On October 19, the child was found locked in a freezing dog kennel outside his family's house in Lexington, North Carolina. Cast outside since April and shoeless when he was found by police after a concerned neighbor called 911, he confessed that he'd been sent outside to sleep on straw because there was no room for him in the 1,400 square ft house where his father, Jonathan Starr (inset) stepmother, Sarah (top right) her aunt Shelley Barnes (far top right) slept with his siblings (bottom right). DailyMail.com is choosing not to name or picture the boy or any of the other children found in the house. All five are now in the care of social services. They range in aged from eight months to seven. We can however reveal that just a year ago, he enjoyed what looked like a happy life in a blended family.
Yusuf Shah, 11, has an IQ as high or higher than Einstein.Shutterstock
Eleven-year-old Yusuf Shah of England took the Mensa IQ test on a whim — and earned the highest possible score of 162, according to local news reports.
Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking are estimated to have had IQs of around 160.
“Everyone at school thinks I am very smart, and I have always wanted to know if I was in the top 2% of the people who take the test,” the sixth-grader from Leeds told Yorkshire Evening Post.
Shah, a student at Wigton Moor Primary School, glided through the test, according to the report.
The family celebrated with Nando’s Portuguese-style chicken.
Shah and his parents had decided that he would prepare for the Mensa test while prepping for high-school applications, which included similar material.
“It is a difficult test to prepare for,” his father, Irfan Shah, told the paper. “We just did what we were already doing – nothing specific for the IQ test.”
“I still tell him that ‘your dad is still smarter than you’. … We take it all lightheartedly. Even if you are talented, you have to be the hardest worker,” the dad said. Yusuf’s dad jokingly says, “I still tell him that ‘your dad is still smarter than you.’ ”Yorkshire Post / SWNSYusuf Shah with brothers Zaki and Khalid, mother Sana and father Irfan.Yorkshire Post / SWNS
Yusuf — who wants to study math at Oxford or Cambridge universities — has shown signs of genius since he was very young, Irfan told LeedsLive.
“Even in nursery, we just noticed that he was doing the alphabet and things quicker than other children, but you just thought some kids may pick up the ABCs a bit quicker,” the proud papa said.
“He just has this natural flair for math, and I guess that’s when we sort of realized. Even his school teachers, every time we get school reports, they’re amazing, they say, ‘There’s nothing for us to teach.’ “
135-year-old message in a bottle found under floorboards
Image source, Peter Allan
Peter Allan cut around the bottle without knowing it was there
By Angie Brown
BBC Scotland, Edinburgh and East reporter
A plumber could not believe his eyes when he cut a hole in floorboards in an Edinburgh house and found a bottle containing a 135-year-old message.
Peter Allan, 50, discovered the Victorian time capsule when he opened up the floor in the exact spot where the whisky bottle had been left.
He rushed downstairs to tell the owner of the house in the Morningside area.
Eilidh Stimpson had to smash open the bottle to read the note - and said her two children were excited by the find.
Mr Allan told BBC Scotland he could not quite believe his luck in cutting into the floor directly above the bottle.
"The room is 10ft by 15ft and I have cut exactly around the bottle without knowing it was there. I can't quite believe it," he said.
"I was moving a radiator and cut a random hole to find pipework and there it was, I don't know what happened.
"I took it to the woman downstairs and said 'Look what I've found under your floor'."
Image source, Eilidh Stimpson
The note is signed and dated by two male workers who laid the floor
Mr Allan, owner of WF Wightman Plumbing, said it was discovered under what would have been a maid's room when the house was first built.
Now mother-of-two Eilidh Stimpson, an Edinburgh GP, lives there with her husband.
She decided to wait until her children aged eight and 10 got home from school before they attempted to retrieve the note from the bottle.
She told BBC Scotland: "When I picked them up I told them I had something really exciting to tell them and they said 'Is it that we are having hot dogs for tea?'
"They had a few more guesses and then I told them a message in a bottle had been found in our house and they were really excited and thought it was maybe treasure."
When they got home they desperately tried to get the note out with tweezers and pliers, but it started to rip a little bit.
So she got a hammer and smashed the bottle.
She said: "We were all crowding around and pointing torches at it and trying to read it, it was so exciting."
The note was signed and dated by two male workers and read: "James Ritchie and John Grieve laid this floor, but they did not drink the whisky. October 6th 1887.
"Who ever finds this bottle may think our dust is blowing along the road."
Preserve the note
She said: "I feel absolutely terrible breaking a 135-year-old bottle but it was the only way to reach the note. I've kept all the pieces in a Tupperware tub."
Since the find on Monday a family friend looked on the 1881 census and found the men's names living just a few miles away in the Newington area of Edinburgh.
A curator at the National Library of Scotland has since recommended to the family that they preserve the note in an acid-free pocket.
Eilidh said: "I've ordered some pockets and think ultimately we will frame the note with a piece of the bottle such as the neck because it's such an exciting and lovely thing to have."
She said they would put a bottle, with a new note from the family along with a transcription of the note, back into the hole before it is covered over.
"To think it lay there all that time and could have been there forever is just amazing. It's not from just the 70s or something like that, it's so much older, it's very cool."
Charles V: French scientists decode 500-year-old letter
IMAGE SOURCE,BIBLIOTHÈQUE STANISLAS DE NANCY
French codebreakers finally cracked the 500-year-old code
By Hugh Schofield
BBC News, Paris
A coded letter signed in 1547 by the most powerful ruler in Europe has been cracked by French scientists, revealing that he lived in fear of an assassination attempt by an Italian mercenary.
Sent by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V to his ambassador at the French royal court - a man called Jean de Saint-Mauris - the letter gives an insight into the preoccupations of Europe's rulers at a time of dangerous instability caused by wars of religion and rival strategic interests.
For historians, it is also a rare glimpse at the darks arts of diplomacy in action: secrecy, smiling insincerity and disinformation were evidently as current then as they are today.
Cryptographer Cecile Pierrot first heard a rumour of the letter's existence at a dinner party in Nancy three years ago. After lengthy research she tracked it down to the basement of the city's historic library.
Setting herself a challenge to decode the document within a few days, she was disconcerted to find the task rather harder than she had thought.
The three-page letter - consisting of about 70 lines - is mainly written using about 120 encrypted symbols, but there are also three sections in plain contemporary French.
"The first thing was to categorise the symbols, and to look for patterns. But it wasn't simply a case of one symbol representing one letter - it was much more complex," says Pierrot.
"Simply putting it into a computer and telling the computer to work it out would literally have taken longer than the history of the universe!"
IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
Charles V was the Holy Roman Emperor from 1519-1556
Little by little she and her team began to make progress. There were, she found, two types of symbol: simple and complex. Vowels were in the main not written as letters, but added as diacritical marks as in Arabic. The 'e' vowel though had no diacritical mark, so was largely absent.
They also found that while most symbols represented letters or combinations of letters, others represented whole words - like a needle for English King Henry VIII. And there were symbols that had apparently no function at all.
Finally the breakthrough came when historian Camille Desenclos pointed the team to other coded letters to and from the emperor. On one of these, kept at Besançon, the recipient had made an informal translation.
"This was our Rosetta Stone," says Pierrot, referring to the inscriptions which help decode Egyptian hieroglyphics. "It was the key. We would have got there in the end without it, but it saved an awful amount of time."
IMAGE SOURCE,BIBLIOTHÈQUE STANISLAS DE NANCY
The code was much more complex than initially thought
The rarity of the letter 'e' is a sign that the codemakers knew their stuff. Because 'e' is the most common letter (in old as in modern French), it is what codebreakers would be looking for first. And the fake symbols were simply put in to sow more confusion.
"Of course by today's standards it is pretty basic," says Pierrot, who spends her normal time thinking about quantum physics and massive prime numbers. "But given the tools they had, they certainly put us to work!"
So what is in the letter?
The team has not yet issued a full translation, which they are saving for an academic paper. But this week they set out the themes.
February 1547 was a time of rare relative peace between the rival powers of France and the Holy Roman Empire. Emperor Charles V - ruler of vast areas including Spain, the Netherlands, Austro-Hungary and southern Italy - was no longer actually at war with King Francois I. But mistrust still prevailed.
Two recent events were in both rulers' minds. The first was the death of the Henry VIII just a few weeks before. And the second was the rebellion in Germany by a Protestant alliance called the Schmalkaldic League.
In the letter, Charles V reveals his concern to maintain the peace with France so that he can focus his forces against the League. He tells the ambassador to keep himself abreast of thinking in the French court, in particular any reaction to the death of King Henry.
What he wants to avoid above all is the French and English combining to lend more assistance to the Protestant rebels.
IMAGE SOURCE,THE CAMBRIDGE MODERN HISTORY ATLAS
Charles V ruled over a swathe of land, spanning across western and central Europe
Charles V then speaks of a rumour which is circulating - that he, the emperor, is to be the target of an assassination attempt by the Italian condottiere (mercenary leader) Pierre Strozzi. Saint-Mauris is to find out as much as he can about this story. Is it just gossip, or a genuine threat?
And finally in the longest part of the letter Charles V sets out for his ambassador the current state of play in his campaign against the League. There has been a new outbreak of rebellion in Prague, and the emperor's nephew Ferdinand of Tyrol has been forced to flee.
But Charles V gives instructions on how Saint-Mauris is to "spin" the news at the French court. The Prague rebellion is a minor affair, he is told to say, and Ferdinand has left the city because he wants to join his father - the emperor's brother - on campaign.
For the historian Camille Desenclos, the fact that some parts of the letter are encrypted and others not is significant.
"They all knew there was one chance in two that the letter would be intercepted. In which case there were messages that were worth passing to the French," she says - like the fact that the emperor was co-operating on confidence-building measures in northern Italy.
"These were left in plain language. But there were other matters that had to stay secret - like the true state of affairs with the Protestant rebellion, and they were put into code."
What followed? Only a few weeks later the French king François I died, to be replaced by his son Henri II. Charles V defeated the League the next year, but Protestantism was in Germany to stay. In 1552 Henri II formed a new alliance against the emperor with the Protestant princes.
And there was no assassination attempt. Charles V died in a Spanish monastery in 1558.