Passers-by watched in astonishment as an alleged shoplifter’s pants fell down while she was being chased by a shop assistant, revealing that she had gone “commando”.
The alleged shoplifter had visited the store a number of times before the incident about 1pm on Friday, May 17, Asplin says.
“She kept telling me that she had stuff on hold so that I would go out the back of the store. I am the only one here.”
As Asplin reluctantly walked towards the back of the shop, she says the woman grabbed a bag from the display and fled.
“I thought screw that, it’s a $500 bag and the most expensive thing in our shop, so I chased her.”
With help from bystanders on the busy shopping strip Asplin managed to catch the woman and retrieve the bag.
“I said ‘don’t you ever come into the shop again’.
“Everyone was laughing at her because her pants had fallen down and she wasn’t wearing any knickers,” Asplin says.
Police arrived at the store to take a statement from Asplin and arrested a woman shortly afterwards in a nearby street.
“I was a bit worried because she had a bottle of bourbon in her hand and I thought she might try to swing it at me.
“But I think the adrenaline just kicked in.”
A trespass notice has been issued against the alleged shoplifter.
TROIS-RIVIERES, Que. – A woman is recovering following a bizarre accident in which she was run over three times by her own car.
Trois-Rivieres, Que., police say the newspaper delivery woman was making her rounds this week and jumping in and out of her car frequently to drop copies of Le Nouvelliste on subscribers’ doorsteps.
But things went awry during one parking attempt.
Her transmission wound up in “reverse” instead of “park” as she got out. The woman got smacked by the car’s open door as it backed up and ran over one of her legs as she was knocked to the ground.
She attempted to pull herself up and reached into the car to shift the gears. But she fumbled and was struck a second time, resulting in her being run over again. A third attempt produced the same results.
Residents of the area awakened by the woman’s distress cries at 4 a.m. rushed to give her aid when she limped to a home.
The car, which continued to move at increasing speed in a widening circle, was finally stopped by Trois-Rivieres police.
The woman is being treated for serious injuries to her leg.
The incident yesterday was reported in the newspaper where she works, Trois-Rivieres’ Le Nouvelliste.
Catherine Rayne, 35, pursued the boy from when he was 15, sending him gifts, texts, Facebook messages and a letter inviting him to start a ‘romantic relationship’.
She was friends with the boy’s parents, but at one point Miss Rayne visited the family home when the pupil was there by himself.
A professional conduct panel heard that the boy tried to telephone his father three times, saying he felt uncomfortable and compromised being alone with the teacher.
She later texted the pupil to say ‘the offer is still open’, and the boy’s father made an official complaint to the school.
Miss Rayne, a geography and history teacher at the independent Michael Hall Steiner Waldorf School in East Sussex, admitted engaging in ‘inappropriate behaviour’ beginning in September 2009, when the pupil was 15.
She gave him private tuition at her house, and during the summer holiday of 2010 she sent him a letter and a gift.
In September of that year she visited the boy’s bedroom and asked him whether he wanted to be ‘just friends’.
The same month his father complained to the school, and Miss Rayne received a formal warning. But in March 2011 she sent the boy a handwritten letter asking him to begin a ‘romantic relationship’.
She resigned after the boy’s father sent the letter to the school – although she still sent the pupil one further gift.
The National College for Teaching and Leadership professional conduct panel found Miss Rayne guilty of unacceptable professional conduct, and recommended she should be banned from teaching.
It found that she had ignored an informal warning in September 2009 that her contact with pupils was inappropriate, as well as the formal warning the following year.
Its report said: ‘It is a well-accepted and understood principle, teachers must not establish or seek to establish social contact with pupils, children or young people for the purpose of securing a friendship or to pursue or strengthen a relationship.
Uncomfortable: The Department of Education’s report said that Ms Rayne (pictured) should have known that the pupil was not comfortable with her advances
‘However, from September 2009, Ms Rayne sent text and Facebook messages to the pupil, gave him gifts, visited him at his home and gave him tuition at her home.
‘Her conduct was compounded by the fact that it ought to have been apparent to her, at least from September 2010, that the pupil found her attentions “uncomfortable” and that his relationships with his peers were affected because of them.’
The panel added: ‘By acting as she did, Ms Rayne demonstrated a serious lack of professional judgment that had the very real potential not only to damage her own professional reputation but also the reputation of the school and the profession as a whole.’
The Education Secretary Michael Gove backed the panel’s call for a ban. He said: ‘The conduct and behaviour of Ms Rayne falls significantly short of that expected of a teacher.’
The decision means Miss Rayne is banned from teaching in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.
She may apply for the ban to be set aside, but not until May 2018. She has a right of appeal.
O.K., so it doesn’t quite rank up there with unraveling the cause of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. But with mosquito and poison-ivy season on the way, plenty of folks would be grateful for an answer to a more mundane question: What is the neurological basis of the pruritic response? Or in plain English: Why do we itch?
At least part of that mystery has now been solved by scientists at one of the less celebrated units of the National Institutes of Health. Writing in Science, molecular biologists working at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research report that a molecule known as neuropeptide natriuretic polypeptide b (Nppb) that is released by nerve cells far from the actual itch site triggers an electrochemical cascade that ultimately tells the brain it’s time to get scratching.
“This is an important breakthrough,” says Sarah E. Ross, a neurobiologist at the University of Pittsburgh. It was also, says the report’s senior author, Mark Hoon, “really fun work. It was like a roller coaster of discovery.”
That may sound a little over the top when the subject is itching, but chronic itch caused by dry skin, psoriasis, diabetes or even liver disease can be maddening, and the cause has long been a true medical mystery. “The classical view,” says Hoon, “was that a single class of nerve cells detected both itch and pain.” According to this theory, the type and intensity of the stimulus told the cells which sensory message to send up to the brain. The nervous system would then respond accordingly.
At one level, the theory is correct: pain and itch, as well as heat, are all transmitted by a class of nerve cells known as TRPV1-expressing neurons. When scientists use genetic engineering to create mice that don’t have these cells, the animals don’t feel any of those three sensations.
But over the past five or 10 years, says Hoon, research in his own group, and also what he calls “some beautiful work by others,” has shown that at a deeper level, the one-neuron-fits-all hypothesis is wrong. Evolution has evidently provided us with a subset of TRPV1-expressing cells, and it’s the ones in that specialized group that do the actual work of making us itch.
What makes these cells special, say Hoon and his co-author, Santosh Mishra, is that they, unlike their pain-sensing cousins, produce Nppb. When the skin is stimulated by a feather or a mosquito bite or a chicken-pox lesion or a drop of urushiol (the itch-inducing oil in poison ivy), a signal zips up to the other end the nerve cell where it triggers the release of Nppb molecules. The molecules leap across a gap, or synapse, to an adjacent nerve cell that carries the signal up the spinal cord toward the brain. All nerve signals travel this way, and all require neurotransmitting chemicals to vault the synaptic gap. But itching needs the particular assistance of Nppb to do that job.
The Nppb, molecule was actually first identified in an entirely different part of the body. “It’s released by the heart,” says Hoon, “to control blood sodium and blood pressure. It’s a cornerstone of biology that a lot of these neurotransmitters are used in different parts of the body for different purposes.”
When they found this heart peptide in some TRPV1 neurons as well, Hoon and Mishra engineered mice that lacked that variation of the neuron. The result: the animals could feel pain and heat just fine but were quite itchless. “The answer just fell into place,” says Hoon. “Sometimes in science you have an idea of how something works, but you just hit a brick wall. This time, that wasn’t the case.”
Identifying the role of the Nppb molecule doesn’t necessarily mean a cure for itching is at hand quite yet. Since Nppb operates not at the skin, but deep inside the body, you’d want to neutralize it with a treatment patients could take orally. “But it also regulates blood pressure, so that wouldn’t be good,” Hoon says. In severe cases, he says, you might consider injecting an Nppb blocker directly into the spinal cord. That too, however, he says with some understatement, “is not a trivial thing to do.”
Even before a safe delivery system for an Nppb blocker is developed, scientists are already pondering the next great question: Why does an itch go away when we scratch? Evolutionarily, the phenomenon makes sense. An itch often suggests the presence of a pest like a mosquito or lice, and a vigorous scratch will kill or disperse them. But what is the neural mechanism that leads to the feeling of relief?
“That’s an excellent question,” says Hoon. “We really don’t know.” A leading hypothesis argues that there may be yet another specialized set of nerve cells that responds to scratching by sending a “stop” signal up to the spinal cord. “We’re investigating this idea,” says Ross, “and hope to submit a paper soon.” When they do, the riddle of the itch will have moved closer still toward being solved at last.
Four-letter words have been around since the days of our forebears—and their forebears, too. In Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing, a book out this month from Oxford University Press, medieval literature expert Melissa Mohr traces humans’ use of naughty language back to Roman times. NewsFeed asked Mohr what surprising tidbits readers might stumble upon amidst the expletives. Here are nine talking points from her opus for your next (presumably, pretty edgy) cocktail hour.
1. The average person swears quite a bit.
About 0.7% of the words a person uses in the course of a day are swear words, which may not sound significant except that as Mohr notes, we use first-person plural pronouns — words like we, our and ourselves — at about the same rate. The typical range, Mohr says, goes from zero to about 3%. What would it be like to have a conversation with a three-percenter? “That would be like Eddie Murphy,” Mohr says. Presumably from Eddie Murphy Raw, not from Shrek Forever After.
2. Kids often learn a four-letter word before they learn the alphabet.
Mohr’s work incorporates research by Timothy Jay, a psychology professor at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, who uncovered the 0.7% statistic above and has also charted a rise in the use of swear words by children — even toddlers. By the age of two, Mohr says, most children know at least one swear word; it really “kicks off” around the ages of three or four.
3. Some of today’s most popular swear words have been around for more than a thousand years.
“S— is an extremely old word that’s found in Anglo-Saxon texts,” Mohr says. What English-speakers now call asses and farts can also be traced back to the Anglo-Saxons, she adds, though in those times the terms wouldn’t have been considered as impolite as they are today.
4. The ancient Romans laid the groundwork for modern day f-bombs.
There are two main kinds of swear words, says Mohr: oaths—like taking the Lord’s name in vain—and obscene words, like sexual and racial slurs. The Romans gave us a model for the obscene words, she says, because their swearing was similarly based on sexual taboos, though with a different spin. “The Romans didn’t divide people up [by being heterosexual and homosexual],” she says. “They divided people into active and passive. So what was important was to be the active partner.” Hence, sexual slurs were more along the lines words like pathicus, a rather graphic term which basically means receiver.
5. In the Medieval era, oaths were believed to physically injure Jesus Christ.
In the Middle Ages, Mohr says, certain vain oaths were believed to actually tear apart the ascended body of Christ, as he sat next to his Father in heaven. Phrases that incorporated body parts, like swearing “by God’s bones” or “by God’s nails,” were looked upon as a kind of opposite to the Catholic eucharist—the ceremony in which a priest is said to conjure Christ’s physical body in a wafer and his blood in wine.
6. However, obscene words were no big deal.
“The sexual and excremental words were not charged, basically because people in the Middle Ages had much less privacy than we do,” Mohr explains, “so they had a much less advanced sense of shame.” Multiple people slept in the same beds or used privies at the same time, so people observed each other in the throes of their, er, natural functions much more frequently — which made the mention of them less scandalous.
7. People in the “rising middle class” use less profanity.
“Bourgeois people” typically swear the least, Mohr says. “This goes back to the Victorian era idea that you get control over your language and your deportment, which indicates that you are a proper, good person and this is a sign of your morality and awareness of social rules,” she explains. The upper classes, she says, have been shown to swear more, however: while “social strivers” mind their tongues, aristocrats have a secure position in society, so they can say whatever they want — and may even make a show of doing so.
8. Swearing can physiologically affect your body.
Hearing and saying swear words changes our skin conductance response, making our palms sweat. One study, Mohr notes, also found that swearing helps alleviate pain, that if you put your hand in a bucket of cold water, you can keep it in there longer if you say s— rather than shoot. Which is a good piece of info to have next time you’re doing a polar bear plunge.
9. People don’t use cuss words just because they have lazy minds.
Mohr discusses the myriad social purposes swearing can serve, some nasty and some nice. “They definitely are the best words that you can use to insult people, because they are much better than other words at getting at people’s emotions,” she says. Swear words are also the best words to use if you hit your finger with a hammer, because they are cathartic, helping people deal with emotion as well as pain. And studies have shown that they help people bond — like blue-collar workers who use taboo terms to build in-group solidarity against management types. When asked if the world would be better off if everyone quit their cussing, Mohr answers with a four-letter word of her own: “Nope.”
One hundred and eighteen miles north of London, in the town of Boston, England, there lives a retired newspaperman named John Richards who is experiencing an unusually rotten spring. Richards is the founder and chairman of something called the Apostrophe Protection Society. His world, at least as related to the tiny mark that denotes possessives and the omission of letters from certain words, appears to be crashing down around him.
Recent news reports emanating from Richards’ native England, and from across the pond in America, describe a number of ominous developments that could threaten the sanctity of everything his society exists to protect. In March, the Mid Devon district council in southwestern England attempted to banish apostrophes from all area street signs. People went nuts, grammarians groused, and the council ultimately changed course. But celebrations by apostrophe acolytes would soon be contracted. A few months after the Mid Devon switcheroo, the Wall Street Journal noted that the United States Board on Geographic Names maintains a longstanding policy of removing apostrophes from titles proposed for towns, mountains, caves, and other assorted locations Americans like to name. The government doesn’t want us getting the wrong idea about, for instance, whether some guy named Pike actually owns “Pikes Peak.” So that’s why formal place names in the U.S.—aside from a few noteworthy exceptions such as Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts and Clark’s Mountain in Oregon—rarely include apostrophes. English language formalists are now up in arms about that manner of proceeding, too.
With each new controversy, it becomes increasingly clear that we, as a society, have reached a Pikes Peak of our own when it comes to fussing and nitpicking over things like how we denote possessives and contractions. The apostrophe chatter business, according to Chairman Richards, is booming. He gets 30 or 40 apostrophe-related inquiries each month via email. “My website has received over a million hits,” he says.
That’s an impressive milestone, to be sure. But Richards’ pride in his page-view numbers does little to obscure the fact that trend lines don’t look all that promising for the long-term security of apostrophes as a standard in written English. It’s becoming more common for corporations to remove apostrophes from their branded names. Texting teenagers tend not to bother with the formal precision of won’t and can’t. Pretty soon we may all be writing things like, “Ill be there later” and “Dont forget to feed Mikes cat.” And if that day arrives, it won’t be a sudden, out-of-the-blue development.
For several decades, writers, scholars, and language rabble-rousers have been suggesting that apostrophes are perhaps less necessary than we might suspect. Such thinking is anathema to the surprisingly large (and unsurprisingly vocal) subset of the population that gets genuinely fired up about apostrophes and their misuse. (As linguist Arnold Zwicky has noted on his blog, apostrophe mistakes are “high on the list of things people peeve about.”)
But the anti-apostrophe brigade has an impressive intellectual pedigree. Take George Bernard Shaw. The author and playwright at some point decided to use apostrophes in contractions only when failing to do so would create a different, familiar word, or homograph—I’ll and Ill, for instance. In 1902, he wrote of apostrophes, “There is not the faintest reason for persisting in the ugly and silly trick of peppering pages with these uncouth bacilli.”
Last Exit to Brooklyn author Hubert Selby, Jr., meanwhile, replaced many apostrophes with forward slashes. (“I/ll never forget that atrocious scene he pulled on us.”) Booker Prize-winning author James Kelman uses apostrophes for possessives but not for contractions in his most recent work. And anyone who has enjoyed Cormac McCarthy’s The Road has displayed an expert-level capacity to look beyond seemingly variable apostrophe usage. (In a 2007 interview with Oprah Winfrey, McCarthy told her, “There’s no reason to blot the page up with weird little marks.”)
Those weird little marks haven’t been with us, at least in their current form, for quite as long as you might think. In her 2006 best-seller Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Lynne Truss lays out a brief history of the apostrophe’s usage in the English language—its original, sole use as a signifier of omitted letters during the 16th century, its use in possessives beginning in the 17th century, the development of plural possessive use a century later, followed by the barn doors being thrown open for apostrophes in all the other strange places we’re now used to seeing them. Truss discusses the greengrocer’s apostrophe (“1 Hour Photo’s!”), and highlights some other annoying, but super common apostrophe-related missteps.
“Getting your itses mixed up is the greatest solecism in the world of punctuation,” she writes. “No matter that you have a Ph.D. and have read all of Henry James twice. If you still persist in writing, ‘Good food at it’s best’, you deserve to be struck by lightning, hacked up on the spot and buried in an unmarked grave.”
Yet we are all guilty of making that error occasionally. Everyone, even the brightest and most competent among us, messes up apostrophes from time to time, often in the most ridiculous of ways. So why even bother with these uncouth bacilli that so befuddle and frustrate us?
The number of bloggers and websites suggesting that we get rid of the apostrophe for good has increased dramatically in recent years—and their position is not taken up as some sort of joke. Those who maintain the Kill the Apostrophe website, for instance, take this stuff seriously. The site’s manifesto notes that the apostrophe “serves only to annoy those who know how it is supposed to be used and to confuse those who dont.” It asserts that apostrophes are redundant, wasteful, snobbish, and anachronistic in an era of text messaging. Apostrophes “consume considerable time and resources” and, according to the website, “Tremendous amounts of money are spent every year by businesses on proof readers, part of whose job it is to put apostrophes in the ‘correct’ place—to no semantic effect whatsoever.” We’d all be “better off without em.”
Dr. Joba Abdullah Abdullah Gorenstein said, “We don’t know for sure, but we think the Hebrews did this”
TIBERIAS, Israel (AP) — The massive circular structure appears to be an archaeologists dream: a recently discovered antiquity that could reveal secrets of ancient life in the Middle East and is just waiting to be excavated.
It’s thousands of years old — a conical, manmade behemoth weighing hundreds of tons, practically begging to be explored.
The problem is — it’s at the bottom of the biblical Sea of Galilee. For now, at least, Israeli researchers are left stranded on dry land, wondering what finds lurk below.
The monumental structure, made of boulders and stones with a diameter of 70 meters (230 feet), emerged from a routine sonar scan in 2003. Now archaeologists are trying to raise money to allow them access to the submerged stones.
“It’s very enigmatic, it’s very interesting, but the bottom line is we don’t know when it’s from, we don’t know what it’s connected to, we don’t know its function,” said Dani Nadel, an archaeologist at the University of Haifa who is one of several researchers studying the discovery. “We only know it is there, it is huge and it is unusual.”
Archaeologists said the only way they can properly assess the structure is through an underwater excavation, a painstakingly slow process that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. And if an excavation were to take place, archaeologists said they believed it would be the first in the Sea of Galilee, an ancient lake that boasts historical remnants spanning thousands of years and is the setting of many Bible scenes.
In contrast, Israeli researchers have carried out many excavations in the Mediterranean and Red Seas.
Much of the researchers’ limited knowledge about this structure comes from the sonar scan a decade ago.
Initial dives shortly after that revealed a few details. In an article in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology published earlier this year, Nadel and fellow researchers disclosed it was asymmetrical, made of basalt boulders and that “fish teem around the structure and between its blocks.”
The cone-shaped structure is found at a depth of between three and 12 meters (nine and 40 feet) beneath the surface, about half a kilometer (1,600 feet) from the sea’s southwestern shore. Its base is buried under sediment.
The authors conclude the structure is man-made, made of stones that originated nearby, and it weighs about 60,000 tons. The authors write it “is indicative of a complex, well-organized society, with planning skills and economic ability.”
The rest is a mystery.
Yitzhak Paz, an archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority who is involved in the project, said that based on sediment buildup, it is between 2,000 and 12,000 years old, a vast range that tells little about it. Based on other sites and artifacts found in the region, Paz places the site’s origin some time during the 3rd millennium B.C., or about 5,000 years ago, although he admits the timeframe is just a guess.
“The period is hard for us to determine. No scientific work was carried out there, no excavations, no surveys. We have no artifacts from the structure,” Paz said.
Archaeologists were also cautious about guessing the structure’s purpose. They said possibilities include a burial site, a place of worship or even a fish nursery, which were common in the area, but they said they wanted to avoid speculation because they have so little information.
It’s not even clear if the structure was built on shore when the sea stood at a low level, or if it was constructed underwater. Paz reckons it was built on land, an indication of the sea’s low level at the time.
In order to fill in the blanks, archaeologists hope to inspect the site underwater, despite the expense and the complexities.
Nadel noted that working underwater demands not only a skill such as scuba diving, but also labor-intensive excavations that are particularly difficult in the Sea of Galilee, which already has low visibility and where any digging can unleash a cloud of sediment and bury what’s just been uncovered.
Also, divers can remain under water only for a limited amount of time every day and must choose the best season that can provide optimal conditions for excavating.
“Until we do more research, we don’t have much more to add,” Nadel said. “It’s a mystery, and every mystery is interesting.”
A new restaurant, tentatively called The Clam Shack, hopes to open this summer, or next, depending on how long it takes to secure permits and complete renovations.
The Park and Recreation Commission approved a five-year lease this week for Angelo Meimeteas, a Salem resident who, with his brother, George, owns and operates the Clam Shanty in Wells, Maine.
Meimeteas told the board he plans to open a restaurant with takeout and outdoor seating that will serve fried clams, steamers, lobster salad sandwiches and lobster dinners. Since the building is small, no indoor dining is planned.
“I’ve always loved the Willows,” said Meimeteas, whose wife, Amie Marie, runs a hair salon on Boston Street. “I’ve been going there with my family for years. When I heard the city wanted to lease this property, I looked at it and thought, ‘This could be nice here.’”
He said he can picture customers getting takeout and parking by the water, or sitting under awnings at outdoor tables facing the harbor.
Meimeteas said he has heard all the jokes about leasing a former bathroom, a vacant building which the city has tried unsuccessfully to market for years. But he says the renovations will be so extensive that little more than the outside frame of the structure will remain.
“This is going to get gutted,” he said. “We’re going to start from scratch.”
Under terms of the lease, Meimeteas will pay no rent for five years as long as he puts at least $30,000 into the building. The new tenant said he plans to install kitchen vents, new floors, air conditioning and make other improvements that will far exceed that figure. A contractor, Meimeteas said he plans to do most of the renovations himself.
He also plans to create an outside dining area with tables and awnings, a nautical rope and posts.
The board gave him tentative approval with the stipulation it wanted to see detailed plans for the outdoor dining area. The lease also includes an option for an additional five years, at one-year intervals, and with the rent to be negotiated at that time.
Although he would like to open this summer, Meimeteas said he is not sure how long renovations will take and what other permits and approvals are needed. Rather than rush the project, he said he wants to do it right — and to fit in with the other food businesses.
“I didn’t go to the Willows to compete against anybody,” Meimeteas said. “I think, if anything, it will help. Anytime you add a business and it draws people from other towns, it helps businesses throughout the whole Willows.”
In addition to the Clam Shanty, which has been in business for three years, Meimeteas used to own roast beef fast-food restaurants in Lynn.
The seafood restaurant got an enthusiastic reception from the park board, which voted unanimously for the proposal, the only response the city received to a request for proposals earlier this year. A city councilor at the Tuesday night board meeting also liked the idea and said he thinks it will fit well with the other food offerings at the Willows.
“If we have learned anything in Salem the last 15 years, the more restaurants the better,” Bill Legault told Meimeteas. “You are going to bring new people down there. … This could be the start of the revival of Restaurant Row,” he said, a reference to restaurants here in the early 1900s.