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The diametric legacies of Veerappan

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Even before he was wanted in connection with the murders of over 100 people, Koose Muniswamy Veerappan was a notorious poacher and sandalwood smuggler. Things really got interesting on July 30, 2000, when he kidnapped "the John Wayne of Bollywood"--Rajkumar--after the beloved actor had thrown a housewarming party (at the behest of his astrologer, to coincide with the usually beneficent new moon). The Kannada star was generally tight-lipped about the ordeal, but a New York Times Magazine piece of 2004 (the year Veerappan was apprehended and killed) illuminates some of the more bizarre and introspective aspects of the kidnapping:


In 2000, he kidnapped a 71-year-old film actor, Rajkumar, a demigod in South India. The hostage and the kidnapper held lengthy discussions on religious scripture. It had a therapeutic effect on the thespian. ''My time was
all my own,'' Rajkumar later said. ''I prayed to God, conversed with my inner self and marveled at natural phenomena like day and night.'' The brigand would twirl and flourish his whiskers and ask his captive his opinion. ''He used to smear all sorts of oils and herbs on it,'' the actor recalled. ''He used to comb it every day and keep it very clean. He also used to take great pains to dye it black.''

From what I know, this bandit's legacy has not been addressed via dolls (but let me know if I'm mistaken).

Instead, his life and its tyrannies have inspired various filmmakers, including Ram Gopal Varma & his 2000 biopic, Jungle, and AMR Ramesh from Karnataka, who expounds on Veerappan in this recent Q&A:

DH: You are also planning a film on Veerappan.

AMMR: I have been planning it since five years. When the late Dr Rajkumar was kidnapped, I was the first person to go to the forest. I met Veerappan's wife Muthulaxmi. This film will be in Tamil and Kannada and it will be named Samharam--Forest Encounter. Again it will be real names and real situations.

Of course, Muthulaxmi has filed a case against the project, and she has got every right to do so. But as a filmmaker I have got my own right to make a film. Veerappan did not take anybody's permission to kill animals and human beings.

The day of Veerappan's funeral, 20,000 people showed up, some curious, some lamenting the death of a figure who championed unity between the contentious states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Among his ten conditions for the release of Rajkumar were that a statue of poet Thiruvalluvar be erected in Bangladore and that the wages of tea estate workers be raised.

His widow, Muthulaxmi, even seems to take the long way around his atrocities. According to the BBC, she acknowledged Veerappan was a "loving father and good husband" and that he "asked me to be patient, saying he would take the necessary steps at the right time. For the sake of the children he said I should not come to the jungle to live with him."

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There’s a $1 Million Bounty on Bigfoot
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If you’re a Pennsylvania resident with evidence of giant ape-men trespassing in your backyard, Tom Biscardi wants to hear from you. The self-described “Godfather of Bigfoot” and his team of trackers are offering a $1 million bounty for "information leading to the capture or delivery of a bona fide Bigfoot," the Associated Press reports.

Biscardi has been searching for Bigfoot for 50 years. He was inspired to start the lifelong quest in 1967 after watching the Patterson-Gimlin film, a 59-second clip of what appears to be a large, furry creature striding around Bluff Creek in California.

In the time since, Biscardi has produced Bigfoot documentaries, launched a Bigfoot-hunting podcast, and founded Searching for Bigfoot, Inc., an organization dedicated to locating the legendary creature. Now he’s calling on the public to share any leads they may have on the cryptid’s whereabouts.

The hefty reward means the Searching for Bigfoot team is investigating up to 30 tips a day, most of which end up going nowhere. Most recently, Biscardi and his team, which includes his son T.J. and his grandson Tommy, were lured to the woods of Crawford County, Pennsylvania in search of hard evidence. They found one eroded heel print and sticks in unnatural arrangements, but Sasquatch himself was a no-show. "I want a creature," T.J. Biscardi told AP. "I'm done with pictures, done with prints, done with hair samples, done with fecal matter."

Even if they are able to capture a specimen of an animal most scientists agree doesn’t exist, convincing the public of its authenticity will be a challenge. Tom Biscardi has been involved with a few hoaxes in his career, including the discovery of a frozen Bigfoot “body” that turned out to be a rubber suit. Then there’s the legal complications involved with hunting a Bigfoot: Shooting the hypothetical beast for sport is against the law in some states, so Pennsylvania citizens might want to check with their wildlife department before setting off to claim the $1 million trophy.

[h/t WPXI]

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7 Myths About Eggs, Debunked
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Brown eggs or white eggs, cage-free or free-range—what does it all mean? We've cracked down on seven myths that still abound regarding these incredible edibles.


If you’ve been restricting your breakfast options to an egg-white omelet, you may be suffering needlessly. Egg yolks do contain more fat and cholesterol than egg whites, but studies over the last few decades have shown that a) not all fat is bad for you; and b) consuming foods high in cholesterol does not necessarily translate to having higher blood cholesterol, although there are still groups, especially diabetics and those with heart disease, who are recommended to abstain. Still not sure if yolks are safe for you? Talk to your doctor.


Refrigeration requirements depend on one surprising factor: where you are in the world. American eggs should all be kept cold, while eggs in other countries can sit out on the counter for days. That’s because U.S. egg producers—and producers in Japan, Scandinavia, and Australia—are required to wash their eggs to prevent salmonella. This washing process strips the eggs of their natural protection, making it essential to keep them chilled to fend off pathogens and spoilage.


"Cage-free," "free-range," and "humanely raised" are not the same thing. Chickens on so-called "cage-free" farms are usually crowded into pens, which are essentially just big cages. To keep the crowded birds from hurting each other, many producers cut or burn off the sharper parts of the hens’ beaks when they’re still young. And most kill male chicks as soon as they’re born, since they have no commercial value. If you want to be sure that your eggs come from happy chickens, look for the Certified Humane label or buy your eggs from small, local farms.


The color of the egg is related to the color of the chicken—just not its feathers. Brown eggs tend to come from chickens with red earlobes (yes! Earlobes!). White eggs generally come from chickens with white earlobes. The next time you see a hen, take a look and see if you can guess what color her eggs will be (although there are always exceptions to this rule, so perhaps don't bet any money on it).


We understand where this might come from—we’ve been told that brown bread is healthier than white bread, and brown rice is better than white. Why would eggs be different? Because, unlike rice and wheat flour, white eggs are naturally white. Their nutritional composition is no better or worse than those of brown eggs.


An egg is an egg, whether it’s been fertilized or not. This is as true for chickens as it is for people. Women ovulate, and hens lay eggs. The majority of eggs for sale today are unfertilized and couldn’t become chickens even if you wanted them to.


Does the idea of eating a fertilized egg horrify you? Relax. It’s a rare, rare egg indeed that actually contains a chicken fetus. The majority of fertilized eggs contain cells that could potentially develop into a chick—if they hadn’t been refrigerated and then scrambled for your omelet. These eggs are not better for you than unfertilized eggs, nor are they any worse.


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