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New Guinness World Records includes skateboarding goat, mini dog


The National - The National for September 13, 2013Sep 13, 2013 | 48:02The National The National for September 13, 2013 VideoClosed Captions available

The National The National for September 13, 2013 Sep 13, 2013 | 48:02Welcome to The National, the flagship nightly newscast of CBC News, hosted by Peter Mansbridge.

The National - The National for September 13, 2013Sep 13, 2013 | 1:00:01The National The National for September 13, 2013 VideoClosed Captions available

The National The National for September 13, 2013 Sep 13, 2013 | 1:00:01Welcome to The National, the flagship nightly newscast of CBC News, hosted by Peter Mansbridge.

The National - Catching diagnostic mistakesSep 13, 2013 | 2:26The National Catching diagnostic mistakes Video

The National Catching diagnostic mistakes Sep 13, 2013 | 2:26CBC’s Briar Stewart reports on some pilot projects that aim to keep radiology errors to the minimum

The National - Syria crisis worries IsraelSep 13, 2013 | 2:45The National Syria crisis worries Israel Video

The National Syria crisis worries Israel Sep 13, 2013 | 2:45U.S. reluctance to strike Syria over chemical weapons has Israel preparing for the worst

The National - India gang rape culprits sentenced to deathSep 13, 2013 | 2:27The National India gang rape culprits sentenced to death Video

The National India gang rape culprits sentenced to death Sep 13, 2013 | 2:27Shocking gang rape case has led to uncomfortable questions on how women are treated in India

The National - Relentless Colorado rainsSep 13, 2013 | 2:41The National Relentless Colorado rains Video

The National Relentless Colorado rains Sep 13, 2013 | 2:41Record rainfall has triggered deadly flash floods in Colorado

The National - Canadian concerns over Quebec charterSep 13, 2013 | 3:53The National Canadian concerns over Quebec charter Video

The National Canadian concerns over Quebec charter Sep 13, 2013 | 3:53Canadians across the country weigh in on Quebec’s proposed charter of values

The National - Young Filmmakers at TIFFSep 13, 2013 | 5:13The National Young Filmmakers at TIFF Video

The National Young Filmmakers at TIFF Sep 13, 2013 | 5:13Shayne Eeman and Seth Scriver have taken their real-life adventures and used them to create an animated film that screened at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

Politics - Wallin repays senate $100KSep 13, 2013 | 2:17Politics Wallin repays senate $100K Video

Politics Wallin repays senate $100K Sep 13, 2013 | 2:17Senator Pamela Wallin has repaid $100,600.98 in expenses that were deemed ineligible

Health - Stents vs. bypass surgerySep 13, 2013 | 6:04Health Stents vs. bypass surgery Video

Health Stents vs. bypass surgery Sep 13, 2013 | 6:04Dr. Subodh Verma talks about his study that suggests patients with diabetes do better with bypass surgery than stents to clear clogged arteries

News - CBC helps find balloonistSep 13, 2013 | 3:49News CBC helps find balloonist Video

News CBC helps find balloonist Sep 13, 2013 | 3:49Video journalist Lindsay Bird describes finding stranded American balloonist Jonathan Trappe in a remote part of Newfoundland

Pets - Ikea monkey decisionSep 13, 2013 | 1:59Pets Ikea monkey decision Video

Pets Ikea monkey decision Sep 13, 2013 | 1:59An Ontario judge rules that the Ikea monkey will not be returned to its owner, Yasmin Nakhuda, and will remain in an animal sanctuary

News - Stranded balloonist rescued by CBCSep 13, 2013 | 2:24News Stranded balloonist rescued by CBC Video

News Stranded balloonist rescued by CBC Sep 13, 2013 | 2:24CBC rescues an American balloonist after he was forced to make an emergency landing in a remote part of Newfoundland

Politics - Expelled Bloc MP speaksSep 13, 2013 | 33:41Politics Expelled Bloc MP speaks Video

Politics Expelled Bloc MP speaks Sep 13, 2013 | 33:41Statement from Maria Mourani, removed from BQ caucus after criticizing the PQ’s charter of values

Business - Household debt risingSep 13, 2013 | 3:43Business Household debt rising Video

Business Household debt rising Sep 13, 2013 | 3:43Canadians are going deeper into debt to afford mortgage payments. Jeannie Lee reports.

Shrew eating, penis amputation studies earn 2013 Ig Nobel prizes


The work of a Canadian anthropologist who studied how a shrew would look after being eaten, digested and defecated by a human has been honoured with an Ig Nobel prize, alongside research on penis amputations and how drunkenness affects perceptions of attractiveness.

Peter Stahl, a professor at the University of Victoria, and his co-author Brian Crandall received one of 10 spoof science awards handed out Thursday evening to honour scientific achievements that “make people laugh, and then make them think.”

Crandall accepted the 2013 Ig Nobel Archeology award in person at a comical ceremony at the Sanders Theatre at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. It was organized by the publisher of the Annals of Improbable Research, a magazine with the goal of spurring interest in science, medicine and technology.

Some of the other 2013 Ig Nobel prizes included:

  • Public Health Prize, which went to Thai researchers who described surgical techniques to manage an “epidemic of penile amputations in Siam” in 1983.
  • Psychology Prize, which went to a French-led research team confirming in 2012 that people who think they are drunk also think they are attractive.
  • Medicine Prize, which went to Japanese researchers who assessed how listening to opera affected mice who had recently had heart transplants.
  • Physics Prize, which went to researchers who reported in 2012 that some people would be physically capable of running across the surface of a pond if the pond were on the moon. The results were published in the high-ranked journal PLoS ONE.
  • Safety Engineering Prize, which went to a 1972 patent for a system that traps airplane hijackers by dropping them through trap doors, sealing them into a package, and then parachuting them out of the plane via bomb-bay doors.

‘Not a big deal’

Stahl, who did not attend the ceremony, said he was surprised when Improbable Research called him about the award.

“My immediate reaction was, ‘Look, I published this almost 20 years ago. I’ve moved on.’ I said, ‘Why now?’” he recalled. He was told the research was interesting.

“Personally for me, it’s not a big deal,” he said of the award. But he said he’s willing to talk about the research that earned the prize because he feels it’s important that some of his work, which is publicly funded, is “consumed — no pun intended — by the public.”

Stahl said his research focuses on identifying animal bones from archeological sites — including “microskeletons” belonging to very small animals such as shrews — and conducting experiments to understand what happened to them in the past to make them look the way they do in the present. For example, were they eaten by an owl? Or was a human involved in some way?

“In 1985, there was very little on what would a human-digested microskeleton look like?” Stahl said.

He decided to find out so other scientists could compare their archeological samples to his experimental results.

They parboiled and cut up a shrew, and one of the scientists – Stahl would not disclose who, saying it wasn’t relevant — ate it without chewing, then recovered the bones from his feces.

“We know what it looked like when it went in and we see what it looked like when it came out. And then we compare to a sample … from the past,” he explained.

The researchers published their results in the Journal of Archaeological Science in 1995.

He acknowledges that he hasn’t applied the results personally in the field, as he has never found any human-digested shrew skeletons at an archeological site.

He noted that he works mainly in South America, where the climate tends not to preserve that kind of evidence. He suggested that the results may have been useful to researchers that study human coprolites — preserved feces — in other parts of the world.

“It would be particularly interesting to repeat this experiment using lots of different preparation techniques — chewing or not chewing, roasting or boiling,” Stahl said, adding that he had hoped his original experiment would inspire other, similar experiments.

So far, there have been some, but not many, he said.

“There’s a huge range of these kinds of studies on different animals,” he said, “but there isn’t that much on humans.”

Shrew eating, penis amputation studies earn Ig Nobel prize


The work of a Canadian anthropologist who studied how a shrew would look after being eaten, digested and defecated by a human has been honoured with an Ig Nobel prize, alongside research on penis amputations and how drunkenness affects perceptions of attractiveness.

Peter Stahl, a professor at the University of Victoria, and his co-author Brian Crandall received one of 10 spoof science awards handed out Thursday evening to honour scientific achievements that “make people laugh, and then make them think.”

Crandall accepted the 2013 Ig Nobel Archeology award in person at a comical ceremony at the Sanders Theatre at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. It was organized by the publisher of the Annals of Improbable Research, a magazine with the goal of spurring interest in science, medicine and technology.

Some of the other 2013 Ig Nobel prizes included:

  • Public Health Prize, which went to Thai researchers who described surgical techniques to manage an “epidemic of penile amputations in Siam” in 1983.
  • Psychology Prize, which went to a French-led research team confirming in 2012 that people who think they are drunk also think they are attractive.
  • Medicine Prize, which went to Japanese researchers who assessed how listening to opera affected mice who had recently had heart transplants.
  • Physics Prize, which went to researchers who reported in 2012 that some people would be physically capable of running across the surface of a pond if the pond were on the moon. The results were published in the high-ranked journal PLoS ONE.
  • Safety Engineering Prize, which went to a 1972 patent for a system that traps airplane hijackers by dropping them through trap doors, sealing them into a package, and then parachuting them out of the plane via bomb-bay doors.

‘Not a big deal’

Stahl, who did not attend the ceremony, said he was surprised when Improbable Research called him about the award.

“My immediate reaction was, ‘Look, I published this almost 20 years ago. I’ve moved on.’ I said, ‘Why now?’” he recalled. He was told the research was interesting.

“Personally for me, it’s not a big deal,” he said of the award. But he said he’s willing to talk about the research that earned the prize because he feels it’s important that some of his work, which is publicly funded, is “consumed — no pun intended — by the public.”

Stahl said his research focuses on identifying animal bones from archeological sites — including “microskeletons” belonging to very small animals such as shrews — and conducting experiments to understand what happened to them in the past to make them look the way they do in the present. For example, were they eaten by an owl? Or was a human involved in some way?

 “In 1985, there was very little on what would a human-digested microskeleton look like?” Stahl said.

He decided to find out so other scientists could compare their archeological samples to his experimental results.

They parboiled and cut up a shrew, and one of the scientists – Stahl would not disclose who, saying it wasn’t relevant — ate it without chewing, then recovered the bones from his feces.

“We know what it looked like when it went in and we see what it looked like when it came out. And then we compare to a sample … from the past,” he explained.

The researchers published their results in the Journal of Archaeological Science in 1995.

He acknowledges that he hasn’t applied the results personally in the field, as he has never found any human-digested shrew skeletons at an archeological site.

He noted that he works mainly in South America, where the climate tends not to preserve that kind of evidence. He suggested that the results may have been useful to researchers that study human coprolites — preserved feces — in other parts of the world.

“It would be particularly interesting to repeat this experiment using lots of different preparation techniques — chewing or not chewing, roasting or boiling,” Stahl said, adding that he had hoped his original experiment would inspire other, similar experiments.

So far, there have been some, but not many, he said.

“There’s a huge range of these kinds of studies on different animals,” he said, “but there isn’t that much on humans.”

Swedish Prime Minister’s sci-fi novel becomes hit play


Long-forgotten dystopian novel by Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt produced as a play, draws sellout crowds.

Fredrik Reinfeldt, Prime Minister of Sweden, speaks at the 64th United Nations General Assembly. (File/UPI/John Angelillo) 

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Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt wrote “The Sleeping People” 20 years ago when he was a Moderate Party Member of Parliament, and though you can’t find it in bookstores or libraries, it has recently been produced as a play.

“The Sleeping People” has sold out every performance.

The novel, written when Reinfeldt was 28, is set in the future (2013) after Social Democrats have been running Sweden for 20 years. The story is a Randian dystopia of makers and moochers, except they’re called the Fools and the Sleeping Brains.

The Fools work themselves to death paying for the welfare state while the Sleeping Brains sit in front of their televisions all day on the Fools’ dime.

Reinfeldt’s novel has been shared on the Internet, but producer Amanda Almerén Persson wanted the public to see his political views uncensored by 20 more years in the game and constant access to a press secretary.

“It’s easy to assume we are on the other side of the political divide, but this isn’t placard theatre, we are not trying to make the text ironic,” the producer explained. “We’re giving this text an honest to god chance. It’s not often that rightwing politics finds its way onto the stage.”

Dramatist Johanna Emanuellsson “felt it was incredibly important to make this work accessible to the Swedish public ahead of next year’s elections.”

Italian priest gives Renault 4 to the pope


Pope Francis prays vigil in Saint Peter Square at the Vatican, Sept. 7, 2013. UPI/Stefano Spaziani 

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Published: Sept. 13, 2013 at 2:59 PM

VATICAN CITY, Sept. 13 (UPI) — An Italian pastor said Pope Francis’ call for priests and seminarians to live humbly inspired him to donate his Renault 4 to the pontiff.

The Rev. Renzo Roca, 69, pastor of St. Lucy Parish in Pescantina, wrote to the pope with an offer to donate his car following the pope’s exhortation to members of the clergy in July to live simply and humbly.

He delivered the vehicle personally Sept. 7, the Catholic News Agency reported Friday.

“When I gave it to him, we got into the car, but I didn’t have to explain anything to the Pope because he told me that he also used a Renault 4 in Argentina and that it never left him stranded,” Roca said.

The pope rode in the car with Roca to meet with the group of parishioners who had accompanied Roca on his trip. Roca said a young man presented the pontiff with a T-shirt the pope insisted on paying for.

Roca said a member of the Swiss guard joked with him about the gift.

“Now we are going to be a little worried because we’ll have to watch what Pope Francis does with that Renault 4,” Roca quoted the guard as saying.

Flight 666 goes to HEL on Friday the 13th


Finnair flight AY666 is headed to HEL on Friday 13, just like it does every Friday 13.

A Finnair Airbus A320. (CC/Adrian Pingstone)

Superstitious travelers flying Finnair today may want to avoid flight AY666 to HEL, the three-letter designation for Helsinki.

The daily flight AY666 from Copenhagen to Helsinki falls on Friday 13 twice in 2013, and today’s flight is nearly full.

AY666 falling on Friday 13 has long been a joke among Finnair pilots. Veteran pilot Juha-Pekka Keidasto, who will fly the route from Copenhagen to Helsinki today, says “I’m not a superstitious man. It’s only a coincidence for me.”

Friday 13 is considered bad luck in some cultures, and the number 666 has strong negative associations in Christianity, sometimes referred to as “the number of the beast.”

As a result, some airlines go so far as to omit the 13th row from their planes. Scandinavian Airlines has done this, even though superstition over the famous date is relatively new to the region.

“Less than 100 years ago, the number 13 did not have this sinister meaning; it’s quite recent in the north,” said Ulo Valk, professor of comparative folklore at the University of Tartu in Estonia.

“There are 12 hours, 12 months and in Christianity 12 apostles and this is a divine number. Add one more and it brings in a certain element of chaos,” Valk speculated.

Iraq vet sues Michigan for denying him ‘INFIDEL’ vanity license plate


Iraq war veteran Michael Matwyuk says he’s an infidel and proud of it, but Michigan won’t let him put it on a license plate.

A tee shirt, often worn by U.S. veterans of the Iraq war, reads ‘Infidel’. (CC/Gerald Rich)

An Iraq war veteran is suing Michigan for refusing him an ‘INFIDEL’ vanity license plate. The state rejected his request for being “offensive to good taste and decency.”

But Michael Matwyuk says he and his fellow soldiers “came to embrace their identity as ‘infidels’ in the eyes of their enemies.”

The federal lawsuit states that Matwyuk “and his fellow troops were constantly under attack by insurgent extremists whose word for the American soldiers was ‘infidel.’ Seeking to reclaim or reappropriate this term as a source of American pride and patriotism, Sergeant Matwyuk and other soldiers came to embrace their identity as ‘infidels.'”

Matwyuk claims that many Iraq veterans get tattoos with the word or sew patches displaying the word on their uniforms.

He has already appealed the denial twice citing his First Amendment right, and argued the state’s “offensive to good taste and decency” restriction is unconstitutionally vague, arbitrary and discriminates on the basis of viewpoint.

The Department of State responded by saying “where we draw the line is if the sentiment could be construed as offensive to the general public. In the case of infidel we believe it does carry an offensive connotation now because of the way it’s being used by radical elements.'”

But Matwyuk notes that the configuration ‘HERETIC’ is currently in use as a personalized license plate in Michigan, saying the Department of State “has issued other personalized license plates that express religious sentiments, skepticism about religion, and dissent from religion.”

For power and precision, leaping insect gets into gear


Ping Fu™s journey from captivity to computer entrepreneur

Ping Fu ,author of œBend, Don™t Break,” talks with Sir Harold Evans about growing up during China’s Cultural Revolution and how she came to the United States with next to nothing and managed to build her own software company.

In South Korea, ‘invisible’ Tower Infinity will be an ‘anti-tower’


South Korea’s Tower Infinity will be world’s first “invisible” tower, using cameras and LED projectors to disappear.

From left to right, a rendering of how Tower Infinity will appear when the LED camouflage system isn’t activated; then projecting at 30 percent; then projecting at 100 percent. (Credit: GDS Architects)

South Korea has granted permits to GDS Architects to build the world’s first “invisible” tower near the Incheon International Airport just outside of Seoul.

Tower Infinity won’t be the tallest skyscraper in the world, but it will have an innovative LED projector and camera system that will use real-time images to “cloak” the building.

Tower Infinity will reach 450 meters (1,476 feet) and have the third highest observation deck in the world with a view of planes flying in and out of Incheon.

The GDS website says the tower will set itself apart “by celebrating the global community rather than focusing on itself.”

“The tower subtly demonstrates Korea’s rising position in the world by establishing its most powerful presence through diminishing its presence. Korea will have a unique position of having the ‘best’ tower by having an ‘anti-tower’.”

Though the building’s purpose is to showcase innovative Korean technology, when completed, Tower Infinity is expected to be the sixth-highest tower in the world.

The project is backed by Korea Land & Housing Corporation, a state-owned land and public housing developer. Tower Infinity will house restaurants, a movie theater, three observation decks, a roller coaster and a water park.

Greece scraps extra holiday for civil servants using computers




ATHENS | Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:44am EDT


(Reuters) – Greece’s austerity drive has cost public sector workers a privilege they have enjoyed for more than two decades – six extra days of paid holiday every year if they use a computer.

The decision to scrap the bonus was a “small, yet symbolic” step in modernizing an outdated civil service, said Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the administrative reform minister who has taken on the challenge of overhauling public institutions.

Bailed out twice by the euro zone and the IMF, Greece has started cancelling arcane benefits to cut state spending and reform a public sector widely seen as profligate and inefficient with a 600,000-strong workforce.

Allowances that have already gone include a bonus for showing up to work and one regulation letting unmarried daughters receive their dead father’s pension.

The ministerial decision giving a day off every two months to those who sat in front of a computer for more than five hours a day was taken on 12 June 1989, a week before Mitsotakis’s father Constantine won a general election.

“It belongs to another era. Today, in times of crisis, we cannot hold on to anachronistic privileges,” Mitsotakis said, according to a statement from his ministry on Friday.

Greece’s European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders have given Greece by the end of the year to place 25,000 public sector workers into a so-called “mobility pool”, meaning they will either be transferred to another department or fired. Half of those must be placed into the pool by end-September.

(Reporting by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Andrew Heavens)