Useless Facts

Not In Kansas Anymore: Researchers at the University of Oklahoma have started a study of the way tornados carry debris away from the ground. Historical reports show that paper can be carried more than 200 miles before settling back to earth. But records of such events are sparse, and those they have found "you have to take with a grain of salt," one researcher said. So why bother? They want to create a model "that would be of use to forecasters if a tornado were to hit a hazardous waste site," she said. They have compiled a number of interesting reports so far. A cow was thrown 10 miles in 1878, a pillow went 20 miles in 1913, a jar of pickles travelled 18 miles in 1917, and, in one 1953 storm, trousers went 30 miles and a wedding gown a full 50 miles. (AP) ...Yes, but they had a head start since they were thrown, not just carried off.

Would You Like Fries With That? "A pound of termites has more nutrients than a pound of beef or pork," says Frank French of Georgia Southern University. He teaches his students that there are more food sources around them than they think. Students are urged to create new recipes using foods such as wild plants, but more points are given if the students use bugs. The catch: students have to eat their creations as part of their assignment. French doesn't shirk his responsibilities: he eats them too. He notes that roast crickets, for instance, "taste like a fat-laden hors d'oeuvre." However, "the legs aren't very palatable, and the heads are quite objectionable." (AP) ...Mostly, the students learn that the "mystery meat" in the cafeteria may not be so bad after all.

Inside Job: "Prison Loses Master Key for Cells" -- Reuter headline

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