Blog Posts by Eric Pfeiffer

  • Military dogs taking Xanax, receiving therapy, for canine PTSD

    army.milEven the most hardened soldier can escape grievous wounds on the battlefield only to suffer deeply painful psychological traumas after returning home. And unfortunately, the same pattern of psychic trauma seems to apply for the dogs that help provide essential services for military men and women.

    New York Times reporter James Dao has a heartbreaking story today, which reports that among the present corps of 650 military dogs, more than 5 percent deployed with American combat forces are suffering from canine Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). And of that group, about half are forced into retirement from service.

    The relationship between military dogs and the service members who own them is a complex one. In fact, as recently as March, the military was highlighting the use of dogs to help treat human soldiers suffering from PTSD.

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  • Flying squirrels invade hospital emergency room for second time in two weeks

    (Joel Sartore/Getty Images)

    Most people spend their time in the hospital plotting their escape. It turns out that squirrels aren't all that different.

    At around 10 pm on Tuesday night, a flying squirrel managed to trap itself inside the emergency room at New Jersey's Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

    Now an ordinary squirrel in this position might just hide in a corner and make a quick dash for the nearest exit. But this gifted flying rodent repeatedly launched itself from an 8-foot-high wall-mounted lamp, in order to avoid firefighters from the Rahway Fire Department.

    "It would climb up on a light and would jump off and glide," said fire department spokesman Capt. Ted Padavano. "It looked just like a little squirrel, but once it jumped into the air, it had like a glider, or like a bat, skin under its arms, like a little square glider,"

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  • Video: Pig learns to walk upright on its front legs

    Below is an incredible video of a pig born without its hind legs that has learned to walk on its front legs. And while that might sound like an arduous and sad struggle, it actually turns out to be pretty amazing--and more than a little inspirational. The pig doesn't just hobble around on its front legs--it hoists up its entire body like a gymnast.

    The soon-to-be famous boar was born in China's eastern Anhui Province, where its owner Ge Ximping said, "It took lots of time and devotion but now all villagers love him."

    The video is worth checking out for the visuals alone--but also be sure to listen to the adorable little guy snort as he races around his neighborhood.

    (Via The Daily What)

    Other popular Yahoo! News stories:

    30 tons of trash left behind at "Occupy L.A." tent city

    FDR warned of Pearl Harbor attack days in advance

    Kentucky church bans interracial marriage

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  • 30 tons of trash left behind at “Occupy L.A.” tent city

    The political world will continue to debate the merits of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and its partner movements in cities across America. But there is one undeniable--if temporary--legacy that the recently evacuated partisans of Occupy L.A. have bequeathed.: 30 tons of trash.

    A Los Angeles Police officer looks through the debris that was left by Occupy Los Angeles supporters after the LAPD removed them from their camp at the Los Angeles City Hall (AP)

    Andrea Alacron, president of the city's Public Works board, told the Los Angeles Times that cleanup crews have already removed 25 tons of debris that the protestors who spent the past two months occupying the site have left behind. All of the removed debris will be taken directly to a landfill and disposed.

    "It's so contaminated, it doesn't even make sense to sort it out," said Jose "Pepe" Garcia, 49, superintendent of the city's north central sanitation district.

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  • FDR warned of Pearl Harbor attack days in advance

    A new book reports that two days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that officially brought the United States into World War II, President Roosevelt was warned about such a possible attack in a memo from naval intelligence.

    U.S. News' Paul Bedard writes more about the story:

    In the newly revealed 20-page memo from FDR's declassified FBI file, the Office of Naval Intelligence on December 4 warned, "In anticipation of open conflict with this country, Japan is vigorously utilizing every available agency to secure military, naval and commercial information, paying particular attention to the West Coast, the Panama Canal and the Territory of Hawaii."

    The memo comes from Craig Shirley's new book, December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World, which also reports that the Japanese were building a network of spies through their U.S. embassies and consulates. However, Shirley doesn't blame FDR for failing to act on the memo; instead, he compares the Roosevelt

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  • Kentucky church bans interracial marriage

    Stella Harville and Ticha Chikuni in a November 2010 photo by Harville (AP)

    A small Kentucky church has chosen to ban marriages and even some worship services for interracial couples. The Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church, located in Pike County, made the vote in response to a longtime member who is engaged to a man whose birthplace is in Zimbabwe.

    Other pastoral leaders in the area were quick to denounce the church's vote. "It's not the spirit of the community in any way, shape or form," Randy Johnson, president of the Pike County Ministerial Association, told the Lexington Herald-Leader.

    The small congregation, which usually hosts about 40 members each Sunday, held the vote after longtime member Stella Harville, brought her fiancé Ticha Chikuni to church with her in June. The couple performed a song together at the church in which Chikuni sang "I Surrender All," while Harville played the piano.

    Chikuni, 29, who works at Georgetown College, is black--and Harville, who was baptized at the church but is not an active member, is white. Dean Harville, Stella's father, said he was told by the church's former pastor Melvin Thompson that his daughter and her fiancé were not allowed to sing at the church again. However, Thompson recently stepped down and the church's new pastor, Stacy Stepp, said the couple was once again welcome to sing.

    Stepp's decision prompted Thompson to put forth a recommendation saying that while all members are welcome at the church, it does not "condone" interracial marriage, and that any interracial couples would not be received as members or allowed to participate in worship services. The only exception? Funerals.

    The Harville family has formally requested the congregation to reconsider the interracial ban, and Thompson has also said he would like to resolve the issue, the area CBS affiliate WYMT has reported.

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  • British man finds live frog in his chicken sandwich

    Back in the 70's, author Harlan Ellison used to disparagingly refer to fast-food offerings as "toad burgers." Yesterday, a man in the UK got a taste of the real deal when he discovered a live frog inside his chicken sandwich.

    The Sun reports that while dining at British chain Nando's, Ross Dance, 32, spit out the four-inch-long amphibian, but realized afterward that he had already bitten into, and swallowed, one of the frog's legs.

    "I think I might have eaten one," Dance said. "The thought of chewing on it keeps me awake at night."

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  • Man is accidentally shot by his own dog

    Duck Hunt gone awryDogs are man's best friend. Except, you know, when they're shooting a gun at you.

    And strangely enough, that's what really happened to a hapless dog owner in Brigham City, Utah. The man in question--a 46-year-old hunting enthusiast who is not named in local news reports on the incident--got a behind-full of birdshot courtesy of his loyal canine companion when he was out duck hunting over the weekend.

    KSL.com reports the man and his dog were traveling in a canoe-like boat when the man stepped out into a shallow marsh to set up some decoys. His left his 12-gauge shotgun resting across the bow of the boat, according to Box Elder County Sheriff's Deputy Kevin Potter.

    That's when the dog "did something to make the gun discharge," Potter said. "I don't know if the safety device was on. It's not impossible the dog could have taken it off safety."

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  • Oregon mom gives birth, didn’t know she was pregnant

    Not every family plans to have a baby but they usually have some idea once the baby is on the way. However, a Portland, Ore., woman who went to the hospital thinking her appendix had burst was told by doctors that she was actually going into labor. "I was 39 weeks [pregnant] and didn't have the slightest clue," Kim Nelson told local TV station KGW.

    "I thought the weight gain was due to cysts I had in my ovaries and working at Dairy Queen and eating all that food," she said. "I didn't have the slightest idea that this little bundle of joy was in my tummy."

    Also, those other bundles of joy delivered to your tummy from the local Dairy Queen generally try to avoid sending customers to the emergency room.

    In her defense, Nelson said she did not experience morning sickness throughout her pregnancy and doctors had told her she was infertile after developing those ovarian cysts after her second pregnancy.

    "When I got to the hospital, they're like, 'can you possibly be pregnant?' and I'm like,

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  • Miami prison “overrun” by strippers pretending to be legal assistants

    A Federal Detention Center in downtown Miami is falling under heightened scrutiny amid reports that South American strippers are posing as paralegals and smuggling in contraband for imprisoned, wealthy drug lords.

    The drug lords reportedly hire lawyers who then list the women as "legal assistants," which grants them access to the prisoners, the Miami New Times reports.

    "They take off their tops and let the guys touch them," veteran defense attorney Hugo Rodriguez told the paper's Riptide blog. "The majority of these young, very attractive women are noncitizens brought in exclusively for the purposes of visiting the FDC. Any lawyer can sign a form and designate a legal assistant. There is no way of verifying it. The process is being abused."

    According to an ongoing investigation by Riptide, the so-called legal assistants are also smuggling in assorted items, including issues of Playboy, feeding alcohol to an inmate through the prison bars using a straw and sneaking in a purse containing $3,000.

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