WASHINGTON: Hollywood Cat is no longer.
The Los Angeles area’s most famous mountain lion, an aged wild male feline sighted around the city’s Griffith Park, was euthanized Saturday, wildlife officials said.
For years, it was known to prowl around the hillside “Hollywood” sign visible around much of Los Angeles, a fitting setting for a celebrity cat.
It earned the nickname Hollywood Cat, but the mountain lion — estimated to be around 11 years old — is officially called P-22.
State and federal wildlife officers decided earlier this month to capture it due to its erratic behavior, perhaps associated with being struck by a vehicle.
Veterinarians found “significant trauma” to its head, right eye and internal organs, California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a statement.
The experts also found underlying health issues, including “irreversible kidney disease, chronic weight loss, extensive parasitic skin infection over his entire body and localized arthritis.”
“The most difficult, but compassionate choice was to respectfully minimize his suffering and stress by humanely ending his journey,” the statement said.
“Mountain lion P-22 has had an extraordinary life and captured the hearts of the people of Los Angeles and beyond.”
Euthanizing the cougar was a punch to the gut for game experts who had grown to love the animal.
“This really hurts,” said Chuck Bonham, director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, when he announced P-22’s death, according to USA Today.
“It’s been an incredibly difficult several days.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom praised P-22’s “incredible journey” in a statement.
“P-22’s survival on an island of wilderness in the heart of Los Angeles captivated people around the world,” Newsom said.
Griffith Park, where P-22 lived for perhaps a decade, is hemmed in by freeways and urban sprawl. It is a nine-square-mile (23-square-kilometer) isolated patch of nature.
Experts marveled at how the wild cat got across either of two major Los Angeles freeways — the 405 and 101 — to get to Griffith Park as early as 2012.
In a profile of P-22 done long before its death, the National Park Service lamented that Griffith Park is too small for a second cougar, and “it’s unlikely he will ever find love with a female lion.”
The cat’s renown was due to frequent sightings, video doorbell cameras and physical encounters.
A Facebook page in honor of the cougar has over 20,000 followers.
Beloved ‘Hollywood Cat’ mountain lion euthanized in Los Angeles
Beloved ‘Hollywood Cat’ mountain lion euthanized in Los Angeles
- State and federal wildlife officers decided earlier this month to capture it due to its erratic behavior
- Veterinarians found ‘significant trauma’ to its head, right eye and internal organs
WASHINGTON: Hollywood Cat is no longer.
Their world was the oyster: Oldest pearl town found in UAE
- The town was likely once home to thousands of people and hundreds of homes
SINIYAH ISLAND, United Arab Emirates: Archaeologists said Monday they have found the oldest pearling town in the Arabian Gulf on an island off one of the northern sheikhdoms of the United Arab Emirates.
Artifacts found in this town on Siniyah Island in Umm Al-Quwain, likely once home to thousands of people and hundreds of homes, date as far back as the region’s pre-Islamic history in the late 6th century. While older pearling towns have been mentioned in historical texts, this represents the first time archaeologists say they have physically found one from this ancient era across the nations of the Arabian Gulf.
“This is the oldest example of that kind of very specifically Khaleeji pearling town,” said Timothy Power, an associate professor of archaeology at the UAE University, using a word that means “Gulf” in Arabic. “It’s the spiritual ancestor of towns like Dubai.”
The pearling town sits on Siniyah Island, which shields the Khor Al-Beida marshlands in Umm Al-Quwain, an emirate some 50 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of Dubai along the coast of the Arabian Gulf. The island, whose name means “flashing lights” likely due to the effect of the white-hot sun overhead, already has seen archaeologists discover an ancient Christian monastery dating back as many as 1,400 years.
The town sits directly south of that monastery on one of the curling fingers of the island and stretches across some 12 hectares (143,500 square yards). There, archaeologists found a variety of homes made of beach rock and lime mortar, ranging from cramped quarters to more sprawling homes with courtyards, suggesting a social stratification, Power said. The site also bears signs of year-round habitation, unlike other pearling operations run in seasonal spots in the region.
“The houses are crammed in there, cheek by jowl,” he added. “The key thing there is permanence. People are living there all year around.”
In the homes, archaeologists have discovered loose pearls and diving weights, which the free divers used to quickly drop down to the seabed while relying only on their held breath.
The town predates the rise of Islam across the Arabian Peninsula, making its residents likely Christians.
Umm Al-Quwain’s Department of Tourism and Archaeology, UAE University, the Italian Archaeological Mission in the emirate and the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University all took part in the excavation. Umm Al-Quwain, the least-populated emirate in the UAE, plans to build a visitor’s center at the site.
Today, the area near the marshland is more known for the low-cost liquor store at the emirate’s Barracuda Beach Resort. In recent months, authorities have demolished a hulking, Soviet-era cargo plane linked to a Russian gunrunner known as the “Merchant of Death” as it builds a bridge to Siniyah Island for a $675 million real estate development. Authorities hope that development, as well as other building, will grow the emirate’s economy.
However, even this ancient site bears lessons for the Emirates.
The story of pearling, which rapidly collapsed after World War I with the introduction of artificial pearls and the Great Depression, holds particular importance in the history of the UAE — particularly as it faces a looming reckoning with another extractive industry. While crude oil sales built the country after its formation in 1971, the Emirates will have to confront its fossil fuel legacy and potentially plan for a carbon-neutral future as it hosts the United Nations COP28 climate talks later this year.
Those searching the site found a dumpsite nearby filled with the detritus of discarded oyster shells. People walking across the island can feel those remains crunching under their feet in areas as well.
“You only find one pearl in every 10,000 oyster shells. You have to find and discard thousands and thousands of oyster shells to find one,” Power said. ”The waste, the industrial waste of the pearling industry, was colossal. You’re dealing with millions, millions of oyster shells discarded.”
Australian surfs for 40 hours to smash world record
- Johnston raised more than $133,000 for mental health, taking on the record to mark 10 years since losing his father to suicide
Sydney: Australian Blake Johnston on Friday shredded the world record for the longest surfing session, dodging swarms of jellyfish to ride hundreds of waves across 40 punishing hours.
The 40-year-old former surfing pro broke down in tears after smashing South African Josh Enslin’s previous record of 30 hours and 11 minutes.
Johnston surfed back to shore in the evening to rapturous applause from the hundreds of supporters who had gathered at Sydney’s Cronulla Beach to watch.
Wearing a black cowboy hat and draped in a thermal blanket, he was carried off the beach on his friends’ shoulders after finally hanging up his surfboard.
Johnston raised more than $133,000 for mental health, taking on the record to mark 10 years since losing his father to suicide.
He rode more than 700 waves in setting the record, braving pitch-black seas that are home to many species of shark.
“I’ve still got a job to do. I said 40 (hours) so I’ll go and give it a crack,” he told reporters earlier in the day, after passing the previous 30-hour record.
“I’m pretty cooked, yeah, but we’ll push through.”
Johnston eventually surfed for more than 40 hours — he started at 1:00am on Thursday, using large spotlights to illuminate the water — but his official record time was not immediately known.
Under the rules of the attempt, he was allowed to sporadically leave the ocean so he could soothe his eyes with eyedrops, refuel with snacks and lather himself up in sunscreen.
Medics would check his heart rate and blood pressure before he dashed back into the swell.
With Sydney in the grip of a minor heatwave, the water temperature has been hovering around a balmy 24 degrees Celsius, lessening the risk of hypothermia.
Johnston had originally planned to raise money by tackling a 1,000-kilometer run, but settled on surfing when he saw the previous record was “only” 30 hours.
“I thought I could just do it,” he said before the attempt.
“I push myself to the limits with my adventures and to prove to myself that I’m worthy and can get through hard times, and that’s when my lessons are learnt.”
He anticipated infected ears, dehydration and sleep deprivation would push his body to its limits.
Johnston’s brother Ben said they had also prepared for the possibility of a shark attack, but it wasn’t something that had worried them.
“I surfed at two in the morning with him and the lights actually went out so it was pitch black,” he told national broadcaster ABC.
“There were a whole bunch of jellyfish out there, so it was interesting to say the least.”
It is not Johnston’s first time taking part in a marathon test of human endurance.
In 2020, he ran 100 kilometers along the rugged coastline south of Sydney — covering the vast majority of the trek in bare feet.
Scientists create mice with cells from 2 males for 1st time
For the first time, scientists have created baby mice from two males.
This raises the distant possibility of using the same technique for people – although experts caution that very few mouse embryos developed into live mouse pups and no one knows whether it would work for humans.
Still, “It’s a very clever strategy,” said Diana Laird, a stem cell and reproductive expert at the University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved in the research. “It’s an important step in both stem cell and reproductive biology.”
Scientists described their work in a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
First, they took skin cells from the tails of male mice and transformed them into “induced pluripotent stem cells,” which can develop into many different types of cells or tissues. Then, through a process that involved growing them and treating them with a drug, they converted male mouse stem cells into female cells and produced functional egg cells. Finally, they fertilized those eggs and implanted the embryos into female mice. About 1 percent of the embryos – 7 out of 630 – grew into live mouse pups.
The pups appeared to grow normally and were able to become parents themselves in the usual way, research leader Katsuhiko Hayashi of Kyushu University and Osaka University in Japan told fellow scientists at the Third International Summit on Human Genome Editing last week.
In a commentary published alongside the Nature study, Laird and her colleague, Jonathan Bayerl, said the work “opens up new avenues in reproductive biology and fertility research” for animals and people. Down the road, for example, it might be possible to reproduce endangered mammals from a single male.
“And it might even provide a template for enabling more people,” such as male same-sex couples, “to have biological children, while circumventing the ethical and legal issues of donor eggs,” they wrote.
But they raised several cautions. The most notable one? The technique is extremely inefficient. They said it’s unclear why only a tiny fraction of the embryos placed into surrogate mice survived; the reasons could be technical or biological. They also stressed that it’s still too early to know if the protocol would work in human stem cells at all.
Laird also said scientists need to be mindful of the mutations and errors that may be introduced in a culture dish before using stem cells to make eggs.
The research is the latest to test new ways to create mouse embryos in the lab. Last summer, scientists in California and Israel created “synthetic” mouse embryos from stem cells without a dad’s sperm or a mom’s egg or womb. Those embryos mirrored natural mouse embryos up to 8 ½ days after fertilization, containing the same structures, including one like a beating heart. Scientists said the feat could eventually lay the foundation for creating synthetic human embryos for research in the future.
Free-diver plunges to record depth beneath frozen Swiss lake
- Vencl dived through a hole in the ice then retrieved a sticker from a depth of 50 meters to prove his feat
- The Swiss plunge in temperatures of between 1 and 4 degrees Celsius took him 1 minute 54 seconds
LAKE SILS, Switzerland: David Vencl emerged from the depths of Switzerland’s Lake Sils on Tuesday after a record dive beneath the ice to a depth of more than 50 meters without a wetsuit.
The 40-year-old Czech diver’s record vertical plunge to 52.1 meters in a single breath follows his entry into the Guinness World Records book for swimming the length of a frozen Czech lake in 2021.
Vencl dived through a hole in the ice then retrieved a sticker from a depth of 50 meters to prove his feat before re-emerging through the same hole. He spat some blood, sat down for a minute and then opened a bottle of champagne. A later visit to the hospital confirmed there was nothing serious.
The Swiss plunge in temperatures of between 1 and 4 degrees Celsius took him 1 minute 54 seconds, his promoter Pavel Kalous said, which was a bit slower than expected.
“He kind of enjoyed it but he admits he was a little more nervous than usual and he had some problems with breathing,” he told Reuters.
“There is nothing difficult for him to be in cold water... Lack of oxygen is something normal for him. But this was completely different because it’s really difficult to work with the pressure in your ears in cold water,” he added.
“If you combine all these three things: cold water, lack of oxygen and the problem with working with pressure, it’s something very unique,” he added.
Hong Kong’s ‘villain hitting’ ritual draws crowds
- Ritual is particularly popular in March because some people believe that the best day to perform it falls on ‘ging zat’
- Ging zat, as pronounced in Cantonese, is a day on the Chinese lunar calendar that literally means ‘awakening of insects’
HONG KONG: People holding a grudge may have found a way to release it in Hong Kong’s “villain hitting” ritual.
To relieve themselves from a bad mood, customers paid ritual practitioners who work underneath the Canal Road Flyover in Causeway Bay, one of the city’s shopping districts, and watched them bashing an image of their target with a shoe. It could be anyone — rival lovers and unfriendly colleagues, or horrible bosses and unlikeable public figures.
The ritual is particularly popular in March because some people believe that the best day to perform it falls on “ging zat,” as pronounced in Cantonese, a day on the Chinese lunar calendar that literally means “awakening of insects.”
This year, “ging zat” fell on March 6. The tradition, mostly run by elderly women, attracted crowds of customers after the lifting of major COVID-19 restrictions, including the mask mandate.
“I’m hoping to cut out all the gossip around me and wish that the bad people would stay away from me,” said tourist Edison Chan, who traveled from neighboring Guangdong province.
Ho Pan-yong, one of the practitioners, said she wanted to help her customers whack the bad people away from their lives. She charged $6.4 (HK$50) for the five-minute act, which includes lighting incense offering to gods followed by whacking the target and concludes by ritual blessing.
The ritual, which does not hurt anyone physically, could help bring hopes to those who are distressed, said Dr. Beatrice Ng-Kessler, a registered clinical psychologist in Hong Kong and in the UK.