In this city known for producing laws both path-breaking and contentious, legislators have forcefully stepped into another debate — this time over the potential danger of cell phone use. With the Board of Supervisors’ 10-1 vote in favor of an ordinance Mayor Gavin Newsom has indicated he will sign, San Francisco has waded into the as-yet unresolved debate over the relationship between long-term use of cell phones and health problems such as brain tumors. It would be the country’s first law requiring cell phone retailers to disclose the phones’ specific absorption rate, or SAR, to customers. SAR measures the maximum amount of radiation absorbed by a person using a handset. The Federal Communications Commission limits SAR to an average of 1.6 watts per kilogram of body tissue, but information about radiation levels is not usually readily available when people purchase phones at stores. ***MARLAR: Have we gone just a bit too far with all of the warning labels? I saw this one on my wife’s curling iron yesterday – “for external use only”.
It’s official: The National Pork Board says it knows unicorns don’t exist. The industry group says it was only protecting its trademark when it issued cease-and-desist warning to online retailer ThinkGeek for calling a fake unicorn meat product “the new white meat.” The fictional canned meat, described as an “excellent source of sparkles,” was an April Fool’s prank. But the 12-page letter from the board’s law firm was no joke. “We certainly offered our apologies,” Scott Kauffman, President and CEO of Geeknet Inc., the parent company of ThinkGeek, told the Associated Press. “It was not our intention to confuse the public as to the attributes and qualities of the two meats.” In a public apology this week, ThinkGeek said its nonexistent canned unicorn meat is sparkly, a bit red and not approved by any government entity. “We certainly understand that unicorns don’t exist,” said Ceci Snyder, vice president of marketing for the National Pork Board. “Yes, it’s funny. But if you don’t respond, you are opening your trademark up to challenges.” The council said it is in discussions with the company. “Where we feel victimized, is I don’t know of another organization that does more to promote pork products than our site,” Kauffman said, noting the company sells around 20 real items related to bacon, such as bacon gumballs and bacon soap. ***MARLAR: Bacon soap? Who wants to go around all day smelling like Porky Pig?
A new study of 50 American cities found Portland is dead last when it comes to ‘manliness.’ Researchers used statistics such as truck ownership and number of steak houses to come up with the list. Believe it or not, the manliest city in the U.S., according to the study, is Charlotte, North Carolina. ***MARLAR: Portland men want a recount… right after this weekend’s shoe sale.
Tinker Bell has been reunited with her owners after a 70-mph gust of wind picked up the six-pound Chihuahua and tossed her out of sight. Dorothy and Lavern Utley found their dog Monday to a wooded area nearly a mile from where 8-month-old Tinker Bell had been last seen. The brown long-haired dog was dirty and hungry but otherwise OK. The Utleys, of Rochester, Michigan had set up an outdoor display Saturday at a flea market in Waterford Township, 25 miles northwest of Detroit. Tinker Bell was standing on their platform trailer when she was swept away. ***MARLAR: The dog was swept away by a big wind – and it’s owner’s name is Dorothy. Shouldn’t the dog’s name be Toto instead of Tinkerbell?
Mexico City taxi driver Manue Quiroz wants to become the world champion chili eater. But first, he’s got to find an organization that can give him that title. Manuel says that for him, eating chilies is “just like eating fruit.” Not only can he eat dozens of Mexico’s spiciest chilies, he can also rub them on his skin and even squeeze the juice into his eyes without so much as a blink. ***MARLAR: How do you discover this kind of skill? Apparently taxi drivers in Mexico City have WAY too much time on their hands.
Oahu Hawaii Senator Rod Tam is proposing legislation that would give state employees daily 10-minute naps and snacks, to make them feel more appreciated for the job that they do. State legislators say that his bill has little chance of a hearing because his colleagues think it is simply ridiculous! ***MARLAR: I think he just spent too much time in Kindergarten when he was a kid.
A $20-million German lottery winner says he plans to build the world’s largest pigeon coop. The unidentified man lives in a modest apartment with his family so he said the first thing he will do is buy a house in the country far enough from neighbors so he can build his giant pigeon hotel without disturbing anyone. ***MARLAR: A giant pigeon hotel IS disturbing!
Officials at a Stockholm hospital have asked a male nurse to change his name. It seems his name is Jesus and he’s not being asked to change because of religious concerns. ***MARLAR: His superiors were worried that when patients were told “Jesus will be coming soon,” they might get the wrong idea.
The Detroit Institute of Arts has to repair a $1.5 million abstract painting after a 12-year-old boy left his chewing gum stuck on it. ***MARLAR: Couldn’t they just leave the chewing gum? It’s an abstract painting… who’s going to know the difference?