DARREN’S DAILY DOSE OF WEIRD NEWS – JUNE 14, 2009

Sweaters for dolphins? Some people in Washington state are knitting hats, mittens and sweaters for dolphins. It’s their way of needling the Navy. The knitters are protesting the Navy using dolphins from warm San Diego to guard a Trident submarine base in cold Washington. ***MARLAR: We have soldiers on the frontlines without the proper protective gear in the line of fire, but these geniuses are knitting sweaters for dolphins.

Researchers studying a disease that causes people to suddenly nod off are trying to turn what they have learned into a new sleep aid.  The research team at the Swiss drug company Actelion Pharmaceuticals reports it found that blocking brain receptors for orexin, a blood peptide, promoted sleep in rats, dogs and people.  Orexin is important in maintaining wakefulness and is absent in the brains of people who suffer from narcolepsy.  ***MARLAR: It’s almost as effective for sleep as forcing people to listen to my radio show!

A United Kingdom directory services company is teaming with the charity Living Streets to put padding on lampposts to protect people who walk into them while sending text messages. They say studies show one in 10 people have hurt themselves by texting while walking and not looking where they were going. Sponsors say if that reduces accidents, they’ll start padding lampposts in other cities. ***MARLAR: They also plan to place advertising on the lampposts saying, “You could’ve had a V8.”

Nathaniel Skiles is a good citizen, but the five-year-old Kirkland, Washington, boy isn’t ready for jury duty. Still, he’s been summoned three times in two years. His mother says she has sent back the notices, noting her son’s age. She says she may have to take him to the courthouse so officials can see for themselves. The problem apparently originated when the family applied for a state identification card and his birth date was listed incorrectly. ***MARLAR: Sadly, at the age of 18 months he also had to register for selective service.

Norway struck an unprecedented blow for sexual equality when the government said it would force companies to guarantee that women could be in board meetings. ***MARLAR: Male board members unanimously agreed, and then forced the women to serve them coffee and Danishes.

Two paramedics have been suspended over claims they failed to respond to an emergency call on time after arguing it was not their turn.  It is alleged that the pair argued with the dispatcher who had sent them to attend a category “A” incident.  All emergency calls in the U.K. are graded A, B or C, with A being the most serious call-out.  Paramedics are required to arrive at a category A 999 call (the U.K.’s version of a 911 call) within seven minutes and 59 seconds.  The two paramedics arrived at the scene 12 minutes after the call was made.  A spokesman for Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Ambulance service said: “I can confirm that two members of the Trust have been suspended from full duties and we are currently holding an internal investigation.”  ***MARLAR: So, essentially, until they figure out what happened, they’re cutting staff?   Yeah – that should reeeeeeally help improve response time.

According to a new study, people 60 and over become more liberal at a faster rate. A new study suggests that the popular belief about older people being more conservative isn’t true. Researchers found that as people pass the age of 60 they become more tolerant and liberal.  ***MARLAR: Tolerant right up to the time you step on their grass.

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