Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News: February 03, 2011

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Smoking damages the body in minutes rather than years, according to research in the US.  The report, published in Chemical Research in Toxicology, shows that chemicals which cause cancer form rapidly after smoking.  Scientists involved in the small-scale study described the results as a stark warning to people considering smoking.  The long term impact of smoking, from heart disease to a range of cancers, is well known. This study suggests the damage begins just moments after the first cigarette is smoked.  ***MARLAR: In fact, cigarettes are so dangerous that they will now be banned from even being looked at without proper I.D.

The U.N. health agency says world leaders will discuss efforts to clamp down on junk food marketing to children when they meet in New York on Sept 19-20.  The World Health Organization says heads of state will use the U.N. General Assembly meeting to talk about limiting the number and type of ads that children are exposed to. WHO says 43 million preschool children around the world are overweight or obese. Experts talk of a “fat tsunami” that is already causing millions of premature deaths each year.  ***MARLAR: This is great news – because if they’re tackling childhood obesity, that MUST mean that the United Nations has already solved the problems of global war, genocide, starvation, and poverty… right?

Among the many unpleasantries that can come from living in northern regions is being forced to shovel hundreds of pounds of snow during winter months.   A Massachusetts man found a way around that this winter. According to police, he was blowing up snow banks to avoid shoveling them.  Low J. Powers, 23, of Abington, Mass., has been charged with threats to commit a crime and possession of incendiary devices.  ***MARLAR: Now that’s what I call a snow blower!

Amazon, the online retailer, is developing a free weekly home delivery service in the US that could support its drive to increase online sales of low-priced goods, such as health and beauty, babycare and groceries.   The Seattle service offers customers free weekly home delivery regardless of order value on a specified day. The goods are delivered in reusable, weatherproof tote bags to the customer’s address.  ***MARLAR: Of course, because the deliveries come from Amazon, you will have to pay extra for next day delivery – but two week delivery of your groceries will still be free of charge.


Bottled water may not be any healthier or safer than tap water, according to Florida-based sports nutritionist and dietician Cynthia Sass, who says that 25% of bottled water on store shelves is actually just repackaged tap water. A recent Gallup poll found that we drink bottled water because we think it is purer than tap water, tastes better and is more convenient.  ***MARLAR: More convenient?  What can be more convenient than walking outside and drinking from the hose?

In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 20-year-old Jaimil Choudhry was found not guilty of driving while intoxicated after being pulled over by police. He failed a field sobriety test but his attorney successfully argued that Jaimil couldn’t walk a straight line because he is obese — not because he was drunk — and he never should have been administered the test for that reason. So instead the court found Jaimil guilty of “reckless operation of a vehicle,” fined him $500 and his driver’s license was suspended for 60 days. Jaimil, who is 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 230 pounds, refused to submit to a Breathalyzer test.  ***MARLAR: It’s not over though, Jaimil will now be facing a jury of his peers in the mall’s food court.

Badge? Check! Gun? Check! Pooper Scooper?  Maybe not. Officials in Madison, Wisconsin, are considering a proposal that would exempt police from the local pooper scooper law.  For now, officers who are part of mounted patrols or K-9 units have to pick up after the animals, just like every other pet owner.  The measure to be considered by the city council would drop the droppings requirement for officers while on duty. One alderwoman notes that picking up the droppings can be difficult for the mounted officers who do crowd control at the University of Wisconsin football games.  ***MARLAR: Actually, if you left the doo on the ground, wouldn’t the crowd size be a lot more manageable?  At least in that particular area?

So ladies, how do you make him fall in love? Take him on a rollercoaster ride. Or bungee-jumping. Or whitewater rafting. Literally. It turns out that stomach flips, adrenaline and screams associated with any white-knuckle event create a rush of the hormone that makes us fall in love, according to research from Richard Robinson, author of “Why the One You Fancy Never Fancies You.” That hormone is called phenylethylamine. An important component in the science of attraction, it is secreted when you see someone you really like.  ***MARLAR: I fell in love with my wife Robin from the adrenaline rush of being in the passenger seat when she was driving.  My heart is still racing.

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