Customs officer wins award for punniest comment of the year.


“The officer thought something was fishy,” said U.S. Customs officer Billy Whitford.

via California Authorities Target Smuggling of Bladders from Endangered Fish: Scientific American.



Are women really afraid of pooping?


Jill, 28, a Vancouver native now working at an insurance company in New York City, said that if she absolutely can’t avoid the act entirely, she lifts her feet off the ground and props them up against the side of the stall to avoid the “chance that the person next to me would recognize my shoes and forever hold in their heads that I was the girl” defecating in the ladies’ room.

via The Last Office Taboo for Women: Doing Your Business at Work – The Daily Beast.


There is actually good news in the treatment of AIDS.


The technique uses drugs called HDAC Inhibitors, which are more commonly used in treating cancer, to drive out the HIV from a patient’s DNA.

via Scientists on brink of HIV cure – Telegraph.

But in unusual cases, some people seem able, with temporary help from antiretroviral drugs, to kill the virus before it can sink into reservoirs deep in their bodies — or to at least force it to stand at the doorways of their cells, unable to get in. “I’m excited about this,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “Not that we’ve got a cure, but things are falling into place that tell us what goes into the process of infection. So we’re learning whom we can potentially take off treatment.”

via Steady Steps Against AIDS –


Climbers nearly die on Everest — after pissing off their Sherpas.


Later in the day, a furious group of Nepalese stormed up towards the climbers tents and pelted them with stones until the men came outside, after which a loud argument ensued and punches were allegedly thrown. “It was terrifying to watch — they nearly got killed,” the eyewitness said.

via AFP: Climbers make peace with guides after Everest brawl.


Science fiction becomes boring reality.


Muse is a light-weight, wireless headband with 4 built-in brainwave sensors based on EEG technology used in the medical community since the early 1920s.  These sensors detect the levels, combinations and proportions of the five key types of brainwaves to reflect your most intrinsic state of mind.

via Muse – The Brainwave Sensing Headband : Home.


The Rambling Wreck in the Bronx

The injured starting shortstop, third baseman and first baseman are not expected on the field soon, and the outfielder who had 43 home runs last season Curtis Granderson is in Florida rehabilitating after an injury. Sunday’s lineup had only one legitimate preseason All-Star candidate Robinson Cano and two players who were released during spring training this year. Even General Manager Brian Cashman, who broke his leg in a sky-diving accident, is still on the mend. Yet the Yankees, with a 3-2 comeback win on Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays, capped a four-game sweep of the team that was supposed to displace them in the standings, a team that stocked its roster in the off-season with a megatrade with the Miami Marlins and the acquisition of the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, R. A. Dickey.

via Yankees Beat Blue Jays on Lyle Overbay’s Homer –

The day after Sandy blew threw the city, I remember sticking my head out my back door. My “backyard” is never pretty, but I was struck by what the hurricane had wrought: A gobsmacking array of flotsam, including a badly dented five-gallon metal bucket.

The Yankees’ lineup is about the same. The one penciled in on Sunday had four retread veterans who were hastily added in the off-season — Lyle Overbay, Brennan Boesch, Vernon Wells (who last year got maybe the loudest boos of any opposing player) and Travis Hafner — and three guys who rode the bench last year — Jayson Nix, Eduardo Nunez and Chris Stewart.

It is a demoralizing roll call. Or as Manager Joe Girardi put it, “it’s a group that has something to prove.” For instance, that they still deserve to collect big-league salaries.

So far, though, we are chagrined to admit that this patchwork business has been a rousing success. The Yankees, whose disabled list remains swollen with injured All-Stars, were widely picked to finish last in the American League East. Instead, in this young season, they are 9-1 in games decided by two runs or fewer, according to The Associated Press. (Talk about your acts of God.)

“It’s hard to not notice that,” said the erratic and slightly pudgy pointy-nosed starter Phil Hughes.

In the other dugout Sunday were the last-place Blue Jays, who unlike the Yankees added several top free agents in the off-season and were a popular pick to win the division and much else.

But the remade Jays are just 9-17. According to The A.P., in the four games against the Yankees, the Blue Jays batted .166 with runners in scoring position and struck out 37 times over all.

“You want me to go out there and hit or something?” the Blues Jays manager, John Gibbons, said. “I couldn’t hit when I played.”


R. A. Dickey, the knuckleballing former Met, started for the Blue Jays on Sunday and ended up pitching pretty well, allowing three runs and four hits in seven innings. But it was Mr. Dickey’s fourth loss of the season, which is one more than he had all last year. That is what the statisticians call regressing to the mean.

And in what Casablancan police officers call a gross understatement, Mr. Dickey after the game acknowledged his struggles but assured reporters that he is fine — when he isn’t pitching. “It gets marginally better between starts,” he said. “It’s just that when I have to start it breaks down again.”

I am same way. I always do better after I leave the office.

The schedule is a fickle mistress.

Whales can learn; why can’t you?!


lobtail feeding, was first recorded in one whale in the Gulf of Maine in 1980. Since then, 278 humpback whales—out of about 700 observed individuals that frequent the Stellwagen Bank map area—have employed the strategy, according to the study, published this week in the journal Science. “Ive been arguing for over a decade now that cultural transmission is important in cetacean societies,” said study co-author Luke Rendell, a marine biologist at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

via Do Whales Have Culture? Humpbacks Pass on Behavior.


(Cough), (sneeze).


The center has halted the publication of English-language figures about the spread of the disease since last Thursday.  It didn’t give a reason.

via China H7N9 Bird Flu Cases Rise By Five; Four Provinces Report Illnesses In One Day – Forbes.


Reflections in a Bloody Pond


In Nashville, where the sunset is an unloved distant relation to the glow of neon on Broadway, there are surprises:

The airport has rocking chairs. Street corners play music. All country singers have had something significant musically happen to them at age 13. Also, country singers are Zen masters at dancing in place. There are [deleted] straight-up unironical hipsters in Nashville.

  • At Puckett’s Grocery, it never occurred to the hostess that I might put my name in and never come back.
  • A dark and menacing gray sky is a perfect complement to the streaks of red and orange that wind around the front of the honky tonks. Gathered in front, like pieces on a chess board, are little platoons of middle-aged men, as eager and expectant as fraternity brothers.
  • With country music, it is sometimes hard to tell the difference between slow songs and fast songs.
Repent, Nashville! he said, without irony.

Repent, Nashville! he said, without irony.

  • At one point, I ran into some New Yorkers. They were spaced out, like the way combat veterans are said to look after spending too much time at the front. While Freddy Fender and Jerry Reed jangled in the close atmosphere of beer smells and glass clinks, a small troop with curly hair, gold chains and V-neck sweaters. The whole bit.
  • As they passed out, a private party of Asians broke up. The bartender, a pale, plump, pink bleached blonde announced, Plenty of seats in the balcony!
  • Later still, I met some Canadians. What were they doing? Wearing hockey jackets and mocking the weather!
  • About 10, I was wrapping it up. I went into a dank, unadorned room and asked for a rye. The bartender said, Is Jack Daniels close enough? The sad part was, it is. It always will be. 
  • IMG_20130424_203953Of the rewritten, pornographic lyrics to “Louisiana Saturday Night,” I can only print this: “Here’s a song that’s dirtier than hell.” About the time I realized that the stage for the band also had a sturdy screen for the drummer, I realized I was the only one wearing a collar. It was a lightning bolt
  • In the morning, away from Nashville, but still more music: “You want a biscuit, Honey?”
  • Shiloh National Military Park surprises, too. Indian mounds? Yes! Indian mounds! And giant nest of bald eagles! They’re huge!