Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Woman Drinks Only Soda for 16 Years, Suffers Heart Problems

By Rachael Rettner, LiveScience Senior Writer

    A 31-year old woman's heart problems and fainting might have had something to do with the fact that she drank only soda for about half her life, according to a report of her case.

The woman, who lives in Monaco, a small country near southern France, was brought to a hospital after she fainted. A blood test showed she had severely low potassium levels. And a test of her heart's electrical activity revealed she had a condition called long QT syndrome, which can cause erratic heart beats.

The woman did not have a family history of heart or hormone problems. But she told her doctors that, since the age of 15, she had not drunk any water — soda (specifically cola) was the only liquid she consumed. She drank about 2 liters (2 quarts) of cola daily, she said.

After abstaining from soda for just one week, the woman's potassium levels and heart electrical activity returned to normal.

Drinking too much cola may cause excess water to enter the bowels, which in turn leads to diarrhea, and loss of potassium, the researchers said. High amounts of caffeine can also increase urine production and decrease potassium reabsorption, the researchers said. Potassium plays a role in helping a person's heartbeat, and low levels of potassium may cause heart rhythm problems.

After searching for other similar cases, the researchers found six reports of excessive cola consumption that were thought to be related to adverse medical problems, including heart rhythm problems.

"One of the take-home messages is that cardiologists need to be aware of the connection between cola consumption and potassium loss, and should ask patients found to have QT prolongation about beverage habits," said study researcher Dr. Naima Zarqane, of Princess Grace Hospital Centre in Monaco.

Future studies should examine whether those who drink cola excessively have lower potassium levels than people who don't drink cola, the researchers said.

Excessive soda consumption can also lead to weight gain, which is a risk factor for heart disease, the researchers said.

The case report was presented this week at the European Heart Rhythm Association meeting in Athens, Greece. It has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Friday, June 7, 2013

British fisherman lands a 115-pound ‘UK Monster’

by David Strege

A British man hooked the biggest fish of his life—a fish said to probably be the most well-known catfish in England—and then needed an extra pair of hands to drag it onto shore after his son managed to get the behemoth into the net.

Rodney Hills, his son, and a fellow fisherman from their group lifted the massive wels catfish onto the shore of Oakwood Lake in Norfolk, U.K., and weighed it with a digital scale hanging from a tri-pod. The fish went a whopping 114 pounds, 11 ounces.

“It was hard work getting it in,” Hills, 67, told the Bucks Free Press. “It was quite a struggle.”

It took Hills 30 minutes to reel the fish to shore on 40-pound-test braided line. His son Adrian, using the biggest catfish net on the market, netted the massive wels catfish and immediately recognized the obvious.

“Once we had got it in the net, Adrian said to me you better go and wake someone else up, as we are going to have trouble getting this out of the water,” Hills told the Bucks Free Press.

Hills summoned another member of their fishing party from a nearby tent. The 10 fishermen from the Catfish Conservation Group spent the night camped out on the shoreline, fortunately allowing for additional help.

While they were weighing and photographing the fish, they noticed a distinguishing mark near its dorsal fin. It was a circular scar made famous in the U.K. by a DVD called “UK Monsters” filmed by Mick Brown, who had caught the same catfish and nicknamed it The Duke, since that is Brown’s moniker.

And as Brown did before him, Hills released the fish so it can fight again.

Hills informed GrindTV Outdoor in an email that the biggest fish he ever landed previously was a 33-pound carp. He also indicated that this wels catfish he caught and released has good taste.

The bait it fell for was a chunk of Matteson’s Smoked Pork Sausage.

Photos courtesy of Rodney Hills. 


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

WW2 Marine's diary: A brief look at a brief life

By JANET McCONNAUGHEY | Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Before Cpl. Thomas "Cotton" Jones was killed by a Japanese sniper in the Central Pacific in 1944, he wrote what he called his "last life request" to anyone who might find his diary: Please give it to Laura Mae Davis, the girl he loved.

Davis did get to read the diary — but not until nearly 70 years later, when she saw it in a display case at the National World War II Museum.

"I didn't have any idea there was a diary in there," said the 90-year-old Mooresville, Ind., woman. She said it brought tears to her eyes.

Laura Mae Davis Burlingame — she married an Army Air Corps man in 1945 — had gone to the New Orleans museum on April 24 looking for a display commemorating the young Marine who had been her high-school sweetheart.

"I figured I'd see pictures of him and the fellows he'd served with and articles about where he served," she said.

She was stunned to find the diary of the 22-year-old machine gunner.

Curator Eric Rivet (rih-VET) let her take a closer look, using white gloves to protect the old papers from skin oils. It was the first time in his 17 years of museum work that someone found "themselves mentioned in an artifact in the museum," Rivet said.

The diary was a gift to Jones from Davis. They had met in the class of '41 at Winslow High School. "He was a basketball player and I was a cheerleader," she said.

Jones had given her his class ring but they weren't engaged, she said. They had dated through high school. They went to the prom together.

He made his first diary entry while a private at Camp Elliott in San Diego, a little less than a year before he was killed. He described it as "my life history of my days in the U.S. Marine Corps ... And most of all my love for Laura Mae for whom my heart is completely filled. So if you all get a chance please return it to her. I (am) writing this as my last life request."

A sniper's bullet between the eyes killed Jones on Sept. 17, 1944, the third day of the U.S. assault on the Pacific island of Peleliu (PEL-uh-loo), in Palau.

Peleliu was where U.S. forces learned the Japanese had changed their island defense tactics. Instead of concentrating units on the beaches and finishing with reckless banzai charges, the Japanese holed up in bunkers, trenches, pillboxes and caves — many of them blasted into the island's hills and mountains — that had to be taken one at a time.

Jones, nicknamed in high school for his blond hair, was in the 1st Marine Division's L Company, 3rd Battalion. He was among 1,794 Americans killed on Peleliu and nearby islands in a 2½-month assault that Marine Maj. Gen. William Rupertus had predicted would be over in a few days. Another 7,302 Americans were wounded. An estimated 10,900 Japanese were killed; 19 soldiers and sailors became prisoners of war. Another 283 POWs were laborers, mostly Korean.

Burlingame said she didn't know why she never got the diary. It apparently went first to a sister of Jones whom she didn't know well, she said.

Robert Hunt of Evansville, the nephew who gave Jones' artifacts to the museum in 2001, told her he had received it several years after Jones' death and worried that passing it on to Burlingame might cause problems with her marriage. It wouldn't have, she said: "My husband and Tommy were good friends."

When she learned Hunt was collecting mementoes for the museum, Burlingame said, she gave him photographs and the class ring.

Jones's last entry, written aboard the USS Maui on Dec. 1, 1943, described winning $200 at craps. He had a total of $320, he wrote, and if he were back home "Laura Mae & I would really have a wonderful Xmas." He wondered if he could wire the money to her as a Christmas present.

That didn't happen, Burlingame said. She said she was touched by the number of times he mentioned getting letters from his parents and her.

Burlingame's tour group had to leave but the museum scanned the diary and mailed a copy to her.

The diary's 4-by-7-inch back cover was nearly filled with her photograph. The picture itself was black and white, but the photographer had tinted her cheeks pink and her lips dark red.

She had signed it, "Love, Laurie."

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Man Creates Frozen Waterfall on Side of Building After Leaving Tap Running

By Melissa Knowles | Trending Now

A man in Jilin City, China, has shown the world what can happen if you leave the water running too long. Wen Hsu has lived on the seventh floor of his apartment building for 35 years, and when developers moved into the area seeking to tear down the building and turn the area into a shopping center, he was the only tenant who held out on selling.

Hsu, who is 58 years old, would not budge, because he said the developers were not offering him enough money to allow him to get another place. Because he was the sole remaining person in the building, and cold temperatures were fast approaching, he feared that with no one else living in the building, running their water or heating devices, the uninsulated pipes might freeze, and then he would be left without running water. Hsu came up with a way that he hoped would keep the pipes in the building from freezing.

He diverted a stream of warm water to run down the side of the structure, unintentionally creating a frozen waterfall. Hsu said of the dramatic effect, "The weather is warmer now, so there is no danger of the pipes freezing -- although I think it might take a while for the waterfall to melt." He may not have to wait long, because the sight of the frozen waterfall is drawing a lot of attention -- including from the developers, who the local government has urged to offer him more money to make this dispute melt away.

Hsu's response to the possibility of a better offer: "I hope so. It is very lonely here in my apartment with nobody else around."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Rare McLaren F1 for sale with zero miles on the odometer: Update

By Justin Hyde | Motoramic

Nearly 15 years after the last copy rolled out of McLaren's factory, the 618-hp F1 supercar remains one of the most sought-after vehicles among the world's sporting billionaires. Only 106 were built, and in recent years a regular model McLaren F1 at auction could fetch bids of $5 million, while one with a racing pedigree commanded $13 million last year. This F1 in Japan supposedly holds another singular distinction: it's never been driven, and its odometer shows zero miles after 17 years of ownership — which suggests the owner has more money than sense.

According to the Japanese site found by DailyAutoFix listing the 1994 McLaren F1 for sale, the car was never even registered, and all of its official documents along with the vehicle itself has been kept in climate-controlled storage since purchase. Given the restraint necessary to keep such a machine untouched, one can likely assume the car itself was started and serviced in those 17 years; the picture above suggests a no-expense-spared level of care.

In an era where classic car prices have soared to as much as $35 million, a surprising number of collectors insist on keeping their valuables not just in running order but occasionally on the road. That's the point, for most: enjoying the aural and visceral delights of a Ferrari 250 GTB or a Duesenberg can deliver at full throttle makes ownership more than just typing numbers on a spreadsheet. Yet there's a subset of collectors and builders who see cars as furniture that needs preservation rather than speed, with the ultimate example provided by Bugatti and its porcelain-encrusted Veyron L'Or Blanc. Oh wait — even its owner has taken it for a drive on public streets.

I'd contend having zero miles on the odometer adds as much value to this F1 as throwing in a new set of wiper blades. Supercars aren't blocks of cheddar that get better with a few years in cold storage; they need driving not just for enjoyment but upkeep, to know which parts need work. If my Powerball numbers float up, I'd buy this, cover it in GoPros and make the most of its first mile.

UPDATE: Turns out those first miles were spent long ago. Someone who's familiar with the 106 F1s around world estimates the one for sale in Japan has about 186 miles (or 300 km) on it, and that even if the owner refused to drive it, McLaren mechanics dispatched to service F1s wherever they're parked would have driven it to ensure the car's pieces were in working order. That said, it's still one of only two painted yellow at the factory — and should still fetch top dollar.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mysterious Stone Structure Discovered Beneath Sea of Galilee

By Owen Jarus, LiveScience Contributor |

A giant "monumental" stone structure discovered beneath the waters of the Sea of Galilee in Israel has archaeologists puzzled as to its purpose and even how long ago it was built.

The mysterious structure is cone shaped, made of "unhewn basalt cobbles and boulders," and weighs an estimated 60,000 tons the researchers said. That makes it heavier than most modern-day warships.

Rising nearly 32 feet (10 meters) high, it has a diameter of about 230 feet (70 meters). To put that in perspective, the outer stone circle of Stonehenge has a diameter just half that with its tallest stones not reaching that height.

It appears to be a giant cairn, rocks piled on top of each other. Structures like this are known from elsewhere in the world and are sometimes used to mark burials. Researchers do not know if the newly discovered structure was used for this purpose.

The structure was first detected in the summer of 2003 during a sonar survey of the southwest portion of the sea. Divers have since been down to investigate, they write in the latest issue of the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology.

"Close inspection by scuba diving revealed that the structure is made of basalt boulders up to 1 m (3.2 feet) long with no apparent construction pattern," the researchers write in their journal article. "The boulders have natural faces with no signs of cutting or chiselling. Similarly, we did not find any sign of arrangement or walls that delineate this structure."

They say it is definitely human-made and probably was built on land, only later to be covered by the Sea of Galilee as the water level rose. "The shape and composition of the submerged structure does not resemble any natural feature. We therefore conclude that it is man-made and might be termed a cairn," the researchers write.

More than 4,000 years old?

Underwater archaeological excavation is needed so scientists can find associated artifacts and determine the structure's date and purpose, the researchers said.

Researcher Yitzhak Paz, of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Ben-Gurion University, believes it could date back more than 4,000 years. "The more logical possibility is that it belongs to the third millennium B.C., because there are other megalithic phenomena [from that time] that are found close by," Paz told LiveScience in an interview, noting that those sites are associated with fortified settlements.

The researchers list several examples of megalithic structures found close to the Sea of Galilee that are more than 4,000 years-old. One example is the monumental site of Khirbet Beteiha, located some 19 miles (30 kilometers) north-east of the submerged stone structure, the researchers write. It "comprises three concentric stone circles, the largest of which is 56 m [184 feet] in diameter."

An ancient city

If the third-millennium B.C. date idea proves correct it would put the structure about a mile to the north of a city that researchers call "Bet Yerah" or "Khirbet Kerak."

During the third millennium B.C. the city was one of the biggest sites in the region, Paz said. "It's the most powerful and fortified town in this region and, as a matter of fact, in the whole of Israel."

Archaeologist Raphael Greenberg describes it in a chapter of the book "Daily Life, Materiality, and Complexity in Early Urban Communities of the Southern Levant" (Eisenbrauns, 2011) as being a heavily fortified 74-acre (30 hectares) site with up to 5,000 inhabitants.

With paved streets and towering defenses its people were clearly well organized. "They also indicate the existence of some kind of municipal authority able to maintain public structures ..." Greenberg writes.

The research team says that, like the leaders of Bet Yerah, whoever built the newly discovered Sea of Galilee structure needed sophisticated organization and planning skills to construct it. The "effort invested in such an enterprise is indicative of a complex, well-organized society, with planning skills and economic ability," they write in their journal paper.

Paz added that "in order to build such a structure a lot of working hours were required" in an organized community effort.

Future exploration

Paz said that he hopes soon that an underwater archaeological expedition will set out to excavate the structure. They can search for artifacts and try to determine its date with certainty.

He said that the Israel Antiquities Authority has a research branch capable of excavating it. "We will try to do it in the near future, I hope, but it depends on a lot of factors."

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mexico: 9-year-old gives birth to baby girl and purported teenage father is being sought

By Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — Mexican authorities say a 9-year-old girl has given birth in western Mexico and they are looking for the purported father, a 17-year-old.

Jalisco state police spokesman Lino Gonzalez says the baby girl was born last week at a hospital in the city of Guadalajara. He says the girl and her baby are doing well.

Gonzalez said Wednesday that the girl’s family alerted authorities after she gave birth and the alleged father has not been seen since in the neighborhood the both live in. He says that if the teenager’s paternity is proven he could face child sex abuse charges.

Gonzalez says the girl told authorities the teenager was her boyfriend.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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