How New World Wine Resurrects Old Religion
I used to be a regular at a wine bar in San Clemente, a beach town in California where my wife and I lived when we were first married. The ‘Tuscan’ decor of the place was a little too vivid for my taste, but the wine was priced right and the owner was a great conversationalist. He would tell us stories from behind the bar about his travels to vineyards in Chile and New Zealand, and he had a charming populist streak. When people got too pretentious about the wine, he would roll his eyes and say: ‘Relax, it’s just a beverage.’ He was wrong about that, of course. Since its invention more than 8,000 years ago, wine has always been more than just a beverage.
Dr. Justin O. Schmidt likes insects of the persuasive sort, the ones that bite, sting or squirt venom in your eyes. In the course of his entomological studies all over the world, he has met the defenses of about 150 different insects, and he has rated them, creating the Schmidt Sting Pain Index. On the low end: sweat bees, whose sting is "light, ephemeral, almost fruity. A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm." On the high end: Bullet ants, whose venomous bites cause "pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch rusty nail in your heel." And it can last for hours, leaving you "quivering and still screaming from these peristaltic waves" [of pain]. [more inside]
Invasion of the Jellyfish The box jellyfish [AKA Sea Wasp] is so packed with venom that the briefest of touches can bring agonising death within 180 seconds. And if comes under sustained attack it responds by sending its compatriots into a super-breeding frenzy in which millions of replacements are created. The really bad news is that the box jellyfish and another equally poisonous species, Irukandji, are on the move. Scientists are warning that their populations are exploding and will pose a monumental problem unless they are stopped. First aid for stings.
Following the results of a report into the foul constituents of many laptop computers, Greenpeace have decided that the sincerest form of flattery may get results. Imitating the main brand, they call on image-conscious Apple and its dedicated fanbase to push for a better product and a better world: "I love my Mac. I just wish it came in green."
Feel like doing a little spring cleaning? Remember that horrid olestra stuff that gave you "leakage"? Or didn't, because you stuck to the fatty doritos because of the diarrhea stories? Apparently there's some evidence that it clears a series of toxins, including dioxin, from the bloodstream. Would've come in handy for Yushenko. Via Number One Hit Song.