Flight delays? Rah, rah, rah
"While some Chinese travellers storm the tarmac when flights get delayed, others might wish their flights never take off – assuming they're flying from the northeast China city of Dalian," says CNN.com. "To entertain waiting passengers, Dalian International Airport recently recruited a squad of cheerleaders to perform kicks, jumps and splits in the airport's main hall. During massive fog-related delays in Dalian last week, the cheerleaders' pom-pom routines 'soothed emotion and alleviated fatigue' for more than 5,000 stranded fliers, according to the Dalian Evening News. The cheerleading show is part of the airport's effort to 'bring more convenience to passengers in the summer-autumn air season,' said Zhen Qun, an airport official."
Dolphins as fishing partners
"A visitor might stumble upon a strange sight in Laguna, Brazil, if they went down to the shore," reports Jennifer Walsh for LiveScience. "Here, the local fishermen rely on dolphins to help them with their yearly fish catch. New research has found that just one local group of about 20 dolphins work with the fishermen, while the other local dolphins don't co-operate, finding other sources of food. The researchers aren't sure what separates these groups. Scientists had known that dolphins work together to herd groups of mullet, a fish that's an important source of food for local fishermen, toward a line of fishermen in boats or knee-deep water. Then the dolphins signal with specialized head or tail slaps when and where the fishermen should throw their nets. The co-operation is helpful to both parties, researchers said. The two couldn't survive without each other. 'About 200 local artisanal fishermen are almost entirely reliant on the dolphins for catching their fish,' study researcher Fabio Daura-Jorge, of the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Brazil, wrote in a statement … 'The fishermen do not fish without the assistance of the dolphins and know the individual animals from their natural marks and can recognize them by eye.'"
Cockroach social life
"The much-maligned cockroach," writes Matt Walker for BBC News, "is more sophisticated, and social, than we thought, according to new research. … By unveiling the secret lives of these insects, [scientists]are finding that cockroaches are actually highly social creatures; they recognize members of their own families, with different generations of the same families living together. Cockroaches do not like to be left alone, and suffer ill health when they are. And they form closely bonded, egalitarian societies, based on social structures and rules. Communities of cockroaches are even capable of making collective decisions for the greater good. By studying certain species of cockroach, we may even be able to learn some insights into how more advanced animal societies evolved, including our own."
Budgie gives cop its address
In Japan, a lost budgie was taken home after it recited its entire address in full to a police officer, The Daily Telegraph says. "The bird escaped from a house in the Sagamihara district of Yokohama on Sunday morning, Kyodo News reported, and made its way to the city centre. After finding its way into a hotel, it came to rest on the shoulder of one of the guests before it was apprehended. The hotel handed the budgerigar over to police, who put it in a cage and transferred it to a nearby police station. Despite giving no indications that it could talk, the bird suddenly piped up late on Tuesday night and began repeating its home address – which the owner had apparently drummed into the bird for just such an unlikely eventuality. Specifying the address down to the number of the house and the block on which it stands, the bird enable police to track down its 64-year-old owner."
What's new in gadgets
– "A fridge in the GE Cafe line that heats water to four preset levels for making baby formula or instant oatmeal will be introduced by General Electric Co. later this year," reports The Wall Street Journal. "In focus groups, hot-water production was a frequent refrigerator wish."
– Fake TV fools burglars into thinking someone's at home, says The Tacoma (Wash.) News Tribune. "Using a small panel of very bright LEDs, this device projects a randomly changing display of light that mimics a TV set at a fraction of the energy bill. Project it onto curtains or a wall. It activates automatically at night."
Age limit for riders?
"Operators of a Chinese cable car are cracking down on a craze for mid-air sex romps among young couples," reports Orange Co. UK. "Apparently at the bidding of local officials, they have put up a sign banning people from having sex while riding in their cable cars. The ban has been introduced at a gondola ride at a popular mountain beauty spot, in Henan Province. 'Following numerous complaints, authorities were apparently forced to step in and put an end to what has been a popular local pastime for young couples,' local media reported. Bizarrely, however, according to the sign, the ban only applies to couples born in the 1990s."
THOUGHT DU JOUR
"The only competition worthy of a wise man is with himself." - Anna Jameson (1794-1860), British writer