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Watercooler Stories

Dec. 25, 2012 at 6:30 AM   |   Comments

Christmas elves arrested in assaults

WOLVERHAMPTON, England, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- British police said they arrested a pair of Christmas elves accused of assaulting two men in separate incidents.

Wolverhampton, England, police said the men, ages 20 and 27, were dressed as festive elves Friday night when they allegedly attacked a man at the Babylon Bar and allegedly assaulted a second man just before 1 a.m. Saturday outside the Civic Hall.

Police said they arrested the two men near the scene of the second attack.

The men were released on bail while police continue their investigation.

We are keen to hear from anyone who may have witnessed either of these attacks," Police Constable Tim Gee said. "In particular we would like to speak to a man who came to the aid of the man attacked in the Babylon Bar. The good Samaritan was wearing a white T-shirt and walked the victim to Queen Square to get medical attention."


Researcher: Santa's 'reindeer' are caribou

FAIRBANKS, Alaska, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- A University of Alaska, Fairbanks, biology professor says his research indicates the eight tiny reindeer pulling Santa Claus' sleigh are actually young caribou.

The University of Chicago Press reported Perry Barboza's study, published online by the Physiological and Biochemical Zoology journal, argues the animals pulling Santa through the air on his Christmas Eve round trip across the globe are caribou rather than the traditionally accepted reindeer.

"Although the mechanisms of flight for Santa and his team are as yet unknown, the energy required by his team of animals to fly around the world from pole to pole is considerable," the study reads.

"The animals that draw the sleigh must deliver high power with a minimal flight mass. Such a level of energy expenditure in a ruminant capable of flight would require significant food intake, because larger fat stores increase flight mass. Calves entering their first winter have the greatest power-to-mass ratios, because their legs are proportionately longer and their body is leaner than those of adults.

"Although Siberian reindeer may appear a suitable choice, North American caribou are leaner and longer-legged than reindeer during this time of year. Caribou can also better sustain very high food intakes -- of a diet including dry lichens and formulated rations -- at 6 percent of body mass per day. What has been reported in sightings as "eight tiny reindeer" are therefore likely to be young caribou."


Survivalists propose Idaho community

BOISE, Idaho, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- An online survivalist group is proposing a walled community in Northern Idaho centered around a firearms manufacturing company.

The Citadel survivalist group is proposing a complex housing 3,500 to 7,000 families on about 2,000 to 3,000 acres in Benewah County with a firearms manufacturing company at the center to employ residents and raise money for the community, The Idaho Statesman reported Monday.

The group's website said the site was chosen for its sparse population and "shared worldview" of independence, self-sufficiency and patriotism.

The website said more than 200 families have already applied to join the community, which the group said it hopes to break ground on shortly after summer 2013. The group has already purchased 20 acres of land in the county.

III Arms, the firearms manufacturing company proposed to form the center of the community, was incorporated in Idaho in August and lists its headquarters in Gaithersburg, Md.


National yule log nixed in Washington

WASHINGTON, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- The manager of President's Park in Washington said the traditional national yule log was scrapped because the fire pit "didn't fit into the new site plan."

Scott Tucker, manager of the park on the Ellipse, said the 50-year tradition of a national yule log accompanying the National Christmas Tree was ended this year when the layout of the stage and seating at the park was changed by the National Park Service, The Washington Post reported Monday.

"The fire pit ... didn't fit into the new site plan," Tucker said.

Tucker said the piece of ground formerly used as a fire pit was used for a temporary seating area opening night, Dec. 6, when President Barack Obama and his family visited the park.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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