Obvs, new Scrabble word list should provide some lolz

ENGLAND: Lolz, shizzle, and cakehole are among 6,500 words added to the existing quarter of a million in the latest Collins Scrabble word list.

Slang words used on social media, in texts, and on the street are now available to fans of the traditional word game seeking to outplay their opponents. These include obvs (obviously), lolz (laughs), cakehole (mouth), and dench (excellent).

The new word list also recognises the role technology continues to play in our lives with the addition of facetime, hashtag, tweep, and sexting. This is the first update to the list since 2011.

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‘Chicken from hell’

USA:

Some 18,000 species, great and small, were discovered in 2014, adding to the 2m already known, scientists said, as they released a top 10 list that highlights the diversity of life.

The 10 are “a reminder of the wonders awaiting us”, said Quentin Wheeler, president of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, which issues the list. An estimated 10m species are still unknown to science.

Researchers have to move fast: Development, poaching, and climate change are driving plants and animals to extinction faster than science can discover them.

Two animals made the list because of unusual parenting. A wasp from China is the first animal found to use chemical weapons to thwart predators that might have designs on its offspring. Mothers fill part of their nest with dead ants, which give off volatile chemicals that mask the scent of larvae, throwing off would-be predators.

A frog from Indonesia breaks the rule of anuran reproduction. Rather than laying eggs, as almost all the world’s 6,455 species of frogs do, or giving birth to froglets, it deposits tadpoles into shallow pools.

One of the top 10, dubbed “the chicken from hell”, is extinct. The feathered dinosaur whose partial skeletons were unearthed in the Dakotas was a contemporary of Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops.

Two species caught the list-makers’ attention for their performance art.

A spider from the sand dunes of Morocco cartwheels to thwart predators, moving twice as fast as when it runs, while a pufferfish from Japan turns out to be the creator of intricate circles on the sea floor which had mystified scientists for 20 years. Males construct the circles, meant to attract females, by swimming and wriggling in the sand.

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Stuffed-tiger kidnapping

USA:

The sight of a stuffed tiger attached to the top of a car cruising around a lake was enough to generate a 911 call from someone who thought it was real.

Connor Zuvich said he was by Lacamas Lake in Camas, Washington state, with some friends when a lorry came by and dumped some rubbish and the giant tiger. He tied it to the top of his vehicle, then he and his friends started cruising around the lake.

Officer Henry Scott was sent to investigate the tiger 911 call, described by Camas police as an “animal problem”. Zuvich, 19, said he and the officer traded jokes and photos, then parted ways.

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Message in a... film case

USA:

A man in Ohio has found a 21-year-old message secreted in a camera film case that had travelled some 65km down the Grand River in western Michigan.

Terry Smith found the case with the messages while hunting for mushrooms. The case contained three pieces of paper written by two 12-year-old girls in Lansing in 1994 — two show drawings of the girls, while the third is a letter to the finder of the film case.

Leah Sedelmaier, one of the authors of the note, was contacted by Smith. She does not remember putting together the note, but said she was shocked it was found.

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