The Odd Side – June 25, 2013

School Intruder — Deer — May Prompt Changes
APOLLO, Pa. (AP) – An unwanted intruder — a deer — is forcing a western Pennsylvania school district to take a second look at security at its high school.
Apollo-Ridge Superintendent Matt Curci tells the (Tarentum) Valley News Dispatch that the deer ran “full speed” into the school’s magnetically closed lobby door, which caused it to open June 5.
Curci says the deer had to hit the door “in the right spot with a lot of force” to make that happen — but says the incident on June 5 has given officials pause that the door might otherwise be forced open.
Nobody was hurt when the deer got into the school, although classes were still in session. A Kiski Township officer patrolling the school was able to direct the startled animal out another door.

Police: Ohio Teens Broke Into Home for Hot Dogs
WILMINGTON, Ohio (AP) – Police in southwest Ohio say two apparently hungry teens broke into a home to have themselves some hot dogs.
The News Journal of Wilmington reports that homeowners arrived home Thursday to find a package of hot dogs lying out on the kitchen counter and their refrigerator door propped open. They told Clinton County sheriff’s deputies they saw the two boys at the back door. Police say after the youths left, the homeowners noticed that a window screen had been removed.
Police say they later questioned the two youths, who said their only intent was to fix hot dogs. They each face a charge of burglary.

Monkey Nips at Texas Officer During Traffic Stop
ARANSAS PASS, Texas (AP) – A South Texas police officer had to deal with some unexpected monkey business as he wrote a speeding ticket.
A pet monkey bit Aransas (uh-RAN’-zuhs) Pass Officer Keith Moore on the hand in an attack captured on videotape.
KRIS in Corpus Christi reported Thursday that Moore had a video camera on his glasses during the traffic stop.
Moore is seen handing the driver something to sign when a monkey leaps from the back seat, bares its teeth and bites the officer’s right hand.
Moore says the monkey “came out of nowhere” during Wednesday’s incident. The bite left a mark, but the 21-year-old officer was not hurt otherwise.
The trained monkey makes appearances at carnivals and other entertainment events.

Pa. girl, Md. Boy Win National Marbles Tournament
WILDWOOD, N.J. (AP) – An 11-year-old girl from Pennsylvania and a 12-year-old boy from Maryland are this year’s national marbles champions.
Emily Cavacini won the girls’ championship Thursday at the National Marbles Tournament in Wildwood, N.J. Cooper Fisher won the boys’ title. The four-day tournament featured 26 boys and 26 girls competing to knock marbles out of a circle.
Emily is from Shaler, Pa., just north of Pittsburgh. She’s been playing marbles for about four years. She’s a fifth-grader at Shaler Elementary School and won the Allegheny County Marbles Tournament on June 1.
Many other marbles champions have come from Allegheny County over the last 10 years.
Cooper is from Middletown Valley, Md.

Man Pleads Guilty to Smuggling Snakes on Planes
TYLER, Texas (AP) – A Texas man has pleaded guilty to smuggling snakes on several planes from South America to the United States.
During a court hearing Wednesday in Tyler, William Lamar pleaded guilty to importing wildlife taken in violation of foreign law.
Prosecutors say the 63-year-old eco-tourism guide bought the seven live snakes in August 2012 in a market in Lima, Peru, and smuggled them in his jacket on flights from Lima to Miami and then to Dallas.
Game wardens seized the snakes from Lamar’s home in Tyler.
Peruvian law prohibits the exportation of wild live animals coming from the forest or jungle unless the exporter has the proper paperwork.
Lamar faces up to five years in prison.

Square Roots? Scientists Say Plants Are Good at Math
LONDON (Reuters) – Plants do complex arithmetic calculations to make sure they have enough food to get them through the night, new research published in journal eLife shows.
Scientists at Britain’s John Innes Centre said plants adjust their rate of starch consumption to prevent starvation during the night when they are unable to feed themselves with energy from the sun.
“This is the first concrete example in a fundamental biological process of such a sophisticated arithmetic calculation,” mathematical modeler Martin Howard of John Innes Centre (JIC) said.
During the night, mechanisms inside the leaf measure the size of the starch store and estimate the length of time until dawn. Information about time comes from an internal clock, similar to the human body clock.
“The capacity to perform arithmetic calculation is vital for plant growth and productivity,” JIC metabolic biologist Alison Smith said.
“Understanding how plants continue to grow in the dark could help unlock new ways to boost crop yield.”

Paris Tackles Rudeness to Tourists With New Manual
PARIS (Reuters) – One of the world’s most visited cities but also famous for its rudeness, Paris has embarked on a campaign to improve its reputation and better cater to the needs of tourists.
Waiters, taxi drivers and sales staff in the French capital all too often come off as impolite, unhelpful and unable to speak foreign languages say local tourism chiefs, who are handing out a manual with guidelines on better etiquette.
A six-page booklet entitled “Do you speak Touriste?” contains greetings in eight languages including German, Chinese and Portuguese and advice on the spending habits and cultural codes of different nationalities.
“The British like to be called by their first names,” the guide explains, while Italians should be shaken by the hand and Americans reassured on prices.
Of the Chinese, the fastest-growing category of tourists visiting the City of Light, the guide says they are “fervent shoppers” and that “a simple smile and hello in their language will fully satisfy them.”
France is the world’s top destination for foreign tourists, with Paris visited by 29 million people last year. The business tourists bring to hotels, restaurants and museums accounts for one in 10 jobs in the region and is a welcome boost to the economy at a time of depressed domestic consumption.
The Paris chamber of commerce and the regional tourism committee have warned, however, that growing competition from friendlier cities like London meant Paris needed to work harder to attract visitors, especially from emerging market countries.
Some 30,000 copies of the handbook on friendly service is being distributed to taxi drivers, waiters, hotel managers and sales people in tourist areas from the banks of the Seine river up to Montmartre and in nearby Versailles and Fontainebleau.
Setting realistic linguistic ambitions, it suggests offering to speak English to Brazilians — who it describes as warm and readily tactile and keen on evening excursions — by telling them: “Nào falo Português mas posso informar Inglês.”