An angry, fat cat first allegedly scratched a baby and then allegedly penned an Oregon family in their bedroom.
No, seriously. The Oregonian reports that owner Lee Palmer says he kicked the 22-pound house cat to get it away from his 7-month-old son. Then, he says, the cat became so angry, the family had to call police. The 911 call is priceless. Take a listen:
Perhaps just as priceless, this graphic tweeted by KPTV-TV in Oregon:
Police eventually made it into the house and saved the family. Here's the narrative, courtesy of Portland Police's public information office:
"Officers arrived and cautiously opened the door to the residence, where they saw the black and white Himalayan dart into the kitchen, attempting to flee custody. Officers were able to outwit the high-strung Himalayan, who climbed on to the top of the refrigerator, and get a snare around the cat and safely get the cat behind bars in its crate.
"Officers then told the family that it was safe to come out of the bedroom. The cat remained behind bars in the custody of the family and officers cleared the scene and continued to fight crime elsewhere in the city."
The baby, by the way, is OK. He just suffered a small scratch on his forehead.
The cat has not been charged. It's also had no comment.
When Jonette Øyen bought her first electric car, it turned heads. "Now nobody turns around!" she says with a laugh.
Sometime in April, Norway is expected to become the first country where one in every 100 cars is purely electric. One percent may not sound like a huge figure, but in the U.S., the equivalent number would be something close to .07 percent.
Driving around Oslo, it's a number that becomes quickly visible as Øyen interrupts herself every minute or two to point out another EV passing quietly by. Popular electric vehicles in Norway include the Think and Buddy, which are both produced by Norwegian car makers, as well as Nissan's Leaf and Tesla models.
This is all started years ago, when Norway had a fledgling electric car industry of its own. In an effort to boost sales and reduce emissions, the Norwegian Parliament put forth a very generous package of incentives to get its people off fossil fuel. The big one: no taxes. In a country where taxes can double or even triple a car's purchase price, that's huge.
Still, as Transport Minister Ketil Solvik-Olsen explains it, those were the days when electric meant "tiny, kind of plastic cars seating two people, where you would freeze to death during the wintertime." He says that while the pitch appealed to early adopters and environmentally conscious people, sales were not about to rise dramatically in snowy, mountainous Norway.
Parliament decided the tax break would end when the country's EV total reached 50,000, or in 2017, whichever came first.
By 2013, Norway's electric car industry had pretty much fizzled, but California-based Tesla was cranking them out, kickstarting other major automakers into action. With EVs on the market that some consumers actually wanted, suddenly those tax incentives became a lot more alluring.
In September of last year, Norway becomes the first country ever to have an all-electric vehicle top the monthly best-seller list: the Tesla Model S. In October, it was a different all-electric model: the Nissan Leaf.
But Wait, There's More!
The perks of EV ownership in Norway go on and on: no tolls, free use of the bus lanes, free parking, free ferry rides and free charging at municipal stations. Norwegians with gas-powered cars pay about $9 a gallon to keep them moving.
Put it all together, and in just one year, Norway's EV population doubled to its current total of almost 25,000. At this rate, that once-ambitious target of 50,000 could be met by the summer of 2015.
EV proponents are ecstatic. Electric cars, they say, are quieter and good for the environment. That's especially true in Norway where 99 percent of generated electricity comes from clean hydropower.
But there is a snake in paradise. In his neat little office at Statistics Norway, Bjart Holtsmark doesn't appear particularly serpentine. This is a man who bikes to work and mostly studies the economics of carbon trading. But as one of the few vocal critics of Norway's EV policy, he isn't the most beloved person on electric car chat rooms.
Holtsmark has crunched the numbers and figures that Norway is currently subsidizing each Nissan Leaf — about half the EV population — to the tune of $8,000 per year.
In the U.S., by comparison, EV owners are eligible for a one-time federal tax credit of up to $7,500 and a variety of other incentives that vary by state.
Using that $8,000 figure, Holtsmark goes on to calculate that, in terms of its EV policies, Norway is paying $13,500 per ton of CO2 reduction. A ton of CO2 on the European permit market costs $5.
"If we should have such high subsidies for electric cars in Norway, it must be the goal that electric cars could be a solution for the rest of the world also. You can't have these subsidies only to introduce electric cars in Norway," Holtsmark says.
Unfortunately, he says, the rest of the world is far from ready. Norway has a lot of renewable energy, but fossil fuel accounts for the bulk of the world's electricity production, he says.
"If you introduce electric cars on a large scale today, it would actually probably increase the greenhouse gas emissions in the world, not reduce them, because the high share of fossil fuels in the electricity market," he says.
At this point, the debate explodes into a many-headed monster of the dueling-science variety.
But regardless of whether the Norwegian example could or should become a model for the rest of world, it has proven a couple of things.
Physically, electric cars may be scrappier than once thought.
"Norway is a hopeless country," says Snorre Sletvold with the Norwegian Electric Car Association. "We have the cold climate, we have a lot of long distances, we have the topography." And yet, he says, here it is, the "kingdom of EV."
The other lesson? Where there's a will — and a sizeable incentive — there's a watt.
What can doctors do to help kids stay away from drugs?
There's not much evidence to say one way or the other, it turns out.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which issues guidelines on what doctors should and shouldn't do, said there aren't enough reliable studies around to come up with any solid advice. So the task force gave the interventions an "I" for insufficient evidence. The kids might call it an incomplete.
We only identified six studies that addressed this question in primary care settings or in ways that were applicable to primary care, says Carrie Patnode, a research associate at Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research.
Some of the interventions that have been studied include brief counseling sessions during an office visit, sometimes combined with computer-based screening. Other studies looked at computer-based interventions accessed at home.
"Studies on these interventions were limited and the findings on whether interventions significantly improved health outcomes were inconsistent," the task force said in a summary. The review and the task force's conclusions were published in the latest Annals of Internal Medicine.
Carrie, who led the review of the evidence for the USPSTF, tells Shots that clinicians may still want to screen for substance abuse. None of the studies showed any harm in in it. Less than half of pediatricians are doing that now, she says.
The lack of evidence doesn't mean doctors should do nothing. "When there is a lack of evidence, doctors must use their clinical experience and judgment, and many clinicians may choose to talk with an adolescent to prevent or discourage risky behaviors, such as drug use," USPSTF member Susan Curry said in a statement.
But, of course, there's the question of what primary care doctors choose to do during their short visits with children and teens. There are only so many questions a doctor gets to ask.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pediatricians routinely screen adolescent patients for drug use, including alcohol and tobacco. One tool is a six-question list that asks, among other things, whether the child has ever ridden in car with someone who was on drugs or who had been drinking.
Libya's prime minister lost a vote of confidence and has been dismissed after his government was unable to stop a North Korean-flagged tanker from loading oil at a rebel-held port and reportedly breaking through a naval blockade.
Ali Zeidan was replaced temporarily by the country's defense minister, Abdallah al-Thinni, parliamentary spokesman Omar Hmeidan said.
Reuters reports that Libya's navy opened fire on the tanker as it tried to leave Sidra, one of three ports that has been in the hands of separatist forces since August.
NPR's Leila Fadel reports that:
"The militia bypassed the central government and made its first oil sale last weekend.
"Meanwhile militias that support the [central government] are reportedly mobilizing to take back control of the ports."
The BBC says that the rebels "are seeking a greater share of the country's oil revenues, as well as autonomy for the historic eastern region of Cyrenaica."
According to the news agency:
"The tanker - named Morning Glory - was reported to have taken on at least 234,000 barrels of crude at Sidra's oil terminal.
"It was the first vessel to have loaded oil from a rebel-held port since the separatist revolt against the central government in Tripoli erupted in July.
"Earlier, the government had claimed to have control of the vessel, but the militia denied that controls Sidra denied the reports."
"There was no word immediately available from [Zeidan] on his ouster, which raises anew the potential for armed conflict. Most politicians in Libya are backed by militias with regional or ideological allegiances, and many are not likely to accept his removal."
This week Felix and I are heading over to one of our favorite places in the whole world — Austin, Texas — to meet up with some of our favorite musicians, watch some great live shows and, if Tio Felix has his way, eat a lot of Tex-Mex. Later today we'll be DJing a little get-together, and one of the highlights of this trip will certainly be our show with Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux. She's one of the best and brightest in Latin music today, and she has a stellar new record coming out, which you can listen to exclusively here.
We hope you can make it to SXSW and hang out with us, but if you can't, we've got your back with this list of songs — a sample of what we'll be spinning at tonight's event.
And you can listen to Alt.Latino Radio via the link above.