Fun_People Archive
17 May
WhiteBoardness 5/17/96

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri, 17 May 96 23:35:33 -0700
To: Fun_People
Subject: WhiteBoardness 5/17/96

Excerpted-from: WhiteBoard News for Friday, May 17, 1996

This item comes by way of John DeVere and Becky Thompson:

New York, New York:

Workers had to rip a hole in the side of a house today to extricate a
900-to-1,000-pound man who may be the heaviest person in the world. The man
needed to go to the hospital for medical care.

Construction workers removed a window and several rows of bricks to make a
hole big enough for Michael Hebranko, 43.  Medics had to cart him out with
a forklift.

Hebranko was once a spokesman for diet guru Richard Simmons' Deal-A-Meal
program, losing 700 pounds to weigh 200 pounds at the time. But then two
years ago, he started putting it all back on.

Hebranko was loaded onto a special stretcher usually used to move small
whales. He has been unable to walk for 10 weeks, and had been confined to
a loveseat in his living room.

Hebranko, who lives with his wife and 19-year-old son, says that obesity is
a disease like alcoholism and drug addiction. He says he has gangrene and
heart disease.

"It's not just a matter of pushing...away from the table," he said after
his rescue. "This is a disease.  It's not something to laugh at. It's an
addiction.  I had a relapse like anybody else.  It's not easy."

"Once I start eating, I cannot stop," he said.

Simmons, calling from California, spoke with Hebranko as the rescuers gouged
the hole in the house.

"Emotionally, he was not ready to handle the metamorphosis from fat person
to nice-looking man," Simmons said. "It was like the movie 'Big' - he became
a kid again. And he couldn't handle it."

Metropolitan Ambulance Company had agreed to take Hebranko to St.
Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital and also to cover the $9,000 cost of treatment.

Hebranko's exact weight wasn't given. Phil Crimaldi, the ambulance service's
executive vice president, said he weighed 850 pounds about nine weeks ago
and had since put on another 100 to 150 pounds. Hebranko's waist measures
110 inches.

That would put him above the man listed in the Guinness Book of Records,
T.J. Albert Jackson of Canton, Mississippi, who the book says has weighed
as much as 891 pounds.

The heaviest man ever on record was a Seattle area taxi driver named Jon
Brower Minnoch. He died in 1983 weighing 798 pounds. At his heaviest Minnoch
weighed more than 1,400 pounds, the Guinness book says.

Ambulance workers have been practicing for Hebranko's move using 1,000
pounds of concrete, the company said.


Drilling miles into Antarctica's icecap, scientists have discovered a lake
they say may contain microbes millions of years old, kept alive under a
glacial seal.

Russian researchers who cored the icecap presented a report in The
Netherlands last week, declaring that Lake Vostok exists.  According to
their drilling project, the 140-by-30 mile lake sits in the heart of
Australian Antarctic Territory, next to Russia's Vostok science base.

Seismic and echo soundings indicate the lake's surface is 2.3 to 2.6 miles
beneath the ice, they said, and are an estimated 1,600 feet deep.

Scientists, though not exactly sure why there is water beneath the ice,
speculate that the weight of the glacier is forcing the lake down into a
depression, liquefying it by pressure.

It also is possible that warmth from radioactive decay in the Earth keeps
the lake from freezing -- warmth that also may be keeping microbes alive.

"Scientists are fairly convinced that there will be live bacteria there,"
said a spokesman for a science institute.

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