Snappy crackers guaranteed
Researchers have devised what they say is a guaranteed method of pulling crackers to avoid disappointment, reports said yesterday. The experts say the method for always winning the long end of the cracker, and therefore the prize inside, is in the angle that you grip it — and they have released a mathematical formula to follow. You are guaranteed success if you follow the formula O=11xC/L+5xQ, which is based on the angle, grip and quality of the cracker. You must first multiply the circumference of the cracker in inches (C) by 11 before dividing that number by the length (L) of the barrel. Take that total and add it to the figure you get when you multiply the quality (Q) — either 1, 2 or 3 depending on whether the cracker is cheap, standard or premium — by five, the Daily Mail said. The formula ought to produce a figure between 20 and 55 degrees, which is the optimum pulling angle (O). The cracker should also be pulled 2.54cm from the end of the tail. A quality control team at Debenhams department store pulled hundreds of crackers in the run-up to Christmas before discovering the winning formula.
Helpful boy pulled over
A seven-year-old boy was stopped by police in the northern town of Reinfeld while trying to plow snow with a front loader he borrowed from his parents’ business. Officers found the boy atop the 3.5m-tall excavator after he had cleared a street and was driving back to the parking lot. “He opened the door, got out and admitted immediately that he did not have a driving license,” the police report said. When asked why he had begun plowing, he said his father had complained about the state of the roads. He saw the key in the ignition of the vehicle and took off.
New roach discovered
A Rockefeller University study appears to have uncovered a new species of cockroach in New York City. “The cockroach is genetically modified. Species don’t differ more than 1 percent, this cockroach is 4 percent different, which suggests it is a new species of cockroach,” said Mark Stoeckle, an expert on genomics and DNA barcoding at the university. The previously unidentified creepy-crawly was uncovered as part of a project undertaken by two high-school students, Brenda Tan, 17, and Matt Cost, 18, under Stoeckle’s supervision. The pair trawled New York apartments, stores and street, collecting 217 specimens between November last year and March. They took samples from supermarket food, the remains of an insect found in a box of fruit, a feather from a duster, dried dung and a cockroach and matched DNA sequences using the Barcode of Life Database and GenBank. The American Museum of Natural History laboratory identified 170 genetic codes, leading the researchers to identify 95 different animal species, including some that were unexpected. “A feather from a duster yielded ostrich DNA. A delicacy labeled ‘sturgeon caviar’ instead turned out to be from the paddlefish. A popular Asian snack was revealed as giant flying squid. Bison DNA was found in a dog biscuit,” the pair wrote on the university Web site.
Hallyday home for Xmas
French rocker and entertainment icon Johnny Hallyday has left Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles after about two weeks of hospitalization for back surgery. Hallyday’s press agency says the 66-year-old star joined his wife and two daughters at their Los Angeles home.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable
SURGE CONTINUES: India recorded its steepest spike of more than 57,000 new virus cases in 24 hours, as Vietnam went from no virus deaths to reporting three South Korean prosecutors yesterday arrested the elderly leader of a secretive religious sect as part of an investigation into allegations that the church hampered the government’s COVID-19 response after thousands of worshipers were infected in February and March. Prosecutors in the central city of Suwon have been questioning 88-year-old Lee Man-hee, chairman of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, over charges that the church hid some members and underreported gatherings to avoid broader quarantines. The Suwon District Court granted prosecutors’ request to arrest Lee over concerns that he could temper with evidence. Lee and his church have steadfastly denied the accusations, saying they are