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‘Scrotum frogs’ found dead in South America

More than 10,000 Titicaca water frogs have been found dead in South America, most likely victims of pollution.

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One of the largest aquatic frogs in the world, the endangered species goes by a unique nickname. It has “amazingly baggy skin, which gives it the common name scrotum frog,” says National Geographic explorer Jonathan Kolby, a PhD student who studies frogs in Latin America

The deaths occurred along a 30-mile stretch of the Coata River, according to members of the Committee Against the Pollution of the Coata River. The river is a tributary of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. The lake straddles the border between Peru and Bolivia in the Andes Mountains. 

Authorities said raw sewage was found near the lake. 

Although the frogs were found dead on the Peruvian side of the lake, similar events also have occurred on the Bolivian side

The IUCN Red List declares this species as “critically endangered” and it’s believed the highly fragmented populations are all in decline. 

When Jacques Cousteau studied the Titicaca frogs in the 1970s it was common. He found individuals that stretched out to 20 inches long and weighed 2.2 pounds, National Geographic reported.

Homeless woman carrying skull on stick leads police to body

Authorities in Sacramento, California, said a homeless woman led them to a decomposed body after she was seen walking down a street, carrying a human skull on a stick.

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Sgt. Bryce Heinlein told KTXL that the woman said she had found the skull and led them to an abandoned homeless camp a couple of blocks away. Police discovered the body at that site.

Authorities had been searching the area for clues for almost two days, KTXL reported.

One man, identified only as Phillip, told the station that he had seen the homeless woman walk by for years and that he knew the location where the skull and the body were found.

Another neighbor, only identified as Warren, told KTXL that he could smell something strange coming from the camp.

“I went to walk back there and thought, Damn! What the hell is that smell? It made me sick to my stomach.”

The coroner will determine the identity of the remains and the cause of death.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Sheen offers to throw out first pitch at World Series

“Wild Thing” has made his pitch to make a World Series mound appearance for the Cleveland Indians.

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Actor Charlie Sheen, who played Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn in the 1989 movie "Major League," said he would love to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before one of this year's World Series games.

The World Series opens Tuesday in Cleveland.

Shortly after Cleveland won the American League pennant on Wednesday in Toronto, fans took to social media to make a case for Sheen to be part of the pregame festivities.

Sheen responded Thursday on Twitter, posting a photo of himself as Vaughn in his Indians uniform and writing, "Major League continues to be the gift that keeps on giving! if called upon, I'd be honored."

The Indians are making their first World Series appearance since 1997. Cleveland has not won a World Series since 1948. The Indians will face the winner of the National League Championship Series between the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cubs own a 3-2 series lead.

Major League continues to be the giftthat keeps on giving!if called upon,I'd be honored. pic.twitter.com/ijjAU0Qvbw— Charlie Sheen (@charliesheen) October 20, 2016 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Texas police officer honored for saving child’s life

A Texas policeman was honored Tuesday for his efforts to revive a 3-year-old boy.

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The Granbury City Council cited Officer Chase Miller, who was scanning EMS channels on the night of Oct .12 when he heard a call about a young boy who was unresponsive outside a fast food restaurant.

Miller arrived at the scene about one minute later. He saw a distressed mother holding the child and immediately began CPR.

The moment the child was revived was captured on a dashcam video.

On Tuesday, Miller was honored at the Granbury City Council meeting, where he was reunited with the boy and his parents.

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Surgeons use nasal cells to repair knee joints

Swiss surgeons have successfully used nose cells to repair damaged knee joints, according to a study released Thursday by the journal The Lancet.

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"The treatment is safe and feasible," study co-author Dr. Ivan Martin told CNN.

Between 2004 and 2011, nearly 2 million Americans had knee surgery due to cartilage problems. As the population ages, these surgeries will become increasingly common.

Martin, a professor of surgery and biomedicine at University Hospital Basel in Switzerland, has been working on a new way to repair knees since 2001. His latest procedure uses engineered cartilage tissue grown from the nasal septum of the patient. He said that nasal cells “have a larger and more reproducible capacity to form new cartilage.”

"We further established that the cartilage tissue generated by nasal chondrocytes (one type of cell) can respond to physical forces (mechanical loads) similar to articular cartilage and has the 'plasticity' to adapt to a joint environment," Martin told CNN. In one of their pre-tests for the current study, he implanted engineered tissue into goat joints and found it "efficiently integrated with surrounding articular cartilage."

For the new study, Martin used 10 patients from 18 to 55 that had cartilage problems in their knees. The team extracted a 6-millimeter biopsy specimen from the nasal septum, using local anesthetic. Then the harvested celled were exposed to growth factors for two weeks.

After an additional two weeks, Martin’s team was able to craft a 30-by-40 millimeter cartilage graft. Surgeons then implanted it as a replacement for damaged knee cartilage.

None of the patients reported side effects related to the experimental surgery. CNN reported.

American wins Wildlife Photographer of the Year award

A photograph of an orangutan climbing a wild fig tree in the Indonesian rain forest was awarded the top prize in the London History Museum’s 52nd Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

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American biologist Tim Laman, who has been photographing apes in the wild for years, beat almost 50,000 entries from 95 countries to claim first place title with his photograph “Entwined Lives.” The photograph will be on display with 99 other shots at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit, which opened Oct. 21.

Laman, who is also a National Geographic contributor, told an audience in London on Wednesday that he'd wanted to get a picture like Entwined Lives for many years.

Laman caught the male orangutan’s scramble to reach figs at the top of a 100-foot thick tree in Borneo’s Gunung Palung National Park. According to the London History Museum, Laman spent three days climbing up and down the tree by a rope, placing several GoPro cameras in position to capture the orangutan. He then controlled the cameras remotely to get a wide-angle shot of the jungle and a shot of the orangutan’s face from above.

‘Patty Duke Show’ co-star dead at 81

Eddie Applegate, who starred as Patty Duke’s goofy boyfriend in the 1960s sitcom "The Patty Duke Show," died Monday in Los Angeles, The Hollywood Reporter reported. He was 81.

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From 1963 to 1966, Applegate starred in 88 episodes of “The Patty Duke Show” as Richard Harrison, the boyfriend of Patty Duke's American character, Patty Lane. Duke played two roles in the show — Patty, from Brooklyn Heights; and Cathy Lane, her identical cousin from England. Harrison reprised his role for a 1999 reunion movie, "The Patty Duke Show: Still Rockin' in Brooklyn Heights."

Applegate's appeared in several TV shows during the 1970s, with roles on "The Lucy Show," "Gunsmoke," “Daktari” and “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis." He also starred in movies, most recently opposite Emma Stone in the 2010 film "Easy A."

Applegate is the latest star of "The Patty Duke Show" to pass away this year. Patty Duke died in March from a bowel obstruction at the age of 69. William Schallert, who starred as Patty's father, died in May at age 93.

Woman accused of smearing cars she thought belonged to Trump supporters with peanut butter

A Wisconsin woman was charged with disorderly conduct after reportedly spreading peanut butter on as many as 30 cars outside of a rally that she thought was in support of Donald Trump.

Christina Ferguson entered a building where the Tomorrow River Conservation Club was holding a meeting Monday evening. The complaint says that she had a jar of peanut butter and yelled at the crowd about how much she hated Donald Trump.

<script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&amp;version=v2.8&amp;appId=294997927197681";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script> An Amherst Junction woman faces disorderly conduct charges after allegedly smearing peanut butter on several vehicles parked outside what she mistakenly thought was a Donald Trump rally-Posted by Stevens Point City-Times on Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Following the interruption, she left the meeting after being approached by a meeting member. Suspicious of what she may do next, some members followed Ferguson outside, where she was smearing peanut butter on vehicles in the parking lot, according to the Stevens Point City Times.

Police were notified after Ferguson walked to a nearby apartment complex.

Ferguson was unaware until police told her that the meeting being held was actually for a nonprofit conservation organization. She told police that she was “very emotional” and told them “how much she loved Hillary Clinton and hated Donald Trump.”

She later apologized and said she was “just fed up about the entire election,” according to the Stevens Point City Times.

Read the full story here.

Trump tries out jokes about Hillary Clinton and gets hefty response

On Thursday night in New York City, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton appeared at the Al Smith charity dinner in New York City.

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Nearly every president in the last 80 years has spoken at the dinner, traditionally held on the third Thursday in October.

Trump spoke before former Secretary of State Clinton and got the crowd riled up with some jokes about himself and his opponent.

The two candidates sat near each other during the dinner, though not next to each other. The evenings master of ceremonies, Cardinal Timothy Dolan had the honor of sitting between the two candidates.

During Trump’s remarks he hit upon his major Clinton talking points, using humor along the way.

Trump joked that earlier in the evening, Secretary Clinton said “pardon me,” after she bumped into him.

“Let me talk to you about that after I get into office,” Trump said, joking.

"Hillary accidentally bumped into me and she very civilly said 'Pardon me.' I very politely replied, 'let me talk to you about that after I get into office.'"Donald J. Trump made remarks at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner in New York.Posted by Fox News on Thursday, October 20, 2016

It wouldn’t be a Trump roast without a Rosie O’Donnell barb, and the Republican nominee got one in.

“Last night I called Hillary ‘a nasty woman’” Trump said.

“But this stuff is all relative. After listening to Hillary rattle on and on and on, I don’t think so badly of Rosie O’Donnell anymore. In fact, I’m actually starting to like Rosie a lot.

“I have no doubt that Hillary is going to laugh a lot tonight…even at an appropriate moment,” Trump joked.

Though Trump got many laughs at the dinner, it was not without incident. Several of Trump’s jokes, including a line about Secretary Clinton not liking Catholics, were met with boos.

Another joke about Clinton’s honesty was met with a similar chorus.

“Hillary is so corrupt she got kicked off the Watergate commission,” Trump joked.

“How corrupt do you have to be to get kicked off the Watergate commission?”

Throughout the night, each candidate was seen laughing at each other’s jokes, a reminder that these two individuals were at one point friendly.

Study reveals how snakes lost their legs

Before snakes slithered on the ground, they used to roam the Earth on legs about 150 million years ago.

But how did they lose their legs?

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Scientists from the University of Florida discovered that the genetic process for leg development has "simply switched off" in these reptiles, NPR reports.

The DNA to develop limbs, called the "Sonic hedgehog genome," was discovered in python embryos less than 24 hours old, but shortly fizzled out.

Co-author of the study, Martin Cohn, told NPR that the reason for this genome to switch off is because it does not have 'enhancers' , or DNA sequences, to properly create limbs in a snake embryo. 

Several of these enhancers in the Sonic hedgehog genome were deleted at some point during the snake's evolution and caused a mutation, according to Cohn. 

But further in the study, Cohn discovered that another gene which makes fingers and toes was active in a python embryo---only that the embryos made a "pre-cartilaginous model of all skeletal elements of the limb," Cohn said to NPD. 

"It was absolutely mind-blowing because this was like development of a cryptic leg skeleton in an embryo," Cohn said to NPR. 

This finding could be the answer to how snakes evolved to lose their legs. 

"There are a number of fossil snakes with legs. Paleontologists have argued that some of these ancient snakes retained the legs of their ancestors, whereas others species evolved after legs were lost, and, thus, they may have reacquired legs." Cohn said to NPR. 

Read full story at npr.org 

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