Watercooler Stories

By United Press International  |  May 21, 2007 at 6:30 AM
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Love driving turtles to make suicidal runs

SALEM, Mass., May 20 (UPI) -- Wildlife officials in Massachusetts are struggling with the rising problem of turtles crossing dangerous roads for a little sex.

The Boston Globe said Sunday that as turtles unsuccessfully attempt to cross roads in search of mates, wildlife experts are becoming more frustrated with the increasing numbers of the shelled reptiles expiring under the wheels of automobiles while on the way to procreation.

"They're just squashed," wildlife biologist Mark Grgurovic said of the unfortunate animals. "Most of them don't make it, they're just so banged-up."

One University of Massachusetts professor said it may be imperative to limit the number of turtles making the perilous journey.

"They're eating fish in ponds, salamanders, salamander eggs, frogs, frog eggs. Snapping turtles can eat ducklings. They're playing an important role in the food chain," assistant professor Paul Sievert said. "And if you remove that link, it's hard to predict whether things will go awry or not."

The Globe said among the proposed solutions for the problem are mapping out dangerous crossings and even digging specialized turtle tunnels.

Ohio police searching for 7-foot buffalo

CINCINNATI, May 20 (UPI) -- A missing farm mascot in New Richmond, Ohio, has sent police on a fruitless search for a 7-foot, 350-pound buffalo made entirely of fiberglass.

Despite the massive size of the Vista Grand Ranch's mascot, named Big Bad Bob, authorities have been unable to locate it since it was stolen last week, the Cincinnati Enquirer said Sunday.

New Richmond Police Sgt. Leslie Smith said that while many tips have been offered by residents since the mascot disappeared Thursday, the fiberglass buffalo has remained elusive.

"This thing is the size of a small car," Smith said. "People have been coming up to police officers saying 'Look here' or 'Look here.' We've looked all over the place; we can't find it."

Police told the Enquirer that Big Bad Bob was taken while the mascot sat in the parking lot of a grocery store.

N.Y. ice cream trucks tailor music

NEW YORK, May 20 (UPI) -- Ice cream trucks in New York City are tailoring their music to fit their audiences.

For example, one source told The New York Times, the Bronx is mostly Spanish-speaking, and so an ice cream vendor may play Mariachi music while cruising through the neighborhood. Neighborhoods that represent other cultures or ethnicities may receive different music.

But not everyone is smiling. The Times reported that many citizens have filed noise complaints associated with ice cream truck music. In 1998, a community in New Jersey voted to do away with the music completely and in New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to put a ban on the music in 2005.

Texting sends phone bill through roof

WASHINGTON, May 20 (UPI) -- Text messaging, the communications phenomenon that has caught on in the United States in a big way, is sending mobile phone bills sky high.

The Washington Post talked with sociologists and parents who said it is not unusual for teens to send thousands of text messages a month. At a rate of more than 10 cents per text message, the math can equal financial woes for parents who pay a teens cell phone bill.

Market research indicates those most likely to send text messages are between the ages of 13 and 24. The Post said many families have switched to unlimited text messaging plans or have left the teenager to foot the text messaging bill.

The reason the technology has exploded is because it gives teenagers distance from their parents, the experts said. They say text messaging can be done from anywhere, any time and often involves a large group, giving young people a sense of being part of something bigger.

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