— Another Animal With a Worse Sex Life Than Yours: No organism has it tougher than the male South-East Asian coin spider, according to research reported by New Scientist in January. It is somehow driven to mate with a female up to four times larger who is almost as driven to eat the male as to mate. After insemination, the male impulsively fights off other males’ attempts to disrupt the conception, and that means becoming a more nimble fighter, achieved, according to Matjaz Kuntner of the Slovenian Academy of the Arts and Sciences, by biting off its own genitals, since that organ comprises about one-tenth the spider’s body weight.
— Because We Can: Scientists at the University of California, Irvine (with Australian partners) announced in January that they had figured out how to unboil a hen’s egg. (After boiling, the egg’s proteins become “tangled,” but the scientists’ device can untangle them, allowing the egg white to return to its previous state.) Actually, the researchers’ paper promises dramatically reduced costs in several applications, from cancer treatments to food production, where similar, clean untanglings might take “thousands” of times longer.
(1) The Knoxville (Tennessee) Police Department reminded motorists (via its Facebook page) that all vehicles need working headlights for night driving. Included was a recent department photo of the car of a Sweetwater, Tennessee, motorist who was ticketed twice the same evening with no headlights but only flashlights tied to his bumper with bungee cords. (2) A forlorn-appearing Anneliese Young, 82, was arrested at a CVS pharmacy in Augusta, Georgia, in February after store security allegedly caught her shoplifting a container of “Sexiest Fantasies” body spray that, according to the packaging, “provides a burst of sensuality … as addictive and seductive as the woman who wears it,” “sure to drive any man wild.”
— The Jeju Island Korean restaurant in Zhengzhou, China, staged a promotion last month to pick up lunch tabs for the 50 “most handsome” people to dine there every day. Judging was by a panel of cosmetic surgeons (who were partnering with the restaurant) and, as contestant-diners posed for photographs, they were evaluated on “quality of” eyes, noses, mouths and especially foreheads (better if “protruding”).
— The owner of the Kingsland Vegetarian Restaurant in a suburb of Canberra, Australia, apologized in February for the cockroach infestation that contributed to a $16,000 fine, explaining that, for moral reasons, he could not bring himself to exterminate living things — even cockroaches. (Less well-defended were Kingsland’s toilet, grease and food-storage shortcomings.)
Among the participants at this year’s Davos, Switzerland, gathering of billionaires and important people was property developer Jeff Greene, 60, who owns mansions in New York, Malibu and Palm Springs, and whose Beverly Hills estate is on the market for around $195 million. Greene famously won big betting against overvalued sub-prime mortgages before the 2008 Great Recession, but, shortly after landing at Davos, he gave Bloomberg Business his take on the symptoms of current economic turmoil (that he had capitalized on for part of his wealth by exploiting people’s desire for expensive houses they ultimately could not afford). “America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high,” Greene explained, “and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence.”
People With Issues
Sorry, Ladies, He’s Taken: In yet another chilling episode of body modification, the otherwise handsome Henry Damon, 37, married father of two, appeared in January at the Caracas (Venezuela) International Tattoo Expo as Red Skull (archenemy of Captain America), who has somehow fascinated Damon for years. The exhibiting of his idolatry began with subdermal forehead implants (ultimately replacing his eyebrows with prominent ridges), followed by going all-in for Red Skull by allowing a medical school dropout to lop off what looks like half of his nose. (How his deep red color was achieved was not mentioned in news reports.) For the record, the “surgeon” called Damon “a physically and intellectually healthy person.”
Least Competent Criminals
Mastering the Technology: (1) Donald Harrison, 22, wanted for assault in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, made police aware of his whereabouts when he posted a “selfie” on Facebook from a Greyhound bus with the notation, “It’s Time to Leave Pa.” He was picked up at a stop in nearby Youngstown, Ohio. (2) Police in Houston arrested Dorian Walker-Gaines, 20, and Dillian Thompson, 22, after they posted selfies on Facebook of themselves enjoying a handful of $100 bills — photos they took on an iPad they had stolen on Jan. 8 and whose photos automatically uploaded to the victim’s iCloud account. (Incidentally, Walker-Gaines has, tattooed across his chest, “BRILLIANT.”)