Thursday, May 2, 2013

Let’s Talk Silly Stuff

Wall Street is glad it’s not in Tehran
After a trial on fraud charges, the Iranian judiciary sentenced four bankers and their collaborators to death in February and several others to public floggings for obtaining loans by forgery in order to purchase government properties. The total amount involved reportedly was the equivalent of about $2.6 billion -- tiny compared to losses suffered since 2008 by investors and customers of large American banks' illegality, money-laundering and corner-cutting, for which no one has yet been jailed even for a single day.

Want a taxi in Russia? Take an ambulance…
Wealthy Russians have recently found a way around the country's horrid traffic jams: fake ambulances, outfitted with plush interiors for relaxation while specially trained drivers use unauthorized lights and sirens to maneuver through cluttered streets. "Ambulance" companies charge the equivalent of about $200 an hour for these taxis.

The Dark Side: 

Even though human hearts open warmly to helpless animals, kindness is not universal. As Clemson University animal conservation student Nathan Weaver found with a quick experiment late last year, some drivers will deliberately swerve into a turtle trying to cross a busy road -- seven drivers, he found, in the space of one hour (though most drivers easily avoided the realistic rubber model).

Touchy – Feely:

Hottentot golden moles reside underground, which is not so oppressive because they're blind and navigate by smell and touch. Nonetheless, some scientists spend years studying them, and in a recent issue of Mammalian Biology, South African researchers disclosed that females choose mates largely by penis size. While some human females also favor this particular "pre-copulatory mechanism," the scientists hypothesized that the moles' reliance on touch leaves them with no alternative.

A Robot That Vomits – Why Not?

Since gastrointestinal noroviruses are so infectious and can be fatal in countries with marginal hygiene, scientists needed to study the "reach and dispersion" of human "vomitus," especially its aerosolizing. Working with nauseous patients would be impractical, and thus, researcher Catherine Makison created "Vomiting Larry," a puke-hurling robot with a range of almost 10 feet. (According to a University of Cambridge researcher, one can be infected by fewer than 20 norovirus particles, each droplet of puke can contain 2 million particles, and the virus remains active on hard surfaces for 12 hours.)

Had enough? Okay –but let’s do this again sometime….

Live Long and Prosper...

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