Jails need locks too?
First Posted: 1/16/2013
Fulton Jail Will Get Working Cell Locks, read the Dec. 19 Atlanta Journal-Constitution headline. The county commission serving Atlanta had finally voted to break a longstanding 3-3 tie that prevented buying new jailhouse locks — even while knowing that inmates could jimmy the old ones at will and roam the facilities, threatening and assaulting suspects and guards. The three recalcitrant commissioners were being spiteful because a federal judge had ordered various improvements to the jail, costing $140 million so far, and the three vowed to spend no more. The 1,300 replacement locks will cost about $5 million — but will not be installed right away.
— The Chinese fashion designer Ms. Lv told China Newsweek in November that her sales had quintupled since she began using her 72-year-old grandfather to model her clothing styles for girls. (It’s) helping my granddaughter, Liu Xianping said. I’m very old, he said, and I have nothing to lose.
— Challenging Business Plans: (1.) British medical illustrator Emily Evans recently created eight pricy, bone china dinner plates emblazoned with the microscope images of tissue slides of the human liver, thyroid, esophagus and testicles ($60 per plate, $200 for a set of four). (2.) In October, a shop in London’s St. Bart’s Pathology Museum ran a special sale of cupcakes as part of a sexually transmitted disease awareness campaign. Each pastry’s icing was crafted to resemble the lesions, boils and warts of gonorrhea and other maladies.
— Leading a jerky renaissance is Krave, a Sonoma, Calif., company creating nontraditional flavors such as turkey jerky and jerky flavored with basil citrus or lemon garlic. Actually, Krave points out, jerky is rich in protein, with low calories and fat (but with, admittedly, sky-high sodium) and could be reasonably pitched as a healthy snack. However, jerky’s main obstacle (a Krave competitor’s CEO told The Wall Street Journal in September) is jerky shame, in which some male consumers remain mortified that their girlfriends might see them enjoying the snack.
— Behold, the McGyver Spider: Biologist Phil Torres, working from the Tambopata national park in Peru, revealed in December that he had witnessed a tiny Cyclosa spider construct a replica of an eight-legged spider in a web made of leaves, debris and dead insects. Since the real spider was found nearby, Torres hypothesized that the wily arachnid had built a decoy to confuse predators.
— Artist Maria Fernanda Cardoso, already known for her circus of performing fleas at Australia’s Sydney Festival 10 years ago, has since become a legitimate academic expert on the sex organs of fleas and other insects. She debuted the Museum of Copulatory Organs last year near Sydney, teaching visitors such esoterica as: In many insect species, females are promiscuous; snails are hermaphrodites in which one shoots sperm darts that form rigid chastity-belt-like blockages on his mate; and a male flea copulates for eight hours straight (but only mates three times in his life).
A team of French researchers writing recently in the journal PLOS ONE described a species of European catfish, growing to a length of five feet, that feeds itself pigeons by lunging out of the water (cat-like) and snatching them, even if the leap carries it to shore. Like Argentinian killer whales, the catfish are able to remain on land for a few seconds while wriggling back into the water where they can enjoy their meal. The lead researcher said he filmed 54 catfish attacks, of which 15 were successful.
Another Airline-Pricing Model: The Jiangdu District kindergarten recognizes that providing a quality education requires supporting the child emotionally as well as helping develop reading and other skills, and toward that end, it now requires teachers to hug each pupil twice a day — provided that the parent has paid the monthly hugging fee of the equivalent of about $12.80. An education agency investigation is under way, according to a December Shanghai Daily report, but one teacher defended the trial program as boosting a child’s confidence and establishing a good mood for learning.
— First-World Crisis (I): Tufts University opened America’s first animal obesity clinic at its veterinary hospital in North Grafton, Mass., in September, to supply nutrition information and to help owners develop weight-loss regimens for their pets. Without treatment, veterinarians told the Tufts Daily newspaper, pet obesity can lead to pancreatitis, joint disorders and skin disease. One of its first clients was a golden retriever (a breed known for its desire to run but also known for its adaptability to non-running lifestyles), who now requires $90 prescription dog food — though the owner reports that his best friend has lost eight pounds and is thus almost halfway to his goal of 87.
— First-World Crisis (II): Researchers writing in the December issue of the journal Urology reported a five-fold increase over 10 years in emergency room visits for accidents caused by pubic-hair grooming. Unsurprisingly, 83 percent of all injuries appeared to be shaving accidents, but only 56 percent of the patients were women, according to a summary of the research on MedicalXPress.com.
— Demarco Thomas, 30, was arrested in Tucson, Ariz., in November, as a drug courier for what the Arizona Daily Star called a local cartel, after Thomas himself had called police the day before. Thomas feared being whacked by the cartel because he had come up $20,000 short in the latest delivery. According to police, Thomas brought money in suitcases from North Carolina to his Tucson contact — except for a little bit that he had somehow misplaced. A police search of Thomas revealed almost exactly $20,000 on his person, and Thomas, about to be arrested, allegedly asked officers if they would please write a note to the cartel informing them that police had merely seized the $20,000 — and not that Thomas had tried to steal it. They declined.