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Wednesday, March 1, 2017


Remember that Hitler Phone - Experts Say it's Fake
They called it history's "most destructive 'weapon'" -- but it might just be a fake! Remember that red Hitler phone that just sold for $243,000 at auction last month? Frank Gnegel, head of collections at the Frankfurt Museum for Communication, says it's "clearly a fake." The phone, auctioned off as Hitler's personal phone, was made in Germany, but the handset was made in England, suggesting it was assembled there. Gnegel also finds it very odd that the phone was painted red instead of being made from red plastic noting, "Everything to do with Hitler was produced in a high-quality fashion; why should an engraving ... simply be painted over?" He also finds it hard to believe that Hitler had a phone with a rotary dial, "because he was always hand-connected in the telephone exchange." Meanwhile, auction house owner Bill Panagopulos has rejected the "insulting" claims. In England, Maj. Ranulf Rayner is "extremely angry" about the claims. He says his father, Sir Ralph Rayner, was the first Allied officer to enter Hitler's bunker and was given the phone by a Soviet officer. Rayner says he did his own research and was told by a former phone operator in Hitler's bunker that the leader brought the phone everywhere during the last two years of the war. ((Frankfurter Allgemeine)

Mosquitoes Laugh at Your Citronella Candles!
Given that mosquitoes are one of nature's top disease transmitters, spreading everything from malaria to Zika, it's kind of important to know which insect repellents actually work. So a group of scientists recently tested 11 different varieties and the news is not good. Almost all the products had either a very small or no true effect, including sprays, wearable devices, and citronella candles! The only two things that really did the trick were DEET and lemon eucalyptus spray! Incidentally, Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus spray was apparently so repulsive to the insects that less than a third of mosquitoes would even approach a human wearing it. Meanwhile, personal sonic mosquito repellent and citronella candles actually drew more than 90% of the mosquitoes. If you just gotta find out more, the entire report is in this month's Journal of Insect Science - which we know you have a subscription to anyway. (Ars Technica)

Hey Drunk Fatso - It Ain't the Club's Fault You Fell Down!
A British judge just threw out Eren Hussein's case claiming that dim lighting in a jazz club was to blame for injuries she suffered in a fall. Judge Heather Baucher made headlines with her unusually frank ruling stating that what was really to blame was Hussein being drunk and obese! Hussein, 53, filed a civil lawsuit demanding thousands of dollars in damages from Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club after she broke her wrist and elbow there in March 2012 during a night out. But Baucher said that the 254-pound woman was responsible for her own injuries when she tumbled down stairs "on three-inch platforms." Hospital records described Hussein, who has since lost 70 pounds, as "obviously drunk," but she insisted she only had 2.5 glasses of wine and champagne. (Telegraph)

So What Happens to the Guy Who Climbed Trump Tower?
Remember Stephen Rogata? The 19-year-old guy who scaled Trump Tower in New York City in August? Well we're finally learning his fate. Rogata has pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct and has been prohibited from any contact with President Donald Trump. That includes mail, Facebook, and Twitter. Rogata used suction cups, a harness and ropes to climb from the fifth floor to the 21st floor when Trump was the Republican presidential nominee. Trump lived in Trump Tower but wasn't there at the time. As part of his plea agreement, Rogata must continue mental health treatment and go to school or work. If he stays out of trouble for a year, he'll be permitted to withdraw his plea to the reckless endangerment charge. (Newser)

NC Church Allegedly Takes Abuse to New Levels
People from all over the world flocked to the tiny town of Spindale, NC, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, lured by promises of inner peace and eternal life. What many found instead were years of terror and torture - all done in the name of Jesus. Congregants of the Word of Faith Fellowship say they were regularly punched, smacked, choked, slammed to the floor, or thrown through walls in a violent form of deliverance meant to "purify" sinners by beating out devils. No less than 43 former members have come forward and report that the violence included pre-teens and toddlers -- even crying babies, who were vigorously shaken, screamed at, and sometimes smacked to banish demons. Students in the church's K-12 school were encouraged to beat their own classmates. There are also reports of sexual abuse, including minors. Word of Faith Fellowship has been scrutinized on numerous occasions by law enforcement, social services agencies, and the news media since the early 1990s -- all without significant impact, mostly because followers refused to cooperate. But that has apparently changed. The former members, some of whom offered up secretly recorded conversations with the church's controlling leader, Jane Whaley, said they were speaking out now due to guilt for not doing more to stop the abuse and because they fear for the safety of the children still in the church, believed to number about 100. (Newser)

Georgia Couple Goes to Prison for Decades for "Respecting the Flag"
A Georgia couple who rode with a Confederate flag-waving group that made armed threats against African-Americans at a child's birthday party have just found out how much that little ride will cost them. Jose "Joe" Torres, was sentenced to 20 years, at least 13 of which must be served in prison, after a jury convicted him on three counts of aggravated assault, one count of making terroristic threats and one count of violating of Georgia's Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act. Kayla Norton was sentenced to 15 years, with six years in prison. She was convicted on one count of making terroristic threats and one count of violation of the Street Gang Act. On July 25, 2015, Torres and Norton, joined about a dozen other people in a convoy of pickup trucks waving large Confederate flags as they drove around Douglas County, a suburban Atlanta community. Most of them belonged to a group called "Respect the Flag" and many tried to make the case simply about flying the Confederate Flag." But Douglas County District Attorney Brian Fortner said in a statement: "This case was about a group of people riding around our community, drinking alcohol, harassing and intimidating our citizens because of the color of their skin." Torres was part of a smaller group that "threatened to kill the party goers while repeatedly using derogatory racial slurs against them." Torres, who had retrieved a shotgun from his vehicle, pointed his shotgun at the group of African American party-goers and stated he was going to kill them while his co-defendants stated that 'the little ones can get one too,' referring to the young children at the party." Norton was accused of making similar threats. Both Torres and Norton broke down and sobbed in court while being handed their sentences. Fifteen members of the Respect the Flag group were originally indicted. The disposition of all their cases is unknown, but the district attorney said some of them pleaded guilty to similar charges and received shorter sentences. (CNN)

Hey Are Those Fireworks? Wait, WHAAAAT????
In Scottsdale, Arizona, a man was awaked from his sleep because he thought he heard fireworks. He then realized he was in excruciating pain because he had just been shot multiple times in the groin! His girlfriend, 53-year-old Della Flories, was arrested for the shooting. She thought he was having an affair and allegedly shot him seven times while he slept. Miraculously, he survived. It was actually Flores who called police, simply reporting her boyfriend had been shot. When officers arrived, she changed her story and admitted to shooting him after learning he had allegedly been cheating on her. The victim denied having an affair and questioned why his girlfriend would shoot him. (AZ Family)

What the What?
Hey if you recently deposited a bag of cocaine along with your cash at an ATM machine in Bradenton, Florida, the police would like a word with you! A technician was called to check out a jammed ATM at a Suncoast Credit Union branch. He quickly discovered the cause - "a small clear baggie containing a white powdery substance." The technician concluded that "the substance was possibly with the cash of the last person who made the deposit causing the malfunction." Police got the name on the bank account of the last deposit made and are now looking for that person. The powdery substance tested positive for cocaine and was "placed into property and evidence." (Smoking Gun)

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