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  • #16
    Meet Phelan the rescue pup—now America’s fastest dog

    Meet Phelan, the female four-year-old rescue dog who just won the American Kennel Club’s inaugural Fastest Dog USA competition.

    The wiry mixed breed, whose name derives from the Irish word for “wolf,” completed a 100-yard dash in 6.346 seconds—or 32.3 miles per hour—beating out 130 other dogs that ran in the finals of the AKC Fast CAT Invitational—short for coursing ability trial—held December 11 at the Orlando Convention Center.

    Owners Krista Shreet and Ted Koch of Crownsville, Maryland, adopted Phelan—an oatmeal-hued mix of greyhound, borzoi, and Scottish deerhound—when she was a year old.

    “We took her in, and she’s stolen our hearts,” Koch says.

    And now she’s the fastest dog in America. (Read about Champ, who’ll be the first shelter dog to live in the White House.)

    Two preliminary trials held this year determined the speediest dogs from each of the 129 participating breeds, from dachshunds to Doberman pinschers.

    These top dogs traveled to Orlando for the finals, which were divided into two categories: Fastest Dog USA, for overall quickest canine, and Speed of the Breed, which recognizes the fastest dog of its breed. That title went to a gray miniature poodle, Elliot, and his owner Deborah Burnett of Gray Court, South Carolina.

    The inaugural event was open to all AKC-registered dogs who are at least a year old, as well as mixed breeds like Phelan.

    Each dog runs three 100-yard trials, and their final speed is the average of those three. The races are part of the American Kennel Club’s National Championship, an annual series of competitions and agility trials that culminates in a Best in Show winner.

    Doug Ljungren, the AKC’s executive vice president of sports and events, came up with the swiftest-dog idea a few years ago while watching his German wirehaired pointers chase after squirrels at his home. “How fast can dogs run, anyway?” he wondered.

    Ljungren found plenty of statistics on dogs such as Greyhounds and whippets, which were bred for speed, but not for most of the other 190-plus AKC breeds, which led to the inaugural event. Not only will the fastest-dog event expand what we know about the abilities of our best friends, it’s a bright spot in a tough year, Ljungren adds.

    The COVID-19 pandemic and the lifestyle changes it has brought, he said in a statement, “have resulted in a renewed appreciation of the relationship we have with our dogs.”

    A need for speed

    The greyhound, which can reach speeds of 43 miles per hour, is the fastest domestic dog breed. By comparison, Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt’s top speed was 28 miles per hour. (Greyhound racing, a sport many consider cruel and inhumane, is slowly coming to an end in the United States.)

    Greyhounds belong to a group called sighthounds, whose lean physiques, long legs, and narrow heads help them reach high speeds. (See photos of dogs living around the world.)

    Over the centuries, people bred these dogs as hunting companions, nimble and swift enough to chase down prey. Salukis, a graceful, long-eared breed, were a favorite hunting dog of the Egyptian pharoahs. Whippets, which resemble mini-greyhounds, originated in Victorian England, bred by coal miners who liked dog racing but didn’t have the space or money to keep bigger dogs. And vizslas, a reddish sporting dog from Hungary whose ancestors were the tough, agile dogs of Magyar warriors and nobles, are also lightning fast.

    These examples show “you're not just selecting for speed, you're selecting for speed within a certain environment,” and for certain roles in the human world, Adam Boyko, a canine geneticist at Cornell University.

    Some smaller breeds, such as terriers and Dachshunds, he adds, can be surprisingly fast, since they were bred to quickly flush out vermin, such as rodents and other burrowing animals.

    A Pekingese clocked in at 12.97 miles per hour during her December 10 final—perhaps not bad for a breed meant to be carried around in the sleeves of Chinese royalty.

    "We’ll make sure her stocking is full"

    The COVID-19 pandemic led to some changes in this year’s AKC championship; for example, no spectators are allowed in the stands. The fastest-dog event also had to pare down its rules, with only one dog representing each breed in each division, instead of three as originally hoped, Ljungren says. ( See behind-the-scenes photos of dogs competing in the Westminster Dog Show.)

    But in other ways, the pandemic has created more opportunities. For the first time, the AKC encouraged American dog owners to send in videos of their dogs completing agility courses; over the past eight months, the organization has received 15,000 clips.

    Though unofficial, the video program has allowed people who are isolated or aren’t able to travel a way to experience the AKC and share their love for their pets, Ljungren says. “It’s really quite touching.”

    As for Phelan, this is her last event for 2020, her owners said. Everyone will go home, have a rest, and get ready for the holidays.:

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


    • #17
      5,000 year-old Egyptian artifact found in cigar box

      A missing 5,000-year-old Egyptian artefact has been found in a cigar box in the Scottish city of Aberdeen.

      The artefact, a fragment of wood, was one of three items found inside the Queen's Chamber of the Great Pyramid in Giza in 1872.

      The two other items, a ball and hook, are currently housed in the British Museum in London.

      The piece of wood was given by engineer Waynman Dixon, who found the relics, to Dr James Grant, a graduate of the University of Aberdeen, who bequeathed it to the university after his death in 1895.

      His daughter donated the "five-inch [12.7-centimetre] piece of cedar" 51 years later, but it was never classified and was believed to be lost.

      Curatorial assistant at the university, Abeer Eladany, who is Egyptian, found the fragment while reviewing items housed in the university's Asia collection, but realized it did not belong in the stock.

      She said: "Once I looked into the numbers in our Egypt records, I instantly knew what it was, and that it had effectively been hidden in plain sight in the wrong collection.

      "I'm an archaeologist and have worked on digs in Egypt but I never imagined it would be here in north-east Scotland that I'd find something so important to the heritage of my own country."

      The wood dates back to somewhere in the period 3341 to 3094 BC, 500 years earlier than historical records which date the Great Pyramid to the reign of the Pharaoh Khufu in 2580 to 2560 BC.

      The wood is believed to be part of the original construction of the Great Pyramid.:

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      • #18
        10 science records broken in 2020

        Longest bird flight

        A loud, long-beaked, rust-colored bird broke the world record for longest nonstop flight this fall. On Sept. 16, a male bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica) known as "4BBRW'' set off from southwest Alaska and flew for 11 days straight to New Zealand, traveling a distance of about 7,581 miles (12,200 km), taking rounding errors into consideration.

        'Longest animal ever'

        While exploring deep-sea canyons off Australia's coast, researchers discovered a super long, stringy creature that may be "the largest animal ever discovered," they said. This creature, called a siphonophore measured 150 feet (45 meters) long and was actually made up of many small critters called "zooids."

        More in the link:
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        • #19
          Spain hosts final Wingfoil World Tour event of 2020
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          • #20
            Virginia man finds stolen 1969 Camaro after 17 years

            A Virginia man whose 1969 Camaro was stolen 17 years ago was reunited with the vehicle after spotting it in a garage while helping a friend buy another vehicle.

            Tommy Cook said the Hugger Orange Camaro was stolen from his auto repair lot in Woodbridge in 2003, and after reporting it stolen he kept renewing the vehicle's missing status with Prince William County police through the mail in the ensuing years.

            "I never wrote that car off," Cook told The Free Lance-Star newspaper. "I knew there would be a day and a time when I would get that car back. I didn't know where, but I knew it was out there somewhere."

            Cook said he had no leads until 17 years later, when a friend considering the purchase of a 1968 Camaro asked him to take a look at a vehicle listed for sale online by a Maryland man near La Plata.

            Cook said he arrived at the auto shop to look at the 1968 Camaro, but his attention was grabbed by a hoodless 1969 Camaro in the corner of the garage.

            The man told Cook the green car had originally been painted Hugger Orange, the color of his stolen car. Cook said he took a look at the dashboard VIN and thought it seemed suspicious, so he checked the VIN in another spot under the hood -- and it matched his missing car.

            The Charles County Sheriff's Office in Maryland had the Camaro towed to a storage lot, and Cook then had it towed to his new shop in Spotsylvania.

            Cook said the car has received some upgrades since he last owned it -- including an engine being installed in the formerly-engineless vehicle. He said the car had apparently changed hands four times since it was stolen in 2003.

            "Some people had put money into it," Cook said. "It was better than it was when it was stolen, but it's still an ugly green."

            Police in France solved a missing vehicle case after an even longer amount of time had elapsed in 2017. Chalons-en-Champagne police said a property owner called authorities to report a muddy pond had receded amid drought conditions, revealing a the top of a Peugeot 104 buried in the muck.

            Police determined the car had been reported stolen from its third owner in 1979 -- 38 years before it was found in the swamp.:

            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


            • #21
              12 siblings earn Guinness record with combined age of 1,042 years

              A family of 12 siblings earned a Guinness World Record when their combined ages added up to more than 1,042 years.

              Guinness said the siblings from the D'Cruz family ranges in age from 75 to 97 years old, and they were awarded the world record for highest combined age, with 12 living siblings, on Dec. 15, when their combined ages totaled 1,042 years, 315 days.

              Genia Carter, 75, of London, Ontario, is the youngest in the family, but she said even her oldest siblings still are in good health.

              "It doesn't seem real. I always think of Guinness records as the tallest or shortest person or something like that. It was a surprise they even count this," Carter told The London Free Press. "But it's exciting. I'm grateful to have all these siblings still alive."

              Carter and her siblings grew up in Pakistan and their oldest brother was the first to move to Canada, where he worked to raise money to bring the rest of the family to the country. She said one sibling now lives in California and another lives in Switzerland, but the rest still are in Canada.

              Carter said the family remains close-knit and her siblings have a daily video call every day at 11 a.m. to keep in touch.

              "I can't remember any of us ever having a fight where we would not speak to each other. We're all very close. We would do anything for each other," she said.:

              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


              • #22
                Man swims 662 feet underwater on only one breath

                A Danish swimmer broke a Guinness World Record by swimming 662 feet, 8.7 inches underwater with a single breath.

                Stig Severenson went for a swim in La Paz, Mexico, and took only one breath before swimming the record-breaking distance with his head underwater.

                Severenson said he wants his record attempt to inspire children and raise awareness of protecting oceans and undersea life.

                The swimmer previously broke the Guinness record for longest time holding his breath.:

                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                • #23
                  Quaint house featuring 7 jail cells up for sale in Vermont

                  A Guildhall, Vermont house that looks seemingly normal on the outside comes with an unusual feature.

                  The historic home built in 1880 on Courthouse Drive features four bedrooms, two bathrooms and seven jail cells, according to a listing on

                  The building served as the Essex County Jail until 1969, with the main house being the jailer’s residence.

                  The jail still has the original prison cells with barred windows and the jailer’s office.

                  The property is selling for $149,000.: - (Pictures 30, 31 and 32)

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                  • #24
                    King's Hawaiian Sued for Its Rolls Not Being Made in Hawaii

                    he maker of King's Hawaiian rolls has been hit with a class action lawsuit claiming that fraudulent marketing leads consumers to wrongly believe the product is made in Hawaii.

                    Robert Galinsky, a resident of Yonkers, New York, filed the lawsuit after he purchased a package of King's Hawaiian rolls and realized there was misleading information about where the product is made, according to Top Class Actions, a company that reports on consumer class action lawsuits.

                    The lawsuit states that "Hilo, Hawaii," can be seen on the front and center of the package, leading buyers to believe that the rolls are made on that part of the island. In reality, the sweet bread rolls are made in Torrance, California, which is listed in smaller font on the back of the package.

                    Galinsky claims that King's Hawaiian rolls "essentially invented this category of food" and says the misleading label impedes on consumers' ability to purchase authentic items.

                    "For many consumers, authenticity has overtaken quality as the prevailing purchasing criterion," Galinsky's lawsuit says.

                    The complaint also points to four lawsuits King's Hawaiian Holding Co. has filed against competitors who have attempted to use similar colors and the term "Hawaiian rolls," on their packaging. Last year, the company settled a lawsuit with Aldi over orange colored packaging sold at the grocery store that they alleged infringed on its intellectual property, according to a press release issued by King's Hawaiian.

                    "The King's Hawaiian packaging trade dress is one of our most valuable assets and King's Hawaiian has assembled a top-notch, two-firm legal team to protect and to enforce our intellectual property rights in the trade dress," King's Hawaiian President and Chief Strategy Officer John Linehan said last year.

                    In his complaint, Galinsky says that while the average shopper likely realizes that King's Hawaiian is the name of the company, listing "Hilo, Hawaii" gives the impression that the product is made in that location.

                    "Reasonable consumers understand that the term 'Hawaiian Rolls' by itself, does not denote a roll made in Hawaii any more than a 'Moon Pie' can claim to have been baked on the moon," he said.

                    But he added that the company's "fraudulent intent is evinced by its failure to accurately identify the Product's immediate place of origin — where it's made — as opposed to where the company is originally from — when it knew doing so would misled [sic] consumers."

                    According to Top Class Actions, Galinsky is seeking to form a class of New York state residents who've purchased packages of King's Hawaiian rolls within the applicable statute of limitations.:

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                    • #25
                      New US laws in 2021

                      Among new state laws taking effect Jan. 1 is Hawaii's first-in-the-nation ban on the sale or distribution of sunscreens that contain two chemicals the state said can harm coral reefs and other forms of marine life.

                      A new environmental law in Delaware taking effect as the New Year begins bans single-use plastic carryout bags. Supporters of the restriction said it will cut down on litter and the amount of plastic in landfills. Plastic bags can also force recycling facilities to stop work when they get stuck in the machinery.

                      Many more:

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                      • #26
                        'Bridezilla' forces bridesmaids to sign bizarre contract with 37 strict rules

                        A 'bridezilla' has been slammed online after making her bridesmaids sign a "contract" with 37 exhausting rules they have to follow before and during her big day.

                        The woman demanded that her friends not gain more than 3kg (6.6lbs) before her wedding, and made them promise not to "attempt to outdo the bride in any way".

                        They require a doctor's note if they miss a dress fitting on the hen do, and they must not intentionally fall pregnant before the wedding.

                        The "contract" gives the bride complete control of the bridesmaids' appearances and spare time - there is a ban on fake DIY lashes and her pals must hand over their "normal seven-day schedule" within five days of signing it.

                        They cannot encourage her to change anything about the wedding or "speak negatively" about any guests, and they must save more than £2,000 to pay for any bridal expenses.

                        In one of her rules, the bride-to-be even admits she has "a bossy attitude", and in another she orders the members of her wedding party to be "happy and positive at all times".

                        Sharing the document on Facebook, the bride wrote: "I've read a lot of posts about issues with bridesmaids.

                        "I gave out contracts. It explained my expectations from beginning to end."

                        She added: "I refused to be stressed and didn't budge on any of it."

                        It appears the contract didn't go down well with some of her friends.

                        She admitted that she started planning with 10 bridesmaids, but only six were by her side at her wedding.

                        Organising her wedding down to every detail, she said her bridesmaids could have highlights in their hair but only with "prior approval".

                        But they cannot wear coloured contact lenses, black drawn-on eyebrows or "glossy coloured" lipstick.

                        On the wedding day, they must not down more than seven units of alcohol, they must leave their kids at home and their date must be approved by the bride.

                        And don't even think about trying it on with any men in the wedding party - that's a big no-no from the bride.

                        Facebook users blasted the woman, with one writing: "Am I reading this right? Just ridiculous.:

                        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                        • #27
                          Man changes name to Celine Dion after having far too much to drink

                          A 30-year-old man decided to change his name to Celine Dion after having a few too many glasses of wine. Thomas Dodd – otherwise known as Celine – had the idea while watching one of the Canadian singer’s concerts on YouTube over Christmas.

                          He thought it would be a great idea to pay £89 to officially take her name, but completely forgot about it when the official Deed Poll documents landed on this doorstep on Wednesday.

                          Once you receive your papers you need to sign them before an independent witness and inform your relevant record holders before your name is considered changed. But Thomas has no plans to go back on his decision and hopes it might get him backstage at one of his idol’s future gigs. But he admits he is dreading telling his bosses about his new moniker and that his mum has not seen the funny side of it.

                          Thomas, a hospitality manager from Tamworth, Staffordshire, explained how he came up with his idea after getting sozzled while watching Celine Dion perform a show in Las Vegas on YouTube. He said: ‘I had been planning to go and see her in Vegas but obviously couldn’t due to Covid. ‘So I’ve become a bit hooked with watching her concerts on Youtube as its the next best thing. I’m a bit obsessed with her and always have been. ‘But I don’t know why it crossed my mind to change my name to hers. I can’t really remember the night and forgot all about it the next day. ‘I remember watching the Celine Dion concert of her performing in Vegas and that is about all I can remember. I wish I knew what happened but it was a hazy night.:

                          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                          • #28
                            The Marigold Ring Featuring 12,638 Diamonds Broke a Guinness World Record

                            The only thing better than diamonds is more diamonds, or so seems to be the opinion of one Harshit Bansal, the India-based jeweler who just broke the world record for most diamonds set in a single ring. Bansal’s elaborate creation features 12,638 individual diamonds, besting the previous record of 7,801 stones by more than 4,000, according to Guinness World Records.

                            Dubbed the “Marigold” or the “Ring of Prosperity,” the record-breaking piece of bling is a massive floral affair, featuring eight-layers of diamond-adorned petals, none of which are identical. The marigold-inspired ring — reportedly named and designed for the flower’s role as a symbol of prosperity in Indian culture — boasts 38.08-carat diamonds that are all conflict free, E-F color and VVS clarity. The ring weighs a total of 5.8 ounces, but its creator maintains the extravagant piece of jewelry is wearable.

                            “The ring is human wearable and the design is very comfortable,” Renani Jewels, the Meerut jeweler owned by Bansal, wrote in a recent Instagram post showcasing the ring.

                            The ring, completed in November 2020, was three years in the making, according to the Instagram caption. Bansal said he was first inspired to break the record for most diamonds on a single ring while studying jewelry design in Surat, India, and he began work on the lavish project in 2018.

                            “My target was always more than 10,000 diamonds. I trashed many designs and concepts over the years to finally zero in on this,” Bansal told Guinness World Records. The 25-year-old jeweler ultimately surpassed his own goal by more than 2,000 diamonds.

                            For the time being, however, the saucer-sized accessory is not for sale, so anyone hoping to pop the question with a record-breaking amount of diamonds is out of luck.

                            “We have no plans of selling it right now,” Bansal told NDTV News. “It’s a matter of pride for us. It’s priceless.”:
                            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                            • #29
                              ^BIG Ring

                              She'll need security when out in public
                              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                              • #30
                                UAE chefs bake world's longest line of pies for Guinness record

                                A team of United Arab Emirates chefs came together to break a Guinness World Record by baking 2,209 pies and arranging them into a line.

                                The record attempt, organized by the Emirates Culinary Guild and USA Pears, featured the chefs baking pear pies at the Madinat Jumeirah resort in Dubai and arranging them into a single line.

                                The line of 2,209 pies broke the previous record of 1,608 pies, which was set in Australia in 2016.

                                The attempt included chefs from Jumeirah Creekside, Radisson Blu Hotel DDC, Madinat Jumeirah, Le Meridien Airport, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, Crown Plaza Shaikh Zayed Road, Waldorf Astoria DIFC, DoubleTree by Hilton JBR, Bakemart, Emirates Flight Catering, Caesars Bluewaters Dubai, Sarood Hospitality and students from International Center for Culinary Arts Dubai.

                                The pies were donated to food access charity Sahem for Hope.:

                                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


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