There are more American households that have just a cell phone and not a land-line phone than there are that have a land-line but no cell phone. And the recession is apparently speeding up that trend. A survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that 20 percent of households had only cell phones during the last half of 2008. That compares to 17 percent with land-lines but no cells. It’s the first time the number of cell-phone-only homes is larger. ***MARLAR: In these same households, instead of calling each other to dinner they text.
Scientists have found more than 200 new species of frogs in Madagascar the Indian Ocean island’s unique wildlife, a study shows. The world’s fourth-largest island, known for exotic creatures such as the ring-tailed lemur and poisonous frogs, is a biodiversity hotspot. More than 80 percent of the mammals in Madagascar are found nowhere else, while all but one of the 217 previously known species of amphibian are believed by scientists to be native. ***MARLAR: The animals are so strange and unusual, the Jerry Springer show is looking at the island for future guests.
A father was accused of using a dog shock collar on his four children. Apparently the 41-year-old man was jailed Tuesday on charges of criminal mistreatment. The father acknowledged putting the electronic dog collar on his four children and shocking all of them at least once but he didn’t do it as a punishment. Rather, he thought it was funny. The children, all younger than 10, are in the custody of their mother. ***MARLAR: He took them home on leashes.
A puppy that scampered away from her Texas home is all grown up now and mysteriously back after eight years. Owner Alison Murphy of Austin isn’t sure where Dancer has been but says obedience school is the next stop for her newly recovered pet. KVUE-TV reports that the brown and white terrier mix was left last week at the Humane Society in New Braunfels, about 45 miles away. A musician found the dog in his neighborhood and after a few days took the animal to the Humane Society to see if she had a microchip implant. Dancer did. Murphy says Dancer’s teeth “are in great shape” and the dog is “still the same old girl.” Except the dog no longer recognizes her name. She instead responds to the name Fern. ***MARLAR: She went from doggone to dogback.
A Washington state city may have to lay-off a member of the police force. But throwing her a bone could soften the blow. The Snohomish City Council is considering whether to get rid of Dixie the drug-sniffing dog. Officials note the K9 cop costs the city about $16,000 a year in vet care, food and other expenses. The Everett Herald reports the city plans on keeping its other, younger police dog, which is used to track criminals. ***MARLAR: Meanwhile, Dixie will be sent to rehab.
Make your boss a cup of coffee. A study showed that just by holding the hot liquid, she’ll see you as a warm person. ***MARLAR: Which also explains why my last boss fired me when I bought him a frozen Coke.
A Boston teenager is suing the Department of Education, claiming that the reason his grades are bad in everything except sports is that the school system is biased against males. ***MARLAR: Or maybe because he plays sports instead of doing his homework.