WHO’S A GOOD BOY?
Life is good now for British men who “identify” as dogs and puppies, as evidenced by a BBC documentary (Secret Life of the Human Pups) showing men in body outfits (one a Lycra-suited Dalmatian, “Spot”), exhibiting “sexual” expressions (stomach-rubbing, ear-tickling and nuzzling their “handlers”), eating out of bowls, gnawing on chew toys, wearing collars (so as not to be a “stray”), and jumping in the air for “treats.” (However, decency demands that a Pup must only feign urinating against a lamppost.) Said Spot (aka Tom), “It’s about being given license to behave in a way that feels natural, even primal.” Added “Bootbrush,” “[We] are trying to grasp the positive elements of the archetype of the dog.”
NEW WORLD ORDER
As an alternative to the more costly invitro fertilization, researchers at a Dresden, Germany, institute announced (in the recent Nano Letters) that they had developed a motorized device tiny enough to fit around a sperm’s tail and which could be commanded to propel it to “swim” faster toward the target egg, increasing the chances of fertilization. A prototype is still in the works.
THE CONTINUING CRISIS
As Libya’s central bank struggles to stabilize a halting economy, it could surely use the estimated $184 million in gold and silver coins that Moammar Gadhafi minted but left buried in an underground vault in the coastal city of Beyda, but the treasure is inaccessible because central bank officials don’t know the lock’s combination (as The Wall Street Journal reported in May). The latest plan is to have a locksmith squeeze through a 16-by-16-inch hole in the outer vault’s concrete wall and once inside to try his hand. If unsuccessful, the government’s bureaucrats likely cannot get paid, but even if successful, various anti-government factions may go to extremes to snatch the coins.
Argentina’s TV channels have many of the same taboos as U.S. broadcasting, including restrictions on women’s hands-on demonstration of how precisely to examine themselves for breast cancer. However, as AdWeek reported in March, the agency David Buenos Aires apparently solved the problem with a TV public service announcement featuring a model (facing the camera, topless) showing exactly how such an exam should go, e.g., where to press down, where to squeeze. The secret? The model was an overweight man with generous-sized “manboobs.”
Video surfaced in May of students at Winston Churchill High School in San Antonio, Texas, actually playing jump rope with the intestines of cats that had been dissected in biology class. Obviously, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was not pleased, but school district officials called the exercise a valid demonstration of the “tensile strength of the organ” and only reluctantly agreed to investigate further.
When Triston Chase, 20, missed his court date in April in Harnett County, North Carolina, on financial fraud charges, it was revealed that his arrest in December had come when he had been found “residing” illegally, as a civilian, in a barracks at Fort Bragg–in a facility housing the Army’s 3rd Special Forces Group. According to a prosecutor, Chase had been posing as an explosive ordnance disposal specialist “for months.” The official investigation of Special Forces’ barracks “security” was still underway at the time of Chase’s court date.
Among the critters for which life is most difficult are male nursery web spiders that (according to May research in Biology Letters) instinctively “court” females with food wrapped in silk–offerings that (a) increase the males’ chances of scoring and (b) decrease, by 84 percent, their chances that the female will spontaneously eat the male. The study also found that males sometimes try to mate using non-food items wrapped in silk (with mixed results) and also that sometimes unscrupulous females accept food gifts but nevertheless immediately devour the male.
LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS
James Kinley III, 27, was charged in York County, South Carolina, in May with dealing marijuana. He apparently had the (unfounded) belief that York County deputies do not monitor Craigslist–because that is where Kinley advertised (“I Sell Weed”), in a notice with his photo, address and price ($200). And Grady Carlson, 58, went to the Carolina Title Loans office in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on May 25 to apply for a high-interest “payday” loan–and nervously paced while answering questions. The Carolina employee asked if anything was wrong, and Carlson allegedly disclosed that he needed money–fast!–to purchase methamphetamine. A subsequent police search turned up a glass container and drugs.
RECURRING THEMES (COW EDITION)
For years, India has been concerned about the gas-release problem posed by its nearly 300 million cows (and 200 million more gas-intensive animals), but researchers in Kerala state revealed a promising breeding answer in May: dwarf cows (about one-fourth the size, producing somewhat less milk but one-seventh the manure and one-10th the methane). Pound for pound, methane traps 25 times as much heat as carbon dioxide.