Anthology

Ultimate hiding place: Boy gets locked in safe

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The boy was playing with his little brother at the home in Lichterfelde, Berlin, when he found the ultimate hiding place.

Unfortunately, the door to the unused safe closed on the boy, locking him in.

His whereabouts were eventually uncovered – but his grandfather was the only person who knew the entry code, and he was away.

With no other option, the family called for help from the fire brigade.

Oxygen was pumped into the safe via a small plastic tube
Image:Oxygen was pumped into the safe via a small plastic tube. Pic. Berliner Feuerwher

It took three hours of testing family birth dates in the hope of uncovering the secret entry code, while oxygen was pumped into the safe through a tiny crack as a precaution.

Just as a specialist team was about to start breaking the safe open, they entered the correct six-digit code.

Firefighters say the child remained calm throughout the ordeal and was shocked but unharmed.

Berlin firefighter Thomas Kirstein said it was happy ending and super early Christmas present.

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Swimmers seriously hurt after two sea lion attacks

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The first attack happened on Thursday when swimmer Christian Einfeldt was seriously injured after a sea lion bit him on the arm.

Mr Einfeldt believes the animal followed him as he swam from San Francisco beach to the mouth of a cove.

When he turned to swim back, the large mammal was “right there”, he told local TV station KGO.

“I did feel threatened. I did have warning. But I was a quarter-mile from shore. There was nothing I could do,” Mr Einfeldt said.

When the sea lion approached, Mr Einfeldt splashed water on it but the animal did not go away, said Matthew Reiter with the San Francisco Police Department’s Marine Unit.

“When it didn’t work, he yelled at it and then the sea lion came up and bit him on the arm,” Mr Reiter added.

Mr Einfeldt started steadily bleeding and knowing he could not swim back he flagged down a sailboat which pulled him aboard. He was later transferred to hospital where he had at least two operations.

The next day, another man was bitten in the groin area as he swam in the waters off the city’s Maritime National Historic Park.

Park spokesman Lynn Cullivan said it was “a very serious bite” and the man was taken to a hospital.

The cove hosts swimming and rowing clubs and is a favourite spot for dedicated swimmers. It is usually a transit area for sea lions heading to Pier 39, where they congregate.

The aggressive behaviour is so unusual for sea lions that officials think the same animal attacked both swimmers.

“It could just be a sea lion being territorial, or it could be an injured or sick mammal,” Mr Cullivan said.

“People think the bay is their backyard, but it really is the beginning of the wilderness. There is wilderness out there.”

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Obsessed with selfies? You may have ‘selfitis’

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The term was first coined in a spoof news article in 2014 which suggested the American Psychiatric Association was considering classifying selfitis as a disorder.

Researchers have now looked into the phenomenon and say their study “validates its existence”.

They examined 400 people from India – the country with the most Facebook users – and produced a “Selfitis Behaviour Scale” listing factors that provoke the condition.

This included self-confidence, attention seeking and social competition.

Kim Kardashian and model Naomi Campbell take a selfie during the Los Angeles launch of 'Naomi' at Taschen Beverly Hills on April 28, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.
Image:TV star Kim Kardashian and model Naomi Campbell pose for a selfie

The paper, published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, said: “As with internet addiction, the concepts of selfitis and selfie addiction started as a hoax, but recent research including the present paper has begun to empirically validate its existence.”

Researchers say the study, co-written by Dr Mark Griffiths of Nottingham Trent University, will help understanding of “human-computer interaction across mobile electronic devices”.

It also argues selfie-taking may evolve over time as technology advances.

Woman poses for selfie on mobile phone camera
Image:Attention seeking can provoke the condition, experts say

:: Photographer Rankin: Selfie craze reflects ‘huge wave of narcissism’

Selfitis is not the first technology-related disorder to be studied.

“Nomophobia” – the phobia of not having a mobile phone to hand – was examined by researchers in Hong Kong who asked people to describe how they felt about their phones.

Words such as “hurt'” and “alone” predicted higher levels of nomophobia, according to the study.

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Cigar-shaped object ‘not alien ship’

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The large unidentified object, thought to be an asteroid, was scanned for radio signals after its unique shape sparked speculation it could be an alien ship.

Researchers from the £75m Seti project, Breakthrough Listen, used a telescope in West Virginia to keep an ear on the mystery body, which has been named Oumuamua by astronomers.

They said while monitoring and analysis continued, the first signs were that there was “no evidence of artificial signals emanating from the object”.

Scientists from the project, launched in 2015 by Russian technology mogul Yuri Milner, listened to the object across four radio frequency bands spanning one to 12 gigahertz using the Green Blank telescope.

They took away more than 90TB of data in two hours. The first of the four bands has been made available to the public.

:: Oumuamua: Mysterious interstellar object probed for signs of alien life

:: Oumuamua: Lost interstellar asteroid enters solar system

Berkeley Seti Research Centre director Andrew Siemion said: “It is great to see data pouring in from observations of this novel and interesting source.

“Our team is excited to see what additional observations and analyses will reveal.”

Oumuamua – which is Haiwaiian for scout or messenger – is the first object found in the solar system that is believed to be from another part of the galaxy.

Astronomers at the University of Hawaii first spotted it passing Earth at about 85 times the distance to the moon.

The object’s unusual shape – it is hundreds of metres in length but only one tenth as wide – caught their attention as it did not look like a regular space rock.

Researchers also suggest Oumuamua, which travels at up to 196,000mph, does not gravitate towards the sun and is destined to head back out of the solar system.

The project plans to inspect a million nearby stars and 100 nearby galaxies looking for alien life.

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Dog’s paws replaced with blades after sword attack

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Cola was taken to a vet after he was hacked by a man with a sword because he gnawed on a pair of boots.

The dog survived, but was left with two stumps for front paws.

Now, he has a pair of blades a Paralympian would be proud of after being taken to Soi Dog foundation on Phuket island.

Cola with his 'stumps'. His legs were maimed after he gnawed some boots
Image:Cola’s legs were maimed after he gnawed on boots

The lightweight feet were tailormade for Cola, who was not able to bound around in his heavier prosthetics.

Owner John Dalley, who rescued him, said: “(These legs) give him a lot more balance, a lot more spread.

“It’s actually quite amazing how adaptable dogs are and how forgiving they are.”

Cola is believed to be the first dog who has had the more expensive suspended-style prosthetics, made recognisable by British Paralympian Jonnie Peacock.

His limbs sit in a socket, and his feet suspend around in a C-shape.

Cola relaxes after being able to run in his new 'blade runner' prosthetics
Image:Cola’s new paws mean he can run around again

“What we wanted to achieve was…something that was not so heavy, that could be a bit flexible in the feet so that when he jumps and bounces they would not be completely stiff,” said Teddy Fagerstrom, director of the orthopaedic lab which fitted the blades.

He added: “[Cola] is not embarrassed being an amputee.

“He just acts as he always did.

“I think he will show that having a good pair of legs will make it possible for you to continue to run and have fun.”

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Giant Christmas tree appears over Germany

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The captain left the port city of Hamburg and then traced the pattern, complete with lights, as he flew as far as Stutggart, about 400 miles (650km) away before returning five hours later.

Some early “Season’s Greetings” from one of Flight Test Teams in Hamburg 🎄✈️ https://t.co/k71QhMrgmF@flightradar24pic.twitter.com/FURAnB3qp3

— Airbus (@Airbus) December 13, 2017

There were no passengers aboard the test flight.

On Twitter, Airbus said: “Some early “Season’s Greetings” from one of Flight Test Teams in Hamburg.”

The phallic symbol drawn by the warplane
Image:The phallic symbol drawn by the warplane

The shape was much more polite than a crudely drawn penis etched out in clouds by a US navy warplane.

At the time, Vice Admiral Mike Shoemaker, the commander of Naval Air Forces, told Sky News: “The Navy holds its aircrew to the highest standards and we find this absolutely unacceptable, of zero training value and we are holding the crew accountable.

“Sophomoric and immature antics of a sexual nature have no place in Naval aviation today. We will investigate this incident to get all the facts and act accordingly.”

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Man makes igloo with washing up bowl and snow

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Ben Crutch realised when he woke up on Sunday morning that the time had come to tick an item off his “bucket list”.

While he had wanted to build an igloo before, “there had never been enough snow”.

But after seeing lots of the cold, fluffy white stuff in the garden on Sunday morning, the 29-year-old from Redditch turned to his girlfriend Jodie Giles and said: “I’m going to build an igloo.”

Ben enjoying his handiwork. Pic: Benjamin Crutch/Facebook
Image:Ben enjoying his handiwork. Pic: Benjamin Crutch/Facebook

Ben admits that Jodie, from Wythall, her brother and his girlfriend thought he was “mad”.

Eight hours later, after making about 500 ice bricks and fashioning them into a small home complete with light, a door and a window, he was finished.

The carpenter-joiner learned the process as he went along – admitting he “should have googled the correct method”.

Ben's girlfriend Jodie enjoys the 'really warm' igloo. Pic: Benjamin Crutch/Facebook
Image:Ben’s girlfriend Jodie enjoys the ‘really warm’ igloo. Pic: Benjamin Crutch/Facebook

He made each brick by packing snow into a small washing up bowl, started laying them down and just “went with the flow”.

It was “almost like a sand castle”, he said, “but with ice”.

Even though he feared there might be an “issue with the roof”, there were not any “major disasters”.

After he began to make progress, the others joined him, using a wheelbarrow to collect fresh snow.

The igloo was constructed using about 500 ice bricks. Pic: Benjamin Crutch/Facebook
Image:The igloo was constructed using about 500 ice bricks. Pic: Benjamin Crutch/Facebook

The finished structure, more than seven feet tall, was cosy. “The ice works as a good thermal wall,” Ben said. “It was actually really warm in there.”

He added: “It was just really good fun. It was a day’s work and it’s got a lot more attention than I ever thought it would.”

Speaking to Sky News on Tuesday, Ben said he thought it was still standing, but “with a bit of a slant on it”, adding that it had gone “a bit wibbly-wobbly”.

Asked if he would like to go to a country where igloos are built, he said: “I’d love to. If anyone wants to take me there and put me in touch with some real eskimos that would be amazing.”

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Cigar-shaped object ‘could be alien artefact’

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Researchers involved in Seti – the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence – will turn a powerful dish telescope towards “Oumuamua”, which was first spotted in October.

It is the first object discovered in the solar system that appears to have come from another part of the galaxy – and is assumed to be an asteroid.

However, its elongated cigar shape and the fact that it is hundreds of metres in length but only one tenth as wide is peculiar for a typical space rock.

At the moment there is “no consensus” on where the dark red object, which is around 400 metres (1,312ft) long, has come from.

In a statement, the $100m (£75m) Seti project Breakthrough Listen said: “Researchers working on long-distance space transportation have previously suggested that a cigar or needle shape is the most likely architecture for an interstellar spacecraft, since this would minimise friction and damage from interstellar gas and dust.

“While a natural origin is more likely, there is currently no consensus on what that origin might have been, and Breakthrough Listen is well positioned to explore the possibility that Oumuamua could be an artefact.”

The team will use the Green Bank radio telescope in West Virginia to study the object, which is named after the Hawaiian word for “scout” or “messenger”.

The giant dish – the largest fully steerable radio telescope in the world – will “listen” to Oumuamua across four radio frequency bands spanning one to 12 gigahertz from 8pm UK time on Wednesday.

Lead scientist Dr Andrew Siemion, director of the Berkeley Seti Research Centre in California, said: “Oumuamua’s presence within our solar system affords Breakthrough Listen an opportunity to reach unprecedented sensitivities to possible artificial transmitters and demonstrate our ability to track nearby, fast-moving objects.

“Whether this object turns out to be artificial or natural, it’s a great target for Listen.”

Even if no evidence of extraterrestrial technology is found, researchers hope the mission could provide important information about gases surrounding the object or the presence or absence of water.

The aim of the Breakthrough Listen project is to survey a million nearby stars and 100 nearby galaxies in the search for alien life.

So far no convincing evidence of alien life has been found by Seti, despite almost 100 projects since the 1960s.

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UK has new highest peak after measurement error

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It was thought until this point that Mount Jackson was the tallest mountain in the British Antarctic Territory at 3,184m (10,444ft) above sea level.

However, new satellite data by British Antarctic Survey (BAS) shows Mount Hope is the tallest mountain, at 3,239m (10,654ft).

The new data reveals Mount Hope as being 55m taller than Mount Jackson and 377m higher than previously thought.

The discovery was made during work by BAS to update planning maps for pilots operating in Antarctica.

New high-resolution satellite measurements, accurate to within 5 metres, show there are several errors in the old overland surveys.

Adrian Fox, head of mapping and geographic information at BAS, said: “This is an exciting discovery within the British Antarctic Territory.

“Modern satellite data highlights how inaccurate previous surveys and maps were for some parts of the region.

“Maps with reliable measurements of the highest peaks are an essential safety requirement for flight planning. Accurate elevation data from satellite imagery now allows us to produce these resources for Antarctica, where flying is difficult at the best of times.”

Foreign Office Minister with responsibility for the Polar Regions, Sir Alan Duncan, said: “The discovery of Mount Hope as the UK’s tallest peak is a great example of British science making big steps forward in mapping techniques to help us get a better understanding of this fascinating region.”

Mount Hope is the highest mountain in the British Antarctic Territory, however, Mount Vinson remains the highest mountain in Antarctica at 4,892m (16,050ft).

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Microwave cement prankster says he should be fined

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Jay Swingler put his head in a plastic bag inside the microwave before friends poured seven bags of Polyfilla inside, and he quickly became trapped.

After 90 minutes of trying to free him, his friends called an ambulance crew to the address in Fordhouses, Wolverhampton on Thursday afternoon.

Paramedics were unable to help and so West Midlands Fire Service was called, resulting in a rescue operation that tied up five firefighters for almost an hour and cost £650.

Rescue crews say they were 'seriously unimpressed'
Image:Rescue crews say Mr Swingler was lucky not to suffocate

Because the 22-year-old’s life was in danger the fire service will have to foot the bill.

Mr Swingler tweeted that he was “very lucky to be alive” and had been left “traumatised”.

However, many of his YouTube fans were not sympathetic, suggesting he should apologise and cover the cost of his rescue.

One commented: “You should count yourself lucky and think twice whether you’re ever going to put your life at risk again.

“What frustrates me the most is that the time paramedics have spent with you may had affected someone’s else survival.”

It happened in Fordhouses, Wolverhampton
Image:The rescue operation cost the fire service £650

Another said: “Do the right thing and give (West Midlands Fire Service) the money”.

Mr Swingler has hit back at claims he wasted the emergency services’ time and diverted crews away from other incidents.

In a video posted on Friday, he said he was “in need and would have died without (firefighters)”, adding he should be fined for the stunt.

He said: “I’m more than happy to donate my money to the people who helped me that day.

“I should be fined just like the people who get into drunken fights and use the emergency services’ time.”

West Midlands Fire Service said it was “seriously unimpressed” with the stunt.

Rescue crews say the man was lucky not to suffocate
Image:Mr Swingler said he was ‘very lucky to be alive’

Station commander Simon Woodward added: “We pride ourselves on our five-minute attendance standard.

“That means that if we have an incident where there is life at risk, our appliances will be there within five minutes and that gives us our best chance to save that life.

“If we’re attending incidents that are YouTube videos where we have people who’ve been irresponsible, those crews are unable to attend those life-risk incidents.

“The service charge for that would be £650. We are not going to charge because his life was in danger. What I would like to do is to remind everybody not to put their lives at risk for the sake of other people’s entertainment.”

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