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Oct. 9, 2009 at 5:04 PM
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Radioactive rabbit scat cleaned up

HANFORD, Wash., Oct. 9 (UPI) -- A helicopter conducted an aerial search for slightly radioactive jackrabbit scat at the Hanford nuclear site in Washington state, officials said.

Finding and removing the scat would have taken months with a ground survey, experts say. The helicopter, equipped with radiation detectors and working 80 feet in the air, completed the survey in a few weeks, SeattlePI.com reported.

The radioactive poop is a legacy of the Cold War.

Decades ago, liquid wastes from plutonium production were dumped in underground tanks. Jackrabbits burrowed into the dumps and liked the salty taste so nuclear waste went in one end and out the other.

Cleanup of the scat began this week. Officials say the aerial survey pinpointed areas in need of cleanup, so less earth will have to be moved.

The radioactive dirt will be held in a landfill at Hanford.

Nevada-based National Security Technologies received $300,000 in federal stimulus money sent to Hanford to do the helicopter survey.


Black-headed python dies a 'happy snake'

COFFS HARBOR, Australia, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Leroy, a black-headed python, has died after years as the star attraction at Steve McEwan's Reptile World on the east coast of Australia, McEwan said.

The 24-year-old snake died last week, The Coffs Coast Advocate reported.

"A lot of kids grew up with Leroy," McEwan said. "And a lot of people got over their fears with him. Local pre-schoolers are going to be absolutely devastated, they loved him. They used to sit in a circle with their legs out and he would crawl over their legs."

McEwan acquired Leroy from another reptile park nine years ago. During his time with the show, Leroy met a number of the high and mighty, including New South Wales Premier Nathan Rees.

The snake handlers knew Leroy was approaching the end of his days, McEwan said, but he had become one of the family.

"He was going through the shedding process, had a belly full of food and had made love -- he died a happy snake," McEwan said.

Buddy, Leroy's 5-year-old son, will take over as the new star attraction.


Museums swapped on mistaken maps

LONDON, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Officials with Transport for London said the service's latest map was pulled from its Web site due to the mislabeling of two popular tourist destinations.

The map errors, which were not brought to the attention of officials until thousands of hard copies were distributed around the city, mistakenly identified the Victoria & Albert art museum as the Natural History Museum and vice versa, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The map, which was pulled from the Web site Thursday, is also completely missing Exhibition Road, which runs between the museums.

"We would like to thank the Daily Telegraph for bringing this to our attention. We are currently amending the map so the museums will be shown in their correct locations," a Transport for London spokeswoman said.

The map misprints came less than a month after London Mayor Boris Johnson ordered the River Thames to be reinstated on underground train maps. The river had been removed to make the maps appear less cluttered.


Web site: Wis. city tops for cycling

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif., Oct. 9 (UPI) -- A U.S. tourism Web site puts Madison, Wis., at the head of its list of the world's "Top Five Places for Bicyclists."

TVirtualTourist.com said Madison is an ideal bicycling city, with more than 120 miles of bike paths, which are plowed in the winter, as well as bike rental programs and cycling-only lanes on roads.

The California Web site picked Paris as second on the list for its famous Velib bike rental program, which two years ago began allowing people in the city to rent its more than 20,000 bikes at any time of day or night.

Munster, Germany, took the No. 3 spot for being the only city in that country where bicycle traffic outnumbers car traffic, 37.6 percent to 35.5 percent.

Fourth place on the list went to Toronto, which boasts an intricate bike path system allowing those on two wheels to ride for hours without interference from motor traffic.

Italy's Emilia Romagna Region took fifth on VirtualTourist's list for its more than 30-year-old bike rental program, numerous paths and hotels that provide bikes to guests as a courtesy.

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