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British man fighting ISIS alongside Kurdish forces is killed in Syria

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A British citizen fighting alongside Kurdish forces against the Islamic State group has been killed in Syria, a Kurdish commander said Wednesday.

Konstandinos Erik Scurfield was shot dead March 2 in the front-line village of Tel Khuzela, Kurdish commander Redor Khalil told The Associated Press. Another foreign fighter battling with the Kurds, American Jordan Matson, said he is with the body and working on getting the remains back to Britain.

Several foreign fighters have traveled to Syria and neighboring Iraq to fight with Kurdish militias battling the Islamic State group. Matson and four other foreign nationals told AP last month that they arranged to join Kurdish forces through the Facebook page run by the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, the main Syrian Kurdish militia fighting in northern Syria. Read more…

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In the ’80s, they put cat heads on human bodies without Photoshop

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In the ’80s, photographer Terry Gruber didn’t need Photoshop or Instagram to cash in on his goofy cat pics, and he didn’t have Tumblr to land a book deal either. It took countless trips to thrift stores, a photography studio and friends who accepted payment in wine. Oh, and a lot of cat shows.

Cat High, originally published in 1984, is a parody yearbook featuring dozens of real cats around the Northeast. From the modeling to the costuming, to the set production and props, everything was painstakingly done by hand — even the photo development and retouching

“When I look back at what I did and what I see now, I could probably do this book in four months now,” Gruber told Mashable. Despite having the kind of modern-day photo magic that could outfit a cat in minutes, he wouldn’t. Now a wedding photographer, Gruber prefers as little retouching as possible. Read more…

More about Pics, Lists, Cats, and Watercooler

Clocks across Welsh city stopped at 12 by disgruntled clock-keeper

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LONDON — Most people don’t have a public way to draw attention to problems with their employer. It’s a different story when when you’re the person in control of a city’s clocks.

Time stood still across Swansea after the city’s official horologist retired last week, stopping all the public clocks before he left.

72-year-old David Mitchell had been looking after the city’s 16 historic clocks for some 30 years but after he learned no one would be taking over the role after he retired, he decided to take action, leaving all council-operated clocks across the city with the hands pointing to 12

“I didn’t want the weights falling over on the pulley systems”
EVERY Swansea clock set to 12:00 by retired councilman pic.twitter.com/nNEQ0Iyw5M

— Owen Williams (@OwsWills) March 3, 2015 Read more…

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Treadmill Performance Predicts Mortality

An anonymous reader writes: Cardiologists from Johns Hopkins have published an analysis of exercise data that strongly links a patient’s performance on a treadmill to their risk of dying. Using data from stress tests of over 58,000 people, they report: “[A]mong people of the same age and gender, fitness level as measured by METs and peak heart rate reached during exercise were the greatest indicators of death risk. Fitness level was the single most powerful predictor of death and survival, even after researchers accounted for other important variables such as diabetes and family history of premature death — a finding that underscores the profound importance of heart and lung fitness, the investigators say.” The scoring system is from -200 to +200. People scoring between -100 and 0 face an 11% risk of dying in the next decade. People scoring between -200 and -100 face a 38% risk of death within the next decade. People scoring above zero face only a 3% chance or less.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple Grabbed Record 25% Share Of Smartphone Sales In China: Kantar

apple-1-infinite-loop Apple’s continued progress in China saw the company claim one-quarter of smartphone sales in urban areas in the country for the first time, according to a new report from Kantar. Read More

Hundreds of starving koalas killed in Australia

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Hundreds of koalas have been killed by lethal injection in Australia due to an overpopulation crisis near the Great Ocean Road in Victoria.

The Australian reported 686 koalas were euthanasied in secret by wildlife authorities in three separate operations in 2013 and 2014. The culling project was kept under wraps due to fears of a community backlash.

Deakin University lecturer Desley Whisson, who specialises in koalas, clarified to Mashable it was not a secret cull but “a program implemented to reduce the suffering of starving koalas.” She said despite reports, there was no effort to keep the program secret. Read more…

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Survival of the laziest: 15 animals catching a ride on other animals

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A stunning photograph of a weasel gliding through the air on the back of a woodpecker charmed the Internet on Monday.

Fortunately, it’s only the latest example in a long, adorable history of interspecies piggyback rides. Some animals are better suited to host hitchhikers than others

Turtles and tortoises are the natural Ubers of the animal kingdom because of their hard, flat shells. With capybaras’ chill attitudes, they are nature’s unofficial party bus. The most traditional riding animal, horses, are basically a sensible minivan Read more…

More about Lists, Cute Animals, Gifs, Watercooler, and Pics

Rescue operation underway after explosion in Ukrainian coal mine

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The speaker in Ukraine’s parliament says 32 workers have been killed by an explosion at coal mine in war-torn eastern Ukraine.

Volodymyr Groysman told lawmakers that the accident happened before dawn Wednesday.

However, the Donetsk People’s Republic emergency situations spokeswoman said it was irresponsible to say 32 people were dead as rescuers have not reached the workers yet. Yuliana Bedilo said one person was dead, 14 others are injured and 73 remain trapped underground

She said the explosion was caused by a mixture of gas and air — a common cause of industrial mining accidents. Read more…

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Volvo Brings Cloud To The Car To Transmit Safety Data Automatically

Smart Volvo Imagine you’re driving down the road in winter and you encounter black ice. Your car swerves treacherously, and as it does, the built-in sensors in the automobile sense this, collect the location of your car and share the data to the cloud. The next car equipped with this advanced system that comes down the same road will get a warning communicated from the cloud, as it approaches… Read More

UK festival guide: Where to spend your time and money this summer

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LONDON — From The Great Escape’s seaside shindig in early May to the epic blowout of Bestival in September, the UK packs in an almost endless number of festivals over the summer.

Some are huge, three day affairs with hundreds of bands on dozens of stages while others offer a more intimate experience.

Cold March days are the perfect time to think about where your time and money is going this summer, so here – in chronological order – are some of our favourites.

The Great Escape

Brighton in East Sussex plays host to the Great Escape new band festival every May.

Brighton in East Sussex plays host to the Great Escape new band festival every May.

Image: Alex Robinson/JAI/Corbis

Where: Brighton
When: May 14-16
Line-up (includes): Alabama Shakes, Kate Tempest, George The Poet, Django Django, Swim Deep, Neon Waltz
Price: £54.45 for a three-day ticket.
Tickets Read more…

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