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The Weird Week in Review

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Donkey Not Reliable Getaway Vehicle

Three thieves dropped in through the roof and robbed a store at 2AM in Juan de Acosta, Colombia. They took rum and a variety of food and loaded the goods onto their getaway vehicle -a donkey they had stolen earlier. However, the donkey, a 10-year-old animal named Xavi, did not want to cooperate and began braying loudly. The commotion drew the attention of police in the small town, and the thieves fled on foot. The stolen items and the donkey were returned to their respective owners.

Goat Cheese Fire Closes Tunnel

A truck carrying 27 tonnes of Brunost, a caramelized brown goat milk cheese, caught fire as it traveled through the Brattli Tunnel at Tysfjord, Norway. The driver abandoned the vehicle about 1,000 feet from the tunnel's end. The fire burned for five days straight, while toxic fumes kept firefighters at a distance. No one was injured in the incident, but the tunnel may remain closed for several weeks.

Welsh Tourist Wrestles Australian Shark

Paul Marshallsea of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, was barbecuing at Bulcock Beach in Australia when he heard bathers yell "Shark!" The 62-year-old tourist saw a shark approaching children and ran into the water, grabbed the shark, and pulled it away from the youngsters.

Helicopters and lifesavers on water bikes later lured the shark out to sea with the tide.

An Australian coastguard spokesman said: "We don't recommend manhandling sharks but this gentleman did a great job."

The six-foot dusky shark snapped at Marshallsea's leg, but missed by a fraction of an inch. A nearby TV crew caught the action on video.

Live Otters Found in Unclaimed Luggage

A suitcase was left unclaimed in the oversize luggage area of the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok on Tuesday. There were no identifying tags on the bag, so customs officers opened it and found 11 juvenile otters -alive! They were identified as six Smooth Coated Otters and five Oriental Small Clawed Otters. Wildlife traffic investigators in Asia said they have seen otter skins being smuggled, but this is the first case of live otters intercepted in transit. The otters were sent to the Bang-Pra Breeding Center in Chonburi.

Chicken Wing Shortage May Affect Super Bowl Parties

The day of the Super Bowl is the second-biggest day for eating in America, ranked just behind Thanksgiving. A game day staple, the chicken wing, will be scarcer and more expense this year. Chicken producers raised fewer birds this year due to the high price of feed corn, which was affected by the nationwide drought. Only 1.23 billion wing segments will be available on Super Bowl weekend, which is 12.3 million less than the number consumed last year. The wholesale price of chicken wings is at an all-time high, at $2.11 a pound in the northeast.

Boy Fakes Kidnapping to Hide Bad Grades

An unidentified 11-year-old boy in Xinzo de Limia, Spain, sent his father a text message to say he'd been kidnapped. When the father called the son's phone, the boy whispered that he'd been grabbed off the street and put in the back seat of a car. The father, a policeman, issued a nationwide alert and authorities set up roadblocks across the region. Within a few hours, the child was found hiding in an empty apartment.

The boy explained that he had come up with the elaborate ruse to stop his parents talking to his teacher in a meeting scheduled for that afternoon fearing that they would be angry over his recent poor grades.

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Food
New Café Geared Towards Deaf Patrons Opens in Bogotá, Colombia
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At Sin Palabras Café Sordo, a trendy new watering hole in Bogotá, Colombia, patrons can dance, play games, enjoy exhibitions and performances, and grab a drink. But while ordering from the menu, they use their hands to communicate. Sin Palabras Café Sordo—which translates to No Words Deaf Café in English—is the South American nation’s first-ever bar designed to accommodate workers and customers with hearing impairments, according to The Nation.

Located in Bogotá's Chapinero neighborhood, Sin Palabras Café Sordo has both deaf servers and menus written in sign language. Customers sit at small tables and flick on a tiny lamp to signal a bartender over to order a drink. When patrons hit the dance floor, they’re greeted by large screens playing music videos with lyrics in sign language, and a pulsing floor that allows partiers to keep in time with the beat.

A trio of Bogotá entrepreneurs—Maria Fernanda Vanegas, Cristian Melo, and Jessica Mojica—teamed up to launch Sin Palabras Café Sordo in June 2017. None of these co-owners is deaf, but Vanegas told The Nation that their goal is “for us, people who can hear, to adapt to the deaf, and not the other way round, which is always the case.” Keeping with this theme, the bar has small cards to teach non-hearing-impaired customers some basic phrases in sign language. (Visitors who don’t know enough sign language to order off the menu can point to items they want, or write them down.)

Business has been so good for Sin Palabras Café Sordo that Vanegas and her co-owners might establish even more café locations around Colombia, according to Lonely Planet. That said, they aren’t the first ones to launch a business that caters to customers with hearing impairments: Granada, Nicaragua recently became home to Café de las Sonrisas (“Smiles Cafe”), a restaurant that employs only deaf cooks and servers, and similar establishments have opened in Canada and India. And in the U.S., there are restaurants like San Francisco’s deaf-owned and -operated pizzeria, Mozzeria.

[h/t The Nation]

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Big Questions
Why Do Small Dogs Live Longer Than Large Dogs?
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Why do small dogs live longer than large dogs?

Adriana Heguy:

The issue of body size and lifespan is a fascinating topic in biology. It’s strange that across species, at least in mammals, large-bodied animals live longer than small-sized animals. For example, elephants live a lot longer than mice. The theory is that
bigger animals have slower metabolisms than small animals, and that faster metabolisms result in more accumulation of free radicals that damage tissue and DNA. But this doesn't always hold for all animals and the “rate of living” theory is not widely accepted. What we cannot clearly understand remains fascinating.

But now if we look at within a given species, lifespan and body size are inversely correlated. This is definitively the case for dogs and mice, and it has been proposed that this is the case for humans, too. Why would this be? A possible explanation is that larger dogs (or mice, or people) grow faster than their smaller counterparts because they reach a larger size in more or less the same time, and that faster growth could be correlated with higher cancer rates.

We do not have a clear understanding of why growing faster leads to accelerated aging. But it seems that it is an accelerated rate of aging, or senescence, that causes larger dogs to have shorter lifespans than little dogs.

The figure above is from Ageing: It’s a Dog’s Life. The data is from 32 breeds. Note that the inverse correlation is pretty good, however some large dog breeds, at around 40 to 50 kg (or about 88 to 110 pounds), live 12 or 13 years in average while some other dog breeds of equal body size live only eight or nine years on average. This is due to dogs being a special case, as they were artificially bred by humans to select for looks or behavior and not necessarily health, and that considerable inbreeding was necessary to produce “purebred” dogs. For example, boxers are big dogs, but their higher cancer rates may result in a shorter lifespan. However, the really giant breeds all consistently live eight to nine years on average. So there is something going on besides simple breeding quirks that led to bad genetics and ill health. Something more general.

A few years ago, a large study [PDF] was published using mortality data from thousands of dogs across 74 breeds, testing three hypotheses: Large dogs may die younger than small dogs because of (1) an earlier onset of senescence, (2) a higher minimum mortality hazard, or (3) an increased rate of aging. The conclusion from their study is that aging starts more or less at the same age in small and large breeds, but large breeds age faster. We do not have a clear understanding of the underlying mechanism for faster aging in dogs. It seems that when we selected for large body size, we selected for faster aging as well. But we do not know all the genetic components of this. We know that there are at least three genes that determine large body size in dogs: IRS4 and IGSF1, involved in thyroid hormone pathways which affect growth, and ACSL4, involved in muscle growth, and back fat thickness.

But how this accelerates aging is still speculation. More studies are needed, but dogs seem to be a great model to study the evolution of body size and its relationship to aging.

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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