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Stories of the Strange
Posted by M. Cherise Perez on Feb 26, 2006 - 9:22:00 PM
Godzilla vs. King Kong
TOKYO, JAPAN – Many countries have emergency disaster drills to prepare the public for the worst of times. In today’s perilous political environment, it can be very useful to go through drills for fires, earthquakes, nuclear bombings, school shootings, and biohazard exposure.
Ever-cautious officials at the Ueno Zooligical Gardens in Tokyo, Japan have decided that safety knows no bounds, so they decided to enhance the current earthquake preparedness by holding an “Escaped Gorilla After a Devastating Earthquake” drill.
Since the zoo officials did not want to rely on an actual gorilla to follow the drill rules and choose entrapment rather than sweet, victorious freedom, they decided to go with the illustrious homo sapiens instead. The domesticated two-legged man-creature donned a friendly gorilla suit and went on a rampage while a team of gorilla-tamers took him in with nets and fake tranquilizers.
Catch-of-the Day: Marine Delight
STONINGTON, CT – In another tale of adventure on the high seas, fisherman Alan Chaplaski will be receiving a payout from the United States Navy for damages to his fishing boat and four days of lost labor.
On a regular fishing day in August, Chaplaski dropped his net in the waters southeast of Stonington by some 95 miles, hoping for a good catch of shrimp. Instead, Chaplaski and his trusty boat, Neptune, caught the 362-foot-long USS Montpelier submarine. The petite 150-ton boat teetered precariously on the verge of capsizing, twisting and shaking until Chaplaski released the brakes, freeing the steel wire attaching the net and the 1000-pound double-doors that hold the net open.
The cost of the damages and the results of the Naval investigation were not disclosed, but Chaplaski is satisfied with the way the incident was resolved.
Light As a Feather, Stiff as a High-Pressure Transparent Silica-Based Comet-Dusting Gel
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, CA – Aerogel, the real superstar of the NASA-JPL Stardust mission, is definitely an earthly substance, but it is still out-of-this world – at least, it is to the scientists trying to preserve undamaged particles of comet dust and interstellar dust from the Comet Wild 2.
Invented in 1931, Aerogel is similar to glass, and is created by exposing ordinary gel to pressures and temperatures so high that the gel reaches the supercritical point, after which it is drained of the fluid. The remaining gel is the lightest substance around, extremely porous, strong enough to support heavy weights, and very, very efficient at trapping the tiny particles of space dust, whose speeds average about 6 km / second.
Aerogel is being considered for use in clothing or construction, since it is an excellent thermal insulator. However, due to the high cost of producing the material, we won’t be seeing Aerogel on the shelves anytime soon.
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