xxxNews Of The Weirdxxx
Bizarre but true stories about real people collected by syndicated columnist Chuck Shepherd.
In November in Murfreesboro, Tenn., U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs bureaucrats Joseph Haymond and Natalie Coker were charged with taking kickbacks from suppliers on government purchases of 100,000 rolls of red tape. (The tape is distinctive, red “security” tape used on packages of VA pharmaceuticals.)
Bangkok economics student Panupol Sujjayakorn interrupted his studies in November to defend his World Scrabble Championship in London, one of many non-English-speaking competitors who achieved top-of-the-line ranking by memorizing up to 100,000 words in English without ever knowing their meanings. Like the others, reported the Chronicle of Higher Education, Mr. Panupol learned first those premium words that overuse the prominent Scrabble letter tiles (such as “aureolae”). (Alas, this time around, a native English speaker, Dr. Adam Logan, a number theory researcher, won the title, building actual words like “qanat” and “euripi.”)
Scientists at Syracuse University, recently describing for a British journal their study of body measurements of bats, found an inverse size relationship between a male bat’s brain and testicles. The researchers hypothesized that both sperm and brains are metabolically costly to produce, and in species with relatively stable monogamous relationships, brains are allowed to grow, but where females are promiscuous, males that do not overdevelop testicles get left out of the race to procreate.
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