Why Makes People Do These Things?


Authorities in the Spanish city of Seville busted a gang of ne’er-do-wells who were attempting to transport nearly 9,000 pounds of stolen oranges in their two cars!

After cops stopped the vehicles for driving suspiciously, officers were astounded to discover that the cars were crammed with hundreds of oranges.

The fruit was so haphazardly loaded into the cars that it actually came spilling out onto the street when police began trying to get to the bottom of what they’d uncovered.

When questioned about how they’d manage to accumulate so many oranges, the suspects coyly claimed that they had been collecting them throughout their travels.

As one can imagine, police found their claims to be pretty unbelievable, considering that there were more than four tons of oranges amassed among the vehicles.

Their doubts were confirmed when it was later found that the fruit was actually pilfered from a warehouse close to the city.

The group now faces robbery charges as well as whatever types of fines come from illegally transporting tons of fruit without the proper paperwork.



A Man on a Mission


Troy James Hurtubise (born November 23, 1963 in Hamilton, Ontario) is an inventor and conservationist from North Bay, Ontario, Canada noted for his often bizarre creations that he tests on himself. Some of these inventions include the Ursus personal armor suit, firepaste (an ablative heatproofing material), various ray generators, and recently, Trojan, which is a type of body armor.

Hurtubise built a metal suit for protection from grizzly bears; recorded as a National Film Board documentary and called Project Grizzly, in which Hurtubise tested the capabilities of the suit using himself as the test subject. This resulted in his Ig Nobel Prize for Safety Engineering in 1998.



Cow walks on wild side with Polish bison

Cow among wild bison, Poland, January 2018Image copyrightRAFAL KOWALCZYK
Image captionThe young cow stands out from the herd of bison

A domesticated cow has surprised Polish naturalists by spending the winter living with a herd of wild bison in the primeval Bialowieza Forest.

The cow “chose freedom” by running away from a farm late last autumn, and has been seen lingering on the fringes of a herd of some 50 bison in the forest on the Belarusian border, Poland’sTVN24 news portal reports.

Ornithologist Adam Zbyryt was the first to spot the cow. He made the news in November when he told TVN24: “it’s not unusual to see bison near the Bialowieza Forest, but one animal caught my eye. It was a completely different light-brown shade from the rest of the herd. Bison are chestnut or dark brown”.

He dropped his initial idea that this was a mutation when he trained his binoculars on the creature, and saw that it was Limousin cow – a French breed popular in Poland. The young animal appeared healthy, and unthreatened by the larger animals. Naturalists assumed it would wander back to its pasture once winter set in.

Then biologist Rafal Kowalczyk spotted the cow again this week, still apparently healthy, and keeping pace with the herd.

Cow among wild bison, Poland, January 2018Image copyrightRAFAL KOWALCZYK
Image captionThe cow has survived the winter unscathed

Dr Kowalczyk told TVN24 that this is the first time he has seen a cow join a bison herd. “She is not very integrated with the group, as bison act like one organism and she stands out.” He added that the herd had probably saved her from the wolves that prowl the edges of the Bialowieza Forest through the winter.

Although the cow may be out of danger, Dr Kowalczyk warns she could pose a threat to the bison themselves.

The unusual friendship could lead to mating, which would contaminate the vulnerable population of about 600 Bialowieza bison with hybrids. “Another danger is that hybrid calves are large, and the cow could die giving birth,” the biologist told TVN24.

The interloper is still too young to breed, but it looks like her winter adventure must end in recapture before spring comes.

Cow among wild bison, Poland, November 2017Image copyrightADAM ZBYRYT
Image captionAdam Zbyryt first spotted the cow lingering among the bison last November

Reporting by Martin Morgan

Art on the Skating Trail

Every year in Winnipeg there is a competition on The Forks skating trail. The competition is between warming huts. Artists build the huts and they are displayed along the trail. They are not what you would think to be a typical hut. They take all shapes and forms. Some are not huts at all, but innovative art work. I checked them out today.

The first one is something called ‘Open Borders’.


A string of nylon orange ribbons that dazzles in the sunlight.




Temple of Lost Things. Created by Winnipeg filmmaker Guy Maddin.


Really big slabs of ice cut out of the red River.



The Totem. People can climb up the structure to a height of 4.5 meters.





A mirrored hut







This one is called Bubble Beach




Back to the Assiniboine River




Portraits of Canada’s Ice Fishing Huts

Lake Winnipeg ice fishers reeling in ‘fish of a lifetime’ thanks to 1997 flood, says veteran angler

‘It’s probably the best walleye fishing in the world right now,’ says nature guide and fisher Lee Nolan


The Flood of the Century may have spawned the largest walleye that Lake Winnipeg ice fishers have seen in recent memory.

Veteran ice fisher and nature guide Lee Nolan said this year, fishers are finding giant walleye in Manitoba’s largest lake — and he said it all started with excellent spawning seasons.

“So back in 1997 and 2000, when we had very high water, walleye had a very, very good spawn,” said Nolan. “So you’ve got year classes of fish.”

The 1997 spring flood that affected large parts of Manitoba is considered the Flood of the Century, meaning the water reached the highest point it’s expected to reach in a century.

“Those fish are getting very mature now, so that’s why you’ve got a higher percentage of the biomass in the lake [that] is actually very, very, large fish.”

So how big are the fish?

“I believe the current ice-fishing record is about 35, 36 inches [roughly 90 centimetres] and I think there’s some fish that size out there,” said Nolan, adding so far, the biggest one he’s caught was 32 inches (81 centimetres).

“They’re very healthy, girthy fish.… It’s probably the best walleye fishing in the world right now for large walleye,” he said.

“We’ve got a good shot at breaking a world record up here this year, I think. There’s lots of people catching fish of a lifetime out there right now.”

Walleye weigh roughly one to two kilograms (two to four pounds) in a normal year, said Nolan. This year, they’re seeing seven-kilogram (or 15-pound) fish.

Staying on topic with ice fishing, below is a collection of Canadian ice fishing huts compiled by Modern Farmer.


As with any fishing trip, trolling the Great White North for char, smelt, and salmon requires a pole, bait, and enough beer to keep your buddies in good spirits. But given the potential for -40° temperatures and howling winds, Canadian anglers insist on shelter, too.

Not that it has to be sophisticated. The basic requirements include a roof, four walls, and a hole cut in the floor through which to lure the catch of the day. Scrap plywood and repurposed two-by-fours constitute the most popular materials. Indoor amenities range from a woodstove or propane heater to a kitchenette or satellite TV. Though Quebecois are known for kitsch and Newfoundlanders for dogged wit, a certain patriotic scrappiness reigns supreme, which is why Toronto architectural photographer Richard Johnson turned his lens toward the makeshift homesteads. “All the work I do for architects is highly polished,” he explains. “I was drawn to ice huts because they are crooked and textured and every one is so different.”

Beyond Photoshopping out the inevitable yellow pee stains around these man caves, Johnson took a hyperrealistic approach—employing a straight-on angle, gray-sky lighting, and a chest-high horizon line—to bring the unique qualities of each shack into sharp focus. “I see them as portraits of the hut owners without the owners present.”


Saskatchewan Though the antlers are purely decorative, those red reflectors serve a purpose: protecting this Anglin Lake hut from post-dusk snowmobilers.



Saskatchewan Pickup-truck campers are prevalent in Regina Beach. Note the gas-powered auger—the power tool of choice for making a hole in the ice.



Prince Edward Island Windowless huts dot the island’s 1,100 miles of coastline, allowing spearfishermen a clear view of their prey beneath the ice. This “darkhouse,” set atop skis, can be easily towed by a snowmobile, a four-wheeler, or a few gruff guys.



Ontario Snapped on March 14, the last day of Ontario’s winter fishing season, this image depicts a hobbit-sized hut about to be pulled off Lake Simcoe atop a sled.



Ontario Temporary power lines from the mainland allow the owner of this dwelling—part of a small village that appears every winter on the Ottawa River—to fish after sunset on a winter’s eve.



Ontario An Ottawa River shack exuberantly complies with the province’s license-number laws.



New Brunswick Heavy snowstorms left much of the province—including this camouflaged Kennebecasis River cabin—inaccessible last year.



Newfoundland What this remote island lacks in material wealth, its people make up for in ingenuity. The owner of this shack MacGyvered an old washing machine to serve as a wood-burning stove. “They repurpose whatever they can,” says Johnson of Newfoundlanders.



Manitoba The upside of Lake Winnipeg’s brutal winters? Extra-thick ice able to withstand the weight of relatively luxurious RVs.



Manitoba This plywood hut sports an “addition” on one end. “When a family expands,” Johnson explains, “they’ll knock out walls and build on.



Nova Scotia No bigger than an outhouse, this one-person shelter can be flipped on its side and scooted off the ice via side-mounted skis whenever Silver Lake’s mild maritime climate experiences a thaw.



British Columbia In Canada’s least wintry province, “most people just drill a hole and sit on lawn chairs,” says Johnson, making this Charlie Lake structure a rarity.



Alberta The folks of Alberta, known as “the Texas of Canada,” live large. Good thing, then, that the winter ice is thick enough to support six-person huts.



Alberta Like Texans, Albertans don’t hesitate to express regional pride.

The World’s Largest Cemetery

cemetery article-0-1FC0909F00000578-952_964x643

Wadi Al-Salaam (Arabic وادي السلام; Valley of Peace) is an Islamic cemetery, located in the Shia holy city of Najaf, Iraq. It is the largest cemetery in the world. The cemetery covers 1,485.5 acres (601.16 ha; 6.01 km2; 2.32 sq mi) and contains over 5 million bodies. It also attracts millions of pilgrims annually.


The cemetery is located near the shrine of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib, the fourth Sunni Caliph and the first Shia Imam. Thus, many Shi’ites in Iraq request that they be buried in this cemetery. As a result of improved transportation methods, Shi’ites from across the globe are (or seek to be) buried in the cemetery. However, burial at the cemetery “means being placed in one of the cemetery’s many catacombs.” According to an undertaker at the cemetery, each crypt can hold up to 50 bodies. The burial plots are controlled by Marja’.

cemetery wadi-us-salaam

Daily burials have been on going for over 1,400 years and the site is on the Tentative List of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. Burials in Najaf have been documented as early as the Parthian and Sassanid eras and ancient Mesopotamian cities often had similar cemeteries, where there was an accumulation of tombs.

It is estimated that during the Iraq War about 200 to 250 corpses were buried there daily, however, in 2010 this number had decreased to less than 100. Approximately 500,000 new bodies are interred in the cemetery annually from across the globe. This figure is an increase on the approximately 20,000 bodies, primarily from Iran, that used to be interred annually in the early 20th century. Most Iraqi and many Iranian Shi’ites have a relative buried in the cemetery.

As of 2014—coinciding with conflict against ISIL—it has been reported that burial plots are running out, resulting in many being stolen, illegally resold or improvised. According to one gravedigger: “I’ve never had it so busy. Not even after 2003 or 2006 [the height of Iraq’s civil war].”

The Battle of Najaf was fought between United States and Iraqi forces on one side and the Islamist Mahdi Armyof Muqtada al-Sadr on the other in the Iraqi city of Najaf in August 2004. The battle spilled over into the Wadi Al-Salaam.

Battle of Najaf

Major conflict began on 5 August, when the Mahdi Army (MA) attacked an Iraqi Police Station at 1 am. Their first attack was repelled but the MA regrouped and attacked again at 3 am. Soon after, a quick reaction force (QRF) from the U.S. Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) was dispatched at the request of the governor of An Najaf. Around 11 am the QRF came under heavy machine gun and mortar fire from the Mahdi Army within the Wadi-us-Salaam. The cemetery has been layered over the centuries resulting in large underground tombs, tunnels and surface monuments, many reaching two stories tall. The U.S. soldiers of 1st battalion, 1st Cavalry Division fought across this inhospitable terrain and under it in some of the first tunnel fighting seen since Vietnam.


cementery Wadi-Al-Salaam-001


Elephant Thwarts Lion Attack on Baby

An incredible video out of Kenya features the dramatic moment when a lion attempts to pounce on a baby elephant but is rebuffed by the creature’s monstrous mother.

Captured at the Samburu National Reserve earlier this month, the breathtaking video begins with Nablus, as she is known by wildlife workers, walking along with her baby behind her.

Suddenly, a ferocious-looking lion comes charging out of the brush headed straight for the unsuspecting calf.

Either by the sound of the grass swooshing as the big cat approached or perhaps mother’s instinct, Nablus deftly pivots around at the very last moment, causing the lion to pass on the attack and scurry away.

Clearly unhappy with what had just transpired, the enormous elephant throws dirt in the air to create almost a cover for her baby and stands guard over the calf in case any other danger was afoot.

Week in pictures: 20 – 26 January 2018


Photographs taken around the world this week.

An aerial view shows a car driving along a bank of the Yenisei River, outside Krasnoyarsk, Russia, 25 January 2018.Image copyrightILYA NAYMUSHIN/REUTERS
Image captionAn aerial view shows a car moving along a bank of the Yenisei River, outside Krasnoyarsk in Russia, where the air temperature was about minus 30 degrees Celsius (minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit).
A view of Mount Mayon volcano. as it erupted, from Our Lady of the Gate Parish church in Daraga, Albay province, south of Manila, Philippines, 25 January 2018.Image copyrightROMEO RANOCO/REUTERS
Image captionThe Philippines’ most active volcano Mount Mayon erupts, forcing more than 40,000 residents to evacuate the area. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, which monitors the country’s 22 active volcanoes, expects the explosions to continue.
Britain's Duchess of Cambridge, speaks to a patient during a visit to the sensory room of the Mother and Baby Unit at the Bethlem Royal Hospital in south London, Britain, 24 January 2018.Image copyrightHANNAH MCKAY/REUTERS
Image captionBritain’s Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, visited the sensory room of the Mother and Baby Unit at the Bethlem Royal Hospital in south London. The Duchess is expecting her third child, who will become the fifth in line to the throne behind Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
Bangladeshi Muslim devotees return home on an overcrowded train after attending the Akheri Munajat in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 21 January 2017.Image copyrightABIR ABDULLAH/EPA
Image captionBangladeshi Muslim devotees return home after attending concluding prayers on the third day of the Biswa Ijtema in Dhaka, Bangladesh. the second largest Muslim congregation after the Hajj.
Cloned monkeys Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua are seen at the non-human primate facility at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, China,, on 20 January 2018.Image copyrightCHINA DAILY VIA REUTERS
Image captionTwo monkeys have been cloned using the technique that produced Dolly the sheep. Identical long-tailed macaques Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua were born at a laboratory in China. The scientists say they followed strict international guidelines for animal research.
Orla Dean, 5, holds a placard during the Time's Up rally at Richmond Terrace, opposite Downing Street on 21 January 2018 in London, England.Image copyrightCHRIS J RATCLIFFE/GETTY IMAGES
Image captionPeople gather opposite Downing Street on the first anniversary of the first Women’s March in London. The event was inspired by the Time’s Up movement against sexual abuse.
Revellers in costumes take part in the traditional "Correfoc" festival in Palma de Mallorca on 21 January 2018.Image copyrightJAIME REINA/AFP
Image captionCostumed revellers take part in the traditional Correfoc festival in Palma de Mallorca. The Correfoc is a night of revelry in which participants dress as demons and parade through the streets with fire.
Italy's Federica Brignone competes during the FIS Alpine World Cup Women's Giant Slalom on 23 January 2018 in Kronplatz, Plan de Corones, Italian Alps. Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg won the race ahead of Norway's Ragnhild Mowinckel, and Italy's Federica Brignone.Image copyrightTIZIANA FABI/AFP
Image captionItaly’s Federica Brignone competes during the FIS Alpine World Cup Women’s Giant Slalom in Kronplatz in the Italian Alps. Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg won the race ahead of Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel. Brignone came third.
A portrait of Robert Burns is projected on to the front of Prestonfield House in Edinburgh on Burns Night, 25 January 2018Image copyrightJANE BARLOW/PA
Image captionA portrait of Robert Burns is projected onto the front of Prestonfield House in Edinburgh to mark Burns Night. The life of Scotland’s national poet is celebrated across the world every 25 January with recitations of his poetry, the eating of haggis and drinking of whisky.
A starling murmuration near the southern Israeli city of Rahat, in the Negev desert.Image copyrightMENAHEM KAHANA/AFP
Image captionThis impressive image of a starling murmuration was captured near the southern Israeli city of Rahat, in the Negev desert. A starling murmuration can be an amazing sight as thousands of birds swirl around the sky at sunset.