Watercooler Stories

Aug. 9, 2012 at 6:30 AM
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Bees turn filing cabinet into hive

PFLUGERVILLE, Texas, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- A swarm of bees that had turned an old filing cabinet in a Texas warehouse into a hive were deprived of their queen and honeycomb Wednesday.

Keith Huddle of Keith's Bee Service estimated about 125,000 bees were in the cabinet in Pflugerville, the Austin American-Statesman reported. There were 120 pounds of honeycomb in the cabinet as well.

Huddle said he was told the bees moved in more than a year ago. But he was only summoned Wednesday after four people were stung, including one who suffered a serious allergic reaction after having been stung more than 100 times.

The hive consisted of Africanized bees, popularly known as killer bees, Huddle said.

Huddle removed the queen and the honeycomb, the bees' source of food. He said the bees left behind will die in a few days and with no queen to protect will probably not sting anyone before they do.

16-year-old wins texting championship

NEW YORK, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- A New York 16-year-old was crowned the top texter in the United States for the second year running at the LG U.S. National Texting Competition.

Austin Wierschke beat 10 fellow speed texters, ages ranging from 16 to 24, in a competition Wednesday in New York testing their speed, accuracy and dexterity, CBS News reported.

The competitors faced off in three rounds -- texting while blindfolded, texting with their hands behind their backs and a Text Blitz round requiring them to speedily copy phrases.

Wierschke won a $50,000 prize.

Group wants 'Perfect Storm' boat restored

NORFOLK, Va., Aug. 8 (UPI) -- A Virginia group is trying to raise $500,000 to restore the famed rescue ship depicted in "The Perfect Storm."

Harry Jaeger, head of the Zuni Maritime Foundation, said he wants to restore the ship, which carried out a daring 1991 rescue that was later depicted in the 2000 film "The Perfect Storm," and turn it into a museum dedicated to the 69-year-old vessel's history, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Wednesday.

The ship, which was known as the Zuni under the U.S. Navy and was later dubbed the Tamaroa by the Coast Guard, is the only one of the 800 ships in the Iwo Jima invasion to survive to the present day.

The boat experienced a major leak in May that flooded its engines and partially collapsed a forward bulkhead while docked in a marine yard near Norfolk, Va., Jaeger said.

The foundation is trying to raise $500,000 toward the ship's restoration, but Tim Mullane, owner of American Marine Group, which is currently harboring the vessel, said fixing the boat might cost twice the goal amount.

Manatee born in Tampa zoo

TAMPA, Fla., Aug. 8 (UPI) -- A manatee calf was born in the Tampa, Fla., Lowry Park Zoo, to a mother rescued in January with a potentially fatal condition, zoo officials said.

The male newborn, nicknamed Lad, was born July 13 weighing 66.8 pounds, and is growing at 10 pounds per week. His mother, Joannie, was rescued from the St. John's River in Jacksonville, Fla., on Jan. 13 with a life-threatening condition the zoo's rehabilitation team likened to hypothermia in humans, the Tampa (Fla.) Tribune reported Wednesday.

Since Lad's birth, Joannie, who had been pronounced healthy by zoo officials, has also adopted an orphan manatee named Cheeno, who arrived at the zoo Feb. 15 from the Caloosahatchee River in Cape Coral, Fla., suffering from cold stress. Joannie and Cheeno have established a bond, and Lad and Cheeno can be observed nursing at the same time, the newspaper said.

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