Stories of the Strange
Posted by M. Cherise Perez on Apr 30, 2006 - 8:46:00 PM
A Libation For Dr. Greenthumb
ITHACA, NEW YORK – Funny how when you’re under the weather, a little liquor does wonders for your disposition. Looks like our fine, flowering brethren have tipped themselves off to the same intoxicating tune.
Apparently, academic horticulturists have been researching anecdotal claims that choice amounts of alcohol given to plants will produce optimal indoor greenery. So far, it seems like alcohol appears to inhibit plant growth while still preserving the blossoms. If this special treatment works out as a long-term solution, get ready to say goodbye to endless pruning and messy overgrowth!
Preliminary tests indicated that the plants were most responsive to hard liquor, and barely got a buzz off beer and wine. 5% alcohol content seems just right, while anything over 10% is likely to nuke the blooms.
So remember kids (that is, kids in the 21-and-up crowd), if you can’t take that last shot at the house party, pour a little liquor out for the lilies…the resident gardener will thank you.
An Elephantormous Case of the Sugar Blues
COLOMBO, SRI LANKA – While visiting the Gangaramaya Temple of Colombo University in Sri Lanka, several New Year’s revelers discovered that many animals do not share the same taste buds with humans.
Raja, the local celebrity elephant extraordinaire, consumed scores of sweets offered by devout worshippers visiting the temple a few days before the Buddhist New Year started. You and I may be enticed by thoughts of deep-fried cookies, pineapples, chocolates, and rice pudding, but poor Raja found himself in pain and tears, with a belly full of sweets he could not digest.
The temple’s monks tenderly attended to Raja, whose name means “king” in Sinhalese and Tamil, the two official languages of Sri Lanka. The well-meaning but ignorant visitors apparently failed to realize that the oily and processed food that they were offering up would upset a stomach used to mostly plants and other vegetation. Of course, they were not the only ones to blame – after the incident, the monks belatedly posted a sign that reads “Do not feed the elephant.”
Beef is in Fashion
AUSTRALIA – Newsflash for the carnivorous: beef cattle do not spend all their time standing around, waiting to be slaughtered and eaten. According to animal behavior researchers, beef cattle seem to spend at least 3% of the day primping and preening.
Looks like these beef cattle are more than just meatheads and walking steaks. Tongues and hooves are the implements of choice for the rump roast, but cattle are also not afraid to employ the latest in fashion tools. Like branches, for example, or stumps, or even the handy dandy fence post.
The cattle demonstrate intelligence by manipulating these objects in the way that “tools” are traditionally used – that is, as items that perform a specific function. Water buffalo and bison are related species in the wild that have similar grooming habits.
Future animals rights efforts may now be focused on fighting the denial of an animal’s evolutionary right to groom.