How curious!

August 11, 2007 at 3:00 am Leave a comment

This is the fourth outing for ThinkingShift’s How Curious! category. There are so many weird, wonderful, bizarre and curious items I could bring you that I struggle to reduce things to just four or five items per How Curious! feature. But I have some good ones for us today.

Will the fish suffer? There’s a bizarre experiment going on in Finland. Some poor salmon, trout, pike and perch, species common to Finland’s coastal waters, will be subjected to Uriah Heep. Who or what is Uriah Heep you may ask (had to look this one up for myself). According to Wikipedia, Uriah Heep was (and still is) a British rock band active since the 1960s. The aging rockers will perform a ‘fish concert’ for 3,000 fans, including said fish. The point? To see if the fish suffer any distress or abnormal behaviour. The Finnish researcher behind this experiment says: “It could be quite nasty to arrange such an aquarium and a performance venue (so close to the fish) especially when the (band) is a bit old-fashioned.” Eh? Why Uriah Heep I ask? The fish might want something a bit more contemporary rather than some old rock and roll dudes. I haven’t found out yet what the results of the experiment are and whether the fish jumped out of their aquarium with the first loud twang of a 1960s guitar! Source: Reuters

Thinking of a new career? Being a Kiwi, it is with a twinge of embarrassment that I bring you this story. Should you be fed up with your career, you may soon be able to enrol in a new tertiary course in New Zealand. Education types are in full discussion over in the Land of the Long White Cloud. Courses in prostitution (yes, you read correctly) are being considered. But said courses would need to meet stringent funding criteria: “… meet minimum quality standards, demonstrate genuine community need and meet Government priorities laid out in the Tertiary Education Strategy”. Now, I’m just not going to ask how they’d be assessing quality; I’m not sure what the community need would be; and I’d love to see the Strategy! Would this be a three year course I wonder? And being a Uni lecturer myself, I’d be intrigued to see the Subject Outline – perhaps, History and Philosophy of an Ancient Art; Dressing for Success; You and Your Client. Source: NZ Herald.

Pride and Embarrassment. I’m sure you’ve read Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, probably at school. Her book has been in publication for over 200 years and been retold in numerous films. But in today’s cut throat publishing world filled with piranhas, sorry literary agents – would Austen get published in a Potter-mad world? An enterprising Austen enthusiast made only minor changes and sent off opening chapters and plot synopses to 18 of the UK’s largest publishers and agents. Guess what? All 18 turned down Austen’s work with a resounding “no thanks”. What’s really curious to me is that only one of the 18 recognised Austen’s work. Hello? Austen’s book was retitled to First Impressions but the opening line remained the same: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife“. Source: Guardian Unlimited.

Leave the iPod at home. I have a sleek black iPod for when I’m out and about exercising. I occasionally jog (I’m more a treadmill hamster) but news from Canada has caused me to rethink. Apparently, iPods, jogging and lightning is one electrifying mix. A 37-year old jogger decided to brave a thunderstorm and jog whilst listening to his iPod. Alas, lightning struck a near-by tree and directly traced a path through the metal in the jogger’s earphones, burning his chest, neck and face. It must have been one heck of an explosive trip – the poor chap’s eardrums were ruptured and the bones in his middle ear were dislocated. Not to mention his jaw broke in four places. This brave dude still jogs but he leaves the iPod at home. Smart. Source: Reuters.

Rethink that trip to the Congolese jungle. I remember studying H. Rider Haggard novels at University and thinking how the steamy, impenetrable African jungle must be full of undiscovered animals and fierce, exotic tribes. Okay, long time ago; but seems I might not have been that wrong. Did you know that deep in the Congolese jungle are some chimps, giant ones at that, who kill lions, catch fish and howl at the moon? Yep, this fact eluded me too. Seems local lore speaks of a hybrid creature: a chimp gorilla, which has remained hidden to scientists due to the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some intrepid scientists have managed to push through the region and croc-infested waters and discovered not a hybrid but unique, super-sized chimps who love a bit of cat-flesh. They are called the Bill Apes (named after a near-by town – I reckon a better name could be found for these chimps. If they’re super-sized, maybe McChimps?!). They’re obviously pretty fierce as they sleep in nests on the ground and are not afraid of encountering a leopard, buffalo or elephant. These chimps like to smash things around, such as hard-shelled fruits and snails, and use sticks up to 2.5 metres long to catch fish. Not sure why they are said to howl at the moon. Think I’ll take the Congolese jungle off my list of “Must Visit” holiday spots! Source: Guardian Unlimited.

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