E-tales: Germs go cuddly

Go on, buy the heavy metaller in your life a cute "black death" microbe for Christmas

Nymphs get warm reception

One of our e-talers thought he was hallucinating while in the ante-room at the recent Hi-Tech Awards, held in Wellington. Struggling through the crowd at the Town Hall, he was vaguely wondering how many alcohol-fueled people one needed to pack into a room to get the most benefit out of social networking. Then, suddenly, a five-metre space opened up — to admit three bare-footed nymphs clad in Grecian dress who danced a brief ballet, before sweeping through the double doors to the auditorium, followed by the sweating and very grateful crowd.

Our e-taler isn’t quite sure what he thinks about the nymphs, but he’s happy they were chosen over the Dr Who music played at far too many IT events.

Incidentally, our very own Divina Paredes, editor of sister publication CIO, was named Hi-Tech Journalist of the Year — for second year in a row — at the event.

Xtra dysfunctional

E-tales is pretty disappointed with Telecom. It seems to have a severely dysfunctional idea of what customer service means, with Xtra going down yet again over the weekend, after a power outage at the Auckland exchange. This wouldn’t have been too bad if this was a one-off, but Xtra customers have suffered a lot of service grief of late, which is no doubt why last week a Consumers’ Institute survey of 10,000 internet users rated Xtra the worst ISP for the third year running.

Incidentally, one of our readers recently sent us an email asking how he might “reduce the xtrabubble of spam to just 10 a day”.

For the record, Inspire is apparently the best ISP around.

Beer, beer… you can drink more beer

And now to cheer up all you amber nectar drinkers out there who might have been getting a little depressed about all the recent “alcohol gives you cancer and blitzes your brain” stories — beer is “officially” better than water, and it makes you clever, too. This last warming little nugget of wisdom comes courtesy of boffins at Auckland University who have been tanking-up their lab rats. They found if they gave the little guys too much beer they fell over (duuuuuurrrr!), but the ratty chaps who drank the human equivalent of two-to-three beers a day proved way smarter than the teetotallers when it came to a number of nasty memory tests.

Meanwhile, Spanish boffins have been putting their research money to good use, too, and have found that beer is better than water at rehydrating the bod after exercise.

Actually, E-tales thinks lemonade would be, too, as what we are probably talking about here is an electrolyte effect, with both bubbly substances likely providing minerals etcetera that plain water just doesn’t provide.

Germs go cuddly

Still in the weirder scientific enclaves, but thinking of Christmas too — don’t ask what the connection is, but Xmas can be very dark and strange — anyway, E-tales came across these lovely little cuddly germs while idly surfing the net.

Yup, that’s right germs, or microbes to be more scientific. There’s a whole range of ’em. E-tales has been perusing the extensive list, with the thought that the “fat cell” might perhaps amuse (or freak-out) the diet-obsessed lass in your life.

Other options include, say, for the teenager in your life, a choice of either “the pimple” or the “kissing disease” bug. Of course, he or she probably won’t speak to you all holidays, but, hey, that’s a bonus. Then there’s “mad cow” — ’nuff said. And what about “black death” for the heavy metaller in your life? And last, but definitely not least, there’s a range of STD bugs. These could send a myriad messages — not all of them very Christmassy.

Bonkers boffins

And now, just to prove some boffins really are bonkers, New Scientist reports on author Alex Boese who has been scouring the world looking for the most bizarre scientific experiments ever carried out. Giving an elephant a mega-dose of acid (LSD) topped the list. Sounds like mega-abuse to us — the animal survived an hour — but the world of science does have some weird cul-de-sacs. Boese’s list includes the usual grotesques one always suspected, such as the two-headed dog graft and the doctor who drank patients’ vomit to try and prove yellow fever wasn’t infectious (yeah, right).

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