MONEY WELL SPENT
“Fulton Jail Will Get Working Cell Locks,” read the Dec. 19 Atlanta Journal-Constitution headline. The county commission serving Atlanta had finally voted to break a longstanding 3-3 tie that prevented buying new jailhouse locks–even while knowing that inmates could jimmy the old ones at will and roam the facilities, threatening and assaulting suspects and guards. The three recalcitrant commissioners were being spiteful because a federal judge had ordered various improvements to the jail, costing $140 million so far, and the three vowed to spend no more. The 1,300 replacement locks will cost about $5 million–but will not be installed right away.
CUTTING EDGE SCIENCE
Behold, the “MacGyver” Spider: Biologist Phil Torres, working from the Tambopata national park in Peru, revealed in December that he had witnessed a tiny Cyclosa spider construct a replica of an eight-legged spider in a web made of leaves, debris and dead insects. Since the real spider was found nearby, Torres hypothesized that the wily arachnid had built a decoy to confuse predators.
LEADING ECONOMIC INDICATORS
The Jiangdu District kindergarten recognizes that providing a quality education requires supporting the child emotionally as well as helping develop reading and other skills, and toward that end, it now requires teachers to hug each pupil twice a day–provided that the parent has paid the monthly “hugging fee” of the equivalent of about $12.80. An education agency investigation is under way, according to a December Shanghai Daily report, but one teacher defended the trial program as boosting a child’s confidence and establishing a “good mood” for learning.
FIRST WORLD CRISIS
Researchers writing in the December issue of the journal Urology reported a “five-fold increase” over 10 years in emergency room visits for accidents caused by pubic-hair “grooming.” Unsurprisingly, 83 percent of all injuries appeared to be shaving accidents, but only 56 percent of the patients were women, according to a summary of the research on MedicalXPress.com.