His name is Gaspar and they're calling him the miracle dog after falling from an airplane and surviving in Atacama Desert for 6 days until being rescued and reunited with his owner. Surviving the harsh South American Atacama Desert for almost a week is a challenge for any human, let alone a scared 2-year-old dachshund. Gaspar's epic adventure began while traveling with his owner's best friend, from Santiago de Chile to Iquique, a city in northern Chile. The dog's owner, Janis Cavieres, had traveled there a couple of days earlier, by bus, and had asked her friend Ligia Gallardo to take Gaspar and join her in Iquique via an internal flight. As per protocol, the dog was placed in a pet carrier and made the journey in the plane's cargo hold. Only, upon landing, when Ligia went to retrieve Gaspar, airport officials told her that there had been an accident and that they had lost the dog. Apparently, after landing, the carrier fell from the plane and broke open upon impact. The little dog scampered off into the desert. The airline and a local army unit reportedly provided vehicles and personnel to help in the search and the animal was finally caught and returned to Cavieres.(Oddity Central)
How Much For a Toilet Seat Cover? WTF?
So how much can a toilet-seat cover cost? If you're the Air Force, apparently $10,000! The Washington Post reports that three toilet seat covers, "required to protect the aircraft from corrosion damage in the latrine area," per the Air Force, needed to be replaced on some of the 52 C-5 Galaxy planes it still has in operation. The only problem was Lockheed Martin, which made the Vietnam-era military cargo plane up until 2001, doesn't make that part anymore, forcing the government to opt for a custom order that came to an eye-watering $30,000 for three covers! While the Air Force admitted they paid that price, they said they'd never do so again thanks to 3-D printing which can now create the part for $300. Reportedly, more than two-thirds of the Air Force's budget is spent on the "sustainment" of equipment that dates to the 1950s. (Washington Post)
If you're a herpetologist you study herpetology - the branch of zoology concerned with the study of amphibians and reptiles. Obviously those guys don't get a lot of attention so if you actually win the "Distinguished Herpetologist Award, it's kind of a big deal. However, Dr. Richard C. Vogt was just stripped of the award after delivering a lecture titled "The Excitement of River Turtles from the Mississippi to the Amazon" during which he showed pictures of former students, all of whom were women, in bikinis. The presentation, given at the 2018 Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, received widespread condemnation on Twitter from those in attendance. Ultimately the Herpetologists' League, which gave him the award, rescinded it and said in a statement that it "recognizes the scope of the controversy" and noting that "HL does not condone harassment or discrimination in any of its forms." They also said, "HL regrets and apologizes for offensive content presented in the 2018 Distinguished Herpetologist lecture." (Motherboard)
When Breastfeeding Kills
In Pennsylvania, 30-year-old Samantha Jones is in Bucks County Jail for breastfeeding her baby. The problem is Jones has a drug problem and the baby, identified as RJ, died from ingesting methadone, amphetamine, and meth, which were allegedly transferred through the breast milk. Jones bail has been set at $3 million and she's been charged with homicide. She allegedly told police that she had switched from mainly breastfeeding to using formula only a few days earlier, but that when RJ awoke crying at 3am on April 2 she was too exhausted to prepare a bottle in the kitchen and instead breastfed him. She found the child in distress an hour later. One hour after that he died in an ER. Jones says a painkiller addiction led to a prescription for methadone, which she had taken while pregnant and post-partum. Jones also has a 2-year-old son and has been ordered not to have contact with any minors. (Morning Call)
The Russians Are Ready to Mess with Our Midterms - and So Are We!
An array of Russia-linked bots, trolls, and sites like one called USAReally appear to be testing the waters for pulling off meddling similar to that seen in the 2016 presidential election in the upcoming midterms. USAReally was launched in May by the Federal News Agency, part of an empire allegedly run by Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin that includes the Internet Research Agency-the "troll factory" whose members were indicted by Robert Mueller this year. USAReally's Moscow offices are in the same building as the Federal News Agency. The USAReally site appears oddly amateurish and obviously Russian, with grammatical flubs and links to Russian social networks. It says it's aimed at providing Americans "objective and independent" information, and chief editor Alexander Malkevich says it's not about influencing the midterms. Ironically, most of the online manipulation ahead of the midterm election is coming from US sources, experts say. They worry that focusing on Russian spy-mongering may distract authorities from more dangerous homegrown threats. (Newser)
While it's been controversial for years, the famous Shroud of Turin is believed by some to be the actual burial cloth that was wrapped around Jesus after his crucifixion. Bloodstains on the linen shroud are said to have been transferred to it during the three days Jesus was in the tomb. However, a new study reported in the Journal of Forensic Sciences finds the bloodstain image is likely nothing more than fake news. Researchers found that the stains appeared to come from someone standing up, rather than someone who was flat on the fabric. As the researchers put it, the stains are "totally unrealistic" when compared to what they should look like. Ironically, the shroud, which is held in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Italy, is only considered an icon, as opposed to a genuine religious relic, by the Vatican. The Catholic Church has never officially weighed in on its authenticity." Forensic anthropologist Matteo Borrini of Liverpool John Moores University in the UK and organic chemist Luigi Garlaschelli of the Italian Committee for the Investigation of Claims of the Pseudosciences used a live subject and a mannequin to analyze the blood flow on wounds on the left hand, the forearms, the "lance wound" in the torso, and blood stains around the figure's waist. The technique is called bloodstain pattern analysis, a technique used quite often during police investigations. The study found inconsistent staining, with researchers concluding multiple poses were used to create the bloodstains-a standing model was likely used to imprint patterns on the cloth at various angles for various body parts. (Science Alert)
What the What?
Meanwhile, in Orville, California, firefighters were busy trying to extinguish a brush fire when a man inexplicably jumped into one of their unoccupied firetrucks and took off for a joyride! Not far down the road, police say the suspect picked up a woman before resuming his high-speed drive. Authorities chased the pair for about two hours before the man was finally stopped and taken into custody. He's in jail now - and probably will be for a long time. (ABC News)