Sunday, December 9, 2007
That's because McKnight holds the record for "Greatest Distance Thrown in a Car Accident" in the book's 2008 edition.
The 29-year-old record-holder lived to tell about being thrown 118 feet by a car that hit him while traveling about 70 mph. He was struck on Oct. 26, 2001, while trying to help accident victims along Interstate 376 in Monroeville, about 15 miles east of Pittsburgh.
He suffered two dislocated shoulders plus a broken shoulder, pelvis, leg and tailbone. He spent two weeks in the hospital and 80 days in rehab before returning to work in April 2002.
McKnight is a volunteer firefighter and paramedic, though he was not on duty when he stopped to help the accident victims. He works full-time as a communications specialist at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh.
McKnight's emergency room physician, Dr. Eric Brader, submitted paperwork for the record, which Guinness recognized in 2003. It was not listed in the book until the 2008 edition, however.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
The newly anointed Ashe's spitting cobra, or large brown spitting cobra (Naja ashei), can reach lengths of more than 9 feet (274 centimeters) and is believed to deliver more venom with a single bite than any other cobra on the planet.
The aggressive reptile was previously identified as a brown-colored variant of the black-necked spitting cobra, though researchers had long suspected that it merited its own species. Now blood and tissue analysis have confirmed this theory to be true.
The snake dwells in the dry lowlands of north and east Kenya, as well as in Uganda and Ethiopia.
It is named after James "Jimmy" Ashe, a prominent herpetologist who founded the Bio-Ken snake farm and research center in Watamu, Kenya, where the snake is commonly found. Bio-Ken milks snakes for their venom and sends it to labs to develop antivenin.
The findings were first published earlier this year in the animal taxonomy magazine Zootaxa by researchers at the University of Wales and the Biodiversity Foundation for Africa in Buluwayo, Zimbabwe.
But they gained wider notice on Friday when the researchers announced the new species through the nonprofit conservation group WildlifeDirect.
Royjan Taylor, the director of Bio-Ken, said the paper's authors had asked him to wait several months to give time for other herpetologists to challenge their findings. None did.
Spitting cobras eat eggs, carrion, snakes, lizards, and birds. Their venom has two uses: to kill prey and for defense. The reptiles can spray venom several yards and usually aim for the attacker's eyes, giving the snake the best chance for escape.
A Healthy Appetite
Snake experts had long believed that the brown spitting cobra was fundamentally different from the black-necked spitting cobra.
Other variants of the black-necked spitting cobra fought harder when handled and took longer to settle down in captivity. Once in their cages, they were picky eaters.
But the Ashe's cobra was less resistant to handling, generally less alert, and less picky. And they were bigger.
"There's a butcher here in Watamu who gives us chicken heads, and [the Ashe's cobra will] eat five or six chicken heads at once," Taylor said.
"That's very unlikely for the spitting cobra group."
Ashe's cobras are not the only kinds of snakes that get lumped together.
Researchers suspect that many different species of snake, such as the highly venomous puff adders, have been grouped into species that need greater differentiation.
The greatest significance of the new finding may be for residents along Kenya's Indian Ocean coast, who are at risk of being bitten by the new cobra.
Its venom is similar to the species it was previously grouped with, but it can deliver about twice the amount of venom with a single bite.
That means that doctors previously treating bites from what turned out to be Ashe's cobras were only administering half the necessary dose of antivenin to victims.
New developments in antivenin may be made from studying the chemical makeup of the new cobra's venom, researchers add.
"The fact that this is a separate species raises a question of the efficacy of existing antivenins," said David Warrell, a herpetologist at the University of Oxford, who was not among the co-authors.
"It hasn't been studied at all, so that's a complete mystery."
Taylor of Bio-Ken says he hopes the new species will bring in more funding for research.
He wants to study the snake's venom to see how it differs from that of other spitting cobras, and to find out what role it can play in antivenin production.
The snake is not thought to be endangered, but WildlifeDirect officials said its discovery should draw attention to the animals that are being lost to human encroachment.
"A new species of giant spitting cobra is exciting and reinforces the obvious," WildlifeDirect Chairman Richard Leakey said in a news release. (Richard Leakey is a past grantee of the National Geographic Society, which owns National Geographic News.)
"There have to be many other unreported species—but hundreds are being lost as their habitats disappear under the continued mismanagement of our planet."
Thursday, December 6, 2007
The winner of the contest was a home at 1916 32nd Street in Sarasota. It was bought by HomeVestors franchisee Gregory Weinstein of Goldmine Properties, LLC.
"The filth, trash and remnants from squatters left this house totally repulsive and a menace to the community," said Weinstein. To remove all "tenants," Weinstein was forced to enlist the help of local law enforcement. He purchased the property, sold it to a real estate investor and renovations are already underway to completely renovate the home.
The Ugliest Top 10
America voted for houses in these cities in the following ugly order: -0- 1. Sarasota, Fla. 2. Fort Worth, Texas 3. Phoenix, Ariz. 4. Salisbury, Md. 5. San Antonio, Texas 6. Dallas, Texas 7. Cincinnati, Ohio 8. Montgomery, Ala. 9. Detroit, Mich. 10. Philadelphia, Pa.
Malayalam famous actor Ajay kumar who is more known as UndaPakru is the shortest actor in the whole Indian industry. He has also made into Guinness book of word records of being the shortest actor to play a full-length character. He is only 2ft 10 inches tall.
He played the full-length character in the Malayalam film “Albhuta Dweep”, which was later dubbed in Tamil.
Pakru started his career in the filmdom as a mimicry artist and grew to be a full-fledged character artist. he is presently working in television serials.
A giant motorbike powered by a Russian tank engine has been recognised as the heaviest in the world.
It's been dubbed the Led Zeppelin by creator Tilo Nieber, 39, who said: "You don't get much more heavy metal than this."
The four-and-a-half tonne machine has driven into the Guinness Book of Records as the heaviest motorbike in the world.
It is 17ft 4ins long and 7ft 6ins tall and the engine alone weighs 1.8 tonnes after the armour plating tank cover has been stripped off.
The bike, which took a team of welders and mechanics almost a year to build at the Harzer Bike Schmiede in Zilly, Germany, is now hoping for a licence to travel on the road.
But in the meantime Guinness Book of Records spokesman Amarilis Espinoza confirmed it was the world's heaviest motorbike.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
An accounting mix-up led to the wrong woman being crowned Miss California USA, and she has relinquished her crown to the rightful winner, organisers say.
Christina Silva, 24, was declared the winner of the annual state beauty pageant, but she gave up the title to Raquel Beezley, who was originally named the second runner-up.
Beezley, 21, will represent the state at the Miss USA pageant next April.
The pageant's state director, Keith Lewis, said several judges questioned the results of the November 25 competition at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles. Lewis said the error was discovered the next day after the ballots were opened and recounted.
"It was a simple human error," Lewis said.
Silva has hired a lawyer and is weighing her legal options, according to her manager, Tony Brewster.
In a news release, Silva said she felt pressured to step down.
"They never could explain their accounting error, but told me that if I didn't give up my crown to Miss Barstow, my personal integrity could be questioned, and my career could potentially suffer," she said.
The contestants were scored by five celebrity judges who independently ranked them.
The mix-up occurred when the points were reversed, with the lowest point given to the winner and the highest to the fourth runner-up, Lewis said.
Roger Neal, who represents the Miss California USA pageant, said Beezley was the rightful winner.
The pageant allowed Silva to keep her crown, sash and necklace and returned her $US1,500 ($A1,700) entry fee after the error was discovered, Neal said. Duplicates were being made for Beezley.