Friday, December 31, 2010

Schoharie County's Witches

We all have heard of witches, old women in Europe who cast spells on the innocent. Witches are not solely a European peculiarity. Even our Schoharie County has had witches, or rather, people who were believed to be witches. In reality, actuality, and factuality, Schoharie County has had a few.
Deadman’s Creek, now called Swart Hollow, is about three miles south of West Fulton. In the mid 1800s, there lived a woman by the name of Margaret Hemstreet, who people believed was a witch. Of course, the people had stories to back up their clams.
Mrs. Hemstreet wished to buy a pig from a man named William Swart. Now this pig was his best, being that it was his fattest, so he refused to sell it to her. A few nights later, Mr. Swart was awakened by noises in his pig-pen. When he got there, the pig was having a “fit”. Swart figured that Mrs. Hemstreet put a spell on the pig. Apparently he knew a way to calm down a pig with a spell on it, so he wrestled the pig to the ground, cut of it’s ear, and burned it. According to Mr. Swart, the pig instantly grew calm, although it’s hard to believe that a pig, whose ear had just been cut off, would be calm.
Another story surrounding Mrs. Hemstreet involves the Swart family again. William Swart was visiting the Swart household, when Mrs. Hemstreet walked up to him. “You’ll have company on your way home”, she said to his. As he walked home across a moonlit, snow laden field, a black cat came up to him. The cat played with him, and gave him company on his way home, but when he got home, the cat disappeared. The next day, he saw his tracks in the snow, but no cat prints.
One time Mrs. Hemstreet asked a woman, named Jerusha Chase for thread. Mrs. Chase, who had just left her house, didn’t want to go back inside, so she didn’t give Mrs. Hemstreet the thread she asked for. That night, Mr. Chase was awakened by Mrs. Chase turning in bed. While asleep, Mrs. Chase began shouting that Mrs. Hemstreet was dragging her to a creek, and her husband discovered that she was soaking wet. Then Jerusha began shouting, “She’s poking needles under my finger nails.” Sure enough, blood sprouted from her fingers.
Mrs. Hemstreet would never be seen outside without her trusty white cap that covered her head and ears. When she eventually did die, her neighbors found that she was still wearing her hat. As curiosity is always a factor, they wanted to remove the hat, but Mrs. Hemstreet’s husband prevented them from doing so.
A woman named Eva Boeke, who lived in Huntersville, was believed to be a witch until her death in 1870. A woman called Aunt Jane Buell, who lived in Conesville, was believed to be a “white witch”, or healer. Actually, many would consider a healer a good thing.
All the accounts that I have related have been given the benefit of the doubt, although maybe such luxuries should be bestowed upon them. Although I don’t know people’s feeling towards Mrs. Hemstreet, it is possible that people lied about being a witch simply because they didn’t like her. Also, I believe this report is appropriate with Halloween on the horizon. Happy Halloween.
County Historical Review. Schoharie County Historical Society. Schoharie, N.Y. 1992.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The History of Jefferson

The town of Jefferson was first inhabited in 1793, by people from New England. The spirit of then inhabited the town, still, when the text was written. This spirit put forth an interest in education, and the use of “advantages derived”.
In January of 1803, people petitioned the Legislature to officially declare Jefferson a town. On February 12, the Legislature did just that. On March 1st, the town elected it’s first officials, with Stephen Judd being included in five of them, them being, Assessor, Overseer of the Poor, Commissioner of the Highways, Fence Viewer, and Path Master.
Several years later, another village named Jefferson in New York, made an effort to change it’s name because of mailing problems. Afterwards, the town’s name was changed to Watkins.
The first school teacher in Jefferson was Herman Hickok. He founded the Jefferson Academy in 1812. Shares of the school were sold at $25 a piece, with Stephen Judd owning the most at 12. Those who owned shares had a vote in electing a board of directors. He also gave land for the academy to be built on. While construction continued, there was not enough revenue to complete the structure. To raise the money, Jefferson asked the town of Schoharie for the money. Schoharie obliged, and 44 people gave money, at a total of $216.50. People who donated were future Governor William Bouck, Peter Vroman, Adam Vroman and Heman Hickok, if I may assume to have some relation to Herman. Also, the list given spells Adam and Peter Vroman, “Vrooman”.
The building was finally erected in 1822, at forty-five square feet, with a height of three stories. It cost approximately four thousand dollars to build. Although started under firm footing, the building had troubles. Long times would elapse between school sessions, and it did not get needed repairs.
In the will of Stephen Judd, who died on June 8, 1821, it stated that the property was to be used as a school, so long as the academy was used for “school purposes”. Joshua H. Judd, Stephen’s great-nephew, demanded the property be returned to the Judds, on the grounds that the agreement of the continuation of “school purposes” was broken. He won the case. In it’s stead was a “Union School”, formed in 1878.
Two tanneries were in existence in Jefferson, both of which were founded in 1816, and both of which faded from existence in about 1846. There was a Presbyterian Church in Jefferson, which was founded in about 1809, but the book does not give an exact date.
The Judd family had a huge impact on Jefferson. As previously mentioned, the Judds helped raise, and, eventually, tear down the Jefferson Academy. Stephen Judd held huge lots of land, and had an inn, and his brother, Freeman, was a preacher. Also mentioned is a story that states that Daniel Judd was beheaded by Indians in the Revolution, and his was carried to Canada on a pole.
There were another three churches in Jefferson, all of which were Methodist. The Methodist Episcopal Church of West Jefferson was organized first, and services were held at private houses until 1816. The First Methodist Village Episcopal Church of Jefferson Village was organized in 1819, and was included in a circuit of 13 towns. The West Kill Methodist Church was organized in 1816, but became the First Methodist Village Episcopal Church of Jefferson Village, in 1819.
A skirmish was held upon Jefferson, and was a loss to patriots. As the book states, “This skirmish was the only one which occurred during the war that was disgraceful...within the borders of our County.” Jefferson also sent men to fight in the Civil War.
The book also lists justices of Jefferson, from 1803 to 1882. Mentioned are Stephen Judd, in 1804, and Heman Hickok, who served eight years in a row.
I don’t understand why Jefferson was founded in the very late 1700s, when Schoharie was founded so long before. I mean, can you imagine Jefferson was settled ten years after the Revolution.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Western Schoharie County History

One can easily derive Summit’s name by looking around the county, for the county has many summits. Mount Wharton stands a little to the west of the town, where the clouds embrace it, given it’s height. Mt. Wharton got it’s name from it’s owner, J. B. Wharton. Upon this mountain presides a “sheet of water”. The book goes out of it’s way to note the beauty of this entity.
Seymour Boughton was a resident of Summit, who moved there from Charlotteville. Boughton was the youngest of nineteen, yes nineteen, children, and, at about the turn of the 18th century, he moved with his father to Charlotteville. In Charlotteville, he built the Van Buren house, which was used as a tavern. Boughton framed and painted his house by himself, to which his neighbors thought that he was “bent on wasting his property”. The tavern was the first framed house in town. Mr. Boughton died on June 11, 1872.
According to legend, the lake in Summit was named Utasayantho. A story that surrounds the lake concerns an unwed Indian squaw. This squaw gave birth to a child upon the bank of the lake. Chiefs of the tribe consulted with each other, then threw the child into the lake. For a long time, the lake was called “Jack’s lake”, but as time progressed, it was given the appropriate name of “Summit Lake”. Interestingly, it is said that Johnson and Brant stopped at the lake in 1780, relaxed, and even did some fishing.
Summit was settled after the Revolution. People who settled here were mainly from the Hudson river counties, and the “eastern States”. A man by the name of Levi Ives owned a distillery in Summit. This establishment was nationally famous, for many people from around the country ordered liquor from Ives.
To the west of Summit is a valley by the name of Charlotte. In the valley flows the Charlotte river. Along the stream there was an ancient Indian path. Along this path, POWs of the Revolution walked, on their way to Canada. Four miles south of the valley lived a man named Service. Although being neutral, in many cases, he was accused of being disloyal to the Whig cause. An order for his arrest was given, and a patriot party went to get him. Upon arriving, they put forth a letter, which they said proved his “disloyalty to the Continental cause”. He refused to go, and threw an ax at the patriots and ran. He was shot whilst he ran. One of the men who killed Service was Tim Murphy.
The book says “nothing of importance occurred in this part” until a school was built in 1850. The school was built for 300 children. In 1852, additions were built, and the school was then able to hold over 500 students. In 1867, the school burned down.
The first church in the valley was the First Baptist Church. The book lists church officials of the First Baptist. Other churches in the area were: the Second Baptist Church, the Reformed Church of Eminence, the Methodist Episcopal Church of Summit, the Free Methodist Church of Charlotteville, the Lutheran Church of Summit, and the Lutheran Church of Beard’s Hollow.
Lying in what is now Richmondville, was Beard’s Hollow. It was founded in 1794 by Killian Ritter. In 1800 there was a business which revolved around the manufacture of grindstones. Another hamlet was Lutheranville, which was called also “Tar Hollow”. During the Anti-rent wars, it is believed, that a deputy sheriff was “treated to a good coat of tar and feathers”. Another little hamlet that existed was “Dutch Hill”, which received it’s name because of the nationality of people who resided there. In 1851, it was renamed Eminence. The first town meeting of Summit was held in March of 1820.
Can you imagine a mountain named after you, like Mr. Wharton’s? Imagine three hundred years from now, a mother points and tells her son with an air of excitement, “Look, there’s Mount Laraway.”

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The History of Fulton and West Middleburgh

A portion of Fulton was once owned by the Vromans, called Vromansland, and was purchased for one hundred gallons of rum and a few blankets. Adam Vroman’s father, Hendrick, was killed in the Schenectady massacre of 1690. Adam was born in Holland, in 1649, and had three wives, who begat 13 children. The book lists the children.
The Palatines and Vromans did not trust each other. When the Palatines saw the land that Vroman had bought, they realized that Vroman had cheated the Indians out of almost one thousand acres. The Palatines, Indians, and Vromans argued over the land until Adam Vroman repurchased it in 1726.
In 1753, a “fort” was built in Vromansland. This action was taken in preparation of a conflict with the French, and the order to build the fort was given by Sir William Johnson.
In the Revolution, Peter Vroman fought alongside the patriots as a Colonel. He also represented the Schoharie district at the “Provincial Convention”, which elected delegates to the Continental Congress. He also served as a delegate to the Council of Safety.
The Swart family were decedents of people from Holland. The first Swarts in the country were Frederick and Teunis Cornelius. One Swart became a judge.
The Cryslers settled in our county around the year 1750. When the Revolution erupted, they sided with the Crown, and the book states many times that they are a “stain upon our history”. During the Revolution, Crysler fled to Canada with other Tories.
In 1777, upper, middle, and lower forts were built. The strongest of these was the upper fort, which stood near Fultonham.
The book tells of the Vroman massacre in which many Vromans and servants were either killed or brought to Canada. This rendition includes the story of the Indians sparing the Vroman baby because of it’s laughter. Also, many of those killed had their scalps hung near those captured. These prisoners were traded for other prisoners in Canada and walked home from Saratoga after being gone for a year.
The Bouck family came to Fulton via the Palatine immigration, the first Bouck being William Bouck. In 1780, William was taken prisoner by Indians. He and other servants were rescued by patriots. William C. Bouck was born in 1786, and started school in 1795. Bouck was in the state legislature and was Governor for two years, and is the only Governor from our county. Bouck also attended the state constitutional convention and died in 1859, at 73.
The book gives a list of inhabitants of Fulton in 1788. Among the names are Bouck, Crysler, Vroman, and Swart.
This chapter also states that Tim Murphy was nothing but a kind-hearted person and a patriot. Murphy’s family moved here from Ireland. At 16, Murphy joined the patriots as a rifleman. It was Tim Murphy that killed General Fraser in the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. Murphy was dispatched to the Schoharie valley to help turn back expected invasions.
Mr. Murphy had many great feats, including defending the Middle Fort. His first wife was Marganet Feek. Murphy died in 1818 and was buried at his farm.
In the hills of Fulton was Petersburgh. Once having timber covering the land, hemlock took it’s stead when the timber was depleted. The hemlock was used as normal timber would be used.
Breakabeen’s “correct” name is “Brakabeen”, which was named by the Germans. One of the early settlers of Breakabeen was the Keysers. During the Revolution, three houses stood in Breakabeen, one of which was the Keyser residence. A man named Michael Borst came to Fulton in 1815 and built a tannery near the bridge; the tannery was later replaced by a foundry around 1850.
Fultonham was the place of a Palatine dorf and the Upper Fort. One of the first families were the Laraways. The book also mentions a man by the name of Charles Watson, which begs the question, is this who Watsonville is named after?
West Fulton was, for a long time, known as Byrneville, or Sapbush Hollow. The name was changed to West Fulton thanks to the post office. Michael Byrne built a church in the town for the Dutch Reformed.
Polly Hollow, or West Middleburgh, is also talked about. During the Civil War, two soldiers deserted and Union troops came to get them. The Polly Hollow militia fired on the Union force until they retreated.
Under the Supervisors of Fulton, names of interest that came up are Vroman, Watson, and Bouck. Fulton’s boundaries were formed in 1828.
The book tells of Crysler’s despicable actions. One must wonder what was going on in his mind.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

One thing Obama got right so far

As you might know, gluten is bad. Obama doesn't like gluten. I rest my case.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

History of Sharon Springs

Sharon was part of Tryon County from 1772-1784. Tryon was renamed Montgomery on April 2, 1784. On February 16, 1791, part of Carlisle, Seward, and Sharon formed the town of “New Dorlach”. When our county was formed, Sharon was annexed, and it’s boundaries were defined in 1797.
All the immigration stopped during the Revolution, but afterwards people started to go to Sharon. Peter Sommers kept the first store in the town, but went to Canada during the Revolution, and never returned. William Beekman was the first judge in the Court of Common Pleas, which he held until 1833. Beekman was also elected to the Senate in 1799, 1800, 1801, and 1802. He also built a mansion west of Beekman’s Corners, and died on November 26, 1845.
Many of the Indians and Germans remained loyal to the Crown during the Revolution. In 1777, some people answered the call of the Crown. On July 10, 1781, the battle of Sharon took place, in which Colonel Willett of Fort Stanwix battled a man named Dockstader, a Mohawk Tory. Although Dockstader commanded over 400 Indians and Tories, and Willett commanded under 300, the patriots took only five losses, while Dockstader took over 70. After the war, a few people petitioned the legislature to be compensated for things lost during the war.
At Moak’s Hollow, the Mynderts and other people were captured by a band of Indians and Tories. Mrs. Myndert was allowed to go, but the rest were taken to Niagara. They were still held after the war, but escaped by digging under their prison’s wall. William Kneiskern, who was taken to Rebel Island, escaped by binding three brandy casks together, and floating to America.
Previous to the Revolution, many of the settlers were well-to-do people, but the Revolution left them in poverty. By 1800, most, if not all, of the town was occupied. In 1793, the “Great Western Turnpike” ran through Sharon, and the thoroughfares that ran through the town gave a major business boost.
Beekman’s Corners was a booming town in the first quarter of the 1800s. This is where Judge Beekman lived. Dr. Sylvanus Palmer, whose pen-name was Peter Paradox, called Governor Bouck, soon after he was elected, a “Sour Kraut”. Peter A. Hilton built a brick mansion and storehouse in Beekman’s Corners.
Peter, Martin, Mathias, and Jacob Engle settled in Sharon in 1798. Peter built a grist-mill in 1810. Inside Sharon was the hamlet of Leesville, where it’s post office was located, and was where the town’s main business took place. Located in Leesville were three hotels, two stores, a tannery, and a blacksmith.
The springs of Sharon were highly acclaimed, for they were believed to hold disease curing abilities. Indians used them, in fact, long before the whites came. Provisions for accommodating settlers were started around 1825, by David Eldredge, who started to take in boarders, and added rooms upon his home to provide room for extra travelers. A major boarding home was constructed by a company from New York City, and afterwards, many more hotels were built by various people and companies. The book lists the minerals found in the springs.
Christian Myndert was the first to settle in Sharon, whose farm was purchased by Tinas Pynneo. Another name for Sharon is Moak’s Hollow. Some of the first settlers in Sharon were the Loucks, the Davenports, and the Klings, who still remain in the county. It’s amazing that the book devotes a big section to local graves.
It’s too bad that Sharon never became a big city. People have their theories why this never happened, but mine is that it didn’t happen because of the smells.

Intrigue in the Tennessee State House

 It was bad.

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Our Local Government

The Court of “Common Pleas” was used from the colonial period, as time progressed. Under our state’s first Constitution, the number of judges, and “assistant” judges, was allowed to greatly vary from county to county. Also, assistant judges were appointed. In 1818, an act was passed which abolished assistant judges and limited the number of judges per county to five.
The New York Constitution of 1846 made it so that nearly all offices were elected by the people. In place of assistant judges, two justices of the peace were associated with the county’s judges. Among other offices elected by the public are: county clerks, county treasurers, sheriff, in their second term and on, attorneys, and most public service positions. The book gives a list of those who occupied different offices.
And amazingly, people from our county have held high and prestigious positions. Among this exclusive club is William C. Bouck, the only person from our county to become Governor, Abraham Keyser, who became the state’s treasurer, and fourteen senators. Peter S. Danforth was a Supreme Court Justice, and John F. Hazleton was consular to Italy.
The book also tells of people who practiced law in Schoharie County, some of which were alive when the text was written, but are presumably dead now. The book lists 39 people. Amazingly, one of those who practiced law professionally was Ralph Brewster, whose descendants landed at Plymouth from the Mayflower. Also, Peter Danforth is named. Right after that, his son, George, was also named. Apparently the elder Danforth had much influence on George.
It’s amazing that our county, our little county, has had a Governor, a Supreme Court Judge, and a consular to Italy. Our county has had immense political power, but hopefully it will soon be over-shadowed when someone from our county becomes President.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fallout New Vegas Review

First off, I wanted to say that I've played all of the Fallout Games (not counting Tactics or Brotherhood of Steel) and I've enjoyed each one of them. Probably my favorite has been Fallout 2 and that's part of the reason I was so excited to play New Vegas.

The game starts fairly simply in an unmarked grave until you're found by a doctor who patches you up and has you determine your SPECIAL and other traits. The main storyline is compelling but short, just like Fallout 3. While it appears that there are a similar amount of side quests between Fallout 3 and NV, the world is significantly smaller in New Vegas. This hurts the playability of the overall game and significantly reduces just what you can do.

There are bugs galore. Targeting, camera, scripts... it's a lot. And it's distracting and takes away from the gameplay. There's even a bug in opening the game!

Also, loads take a tremendously long time and are a pain in the butt. You could wait upwards of a half minute just leaving a building. One review described them as "demoralizing" and I agree.

A few observations:

  • The radio stations in NV are inferior to 3. Mr. New Vegas is a nice touch, but with far fewer lines than Three Dog. Besides, two of the stations share the same music, which is pretty good but are far fewer than the number in 3.

  • There are bugs galore-- I know I already said that, but I have to again.
  • The ending is far improved over 3, however you still can't play after that.
  • Some parts are far deeper into the lore and use characters from Fallout 2. Other parts are shorter and rushed.
  • It feels like there's a genuine war between the Legion and the New California Republic. However, there's far less Legion territory and interaction (unless you actively side with them).

Overall, this game is both satisfying and frustrating. It feels like the game was rushed and if given another six months it could have far outstripped Fallout 3. It's still worth buying but make sure to download the patch.

Very good, would have been a 9.0 without the bugs.


Did you play it? What do you think?

Special thanks to multiple sites for the pictures.

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Joe Writes Book Slamming Gluten Industry

Doctor Joseph H. Chicoine, fresh off of contesting the stolen Senate election in New York is back on the trail, this time touting his new book: Toast: How Big Gluten is Destroying America. Chicoine's book slams the Gluten industry, which willfully advertises the narcotic substance on children's televisions shows and in sports magazines.

"I'm sick and tired of it," Chicoine said, sipping a glass of 1889 Merlot, "They advertise the 'benefits' of a balanced diet-- of a nice big sandwich or a slice of pizza. They should know that any of those could place a person with Celiac's disease, like Kanye West, in a apoplectic seizure."

Chicoine is planning to try and get the Congress to pass new regulations banning gluten or at least placing warning labels on loaves of bread and cracker packages.

"I was thinking 'you will die if you eat this,' on pita bread," he said, "It's the least we can do for an organized and civil society."

He was still bitter over last Tuesday's election results.

"Gillibrand should take the lead on this," he said of his former primary opponent. "It's the least the bitch could do."

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Indonesia's smoking toddler kicks the habit

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesia's smoking toddler has kicked the habit. Footage of 2-year-old Aldi Rizal — who smoked up to two packs a day — puffing away circulated the Internet in May and sparked an international outcry. His parents said he'd throw tantrums every time they tried to stop him from lighting up.
Psychologist Seto Mulyadi, who took the child into his own home as part of rehabilitation efforts, said Friday the boy has stopped asking for cigarettes.
He said Aldi picked up the habit because virtually every man in his fishing village in South Sumatra province smokes.
When removed from that environment, and offered a wide range of activities, including playing and drawing, he no longer had the urge, the psychologist said.
Aldi's father gave him his first cigarette when he was just 18-months-old, relatives have said.

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pennsylvania woman zaps self, brother with stun gun

NORTH EAST, Pa. – Police said an Erie-area woman somehow managed to zap both herself and her brother with a stun gun during a drunken dispute. Darlene Newara, 45, will have a hearing Oct. 18 on charges including driving under the influence, disorderly conduct for fighting, and public drunkenness in the Aug. 8 incident.
State police said they responded to a disturbance outside an Erie-area store about 6 p.m. to find that Newara had been arguing with her brother and stunned him with the device, then accidentally shocked herself with it.
Police said she was intoxicated and had several unopened bottles of liquor in the vehicle with her three sons, who were not hurt.
The Associated Press could not immediately locate a listed phone for Newara.
Information from: Erie Times-News,

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Montana teen accidentally texts sheriff to buy pot

HELENA, Mont. – General rule of thumb: when looking to buy marijuana, don't text the sheriff. Authorities said a Helena teen hit a wrong number and inadvertently sent a message to Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton, saying "Hey Dawg, do you have a $20 I can buy right now?"
A detective pretending to be the dealer organized a meeting at a time when the boy knew he and another teen would be at a particular store.
The detective spotted two teenage boys and one of the boy's fathers — who was unaware of what was going on — at the store. He called the phone number three times to make sure he had the right person. Dutton said when the detective showed the teens his badge, one of the boys fainted.
No citations were issued after the parents of the boys, who were 15 and 16, got involved.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Malaysia uncovers nearly 100 live reptiles in bag

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian airport security arrested a convicted wildlife smuggler after finding almost 100 live reptiles in his luggage, the country's Wildlife and National Parks Department said.
Anson Wong, already convicted of trafficking in wildlife in the United States, was in transit from the Malaysian island state of Penang to the Indonesian capital Jakarta on Thursday when Malaysia Airlines staff at Kuala Lumpur airport were alerted to a bag that had broken while on a conveyor belt.
The department, in a statement issued late on Saturday, said itsenforcement officers found 95 boa constrictors, two rhinoceros vipers and a matamata turtle inside the luggage.
Boa constrictors are subject to regulations or a complete ban in international commercial trade as they are listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
The statement said Wong would remain in detention for two days. Under Malaysian law, if found guilty, he could face seven years in jail and fines of up to 100,000 ringgit ($32,000) for each animal or both.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Wong had previously pleaded guilty to a trafficking in the United States in 2001 and was sentenced to 71 months in jail.
TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring organization, said Malaysia must "rise to the challenge" of confronting new evidence of its role as an hub for those engaged in wildlife smuggling.
"Their attempt at mocking Malaysia's legal system must be dealt with head-on," said Kanitha Krishnasamy, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia Senior Programme Officer.
On Friday, Thai customs officials found a two-month-old tiger stashed in a bag filled with tiger toys which had been checked in for an international passenger flight.
(Reporting by Royce Cheah; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Older people enjoy reading negative stories about young

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Older people like reading negative news stories about their younger counterparts because it boosts their own self-esteem, according to a new study.
German researchers said older people tend to be portrayed negatively in society. Although they are often described as wise, they are also be shown as being slow and forgetful.
"Living in a youth centered culture, they may appreciate a boost in self-esteem. That's why they prefer the negative stories about younger people, who are seen as having a higher status in our society," said Dr. Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, of Ohio State University.
Knoblock-Westerwick and her co-author Matthias Hastall, of Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, Germany, studied 276 German adults, including 178 aged 18 to 30 and 98 between 55 and 60. Their findings are published in the Journal of Communication.
All the adults in the study were shown what they were led to believe was a test version of a new online news magazine. They were also given a limited time to look over either a negative and positive version of 10 pre-selected articles.
Each story was also paired with a photograph depicting someone of either the younger or the older age group.
The researchers found that older people were more likely to choose to read negative articles about those younger than themselves. They also tended to show less interest in articles about older people, whether negative or positive.
But younger people preferred to read positive articles about other young people.
According to Knobloch-Westerwick, older people's preference for negative news about their younger counterparts can be explained by their place in society.
"Everybody likes a self-esteem boost. For young people though, it's almost automatic. Youth is considered important in society," she said.
After perusing the articles, the participants completed a questionnaire designed to measure levels of self-esteem. Unlike their younger counterparts, the self-esteem of older people rose after they read a negative article about younger people.
Although the study was done in Germany, Knobloch-Westerwick believe nationality and the national characteristics are not important.
"I believe that much the same would hold true for Americans" if a similar study were undertaken in the US," she said in an interview.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Man arrested for trying to dazzle pilots with laser

PARIS (Reuters) – A man appeared in court on Tuesday accused of trying to dazzle pilots with a laser beam as they were landing at France's second-busiest airport Paris Orly, aviation authorities said.
"Several pilots complained and the man was arrested near the runway," a spokesman for the civil aviation authority said.
Airport security officials said three pilots, including crew of Air France and EasyJet flights, warned the control tower on Sunday, which alerted the police and the man was caught in the act.
A spokeswoman for Air France said its pilot was never in any difficulty but there had been a growing number of such incidents.
(Reporting by Bate Felix; editing by Andrew Roche)

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cup of tea forces jet to make emergency landing

BERLIN (Reuters) – A British airplane en route to Poland was forced to make an emergency landing in Germany after a 56-year-old woman spilled a hot cup of tea on herself, German police said on Wednesday.
The Ryanair flight from Liverpool to Poznan made the unscheduled landing in the northwestern city of Bremen on Tuesday, local police said.
The British woman was treated for scalding at the airport and released -- but not before the plane resumed its journey without her. She later took a train to Poland, police said.
(Reporting by Michelle Martin; editing by Paul Casciato)

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