Up and away
Standing-room-only service on airplanes? Even if airlines are lukewarm to the idea, an informal survey indicates a number of passengers may be willing to stand for the duration of their flight if it means lower fares. Travelzoo.com asked 1,000 people how far they would go for cheaper fares. More than one quarter of the respondents said they would pay up to half price for a standing-room-only ticket. Two years ago, plane maker Airbus pitched a modified standing section on its fleet to Asian carriers. In the Airbus plan, standing passengers would be strapped against a padded wall. The French manufacturer found no takers.
It may seem like something out of a nightmare, but customers at the Yvonne Hair and Nails salon in Alexandria, Va., like having fish nibble at their feet-and they're -willing to pay for the service. The salon uses tiny carp in foot pools as a way to remove dead skin from feet without using razors. The carp have no teeth, and thus no way to consume live skin, but they feast on dead flakes. The special pedicures cost $35 for 15 minutes and $50 for 30 minutes, and salon owner John Ho told the Associated Press that 5,000 customers have purchased the service. "This," he said, "is a good treatment for everyone who likes to have nice feet."
The world's a stage
Of all the Jim Carrey movies to contribute to mental illness: A pair of doctors in New York have identified what they believe to be a new psychosis they have dubbed the "Truman Show Delusion" after the 1998 Carrey drama. The New York- and Quebec-based psychologist brothers Joel and Ian Gold came to the conclusion after treating a series of patients who believed like Truman Burbank, the fictional figure played by Carrey in the Oscar-nominated film, they were the prime actors in a 24/7 reality television drama broadcast around the world. "My family and everyone I knew were and are actors in a script, a charade whose entire purpose is to make me the focus of the world's attention," confided one patient. Both Golds say the disorder differs from other, more narrow, delusions in that the "Truman Show Delusion" involves the entire world, not just a government or persons.
'Homeless' with houses
Tourists in San Francisco might be a bit tighter now with their quarters as they pass panhandlers asking for loose change. According to a report released by the city on July 18, between half and three-quarters of street people in San Francisco actually aren't homeless at all; they live in city-funded housing but refuse to quit their panhandling day job.
Don't do it yourself
A labor arbitrator in Montreal ruled in July that shopkeepers who sweep rubbish off the sidewalk in front of their own businesses violate the law by taking work from union workers. Montreal city leaders, fearing the rising tide of litter in the French Canadian city, imposed an edict mandating shopkeepers do more to clean up outside their shops. Arbitrator Andre Rousseau said sidewalk cleaning is the exclusive purview of unionized streetcleaners. Any shopkeeper picking up a broom to do union work violates local labor law. Labor leaders say the city should hire more union workers. The city says it will appeal the decision to a higher court.
Persistence paid off for Michael Cobb of Plymtree. A full 70 years after completing his bachelor's degree in mechanical sciences, Cobb completed post-graduate work that earned him a Ph.D. from Cambridge University in a ceremony July 19 at age 91. After completing his first degree in 1938, Cobb spent time in the British army fighting the Nazis in Africa. After leaving the army, Cobb worked in cartography, a field that captivated him enough to continue his own private research upon his retirement in 1971. But for the past 18 years, the former British colonel has been working on an atlas charting nearly every rail line built in Great Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries. "It is a definitive record," Richard Smith, head of Cambridge's geography department, told the BBC. "It is not just of interest to the enthusiast but a vital tool for anyone seriously interested in the economic geography and history of Great Britain. There is nothing like it." Said Cobb: "I don't know what all the fuss is about."
The right pitch
Advice to barkeepers looking for more profit: Pump it up. French scientists at Université de Bretagne-Sud observed the drinking habits of men ages 18 to 25 as they were exposed to both normal and loud music. The researchers' findings? The louder the music, the more alcohol the young men were likely to purchase. The study also found that playing French music helped nudge the patrons toward French wine.
Gone in a flash
Mark Pannell of Buffalo, N.Y., was doing just fine at evading the cops-until he put his clothes back on. Sheriff's deputies in Erie County pulled over Pannell on a routine traffic stop after sunrise on July 19 only to have him strip down to his skivvies and run away on foot. Despite an assist in the manhunt by a helicopter operated by U.S. Border Patrol and Custom Enforcement, Pannell slipped away. Nearly 15 hours later police spotted him-clothed-walking near the Niagara River. When cops gave chase, the 27-year-old leapt into the river. But his watery getaway didn't last long. Pannell, also wanted on misdemeanor drug charges, gave up after exhausting himself in the river.
Along for the ride
It's not just cats that have nine lives. A koala bear north of Brisbane, Australia, is lucky to be alive after being struck by a car at over 60 mph as it dallied on a roadway. The impact drove the koala's head and arm through the vehicle's grill. Protruding from the engine, the marsupial hung out as the unsuspecting motorist continued more than seven miles before reaching his final destination and discovering the trapped koala. Doctors at the local hospital treated the -animal with fluids and food after discovering the koala, dubbed "Lucky," had no major injuries in the accident.
Apparently drunk and definitely tired, two burglary suspects decided to take a nap after making their getaway July 9 from a Fred Meyer department store in Monroe, Wash. Their big mistake: They left a trail of cardboard and stolen loot that led right to them. Police found suspect Kyle Burress, 25, asleep on some stolen pillows and suspect Allen Pierce, 27, asleep on a stolen hammock. Officers took pictures of the hapless duo before waking them up.