Hunting deaths spur debate
Hunting enthusiasts have killed 13 people and wounded 33 in shooting accidents since the season opened last month, increasing pressure to reform antiquated hunting laws. The death toll swelled across the country this weekend when a 16-year-old was killed by a friend while hunting, a pensioner was shot and wounded in his garden, and a cyclist was hospitalized after being hit with grapeshot. Hunting groups agree with environmentalists that the law — which allows hunters to roam on private land and discharge firearms within 150m of a house — should be changed. However, the sides have become entrenched in a long-running stalemate over how. Among those calling for an outright ban is Association of Hunting Victims head Daniela Casprini. “The question is no longer about who is for and who is against hunting. This is to stop a true massacre,” Casprini said on Monday.
Artist makes voyeurs happy
An Austrian artist has installed a one-way mirror in a Vienna cafe that allows men to peek from their restroom into the ladies’ room. Alexander Riegler told the daily Heute newspaper on Monday that the mirror is an attempt to “stir people into a discussion of voyeurism and surveillance,” in an era when almost everyone is being watched. Cafe employee Alexander Khael-Khaelsberg says the mirror only shows women at the sink and does not offend anyone’s private sphere. He told the daily Heute newspaper that women will get their turn in January when the mirror is reversed to let them look at men’s faces while they stand at the urinal. The restaurant recently put up a sign advising women that they are part of an “art project” after complaints.
Whale mimics humans
It could be the muffled sound of singing in the shower or that indecipherable voice from the Muppets’ Swedish Chef. Surprisingly, scientists said the audio they captured was a whale imitating people. The whale song sounded so eerily human that divers initially thought it was a human voice. Handlers at the National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego heard mumbling in 1984 coming from a tank containing whales and dolphins that sounded like two people chatting far away. One day, when a diver surfaced from the tank and asked “Who told me to get out?” researchers realized the garble came from a captive male Beluga whale. For several years, they recorded its spontaneous sounds. An acoustic analysis revealed the human-like sounds were several octaves lower than typical whale calls. Scientists think the whale’s close proximity to people allowed it to listen to and mimic human conversation. It did so by changing the pressure in its nasal cavities.
Woman set on fire in park
A 20-year-old black woman told police she was set on fire by three men who wrote the initials KKK and a racial slur on her car in northeastern Louisiana. Louisiana State Police spokeswoman Lieutenant Julie Lewis said Sharmeka Moffitt was found with burns on more than half of her body when police responded to her emergency call on Sunday night. Moffitt was in critical condition on Monday at a hospital. Lewis said the FBI is investigating the attack as a possible hate crime, but that no arrests had been made yet. Moffitt told police the men doused her in a flammable liquid and set her on fire in a town park. Lewis said she extinguished the fire using water from a spigot before a police officer arrived.