Stuff You Don’t See Every Day

I can see you and you and you and ...
As I was flipping through my options for topics today I glanced outside my window and saw a homeless man, pushing an old TV while wearing a chiffon dress. I said to myself, “Self, that’s something you don’t see every day.” Add it to underwater phones and 300lb cheerleaders as yet another thing you could have lived your whole life without seeing. But there are some things, life’s little oddities shunted to the side, that are worth hunting down and viewing. And, astute readers of this blog will know – automatically – that I’m talking about anything to do with female breasts.

All over the world, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and – no – this doesn’t mean you can ignore it the other 11, people are creating events to drive home the point that women need to be examined on a regular basis by a qualified physician and not just that dude in the bar. Or chick in the bar, as your tastes may run.

They do this by making professional athletes wear pink. They do this by ramping ads in various forms of media and, my favorite, tehy do this by showing happy, healthy, breasts wearing fun bras. York Arts Association, in Pennsylvania, is hosting an exhibit of bizarre bras. Various locales in Asia, especially India, are also hosting bizarre bra events. And, of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention New Zealand. Florida doesn’t participate because their politicians don’t believe women have breasts to begin with. Those things they see on South Beach aren’t really there. Just ask them.

Twee witto fishies in da itty bitty poo ...
IMPRESSIVE!
She's got the whole world in her ........

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Anyway, it’s all fun for a good cause, so go out and buy a bizarre bra for someone you love today.

Now, to the dark side of women with healthy breasts but no brains.

Minnesota police have arrested a girl for supporting her porn collection by crawling through doggie doors and stealing stuff.

Authorities say an 18-year-old Minnesota woman admitted to investigators that she broke into a neighbor’s home three times looking for items she could fence to feed her porn addiction.

Anoka County sheriff’s investigators say the neighbor called to report he had surveillance footage of Amanda Rose Owens sneaking into his East Bethel home through a dog door.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (http://bit.ly/oXEskf ) that the neighbor set up the camera after $300 and several items were stolen.

Investigators say Owens admitted she had broken in three times. She said she need money so she could pay for 20 to 30 pornographic DVDs she bought.

Seriously, how ugly could this girl be? I mean a girl who likes porn is so rare that men will gladly sever an arm to spend an hour with one. And she had to steal to support her collection.

Oh, wait, never mind, they posted her pic.

Well, maybe she can turn tricks on Twitter or something.

Okay, let’s seriously talk about something you never see. In fact, until today I would have bet it was something no one had ever seen. Some scientists in Nevada are claiming they’ve found the remains of a Kraken.

The curious arrangement of giant bones in a prehistoric ocean graveyard has caused one paleontologist to propose the existence of a giant squid-like kraken that preyed on bus-size “sea monsters.”

Other scientists, though, say the fossils can easily be explained without resorting to theories based on kraken—mythological sea monsters perhaps based on centuries-old sightings of giant squid or octopuses.

The fossils in question are about 350 miles (560 kilometers) northwest of Las Vegas, in Nevada’s Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park—a seafloor at the time the bones were deposited, some 200 million years ago.

The fossils are circular vertebral discs, or backbones, that once belonged to Shonisaurus popularis, a species of dinosaur-age marine reptiles called ichthyosaurs.

Based on the sizes of the bones, scientists estimate the ichthyosaurs grew to lengths of 49 feet (15 meters) or longer.

Kraken Self-Portrait?

During a recent family trip to the fossil site, Mark McMenamin, a paleontologist at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, noticed that some of the vertebrate fossils appeared to be neatly lined up into double rows.

Struck by the orderly arrangement of the bones, McMenamin came up with a remarkable idea for how they came to be that way, which he presented at a Geological Society of America meeting in Minnesota on Monday.

McMenamin’s hypothesis: that a giant squid or octopus hunted and preyed on the ichthyosaurs and then arranged their bones in double-line patterns to purposely resemble the pattern of sucker discs on the predator’s tentacles.

According to a press release detailing McMenamin’s hypothesis—titled “Giant Kraken Lair Discovered”— “the vertebral disc ‘pavement’ seen at the state park may represent the earliest known self portrait.”

“I think that these things were captured by the kraken and taken to the midden and the cephalopod would take them apart,” McMenamin—who didn’t respond to a request for an interview Tuesday—said in the statement.

The kraken, he said, “was either drowning [the ichythosaurs] or breaking their necks.”

Explanation Doesn’t Require an Artistic Kraken?

Paul “P.Z.” Myers is an evolutionary biologist at the University of Minnesota Morris and the author of the Pharyngula science blog. (Pharyngula is part of ScienceBlogs, a network partially funded by the National Geographic Society, which owns National Geographic News.)

Myers called McMenamin’s hypothesis a “bizarre and miraculous story” and said his evidence is “weirdly circumstantial.”

The fossil arrangement “is not surprising,” Myers said. “It doesn’t take an artist octopus to do it.”

One could imagine, Myers said, that as ichthyosaurs died and their bodies rotted, their vertebral discs fell apart.

The bones “are taller than they are wide, so they’re just going to flop over to one side or the other and can just happen to fall into two parallel rows,” which then get preserved as fossils, he said.

Kraken “Fun to Think About”

McMenamin’s kraken ideas have received widespread media attention partly because they were presented at a scientific conference, but that’s no sign that a hypothesis is widely accepted or considered scientifically plausible, Myers added.

Scientific meetings “are where scientists go to talk with their peers and discuss preliminary data, so they naturally have fairly lax standards,” Myers said.

Ryosuke Motani, a paleontologist at the University of California, Davis, who has also conducted research at Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park, was equally skeptical of McMenamin’s idea.

“It’s fun to think about,” Motani said, “but I think it’s very implausible.”

Motani proposed an alternative hypothesis for how the bones came to be arranged the way they are.

“These bones are disc-shaped, so when they’re disarticulated after rotting, they lay flat on the seafloor and can get gathered up and packed together by ocean currents,” he said.

“This particular specimen [that McMenamin focused on] has two rows. But I’ve seen others that have three rows. … It’s natural that the bones get arranged like that.”

Oh sure Mr. Smarty Pants Super Professor Person, go ahead and use logic and facts on me, see if I care. I bet you could ruin a free night at the Moonlight Bunny Ranch.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waacof2saZw&w=480&h=360]

Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Thursday morning around 9:10!

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