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Iguanas Are Falling! – And Causing Car Wrecks – As Temperatures Dip In Florida

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  • Lizard-sicles don’t sound very tasty to me…



Photo by Cindy Williams Moore on Unsplash
Photo by Cindy Williams Moore on Unsplash

 

Florida people everywhere, you are warned: Beware of falling iguanas! And no, they are not dead…

Falling Iguanas

The National Weather Service issued a warning across all of Florida, saying that they need to beware of falling iguanas. As the temperatures in Florida get lower, the cold-blooded lizards slow down or become motionless and can drop from the trees on to your head. “This isn’t something we usually forecast, but don’t be surprised if you see Iguanas falling for trees tonight as lows drop into the 30s and 40s. Brrrr!” wrote The National Weather Service of Miami-South Florida. They also posted an infographic explaining the strange (but very real) phenomenon. It indicated that temperatures on 21st night in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, and Interior and Gulf Coast region put the iguanas at risk of falling.

Iguana Facts

Iguanas are an invasive species, native to Central and South America. They begin to get sluggish when temperatures drop to below 50 degrees, according to Kristin Sommers of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). If the temperature drops, they freeze up.

That Doesn’t Mean They’re Dead

They aren’t dead and many residents try to help them. However, those residents that find stiffened iguanas, you are advised to leave them alone, as the iguanas may feel that you are threatening and bite when they get warmed up. After iguanas began to drop, a gentleman from Central America, now a Floridian, gathered them up to take home and eat. The iguanas warmed up in the car ride over and came back with a vengeance, causing him to wreck his car.

 

Last year, The FWC garnered outrage from citizens and animals activists groups after releasing a statement for residents to kill the state’s invasive green iguana population ‘whenever possible,’ according to CBS News. The FWC eventually updated its approach with a new plea that urges public to ‘seek assistance from professionals who do this for a living’ if they cannot remove the animal safely from their property.

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Odd

Dogs Sniff Out Corona Infections at Finnish Airport

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  • If there’s a prize for the most adorable public health program, these pooches need to win it.

“They’re all good dogs, Brent,” an online personality once said. While that is true, some dogs might be a bit better than others. Or at least some of them can hold down a job.

The K-9 unit is old news to anyone who knows anything about the police force. Dogs also serve in the army, the fire department, and they help the visually impaired get around more easily.

Some dogs are even trying to become dog-tors. A 2019 study found that pooches can be trained to accurately sniff out the presence of cancer cells in blood.

In a similar vein, some medical mutts are now tackling the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In Finland, sharp-nosed dogs have been brought in to sniff out potential coronavirus infections at the country’s largest airport.

The COVID-sniffing dogs have good timing, too. After the first wave of the ‘Rona abated, countries around the world started loosening movement restrictions. Some even allowed travel again.

Turns out, that may have been a mistake. According to the World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe Hans Kluge, the continent could be facing another, potentially even more serious corona wave, reported the BBC.

New cases in Europe have doubled over the past couple of weeks, with 300,000 new infections discovered just within one week.

“Although these numbers reflect more comprehensive testing, it also shows alarming rates of transmission across the region,” Kluge said.

“Good Lord, she reeks of the ‘Rona! Get her off me!”

Canine Pioneers

To try and cope with the surging infection rate, Finavia – the company responsible for maintaining Finland’s airport network – turned to dogs for help.

Since yesterday, the COVID canines have been patrolling the Helsinki Airport in the city of Vantaa.

“We are among the pioneers. As far as we know, no other airport has attempted to use canine scent detection on such a large scale against COVID-19,” says Helsinki Airport Director Ulla Lettijeff.

Finavia is training a total of 10 dogs for tracking potential corona infections at the airport. They will work in shifts, with four dogs active at one time.

According to Susanna Paavilainen, CEO of WiseNose Ry, University of Helsinki’s DogRisk research group, the length of the work shift will depend on the dogs.

“Dogs need to rest from time to time. While two dogs are working, the other two are on a break,” Paavilainen says.

The dogs will mainly be sniffing travelers arriving to Finland from outside the country. If you’re scared of dogs, though, there’s no need to delay your trip to Finland. At least not because of the dogs.

The smell experts will perform their duties from a separate booth without coming into direct contact with travelers. People taking the test will swipe their skin with a test wipe and drop it into a cup.

The cup is then given to the COVID dogs for analysis. If they smell something sick, the traveler will be directed to a health information desk operated by the city of Vantaa.

“We are pleased with the city of Vantaa’s initiative. This might be an additional step forward on the way to beating COVID-19,” Lettijeff says.

Flesh Beats Metals

If a dog sniffing out a COVID infection sounds like an arbitrary detection method to you, think again. Research carried out before the start of Finavia’s project showed that the dogs are more efficient than expensive machinery.

The preliminary tests – carried out at the Veterinary Faculty of the University of Helsinki – found that dogs can sniff out COVID-19 with pretty much 100% accuracy. They can even smell the presence of the virus days before the test subject shows the first symptoms.

It turns out that a dog’s nose is much more sensitive to the coronavirus than the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests doctors usually use. A PCR test requires 18 million molecules to be present in a sample before it notices the virus.

A dog only needs 100, or even as little as 10 molecules. So which one would you rather trust?

The Next Generation

In the future, dogs from the Finnish Customs might take over the duties of the current dogs.

“We are working with Finnish Customs to prepare for a potential scenario where it takes charge of the operation,” says Paavilainen.

However, for the time being, the WiseNose dogs will continue their task. For the customs to take over, the Finnish government will need to pass a corresponding legislative amendment.

It will also take some time to train the customs dogs to recognize the COVID-19 virus. According to Paavilainen, almost all of the current dogs have previously performed scent detection duties.

The time it takes to train a dog can also vary, as it’s completely dependent on the dog in question. The star of the current program is Kössi, an 8-year-old greyhound mix.

He learned to pick up the scent of the coronavirus in a mere seven minutes. Talk about a fast learner.

“Not all dogs can do it as they operate in different ways. Kössi has a lot of experience from identifying biological samples,” Paavilainen says.

Such a good boy.

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Man Rides Horse Down Highway in Chicago

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  • But he does it for good reason, and we really can’t be mad about it.

Just yesterday I wrote about a woman who fell out of the car she was riding in, all because of a Snapchat video. And today? A man riding his horse down the Chicago freeway.

What is with people these days? Oh ya, it is 2020.

It was 4:30 p.m. when police responded to the southbound lanes of the Dan Ryan Highway.

Adam Hollingsworth, 33, now known as the “Dreadhead Cowboy,” is facing three charges after the incident. Hollingworth was charged with reckless conduct, disobeying a police officer and criminal trespassing.

He rode around for 30 minutes or so as traffic slowed to a halt. Illinois police and Chicago police were following close behind.

Hollingsworth and the people with him were asked several times by law enforcement to leave the expressway, and they did not. Finally after exiting at the 35th St exit, Hollingsworth was taken into custody.

Darron Luster, 55, attempted to gain control over the horse after Hollingsworth was arrested. Luster was charged with obstructing and resisting arrest.

Chicago’s Mayor Lightfoot dubbed Hollingsworth “The Census Cowboy,” in efforts to bring awareness around filing out the census. Hollingsworth’s ride Monday was with the goal to turn more attention to the recent slaying of so many children over the summer.

“The thing is to send a message that our children are dying,” activist Mark Carter said. “That there are no resources coming to our communities.”

The mayor and governor are calling for funding for mental health, education and social programs and development in neighborhoods they said have been neglected.

Chicago Animal Control was called to the scene in regards to the horse. They took the animal to their facility.

The horse, named “NuNu,” had multiple injuries when animal control arrived. NuNu was bleeding from the left hoof, its right hoof was injured and the right side of the horse’s body had saddle sores.

Police were notified of Hollingsworth’s plan on Sept. 9th. His plan was denied.

The mayor’s office issued the following statement Monday.

“While the Illinois State Police (ISP) is directly leading all police matters around this incident due to the jurisdiction, Mayor Lightfoot has been briefed by the Chicago Police Department, who are assisting ISP. What is clear is that this stunt not only seriously endangered the horse but also the rider and all travelers on the expressway. There is a right way and a wrong way to call attention to issues of great importance and this stunt was decidedly the very wrong way. Furthermore, the Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) was on-scene arranging for the treatment of the horse which was injured as a result of this stunt and are now working to transport the animal to a temporary shelter where it can receive proper care.” 

 

 

 

 

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Odd

One of You Should Buy the Lizzie Borden House

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  • The 7-bedroom estate is back on the market for $890,000.
  • The current owners claim to have heard Lizzie Borden’s spirit, which means you can turn this into a profitable reality TV enterprise.

Just in time for the spoopy season, the Lizzie Borden house is back on the market. It’s not the house where the infamous murders took place, but Maplecroft. It’s where Borden lived in Fall River, following her acquittal for the ax-murder of her parents. It sold most recently in 2018 to Donald Woods and Leeann Wilber. They operate a Lizzie Borden themed bed-and-breakfast in the area. Until COVID, Wood and Wilber were renovating Maplecroft to become a similar venture, expanding their Borden empire. But the project got to be too expensive, and now they’re unloading the proper for $890,000.

 

I mean, I’ve seen worse properties go for more? Just look at the real estate market in Los Angeles. 

The Infamous Borden Murders

Photo by Benjamin Balázs on Unsplash

If you’re not familiar with Lizzie Borden, she stood trial for the ax-murder of her father and step-mother in 1892. The truth of what happened remains a mystery, even though the murders took place in the middle of the day with many members of the Borden household home. (Jk, Lizzie totally did it.) In part because of contradictory testimony by investigators and a second ax murder in the area, a jury acquitted Lizzie Borden. 

 

The live-in-maid at the Borden house, Bridget Sullivan, gave a deathbed confession to her sister. In it, she admitted changing her testimony to protect Lizzie. At the time of her death, Lizzie had amassed considerable wealth and several real estate holdings, but Maplecroft was her home. 

Definitely Not Haunted, Unless It Is

Photo by Benjamin Rascoe on Unsplash

There’s absolutely no reason to believe the ghost of Lizzie Borden is haunting Maplecroft. She was, by most accounts, not discontented when she died. It’s also very unusual for spirits to move properties–so Borden’s father and step-mother probably aren’t still seeking revenge at the estate. 

 

The current owners claimed to the Herald News they’ve picked up paranormal activity, registering as many as 50 voices in the home, including Lizzie Borden herself who was, “not particularly talkative.”

 

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