Blog Posts by Eric Pfeiffer

  • World’s oldest movies discovered in prehistoric caves (VIDEO)

    The world's oldest moving picture shows have been discovered in French caves dating back 30,000 years.

    Marc Azéma of the University of ToulouseLe Mirail and independent French artist Florent Rivère published their discovery in the June issue of Antiquity. They report that Stone Age artists used torches to create an animation effect on cartoon-like drawings inside caves.

    "Stone Age artists intended to give life to their images," Azéma wrote. "The majority of cave drawings show animals in action."

    The paintings show various animals in states of motion. Without the torch effect, the images appear to simply be of superimposed animals with multiple heads and appendages. But when the lighting effect is administered, the paintings appear to move in sequence.

    Azéma has spent 20 years studying Stone Age animation techniques, citing 53 figures in 12 French caves.

    "That such animation was intentional is endorsed by the likely use of incised disks as thaumatropes," Azéma wrote.

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  • Actress Charlize Theron's high heels at a recent press event. (Michael Sohn/AP)

    Researchers at the University of Kansas say that people can accurately judge 90 percent of a stranger's personality simply by looking at the person's shoes.

    "Shoes convey a thin but useful slice of information about their wearers," the authors wrote in the new study published in the Journal of Research in Personality. "Shoes serve a practical purpose, and also serve as nonverbal cues with symbolic messages. People tend to pay attention to the shoes they and others wear."

    Medical Daily notes that the number of detailed personality traits detected in the study include a person's general age, their gender, income, political affiliation, and other personality traits, including someone's emotional stability.

    Lead researcher Omri Gillath said the judgments were based on the style, cost, color and condition of someone's shoes. In the study, 63 University of Kansas students looked at pictures showing 208 different pairs of shoes worn by the study's participants. Volunteers in the study were photographed in their most commonly worn shoes, and then filled out a personality questionnaire.

    So, what do your shoes say about your personality?

    Some of the results were expected: People with higher incomes most commonly wore expensive shoes, and flashier footwear was typically worn by extroverts.

    However, some of the more specific results are intriguing. For example, "practical and functional" shoes were generally worn by more "agreeable" people, while ankle boots were more closely aligned with "aggressive" personalities.

    The strangest of all may be that  those who wore "uncomfortable looking" shoes tend to have "calm" personalities.

    "Shoes have great variety of styles, brands, looks, and functions. Because of this variety, shoes can carry individual difference information, but do they? We suggest that the answer is yes," the study authors wrote.

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  • Prisoner escapes from jail cell—into packed courtroom (VIDEO)

    A suspect held in custody by police in Kentucky allegedly tried to break free from authorities in a mad dash for freedom. But when 41-year-old Christopher Bakanauskas attempted to flee from his cell at the Jefferson County Courthouse, he reportedly ran straight into a packed courtroom full of police officers. Cue the sad trombone.

    [Related: 'Goodfellas' mobster Henry Hill dies]

    WHAS11 reports that the inmate had been placed in a holding cell Monday morning when he allegedly attacked a deputy and attempted to escape. Bakanauskas charged through a door but found himself in the courtroom. He then reportedly made it about 20 feet into the courtroom before he was tackled by court bailiffs. Authorities say that Bakanauskas, who was already facing a charge of wanton endangerment, can now add attempted escape and assault to his list of ongoing legal woes.

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  • Bullet explodes inside woman’s purse, shoots her leg

    A bullet mysteriously exploded inside a woman's purse (Dario Lopez-Mills/AP)A Pennsylvania woman was shot in the leg while shopping at a local department store on Tuesday. But in a nearly unbelievable twist, no gun was involved. Apparently, the woman was carrying the bullet in her purse, when it mysteriously exploded.

    "She did not have a gun in her purse or on her," Montoursville Deputy Police Chief Jason Bentley told the Williamsport Sun-Gazette. Bentley said the woman, whose name has not been released to the public, "was not aware" she was carrying two or three bullets inside her purse at the time of the accident.

    The 56-year-old woman was taken to a local hospital and was eventually discharged. In fact, the woman initially declined medical treatment, only heading to the Williamsport Regional Medical Center after her son reportedly encouraged her to do so.

    "Something must of hit the primer of one of the bullets," Bentley said. "The bullet stayed in the purse, but its casing put a hole in the purse and caused a minor leg wound."

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  • Rare blue lobster caught in Canada

    A blue lobster caught near Nova Scotia (Bobby Stoddard)

    Bobby Stoddard is a second-generation lobster-boat captain. But the rare blue lobster Stoddard caught off the coast of Nova Scotia was something his father had seen only once before in more than a half century as a professional fisherman.

    "This is the only one that I've ever seen," Stoddard told CNN. "And my dad has been a lobsterman of about 55 years, and he caught one about 45 years ago, but hadn't seen one since."

    The University of Maine Lobster Institute says that blue lobsters are a 1-in-2-million phenomenon, with their unique hue originating from a genetic variation that triggers a protein in the lobster creating the blue shell coloring. In 2009, a even more rare yellow lobster was caught in Canada. The yellow lobster has an orange and yellow hue, similar to lobsters that have been cooked. Yellow lobsters are a 1-in-30-million occurrence.

    Stoddard has unsuccessfully tried to donate the blue wonder to a local ocean institute that "didn't seem too interested," in his find. His girlfriend suggested Stoddard sell the lobster on a classified-ad site. But after several "weird" emails and phone calls, Stoddard pulled the ad.

    "I'm kind of a shy guy," he said. "When things get controversial, I kind of go hide. This is what I do for a living; I catch lobsters and sell them. I'm just trying to do the right thing. I thought, 'I just don't need this hassle.' "

    In the meantime, the blue lobster is residing safely inside a holding tank at Stoddard's business. If only to uphold the standards of truth in advertising, the crustacean hopefully won't end up on the menu at Red Lobster. However, the Associated Press notes that blue lobsters turn the same color as other lobsters when they are cooked.

    "I don't know what the best thing is to do," Stoddard told CNN. "It probably belongs back in the ocean, but I'd like for as many people as possible to see it."

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  • How to donate to Miami ‘cannibal’ victim Ronald Poppo’s recovery fund

    Jackson Memorial Hospital, where Ronald Poppo is being treated. (AP)Doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida have released photos of Ronald Poppo, the homeless man who had significant portions of his face bitten off on May 26 during an attack by the "Causeway Cannibal," Rudy Eugene.

    Poppo is said to be awake and alert, while doctors continue to treat his injuries. The hospital has set up a donation fund for Poppo. If you'd like to donate to Poppo's recovery, you can do so directly at the Jackson Memorial Foundation website that the hospital has set up in his name. So far, the donation effort has reportedly raised $15,000 for Poppo's recovery.

    CBS4 Miami reports that Jackson Memorial has released a photo of Poppo walking down a hospital hallway with the assistance of hospital staff. The photo at the link to the news story blurs Poppo's face but does provide an additional link to extremely graphic photos of his face. We've chosen to give readers an opportunity to contribute to Poppo's recovery fund rather than to focus on the sensational and disturbing nature of the pictures.

    Doctors said during a Tuesday press conference that while Poppo lost his nose and one of his eyes during the attack, they are hopeful that he will regain some vision in his remaining eye.

    Amazingly, Poppo is said to be following the NBA playoffs, and reportedly expressed his support for the local team, telling doctors, "Go Heat." However, Poppo is also reportedly concerned over the way he has been portrayed in the media, which is part of the reason he is listening only to sports news on the radio.

    Doctors said that Poppo lost about 50 percent of his face in the attack, not the 75 percent that was previously reported. They described Poppo as "very charming and positive," according to CBS.

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  • Groupon offers to name your baby for $1,000

    Would you pay $1,000 for a company to name your baby? (

    The deal-of-the-day site Groupon is offering a most unusual purchase opportunity that is sure to generate attention and controversy. For $1,000, Groupon will name your baby "Clembough."

    In the product's description, Groupon explains:

    "All too often, the importance of a child's name takes a backseat to other "needs" such as food, shelter, and clothing. Groupon, the World's Foremost Authority in Baby Naming™, has stepped up to address this issue. Upon your child's birth, Groupon will relieve you of the burden of naming your baby by bestowing a specially selected, custom first name upon your infant son or daughter. Purchasers will e-mail Groupon with their voucher number, and we will e-mail you back with a name for your child based on the name's aesthetic value and for how it might look emblazoned on a trophy one day—for a child named by Groupon will grow tall and proud, and he or she will be a beacon of hope in a world that is in such desperate need of one. Don't settle for non-Groupon-approved names such as Kevin or Bridget—let us gift your sweet child with a moniker for the ages."

    Just to be clear, the site is not offering you $1,000 to name your baby Clembough. It is charging you $1,000 for the so-called service. In the offer's "fine print," Groupon notes: "No substitutes or modifications. Spelling non-negotiable." In other words, you'd be paying the company $1,000 for a name they have already announced to the world. So is this offer for real?

    The Chicago Sun-Times writes that a Groupon spokesperson confirmed that the offer is in fact legitimate. And according to the Groupon site, at least one person has actually paid for the service, though Groupon is not revealing the purchaser's identity. Business Insider says it thinks the offer is a "PR stunt" done in conjunction with Father's Day. After all, why pay $1,000 for Groupon to name your baby? If you've somehow fallen in love with the name "Clembough," there's really nothing standing in the way of prospective parents giving their newborn baby that name.

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  • BBQ grill modeled after ‘smoking’ Magnum Revolver

    A grill designed after a Smith & Wesson 500 Magnum (

    A group of Idaho high school students have created a 15-foot-long grill modeled after a Smith & Wesson Magnum 500 revolver.

    The students created the gun-shaped grill as part of a project in their welding class and donated the final product to a local gun store. When the grill is fired up, its smoke is released through the barrel-shaped exhaust port, giving the appearance that the revolver has just been shot.

    "We'll use it for customer-appreciation barbecues, functions, and have it front of the store," Wrenco Arms co-owner Doug Harlicker tells the Bonner County Daily Bee. "It's kind of a neat little deal." Harlicker's son Stefan was one of the students who worked on creating the grill.

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  • Plaza Middle School (Eric Pfeiffer/Yahoo! News)

    A 13-year-old student in Virginia was suspended from school after teachers accused him of using an American flag to wipe his hands after going to the bathroom.

    Local affiliate WTKR NewsChannel 3 reports that the parents of Moses Hinton say the incident never happened and that their child is being singled out over his race.

    Hinton, who is African American, is part of the gifted program at Plaza Middle School in Virginia Beach. "[This has been] very traumatic," Victoria Hinton, Moses' mother, told the station. "It has had an emotional impact on my son's education."

    However, WTKR reports that Plaza Middle School's principal is also African American. Virginia Beach Public Schools Spokesperson Eileen Cox tells the station that a teacher witnessed Hinton using a nearby flag to wipe his hands after leaving the bathroom. When the teacher asked Hinton to explain himself, he reportedly said that the bathroom was out of napkins.

    Hinton's mother says he told her he touched the flag only after losing his balance while walking up a flight of stairs. Hinton's parents have since begun pursuing legal action, hiring attorney Wayne Scriven.

    "Why react so harshly?" Scriven said of the one-day, in-school suspension. "You have a bright, gifted, young black male; it seems to be an attempt to pour ice water on his motivation." Scriven points out that flag was not knocked over and did not suffer any damage in the alleged incident.

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  • Casino robbery suspect: ‘I was sleepwalking’

    Winston A. Riley says he was sleepwalking at the time of the alleged robbery. (Connecticut Department of Corrections)A Connecticut man accused of robbing an 81-year-old woman outside a casino at knifepoint says he was sleepwalking and has no memory of the alleged incident.

    An attorney for Winston A. Riley says he will enter a "medical defense" for his client, the Norwich Bulletin reports. 27-year-old Riley was arrested back on the morning of March 18 when the elderly woman said he pulled a large knife on her and demanded her purse while the two were riding a parking garage elevator at the Mohegan Sun casino in New London.

    Riley claims he was "awakened" by the woman after she fled from the elevator. Attorney Nicholas D'Amato claims to have confirmed with Riley's family that his client has had problems with sleepwalking since he was a child.

    "It is the first time we've encountered this," D'Amato said. "This is a legitimate medical condition."

    However, police claim Riley confessed to the crime after he was arrested, telling them he "just wanted some money."

    D'Amato disputes that claim, pointing out that Riley is a family man with no prior criminal record.

    Interestingly, the police report also notes that Riley could not recall why he had allegedly tried to rob the woman and said he became "scared and ran away" after she resisted him.

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