The Odd Side – August 2, 2016

GPS Tells Driver to Turn Around; Car Ends Up Almost Vertical

MENDON, Vt. (AP) – Police in Vermont say a car ended up almost vertical when the driver swerved quickly in response to her GPS ordering her to “turn around.”

The car was suspended almost vertically on guide wires attached to a utility pole in Mendon on Wednesday night.

Police say Nabila Altahan of Dorchester, Massachusetts, was headed west on U.S. Route 4 when she passed her intended destination and the GPS gave sudden directions to turn around.

Police say Altahan reacted quickly to the instructions, leaving the road at a significant enough speed to propel the vehicle up the wires.

Neither Altahan nor her passenger was injured.

Alaska Whale-Watchers Rescue Swimming Deer in Distress

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – An Alaska whale-watching cruise turned into a rescue mission for an unusual aquatic species — a distressed, swimming deer.

The 18-passenger tour vessel from Gastineau Guiding Co. lassoed the struggling deer on Wednesday, pulled it on board and gave it a ride to an island, Juneau radio station KTOO reported.

Naturalist Audrey Benson said visitors and crew were watching whales when the boat received a radio transmission that deer were swimming in the saltwater on the west side of Shelter Island.

“We heard that there were two deer that were swimming across in the water,” Benson said. “So after we watched the whales for a bit our passengers were curious and wanted to see the deer, and so we motored over to them and it turns out there was only one.”

The deer appeared to be in distress. It was struggling to keep its head above water.

Benson, other crew members and passengers moved in, and with a rope, pulled the deer on board.

“The deer was immediately bewildered and disoriented and it was shaking a lot, it was shivering a lot,” she said.

“Its teeth were chattering. It tried to stand up but collapsed because it was so weak.”

The crew motored to Shelter Island and released the deer.

“It was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen on any of my tours,” Benson said. “I mean, you never know what’s going to happen but for a deer rescue — I’ve never even been that close to a deer, I’ve never touched one — and to have an opportunity to assist this struggling animal, it was very intense.”

They never saw the other deer and presume it drowned.

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, deer regularly swim between islands in southeast Alaska and it’s uncommon for them to drown.

English Bar Blocks Cell Phones, Tries to Get Patrons Talking

LONDON (AP) – A new English bar offers something truly old-fashioned on its menu: the chance to talk to real people instead of staring down your cell phone.

The Gin Tub in Brighton has won rave reviews in its first week of business by installing a cell signal blocker and placing throwback rotary phones at its tables.

The Gin Tub is reckoned to be the only British pub blocking cell phones by using a Faraday shield built into its ceiling, an exception in Britain’s 2006 Wireless Telegraphy Act that otherwise outlaws the use of signal blockers.

Proprietor Steve Tyler says: “Mobile phones have killed pubs. When you go out socially, you don’t need social media.”

Donkeys “Speak” to Kids

(Reuters) – Mark Ineson, owner of “Real Donkeys” in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, has been studying the animals for more than 20 years and says they are very emotive creatures.

Entertainment group Merlin Events has teamed up with “Real Donkeys” to offer donkey rides “with a difference” in London’s Jubilee Gardens.

New technology allows children to hear the animals’ sounds translated into English, and into full sentences.

“We get the nudges, we get the facial expressions,” he said, adding that like dogs, donkeys “give a paw, he lifts a leg to show his emotions that way,” said Ineson about his 12-year-old donkey named Carl, one of 17 donkeys he owns.

Some of Ineson’s donkeys have won awards such as “Best Beach Donkey”.

“[We] work very closely with them, day in day out, and pick up on their mannerisms, their emotions, what they’re thinking basically,” Ineson said.

Chloe Couchman, a spokeswoman at Merlin Events, explained that the technology behind the translators analyses the unique sounds, frequencies and vibrations of each donkey’s “ee-aww,” triggering a phrase that reflects what the donkey is feeling.

Families will be able to book free rides for children on the “talking donkeys” in Jubilee Gardens until Thursday.