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The Continuing Crisis



Deceitful mating strategies may be rife in the animal kingdom (especially among humans), but Australian researchers recently documented the sexual guile of a group of orchids that basically trick male wasps into pollinating them by resembling the look and smell of female wasps. Writing in The American Naturalist, the authors noted that female wasps reproduce both with and without sperm, with the latter creating male offspring. Consequently, the researchers hypothesized, when orchids commandeer sperm, it indirectly leads to the birth of more future pollinators. (Charles Darwin's subsequent book, after "The Origin of Species," was "The Various Contrivances by Which Orchids Are Fertilized by Insects.")

The remote Manitoba First Nations tribes in Canada have largely moved away from alcohol abuse, according to an October Winnipeg Sun report, to the abuse of much more potent "superjuice," made with a fast-acting yeast that encourages quick brewing. According to a local probation officer, though, underbrewing results in the swill's continuing to ferment in the stomach after consumption, causing violent pain and progressive inebriation lasting for days.

In 2003, retired Colorado businessman John Haines, who was concerned about dangerous cracks in the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, went to great lengths to find and purchase a huge slab of the identical high-grade white marble of the Tomb and offered it, free of charge, shipping included, to the Army (which has been considering reconstruction of the Tomb since 1987). In the ensuing five years, according to an August Denver Post story, the Army continues to ignore Haines, yet periodically shows interest in opening the reconstruction to competitive bidding, but mostly just allows the idea to languish.

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