'Burning Man' ready for festival
BLACK ROCK STATION, Nev., July 5 (UPI) -- A crew of volunteer carpenters has finished a short-lived work of art -- a 40-foot-high totem for this year's Burning Man Festival in the Nevada desert.
"It's really fun to build something of beauty and then destroy it," Ben Stoelting told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Burning Man made me realize I am obsessed with burning my art. That way, no one gets to own it. We all own it."
Stoelting, who goes by the name Uncle Daddy, has been supervising construction of the man for the past seven years.
This year's crew signed their names to the man's wooden heart and sealed it inside. Then the figure was put in a shipping crate, where it will remain until summer's end.
In late August, it will be driven to Black Rock City.
The Chronicle said the head remains in a secret location because someone stole it in 1998. The head and body will be united at the last minute.
Then, on the festival's last night, the figure will burn.
Sea wall plan angers beach lovers
EDINBURGH, Scotland, July 5 (UPI) -- History lovers in Edinburgh are wary of plans to build a sea wall along a beach that has served as an invasion point.
The Caroline Park Association says the planned wall and 20-mile walkway would gut one of the few natural beaches on the Firth of Forth, The Scotsman reported.
The beach is supposed to be the point where the English Earl of Hereford landed in the 16th century on his way to sack Edinburgh -- an invasion ordered by Henry VIII because his son, Edward, had been rejected as a husband for Mary Queen of Scots.
Alan Cooper of Waterfront Edinburgh argued that the earl actually landed at an island known as General's Rock and the effect of the sea wall will be to create a bigger and better beach.
John Arthur, a local historian, disagreed and said Waterfront Edinburgh should return to its original and far more modest plan.
"The beach is historically significant as that whole Wardie to Granton coast has been a landing place for invasions," he said.
Scottish MPs divide on parliament grass
EDINBURGH, Scotland, July 5 (UPI) -- The grass adorning Scotland's new parliament building may look shaggy, but it is a carefully thought out part of the design.
The prize-winning design by the late Spanish architect Enric Miralles aims to blend the building in with the wild hill known as Arthur's Seat. But The Scotsman reports the grass is getting mixed reviews from members of the Scottish Parliament.
Independent MSP Margo MacDonald told the newspaper heather plantings would have been more appropriate.
"It doesn't even look like the grass in the park so it doesn't blend in," she said.
Liberal Democrat Donald Gorrie complained that the grass isn't even the right color, since it has been browned by summer heat.
"If it looks all right in due course, I suppose that's fine," said Gorrie, "but at the moment it does not look attractive at all."
Mark Ballard of the Green Party is an enthusiastic fan. He says the plantings look like a wildflower meadow.
"I think it is so much nicer than a regimented green carpet and adds to the way the building reflects Arthur's Seat behind," he said.
Eucalyptus oil may be as effective as DEET
SAN ANTONIO, July 5 (UPI) -- Just in time for mosquito season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending two new repellents that may be just as effective as DEET.
The CDC says oil of lemon eucalyptus and picaridin work at least as well as equivalent concentrations of DEET, the active ingredient in most bug sprays, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
Consumer Reports recently tested Repel Lemon Eucalyptus spray and found that the product prevented a more-aggressive species of mosquito from biting for four to seven hours. It kept a less-aggressive species away for more than 12 hours, the newspaper said.
The CDC says it is particularly important to use mosquito repellent at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.