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 groucho glasses 2

Excuses, Excuses

My apologies for the lapse in time since I last wrote.  Especially as I left you with that hideous witch photo to greet you if you happened to be checking in.  I’ve had houseguests for the past week — my brother-in-law, Roger,  and sister-in-law, Sandie Clarke from Adelaide.  It’s always a treat to have them vist.  and not just because they help with jobs I can’t do by myself!  They’ve been an important part  of my family for thirty years.  Their eldest daughter, Joanne, has recently presented them with their first grandson, Alex, so the blush of grandparenthood has not yet worn off.  Their other daughter, Alison, was here with her friend, Emma, a few weeks ago, and we had a great time.  Not a lot of time, but a lot of fun.  we made homemade ricotta the the girls made homemade pasta, which combined to make some yummy spinach and ricotta ravioli with a sage and butter sauce.  YUM   and Alison helped me put artificial claws on Sophie and Pigeon.  That’s a story for another day, when I’m not so sober.  Anyway,  I’ve had a lovely opportunity to touch base with my in-laws.  It’s a good feeling.

Well, that sort of helps to account for not having written for the last week, but it doesn’t help with the week before..  I’m afraid that’s too long ago for me to have an excuse for.  These things have to be fresh, you know.  Anyway,  I’ve promised  (in the title)  a little look at the news-less-reported,  so I best get on with it.

Still More About Animal Poo

First, an update on the story a few weeks ago about  how Taiwan is dealing with the problem of dog doo by giving out shopping vouchers in exchange for each kg of dog poo collected by civic-minded volunteers, and Stockholm is turning their excess rabbit population into house fuel.  Well, I can now report that  in the Netherlands  manure from dairy cows will be fermented along with grass and food industry residues, and the biogas released during the process will be used as fuel for the thermal plant’s gas turbines. The heat generated will then be distributed to around 1,100 homes in the area.  One can only wonder what sort of air quality the plant will also be distributing  around the area.

Caught With His Pants Down

A journalism student in Berlin recently got caught short of a ticket and was thrown off a train.  In response, he dropped his drawers and pressed his bare bottom against the window of the low-slung double-decker train to moon the train staff.  Unfortunately, he got caught with his pants down.  Literally got caught.  His pants got trapped in the closing door and he was dragged, half naked,  about 200 metres along the tracks until a passenger managed to pull the emergency brake.  He was not injured, except for cuts and bruises, but he faces a number of charges , including “insulting the train staff” and will possibly be hit with a large compensation claim for delaying 23 trains.   I expect he’ll buy a ticket next time.

How To Beat The Economic Downturn

In Russia, a penniless tramp took advantage of the fact that Russians were drinking more since the economy went into a tailspin.  About a year ago, he started collecting empty booze bottles and turning them in for recycling (for a about six cents each).  He was collecting about 2000 bottles a day.  After living at the rubbish dump for twenty years, he has now become a trader on the stock market with his earnings.  His first transaction was a $74,000 share purchase.

Coping With the Emotional Strain of the Stock Market 

If our Russian rags-to-riches trader finds the pressures of his new life as a trader too stressful, an answer is just around the corner.  A prototype was introduced recently  for a  new  device, called the EmoBracelet, that senses stress and makes an accompanying lighted bowl, or EmoBowl, change color and flicker from yellow to red as emotions become more intense.  According to  Netherlands-based companies Philips Electronics and ABN AMRO, their newly released prototype “aims at sensing day traders’ stress levels so they can “time-out, wind down and re-consider their actions.” Researchers at Philips say home investors often do not act purely rationally. “Their behavior is influenced by emotions, most notably fear and greed, which can compromise their ability to take an objective, factual stance,” they said.  (from a Reuters report  by Harro ten Wolde). 

Now I’ve been thinking of some emotional stress situations for which similar devices could be adapted.  I’m thinking:  road rage, and  after-Christmas sales  —  just to mention a couple.  Anyone have more suggestions?  I’m a bit concerned about this EmoBowl, though.   I reckon it sounds a bit weird.  I wonder how big it is?  Why a bowl? can you put fruit in it when you’re not stressed? Why not a stick?  or a belt?  Remember the mood rings!?  Wow, there’s a thought.  Maybe we’ll have high-tech mood rings soon.  We do live in interesting times, don’t we?       MM