Friday, April 17, 2015

As the planet spins - stories that leave you wondering

Sometimes, often actually, seeking out the unusual or weird pieces on the cyber highway of life, are what I call, head shakers. These are the stories that make one shake one's head and marvel at the way people live their lives.

For example, take the story of two neighbors whose feud led to one being detained by authorities for six hours for over trimming a tree that was growing on one of their properties. Logically, they should have been able to discuss it like adults but somehow at some point, the feud must have gotten out of hand in the true sense of the word. Unbelievable. Read about it here:  Personal aside (big on these), one of my favorite and personally written plays, "Shrubs" follows this exact story line in part. I shall take this as a positive omen.

Then there's the story of Aiko Chihira, a greeter who works for the Mitsukoshi department store in Tokyo, Japan. What makes her job different from everyone else's is that Aiko is a humanoid robot developed by Toshiba. Somehow, at least in my eyes, she reminds me of one of the Stepford wives of the movie fame, always with a pleasant smile on her face and dark unemotional eyes.  Read more about what else she can do here:  Unnerving in her perfection and very creepy.

Moving on...

What's slimy and not found on ski slopes

There are common and recognizable things that fall from the sky, many of which are related to weather conditions including rain or snowfall to name a few. Then there are the unexpected objects that descend to earth unexpectedly causing one to ponder if the universe is trying to send us a message.

Case in point is a biologist who was skiing in the mountains outside the city of Bergen, Norway, when he came across not a dozen or a hundred but thousands of earthworms laying on top of snow in a pile at least three feet deep.. This is not the type of creepy-crawly normally seen or found in snowy conditions however when examined closely, they started to move  indicating they were alive.

It appears the biologist wasn't the only person to encounter a wormado since there were many similar sightings from across southern Norway with reports of worm piles seen in the vicinity and as far away as the Swedish border. The explanation or theory provided by the scientific community is that a warm, high-velocity pocket of air swept up the worms as they emerged from their winter hibernation and carried them up into the mountains.

I'm thinking here...imagine whooshing down a ski hill and suddenly feeling objects descending on your body and discovering upon looking skywards, worms falling from the heavens. Perhaps skiers should consider adding umbrellas when packing their ski gear, or consider keeping them as fish bait.

A fishy service

Under normal circumstances, a pedicure would include a foot soaking and foot scrubbing, nail filing and other conventional treatments. There is also lesser known but reportedly effective alternate pedicure available in some locations featuring small fish nibbling on toes to remove dead skin. The specie of fish used for this service are called Garra rufa or doctor fish that work by sucking dead tissue off the feet.

Not everyone is enamored with this service to the point where the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal by an owner of a Phoenix-area spa, barring her from giving her customers fish pedicures. Seems that they are banned in some U.S. states for health and safety reasons.

At present,  the U.S. Supreme Court refused to disturb state court rulings upholding the right of the Arizona Board of Cosmetology to prevent the owner of the salon from operating a pedicure service featuring the doctor fish. Here is a photo of the pedi-curic doctor fish:

British school student banned due to hair color

Makes you wonder... A 17-year old student who decided to dye her hair red, has been banned from a British school until she changes it to what they believe to be a more natural color. What this has to do with obtaining an education is somewhat puzzling, since this is a personal option and decision.

The student whose natural hair color is naturally auburn, dyed it a more intense or ginger shade. It appears the hair shade selected does not conform with the school uniform policy, which includes no unnatural or presumably gaudy hair colors. In my mind, ginger does not fall into the unnatural  category.
Here is a photo featuring the hair in question: Really can't see what the fuss is about.

In the end, we're not talking about purple, or green and other shades, which could be viewed as 'alternative' colors, but it still boggles the mind as to what hair color has to do with being educated. What do you think?

Lawnmower power

People who dislike the task of cutting the grass (that would include a large majority of people with lawns most likely) will be pleased or interested to learn that home robot manufacturer iRobot applied for a waiver request from the FCC, to use a portion of the radio spectrum for a line of robotic lawnmowers. The lawnmower would use radio beacons on stakes positioned around the lawn in order to remain within boundaries set out by home owners. Don't get too excited since there has been resistance by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, who feel the robo-mowers (I like that word) pose a threat or at least hindrance to astronomers using radio telescopes to target a specific frequency band. It's not enough that we have to worry about human-like robots taking over. Now we have to concern ourselves with lawnmower robots that could at some point pose a threat to humanoids, who believed they were the only members of planet earth capable of cutting grass?

And how was your week?

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