Of Human Interest: News-lite

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International  |  Dec. 26, 2001 at 4:45 AM
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Western New Yorkers dreaming of a White Christmas got their wish. The National Weather Service reported Tuesday that more than 25 inches of snow had fallen at Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, with another 3 to 6 inches in the forecast.

The 25.2 inches of snow was Buffalo's third heaviest 24-hour snowfall on record. The second largest amount was 25.3 inches in 1982, while the heaviest was 37.9 in 1998.

According to the National Weather Service, out of the last 126 Christmas Day's in Buffalo it has snowed 86. "I guess it was too many people at once wanting a white Christmas," said one Buffalo woman, who didn't want to be identified. "We got our white Christmas but not this much."


Scientists say they have discovered Britain's funniest joke, and it involves Sherlock Holmes, his sidekick, Dr. Watson, and a tent.

Last week's announcement of the winning rib-tickler culminated months of work by experts investigating the psychology of laughter who have tested more than 10,000 jokes in the past few months.

Scientists at the "Laughlab," on the campus of the University of Hertfordshire, ran the jokes by more than 100,000 people from 70 countries. This is the one that 47 percent of them voted as the best giggle-getter:

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go camping and pitch their tent under the stars. The famed detective awakens during the night and says, "Watson, look up at the stars and tell me what you deduce."

"I see millions of stars," Watson replies, "and even if a few of those have planets, it's quite likely there are some planets like Earth, and if there are a few planets like Earth out there, there might also be life."

To which Holmes replied: "Watson, you idiot. Somebody stole our tent."

Dr. Richard Wiseman, a balding, one-time magician who set up the "Laughlab" experiment, said different types of jokes tickle the funny bones of men and women. He cited one favored by women: "A man walks into a bar with a piece of tarmac under his arm. He says to the barman, 'A pint for me, and one for the road."

Or how about this one, which was the biggest bellywobbler in Belgium: "Well, you see, there are basically three kinds of people in the world. Those who can count and those who can't."

If you think you can do better, Wiseman's team is still collecting funnies until next March "and we challenge people to submit a funnier joke."

(Web site: laughlab.co.uk)


WEDNESDAY: Kwanzaa begins today and runs through New Year's Day. This seven-day festival stresses unity of the American black family, with a harvest feast (karamu) on the first day and a day of meditation on the final day. Kwanzaa means "first fruit" in Swahili.

The Second Day of Christmas is a holiday in many countries.

This is National Whiner's Day, a day dedicated to those whining about what they didn't get for Christmas.

The Bahamas celebrates Junkanoo today.

It's Boxing Day, a legal holiday in Canada, the United Kingdom and many other countries. In South Africa, it's known as Day of Goodwill.

This is Day of the Wren on Ireland's Dingle Peninsula. It's a traditional day and night of public merrymaking.

And the Blessing of the Wine takes place today in Greiveldange, Luxembourg. Winemakers go to church, where a barrel of wine is blessed.

(Thanks to Chase's 2001 Calendar of Events)


For what discovery did Pierre and Marie Curie win the Nobel Prize in Physics?

The Curies won a Nobel Prize for their discovery of the element radium, on this date in 1898.

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