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Curious Times

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HUMAN INGENUITY WILL BEAT GLOBAL WARMING YET

You thought I was making up news when I reported that a Swiss ski resort was planning on wrapping a glacier in tin foil in order to protect it from melting during the coming summer months. Well, the BBC has finally caught up with Curious Times to validate this bizarre tale, as work began last week at the Gemsstock ski resort to cover approximately 4,000 square meters of the Gurshen glacier with a protective layer of aluminum foil. Officials at the resort expect that their innovative solution will soon be copied worldwide by ski resorts where glaciers are retreating due to global warming. (BBC)

IN OTHER NEWS, THE PROCRASTINATOR'S CONVENTION HAS BEEN POSTPONED

When dumb old jokes actually make it into reality, we get stories like this one out of New Zealand, where a local newspaper actually reported on a group of chronic fatigue sufferers who were too tired to promote the international day of awareness for their condition, technically known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ME. The local chronic fatigue support group coordinator Anna Loach said that a few posters had been put up in some libraries, but the illness left the group unable to plan any events for the day of awareness. (stuff.co.nz)

CAN YOU SAY "ANOREXIA," BOYS AND GIRLS?

A German scientist is being studied after claiming that he has lived for the past several years on nothing but light energy and a little bit of fruit juice. Cancer researcher Dr. Michael Werner, author of the book Living Through the Energy of Light claims that his body is somehow processing the energy of the sun in much the same way that plants do, although he's not sure how. "I can't really explain what is happening on a scientific level in my case, but perhaps just a little bit of faith is all that is needed." (Ananova)

PHAT-BOTTOMED GIRLS

And on the other end of the food eating spectrum, we have the contestants of Thailand's annual Miss Jumbo Queen competition, a beauty pageant which pits women who weigh at least 172 pounds against each other. This year's winner, 242-pound Tarnrari Chansawang, 18, was chosen for displaying "all the poise, elegance and grace of an elephant." "I'm happy with my body," said the winner after accepting her crown. "Slim or big, just have fun with your friends." (sky.com)

BIONIC SUIT COMING SOON

This summer's World Expo in Japan will feature the unveiling of a robot suit designed to help older people or those with disabilities to walk or lift heavy objects. The first version of HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) was a motor-driven metal "exoskeleton" that you strap to your legs in order to power-assist leg movements. The latest prototypes, HAL 4 and HAL 5, also include a mechanism for your upper body which help a person lift up to 40 kilograms more than normal. "It's like riding on a robot, rather than wearing one," says the suit's developer Yoshiyuki Sankai, whose plans include developing a suit to help with medical rehabilitation. The first commercial robot suits will sell for between $14,000 and $19,000. (New Scientist)

NEED A NEW HOBBY?

So you've finally kicked your drug addiction and now you're bored all the time, right? What you need is a creative project to keep your mind engaged. Here are a few options: Build your own computerized android head for only $600. The Web site HowToAndroid.com has full instructions and a list of materials you'll need. If you don't have quite that much money, head on over to members.cox.net/crandall11/money and learn how to make origami figures out of dollar bills. And if you don't even have a dollar to your name, maybe you can earn some money by renting out your services as a cat-nose-shaver. Indeed, at Missionhillpersians.com, they've posted a site which explains in great detail "How to Shave a Cat's Nose." No, really ...

ACID EATERS R US

If acid didn't fry your brain, you might be interested in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of LSD discoverer Albert Hofmann at next year's LSD Symposium in Basel, Switzerland. "LSD: Program Child and Wonder Drug" will run from Jan. 13 through 15 and will gather worldwide experts to discuss, as they say at www.lsd.info, "an in-depth review of all aspects of this unique phenomenon, informing and discussing history, experiences, implications, risks and potentials of this invisible but highly potent substance."