course: How do you know he didn't?
Dr. Bryukhonenko was a Soviet scientist during the Stalin era, and is credited as the inventor of the first primitive heart-lung machine called the autojektor. The machine was used to help perform the first Soviet open heart surgery.
He was also one of the heads of the Research Institute of Experimental Surgery. A Soviet experimental surgeon? Why, how could this possibly turn into unthinkable horror?
It is very important to understand what a heart-lung machine is supposed to do: to sustain life through artificial means. So the only logical way to test such a machine would be to transplant some life out of a living creature, which is just our way of saying, "Sergei killed aloooot of dogs."
With time, his research lab was filled with hundreds of dead Lassies, Old Yellers, Rin Tin Tins and... that's all the famous dogs we remember.
In a series of.... no wait, we got one more! Benji! He was kinda famous, right? Anyway, in a series of experiments some would describe as revolutionary and others as "OH MY GOD, NO!" Sergei started to cut out the canine's organs, hook them up to his machine, and keep them alive outside the body.
Wait, it Gets Weirder:
Sergei's most famous experiment, however, was the video documented "Dog's Head." In it, a freshly severed dog's head was placed on the table and connected to Sergei's Genesis Machine (fueled by the sorrow of orphans). The machine brought the head back to life. Fully responsive.
For the sake of future audiences, the ghoulish screams of sadness and terror from both the audience and the dog were edited out, or so we assume.
The living head responded fully to various outside stimuli and even accepted a treat from the staff... which in a cartoonish fashion fell out right behind it. Of course creating living heads is pure mad scientist territory, but you know what would make it even better/creepier? If Sergei created zombie dogs. Like he totally did.
Dr. Robert J. White is an American surgeon famed for his expertise in the field of transplantology. His years of research into the human nervous system and the brain lead to the discovery of a spinal cord cooling process used by almost all medical institutions today.
He is retired now, but for over 40 years he was a neurological surgery professor for Case Western Reserve University medical school where... oh who are we kidding, you don't care about this, right? Let's just get to...
In 1962, Dr. White was the first person to succeed in removing the brain of a dog and keeping it alive outside the body. The canine gray blob was hooked up to a brain wave monitor which proved that, yes, it was still active and full of thoughts. Whether the thoughts were centered around confused panic and pleas to kill it remain unverified though implied.
Then, in 1964, Dr. White further succeeded in freaking out everyone around him by transplanting the brain of one dog into the neck of another. Silly doctor, brains go in the skull, not the neck. He must have been quite embarrassed when that was pointed out to him.
While the experiment proved that an alien brain can be kept alive in a host's body, unfortunately it did not create a dog smart enough to write Internet comedy.
Our retirement plan.
Wait, it Gets Weirder:
In the 70s, after a series of experiments, White succeeded in transplanting the head of one monkey onto the body of another one. Take a moment to let that sink in. OK, the monkey only lived for a few days, but since then White has repeated his experiment, proving that his monkey heads could basically survive indefinitely with its new host body. Too bad he had to euthanize them because they were all paralyzed.
Unfortunately, all of you who were just packing to stalk Vin Diesel's apartment in hopes of wearing him like a new suit, please, put the syringes and saws down.
Modern medicine is still unable to repair nerve damage resulting from severing the spinal cord during the transplant, so all of the monkeys from the experiments ended up paralyzed from the neck down. BUT, if you feel the life of a quadriplegic is a small price to pay to have girls all over your (totally unresponsive) Vin Diesel junk, Dr. White was kind enough to provide a step-by-step guide for you.