Archive for the ‘Colorado’ Category

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By Fredrick Kunkle
The Washington Post

Annapolis Police Chief Michael A. Pristoop thought he came prepared when he testified before a Maryland state Senate panel on Tuesday about the perils of legalizing marijuana.

In researching his testimony against two bills before the Judicial Proceedings Committee, Pristoop said, he had found a news article to illustrate the risks of legalization: 37 people in Colorado, he said, had died of marijuana oversdoses on the very day that the state legalized pot.
“When he said it, everyone in the room dropped their laptops,” Sen. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Montgomery) said in an e-mail.

Trouble is, the facts were about as close to the truth as oregano is to pot. After a quick Google search on his laptop, Raskin — the sponsor of the legalization bill that was the subject of the Senate hearing — advised the chief that the Colorado overdose story, despite its deadpan delivery, had been made up for laughs by The Daily Currant, an online comedy magazine.

“I had not seen the spoof before, but it was self-evidently a parody,” Raskin said. “In the absence of real data, Internet hoaxes are becoming marijuana Prohibition’s last stand.”

Pristoop was among more than 100 people who testified at the hearing to give their views about legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana. Most witnesses said they were in favor of Raskin’s bill, which would legalize marijuana and tax and regulate its distribution and use. A separate bill, sponsored by Sens. Robert A. Zirkin (D-Baltimore County) and Allan H. Kittleman (R-Howard), would impose a civil fine of $100 for possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Late Tuesday, the chief apologized for the mistake, admitting in a news release that he had been duped.

“I apologize for the information I provided concerning the deaths. I believed the information I obtained was accurate, but I now know the story is nothing more than an urban legend,” Pristoop said. “This does not take away from the other facts presented in opposition to legalization or the good work of the Maryland Chiefs and Maryland Sheriffs Associations.”

Maj. Scott Baker said the chief and the department regretted the erroneous testimony but were also trying to take the mistake in stride, with a bit of humor.

“His numbers are up in smoke,” Baker acknowledged Wednesday — a sly tip of the hat to Cheech & Chong’s 1978 stoner movie.

Here’s an excerpt from the satirical — and totally fictional — Daily Currant article that duped Pristoop:

Colorado is reconsidering its decision to legalize recreational pot following the deaths of dozens due to marijuana overdoses.

According to a report in the Rocky Mountain News, 37 people were killed across the state on Jan. 1, the first day the drug became legal for all adults to purchase. Several more are clinging onto life in local emergency rooms and are not expected to survive.

“It’s complete chaos here,” says Dr. Jack Shepard, chief of surgery at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver. “I’ve put five college students in body bags since breakfast and more are arriving every minute.

“We are seeing cardiac arrests, hypospadias, acquired trimethylaminuria and multiple organ failures. By next week the death toll could go as high as 200, maybe 300. Someone needs to step in and stop this madness. My god, why did we legalize marijuana? What were we thinking?” http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/like-wow-police-chief-is-hoaxed-on-pot-perils/2014/02/25/42bd0592-9e94-11e3-9ba6-800d1192d08b_story.html

Thanks to Da Brayn for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

No, it’s not the latest eye-popping item from the always entertaining Weekly World News. Instead, it’s an actual headline from the October 22, 1945, issue of LIFE magazine, above an article about … well, a headless chicken: “Beheaded Chicken Lives Normally After Freak Decapitation by Ax.”

“Ever since Sept. 10,” LIFE informed its readers, “a rangy Wyandotte rooster named Mike has been living a normal chicken’s life though he has no head.” Mike, it seems, “lost his head in the usual rooster way. Mrs. L.A. Olson, wife of a farmer in Fruita, Colo., 200 miles west of Denver, decided to have chicken for dinner. Mrs. Olson took Mike to the chopping block and axed off his head. Thereupon Mike got up and soon began to strut around…. What Mrs. Olson’s ax had done was to clip off most of the skull but leave intact one ear, the jugular vein and the base of the brain, which controls motor function.”

The rest is poultry history. Mike lived for 18 months after losing his head, finally succumbing at a motel in the Arizona desert in 1946 during one of his many appearances as a sideshow attraction in the American southwest.

Here, LIFE.com presents Mike’s unlikely story, as well as the utterly unsettling pictures that ran (and some that never ran) in LIFE.

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Mike the headless chicken “dances” in 1945.

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Mike the headless chicken in his Colorado barnyard, with fellow chickens, 1945.

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A picture of the suitcase containing the tools for feeding Mike the headless chicken, including an eye dropper that was used to provide sustenance through the hole atop his torso where his head used to be.

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Mike the headless chicken is fed through an eye dropper, directly into his esophagus, in 1945.

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Promoter Hope Wade holds Mike the headless chicken’s formerly useful noggin, as if attempting to reintroduce the bird to its lost self, in 1945. (Some reports, however, claim that the Olsons’ cat ate Mike’s head, and that another rooster’s head stood in for Mike’s during his brief brush with fame.)

Thanks to Ray Gaudette for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

Read more: http://life.time.com/curiosities/photos-mike-the-headless-chicken-beyond-belief/#ixzz2OZ1jpmWC

bunny-rabbit

It’s a problem that plagues passengers who park at Denver International Airport- bunnies are causing hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in damage to cars. The rabbits eat the wires under the hood. The USDA Wildlife Service is removing at least 100 bunnies every month but the problem persists.

“I see at least dozens every morning. They go hide under the cars and the cars are warm,” said airport shuttle driver Michelle Anderson.

“They like to chew on the insulator portion of the ignition cables. That’s what we see,” said Arapahoe Autotek spokesman Wiley Faris.

Faris said rabbit damage is a common problem. The suspects are easily identified by the fur and pellets left behind. “That wiring harness has all the wiring for the car so it can run from the hundreds into the thousands depending on where the harness is damaged,” said Faris.

USAirport Parking is taking action to keep the bunnies out of vehicles.

“It’s hard to get rid of the bunnies but we’re going to try as many natural things as possible,” said an USAirport Parking employee.

Crews will install new fencing to make it harder for the bunnies to burrow under.

“We’re also going to build raptor perches for the hawks and eagles,” said USAirport Parking.

Local mechanics are also giving drivers a secret weapon: coyote urine. They’re coating car wires with the substance. “We have found a good deterrent is predator urine, you can pick up fox urine at any pro hunting shop,” said Faris.

DIA and City of Denver officials said parking permits clearly state they are not responsible for any damage which means repairs needed because of ravenous rabbits are the responsibility of the driver. DIA said they have only received a handful of claims concerning rabbits damaging cars in recent years. Since 2009 there have been nine official claims from passengers reporting damage to their cars from rabbits.

DIA said more than 11,720 cars are parked on the property each day. Most insurance companies won’t cover the costs of rabbit damage.

http://denver.cbslocal.com/2013/02/14/dia-parking-lots-consider-measures-to-stop-bunnies-from-attacking-cars/?hpt=us_bn10

 

Police in Aurora, Colorado, were shocked when, during a recent seat-belt enforcement campaign there, officers discovered a gross infraction of the law.

A Facebook photo on the Colorado Department of Transportation’s page shows a toddler and gas can sharing a vehicle’s back seat.  The gas can is securely strapped into a child’s safety seat. The toddler? No such luck.

Comments on the picture range from “Is this a joke?” to “I’m surprised the “parent” didn’t give the kid a cigarette. What the hell?!!”

A CDOT statement on the photo reads:

We want to make it clear that this photo was NOT staged or altered, except to protect the identity of the child. We take this subject very seriously. We wish this photo wasn’t real, but in fact it is a real photo taken after a traffic stop by Aurora Police Department.

According to 7News, Aurora Police issued the driver three citations.

 

An as yet undiscovered planet might be orbiting at the dark fringes of the solar system, according to new research.

Too far out to be easily spotted by telescopes, the potential unseen planet appears to be making its presence felt by disturbing the orbits of so-called Kuiper belt objects, said Rodney Gomes, an astronomer at the National Observatory of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro.

Kuiper belt objects are small icy bodies—including some dwarf planets—that lie beyond the orbit of Neptune.

Once considered the ninth planet in our system, the dwarf planet Pluto, for example, is one of the largest Kuiper belt objects, at about 1,400 miles (2,300 kilometers) wide. Dozens of the other objects are hundreds of miles across, and more are being discovered every year.

(See “Three New ‘Plutos’? Possible Dwarf Planets Found.”)

What’s intriguing, Gomes said, is that, according to his new calculations, about a half dozen Kuiper belt objects—including the remote body known as Sedna—are in strange orbits compared to where they should be, based on existing solar system models. (Related: “Pluto Neighbor Gets Downsized.”)

The objects’ unexpected orbits have a few possible explanations, said Gomes, who presented his findings Tuesday at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Timberline Lodge, Oregon.

“But I think the easiest one is a planetary-mass solar companion”—a planet that orbits very far out from the sun but that’s massive enough to be having gravitational effects on Kuiper belt objects.

Mystery Planet a Captured Rogue?

For the new work, Gomes analyzed the orbits of 92 Kuiper belt objects, then compared his results to computer models of how the bodies should be distributed, with and without an additional planet.

If there’s no distant world, Gomes concludes, the models don’t produce the highly elongated orbits we see for six of the objects.

How big exactly the planetary body might be isn’t clear, but there are a lot of possibilities, Gomes added.

Based on his calculations, Gomes thinks a Neptune-size world, about four times bigger than Earth, orbiting 140 billion miles (225 billion kilometers) away from the sun—about 1,500 times farther than Earth—would do the trick.

But so would a Mars-size object—roughly half Earth’s size—in a highly elongated orbit that would occasionally bring the body sweeping to within 5 billion miles (8 billion kilometers) of the sun.

Gomes speculates that the mystery object could be a rogue planet that was kicked out of its own star system and later captured by the sun’s gravity. (See “‘Nomad’ Planets More Common Than Thought, May Orbit Black Holes.”)

Or the putative planet could have formed closer to our sun, only to be cast outward by gravitational encounters with other planets.

However, actually finding such a world would be a challenge.

To begin with, the planet might be pretty dim. Also, Gomes’s simulations don’t give astronomers any clue as to where to point their telescopes—”it can be anywhere,” he said.

Other astronomers are intrigued but say they’ll want a lot more proof before they’re willing to agree that the solar system—again—has nine planets. (Also see “Record Nine-Planet Star System Discovered?”)

“Obviously, finding another planet in the solar system is a big deal,” said Rory Barnes, an astronomer at the University of Washington. But, he added, “I don’t think he really has any evidence that suggests it is out there.”

Instead, he added, Gomes “has laid out a way to determine how such a planet could sculpt parts of our solar system. So while, yes, the evidence doesn’t exist yet, I thought the bigger point was that he showed us that there are ways to find that evidence.”

Douglas Hamilton, an astronomer from the University of Maryland, agrees that the new findings are far from definitive.

“What he showed in his probability arguments is that it’s slightly more likely. He doesn’t have a smoking gun yet.”

And Hal Levison, an astronomer at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, says he isn’t sure what to make of Gomes’s finding.

“It seems surprising to me that a [solar] companion as small as Neptune could have the effect he sees,” Levison said.

But “I know Rodney, and I’m sure he did the calculations right.”

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/05/120511-new-planet-solar-system-kuiper-belt-space-science

A group of stray cows that froze to death in the Colorado mountains must be blown up or set on fire to avoid water contamination, forestry officials say.

The carcasses were discovered near the Conundrum Hot Springs in Aspen by two Air Force Academy cadets in late March.

The cows were found in a ranger cabin where it is thought they wandered during a snowstorm after they were separated from the herd last year.

The plan is to remove the dead animals before they begin to thaw.

US Forest Service spokesman Steve Segin told the BBC: “Obviously, time is of the essence because we don’t want them defrosting.”

He told the BBC that “negative interactions” with other wildlife were also a concern.

Winter temperatures in the area regularly drop to below 0F (-18C).

The hot springs are inside a federal wilderness area high in the Rocky Mountains, which prevents mechanical options, like chainsaws, from being used.

The options include letting the cows decompose and closing off the area, setting off explosives to break up the animals and speed up the decomposition process, or setting the cabin on fire.

Officials say there are about six cows inside the cabin and several just outside.

Michael Carroll, a spokesman for the Wilderness Society in Colorado, told the Associated Press: “They need to use the minimal tool to get the job done.

“They don’t want to leave the land scarred.”

According to Mr Segin, the cows’ owner has been found through the tags on the animals.

Cows and other animals are allowed to graze on federal wilderness land if the owner has a permit.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-17750245