Offbeat: It’s a bird…it’s a plane…no…it’s a flying shark!

Published: January 9, 2012

A pilot reports seeing what he describes as a ‘flying shark’ in the sky as he was preparing to land a passenger jet.

It’s a bird…it’s a plane…no…it’s a flying shark!

A pilot reported seeing what he described as a ‘flying shark’ in the sky as he was preparing to land a passenger jet, not knowing that the shark was an inflatable toy.

The shark was spotted by the pilot at an altitude of 7,000 feet over Christchurch International Airport in New Zealand.

Glen Kenny, president of the New Zealand Air Line Pilots’ Association, explained the inflatable shark actually had very little bite.

“The engine probably wouldn’t stop, but it would do a bit of damage,” he said.

“Helium is an inert gas, so there’s no issue in that regard. The biggest hazard would be startling the pilot.”

The bizarre sighting was just one of a string of unusual flying shark sightings across New Zealand, thanks to the popular Christmas gift known as Air Swimmers — remote-controlled helium fish.

Police were bombarded with reports of the inflatable sharks spotted ‘swimming’ across the sky in areas such as Auckland and Riverton in Southland.

The Air Swimmer toy, which measures 1.44-metres in length, is remote-controlled with a radio receiver attached underneath the toy, helping with steering the body, making it the ultimate prank machine for any youngster.

The toy fish can be operated from 15m away, reaching great distances. SOURCE: metro.co.uk

Robin Hood returns… to rob a bank

Jasmin Rivera attempted to rob a local branch of the Citizens Bank in Boston, telling cashiers she had a gun in her possession.

Police reports state that Ms Rivera gave two notes to the cashier, one of them with the message, ‘please put the money in the bag, I have a gun, do not yell’ written on it.

The homeless 30-year-old was given $652, according to police, and then proceeded to jump into a taxi, bribing driver Gary Levin with some of the money so he could take her to additional banks around the Roxbury neighbourhood.

Mr Levin told The Boston Globe about Ms Rivera’s erratic behaviour. While seated in the backseat of the taxi cab, Ms Rivera told him: “You don’t realise what I just did. I just robbed a bank!”

She continued to tell Mr Levin about her plans to ‘hit another one’.

“I thought maybe she was busted for drugs or something,” Levin told the newspaper. “I’m freaking out and I’m thinking ‘she’s crazy; she’s nuts. I’m thinking she has a weapon. Maybe she’s going to rob me. So now, I’m starting to panic.”

“I had about 40 different thoughts in my head,’ explained Mr Levin. ‘My first thought was just get out. When you’re in that situation you’re just freaking out … It was like a movie.”

Rivera’s getaway ended once Mr Levin took action and dropped her off at a local park, calling the police soon after.

When the officers arrived, they found the woman giving children $1 notes in the park’s playground.

Dubbed by press as the ‘female Robin Hood’, Jasmin Rivera will be undergoing psychiatric treatment, and will be scheduled for a second court appearance.
SOURCE: metro.co.uk

Glory to those who…failed!

An unsuccessful Austrian inventor has won a £400,000 government grant to set up a museum of failed inventions.

Fritz Gall dreamed up the idea of a museum dedicated to the flops and disasters created by other would-be entrepreneurs.

Now — thanks to the grant — he and partner Friedl Umscheid have opened the Museum of Nonsense in Herrnbaumgarten, Austria. The museum prides itself on utterly useless creations like the ‘portable anonymyser’ — a piece of black card on a stick so people who don’t want to be in the public eye can black out their own eyes.

Or there are the pencils for cautious civil servants with no lead, a padded rolling pin to meet even the toughest health and safety standards, a portable hole and a fully transportable hat stand. Other batty brainwaves include a bristleless toothbrush for people with no teeth, and a fits-anyone jumper with sleeves in various lengths. “We held our first fair for rubbish inventions and thought we’d get 20 or 30 visitors but more than 5,000 came and so we knew we were obviously onto something,” explained Mr Gall.

The museum will move to a new expanded home later this year so it can cope with the thousands of visitors who now flock to it every month. “We have government funding and some private backing and we hope the people out there like nonsense just as much as we do,” he added. SOURCE: web.orange.co.uk

A bullet in the head is worth two in the bush

The Russian was shot by his brother when he was three, the bullet coming to rest in an opening at the base of the skull where the spinal cord passes.

Doctors opted against operating at the time because they believed the risk of severe nerve damage was too high and, against the odds, he made a full recovery, according to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

When the 85-year-old, who went on to become an award-winning engineer, recently went for a cat scan following a heart problem doctors noticed the bullet but, to their astonishment, they could not find any evidence of neural damage.

Dr David Ross, an emergency physician at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado told the New England Journal of Medicine: ‘High-speed missiles, like a bullet, can cause great damage and usually do.

“However, because they are high-speed, they generate a lot of heat. That heat usually means the missile is sterile — meaning it is unlikely to serve as a basis for infection if it stays in one place for many years.”

“So if it did not cause much damage, which it apparently didn’t, it was unlikely to cause him ongoing troubles.”
SOURCE: metro.co.uk

24-carrot gold

Lena Pahlsson lost her white-gold wedding band, set with seven diamonds, in 1995 and had given up ever seeing the ring again.

Mrs Pahlsson told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter she had misplaced the ring while doing some baking with her daughters during Christmas.

Remarkably, after years of searching for the wedding ring — including removing the kitchen’s flooring — Mrs Pahlsson eventually discovered the ring while pulling up carrots in her garden. A picture taken in the garden shows the ring stuck at the top of one of the carrots, with the vegetable seemingly having grown through the band.

Mrs Pahlsson’s husband Ola told Dagens Nyheter: “Our daughter Anna was at home at the time and she heard an almighty scream from the garden.”

“It was Lena’s wedding ring that had been missing since 1995 after Lena’s annual Christmas baking. It had surfaced, wrapped around a carrot. Quite amazing.”

The family believe the ring may have fallen down the kitchen sink back in 1995 and ended up in the garden’s compost or fed to their sheep.

Mrs Pahlsson is having the ring re-sized as it no longer fits and has vowed to keep the band ‘in a safe place’.
SOURCE: metro.co.uk

Too little too late

A US man has told authorities he wants to clear his conscience — and pay a $1 parking ticket he received 58 years ago.

Dale Crawford, of Houston, Texas, sent a letter to city officials after finding the ticket among some keepsakes.

He says he wants to pay the debt, even though it is a “small, almost unnoticeable amount”.

Mr Crawford received the ticket on February 3 1953, the day he was inducted into the US Army.

He left his 1946 Nash at a parking meter at the induction station, but because his father was late retrieving the car, it had been ticketed. Houston mayor Annise Parker says she will personally accept Mr Crawford’s payment tomorrow and thank him for setting an example for others who owe debts to the city. SOURCE: web.orange.co.uk

One cool church

A church built entirely of ice and snow has opened in Bavaria — a hundred years after locals first built a snow church as an act of protest. The church at Mitterfirmiansreut, near the border with the Czech Republic, is more than 20 metres long with an 8 metre steeple and took 1,400 cubic metres (49,000 cubic feet) of snow to complete.

The structure was lit up blue with a blessing from local Dean Kajetan Steinbeisser. SOURCE: web.orange.co.uk

Twins born — five years apart

A Sussex couple are celebrating the birth of their baby daughter — five years after her twin brother.

Floren Blake was born in November but her twin Ruben has already started school, reports the BBC.

They were conceived from the same batch of embryos after parents Simon and Jody Blake sought fertility treatment.

Mr Blake, 45, and his wife, 38, approached the Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine in September 2005.

Five embryos were created and two implanted in Mrs Blake, which resulted in the birth of Ruben on December 9 2006.

The remaining three embryos were frozen until the couple, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, decided to try for another child last year.

Mrs Blake said: “It does feel quite surreal. I think people are really, really surprised and it almost takes people a few minutes to get their heads around it.”

“We obviously had nine months to get it straight and to think ‘Gosh, we’re having Ruben’s twin’, but it’s incredibly special.”

The proud dad added: “I tell everybody I can. It’s almost just to see people’s response. They are really amazed and surprised.”

SOURCE: web.orange.co.uk

A sea lion with a passion to write

Jay, the sea lion, can be seen writing the word ‘Dragon’ in the picture above, as he uses his paint brush to make accurate strokes, to the surprise of many visitors who come to see the act for themselves at the Hakkeijima Sea Paradise aquarium in Yokohama, Tokyo.

The word has much importance across Japan, China and other parts of Asia as 2012 constitutes the Year of the Dragon.

In January 2011 another seal by the name of Leo wowed audiences after writing the word ‘Rabbit,’ for the traditional celebration of the animal. The eight year-old seal had written the calligraphy with help from his trainer who helped guide the sea lion’s snout as it attempted to make the strokes. SOURCE: metro.co.uk

Published in The Express Tribune, January 7th, 2012. 

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