World’s Shortest Man Stops Traffic in New York City

Friday, September 19, 2008
Source: Associated Press

A short story – Smallest man is 2’5.37″ to launch 2009 Guinness’s World Book of Records

He Pingping from Inner Mongolia, the world's smallest man, sits on the lap of Svetlana Pankratova from Russia

He Pingping, the smallest man in the world

NEW YORK — It apparently takes a visit by the world’s shortest man to bring New York City to a halt.

Cab drivers, police officers and other busy New Yorkers paused in their hurried lives to look at tiny He Pingping as he walked along 42nd Street in Manhattan on Thursday.

The 20-year-old Chinese man is 2 feet 5.37 inches tall. He was in the city to launch the 2009 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. He is listed as the shortest man on the planet.

His brother-in-law told the Daily News in Friday editions that coming to New York is “like a dream” for Pingping, who lives in Mongolia and was born with primordial dwarfism.

Crowds in Manhattan stopped to gawk wherever he went. His brother-in-law said Pingping likes the attention.

Strange ‘Ant From Mars’ Discovered in Amazon Rainforest

Wednesday, September 17, 2008
By Andrea Thompson

[Ants evolved more than 120 million years ago]

"Ant from Mars"—A newly discovered species of a blind, subterranean predator — dubbed the “Ant from Mars”  is likely a descendant of one of the very first ants to evolve on Earth, a new study finds.

Christian Rabeling, an evolutionary biology graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, found the only known specimen of the new ant species in dead plant material on the ground in the Amazon rainforest at the Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuaria in Manaus, Brazil, in 2003.

Rabeling and his colleagues named the ant Martialis heureka (“ant from Mars”) because they’d never seen an ant like it before.

• Click here to visit FOXNews.com’s Natural Science Center.

The ant is well-adapted for its underground home, with a long, pale body and no eyes. It also has long, slender forceps-like mandibles that researchers suspect the ant uses to capture prey.

M. heureka not only constitutes a new species, but a new genus and subfamily of ants as well. The new subfamily, one of 21 ant subfamilies, is the first new one to be named by scientists since 1967.

Rabeling says the discovery, detailed in the Sept. 15 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, will help biologists better understand the biodiversity and evolution of ants.

For rest of article click [ HERE ]

Yoda the Cat Astounds With Four Ears

Tuesday, August 19, 2008
By Sara Bonisteel
Fox News

How many years, (oops I mean “ears”) does that add to a cat’s life? …..flagranny2

The real Yoda, and the cat named Yoda.     AP/Fame Pictures

The real Yoda, and the cat named Yoda. AP/Fame Pictures

They say cats have nine lives, but this one has four ears.

A genetic abnormality gave Yoda, of Downers Grove, Ill., four ear flaps instead of two.

Ted and Valerie Rock first spied the little guy in 2006 at neighborhood bar on the South Side of Chicago before a Bears game. He was the last of a litter of eight put up for adoption by the bar’s owner.

“The people in the bar, because it was coming up on Halloween, were thinking it was a devil cat or had evil powers or something,” Ted Rock told FOXNews.com. 

But the Rocks, who had lost their cat of 20 years just 6 months prior, saw something special in the gray kitten and decided to take him home.

Their “Star Wars”-loving son thought to name the cat after the tiny Jedi master.

“I had named him Barfly,” Rock said. “But we kind of liked Yoda better, and Barfly lasted only about a day.”

The abnormality can cause hearing impairments, though Rock said several veterinarians have given Yoda a clean bill of health.

“He is perfectly normal, hears well, energetic, cute little cat,” Rock said. “Very friendly, very social.”

The only thing these retirees worry about is a possible catnapping of their curious pet.

“We always let the cats go outdoors, but this one was so unusual we decided we didn’t want to do that,” Rock said. “So we had him chipped, and we keep him inside.”

There his four-eared force is used to entertain the grandkids.

“They come over and he comes running to play with them,” Rock said.

Bigfoot Trackers Say They’ve Got a Body

Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Fox News

         Believe it – Real or not 
Bigfoot may have been found. Maybe. We’ll see.

Two Northern California men and two Georgians say they’ve got a body, a photo and DNA evidence pertaining to the elusive forest-dwelling man-ape — and that they’ll reveal all at a press conference in Palo Alto, Calif., on Friday.

“I think you’ll find that this is the real deal,” Robert Barrows of Redwood City, Calif., told the Bay City News local wire service.

Matthew Whitton, a cop in Clayton County, Ga., and his friend Rick Dyer, a former corrections officer, say they recently found the body in the woods of northern Georgia.

Veteran Bigfoot tracker Tom Biscardi said he’s examined the body, and that scientists will get their chance soon.

• Click here to read the rest of this story at KTVU.com.

Girl’s Disease Turning Skin to Stone

Friday, August 01, 2008
Fox News

11 year old girl suffers from rare health condition that causes one’s skin to turn to stone…….
[This is a rare disease I have never heard of but certainly can image how hard it must be on her parents to watch and the digression of their daughter’s condition…. ]   

Young girl’s skin is turning to stone as she suffers from a rare, incurable disease called acute systemic scleroderma, Scotland’s Daily Record reported Thursday.

The autoimmune disorder means Hope Barrie’s body produces too much collagen, causing her skin to tighten and harden.

It is difficult for the 11-year-old from Tarbolton, Ayrshire, Scotland, to move around, and she has already had to give up one passion.

“I loved playing the violin and it would be amazing to start playing again,” Hope said.

Hope suffers from the systemic version of the disease, which starts out with poor circulation in the fingers and progresses to thickening of the skin, according to the International Scleroderma Network’s Web site. The disease may even spread to her organs.

As the disease progresses, the hardening of the skin makes it difficult to move fingers and toes, and open the mouth. It also can form scar tissue around the internal organs.

In America, the disease affects about 300,000 individuals [ which in my opinion is too many not be aware of ] many of whom are females between the ages of 30- to 50-years-old at the disease’s onset, according to the International Scleroderma Network.

Hope’s family told the newspaper they’re hoping that pioneering stem cell treatments being done in the U.S. may also help Hope, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy to fight the disease.

Although there is no cure for scleroderma, researchers at Virginia Mason Research Center and Duke University Medical Center are working with a stem cell procedure that has been shown to reverse the symptoms of the disease.

Emily Woods, of Plano, Texas, had the experimental procedure in 2006, according to a New York Times article. Within six months, the 87-pound mother — who had been close to death — was back on her feet and enjoying her daughter, the article said.

The transplant process involves doctors removing the stem cells from a patient’s own blood cells and returning them to the body, where it is hoped they will regenerate.

Click here to read the full story from the Daily Record

[ I know I came across “Gastroparesis” when a good friend of mine called and told me she had been diagnosed with this condition and I was just recently diagnosed with a condition called “hyperparathyroidism”.  It just makes you wonder how many diseases there are that we don’t know about.  I’m thinking of starting a blog on rare conditions that need public awareness.  If anyone would like to help me work on this project just let me know……flagranny2 ]

‘Montauk Monster’ Has Hamptons in a Tizzy

Thursday, July 31, 2008
Fox News

What’s brownish-purple, goes to the beach and stinks of rotting flesh?

 

New York’s celebrity-obsessed Hamptons summer season got even sillier this week when a strange-looking, very dead creature washed up on a beach in Montauk at the far eastern end of New York’s Long Island.

On Tuesday afternoon, a photo was posted on Gawker, the Big Apple’s reigning gossip blog, which treated the Montauk monster with characteristic respect: “Good Luck With Your Hell Demons.”

The animal looks like a bloated, hairless dog, except that it’s got an eagle-like beak, a prominent brow ridge and a curiously elongated front paw.

Speculation immediately arose that it might be a hitherto unknown marine mammal, a sea turtle without its shell, an artful Photoshop creation or — cue the ” X-Files” theme — an escaped experiment from the government animal-disease research facility on Plum Island, just offshore from Montauk.

The animal’s resting on sand in the photo, with no other indication of location or scale except for what appears to be a large fly on its back.

Gawker itself thought it had broken the case late on Tuesday, when it noted that the woman who’d e-mailed in the photo………..For full story and related links click [ HERE ]

‘Most Prolific Mom’ Gives Birth to 18th Child

Saturday, July 26, 2008
Associated Press to Fox News
When I read this article I have to admit I was amazed yet never could I imagine raising 18….flagranny2
Livia Ionce and her newborn daughter, Abigail, are surrounded by her husband, Alexandru, and 13 of their 18 children at their home in Canada.

July 26: Livia Ionce and her newborn daughter, Abigail, are surrounded by her husband, Alexandru, and 13 of their 18 children at their home in Canada.

ABBOTSFORD, British Columbia  —  A Romanian immigrant gave birth to her 18th child in British Columbia, making her the province’s most prolific mother in 20 years.

Proud dad Alexandru Ionce said Saturday that his 44-year-old wife, Livia, gave birth on Tuesday. Their daughter Abigail weighed in at seven pounds, 12 ounces (3.5 kilograms).

“We never planned how many children to have. We just let God guide our lives, you know, because we strongly believe life comes from God and that’s the reason we did not stop the life,” said Alexandru Ionce.

The couple immigrated to Canada from Romania in 1990 and now lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Their 17 other children range in age from 20 months to 23 years old.

Ionce said he did not know if the couple would have more children. The family now has 10 girls and eight boys.

“We would have liked a boy to be even,” he said. “We thank God all of them are healthy and happy.”

Ionce said the family has received calls from Germany, Romania and England, as well as from media outlets across Canada.