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Outside the Circle News

Highway Shooter Arrested

A suspect was arrested this past Monday in Detroit after he was believed to be involved in dozens of random shootings along highways in four Michigan counties. All of the shootings took place within the past month.

The shootings began in the middle of October in the small Detroit suburb of Wixom. Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth informed the Associated Press that his force had recently obtained a search warrant for the entire county. “We’re trying to confirm whether he’s our guy or not.” Wriggelsworth continued, “We’ll have to see how this shakes out.”

The number of seemingly random incidents in the past month total 24. All of them occurred along Interstate 96. One of the victims was on his way to a World Series game in Detroit on Oct. 27 and was shot in the hip. The man was able to limp into a gas station to ask for help. Emily Roll was the employee present when the victim came in. “First he said to call the cops. I thought he got robbed, but then he said ‘I just got shot off the highway.’”

Thirty minutes before and only one mile away, another car had been shot through the back window, but the driver was not injured. Bob Bezotte, the Livingston County Sherriff, said that if someone had been in the backseat of the vehicle, he or she would have been impacted by the bullet.

Thankfully, the man who was shot in the hip was the first to receive any injuries from the shootings. The ATF, FBI, and Crime Stoppers were offering $102,000 for any information about the suspect or his/her whereabouts.


Elephants Can Speak!

Koshik, a young male elephant at the Everland Zoo in South Korea, can speak Korean. Though his vocabulary is limited, he can say things like “annyong” (hello), “anja” (sit down), “aniya” (no), “nuo” (lie down), and “choah” (good). He speaks by putting his trunk in his mouth.

In order to make sure they weren’t hearing things, native Korean speakers were asked to listen to the elephant and write down what they heard. Angela S. Stoeger, a biologist at the University of Vienna, was one of the main investigators of this surprising occurrence. “We also compared his imitative vocalizations with those of other elephants,” she said. “It was very different.”

Not only does Koshik appear to speak Korean, but he also seems to imitate the pitch and timbre of human speech; more specifically, the pitch and timbre of his trainer’s speech. Researchers believe that Koshik’s ability to speak arose from his desire to socialize. For his first seven years, Koshik was the only elephant at the Everland Zoo.

It is not quite known how much Koshik understands or whether he will continue to learn more Korean words. Stoeger commented, “He’s basically using this as a social function, but not really to communicate with the keepers.” For example, although he knows the word for sit, he does not show any recognition as to whether the trainers actually sit or not.

In 2002, Koshik received a female Asian elephant companion. He is still able to interact and socialize with her in a normal animalistic way, but has not stopped using the Korean words he learned in his youth.

Other than Koshik, Stoeger and her colleagues have also come upon an African elephant that imitates the sounds made by its Asian elephant neighbor, and another African elephant who can imitate the sound of a truck engine.


New Telescope Finds Early Light

The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has detected starlight emitted from some of the very first stars in the universe. Marco Ajello, an astrophysicist at the University of California, Berkeley, piloted his research at Stanford University.

According to Ajello’s scientific background, the first stars in the universe were large and mostly made of hydrogen. There is a possibility that they used all of the hydrogen quickly and then exploded into supernovas. This may mean that the stars no longer exist. However, the light they produced may still be traveling towards us.

It is impossible to see this light because the light from our galaxy is so overwhelmingly powerful. Therefore, in order to see this starlight, scientists used gamma rays. Gamma rays are used to find blazars, or galaxies that are far away and emit gamma rays. “They are located at different distances from us,” said Ajello, “and from them we are able to measure the amount of starlight in different epochs.”

Using the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, researchers have been able to collect information about light in the universe 4 billion, 8 billion, and 11 billion years after the Big Bang. Ajello hopes that further research and experiments will produce light data from the beginning of the universe. Ajello concluded by saying, “Since the universe is always expanding, the best way to measure is to go as early as possible in the history of the universe.”


Pretrial Hearing Begins for Accused Soldier

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales was accused of murdering 16 Afghani civilians in this past year. A military prosecutor, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Morse, explained the government’s case against Bales at a pretrial hearing on Monday, Nov. 5. According to The New York Times, this case was said to be one of the nation’s worst war crimes cases in decades.

On March 11, local Afghani families were awakened by a cloaked individual firing a weapon. Multiple children were shot in the thighs and heads, and 11 bodies, mostly of women and children, were placed in a pile and burned.

Morse spoke about Bale’s demeanor upon arriving at an Army post in Kandahar Province. Bale “was lucid, coherent, and responsive.” However, Morse also described Bale’s clothes which were soaked through with blood.

If he is found guilty, Bales, a 39-year-old male and an 11-year military veteran, could face the death penalty. The hearing occurred at the joint base Lewis-McChord in Washington and was the first step in the military justice process.

Thirty-five witnesses are expected to testify over the lengthy investigation. At the conclusion of the hearing, Colonel Lee Deneke, the presiding officer, will announce his recommendations for Bales, including whether the death penalty should be a viable option.

One of the witnesses, Corporal David Godwin, informed the court that he had disobeyed Army rules on the evening of March 10, by drinking alcohol with other soldiers, including Bales. Godwin admitted to having a couple of drinks of Jack Daniel’s but stated that none of the soldiers appeared to be intoxicated.

Through cross-examination, however, there were some abnormalities discovered, like the possibility that Bales was perhaps intoxicated, and that he arrived back at the Army base wearing a cape, which was not typical. John Henry Browne, one of Bale’s lawyers, informed the court that Bales suffered from post-traumatic stress and had several wounds from his multiple deployments. Test results have shown that blood found on his clothing matched that of some of the victims.

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