Extra-special effort to deliver order

A little thing like a flooded creek was not enough to keep an Alaska restaurant owner from delivering Thai ribs and fried rice to stranded customers over the weekend.jd-greatbigworld

Anuson “Knott” Poolsawat, owner of Knott’s Take Out in North Pole, forded the swollen waters of Clear Creek to reach two customers stuck along the Richardson Highway, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Mike Laiti and Brandon Borgens were completing a multi-day drive Saturday night up the Alaska Highway when they called in their order to the restaurant, which was near closing.

As they approached Clear Creek, they learned a sinkhole had developed from heavy rain near the creek. The state Department of Transportation closed the bridge.

Laiti called Poolsawat to cancel their order at the restaurant more than 25 miles away in North Pole.

“I called him and said, ‘Hey man, I can’t make it,’ and he said, ‘Not a problem, I’ll come cross the waters,’” Laiti said. “He called me and said, ‘Should I bring a boat?’”

Poolsawat arrived with takeout boxes containing Thai barbecue ribs and Thai fried rice. Another box held a “dinosaur egg” — a hardboiled egg that’s fried and covered in a sweet sesame sauce.

Poolsawat hiked up his shorts and waded through the creek, holding the takeout boxes over his head. The cold water was hip-deep.

Poolsawat had already done them a favor by staying open late, Laiti said. The delivery was beyond expectations.

“He’d help anybody out. He’s just a really good positive attitude, just a good guy,” said Laiti. “He’s definitely a goofball character and the food he makes is great.”

Reported by the Associated Press from FAIRBANKS, Alaska.

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Science has its say on Bigfoot

In this 2008 photo, a man in an ape costume is seen outside a hotel where a media conference is held announcing the claim that a deceased bigfoot or sasquatch creature has been found in Georgia.  DNA testing has analyzed more than 30 hair samples reportedly left behind by Bigfoot.  (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

In this 2008 photo, a man in an ape costume is seen outside a hotel where a media conference is held announcing the claim that a deceased bigfoot or sasquatch creature has been found in Georgia. DNA testing has analyzed more than 30 hair samples reportedly left behind by Bigfoot. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

DNA testing is taking a bite out of the Bigfoot legend. After scientists analyzed more than 30 hair samples reportedly left behind by Bigfoot and similar mythical beasts like the Himalayan Yeti, they found all of them came from more mundane creatures like bears, wolves, cows and raccoons.

In 2012, researchers at Oxford University and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology issued an open call asking museums, scientists and Bigfoot aficionados to share any samples they thought were from the legendary ape-like creatures.

“I thought there was about a 5 percent chance of finding a sample from a Neanderthal or (a Yeti),” said Bryan Sykes of Oxford University, who led the research, the first peer-reviewed study of Bigfoot, Yeti and other “anomalous primates.”

Sykes and colleagues tested 36 hair samples from Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Russia and the U.S. using DNA sequencing and all of them matched DNA from known animals. Most were from bears, but there were also hairs from a Malaysian tapir, horses, porcupine, deer, sheep, and a human.

While Sykes said they didn’t find any proof of Bigfoot-related creatures, he acknowledged their paper doesn’t prove they don’t exist.

“The fact that none of these samples turned out to be (a Yeti) doesn’t mean the next one won’t,” he said. The scientists did find two samples from ancient polar bears in the Himalayas, who are not known to live there. That suggests there could be a new or hybrid bear species out there, Sykes said.

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Reported by MARIA CHENG of the Associated Press from LONDON. AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein in Washington contributed to this report.

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World Cup visitors enjoy a look at village life

A man plays the flute in the Tatuyo indigenous community near Manaus, Brazil. Here, the villagers lead a hybrid life, maintaining the ancestral traditions of their assorted tribes while enjoying some of the advantages of urban life. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

A man plays the flute in the Tatuyo indigenous community near Manaus, Brazil. Here, the villagers lead a hybrid life, maintaining the ancestral traditions of their assorted tribes while enjoying some of the advantages of urban life. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

At the sound of an approaching boat, the people of Aldeia Indigena Tatuyo, a small village in Brazil, run out to greet their visitors, feather headdresses bobbing, loincloths and grass skirts rustling. Riding atop two of the women’s heads, baby monkeys grab fistfuls of hair as they clutch on for dear life.

The villagers are far removed from the global spectacle taking place in Manaus, Brazil, one of the World Cup host cities. Here, in the Amazon rainforest, the two worlds meet. People smile at one another and snap souvenir photos.

The community of palm-roofed houses is home to nine families who moved to the riverside plot some 15 years ago from deep inside the rainforest. Their old home was near Brazil’s border with Colombia. The villagers lead a hybrid life, maintaining the ancestral traditions of their assorted tribes while enjoying some of the advantages of urban life.

They hunt wild pigs, deer, the large rodents known as capybaras and other forest animals. They fish in the inky waters of the Rio Negro River and grow some crops. Visits by outsiders provide supplemental income, and they hope that before World Cup play wraps up in Manaus, with Honduras to face Switzerland on Wednesday, some of the international soccer fans will come to glimpse their way of life.

While they normally wear the shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops that are standard fare throughout Brazil, the villagers change into their ceremonial finest to receive tourists. The men and boys don loincloths embellished in the back with bunches of freshly cut leaves and rattling anklets made from hollow seeds. The women and girls wear graceful skirts of dried grass.

Everyone wears graphic face paint that melts with sweat during the aerobic ceremony of chants and rhythmic dances. The celebration is held in the village’s central building, a dark lodge infused with the smell of smoke, and visitors snap away madly with their cameras while the more outgoing join in the dancing, much to the children’s amusement.

Other visitors try to coax the baby monkeys off their owners’ heads and onto their own, with extremely limited success. Sometimes visitors join in the high-adrenaline, co-ed soccer matches that are the afternoon entertainment of choice for the villagers.

After about an hour, the tourists pay a small fee, generally ranging from about $5 to $10 a person, depending on the size of the group, and hop back aboard their boat.

“It’s nice to have visitors,” said Cecilia Godinho, a Guanano tribeswoman whose husband founded the village after accompanying an ailing relative to the hospital in Manaus. “We learn from them and I hope they learn from us, too.”

Reported by JENNY BARCHFIELD of the Associated Press from ALDEIA INDIGENA TATUYO, Brazil

Boys play soccer in the Tatuyo indigenous community near Manaus, Brazil.  (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Boys play soccer in the Tatuyo indigenous community near Manaus, Brazil. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

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More great white sharks than expected

 A NOAA report says great white abundance in the area has climbed since about 2000. The scientists report the shark’s growing numbers are due to conservation efforts and greater availability of prey.  (AP Photo/NOAA, Greg Skomal)

A NOAA report says great white abundance in the area has climbed since about 2000. The scientists report the shark’s growing numbers are due to conservation efforts and greater availability of prey. (AP Photo/NOAA, Greg Skomal)

A study of great white sharks finds their numbers are surging in the ocean off the Eastern U.S. and Canada — bad news if you’re a seal, but something experts say shouldn’t instill fear in beachgoers this summer.

The study by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist says the population of the notoriously elusive fish has climbed since about 2000 in the western North Atlantic.

The scientists behind the study say the upswing is due to conservation efforts, such as a federal 1997 act that prevented hunting of great whites, and greater availability of prey.

“The species appears to be recovering,” said Cami McCandless, one of the study authors. “This tells us the management tools appear to be working.”

Great whites owe much of their fearsome reputation to the movie “Jaws,” which was released 39 years ago Friday. But confrontations are rare, with only 106 unprovoked white shark attacks — 13 of them fatal — in U.S. waters since 1916, according to data provided by the University of Florida.

The great whites are important to ocean ecology. They are apex predators — which means they’re at the top of the food chain — and help control the populations of other species. That would include the gray seal, whose growing colonies off Massachusetts have provided food.

The report also illuminates where people encounter white sharks — mostly between Massachusetts and New Jersey during the summer and off Florida in the winter, it says.

They also migrate based on water temperature and availability of prey, and are more common along the coast than offshore, the report states.

Reported by PATRICK WHITTLE of the Associated Press from PORTLAND, Maine

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A polar bear’s point of view

The first video of life on Arctic sea ice from a polar bear point of view has been released by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The agency released a clip recorded by a camera attached to the collar of a female polar bear without cubs in the Beaufort Sea north of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. The necks of polar bear males are wider than their heads and collars slide off.

The clip shows the bear pursuing a seal under water, dunking a frozen seal into seawater and interacting with a male who might be a suitor.

The cameras are part of a study to find out how polar bears, listed as a threatened species, are responding to sea ice loss from global warming. Scientists in the Beaufort are generally limited to about six weeks of field work each spring, between the time it’s light enough to work and before ice begins to break up.

“It’s all information that we wouldn’t be able to get otherwise,” said Todd Atwood, research leader for the USGS Polar Bear Research Program, from his office in Anchorage.

The collars were attached in April and collected eight to 10 days later as a test run of how they eventually will be deployed for longer periods. Cameras were attached to two bears in 2013, but the batteries could not handle Arctic temperatures, Atwood said.

Atwood said the 38 to 40 hours of video from the neck cameras have yielded surprises — such as the female bear and a male tussling with a seal carcass in what might be courting behavior.

“The fact that they appear to be playing around with their food, we’re not sure what that means,” he said.

Other footage shows a bear pursuing a seal underwater. Polar bear hunting behavior generally is thought to consist largely of waiting beside a breathing hole or collapsing lairs of ringed seals.

The female at one point drops a frozen seal carcass in seawater and scientists speculate she’s trying to thaw it out, Atwood said.

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Reported by DAN JOLING of the Associated Press from ANCHORAGE, Alaska.

Online:

USGS polar bear point-of-view video: http://bit.ly/SgU3OV

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Enjoy the view from Planet Earth

This NASA photo was taken over 841 orbits of the Hubble Telescope and shows about 10,000 multi-colored galaxies. (AP Photo/NASA)

This NASA photo was taken over 841 orbits of the Hubble Telescope and shows about 10,000 multi-colored galaxies. (AP Photo/NASA)

The Hubble Space Telescope, which orbits Earth and takes pictures of deep space, has captured our cosmos at its most colorful.

A new NASA panorama photo is showing the world how deep and far the universe has gone.

The image is special because it mixes what we can normally see with objects only visible in the ultraviolet light spectrum. This type of light is normally not visible to the human eye. Using special lenses, this light shows up in the photo as bright baby blue with spinning galaxies, which are about 5 to 10 billion years old, not too old or young in cosmic terms.

The speckled photo is also special in another way — it wasn’t done with one snap of the camera. Instead, it’s a composite of more than 800 photos taken by Hubble and that allowed it to show about 10,000 multi-colored galaxies.

Hubble astronomer Zolt Levay said by adding ultraviolet and infrared to the pictures, people can now see the universe in the broad spectrum of color “and then some.”

CLICK HERE FOR A HUGE VERSION OF THE PICTURE!

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Online:

Hubble: http://hubblesite.org/

Reported by The Associated Press from WASHINGTON.

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