Odd Side- February 9, 2016

Eagles vs. Drones: Dutch Police Eye Birds to Prey on Drones

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) – It may sound like a flight of fancy, but Dutch police are considering using birds of prey to swoop down and pluck rogue drones out of the sky.

Police are working with a Hague-based company that trains eagles and other birds to catch drones to investigate whether the birds can be used above large events or near airports, where the small flying machines are banned.

Dennis Janus of the national police said Tuesday that trainers exploit the birds’ natural instincts to tackle the high-tech problem of drones flying in restricted areas.

Janus says the birds are trained “to think drones are their prey” and get a reward if they catch one.

Video released by police showed a small white drone with four propellers rising into the air and a bird of prey grabbing it from above in one fluid motion.

Dutch police will likely make a decision later this year whether to use the birds.

Janus said part of the evaluation includes research by a respected Dutch scientific organization into whether catching drones could harm the birds of prey.

Mystery Meat: Was It Really Woolly Mammoth on the Menu?

(AP) – When members of the Explorers Club gathered for their lavish annual dinner in New York City in 1951, one account said they feasted on meat from a woolly mammoth that had been preserved in a glacier.

The banquet menu said the long-extinct mystery meat was actually giant sloth.

But Yale researchers using DNA analysis on surviving bits of the meat have now reached what could be the final word on the story: Neither is true.

The meat that was served was nothing more than modern-day sea turtle.

“I’m sure people wanted to believe it. They had no idea that many years later, a Ph.D. student would come along and figure this out with DNA sequencing techniques,” said Jessica Glass, a Yale graduate student and co-lead author of a study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE.

Some of the folklore about mammoth being on the menu apparently grew out of a news story that ran days after the January 1951 event. It reported that the “chief attraction at the smorgasbord was a morsel of … hairy mammoth meat.”

It apparently had been found at “Woolly Cove” on Akutan Island, in the Aleutians, and was shipped to New York.

An Explorers Club member, Paul Griswold Howes of the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut, was unable to attend the dinner but requested a piece of the meat be sent to him. Although the sample was labeled as “Megatherium,” or giant sloth, the myth about the woolly mammoth persisted over the decades.

The specimen remained at the Bruce Museum until 2001, when it became part of the mammal collection at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven, Connecticut.

In 2014, Glass and another student, Matt Davis, were curious about the specimen and commenced a DNA analysis. The work was funded by a grant from the Explorers Club.

They extracted DNA, and the test results matched the genetic profile for green sea turtle.

“We are pleased with the results of Yale’s analysis,” said Will Roseman, executive director of the Explorers Club, an organization of conservationists, environmentalists and others devoted to protecting the earth.

“The mindset 65 years ago and today has dramatically changed and what was obviously a unique event decades ago, has given way to a determined effort to introduce people to the foods that can sustain mankind well into the future.”

Fake Quotes by Founding Fathers Included in Gun Rights Bill

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A gun rights bill introduced at the Washington state Capitol includes some quotes falsely attributed to America’s Founding Fathers.

The News Tribune reports Republican Rep. Matt Shea of Spokane Valley introduced the measure Friday.

House Bill 2975 would create penalties for public officials who block people from owning or buying guns.

The four-page bill devotes a page to quotes on gun ownership purportedly from the men who created the U.S. Constitution.

Researchers say at least three of the quotes used in the bill and attributed to Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Alexander Hamilton were neither said nor written by them.

A staffer speaking on Shea’s behalf said on Friday that Shea is “happy to amend the legislation, if necessary, to ensure it includes only accurate information.”

Careening Car Ends Up on Roof Of Southern California House

PALOS VERDES ESTATES, Calif. (AP) — It’s hard to know what was more amazing: An out-of-control car ending up on the roof of a Southern California house or the driver somehow escaping serious injury despite the wild ride.

Palos Verdes Estates police Capt. Mark Velez says a driver with a medical problem lost control of his car on a residential street Wednesday.

Velez tells the Daily Breeze newspaper that the man hit two parked cars, rolled up the driveway of a house, ricocheted off another car and was somehow went skyward, ending up atop the detached garage of a neighboring house.

Firefighters pulled the man from the car and took him to a hospital, but he wasn’t seriously hurt. No one else was injured.

Police got a crane to pull the car off the roof.