The mystery of the sailing stones has been solved.
For years, enormous stones have been moving across the Racetrack Playa of Death Valley National Park, leaving engraved trails in the muddy surface behind. No one understood how, though there was plenty of speculation, according to researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California San Diego.
Last year the researchers, Richard Norris and James Norris, placed stones equipped with GPS devices on the same stretch of land, then waited and watched.
“We recorded the first direct scientific observation of rock movements using GPS-instrumented rocks and photography, in conjunction with a weather station and time-lapse cameras,” the authors wrote in a study published in the journal PLOS One.
On Dec. 20, 2013, they witnessed 60 rocks move across the land.
They discovered that the very thin ice that trapped the rocks during winter melted in the midday sun, and then the ice and water and rocks were all blown by wind, making it seem as if the stones moved by themselves.
“In contrast with previous hypotheses of powerful winds or thick ice floating rocks off the playa surface, the process of rock movement that we have observed occurs when the thin, three to six [millimeter], “windowpane” ice sheet covering the playa pool begins to melt in late morning sun and breaks up under light winds of (about four to five meters per second),” they wrote.
Rules for Bank Robbers
According to the FBI, most modern-day bank robberies are “unsophisticated
and unprofessional crimes,” committed by young male repeat offenders who
apparently don’t know the first thing about their business. This information
was included in an interesting, amusing article titles “How Not to Rob a Bank,”
by Tim Clark, which appeared in the 1987 edition of The Old Farmers Almanac.
Clark reported that in spite of the widespread use of surveillance cameras,
76 percent of bank robbers use no disguise, 86 percent never study the bank
before robbing it, and 95 percent make no long-range plans for concealing the
loot. Thus, he offered this advice to would-be bank robbers, along with
examples of what can happen if the rules aren’t followed:
1. Pick the right bank. Clark advises that you don’t follow the lead of the
fellow in Anaheim, Cal., who tried to hold up a bank that was no longer in
business and had no money. On the other hand, you don’t want to be too
familiar with the bank. A California robber ran into his mother while making
his getaway. She turned him in.
2. Approach the right teller. Granted, Clark says, this is harder to plan.
One teller in Springfield, Mass., followed the holdup man out of the bank and
down the street until she saw him go into a restaurant. She hailed a passing
police car, and the police picked him up. Another teller was given a holdup
note by a robber, and her father, who was next in line, wrestled the man to the
ground and sat on him until authorities arrived.
3. Don’t sign your demand note. Demand notes have been written on the back
of a subpoena issued in the name of a bank robber in Pittsburgh, on an envelope
bearing the name and address of another in Detriot, and in East Hartford,
Conn., on the back of a withdrawal slip giving the robber’s signature and
4. Beware of dangerous vegetables. A man in White Plains, N.Y., tried to
hold up a bank with a zucchini. The police captured him at his house, where he
showed them his “weapon.”
5. Avoid being fussy. A robber in Panorama City, Cal., gave a teller a note
saying, “I have a gun. Give me all your twenties in this envelope.” The
teller said, “All I’ve got is two twenties.” The robber took them and left.
6. Don’t advertise. A holdup man thought that if he smeared mercury ointment
on his face, it would make him invisible to the cameras. Actually, it
accentuated his features, giving authorities a much clearer picture. Bank
robbers in Minnesota and California tried to create a diversion by throwing
stolen money out of the windows of their cars. They succeeded only in drawing
attention to themselves.
7. Take right turns only. Avoid the sad fate of the thieves in Florida who
took a wrong turn and ended up on the Homestead Air Force Base. They drove up
to a military police guardhouse and, thinking it was a toll booth, offered the
security men money.
8. Provide your own transportation. It is not clever to borrow the teller’s
car, which she carefully described to police. This resulted in the most
quickly solved bank robbery in the history of Pittsfield, Mass.
9. Don’t be too sensitive. In these days of exploding dye packs, stuffing
the cash into your pants can lead to embarrassing stains, Clark points out,
not to mention severe burns in sensitive places–as bandits in San Diego and
Boston painfully discovered.
10. Consider another line of work. One nervous Newport, R.I., robber, while
trying to stuff his ill-gotten gains into his shirt pocket, shot himself in
the head and died instantly. Then there was the case of the hopeful criminal
in Swansea, Mass., who, when the teller told him she had no money, fainted.
He was still unconscious when the police arrived.
Boob Aid will take place Saturday. It’s a 24-hour charity event where porn stars let the public grope them as they raise money for the Japan Foundation for AIDS Prevention. The event is in its 12th year and will be televised.
“I’m really looking forward to lots of people fondling my boobs,” Rina Serina told Tokyo Sports. “But I would be very happy if you would please be delicate.”
Serina said she was ecstatic that her breasts would be used for the greater good.
A giant panda slated to be the star of the first-ever live broadcast of the birth of panda cubs has lost the role — after it was discovered the bear is not pregnant after all, Chinese state media reported.
Not only was it a phantom pregnancy, but zookeepers suspect the panda, Ai Hin, may have been faking it to improve her quality of life, the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding told Xinhua on Monday.