Quirky World ... Winehouse used as deterrent to wayward youth

Thailand: Social workers in Thailand think the sad story of the late musician Amy Winehouse can be a lesson to wayward youth, so they are treating about 100 of them to a movie about her.

Winehouse, who battled addiction to drug and drink before her death in 2011 — at the age of 27, was the subject of a well-received documentary this year, Amy.

The Thai Health Promotion Foundation and the Stop Drink Network arranged for nearly 100 boys from a juvenile detention centre, together with dozens of university students and members of various youth groups, to watch the film —saying they hope it inspires them to overcome their own problems.

Awrecknophobia

US: A woman jumped from her moving car after seeing a spider on her shoulder, leading to a crash that injured her nine-year-old son.

Police said terrified Angela Kipp was backing out of her driveway in Syracuse, northern Indiana, when she saw the spider and leapt out while the car was still in reverse gear.

Her son, who was in the back, climbed into the driver’s seat and tried to step on the brake, but instead hit the accelerator pedal, sending the vehicle into a school bus. He was taken to hospital with minor head injuries. No children were on the bus and the driver was not injured.

Sgt Chad Hill of Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department said Ms Kipp would probably not face charges.

Snow problem

Scotland: The Scots have hundreds of words for snow — more than the Inuit reputedly do, researchers have found.

Academics cataloguing different Scots words for the white stuff have officially logged 421 terms, including the most obvious ‘snaw’ but also ‘sneesl’ — to begin to rain or snow — and ‘skelf’ — a large snowflake.

The words will all be featured in a new Scots thesaurus, the first part of which is being published online.

The study by the University of Glasgow is part of a pilot project to compile the first edition of the Historical Thesaurus of Scots, classifying every word in the Scots language from earliest records to the present day.

The first two categories featured on the thesaurus website concentrate on Scots words for weather and sport, with marbles taking the crown ahead of football at 369 words. Other Scots words relating to snow include ‘feefle’ — to swirl; ‘spitters’ — small drops or flakes of wind-driven rain or snow; ‘snaw-pouther’ — fine driving snow; and ‘flindrikin’ — a slight snow shower.

Susan Rennie, lecturer in English and Scots language at the university, said: “Weather has been a vital part of people’s lives in Scotland for centuries.

“The number and variety of words in the language show how important it was for our ancestors to communicate about the weather, which could so easily affect their livelihoods. You might expect sports like football and golf to loom large in the thesaurus, but it turns out that there are actually more words relating to marbles — which is an indication of how popular the game has been with generations of Scottish children.”

As well as snow and marbles, the thesaurus covers sports such as golf and shinty, and the many words for clouds and mist.

The team will be adding new categories over the next few months, including another large one — rain.

Every dog has its day

US: A Washington state animal shelter says a dog dutifully stood guard for a nearly a week on Vashon Island to protect another dog that had fallen into an abandoned water tank.

Tillie, a setter mix, only left Phoebe’s side to try to alert people of her trapped friend. Amy Carey, of Vashon Island Pet Protectors, says the two were found yesterday after they were reported missing by their owners last week.

Vashon Island Pet Protectors says volunteers looking for the pair received a call about a reddish dog being seen on someone’s property a few times before promptly heading back into a ravine.

Carey says the Pet Protectors followed the tip and found Tillie lying beside an old cistern.

Inside, rescuers found Phoebe, a basset hound, on a pile of stones above the water.

Every cloud...

US: Every one of us is surrounded by a ‘microbial cloud’ that contains millions of bugs which is almost as personal as a fingerprint, research has shown.

Scientists were able to identify individuals from a group of volunteers just by sampling germs from the air around them.

Each cloud had a ‘signature’ that could be read by carrying out genetic analysis of the bacteria, the study led by the University of Oregon found.


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