Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News: March 09, 2011

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NEW NEWS…

Zhora, a chimp in a Russian zoo, has become addicted to smoking and alcohol after visitors gave him too many “treats.”  “We asked visitors not to give him [alcohol and cigarettes], but it was all in vain,” the deputy head of Rostov zoo, Nadezhda Yeutushenko, said. Yeutushenko told Russian press that Zhora was kept behind three rows of fences, but visitors still managed to throw him alcohol and cigarettes.  Zhora has now been transferred to a different city for rehab treatment.  ***MARLAR: It’s too bad Zhora is a chimp.  If he had tiger blood in him he’d have been perfectly fine.

It’s currently available in Georgia, Oklahoma, California, Alabama, Florida, Virginia, Tennessee & Illinois – now they’re jumping on the bandwagon in California.  A number of California hospitals have decided to allow patients to make emergency room appointments online.  For a fee ranging from $14.99 to $24.99, patients receive a guarantee that they will be seen within 15 minutes of their appointment under the “In-Quick ER” service, or they receive a full refund. ***MARLAR: The only downside is that you have to make your emergency room appointments at least two weeks in advance.

The director of the Congressional Budget Office admitted that nearly 800,000 Americans will lose their jobs between now and 2021 as a result of the new health-care law passed by the Democrats last year. ***MARLAR: Aaaah, so when they said the new health care law would save money, what they really meant is that we’d be firing a bunch of people and wouldn’t have to pay them.

Energy drinks are under-studied, overused and can be dangerous for children and teens, warns a report by doctors who say kids shouldn’t use the popular products. The potential harms, caused mostly by too much caffeine or similar ingredients, include heart palpitations, seizures, strokes and even sudden death, the authors write in the medical journal Pediatrics.  ***MARLAR: They wrote the study in less than 48-hours thanks to Red Bull.

RETRO NEWS: FORMERLY NEW, NOW NOT NEW, BUT STILL ENTERTAINING…

According to a study from the University of Texas at Austin, milk and a 100% whole-grain cereal, which contain protein and carbohydrates, help rebuild damaged tissue at least as well as, if not better than, a specialized sports drink.  ***MARLAR: The trick is finding a way to get your shredded wheat through a squirt bottle.

When you order decaffeinated coffee, you’re coffee apparently isn’t entirely decaffeinated. A University of Florida study shows almost all decaf coffee contains some caffeine. This could be big for people told to avoid caffeine because of certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure, kidney disease or anxiety disorders. Researchers say that if someone drinks five to 10 cups of decaffeinated coffee a day, it could equal a cup or two of caffeinated coffee. The thing to remember is that decaffeinated coffee is not the same as caffeine-free coffee.  ***MARLAR: Caffeine-free coffee… the idea that something like that even exists is disturbing to me.  Does anyone actually drink caffeine-free coffee?  What’s the point of that?

A Naples high school student, Alfredo David, was charged with felony battery over a scuffle with another student who had a Confederate flag displayed on his car. The victim told authorities David taunted him to try to start a fight over the flag, punched him in the chest through the open windows and then tried to pull him out of the car.  ***MARLAR: That’s strange.  I never really found the “Dukes of Hazzard” all that offensive.

It’s Japanese take-out, for a very long trip.  Japan’s space agency, known as JAXA, has approved some special food for use on the International Space Station. Japanese astronauts can look forward to ramen noodles, rice balls, simmered mackerel and green tea. But there won’t be any fresh sushi in orbit. Space food must have a shelf life of at least a year and be easy to eat in a zero-gravity environment. Civilians on Earth will also get to try the out-of-this-world rations.  Officials say the products will also be sold to consumers as “Japanese Space Food.”  ***MARLAR: So they’re going to charge you a ton of money for “Japanese Space Food” when in essence it’s stuff you’d really only buy when you’re broke – rice balls and ramen noodles.

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