Louisiana chimpanzee wins first prize in art contest


NEW ORLEANS (AP) – A painting by a 37-year-old Louisiana primate who applies color with his tongue instead of a brush has been deemed the finest chimpanzee art in the land.

Brent, a retired laboratory animal, was the top vote-getter in an online chimp art contest organized by the Humane Society of the United States, which announced the results Thursday. He won $10,000 for the Chimp Haven sanctuary in northwest Louisiana.

A Chimp Haven spokeswoman said Brent was unavailable for comment Thursday. “I think he’s asleep,” Ashley Gordon said.

But as the society said on its website, “The votes are in, so let the pant hooting begin!” – pant hooting being the characteristic call of an excited chimp.

Five other sanctuaries around the country competed, using paintings created during “enrichment sessions,” which can include any of a wide variety of activities and playthings.

Chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall chose her favorite from photographs she was sent. That painting, by Cheetah, a male at Save the Chimps in Fort Pierce, Fla., won $5,000 as Goodall’s choice and another $5,000 for winning second place in online voting, Humane Society spokeswoman Nicole Ianni said.

This undated image provided by Chimp Haven, Inc. shows Brent, a chimpanzee at its shelter in Keithville.

This undated image provided by Chimp Haven, Inc. shows Brent, a chimpanzee at its shelter in Keithville.

 

Ripley from the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula, Fla., won third place and $2,500.

More than 27,000 people voted, Ianni said in a news release. The organization is not giving vote totals “to keep the focus on the positive work of the sanctuaries and not necessarily the ‘winner,'” she said in an email. The sanctuaries care for chimpanzees retired from research, entertainment and the pet trade. Chimp Haven is the national sanctuary for those retired from federal research.

Other submitted paintings were by Jamie, a female at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in Cle Elum, Wash.; Jenny, a female at Primate Rescue Center in Nicholasville, Ky.; and Patti, a female at Chimps Inc. in Bend, Ore.

A profile of Brent on the Humane Society’s website says he has lived at Chimp Haven since 2006, is protective of an even older chimp at the sanctuary and “loves to laugh and play.” It continues, “Brent paints only with his tongue. His unique approach and style, while a little unorthodox, results in beautiful pieces of art.”

Cathy Willis Spraetz, Chimp Haven’s president and CEO, said she chose a painting by Brent partly because of that unusual method. She said she later held a canvas up to the mesh of his indoor cage so she could watch him at work.

Some other chimps use brushes or point to the colors they want on the canvas, but Brent comes up to smush pre-applied blobs of child-safe tempera paints with his tongue, she said.

“If we handed the canvas to them where it was on the inside, they might not want to hand it back,” she said. “They might throw it around and step on it.”

New Children’s Books series – The Diaries of Montague J. Milford


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The Diaries of Montague J. Milford can be summed up as Sherlock Holmes meets The X Files.

Set in the mid 1800’s the stories center around Montague J. Milford, a young scientist who travels around investigating accounts of the paranormal trying to disprove them only to discover the strange goings on are real. He is joined on his adventures by Lady Ann Pendelton, a young Victorian era English daughter of nobility who shares his insatiable curiosity and love of science.

Geared for young readers the material is a mixture of adventure story telling, accurate period scientific technology and fantasy. My goal is to create stories that entertain the young readers while at the same time offer a hero and heroine that use there wits and scientific knowledge to save the day. With a mixture of humor, bravery, and ingenuity Montague and Lady Ann face down phantoms, creatures and things that go bump in the night. Montague is a scientist who uses his expertise to try to debunk accounts of super natural goings on only to have his courage tested when faced with the existence of super natural beings. With clinical problem solving reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes he sets out on his quest for the truth. The character of Lady Ann also provides an excellent roll model for young girls through not only her bravery in peril but through her being the intellectual and technical equal of Montague.

Raising money for a Halloween launch!

It’s such an exciting feeling! We already have two books completed, The Shadow of Cavendor Manor and The Phantom of the Docks, and we are working on a third The Beast of Boston!. The goal is to have an ongoing series following Montague and Lady Ann on their adventures. But to do that we need to complete the third volume and get the word out!

The funds we are raising will not only go towards the cover design and editing costs of the third book but also to a promotional campaign for the series this Halloween. Graphic design and editing are quite expensive.  And promotional materials even more so with printing costs and ad placement. After all a project can only be successful if people know about it. So we have come to indiegogo to raise what we need.

We truly do believe in our concept and I love writing about these two wonderful characters. I know a lot of people say it but I think we honestly do have the next Harry Potter on our hands. The concept is completely original, the stories are fun and exciting, and the possibilities for adventure are endless.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT OUR INDIEGOGO CROWD SOURCING SITE AND HELP SUPPORT OUR BOOK!

OUR SPECIAL THANK YOU GIFTS!

I want to thank everyone who supports us in bringing our books to the public. You are as much a part of the team as we are. So the best way to show thanks is with credit in the books and even first edition copies to share and treasure. We appreciate all contributions large and small.

And if you think you may know someone who would like to help us as well please tweet a link to our indiegogo campaign or share it on your facebook

D’oh! American tourist accidentally snaps finger off medieval Italian statue


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D’oh!

An American tourist who was visiting a museum in Italy accidentally snapped the pinky finger off a medieval statue, authorities in Florence say.

The statue, believed to be from the 14th or 15th century, is thought to be the work of sculptor Giovanni D’Ambrogio. Security guards at Museo dell’Opera del Duomo say they spotted the unidentified, middle-aged man touching the statue but were unable to stop him before he damaged the work. He reportedly told the guards he was trying to measure it.

“In a globalized world like ours, the fundamental rules for visiting a museum have been forgotten,” museum head Timothy Verdon told MSN U.K. “That is, ‘Do not touch the works.’”

It’s unclear how much repairs to the statue would cost. Verdon said the man, who was visiting from Missouri, apologized.

“It is a fairly simple restoration,” the museum told the Daily News, adding that the incident was reported to police.

It’s apparently not the first time the statue had been damaged.

“This was already a very fragile piece of art,” Ambra Nepi, head of communications for the museum, told ABC News. “But every year throughout the Duomo we have many items that are damaged and broken.”

Rare Dinosaur Find: Abandoned Nests with Eggshells


Many fossilized dinosaur eggs have been found, at over 200 sites around the world.

Many fossilized dinosaur eggs have been found, at over 200 sites around the world.

 

LiveScience.com 

Huge meat-eating dinosaurs that stalked a vast floodplain some 150 million years ago in what is now Portugal left behind traces of their progeny: eggshells.

Some of the eggshells, which belonged to two Jurassic-Era theropods, or a group of carnivorous dinosaurs, once harbored embryos of Torvosaurus, the largest predator of its day.

“It was the equivalent of the T. rex in the Cretaceous,” said study co-author Vasco Ribeiro, a paleontologist at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa in Portugal.

Ribeiro and his colleagues aren’t sure how the eggs came to be abandoned.

Delicate finds

Because they are so delicate, dinosaur eggs are a relatively rare find. Paleontologists unearthed some of the most primitive Torovosaurus embryos ever found earlier this year, and there have been occasional dinosaur nursery finds, including a clutch of hundreds of dinosaur egg fragments found in Spain. [Image Gallery: Dinosaur Daycare]

Ribeiro and his colleagues found the eggshell fragments at two separate sites, both of which were part of the Lourinhã Formation, a geological formation known for its rich Jurassic dinosaur nest sites. During that time period, the area was a floodplain that cycled through dry seasons and monsoon rains.

The eggshells were shattered and there was no trace of the dinosaur embryos that once coiled inside. But by analyzing the size, shape and texture of the eggshells, the team was able to deduce which animals left those eggs so long ago.

The shells found at one site came from spherical eggs that were about 6 inches (15 centimeters) in diameter. They likely belonged to a Torvosaurus, a massive, bipedal dinosaur that grew up to 36 feet (11 meters) tall.

The eggs at the other site were harder to identify. But the researchers believe the eggs may have contained embryos of Lourinhanosaurus antunesi, a theropod that was about 15 feet (4.5 m) long when full-grown. When intact, the eggs from that site would have been about 5 inches (13 cm) along the long axis and 3.5 inches (9 cm) along the short axis.

Neglected or protected?

The researchers don’t know exactly how the eggs came to be abandoned.

One possibility is that the ancient carnivores laid many eggs and simply left those eggs to their own fates. Other researchers argue that these dinosaurs, like crocodiles, were attentive parents during embryonic development, guarding their clutches from predators.

Either way, once the hatchlings emerged, they were probably on their own, Ribeiro said.

“We have no evidence that mother dinosaur took food to the nest or protected the nest,” Ribeiro told LiveScience.


Brazilian man dies after cow falls through his roof on top of him: TRUE STORY


A Brazilian man died after a cow fell through his roof on top of him as he was in bed.

“I didn’t bring my son up to be killed by a falling cow.”

 

The cow fell eight feet onto Mr de Souza's bed

The cow fell eight feet onto Mr de Souza’s bed

By Matt Roper

http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Joao Maria de Souza, 45, had been in bed with his wife Leni when the animal fell through the ceiling of their home in Caratinga, southeast Brazil.

The cow is believed to have escaped from a nearby farm and climbed onto the roof of the couple’s house, which backs onto a steep hill on Wednesday night.

The corrugated roof immediately gave way and the one-and-a-half-ton animal fell eight feet onto Mr de Souza’s side of the bed.

Joao Maria de Souza, 45, died from internal bleeding while still waiting to be seen by doctors, according to his family (SUPER CANAL TV )

Joao Maria de Souza, 45, died from internal bleeding while still waiting to be seen by doctors, according to his family (SUPER CANAL TV )

 

Rescuers took Mr de Souza to hospital with a fractured left leg but no other obvious injuries, reporting that he was conscious and talking normally.

Hours later however he died from internal bleeding while still waiting to be seen by doctors, according to his family.

Mr de Souza’s brother-in-law Carlos Correa told Brazil’s Hoje em Dia newspaper: “Being crushed by a cow in your bed is the last way you expect to leave this earth.

“But in my view it wasn’t the cow that killed our Joao, it was the unacceptable time he spent waiting to be examined.”

The damaged roof

The damaged roof

 

His grieving mother, Maria de Souza, told Brazil’s SuperCanal TV channel: “I didn’t bring my son up to be killed by a falling cow.”

Police in Caratinga, Minas Gerais state, have launched an inquiry into the bizarre death.

The owner of the cow could be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

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