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MEAT ISN'T MURDER • FINALLY A BOOK YOU CAN READ WHILE YOU'RE DRIVING • URINE TROUBLE • NO BREASTS FOR THE WICKED • DADDY DEAREST

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MEAT ISN'T MURDER

It's been about a year since we heard about the efforts of scientists to grow edible meat in a lab. At that point one researcher told The Guardian newspaper that "right now it would be possible to produce something like spam at an incredibly high cost." Well, progress can't be stopped, and the latest news claims that lab-grown meat that smells and tastes like ground chuck will be available at your supermarket in just a few years. While the technology already exists to grow the meat in small batches, the problem is that large-scale manufacturing would cost between $1,000 and $10,000 to produce a single pound of meat. However, researchers believe this price will come down to $1 per pound by 2009 at the current rate of research and development. Along with the ethical benefits of no longer having to torture and slaughter millions of animals, proponents of lab-grown meat claim that the "food" can be genetically altered to be far healthier than animal flesh. Sadly, the technology to create an animal-free steak is still at least a decade away, but scientists hope that the existing technology will satisfy the world's demand for ground meat, which is about half of all the meat eaten worldwide, and a $127 billion global market. (Wired.com)

FINALLY A BOOK YOU CAN READ WHILE YOU'RE DRIVING

It would seem that the majority of drivers in this country don't need help being assholes, but nevertheless, a new book has been written to do just that. The Bad Driver's Handbook: Hundreds of Simple Manoeuvres to Frustrate, Annoy and Endanger Those Around You, includes chapters titles like this: "Bribes, Threats and Other Secrets to Getting Your License; Intimidating Pedestrians; Making Your Car Louder; Turn Signals: Why Give Up the Element of Surprise?"; and "Driving When You Can No Longer See."

URINE TROUBLE

So far, the party at this year's World Cup festivities in Germany has come off without a hitch ... except for the possibility that Berlin's trees could slowly drown in piss. According to a report in The Guardian newspaper, the huge tree-lined street where up to 700,000 soccer fans gather during each match to eat, drink and watch the games has only 280 portable toilets, leaving most male fans using the trees for their pitstops. According to one biologist, "the urea sinks into the ground as ammonia. In small quantities this is a good fertilizer, but too much acidity is bad for the soil and could damage or even kill the trees."

NO BREASTS FOR THE WICKED

While the headline "Cameroon girls battle breast ironing" sounds like it came out of The Onion, unfortunately the practice of breast ironing is all too real. The BBC reports that a nationwide campaign is under way in Cameroon in order to try to stop the practice, during which young women have their breasts pounded with hot objects in order to make them stop growing. According to this story, 26 percent of young girls in Cameroon are subject to the "treatment" when they begin puberty. The belief is that pounding down their daughter's breasts will protect them from the sexual advances of Cameroonian men who believe that woman are ready for sex as soon as their breasts begin to grow. Despite the current educational campaign that is trying to warn mothers about the health risks of the procedure, most mothers are eager to continue the tradition. "Breast ironing is not a new thing" explained one woman. "I am happy I protected my daughter. I could not stand the thought of boys spoiling her with sex before she completed school."

DADDY DEAREST

And if that isn't superstitious enough for you, check out the news out of Cambodia this week where a 20-year-old man impregnated his girlfriend for the sole purpose of using the unborn fetus in a black magic ritual designed to render him invisible while he carried out his life of petty crimes. Cambodian police report that when the man's girlfriend refused to let the three-month-old fetus be surgically removed, he attacked her and tried to slice her stomach open in order to retrieve the fetus. The girl was rescued before the baby was harmed but remains in serious condition in the hospital. "The boy who did this is an idiot," understated police chief Yem Chouengly. "He believes in the ancient superstition that a mummified fetus would have made him invisible and let him commit whatever crimes he wanted without being caught ... He didn't care about the girl or the baby. He just wanted power." (Int.iol.co.za)

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