A little poison with your pepperoni?
“Health officials in Zurich were forced to put the kibosh on a local eatery’s specialty pizza dish when they learned the showcase ingredient: Poison,” reports The Huffington Post. “Owner Ismail Ertekin recently invented the pizza, which featured a topping made from the poisonous venom of spiders, scorpions and snakes and had been sold at his restaurant, Avanti. Mr. Ertekin, who allegedly got the poisons from homeopathic remedies, told Austrian Times that ‘Preservatives in foods are much more damaging than my poison pizza. They were really popular, especially with people who have a phobia of spiders or snakes,’ he continued. ‘They used the pizza as a way to get over their fear.’”
Want more leisure time?
“For many people, life is fast-paced, with free time a rarity,” says Psych Central. “But a new study suggests a paradoxical method to expand our sense of leisure time: performing volunteer work. Researchers performed four separate experiments and found that people’s subjective sense of having time, called ‘time affluence,’ can be increased when they help others. Investigators found volunteer work improves an individual’s perception of having free time as compared to wasting time, spending time on oneself, and even when a person has an unexpected amount of ‘free’ time. Cassie Mogilner, PhD, of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania believes this is because giving away time boosts one’s sense of personal competence and efficiency, and this in turn stretches out time in our minds.”
The smell of space
“Astronauts have consistently reported the same strange odour after lengthy space walks, bringing it back in on their suits, helmets, gloves and tools,” says Sciencesoup.tumblr.com. “It’s a bitter, smoky, metallic smell – like seared steak, hot metal and arc welding smoke all rolled into one. … It’s believed that the smell is caused by high-energy vibrations in particles that mix with the air when brought inside. In future, we might even recreate the smell of the Moon, Mars, Mercury or any place in the universe, provided we have the right chemical information. In fact, we can even recreate the smell of the heart of the galaxy – astronomers searching for amino acids in Sagittarius B2, a vast dust cloud in the middle of the Milky Way have reported that due to a substance called ethyl formate, it smells and tastes of raspberries and rum.”
Why look for new species?
“In 2012, a sneezing monkey, a spongy mushroom, and a blue tarantula became official earthly inhabitants alongside more than 15,000 other new discoveries,” reports Pacific Standard magazine. “Some of these species are more than just wondrous creatures, their existence could have broad implications. A wild rice species discovered in the 1970s was hybridized, and increased the world’s rice production nearly fourfold. To this day, that rice provides food in places where it would otherwise be scarce. Every time we discover a new species, it could be a link to health, food, medicine: something that can help what ails us.”
“A 59-year-old Utah man who wrote his own [death notice] before he died last week used the opportunity to come clean,” says Associated Press. “Friends and family of Val Patterson learned Sunday that the man they thought held a doctorate from the University of Utah received the degree thanks to a paperwork mistake and that he never even graduated. Mr. Patterson died from throat cancer on July 10. KSL-TV reports he wrote his own death notice in the first person last fall.” The light-hearted notice also includes a confession to stealing a business’s safe. He wrote: “As it turns out, I AM the guy who stole the safe from the Motor View Drive Inn back in June, 1971.” His widow, Mary Jane, told KSL-TV the confessions are true.
Drilling in the graveyard
“Loved ones aren’t the only thing buried in the 122-year-old Lowellville Cemetery in eastern Ohio,” says Associated Press. “Deep underground, locked in ancient shale formations, are lucrative quantities of natural gas. Whether to drill for that gas is causing soul-searching as cemeteries – including veterans’ final resting places in Colorado and Mississippi – join parks, playgrounds, churches and residential backyards among the ranks of places targeted in the nation’s shale-drilling boom. Opponents say cemeteries are hallowed ground that shouldn’t be sullied by drilling activity they worry will be noisy, smelly and unsightly. Defenders say the drilling is so deep that it doesn’t disturb the cemetery and can generate revenue to enhance the roads and grounds. … [Poland] Township trustees received a proposal this year to lease cemetery mineral rights for $140,000 (U.S.), plus 16 per cent of any royalties, for any oil and gas. Similar offers soon followed at two other area cemeteries.”
Thought du jour
“Only in the present do things happen.”
– Jorge Luis Borges, Argentine writer (1899-1986)