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Early British cuisine, summer's poison, Granny is watching

Early British cuisine

"Scientists have identified the first humans to recolonize Britain after the last ice age," Robin McKie reports for London's The Observer. "The country was taken over in a couple of years by individuals who practised cannibalism, they say - a discovery that revolutionizes our understanding of the peopling of Britain and the manner in which men and women reached the shores. Research has shown that tribes of hunter-gatherers moved into Britain from Spain and France with extraordinary rapidity … and settled in a cavern - known as Gough's Cave - in the Cheddar Gorge in what is now Somerset. From the bones they left behind, scientists have also discovered these people were using sophisticated butchering techniques to strip flesh from the bones of men, women and children. 'These people were processing the flesh of humans with exactly the same expertise that they used to process the flesh of animals,' said Prof. Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London. 'They stripped every bit of food they could get from those bones.' "

Summer's poison

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"Poison-ivy season is upon us, and the scourge of summer is shaping up for one of its most virulent and unpredictable seasons," The Wall Street Journal reports. "Public gardening advisers in many regions of [the United States] say poison-ivy complaints this year are more plentiful than in recent memory." Poison ivy, and its toxic cousins poison sumac and Western poison oak, all produce urushiol, a skin-irritating oil. About 15 per cent of the population is insensitive to urushiol and will never develop a reaction. For everyone else, repeated exposure tends to make the rash worse. There's no shortage of theories why poison ivy seems to be rising. One is that more novice gardeners are zealously digging out weeds to plant vegetable patches and make contact with the ivy."

A bullet hole, in moi?

"Tracy Durham remembers hearing the pop," The Peoria (Ill.) Journal Star reports. "But the gunshot wound the Peoria man discovered after a neighbour asked about his limp? That was a surprise." Mr. Durham, 48, was treated in hospital for gunshot wounds he didn't know he had suffered the night before. The man told police a friend apparently shot him in the left thigh about 11 p.m. Sunday during a party at his home. Mr. Durham refused to identify the alleged shooter, who reportedly took exception to Mr. Durham saying the friend's girlfriend was ugly.

Granny is watching

A student has come up with a way to combat bad language online through a "Pepper Mouth" concept that releases an undesirable smell when offensive words are typed, The Daily Telegraph reports. "The playful idea is to deter users from employing bad language by releasing a 'disturbing pepper smell' through the device when it detects they are writing something rude. The design includes a red light that warns the user to stop using offensive words, and an atomizer that emits the odour if they continue to do so. … On his website, designer Ozge Kirimlioglu writes: 'The aim is to imitate my grandmother, who would put peppers into my mouth when I used bad language as a kid.'"

Olympic dominoes?

In Jamaica, Nicholas Davis writes for BBC News, "Athletics, cricket and football are all extremely popular but dominoes is the one that nearly everybody knows how to play. It may be a quiet pastime in many countries but in Jamaica it is more than a game. Underneath the shade of a tree, taxi drivers wait in a shop that doubles as a restaurant. The sound of the World Cup highlights are drowned out by the sound of plastic slamming against wood. Every time a tile is played the table shakes. They have to be built sturdily for Caribbean-style dominoes, with its spirited gestures and colourful victory celebrations that match anything that can be seen on the screen from South Africa." Jamaica's National Association of Domino Bodies is looking forward to a time when the sport will be eligible for the Olympic Games.

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Don't kiss a shark

"Even the monstrous Jaws might look tame compared to the swarm of antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in sharks and redfish, according to a new study," Jeremy Hsu reports for "The bacteria don't harm the toothy fish, but scientists worry that the sharks and redfish may become incubators for nasty, multidrug-resistant strains, which could possibly infect humans some day. The exact sources for the antibiotic-resistant microbes remain unknown. 'It's not unexpected to find some drug resistance, but we were surprised to find the amount of resistance to that large suite of drugs,' said Jason Blackburn, a spatial ecologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville. … Humans may have some reason for concern if some of the bacteria built up over time from the animals feasting on fresh seafood."

Thought du jour

"It is possible to be a great scoundrel without ever doing anything that is forbidden."

- Hermann Hesse

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