Five Lessons Learnt This Week

This week’s Five Lessons are the stuff of nightmares, featuring killer birds, haunted islands, and the symptoms that show you’re turning into your dad…

1. Dogs can be called for jury duty

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 09.23.02German Shepherd IV (pronounced Ivy) was chosen by a US court for jury duty after a computer mix-up. His bemused owner Barrett Griner received the letter with his dog’s name on the envelope, and wondered “why is my dog getting mail?” He believes the confusion came about because his full name is Barrett Griner IV, and the computer must have mistaken the Roman numerals for his first name.

IV is not the first pet to be called upon to serve on a jury. In 2011, a cat named Sal Esposito got a jury duty notice after his owners listed him on the 2010 Census as a household member. Well, they do say animals are good judges of character…

2. You could live on the world’s most haunted island

An uninhabited Venetian island called Poveglia is set to be auctioned off next month in a bid to help relieve Italy’s debt. The island was sealed off and used to host people without infectious diseases after an outbreak of plague. The island was also home to a hospital for the elderly between 1922 and 1968.

The hospital is rumoured to have carried out experiments on the mentally ill before its director was driven mad by ghosts and threw himself from the hospital’s tower. The Italian state are now hoping to redevelop the island, perhaps with a new luxury hotel. Maybe they should call Ghostbusters first…

3. There’s a killer bird on the loose

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 09.23.28A giant bird running free in the English countryside is not to be messed with, animal experts have said.

The bird is a South American rhea, which stands 6ft tall and can run at 40mph. It also has 15cm long claws that can be used to disembowel humans.

The bird fled its nearby home after being spooked by a hunt, and has so far managed to evade capture.

Instead, it’s wandering the Hertfordshire countryside and grubbing for food in fields. Probably best to keep out of this one’s way…

4. You’re turning into your dad faster than you think

A recent study has identified 30 “daddisms” or symptoms of becoming a grumpy paternal figure – and it reckons you have until you’re 38 before you’ll fall into the “just like dad” trap.

Signs to watch out for include snoozing in front of the TV, having a special chair no-one else is allowed to sit in, being baffled by popular music and (you knew this one was coming) dancing badly at parties.

Hands up how many of you are guilty of more than one of those already?

5. Don’t take a selfie next to an oncoming train

You probably didn’t need us to tell you that, but this guy did. He was shooting footage of himself looking moody and mysterious when he got kicked in the head by the conductor of a passing train. He was so busy getting the perfect angle for his ‘selfie’ that he didn’t notice the mysterious boot heading straight for his face. Heads up!