Offbeat: Of supergirl and billion dollar crib

Naomi Kutin, who weighs slightly less than 97 pounds, lifted 215 pounds, setting a new world record.

February 04, 2012

Clash of the titans

An unusual clash between a 6-foot (1.8metres) alligator and a 13-foot (3.9metres) python has left two of the deadly predators dead in Florida’s swamps.

The Burmese python tried to swallow its fearsome rival whole but then exploded.

The remains of the two giant reptiles were found by astonished rangers in the Everglades National Park.

The rangers say the find suggests that non-native Burmese pythons might even challenge alligators’ leading position in the food chain in the swamps.

The python’s remains were found with the victim’s tail protruding from its burst midsection. The head of the python was missing.

“Encounters like that are almost never seen in the wild... And here we are,” Frank Mazzotti, a University of Florida wildlife professor, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

“They were probably evenly matched in size. If the python got a good grip on the alligator before the alligator got a good grip on him, he could win,” Professor Mazzotti said.

He said the alligator may have clawed at the python’s stomach, leading it to burst.

“Clearly, if they can kill an alligator they can kill other species,” Prof Mazzotti said.

He said that there had been four known encounters between the two species in the past. In the other cases, the alligator won or the battle was an apparent draw.


Tweet destroys trip

A couple of Brits were unceremoniously ejected from the US after one of them ill-advisedly tweeted he was off to “destroy America”.

Leigh Van Bryan, 26, and pal Emily Bunting, 24, jetted into Los Angeles ahead of what they hoped would be a lively stateside holiday. Their trip certainly delivered but in every unexpected way.

The Department of Homeland Security had already earmarked Van Bryan and Bunting for a “warm welcome”. The agency had picked up on a couple of Van Bryan’s tweets, which suggested they intended to wipe out the US.

The first tweet said: “3 weeks today, we’re totally in LA diggin’ Marilyn Monroe up!”

The second tweet declared: “Free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America.”

They were quizzed for five hours, during which they failed to convince the authorities of the innocent nature of the tweets.

According to the Daily Mail, Bunting said: “The officials told us we were not allowed in to the country because of Leigh’s tweet. They wanted to know what we were going to do. They asked why we wanted to destroy America and we tried to explain it meant to get crazy and party.”

She added: “I almost burst out laughing when they asked me if I was going to be Leigh’s lookout while he dug up Marilyn Monroe. I couldn’t believe it because it was a quote from the comedy ‘Family Guy’ which is an American show.”

Van Bryan described the ordeal as “almost funny” but “really scary”. He said: “The Homeland Security agents were treating me like some kind of terrorist.”

Van Bryan and Bunting were deported back to the UK the next day. Van Bryan’s rap sheet, explaining why he was refused entry, says: “Mr Bryan confirmed that he had posted on his Tweeter website account that he was coming to the United States to dig up the grave of Marilyn Monroe. Also on his tweeter account Mr Bryan posted that he was coming to destroy America.”



Naomi Kutin, a 10-year-old girl native of Fairlawn, New Jersey, who weighs slightly less than 97 pounds, lifted 215 pounds, more than twice her body weight — setting the new world record for the strongest 10-year-old girl, according to World Records Academy.

The previous world record for the 97 pound division was 209 pounds broken by a 44-year-old European woman.

Kutin actually regained her own world record after losing it several months ago. Kutin, who began powerlifting in April 2010, first set the 97-pound world record last July at age 9.

Kutin drew a round of applause from the onlookers as she completed the record-breaking lift.

The event, an invitational for elite powerlifters, had never invited a competitor younger than 14, but made an exception for Kutin because of her extraordinary achievements to date, her father Ed said.

“When I was younger, my friends would be doing a lot of things that I couldn’t do, and I wanted to do something extraordinary,” an excited Kutin said. “I wanted to break a record of some sort and I just really wanted to get this record.”

“You know she gets giggly or silly in a 10-year-old girl kind of way,” Kutin’s dad said. “She’s also learned a lot about psyche. In this sport, it’s not just about strength, it’s also about the ability to focus and psyche, and she’s back there pacing and getting herself psyched and she’s really doing that well too,” he added.


Deepwater discovery

A team of shipwreck hunters that found a strange circular object on the floor of the Baltic Sea in 2011 now says they have discovered visual evidence of a second “disc-like shape” some 200 metres from the original find, CNN reports.

Peter Lindberg, who leads the group, previously joked to CNN that the first object they found 300 feet below the surface might be an unidentified flying object.

When the object, which has a diameter of 195 feet, was first discovered in June of last year, many believers thought it was a wrecked UFO that had crashed onto the seafloor and left behind a path of destruction measuring some 900 feet, according to

CNN explains how the team discovered the objects:

The imaging technique involves pulling a sonar “towfish” — that essentially looks sideways underwater — behind a boat, where it creates sound echoes to map the sea floor below.

The team is waiting until the spring to further investigate their intriguing discovery.

“Right now, we know about 20,000 objects, mostly shipwrecks, in the Baltic Sea. But I think there may be more than 100,000,” sonar expert Ardreas Olsson told Yahoo News. “I’m not sure what you will see when you go down. But I’m excited. It’s going to be interesting to see what it is.”


Billion dollar crib

An unemployed Irish artist has built a home from the shredded remains of 1.4 billion euros ($1.82 billion).

Frank Buckley built the apartment in the lobby of a Dublin office building that has lain vacant since its completion four years ago at the peak of an ill-fated construction boom, using bricks of shredded euro notes he borrowed from Ireland’s national mint.

“It’s a reflection of the whole madness that gripped us,” Buckley said of what he calls his “billion-euro home.”

“People were pouring billions into buildings now worth nothing,” he said. “I wanted to create something from nothing.”

A wave of cheap credit flowed into Ireland in the early 2000s after Ireland joined the currency zone fuelling a huge property bubble that transformed the country.

Buckley was given a 100 per cent mortgage at the peak of the boom to buy a home on the far reaches of Dublin’s commuter belt, despite the fact he had no steady income.

Living in his “billion euro home”, Buckley is working on adding a kitchen to the living room and hall.

The walls and floor are covered in euro shreddings and the house is so warm Buckley sleeps without a blanket.

“There are houses in Ireland worth less than that,” Buckley quips.

He wants Europe’s politicians to solve the eurozone debt crisis without destroying its currency. But if the currency ultimately fails, he will happily use the euro zone’s defunct notes as fodder for future projects. Reuters

Green footprint

A bizarre new range of flip-flops gives people the chance to experience the feeling of walking bare-footed on grass.

Australian footwear company KUSA has reported “amazing” sales after launching flip-flops featuring fake turf stitched onto the soles.

The company’s website says: “Love the feeling of bare feet on freshly mowed grass? Why not have that feeling anywhere, anytime. KUSA flip flops give you the opportunity to do just that... Close your eyes and you are there!”

The bizarre footwear seems to have been a hit with customers across the globe, appearing on various trend setting and fashion websites.



Are you confused after reading the headline? Well you wouldn’t be if you were Alyssa, a girl from Oklahoma, US, who has become an online star because of her ability to say any word backwards.

She grins shyly on a YouTube video as her pal explains: “Anyone can say a word to her, and she can say it backwards within three seconds.”

As her friends give her words like “Chevrolet,” “fireworks,” and “download” she effortlessly repeats them — but pronounces them from back to front.

And while she takes a moment to turn “Lamborghini” into “Inihgrobmal” she’s soon back on form.

She reverses “kaleidoscope” to “epocsodielak” and “mayonnaise” to “esiannoyam” with barely a pause.

And even “Panama City Beach” is no problem for her, as she instantly replies: “Hcaeb ytic amanap”. Source:

Talk to the hand

China has banned kindergartens in a northern province from offering palm-reading tests that the schools had claimed could predict toddlers’ intelligence level and potential, state news agency Xinhua.

Although many parents in Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi province, eagerly brought their children to be tested, some later complained about the high cost and raised questions about the testing method, which test-givers said could reveal the children’s aptitude in music, mathematics and languages.

“We have issued a circular to criticize the three kindergartens that offered palm-reading tests for 1,200 yuan (Rs17,203.12) per person,” Xinhua quoted Ma Zhaoxing, the local education bureau chief, as saying, adding that the practice had been banned.

Authorities were investigating whether the company that designed the tests, Shanxi Daomeng Culture Communication Co, had violated any laws, Xinhua said. Reuters

Record Splash

A total of 145 water-skiers in Tasmania have set a new world record for the highest number to be pulled behind a single boat.

Some 154 water skiers from all over the world set off on the record bid to ski a full nautical mile inside Australia’s Macquarie Harbour in Strahan.

Despite nine skiers falling along the way, those remaining on their skis were enough to beat the previous record of 114 set by the same team.

The 114ft catamaran, which normally takes tourists on tours of the area, was specially modified with different propellers and a 308ft aluminium boom to prevent skiers’ ropes from becoming tangled.

Organisers said five miles of ski rope was used for the new record which The Guinness Book of Records is expected to officially recognise within the next few months. source:

Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2012.


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