December 11, 2006

LinkNews Digest [12/08/2006]

Zombie Chickens Rise from Mass Graves

PETALUMA (AP) - In this rich agricultural region of Northern California, ranchers have been turning chickens too old to lay eggs into compost at a rate of a half-million hens a year.

To kill the chickens, farmers suffocate them in sealed boxes filled with carbon dioxide, a practice that has drawn the ire of animal rights groups. Afterward, the hens are layered in mounds of sawdust.

But some chickens not properly euthanized have been seen crawling out of the compost piles, earning them the name "zombie chickens" -- and hatching a debate over what else might be done with them and other "spent hens."

A food bank proposed making sausage to feed the poor. A reptile enthusiast suggested using them as food for large exotic pets like pythons and alligators. And an industry group said in the future they could be used as fuel for power plants.

A new European technology that turns dead cows into fuel to generate electricity -- and that could be the fate of spent hens someday, said Rich Matteis, head of the Pacific Egg and Poultry Association. But "that's not something that's going to be available anytime soon," he said. (LINK )

China: Developers Fined for Great Wall Bypass

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese company that had sought to build a highway through the Great Wall paid a fine for damaging the structure Sunday, days after new penalties were enacted to protect China's most famous tourist attraction, state media reported.

Hongji Landbridge Investment Development Inc. paid 500,000 yuan ($63,800) in penalties for deliberately damaging a section of the Great Wall in Inner Mongolia as part of an unauthorized road project, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The company ignored warnings from officials and suggestions on how it could complete the project without damaging the wall, including digging tunnels and building overpasses, Xinhua cited unnamed cultural heritage officials as saying.

Instead, it demolished large sections of the Great Wall along with three ancient villages that were under government protection, it cited Wang Dafang, an official with the regional cultural heritage bureau, as saying.

A regulation specifically protecting the Great Wall went into effect Friday, allowing for fines of up to 500,000 yuan for those who take soil or bricks from it. (LINK )

Teen Girl Charged as Sex Offender AND Victim

Salt Lake City - Utah Supreme Court justices acknowledged Tuesday that they were struggling to wrap their minds around the concept that a 13-year-old girl could be both an offender and a victim for the same act - in this case, having consensual sex with her 12-year-old boyfriend.

The Ogden, Utah, girl was put in this odd position because she was found guilty of violating a state law that prohibits sex with someone under age 14. She also was the victim in the case against her boyfriend, who was found guilty of the same violation by engaging in sexual activity with her.

"The only thing that comes close to this is dueling," said Associate Chief Justice Michael Wilkins, noting that two people who take 20 paces and then shoot could each be considered both victim and offender.

State authorities filed delinquency petitions in July 2004, alleging that each had committed sexual abuse of a child, a second-degree felony if committed by an adult.

Swiss Army Knife Hits Critical Mass

How many implements on a Swiss Army Knife would it take before it gets ludicrous? I'd say 85 is well beyond the limit.
Just as you can't be too rich or too thin, I'd always thought, so you can't have too many tools on your Swiss Army knife - but that was before I took delivery of the new Giant Swiss Army knife. Grotesque, if superbly engineered, the Giant weighs nearly a kilogram and features 85 devices in all. Unload this mother into the plastic tray as you walk through security at Heathrow and just see what happens.

The Giant is supposed to feature every blade that has ever been incorporated into Swiss Army knives as made by Wenger, one of the two firms that make them . "We've sold 20 to retailers so far, and we can't get them in fast enough," says Garry Woodhouse of Whitby and Co, sole importer of Wenger knives into Britain. "They're assembled by hand in Switzerland, and I'm told that the man doing it is working his fingers to the bone."

This might explain why my version of the Giant seems to have its tools arranged in a different order from the listing on the Wenger website, so that I am in danger of mistaking the reamer for the golf-club face cleaner, or committing the faux pas of attempting to use the fish-hook disgorger to tighten my bicycle spokes. And I admit that I just can't find some of the devices that I know are definitely in there: the mysterious "special key", for example, or the elusive "12/20 gauge choke tube tool".

None the less, I have successfully employed the cigar cutter, the flashlight, the laser pointer with 300ft range, the mineral crystal magnifying glass (rather beautiful, the way such an apparently delicate instrument is honed at its end into yet another screwdriver), the tyre-tread gauge measurer and the corkscrew. It took a mere four minutes to remove the cork with the Giant, incidentally - a matter of holding the bottle between my feet, leaving both hands free to revolve the cumbrous contraption.

The Giant is a real product, available for the very real price of 495 Pounds, but it is aimed at completists and collectors. One gadget website correspondent has balefully written, "I envision this monstrosity being presented as a rare 'salesman's sample' on 2310's version of The Antiques Roadshow." Wenger admit that its practicality is limited, and that its purpose is partly to promote the company .(LINK )

Christmas Feature: Santa's Evil Toys

Suicide Bomber Big Wheel (LINK )

No comments:

Post a Comment