Diddakoi Walt Whitman
Take me home...St EmilionHey, what's a Diddakoi??Cast of CharactersThe Saga Continues...  kay@diddakoi.com

Updated: 03/08/02

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Friday, 8 March, 2002

Sorry about yesterday's heavy politician-bashing. Just got my goat. So today, we shall try to be "lite" and airy and not full of crass things like substance.

Gotta love the Brits. A couple of entrepreneurs have developed a contraption called eSleeve that straps to the wrist and directs the wearer to the nearest pub. It uses GPS to pinpoint the wearer's location and then displays the addresses for the four nearest pubs. It also recognizes the wearer's voice and can help pub-crawlers find their way home after last call.

Unfortunately, it's not exactly inconspicuous, what with having to strap a motherboard to one's arm and all.

Speaking of drinking, there is a study being conducted on the drinking habits of - I kid you not - vervet monkeys. "Scientists are using the monkeys - which share 96 per cent of their genetic make-up with humans - to help to search for clues to the nature of human drinking and to discover whether some people have a hereditary disposition to alcoholism."

Apparently it was observed that wild vervets had developed a taste for alcohol in the form of fermented sugar cane. In the controlled study, 1,000 vervet monkeys are given a choice of non-alcoholic, diluted alcoholin and neat drinks. The study finds that the vast majority are social drinkers who indulge in moderation and only when they are with other monkeys - but never before lunch - and prefer their alcohol to be diluted with fruit juice. Fifteen per cent drink regularly and heavily and prefer their alcohol neat or diluted with water. The same proportion drink little or no alcohol.

Five per cent are classed as "seriously abusive binge drinkers". They get drunk, start fights and consume as much as they can until passing out. As with humans, most heavy drinkers are young males, but monkeys of both sexes and all ages like a drink.

One of the professors conducting the study says, "The parallels between the vervets' behaviour and human behaviour are striking. A cageful of drunken monkeys is like a cocktail party. You have one who gets aggressive, one who gets sexy, one who thinks everything's funny and one who gets really grumpy.

"The binge drinkers gulp down the alcohol at a very fast rate and pass out on the floor. The next day they do it all over again."

Not surprisingly, the study has been condemned by animal welfare groups.

[Party poopers.]

"Astronomers Say Universe Is Beige." A group of astronomers at Johns Hopkins University originally announced that the universe is green, actually a bit greener than pale turquoise. But they found an error in their calculations, and have now corrected themselves saying the universe is "much closer to white, really, more like cream."

In January the scientists labeled the turquoise color "cosmic spectrum green." They don't have a slick moniker for the new color, and they don't much care for the term beige. They showed a patch of color that just slightly darker than a white eggshell, and have said that suggestions for the name are welcome.

[How about ecru?]

Nah. Beige, cream, ecru . . . it somehow takes some of the "oomph" out of the whole mystery of deep space. Kind of like discovering that the Monster that lives under your bed wears Pokemon jammies and bunny slippers.

OK, enough Weird News Stories for one day. I have been very busy at work, trying to get things organized before I leave for vacation on Sunday. I am going scuba diving with my local dive shop - we're going to be on a "liveaboard" boat in the Cocos Islands, off of Costa Rica. The main reason to go is . . .

Hammerhead - Photo by Gary Lindenbaum, MD

[Something only a drunken monkey would want to do.]

~ ~ ~

Quote du jour:

"I have never been drunk,
but I've often been overserved."

-- George Gobel (1919 - 1991) US comedian

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