Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – March 26, 2010

North Korea has declared war on long hair. A new campaign, led by state-run TV, denounces long hair on men as a sign of a corrupt capitalist lifestyle that robs the brain of energy and intelligence development by consuming too much nutrition. ***MARLAR: Gosh – imagine how brilliant Einstein would’ve been if he’d had a buzz cut!

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have created a new rat heart in a laboratory. ***MARLAR: And just in time; we were losing too many rats to heart disease.

Scientists have done laser scans on two life masks, made from plaster casts of Lincoln’s face, and it turns out that the left side of Lincoln’s face is smaller than the right.  ***MARLAR: This is just weird – I’d think of all the politicians who WOULDN’T be two-faced it would be Lincoln.

A furious mother condemned bosses at a cafe for being ‘heartless’ after they sacked her 16-year old daughter via her Facebook page.  Chelsea Taylor burst into tears when she logged on to the social networking site to find a dismissal letter littered with grammatical errors and ending with two kisses.  ***MARLAR: Actually, if you fire someone via Facebook it’s called “de-friending.”
Nute Scott is into heavy metal — medieval style. He’s an Idaho metal-smith who makes suits of armor.  He travels the country six months a year, selling his armor at renaissance fairs. It takes about a week to bang out a full suit.  He tells the Post Register newspaper the toughest part is making elbows and knees that flex. Too loose and it will fall apart. Too tight and you’ll have an immobile knight. So, how much does it cost to be a 21st century knight in shining armor? Prices range from about $2,000 to $5,000.  ***MARLAR: Yiketh!  Thou thinkest thou wilst go armorless!

Brandon Hughes is a guy with heart — and that’s a problem. Police in Washington state say he’s admitted to spray-painting pink hearts on utility poles in downtown Wenatchee. Hughes says he’s just trying fill the city with love after seeing so many angry drivers. But at least he respects private property. Hughes says he doesn’t paint the pink hearts on buildings. He now faces a charge of malicious mischief.  ***MARLAR: The prosecutor promises to have a heart while getting him locked up and will get him a pink prison uniform.

The Super Chicken is taking a step closer to the dinner table.  The Food and Drug Administration says it will start considering proposals to sell genetically engineered animals as food. The agency has issued a proposed legal framework for resolving questions about the environmental risks and the safety of using altered animals as food.  Reaction from consumer groups has been mixed. On one hand, they’re welcoming the government’s decision to regulate genetically altered animals. But they also caution that the details need to be spelled out, including whether genetically engineered meat, poultry and fish will have to be labeled for consumers.  ***MARLAR: Does it really need to be labeled when it’s obvious that your fresh chicken has six drumsticks?

Researchers are reporting that plants can produce an aspirin-like chemical when under stress.  Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research say the chemical can be detected in the air above the plants. They speculate that the chemical may be a sort of immune response that helps protect the plants.  The researchers say the finding raises the possibility that farmers, forest managers and others may eventually be able to start monitoring plants for early signs of disease, an insect infestation or other types of stress. Currently, they often don’t know if an ecosystem is unhealthy until there are visible indicators, such as dead leaves.  Researchers had known that plants in the laboratory produce a form of aspirin known as methyl salicylate (suh-LIH’-sih-late), but they had never looked for it in the forest.  The new findings are published in the journal Biogeosciences. ***MARLAR: How exactly do you stress out a plant?  Do you continually sing, “It’s Not Easy Being Green?”

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