Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo recently held a training exercise to practice capturing animals that may escape during a major earthquake.

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The training exercise was made as authentic as possible: a zoo employee had to dress as an escaped mock gorilla that tries to attack visitors.

Via Tokyo times. Image.

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An Australian researcher has developed a new test for mushrooms that produces a glowing light if they contain the hallucinogenic ingredients that make them "magic".

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Nicole Anastos, at Deakin University, applied the method to three species of magic mushroom Psilocybe subaeruginosa, Hypholoma aurantiaca and Panaeolina foenisecii.

The technique uses chemiluminescence to detect psilocybin and its metabolite psilocin. These are the serotonin-like psychoactive ingredients in magic mushrooms. It can detect extremely low levels of psilocin, making it the most sensitive and fastest test.

Anastos soaked ground up samples of mushroom in methanol and separated the chemical components using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) before running the chemoluminescence test.

Her research could possibly also form the basis of a home magic-mushroom test kit or a urine test, she says.

Via ABC News. Image.

This is for the mysterious three readers (three? i might be optimistic) i might have in groovy Piemonte.

My friend Mark is writing about some job opportunities at Experientia. Candidates must be fluent in Italian, and it would help if you are based in or around Turin. We have some possibilities for people who have at least three years experience in web design and usability projects. In case you just graduated, feel free to contact us regarding internships or project support. Just send your cv and a short cover letter to info at experientia dot com.

On Tuesday Muslims are celebrating Eid al-Adha, the Islamic day of sacrifice. Every Muslim who is rich enough is supposed to donate an animal to be slaughtered, and the meat is donated to the poor.

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In Indonesia, a newspaper, TV station and local bank have joined forces to provide an easy alternative- you can buy an animal at your nearest ATM machine.

Having made their electronic purchase, customers are promised photographs of the slaughtered animal and a letter of thanks from the community which will benefit from the donated meat. So far almost 4,000 goats have been sold this way at a cost of about $70 (£40) each.

A sacrificial cow will set you back more than $500.

Via BBC News.

Scientists have proved that teaspoons appear to have minds of their own. Their study monitored the movements of 70 secretly numbered teaspoons over five months.

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80% of the spoons vanished during the period. "At this rate, an estimated 250 teaspoons would need to be purchased annually to maintain a workable population of 70 teaspoons," said researchers from the Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health in Melbourne.

Taking a tip from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, they suggested that the teaspoons were quietly migrating to a planet populated by "spoonoid" life. They also offered "resistentialism", in which inanimate objects like teaspoons have an aversion to humans. On the other hand, they suggested, people might simply be taking them.

Via The Scotsman and A nice cup of tea and sit down.

Image is Coke Teaspoon by Ju$t Another Rich Kid and Tobias Wong. The spoon is part of the Indulgences series (for the man who has absolutely everything). Indulgences addresses the creation of and demand for the unnecessary, directly commenting on the ever-expanding market of luxury items in our culture.

Council chiefs in Wrexham have come up with a surprising idea to quell drink-fuelled violence in their town centre: mood lighting.

A 300-metre stretch in Wrexham's late-night drinking hotspot has been adorned with 115 pastel coloured lights on street lamps.

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"The LED lights mounted in the pavement change colour in a 10-minute cycle from blue, to red, to green with every shade in between," said Isabel Watson, of the council's economic development department. "The theory is that anything that gives you a positive feeling at night will reduce aggression and anti-social behaviour."

"The feedback we've had from police and partygoers is that this is working - violent crime in the town centre is much reduced," added Aled Roberts, leader of the council. "And there is evidence from the continent that this kind of lighting calms people down."

"Another bonus is that the lights have made images from our CCTV cameras much clearer. So we're glad we went ahead with the scheme."

See also: Wrexham's portable toilets to stop men urinating in the street.

Via The Guardian.
Couldn't find any image, so the one above shows a webcam shot of one of the city's main streets.

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