Monday, November 05, 2007

Monday’s 5-Star Special
Case Western Reserve researchers have messed around with a gene involved in glucose metabolism and created a supermouse, capable of proportionately even more amazing stuff than, y’know, Lance Armstrong, but the head researcher warns the biochemical industry, "[T]his is not something that you’d do to a human. It’s completely wrong," so I guess that’s the last we’ll hear of that.

Civilization in Decline
Sri Lankan Airlines decided to fly out of Heathrow anyway even though one wing tip had broken off on a runway collision (but 7 passengers went nuts until the captain let them off the plane) (Bonus: The reason for the collision was that a taxiing Sri Lankan pilot smacked a stopped British Airways plane) . . . . . It’s Good to Be a British Prisoner (cont’d): pole-vaulting lessons at a lockup in Dorset (but relax, because the prison walls are 20 ft high, and the pole only 17 ft long) . . . . . In the midst of a serious no-teen-smoking campaign in Australia, a Canberra high-schooler was prescribed in-school smoking breaks by her doctor, to deal with stress . . . . . A girl was born in rural India with a fused skeleton from her failed twin, including 4 arms and 4 legs, and will need about 40 hours of delicate surgery, but the story is here because, as you can imagine in rural India, as soon as they got a look at her, everybody started worshiping her.

The Human Condition Today
Recurring Theme: Here is yet another Islamic expert opining on how to humanely beat your unsubmissive wife (but this time it’s on a Dr. Phil-like TV show) . . . . . An F Stater walked in to a church during a stranger’s funeral and for some reason started pummeling the body . . . . . Mark Durfee of NY’s Long Island did a hit-and-run, police said, but then a few minutes later, when his car died and he got out, a motorist did a hit-and-run on him (whereas, a kid in Jacksonville, Fla., was hit by a car, but then jumped over a highway barrier to safety, and was promptly hit by another car).

Your Daily Loser
A Cape Girardeau, Mo., teen might be an arsonist, but then again, his story may be true: that the fire was accidentally started when he tried to burn the cuffs off of his pants because they were dragging on the floor.

What Goes Around, Comes Around: Google News is in trouble for bad algorithms that mismatched news stories, with the worst being the photo of two monkeys to accompany a story on Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons (who is black) . . . . . It was hard as hell to get Ethiopian men to use protection, but now condoms’re all the craze since they’re being made with the aroma of coffee (the national drink) . . . . . Encouraging N.Y. Times lede: "Hundreds of police firing tear gas and swinging batons clashed with lawyers . . .." (but, damn, it’s only Pakistan).

Good Enough for Gov’t Work
High-level radioactive waste has piled up at the go-to sites of Lawrence Livermore, Hanford, and Oak Ridge, which have become more suburban than they were when they opened as rural outposts, and the waste has to be moved. Since the Yucca Mountain nuclear-waste site is being delayed into eternity, the Dept. of Energy has to find temporary storage, but now GAO said even that’s not close to getting done, mostly because of DOE slovenliness. DOE’s reputation for action is so dismal that the supposed receiving sites, in Texas, Idaho, and South Carolina, haven’t even bothered to gear up opposition yet, knowing that it’ll be years before crunch time.

Professor Music’s Weird Links
A guy named Bob Truby, an artist and pencil collector, has designed an elaborate page, sortable a couple of ways, listing the pencils he has, by brand name with logo photographs. There are 134 brands. There are "copying pencils," and there are "long ferrule pencils." Ain’t the Internet somethin’?

NOTW, The Blog
The proprietor of the Museum of Hoaxes, Alex Boese, has just published Elephants on Acid and Other Bizarre Experiments, all straight from the science literature, and is now making the news rounds with his Top Ten list. Included of course is Comrade Demikhov’s dog-head transplants, but also the doctor who self-proved that Yellow Fever is not communicable, by drinking a YF patient’s vomit. (Upon further review, though, YF is communicable if injected into the bloodstream.) The best is surely the Penn State professors’ 1960s study of just how horny turkeys are: Using a lifelike model of a female turkey, they progressively removed parts to see whether the toms would continue to hit on "her," and the answer was yes, even when only the head and a stick remained. Boese’s book-preview article is in New Scientist this week, but that’s subscriber-only reading. Here’s a pretty lengthy Daily Mail takeout on it.

Newsrangers: Scott Langill, Jamie Anderson, Ginger Katz, Tim Trewhella, Bob Pert, Steve Miller, Mark Neunder
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2007 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.