July 5, 2013

    Photo: University of Oxford

Scientists Train Cockatoos to Open Locks

Nothing is safe

A robot uprising may be the apocalypse scenario du jour, but it’s time to get real and open our eyes to the true threat. Cockatoos.

Researchers at Britain’s University of Oxford have been training the fluffy, feathery engines of human demise to unlock mechanical locks and puzzles with increasing success. One cockatoo named Pipin, presumably their leader, solved a puzzle composed of five interlocking devices unassisted in just two hours.

“We cannot prove that the birds understand the physical structure of the problem as an adult human would,” said Oxford zoology professor Alex Kacelnik. “But we can infer from their behavior that they are sensitive to how objects act on each other.”

Most of the birds, once they learned to remove the locks, could repeat the task over and over without any error. When the puzzles were slightly modified, researchers found that the birds would respond by working on the new steps first rather than applying the techniques they had learned earlier. Soon, nothing will be safe.


    Photo: Getty Images

Joey Chestnut Takes 7th Hotdog Eating Title

Devours 69 dogs, sets new record

Joey Chestnut, a man who has dedicated his life to eating unnecessary amounts of food at speeds greater than his rivals, won his seventh straight Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest title Thursday at Coney Island.

40,000 people were in attendance to watch Chestnut wolf down 69 hotdogs in 10 minutes, a new record. According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Chestnut consumed 20,010 calories, 1,173 grams of fat, 48,990 milligrams of sodium, and 759 grams of protein, probably enough to kill most people.

Bob Ley also weighed in on the proceedings, declaring Chestnut’s July 4th undertaking to be the very reason “the Founding Fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honour.”

A few tables away, Sonya Thomas, who weighed in at only 100 lbs., took home the women’s trophy by downing an admirable 37 franks.

No injuries have been reported.


    Photo: S.Borisov/Shutterstock

Simi Valley Fireworks Accident Injures 28

No fatalities reported

As many as 10,000 people were watching as the Simi Valley fireworks display unloaded into the audience on Thursday, injuring 28. Police suspect the platform holding the fireworks collapsed, causing them to fire downward, into the crowd.

"There was a big boom. Everybody started running down the street. People were screaming,” Justice Allen, 17, told the Los Angeles Times. "Everybody was just terrified. People hid in bushes."

A bomb squad was assigned to removing the unexploded fireworks Thursday night.



Overland Cyclist Killed By Car

Accident injured 6 other cyclists

An 18-year-old has died as the result of her injuries after being struck by a car near McCrory, Arkansas, while cycling cross-country with the youth adventure company Overland. Merritt Levitan, of Massachusetts, was one of 13 participants on the six-week trip, according to the Associated Press.

Overland issued a statement offering their condolences to Levitan's family and saying that the rest of the trip would be canceled.

At this point, we believe that this is what needs to be done to allow all involved time to process their thoughts and emotions while surrounded by loved ones. We are working with families to make arrangements for students to return home.

An unidentified 21-year-old driver hit the group Wednesday afternoon, injuring seven. Investigators say that alcohol was not involved, but other causes, such as a cell phone, have not been ruled out. No charges have yet been brought.