December 27, 2013

The killer python (not pictured) has yet to be captured.     Photo: alex_griffiths/Flickr

Killer Python Escapes Capture

Slithered off after strangling a man

A killer snake is loose on the streets of Bali. After strangling a security guard Friday morning, the python slithered off into nearby bushes and has yet to be apprehended, USA Today reports.

The trouble started when the snake—a 15-foot-long python—was spotted crossing a road near the Bali Hyatt hotel. A security guard at a nearby restaurant decided to capture the snake, hoping to remove the creature which had repeatedly been seen near the hotel.

When the guard, 59-year-old Ambar Arianto Mulyo, captured the snake, he proceeded to secure it around his shoulders. But the python had other ideas and wrapped itself around the guard's neck and strangled him. Spectators were either unwilling or unable to rescue the man.

"It happened so fast," Agung Bawa, an assistant security manager at the hotel told the Associated Press. "We were sad because we could not do anything to help him."

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Workers manually spreading salt from a salt truck in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.     Photo: Michael Pereckas/Wikimedia

Wisconsin Uses Cheese to Thaw Roads

Milwaukee begins repurposing cheese brine

Would you care for some freshly grated mozzarella on your highway?

In Wisconsin, where residents proudly display their love of dairy products on license plates, in their laws, and even on their heads, road crews are using cheese on icy roads. Cheese brine, a cheese byproduct normally discarded, makes a fair deicer, and Milwaukee started cutting its regular road salt with brine this month.

"You want to use provolone or mozzarella," Jeffrey A. Tews, the fleet operations manager for the public works department, told The New York Times. "Those have the best salt content. You have to do practically nothing to it."

In a state that produced 2.7 billion pounds of cheese in 2012, donating brine to local governments can be cost-effective for dairy producers. F & A Dairy Products reportedly saves more than $20,000 a year in hauling and disposal costs. Cutting down on road salt also means less gets washed away to pollute waterways.

Milwaukee isn't the first local government to use cheese on icy roads. Near the Minnesota border, Polk County began using cheese brine on local highways in 2009, saving the county $40,000 in rock-salt expenses. Chehalis, Washington, also uses an anti-icing mixture that includes cheese brine.

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    Photo: Getty Images

Antarctic Explorers Trapped in Ice

68 on board, help is on the way

More than 100 years ago, Australian geologist Douglas Mawson and his buddy Xavier Mertz made their way across a frozen continent in the Southern Ocean during the Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911. They ran out of food and ate their sledging dogs. Mertz died and several crevasse falls later, Mawson returned to Cape Denison in 1913. Upon his arrival the first rescuer reportedly said "My God, which one are you?"

Earlier this month, a the Russian-made vessel, the MV Akademic Shokalskiy, set out to recreate Mawson’s journey to build a picture of how this part of the world has changed in the past 100 years. And now they’re stuck.

The group of 68 passengers and crew members made up of scientists and paying citizens, have been trapped in the ice since Christmas Day in the ice floes of Cape de la Motte just a few miles off the coast of Antarctica.

But help is on the way. As of Thursday evening, the Shokalskiy was 1,500 nautical miles from Hobart, Tasmania, awaiting the arrival of the Chinese icebreaker ship the Xue Long, which translates to  “Snow Dragon” to free the team from the ice. Help should arrive Friday morning, the Guardian reports.  False reports indicated that the crew was in danger of being hit by icebergs, but the only two bergs close enough are a mile away and remain stationary.

The Guardian's science correspondent, Alok Jha, on board the Shokalskiy has been writing a daily blog that has us rest assured. "As winter scenes go, you could do worse,” he wrote.

And they're taking this opportune moment to do some research. Marine ecologists are recording seal sounds. Ornithologists are counting birds.

“We're making the best possible use of our unscheduled stop to take extra measurements in the area and build on our scientific work programme," Climate scientist Chris Turney of the University of New South Wales, who is leading the expedition, told the Guardian. “We've had a fantastic Christmas and the science programme has been continuing while we're stuck in position. The results looking really exciting."

No reports on whether the crew has eaten any dogs yet.

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