Fools Gold?

Rumours of gold lying buried beneath a Malaysian beach have sent scores of villagers digging in the sand in hopes of striking it rich.  People have flocked to a beach in the Mersing district of southern Johor state since residents reported finding gold deposits there last week. Police say the prospectors, including housewives and children, are combing the beach with flashlights at night.

District police chief Harun Idris told The Associated Press “people are really excited.”  Harun said natural gold deposits have been found in Mersing in recent years.

But another police officer, who didn’t want to be identified, said people were exaggerating the size and value of gold discoveries. He said “it’s gold dust actually,” and not worth the time and trouble to search for.  I bet there is gold there and these rumors of dust were just started by some big company that want to get their greedy hands on it.

Philosophers of the Future

A 1st grade teacher put together a list of popular proverbs. She then gave each kid in the class the first part of the proverb, and asked them to finish it. Here’s what the smartie pants came up with:

Better to be safe than… punch a 5th grader.

Strike while the… bug is close.

Don’t bite the hand that… looks dirty.

No news is… impossible.

A miss is as good as a… Mr.

You can’t teach an old dog… math.

If you lie down with dogs, you… will stink in the morning.

Love all, trust… me.

An idle mind is… the best way to relax.

Where there is smoke, there’s… pollution.

Happy is the bride who… gets all the presents.

A penny saved is… not much.

Children should be seen and not… spanked or grounded.

If at first you don’t succeed… get new batteries.

You get out of something what you… see pictured on the box.

When the blind lead the blind… get out of the way.

Don’t count your chickens….because you gotta eat one.

Very Weird Animal Experiments

I recently came across a couple of disturbing accounts of weird experiments performed on animals at the museum of hoaxes website.

-What would happens if you give an elephant LSD?

On Friday August 3, 1962, a group of Oklahoma City researchers decided to find out. Warren Thomas, Director of the City Zoo, fired a cartridge-syringe containing 297 milligrams of LSD into Tusko the Elephant’s rump. With Thomas were two scientific colleagues from the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine, Louis Jolyon West and Chester M. Pierce. 297 milligrams is a lot of LSD — about 3000 times the level of a typical human dose. In fact, it remains the largest dose of LSD ever given to a living creature. The researchers figured that, if they were going to give an elephant LSD, they better not give him too little.

Thomas, West, and Pierce later explained that the experiment was designed to find out if LSD would induce musth in an elephant — musth being a kind of temporary madness male elephants sometimes experience during which they become highly aggressive and secrete a sticky fluid from their temporal glands. But one suspects a small element of ghoulish curiosity might also have been involved. Whatever the reason for the experiment, it almost immediately went awry. Tusko reacted to the shot as if a bee had stung him. He trumpeted around his pen for a few minutes, and then keeled over on his side. Horrified, the researchers tried to revive him, but about an hour later he was dead. The three scientists sheepishly concluded that, “It appears that the elephant is highly sensitive to the effects of LSD.”

In the years that followed controversy lingered over whether it was the LSD that killed Tusko, or the drugs used to revive him. So twenty years later, Ronald Siegel of UCLA decided to settle the debate by giving two elephants a dose similar to what Tusko received. Reportedly he had to sign an agreement promising to replace the animals in the event of their deaths. Instead of injecting the elephants with LSD, Siegel mixed the drug into their water, and when it was administered in this way, the elephants not only survived but didn’t seem too upset at all. They acted sluggish, rocked back and forth, and made some strange vocalizations such as chirping and squeaking, but within a few hours they were back to normal. However, Siegel noted that the dosage Tusko received may have exceeded some threshold of toxicity, so he couldn’t rule out that LSD was the cause of his death. I know this was back in the early 60’s but I am sure there are some sick experiments going on nowadays all around the world.

-Have you ever seen a dog with two heads?

In 1954 Vladimir Demikhov rocked the scientific world by unveiling a surgically created monstrosity: A two-headed dog. He created the creature in a lab on the outskirts of Moscow by grafting the head, shoulders, and front legs of a puppy onto the neck of a mature German shepherd.

Demikhov paraded the dog before reporters from around the world. Journalists gasped as both heads simultaneously lapped at bowls of milk, and then cringed as the milk from the puppy’s head dribbled out the unconnected stump of its esophageal tube. The Soviet Union proudly boasted that the dog was proof of their nation’s medical preeminence. Over the course of the next fifteen years, Demikhov created a total of twenty of his two-headed dogs. None of them lived very long, as they inevitably succumbed to problems of tissue rejection. The record was a month.

Demikhov explained that the dogs were part of a continuing series of experiments in surgical techniques, with his ultimate goal being to learn how to perform a human heart and lung transplant. Another surgeon beat him to this goal — Dr. Christian Baarnard in 1967 — but Demikhov is widely credited with paving the way for it. I guess this story makes you wonder about “the end justifying the means’. The “greater good” and all that.

Doctor can I have a note for….

Need a doctors note to get out of writing that big test? Or do you just want a refund on your unused gym membership without the pentaly? The Excused Absence Network has your back. For around $25, students and employees can buy excuse notes that appear to come from doctors or hospitals. Other options include a fake jury summons or an authentic-looking funeral service program complete with comforting poems and a list of pallbearers.

Some question whether the products are legal or ethical – or even work – but the company’s owners say they’re just helping people do something they would have done anyway. The company’s customers receive templates so they can print the notes after typing the name and address of a local doctor or emergency room. Those who choose jury duty as an excuse to miss work enter their county courthouse information on the form.

Though the company’s disclaimer advises the notes are “for entertainment purposes only,” its website shows pictures of people sunbathing and playing golf using the fabricated excuses. One testimonial says: “I’ve managed to take the nine weeks off using these templates! It couldn’t be any easier!”

Actually, for one New Jersey woman it wasn’t so easy. She was arrested this year after using one of the company’s notes to support her claim she was too injured to appear in traffic court for a speeding ticket. She was caught after court officials called the chiropractor listed and he told them he never heard of the woman.

Vision Matters co-founder Darl Waterhouse said people looking to trick their bosses probably won’t get caught because of federal restrictions on the release of patient medical information. But some are concerned about potential problems.

If bosses find out the notes are not authentic, they might think the medical provider helped in the scam, said Dr. John Z. Sadler, a psychiatry and clinical sciences professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Reputations could be unfairly damaged, and accreditation or licence problems could arise, he said.

Many businesses require documentation if an employee misses work. But several companies declined to reveal their specific policies or say whether the possibility their workers might use fake excuse notes is a concern. An annual nationwide survey of more than 300 human resource executives found an absenteeism rate of about 2.3 per cent this year. That’s down from 2.5 per cent in 2006, the highest rate since 2.7 per cent in 1999.

The survey was conducted by the Harris Interactive consulting firm for CCH Inc., which provides employment law information. The executives surveyed said that two-thirds of employees who call in sick at the last minute are really missing work due to family issues, personal needs, stress and an entitlement mentality. Personal illness accounts for only 34 per cent of the absences.

The Vision Matters founders said many employees are fed up with working long hours for little pay, then having no flexibility if they needed to tend to a sick relative or attend their children’s school activities.

Liddell and Waterhouse met about four years ago while working in security for a manufacturing company. After seeing several employees write fake doctor notes, the men launched the Internet business on about $300 each. Liddell runs the company from a laptop in his home in Thackerville, a town of about 400 just north of the Oklahoma-Texas line. He won’t reveal sales numbers, but says the website gets about 15,000 hits a month. Sounds like this business is a big winner and very creative too!

State Department on Borat’s Side

The State department’s annual human rights report criticizes Kazakhstan for taking action against the satirical Web site of Sacha Baron Cohen, creator of the fictional Kazakh journalist in the film “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.”

They charged that he was denied a web address from them and they also planted propoganda against him in chat room, monitored his email and purposely slowed down his website for their users.

Borat Rules!